I first saw Woodstock running across a turnpike we were turning onto late one dark night in Peachtree Georgia Atlanta. Whilst we were shooting Lawless. He was a stray. 11 weeks old. Oh No we thought. Quickly Go get that dog not even sure it was a dog. Actually. We stopped the car. It was pitch black literally. I used my phone to light the road in case a car came round the turnpike and couldn’t see me. And malletted me. And I tried to cover some ground but he was fast. I watched this thing Running towards the highway in the pitch black making good speed towards the cars and lorries and I remember seeing what were its floppy ears bouncing towards the traffic. That dogs had it I thought. I couldn’t make out how big it was what breed it was? Nothing just those two ears flapping away above a frantic bundle. Hurtling away from us towards impending doom that was for certain. Whatever it was had no road sense and was tearing away. I panicked a little because I couldn’t help it had no name to shout and now it was close to the freeway. I put my fingers to my mouth and I whistled. Loud as I could. The whistle pierced the black. And It stopped the dog dead in its tracks. Then it turned and set eyes on me in one swift movement the ears about faced and the dog decided to run straight at me in the darkness all flashes of teeth and snarling And shrieking. Fuck this I thought that’s not a fkn dog. What am I doing. It ran straight at me and hit me around the legs I couldn’t see but I could hear the distress and I reached down thinking I’m going to get bitten. It was so noisy shrieking. I snatched out expecting to feel teeth and grabbed a fist full of soft neck fur lifted what was actually an incredibly light weight up to my face and shone my phone at it. It was a very small bundle literally sagging from its neck fur with two big brown eyes staring straight into mine. Terrified and utterly quiet. When I got back to the car and sat in my seat he lay on my shoulder and fell asleep. And snored clearly he’d been through a lot. And now the ordeal was seemingly over enough for him to relax. Jessica asked me was he a girl or a boy. Its a boy I said. How do you know. Erm… I can feel his Woodstock. great !!! let’s call him Woodstock!!! And so it was. He was covered in dogshit. Now so was I. And we rode and We took him straight to the pet store to clean him up and buy him well things.., lots of things things dogs need and we walked the aisles the three of us letting him Choose toys and his lead and his collar. I’ll Never forget that night. It was wonderful. One minute he was almost dead next terrified. Then picked up by strangers then after He had a power nap in the car, the next he’s walking with his bandy leg John Wayne strut under the strip lighted aisles of this massive pet store happy and playful. He wore a red bandana that night and from then on and drank religiously from the toilet throughout the night despite having a few bowls of water in the apartment he was every inch a survivor. He wasnt house broken it didn’t matter we were outdoors mostly and He ate through trailer doors and made many friends and Pnut had him on the lead off set and He became our onset dog I will always be eternally grateful to Georgia. It gave me the greatest of joys of being a dog owner And the bestest of friends after Max had passed Woody arrived He was 11 weeks old approx. The first morning we had him. He ate a turd and we chased him to drop it but he gobbled it down because he must have thought we wanted to eat it. So he ate it as fast as he could. We just wanted him to eat some real food. He now had plenty. But there was a survivor in him. That was clear he had had to eat what he could and from then on it was clear he had food issues. But he would never go hungry again. His nickname was Yamaduki. Because he literally yammed down a duki. So Woodstock Yamaduki was his full name. Woody Thomas later Woody two shoes and Wu for short.
Woody came back to the Uk after Jess’s parents kindly looked after him to avoid quarantine they house trained him. He had my tshirt from Warrior. I picked him up from them in California when I shot Dark Knight and thanked them. He hadn’t forgotten me and despite the tireless efforts and hard work that Jessica’s Mum and husband had put into Woody he heard my whistle again and turned and ran at me and didn’t look back. I felt for them but secretly I was very happy that my friend and I were reconnected. We all had a picnic we jumped into a lake Woody too and then it was clear Woody couldn’t swim and I hauled his ass out of the lake. Dragging him out the shit a second time cemented a pattern. I have hauled him out of rivers and ponds on many occasion since that day such was his love to chase ducks. Especially the Thames. his rabies titer had cleared he spent a week in quarantine and he became a Londoner.
