Going Underground: Thoughts on life in London, one year on – 6/9/17

I’m writing this as paint slathered on my newly-assembled IKEA bed slowly gets its fumes up in my respiratory system. After what feels like an eternity of frantic Facebook messages, unread voicemails, and offers falling through, a group of very desperate (but very wonderful) girls finally found a house to move in to in Peckham. Go us!

The move marked the end of my first year in London, and it’s been quite the 12 months. Being a serial journal keeper, looking back on things year by year is something I tend to do quite habitually. I used to do this weird thing as a teenager where I’d track my progress each year – say the date was 13 August, I might take a look back at last year’s journal to see what I was up to on or around that date, and see how I fared up. For example: ‘Since 13 August 2013, I’ve kissed four more boys and got a fringe!’ So this post is kind of like that, but with more boys and no fringe.

If you overlook the fact that no matter how hard you work, you’ll never have enough money to go out (from filing copy in the 10 seconds you get Wi-Fi at Underground stops, to never getting a lie-in at weekends to get to the bottom of a to-do list), life in London is a rewarding hustle. It took a while though.

It’s strange to think just how much has changed since I moved away from home, but now, as I sit here, totally exhausted (perpetual state) and in need of a beer (more-than-occasional state), I feel quite grateful for the risk that I took.

Living in the city can be hard, but it pays off. I grew up in a village, where the nearest place you could get a pint of milk was a 10 minute drive away. Growing up in a place with fewer than 100 people in the mid-’00s was a weird one – it didn’t feel very rural, in fact – I spent most of my time inside the house trying to perfect my Tumblr profile.

Yet living in London is different to what I expected. Some thoughts on how to do it:

You are allowed to stay in bed all day sometimes and not feel guilty about it

In Hugo Macdonald’s beautifully written book How to Live in the City, he says it’s totally OK to to pencil in days to lounge around in bed all day – and to do this guilt-free. Because city life is a strain physically, mentally and emotionally, you shouldn’t torment yourself about it, either. (I suppose, in this frazzled digital world we live, the same could be said for those residing in hamlets).

There’s an idea that you should constantly be going at the same rate as the city, but try to remember all those evenings spent working overtime, or the times you had to cancel something hobby-based to do something work-related, and collect all your zzzzzzs guilt-free as you drift in and out of consciousness (unless you’re at your desk, obviously).

Don’t shy away from building small relationships with people you see every day

There are thousands and thousands of people bobbing around a city at any one time. It’s an impossible feat to attempt conversation with everyone you pass on the street, but why does it feel much easier to queue for the self-checkout machines at a supermarket rather than conjure up the effort to talk to someone? Your day-to-day existence can feel more connected when you say hi to the guy who makes your coffee, the woman struggling with her buggy on the bus, or the teenager at the corner shop where you top up your gas. This might seem so horribly self-help preachy but it’s bound to make you feel better, and it requires less effort than you’d think. Even saying hello and – the biggest small change you can incorporate into your city lifestyle – making eye contact, will help you feel more connected to those around you.

Be a tourist in your own city

Exploring parts of the city you don’t usually kick around in is so important to do when you can. There is so much to learn from being a tourist in the place you call home.

Macdonald says: “It’s shocking how many of us have not ‘seen the sights’ in our own cities. Whether it’s the palace, the parliament, the natural history museum, the observatory, the boat trips… these are dots on a map, chapters in a guidebook and stops on a tour for good reason. They represent the history and the culture of the place in which we live. They form the lens through which others see and experience our city – and the more ways we can look at our city, the more interesting it becomes.”

So get your sneaks on and get walking (selfie sticks optional).

Making the most of your commute

The dreaded commute can sometimes feel like one of the worst things about having a nine-to-five in the city (I have to admit, I feel quite blessed when I work from home and don’t have to step outside until everyone’s tucked away in offices). But, if you flip and reverse your commuting habits, it doesn’t need to feel quite so chore-like and time-consuming.

Imagine if you lived above your office, or just across the road from it. It’d be weird! Like those kids who used to live right near school and never knew the struggle of a rotting packed lunches and near-bullying banter on the bus home.

If you can find a way to enjoy certain aspects of your commute, it can become a way to prepare yourself for a day’s work, and likewise, leave it behind at the office as you ride home on your hour-long commute. I lost my headphones for a few weeks recently, and eavesdropped hard on the funniest conversations, the sort of things you read in Time Out’s hilarious feature Word On The Street. If listening to anyone spout bullshit before 9am is your idea of hell, listening to music on your commute is an obvious way to deal, and if you curate your playlist specifically to last as long as your journey (a bit smug about this one), you are DEFINITELY bossing your commute.

