Give yourself a hug: Avoid spontaneous combustion, and other things learnt during the past week…

Chimpanzee Melissa huddles forlornly over her baby, shielding him from a downpour. National Geographic | December 1965
Chimpanzee Melissa huddles forlornly over her baby, shielding him from a downpour.
National Geographic | December 1965

I gave myself a well deserved hug the other day. I think I’ve been beating myself up too much about things that aren’t in my immediate control, so I wrapped my arms around myself and was like, “Thanks, me. You’re doing just fine.”

After what had been a particularly stressful day, I got home to write up something for a competition – was so not up to it – so then went out for a drive (I am still learning post-first-fail), and ended up getting so angry that Dad was like: “Slow down! You’re gonna crash into that girl on her bike!” And I was all snotty and teary-eyed like: “I don’t even care!!”

I was basically in one of those moods when you literally cannot even right now, and there was no signs of it going away.

(I have since found that when you feel so anti-everything that you cannot literally even anymore, if you listen to ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, things seem much easier to comprehend.)

This week I phoned my boyfriend DEMANDING that he sing ‘Hypnotize’ by The Notorious B.I.G until I felt better. It worked.

The hardest thing about bad situations is that you have to feel all of the things you are feeling, even the horrible, sad stuff that you’d rather fast forward.

Caitlin Moran wrote in her Times Saturday column yesterday (2 May) that her biggest advice for teenage girls is that you “only ever have to deal with the next 60 seconds of your life.”

When someone very close to you rips your heart apart, there is no way around it. (I am reminded of the children’s book, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’: “We can’t go under it; we can’t go over it – We’ll have to go through it!”)

It took me 18 years to realise that – and I’m no good at bottling stuff up. (JOURNAL KEEPER FOR 14 YEARS.) Cry about it, write a letter to whoever it is, trash their house minorly (make sure it’s reversible – no smashing or breaking. Trust me – I’ve KNOWN this)

Figure out how to deal with the stuff, and try it out (preferably without hurting anyone further, that can just re-lousy everything.)

Things aren’t going to be amaaaazing all the time, especially if you’re going through something that’s emotionally tough. You don’t always have to be the best version of yourself; so if you’re going through a hard time, cut yourself some slack. The happiness you’re aiming for needn’t be a constant state of ecstasy, but rather a middle-ish sort of OK. A great article about this way of thinking, written by Tim Lott, can be read here.

My biggest argument against suppressing these feelings (that make your head feel like it will pop off) is that there are ACTUAL reports of HUMAN SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, so just take NO risks honey. It is not worth your beautiful hairdo.

I’ve been listening to Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Carrie and Lowell’ a lot recently because 1) it’s addictive and oh-so-moreish, and 2) He’s headlining at End of the Road this year.


I had meant to write a proper review of it a few weeks ago but have been really busy doing other general life things; now I don’t think I could serve it justice.

I wholly admit I was not a fan of Sufjan before this, so I have nothing to compare it with, or do that ever-so-important music journo thing of citing his biggest influences – cause quite frankly kiddo, I just don’t know.

All I know is that it was written about his mother and stepfather, and, after a unanimous discussion re: SS by my friends, we came to the conclusion that he could write about rotting fruit or dog shit, or BOTH, and still make it sound beautiful.

For those real-melancholic types around here, check this out:

It both slows your heart down and speeds it up. It’s a wonderful record, and apparently his best.

I went to the National Theatre last night to see ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ Again – this play has been on since November of last year, so I can’t say I’m bringing you cutting-edge, hot-off-the-press reviews, but I get cheap seats, and for cheap seats my friends, you must seriously book WELL in advance.

It was set in Mumbai and focused on the lives of a community living in the slums near an airport, and the conflicts they faced with police/money/each other/etc.

I took a tonne of notes, as there was a lot to take in (I felt the play was longer than it ought to have been, but the pace was still excellent) and the writing was very human – of course – as is the writing of David Hare.

