The increasingly mad world of Johnny Depp

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Ten years ago if you asked any hip person who they’d like to be maybe they would reply Johnny Depp.  Good looking, witty, talented. He had it all.

Johnny Depp, was somebody I once really admired.  He seemed to be selective in the films he chose to be in,  often  playing oddballs and outsiders.  He seemed to really stamp a strong identity on each role he played.  Films I really like include Edward Scissorhands,  Benny and Joon, What’s eating Gilbert Grape? He was a natural in Tim Burton films.  Of course he was graced with good looks and a natural abundance of talent. He had the ability to play different roles  including comedy parts.   You would imagine a man such as he, would have the world at his feet…no?

Like so many stars before him, his life in recent times seems to be on a constant downward spiral.  Damning articles have sprung up like noxious fungus.  What’s more youthful Johnny has overnight transposed into bloated Johnny. In previous times  Marlon Brando was once  noted for his great looks and physique and then  piled  on the pounds,  undeterred by what is expected of an iconic Hollywood superstar.  Is Johnny letting himself go in a similar fashion?  Is he pressing the self-destruct button.

He seems to be racking up ex-wives.  His latest break up  hasn’t exactly painted him in a very good light. It seems Johnny’s life  has been fueled by  drugs and alcohol, leading too alleged violence to his much younger wife (Amber Heard).  These domestic  violence abuse allegations, tarnish a diminishing reputation, his stock going down dramatically.  Damning words from Amber include  “There was one severe incident in December 2015 when I truly feared for my life,” she wrote in the court filing in which she also said she “endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse” during the entirety of their relationship. It seems in terms of personal relationships, Johnny is volatile and moody to the extreme.

Johnny has fought back through his lawyers‘Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life.’

We could say that Amber Heard, given her background, was not the ideal person for Johnny Depp to marry.  Amber herself allegedly has been involved in domestic violence towards a women, who was heavily involved with Tasya Van Ree.  Aember and Tasya considered themselves married at a time when it was not possible legally.  Amber’s special relationship with Tasya Van Ree is cited as a reason Johnny dscended into fits of anger and violence.  In Johnny’s previous wife Vanessa Paradis’ eyes, Amber Heard is considereda homewrecking careerwhore who ruined her children’s lives and destroyed her relationship with Johnny Depp

You also have to wonder why Amber got so heavily involved with Johnny and went as far as to marry him, given some of her quotes concerning their relationship  During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me.”

What a mess film stars mange to get themselves entangled in. Is there any redemption for Johnny Depp? Unless he takes his drinking and drug abuse to newer heights, it’s sure he will be offered new parts in big films.  Despite all the strong allegations made against Woody Allen, he is still very much revered as a film maker. Fervent fans of Johnny Depp will continue to support him.

It would be a pity if Johnny Depp gains more of a reputation for being an alcoholic, than the great actor many know him to be;
 

 

 

Men watch out for Black Widows!

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You come home from work, perhaps your loving wife greets you with a kiss. The smell of the dinner your wife has prepared wafts from the kitchen. You exchange small talk and sit down for dinner. The food looks good and wholesome…but there’s a catch…your wife has only gone and laced it with arsenic…you have succumbed to a Black widow.

There are quite a number of them out there… Back in the mid 1860s, we encounter Lydia Sherman who was facing life with an unemployed husband and six dependent children. She found the idea of getting divorced as unappealing, her answer lay in poison a cheap and easy solution. So she served her husband a bowl of oatmeal gruel laced with arsenic. Following this, she gave arsenic-laced chocolate to her six children and calmly collected the insurance money.

On to pastures new Lydia found a wealthy farmer considerably older than her. She didn’t bide her time she poisoned his clam chowder a year later.
After hitting the marriage trail again she just couldn’t help but poison her third husband for good measure. Between 1864 and 1871, Lydia Sherman dispatched 10 people to an early grave. Dubbed “The Derby Poisoner,” “America’s Queen Poisoner,” or “Connecticut’s ‘Lucrezia Borgia’,” Lydia Sherman was accused of murder in 1871. She escaped the gallows because women were not sentenced to death at the time. Instead, she received the maximum penalty of life in prison.