If I had 100 words in which to sum up what I’ve learned in 374 days here, they would be these words:

  • Be sensible with money, but try to curb in talking about it ALL THE TIME, as everyone’s broke as shit and no-one needs constantly reminding of that fact. Instead, revel in the solidarity shared with the three other people squatting next to you near the reduced section of the fridge in Tesco. (Except for when they take the last £0.87 sushi you were eyeing up.)
  • Be kind. Kindness is so underrated, and we’re in dire need of it. Thank the bus driver; don’t cancel on your friends twice in a row; hug your flatmates often.

Over and out, and ready for a nap! Zzzzzzzzzzz

This week’s rack round-up – 29/01/17

In a weird, flu-induced haze in TK Maxx a few weeks ago, I decided that what I really needed was an organiser for all the piles of magazines and papers that were accumulating on my desk, rather than what I really went in for, which was new pants. The only paper organiser I could find instore was adorned with glittery butterflies, which I was kind of into, but was subsequently won over by the above rack with its gloriously tacky-not-tacky London skyline. The less stuff that’s stored in it, the more [landmarks] you can see, which is kind of a metaphor for life. If anything, these fortnightly posts might inspire me to keep my desk tidier. The rack is there for things to be in easy reach at any given moment, so it’s an apt representation of things that I’m currently into reading/listening to/consuming in all its forms. Welcome to the first instalment of this week’s rack round-up!

1) Been reading… this (glorious) copy of The Fader!

fullsizerender-1

Oh, Fader, how I love thee – thee who I can pick up in various vintage shops for free! What a seriously gorgeous-looking magazine, though. The quality of the paper, the heaviness of it, *breathes in smugly, nose-deep in the spine of the most-perfect perfect bound publication*. I picked this up in the Covent Garden branch of Rokit – the last in the pile – and now I’m doubting whether it was actually free for the taking. Oh, well. Whoever’s copy of Fader I stole, thank you. The interview with Girlpool by Patrick D. McDermott is one of the best things I’ve read about a band in ages, clearly trying to suppress a fan-boy admiration for these two teen queens of nursery rhyme grunge. You can read the entire thing here (thanks, internet!) – it’s kinda long, but bookmark it for later. Me and my mate Chloe saw Girlpool a couple of years ago at End of the Road festival and it was the highlight of the weekend. I didn’t realise that they were the same age as the both of us at the time, which now just makes me even more heart eyes for everything they’re about. Share the love with me! Like this YouTube video! Now!

There’s also a great feature about faith and what it means to yung thingz today. Everything with the world has gone batshit crazy and I’ve often caught myself thinking about faith of late (particularly over Christmas). Here is that feature for you to read/bookmark/print off etc.

2) *Also* been reading… this book from the School of Life series about how we can exist in cities without losing our collective shit.

img_2676

I’m not going to write at length about this (yet), because as you can see, I’ve been busy furrowing through it flagging up its golden morsels of info about how one can best get on in, and with, the city. I’ve been a Londoner now for six months and I love it so much, but as with all relationships, it requires work. Anyway, I’ll write something longer about this when it’s not a Sunday and I don’t have to get to the supermarket before 4pm. City life, amirite.

3) Been listening to… this: over and over and over and over and over. 

fullsizerender-2If a film were to be made following me mooching around in my bedroom over the past three months, this would be the soundtrack. Not the soundtrack in the sense of the album’s politically-charged and so-very-important messages, but the soundtrack in the sense that it just would be on in the background. Seriously, there’s a button on my CD player where you can repeat an album over and over – I don’t know who I wrote that for, perhaps those born post-2000 – and it fills me with an enormous sense of comfort to press that button after I hit play, snug in the knowledge that it’ll be playing as I’ve been tackling monstrous to-do lists. I’ve just graduated from a really intensive fast-track diploma (in journalism! Please hire me!), and the last few months have essentially been an uber-sized task in time management. The way each song flows into the next, how the chord progressions resolve, the way he sings about God – the album was like a lullaby (and sometimes not even ‘like a’, but rather an actual one, having to play it quietly through my phone in order to sleep). Please, for the love of the world, spend your Sunday listening to it. Its themes are particularly pertinent at the moment, when one has to truly ask ‘What [the fuck]’s [really going] on? Read more about the album in this Pitchfork review, here.

Thanks for reading!