He was an Angel. And he was my best friend. We went through so much together. Charlotte worked tirelessly with him to get him through a rough case of separation anxiety. He loved her like his Mum. And when she was pregnant he gaurded her fiercely.
He has been on many sets. Met many crews. Photo shoots premieres made many many friends he was #73 most influential animal in TIME magazine. He beat JAWS. Something we all thought was brilliant. He’s been in peaky blinders. Legend everyone who met him loved him. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body. All he knew was love.
I don’t normally speak out about family and friends but this is an unusual circumstance. Woody affected so many people in his own right so with great respect to his autonomy and as a familiar friendly face to many of you, it is with great great sadness a heavy heart that I inform you that after a very hard and short 6 month battle with an aggressive polymyostisis Woody passed away, two days ago. He was only Age 6. He was Far too young to leave us and We at home are devastated by his loss I am ultimately grateful for his loyal companionship and love and it is of some great comfort that he is no longer suffering. Above all I am completely gutted. the world for me was a better place with him in it and by my side. To the bestest friend ever. To me and to a family who loved him beyond words and whom he loved without doubt more than I have ever known. Woody was the bestest of journey companions we ever could dream of having. Our souls intertwined forever.
A friend told me
He was special bro, a shining example of man’s best friend. He burnt very very bright and, those that burn very bright sometimes burn half as long.
Thankyou Woody for choosing to find us. We will love you and be with you and you with us forever. Never ever ever forgotten. Your Boy tom xxx I love you beyond words. To the moon and back again and again to Infinity and beyond. Run with Max now and the Angels. I will see you when I get there. With all of me I love you. Always Thankyou for Your love beautiful boy.
So, I had this thought after reading several stories about humans giving birth and not having eggs. What if aliens do not have ‘family units’ the same way humans do, but instead raise children in more of a group setting.
Captain H'roll'ah was excited to have hired on not just 1 but 3 humans, all of whom were extremely qualified for space travel. Even better, they were all from the same clan and so there would be no rivalry or refusal to work together because of old scores to settle.
“Captain! Three humans just came in a have taken over the dining area! WHAT SHOULD WE DO?!?” Ensign Khralhen was out of breath and panicked, but his species was notoriously afraid of humans after it became public knowledge how dangerous they were. Not that his own was much better, but H'roll'ah knew that these humans should be here and it was probably near a meal time for them. How could such an evolutionary advanced and apated species not figure out a way to avoid needing 3 or meals a day was beyond H'roll'ah.
“It is fine, Ensign Khralhen. These are likely the Humans that I just signed on to the crew. They are from the same clan, so they should work at peak efficiency,” the Captain answered, trying to put as much calm and soothing into his voice as possible, “Let us go introduce ourselves and welcome them so that the ‘pack-bonding’ can begin.”
“Greetings, I am Captain H'roll'ah and this is Ensign Khralhen, our cook.”
“Nice ta meetcha! Cook, huh? Guess we best buddy up to you right quick then!” said the male. He was average height for a human and perhaps a little on the heavy side, but H'roll'ah knew that it was likely muscle not fat. After all, this human and one of his female companions were security personnel.
“Always thinking with you stomach, Thomas. How about you buddy up to the Captain, so that we do not get kicked off this boat? Hmm?” said the smaller female, later identified as Samantha or “Sam” for ease. "Small" being used only in comparison because she did not have the bulk of her clanmates. She must be the medical officer. H'roll'ah was worried that she would be distant from her clanmates but her body language suggested extreme comfort and trust, above what H'roll'ah felt for his own clanmates of different castes. The third human, Laura if the captain remembered correctly, remained silent but was constantly looking around, as if expecting an attack at any moment, not that strange considering all that H'roll'ah had hear about Earth.