For your ease, and my ease: (I don’t need to write a long review – I am now v. hungry) Some – most are illegible – of my notes are included below:

  • incredible set – reeks of money. National Theatre.
  • Meera from the Kumars? Excellent
  • Feisty female roles
  • Prosthetics – burn make up good but v. gruesome
  • shows how extreme poverty can make people lose sense of morality
  • bit on the long side?? Am i tired??
  • baddies: “let them fight among themselves, then they won’t fight with us”
  • general audience consensus- good
  • Actor playing Abdul: Very sexy

I thought it was great to see a play that took a genuinely very humorous and human take on an awful situation (one that I admit I wasn’t aware of.) One minute you were laughing at the ‘look how ridicularse corruption is, darling!’ due to the witty, observational quips in the text, and then you were covering your eyes from somebody having their eyes gauged out after stealing scrap metal.

All in all, it was clear why this play has been running for so long. And even towards the end of the run, you wouldn’t have believed it. It’s not my usual choice of theatre – but I think it’s something that will stick with me for a bit. If you want to read a proper review, please divert your browsers to the search engine, ‘Google.’

In other news, I have started rehearsals for King Lear, been accepted into the National Youth Theatre and got tickets to Glastonbury! So there’s that. Also lined up is a trip to Belgium, Belle & Sebastian next week, in three weeks, and in seven weeks (lol) and my birthday! I’ll be writing about it all.

T.A.L x

Feminism is not a club. Anyone who believes in equality, choice and freedom can be one – 14/11/2014

Lion’s mane jellyfish, August 1973 - National Geographic.
Lion’s mane jellyfish, August 1973 – National Geographic.

Okay, okay, after a silly but necessary inclusion of that beautiful jellyfish- let’s talk about feminism. Obviously. I mean, obviously we must talk about feminism, because we’re in the fourth wave, and maybe we should just all surf that wave, rather than fight against that current, lest we risk drowning.

What a fantastic surfing analogy to begin this post! I don’t consider myself a TRULY terrible writer (she writes, after writing that comparison), but this issue for me is SO important, so forgive me if I come across a bit teary-eyed, blabbery, and occasionally biased, but I just needed to get some things straight. My realest struggle is not being able to find a single argument against why one *wouldn’t* choose to be a feminist in this modern day & age, because it’s so simple and OBVIOUS, surely?

I am a feminist! I am a feminist! I am a feminist! I am a feminist! Feel free to say this doing a little dance, shout it in a nightclub at everyone who comes near you, in your Instagram bio, on t-shirts, at your little brothers and sisters, liked the Pied Piper of feminism.

There are no problems with this word, that’s the first thing we must DISPEL, my fellow insects called the human race, crawling on the planet’s face. I love language, because it holds so much power. It’s kind of like when the word friend, changes to BOYfriend. It’s a word! Haha! Lolz. Feminism is just a word. Yes, it has lots of weight, as it is so often misinterpreted and misunderstood, but if we keep saying it, over and over, it will become easier to admit that you ARE one (because, well DUH) and enable us to TALK about it more. For me, it is a magical word, because it is so empowering whilst causing lots of much-needed debate. It gets me so riled up, but feminism itself ALLOWS me to get riled up *and* write about it on the internet, on my own blog, which I am entitled to just as a man is, without the risk of being shot or imprisoned for it. Hooray! Feminism!

*aside* seeing as it’s just a word- how about we call it “gender equality” instead. Kind of like you can call your best friend, pal, chum, or matey – they all mean the same thing. The two words are interchangeably synonymous, and the definition of feminism is simply: the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. You knew that, though, of course. Not man-hating, just human-loving. Isn’t it a perfect ideal? I presume for those non-feminists, they fear how powerful this could be, and liberating for all. (yes, I’m looking at you boys.)

Emma Watson, spoke in her UN speech of how “If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive.” Guys are bound as much by gender stereotypes as we are, and perhaps the femin- part of the word feminism is what lots of men fear, as they haven’t been told that they can embrace their “feminine side”, for want of a better adjective – the things that are associated with being feminine, such as creativity, vulnerability, taking pride in appearance. Reading poetry. Liking musicals. You know.