Gesche Gottfried, seemingly a sweet attractive blond had men flocking to her doorstep, only to choose a loser alcoholic called Mittenberg, a handsome yet unsuitable man who she married in 1815.Their marriage proving a disaster Gesche took a lover, while deciding it was best to get shot of her husband. Having slipped arsenic into his beer, with no suspicians raised as to all and sundry he’d died alcohol poisoning, her next move was to induce her lover into marriage. He declined, due to her having two children, so she promptly poisoned them. When her parents raised objects to the marriage she cherished, of course they joined her list of victims. Due to his persistent refusal to marry her, Gesche poisoned her lover, however they did marry on his deathbed and Gesche was recipient of all of his fortune. She was finally brought to justice, the exact number of her victims is hard to define, but it could be up to 30.

Madeleine de Brinvilliers, a French aristocrat was reckless in the way she went about poisoning people, her Father and two brothers were among hher victims, her motives finacial. She attempted to poison her husband , having earlier taken on a cavalry officer lover. Her end was not so happy she was tortured, beheaded, and her body was burned at the stake in 1676.

Vera Renczi from Bucharest was a woman of rare beauty sent a grand total of sent two husbands, 32 lovers, and her own son to early graves.
What can we deduce? Most Black Widows are after their husband’s fortunes and are particularly interested in insurance money. Some are distrustful of men, driven by jealousy and paranoia. Another trait of a Black Widow is they have to be accomplished liars, to cover the tracks of their heinous crimes, especially if their murders are botched jobs, as in the case of Michele Williams who murdered her husband, successful businessman Greg, claiming she had been shot by an intruder, adding other unlikely stories in the mix, which only thrust more suspicion in her direction.

It is advisable that any Black Widow, plays the role of the grieving widow, something Michele failed to do, the next day going a restaurant for a celebratory big fry-up breakfast. It was later claimed Michele was a man-eater, who moved from one man to the next to get what she could, living the dream life. Under the pressure of the police Michele kept changing her story, coming up with ludicrous alternatives, for example that her husband had committed suicide and that she was simply try to hide this fact from her young daughter. In the end all fingers pointed to her and she was arrested. This compulsive liar continued to spin lie after lie, including saying she was pregnant with twins. It also turned out she was dating a toy boy Gene, a personal trainer. After angering judges, repeatedly changing her story, she finally was awarded a sturdy prison sentence.

In my book Flight of Destiny, one of my stories is called Black Widow. A woman Mercedes Shwartz, is a young woman whose marriage was short-lived. She lives in a remote luxurious house, on her own. She lures a man to house and then after they have had sex has his inexplicable urge to kill him. Suddenly luring unsuspecting men, having sex with them and murdering them becomes a ritual way of life for her.

http://francishpowellauthor.weebly.com/love-is-blind-blog-hop.html

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“Odd Child” a short story for Christmas, by Francis H Powell

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“ODDCHILD”

ODDCHILD .
The Queen had been surrounded by sweet angelic choirboys. The Pope had talked about peace in the Middle East, but had failed to say how he could actively bring this about. Presents meaningful or otherwise had been exchanged. Traditions had been observed. Religious ceremonies had taken place, incense, rituals, stern faces, pontificators, talking about a strange occurrence that had happened thousands of years ago, in a primitive land. There had been no world disasters, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no tidal waves, not this year, just many untold stories of misery and loneliness, that had blighted the world as ever at Christmas time. Shop keepers had rubbed their hands in glee. Television companies had been bereft of ideas of how to entertain the people. The transport system had been bewildered, as to how to deal with a sudden snap of Siberian weather.

Somewhere in the middle of all this was Oddchild. Oddchild didn’t quite fit in amongst all of this. He was part of a sizable family. He had listened and observed all that had passed in front of him. He had been silent and pensive, alienated by it all, unobtrusive, but with moments tinged with oddness.