“Well then, please tell me what times that the three of you eat, and I will prepare food for you then. Also, please tell me any dietary restrictions you have so that you do not have any medical incidents,” Khralhen said, realizing that the humans could be bribed with food as easily as a Con'valix could be bribed with fruits.
(3 Months Later)
Captain H'roll'ah was surprised at how well the humans worked together. He thought that they might exceed standard human operating efficiency by 10%, but regularly they were 20-25% better than the reported average. They barely needed to vocalize to communicate, and they were able to remember each other’s needs and the needs of the crew extremely well. Captain H'roll'ah decided to ask them how they did it, and if it was a clan trait, where he could hire more humans of clan “Walker.”
“Thomas clan Walker, do you have a few minutes to talk about personal matters?” The captain asked, assuming that Thomas would, since he was off shift and relaxing in the lounge.
“Sure thing, hoss. What can I do for you? And I hope this isn’t about my or Laura’s tattoo’s, because we had to settle a bet on that a few days ago,” Thomas answered easily. He was a bit flippant for the captain’s taste, but his results were impeccable and the other humans followed his lead, which spoke volumes for the man.
“I was hoping that you could explain how you and your clanmates have achieved such a high efficiency rate. You perform well above average, even for clanmates who grew up together.”
“Clanmates? Oh, that’s right! Sam mentioned that your species, and most species on this ship raise their young in a group setting and the kids hatch from eggs, right?”
“That is correct, and please do not remind me that human females carry their young in their bodies like a parasite. The last time Sam explained that, it was enough to make all of us wonder how humans have managed to reproduce at all.” H'roll'ah still shuddered when he thought of it, and Khralhen wasn’t able to cook for 3 days after Sam had explained human reproduction.
“Fair enough, I think we reproduce more by accident that anything else, but yeah. Me, Laura, and Sam are not clanmates like you think,” Thomas chuckled and shook his head, “We are siblings.”
“I do not know this word,” H'roll'ah answered uneasily. In his experience, an unknown term from a human meant that something painful, gross, horrifying, or all 3 was about to be revealed.
“Sam could explain it better, and having Laura here only seems fair…” Thomas trailed off as he reached for his comm. "Hey, brats (again with the casual disrespect), can you both get up to the lounge? Captain wants to know about siblings.“ H'roll'ah was always surprised that Thomas clan Walker could be disrespectful when asking for others to do something.
“Sure, be right up,” Sam responded. She was likely a floor up in the medical facilities and wanted to take a break.
“Grrhhrhhgg.” Laura clan Walker had been sleeping, then, and did not want to come.
“Thanks, ladies, you can both explain family better than me.” Now the captain was worried again because there was a second new word being bandied around.
“So, captain, a family unit for humans is very small compared to yours of Ensign Khralhen’s,” Sam explained, “A family is usually made up of the mother and/or father or a surrogate who has assumed that role and the children. It usually numbers no more than 4-7 individuals.”
“But…But…how do you grow or develop? And to place all that burden on only one or two adults, how do they do anything else?” spluttered K'roll'ah. He was shocked to find out that humans in the region called ‘America’ did not have an open community.
“Well, children who share 1 or both parents are called “siblings”, and they develop together. The adults are called “parents”, and yeah, there is a definite loss of freedom involved.“
“So then, you three are…siblings?” H'roll'ah asked.
“Yes, Thomas is the oldest, and Laura is the youngest, with me in the middle,” answered Sam, “and our father bailed on us after Laura was 3 years old, so Tom became the ‘man of the house’ at 7 years old.”
THAT explained Thomas clan Walker’s attitude! Captain H'roll'ah realized that Thomas clan Walker had been in a command position and not had a commander from a young age!
“So that is why you both follow him? He is the new leader”
“Kind of, he is just the best at leading. He knows what to do and does it well.” Laura answered, which was rare; she was the most quiet of the three.
“And the reason for your peak efficiency?” Captain H'roll'ah asked, determined to get an answer to his question.