Education is fundamental to this cause, and luckily, we live in a time with the GLORIOUS internet, and all these fantastic women writing about it (I’m looking at you – which I can only thank and applaud for teaching me all I ever truly need know)

Unfortunately, the internet can spew out some hideous monsters, which encourage lad culture, and basically piss on everything the movement is trying to do. I was on @TheMenimist Twitter site yesterday, with a face like :O – not understanding the popularity, or the comments of support, etc. I’m not going to waste my typing efforts, on it- it’s ignorant and NOT cool, not at all funny, under-researched, totally not valid in any way.

It reminds me of a time in secondary school, where one of my male friends was walking through a door- and instead of holding it open for me, purposely shut it in my face. I was all, DUDE, thanks for holding it open for me! and he replied, “I thought you were a feminist? Why should I hold the door open for you? I thought you believed in equality?”

Which made me gasp in bewilderment for how this guy had tapped into some deep intelligent thought that had never crossed my mind! Wow, what a genius! By him, shutting a door on me, leaving me out in the rain, he has pretty much achieved gender equality! Because, OBVIOUSLY, I wouldn’t do the same for him, if god forbid, he was behind me, being a man-hating feminist and all.

Anyway, The Menimist Twitter page is the same kind of smug, cocky, misogynist thing, with ACTUAL comparisons such as:

If I woman hits a man, she is seen as brave. If a man hits a woman, he is seen as an evil, brutal pervert. *RETWEET! FAVOURITE! QUOTE TWEET! Lol! So true!*

I always hate it when a man is seen as a brutal pervert, especially when him hitting a woman is justified.

This is what baffles me when girls, especially, don’t see any place for feminism in their world today. Obviously, there is a HUGE need for specific focus on feminist issues worldwide, with FGM rife and little girls being shot for wanting to go to school- but sexism is there everyday, in some shape or form, and mustn’t we try to change that? Because we genuinely want to, and feel a bit weird if we don’t at least try to do something?

Yes, we can go to university and can study what we like, so why feminism? You owe feminism for those rights. When I was sixteen, a girl proudly announced in front of the class that she wasn’t a feminist because she liked playing Xbox and watching lesbian porn. Babe, say thank you to feminism for that fact you can say that in class. Surely. Thank feminism for the fact you’re in school, surely.

Let’s stay positive about it anyway. Imagine, we could be the generation that gets paid the same as men, has equal representation in Parliament, whilst all standing up for each other, helping each other out.

I have some further reading, for those who have stayed (thanks for that.)

For your boyfriends, male friends, fathers, brothers- this liberating and often unspoken of article on a man’s role in sexism: (and you too, it’s a fantastic and refreshing read.)


For those of you who don’t think sexism is a daily thing. If not for you, it might still be- you may have just become accustomed to it. Read about other women’s stories here, however normalised or ‘petty.’

I truly believe that  everyone who wants to be an advocate for women’s rights can, anything you do, big or small- whether it’s volunteer in third world countries to help women less fortunate than us in the Western world, or just have a conversation with your mum (or dad) about feminism – all helps to bring it into conversation, and the more we say the word, the less scary it will be to say it. We will no longer have to say “I am a feminist, but…”

“I am a feminist.”

There is lots going on to be happy and hopeful about though. My brother picked me up from work yesterday and sang Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off all the way home. I like to think he is subconsciously a strident feminist, but just doesn’t know it, yet.

“A feminist is somebody who is empathetic, who listens, who can’t stand hypocrisy and who loves to see people thrive. Lots of feminists are women, lots of feminists aren’t.”

– Eleanor Catton, 29, author.

Thanks for reading!


having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card – 15/10/14

I am writing from my local library, somewhere I have come to love really too dearly since all of my friends moved away to make it big in bigger cities. Obviously, being a total nerd – quite surprising for those who would see me as a cool, hip young thing with an icy persona, I probably would live in the library – so comforting is it with it’s books, CD’s, DVD’s and internet access. And magazines! You can actually loan out MAGAZINES from the library! I will never have to spend another penny again in my life, which is comforting, as I only have about 14 of those at current.