T.A.L x

Reasons why I loved Groundhog Day at the Old Vic, or, a very personalised ‘review’

I went to see Groundhog Day the Musical at the Old Vic a couple of weeks back and wrote this silly thing about it. It was originally posted on the Obviously a Hobby page, which you can find by clicking the link on the right sidebar. It allows for a lot more garish orange than WordPress does, so obviously it has my heart.


Reasons why I had to see Groundhog Day, a new musical based on the 1993 film – yes, that film, at the Old Vic in London.

1) I’ve only seen Groundhog Day (the film) once. I’m not a die-hard fan. I watched it, coincidentally, on 1 February this year, which, if you know the story is the DAY BEFORE GROUNDHOG DAY. I’m easily spooked by cult-ish films – I watched The Truman Show for the first time the week previous and am still creeped out by the story and its mass appeal – so I found the coincidence of watching G-hog Day the day before life was to be repeated over and over again as some kind of warning to get out of my room, stop watching pirated movies and learn how to play the piano or something – lest my life be stuck in a time loop forever. So that meant the film and I had a special kind of connection (I like to think, anyway) and when I heard the Old Vic were doing it as a MUSICAL, I was kinda stoked, as:

2) I love the Old Vic. I love the Old Vic because I always confuse it with the Queen Vic, the pub in Eastenders. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Waterloo, near the Old Vic, is also the first Gourmet Burger Kitchen I ever went to, with my friend Sam. We went to see Much Ado about Nothing in 2014 at the Queen Vic – I mean the Old Vic – when they had Vanessa Redgrave playing Beatrice. All I remember about it is that we didn’t see Redgrave – it was an understudy – and just how HIGH UP we were sitting in the theatre. And BEHIND A GREAT BIG FUCKING PILLAR, no less. All for £12! And they wonder why they struggle to get new audiences into theatres.

3) Obviously, Bill Murray. But like, not Bill Murray. Therefore: Intrigue.

Reasons why I fucking loved Groundhog Day, a new musical based on the 1993 film – yes, that film, at the Old Vic in London.

1) It was really, truly excellent. I smiled throughout this show. For the most part it was totally hilarious, but for the parts that weren’t quite laugh-out-louds, I was just sat there grinning like an idiot. I remember thinking about how wonderful it was to be at the theatre, genuinely enjoying myself. The actors all look like they’re having the best time doing it too. It has such a nice fizz to it; buckets of conviction.

2) Tim Minchin’s not bad at all, is he. I still really want to see Matilda – another musical he’s penned the lyrics for – and I might just after this. People in the audience were roaring with laughter (okay, people = me). The creative team have made a well-loved film into an innovative piece of theatre; it’s really smart and fresh but still tells the story in a perfectly different way.

3) It’s (probably) going to Broadway, and I’ve already seen it. Although the ticket cost me £12, and I sat behind another great fucking pillar, it’s still absolutely way cheaper than it’ll be when it moves to New York. It was supposed to be heading there in January, but organisers have postponed the date – hopefully it’ll stay in London for a little longer and transfer first to the West End. There were these student kiddos stood up behind me – they had an even shitter view than I did – and all they kept saying was: “I don’t even care about the fact we’re literally sitting with the top of our skulls touching the ceiling, this is AMAZING value for £10! We’ve got to see THIS for £10!)” It was lovely. It made me smile even more than I was already. When the woman who sat next to me found her seat at the beginning, she just looked at me and said ‘Fuck!’: That’s how high up we were – she swore. She then went on to drink four glasses of wine – two in the first act and two in the second – and turned out to be a real hoot.


If you haven’t got a tenner, or can’t get to London – or a ticket – in that case, watch the film on quality pirated streaming sites (or buy the DVD here).

If books are your thang, Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake is a great book about time-lapses, if time-lapses are also your thang.

Thoughts on a play about consciousness. Is that a paradox? Am I even here? ~ and other things mulled over this week

I went to see The Hard Problem and took notes in the dark. Lesson learnt: Don’t take notes in the dark. When the house lights come up, you will laugh at the illegible squiggles in front of you, and sigh at the subconscious jottings of things you wrote without realising, such as ‘I’m hungry.’ Anyway, I think this is a review. Enjoy!

THE HARD PROBLEM by Tom Stoppard, Director - Nicholas Hytner, Designer - Bob Crowley, Lighting - Mark Henderson, The National Theatre, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson.
THE HARD PROBLEM by Tom Stoppard, Director – Nicholas Hytner, Designer – Bob Crowley, Lighting – Mark Henderson, The National Theatre, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson.