“Well, we have known each other all our lives and spent most of those lives in close proximity to each other. We just understand each other from the long familiarity and exposure.”
“Ah, the same way a pilot becomes better from being on the same ship, just with a person instead.”
“Exactly! And if you are interested in hiring others we are familiar with, we have some cousins, children of our parents’ siblings, who we know very well and want to get into space.”
“Then I will look them up, thank you for answering my questions."
Humans were a strange species. Instead of focusing on a large community, they developed close bonds with only a few people who share familial ties with them. Captain H'roll'ah did hire the 'cousins’ and they worked out very well. The human guidebook was updated to notify captains that humans sharing close blood ties have the potential to perform at higher than normal efficiency.
Now somebody write a story about a captain hiring siblings who hate/cannot stand each other!
Box braids didn’t become popular until the early 80′s when the GOAT Patrice Rushen took to the R&B and jazz scene
But at the time, they weren’t really called “box braids.” They were individual braids inspired by North African cultural aesthetics, especially Egyptian. However, box braids have their roots in our home region, West Africa as well.
Early on, you saw a peep of these beautiful, intricate hairstyle in the late 70′s from the female singers in Oddysey and S.O.S. Band
I believe both singers from these bands appeared with these hairstyles in the year 1977. So box braids have been here in African-American culture for a LONG time. It just didn’t really become a fad until the early 90′s because before then, these hairstyles were looked at as “trippy” Afrocentric hairstyles that artists would wear to get in touch with their African roots. The 80′s was a time where a lot of African-American artists’ fashion were inspired by West and North African roots.
At the turn of the decade, you began to see box braids become more mainstream with Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell’s ethereal ass, rapper Yo-Yo, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Then in the mid 90′s, Stacey Dash makes braids en vogue by sporting the famous look in Clueless.
All the middle to upper-class girl caught on to box braids because of this but who should really get credit is the incomparable, Brandy Norwood!
Ask for “Moesha” at the hair salon, and it was say no more.
Mariah’s white-passing ass tried them on for size in her Thank God I Found You remix video and they looked dope!
And then here comes sexy stemme Alicia Keys bringing back our great-great-great North African ancestry in 2001
She made cornrows cool for all the black girls in grade school!
And I almost forgot! Beyonce really made kinky twists hot in the early ‘00s as well
Always looking like somebody’s cool redbone cousin rollin’ up at the family cookout
Then Christina Aguilera tried to join in on the fun, but we said, “Nah, sweetie. You Latinx but you not afro honey. But you look cute sis”
*fast forward to several years later*
Unfortunately, box braids were no longer as popular as they were in the early ‘00s. Bad, synthetic weaves dyed a tacky brown were in from 2004-2008.
But in early 2013, box braids had a revival!
Thank you, Keri Hilson! You may not be shit, but you did that thing! I always said you was my hair-fashion icon tho. I can’t stunt on you.
We had Zoe Kravitz make braids cool for the edgy, sarcastic and loner black girls like me!
Soon, we saw so many pictures of black girls modeling box braids on Tumblr and Instagram!
Solange soon rocks these braids because she’s hip and poppin’
Then Christina Milan being Afro-Latina, she had to get in on this
Even Tia or Tamera
Soon, these 90′s R&B girls came back for a reunion with their beautiful, braided locs!
We all saw Ayesha Curry try to butter up to the black female community by taking an adorable selfie with her mama
Now we got Instagram models and actresses making braids en vogue!
(Babyhairs aren’t mandatory and I recommend women with type 4 hair to get these styles. If you are under, I wouldn’t keep these in for very long)
So now box braids are everywhere, and they are the go-to for a black girl’s protective style, especially if they have my hair type! But anyone who is black and of African descent can wear them. You don’t have to have tightly-coiled hair to wear these, but they are what the styles are intended for since the hair is apt for them.
And notice something else; none of these styles were coined or invented by white or non-black women. They were all made and adorned by black women. And Patrice Rushen is the Godmother of protective styles. Don’t whitewash these!