Lunch had not passed without incident. The family were stunned into a tight knotted silence as Oddchild, while a succulent force-fed turkey was being passed around, had nestled himself under the table, taking with him a bowl of nuts, which he gobbled, while the family mused at this sudden change in his behaviour. The sanctity of the lunch had been broken. There was little point in trying to reason with him, coax him out, and he was beyond the age of being castigated. His behaviour just had to be reconciled with. Aunt Austere had pondered and intrigued as to whether Oddchild had perhaps taken some kind of drugs, that had prompted such behaviour. As she has slapped some cranberry jelly on her plate, wedged between some sprouts, she sighed and arched a disapproving eyebrows upwards. Mother had demanded in a soothing motherly tone
“Would you like some wine dear.”

Oddchild had not answered, his mind was elsewhere. Father had looked silly in his paper crown, which had been extracted from a cracker, along with some heinously unfunny insipid jokes, that the family had cheerfully tittered at. Still Oddchild huddled under the table. Members of the family cleared away the remnants of an excessive meal, having stripped a sizable chunk from the turkey, which they would still be eating over the next few weeks, served up, in one form or another.

“Aren’t you hungry dear.” Demanded Mother with noticeable desperation, stacking some plates, still nonplussed at Oddchild’s Christmas dinner breach of etiquette. Still no response, so she shrugged and shifted a quick concerned glance in Father’s direction, while Aunt Austere reflected on Reverent Glib’s sermon, before switching the subject to the shooting season. Then an awkward outburst of coughing from Aunt Gimp had ruptured the conversation, sending Mother scurrying for a glass of water. Calm was finally restored, as Aunt Gimp finally managed to suppress the fit. Aunt Gimp’s mind was a deluge of stories concerning the war, in fact her mind had never really moved on since this period.

Finally Oddchild came out of his splendid isolation, removing himself from under the table. He held a gawky expression on his face, averting the gaze of the two aunts and the rest of the baffled family, who tried to hide their looks of surprise. He did not utter a word, he just slipped casually back into the throng. The family trooped into the living room to continue the next part of the proceedings, coffees and a viewing of the Queen’s annual speech to the nation. Aunt Austere had not liked her speech of the previous year. There had been too much attention spent on people with dark skins of different faiths, rather than the white Anglo Saxon majority. Dark skins seemed to disturb Aunt Austere greatly. She could not get her head around the idea that such people had been born and bred and raised in the same country as her and were more than fully integrated into society. It hadn’t been an “annus horribilis” this year for the Queen. One of her family’s favourite sports “fox hunting” had been banned, but this had not deterred the hunters, who either found loopholes in the law or simply broke it. Aunt Austere often sang the praises of a sport in which fifty or so dogs chase after a fox with the objective of tearing this beautiful animal to pieces, in the name of a “noble British tradition”. The Queen’s eldest son had married a woman who had he looks of some “dowdy weatherworn aunt” which had no doubt heaped a certain amount of embarrassment on her. However no palaces had been burnt down, there had not been too many notable scandals, “toe sucking incidents” “court cases involving forgotten conversations with servants” “Princess Diana revelations” “young drunken or drugged up royals on the front pages.”
With the TV switched off, lunch firmly lodged in the their stomachs, the question of how to occupy the hours of the day that remained, usually a sturdy walk was the answer. Oddchild unrepentantly led the way, with his sudden outburst. The logical progression being a huge inter-family argument.

“You are all mad, the whole lot of you.”
Two Aunts shot rapid shocked looks at one another, the rest of the family drew in sharp intakes of breath. A log fire crackled and hissed.
Aunt Austere took up the challenge.
“I think you were the one who spent the entire lunch hidden under the table, so if anyone’s mad, it’s you dear.” She had a vague contented smile emanated from her face.

Oddchild had to concede on this point, but he was referring more to their narrow perceptions of the world, he pressed his point.
“I’d rather be under the table than have to listen to some of your drivel and watch you gorge on bounteous amounts of food, while a third of the world is starving, while you sermonize about a world you have little understanding of.”

“We have lived through the war, my dear.” Said Aunt Gimp proudly, Father adjusted his paper crown, Mother stared into the fire. Aunt Austere’s eyes were flaring up, her mind was a storm. The turkey had long since gone cold and the atmosphere that prevailed was now equally frosty.
Mother thought she should try her hand at a little arbitration.
“Your Aunt’s did their bit for the war effort you know, dear.”
What spying for the Nazis.” Said Oddchild tossing his head back with mirth.