Caitlin Moran wrote a lovely piece about how libraries are the “Cathedrals of Our Souls” – which is so lovely and true, commenting on the fact that it really is the last places on our high streets where we are still a citizen, rather than a consumer. I also didn’t realise I could use a computer here; obviously I’d seen people on them before but thought maybe that was part of a super deluxe package of being a library member. Alas, here is a free for all. Hooray for libraries!

Meanwhile, I’ve just been back at my former school to return books from THEIR library (a definite recurring theme here today) and was very kindly told since I obviously liked the edition so much (it was a lovely, tatty old version of Le Petit Prince) I could keep it and not pay a fine! Plus my old French teacher signed it for me with the message “meilleur voeux!” Best wishes!

Also, I was told if I wanted to help with the production, I’d need a police check- so am going back for my CRB check tomorrow – l o l x 10000. Is this what adulthood is?

Going to see Gone Girl tonight with Momma. Things are alright, and I think I’m okay at the moment. Began my Gap Year Diploma at Central School on Saturday and it exceeded all expectation- I am very excited to fully commence. Reading everything I possibly can about drama school, and nearly finished my application. Now comes the challenging job of finding suitable audition pieces again………

Sorry that this was such a diary post, but I haven’t had a pen for the last 2 days (only lip liner, and there are tooooo many journal entries in my notebook writing solely in lip liner- and that madness has to stop sometime.)

Write soon,

T A L x

Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight

I often find I have to listen to music in order to feel motivated to do anything. This makes me feel good, because I remember Caitlin Moran once tweeted something along the lines of ‘How much fleetwood mac am I going to have to listen to today to be able to write’, so I feel like I’m well on my way

The problem is is what do I listen to? I have this condition where I often become addicted to pressing the skip button on my ipod, like some kind of repetitive push fetish, and within 20 seconds i’m on track 184 of shuffle songs- PROPERLY INFURIATING

This is why I’ve recently got into anything other than iPods of recent- mainly to calm down my fickle mind. To sit down and properly listen to an entire album, soaking up every chord and progession, oh. Yes.

I’ve put Disintegration on. The Cure are playing at Reading/Leeds, which is a standalone reason to go- but I didnt want to pay £200 to be in a field full of people singing along to Paramore. I guess I should stop hating so bad

I think this album is pretty close to being some kind of spiritual experience, without being reggae. It’s one of those albums that has been able to provide me with all I’ve needed Cure-wise for the last three years or so. I’ve quietly dabbled in and out of this band, so I suppose that helped, but I’ve never really felt the need to have to listen to anything else by them. This is different to the Smiths- The Queen is Dead lasted about a year, I overplayed it way too much so HAD TO find some new material (Meat is Murder, THEN Strangeways and the debut consecutively. Reel Around The Fountain would be a desert island disc, if I ever found myself on a desert island and I was fortunately prepared with 10 favourite records.

Anyway Cure cure cure cure

Oh, Picture Of You has just begun. This song makes me cry. Baby cry properly cry. I’ve said properly quite a lot today, haven’t I? If you  can be bothered to count, comment back how many times I’ve said it and I’ll read your blog or whatever. As long as it can make me laugh.

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you I can almost believe that they’re real

How could anyone possibly look this good and write so beautifully?

There’s something so wrong about this band that is so wrong, which makes it very right. The lyrics are heartbreaking and the melodic background is so painful- and if you can really be bothered to listen it can feel worse than a break-up, a fucking terrible imaginary stab in the heart. Maybe its not the same for anyone else, but I guess I’m quite dramatic

sometimes you make me feel like i’m living at
the edge of the world like i’m living at the edge
of the world “it’s just the way i smile” you said
Christ, why deal with actual boys when you can fall in love with records
If I was going to get all polyvore about the situation this is what I’d wear whilst chilling/crying/sobbing to The Cure
spiderman is having me for dinner tonight
I know it wasn’t all about black, but thats definetely how I feel when I hear the music,
Finally- I’m going to leave you with this video. Be prepared to be very seduced. Stay classy GB x