The tone of his voice and acerbic remark hadn’t gone down at all well. Father’s eyes bared down on him, Mother had lost her composure.
“I think you should apologise, said Mother, with her hands on her hips.
“Apologise for what.” Muttered Oddchild, reflecting on the rasp of his previous remark.
He turned to the two Aunts.
“It’s no wonder, neither of you got married, the pair of you will go to the grave crusty bitter virgins.”
Mother was the first to speak.
“Now you really have gone too far.” She said. Father paced up and down, he had taken off his paper crown by this point.
“I’ve never heard such a wicked remark.” Said Aunt Austere her face all creased up and severe.
“Turn your hearing aid up” muttered Oddchild sarcastically under his breath.
“What” barked Aunt Austere.
“Forget it.” Said Oddchild.
“Well I certainly won’t forget this Christmas” said Aunt Gimp mournfully.
And there it was just 364 days until the next torturous ritual of more of the same.

 

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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…

I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.

Flawed Genius

Flawed Genius

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How often do you read or hear about a flawed genius ? They have drug problems, commonly drink problems, or perhaps a penchant for young women, who have the same age as their youngest daughters or maybe a self-destructive streak. You might admire their talent, the sheer brilliance of the work, but as people they are simply awful. People of a certain age would have grown up with the films of Peter Sellers. There was the brilliant actor, who could conjure up all manner of characters, and then there was the man, with an over-sized ego, married four times, in a constant search for happiness, a troubled soul. The person who seems to have suffered from his father’s volatility was his son Michael…on one occasion Seller’s arrived where young Michael was sleeping at three o’clock in the morning, stirring his son from sleep, before demanding “Do you think I should divorce your mummy?”. I remember a scene in the film “The life and death of Peter Sellers” his fit of anger when young Michael damaged his car, he went about smashing all of his young son’s toys, like a spiteful child, on a revenge mission. It is little wonder Michael says of his father…”I used to be scared stiff of him.”

From my time at Art College, I have always admired the paintings of Jackson Pollock, (ok perhaps not a genius to some but a painter, who bore the title “America’s greatest living painter” ). I particularly liked the work, prior to his famous “drip paintings”. The paintings are one thing, the man another matter. Obviously he was a tortured soul, his psychiatrist remaking about his condition ‘a certain schizoid disposition underlying the instability’. Alcohol brought the worst out in him making him aggressive. Pollock’s self-destruction came to a head, with his death, a drink driving accident, in which another passenger Edith Metzger also perished. So were a talking about a man with a death on his hands, due to his sheer recklessness…two unnecessary deaths, one that of a young woman.

Dickens may have championed the poor and downtrodden, but as a man…he left his wife (who bore him no less than ten children) for an eighteen year old actress…He literally threw his wife out and split up the family. When one of his sons died, he chose not to inform his wife, of his demise…yes this man obviously had a cruel streak.

Apparently Dickens was obsessive about writing and wife and family were duly left on the wayside. It can’t be easy being married to any genius. Like Peter Sellers, being part of the Dickens’ brood was hard and severe.

One of my characters in my book Flight of Destiny,”Maestro” is a “genius” a painter, who has a considerable family of five. He has a long suffering wife and he “takes” as he wishes the virginity of young girls, including the betrothed of his long suffering brother…the one bright light in his life. Because he is such a genius painter, perhaps he has lost sight of morality. His family reject him and despite a looming exhibition, which will bolster further his reputation, none will attend.

It was but a few days before the works were to be transported to
Rome for a major exhibition. Every art patron in Italy planned to be
present at the show. There was even talk of royalty from Portugal,
France and Spain attending. Of course, a representative of the Vatican
would be there, maybe even Pope Julius himself. There would also be
some notable absentees: Maestro’s wife and their children, including
his favorite, Faustina, who not only had developed a passion for
painting, but whose ability dangerously challenged her father’s. To
protect her daughter from her husband’s vagarities, her mother had
poisoned the girl’s mind, turning her against her father. There was no
way Maestro could give his benediction to her precocious talent, along
with any abounding ambitions, anyway.

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