I went to see a screening of The Hard Problem last week at my local theatre. The problem with not being rich, famous or the holder of tickets for press night is that essentially you cannot provide ‘a scoop’ for your audience, or the 13 readers of this blog. The play ends on the 27 May, and overall I did kind of enjoy it. I didn’t regret paying for a ticket (being an ‘ex’-usher, I’d become accustomed to free theatre), but maybe that’s just because I couldn’t overspend at the interval (of which there was not one.)

I’ve seen a few screenings over the last few years and am into the idea of them. I read an interesting article in the Sunday Times’ Culture magazine this weekend by Bryan Appleyard about the lack of fair distribution of the arts around the country, as opposed to JUST LONDON. It seems, although we already know this, cause like, DUH, London receives just SACKFULS of more funding for arts/culture stuff than anywhere else – and last week’s result of an all-blue government makes me feel, a bit, well, depressed about this. It isn’t all ‘their’ fault, and Bryan even states that it was in fact under New Labour that the arts began to ‘fail’. He adds, however, that the Coalition followed with an “utter indifference.”

He goes on to say the regional arts divide is ‘intolerable’: “Residents of County Durham have paid £34m into the arts lottery since 1995, and received £12m in arts funding in return. The City of Westminster has contributed £14.5m and received £408m.” *jaw drops to ground.*

Anyway, screenings are IMPORTANT, comrades. (Interestingly, though – I managed to see Behind the Beautiful Forevers a couple of weeks ago AT the National itself for a fiver, but paid £15 to see a screening of this. So there’s that. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.)

My only beef with screenings is that we don’t really get to see it how it’s seen. It makes me think of the BBC Four ‘Go Slow’ season: (the two hour canal boat ride, a tour around the National Gallery) uninterrupted television.

With The Hard Problem, however, I found myself getting annoyed at the (otherwise skilful) camerawork. Yes, it was skilful, with great angles and high-quality shots. But for Christ’s sake, let me see! At every transition, the camera panned up to the top of the stage, so we couldn’t see the set changes. I just had total screening FOMO. I wanted to see stagehands all in black, shuffling around in darkness! Isn’t that the joie du théâtre, darling?

I spent most of the show drawing varying sizes of question marks on my notepad. Now, I know it is wrong in the ‘art of reviewing’ to strongly put forward your own opinion of something without considering different perspectives.

I was – as a reviewer – ‘supposed’ to be commenting on the position of the play within the industry, what it ‘meant’ as Stoppard’s first play at the National since 2002, Nicholas Hytner’s last work in his Artistic Directorship. But it was Olivia Vinall’s portrayal of Hilary that didn’t sit with me right.

I have to admit – that’s why I went to watch. She played Cordelia in King Lear alongside Anna Nicole Smith last year, and I wanted to see her in something totally different. (She has also played Ophelia/Juliet – the National’s babe du jour.)

She was shouty. At first I gave her the benefit of the doubt, after all, I was watching a screening and perhaps it was a problem with microphones, or her ‘projection’ wasn’t working well on camera.

But then none of the other actors had that problem and, fair enough, she had TONNES of words to say. Ophelia doesn’t say much. Cordelia buggers off very quickly. And – I know nowt about brain science, or neurology – but it just seemed like she was reeling off the words at times, just going through the motions. And shouty kinds of reeling off. Sorry, Olivia. I tuned out.

However, there were things in the play that just worked, so well, and made for most delightful watching. Much of this was down to Hytner’s directorial choices, with a particular highlight when Spike, played by Damien Molony, gave in to Hilary’s pleas and kneeled down to pray…at the light of the minibar. It was a small and simple motion but one that’s stuck with me all day. Signs of class in a renowned director who the National Theatre has recently waved goodbye to.

The set design was another highlight, and although I wouldn’t usually notice things like this, my best mate studies it at *drama school* so I like to take note and report back to him. It was very sleek and functional, not too much or too little. The lighting fixture at the top of the screen effectively represented neurons in the brain, and ‘sparked up’ at every transition, of which there were five or six. It was used to great effect too to create fireworks on Bonfire Night – a significant night for the main characters for reasons I simply CANNOT disclose for spoiler alert reasons, but yes, it was a moment where the penny dropped for me with some simple nifty lighting. A suggestion of a idea where everything clicks into place.

Interestingly, in the pre-show talk that is broadcast as part of the NT Live series, some playwright (of who I embarassingly didn’t take the name of) said you’ll spend the first third of the play wondering what the hell’s going on, the second third figuring it out, and the last third feeling moved by what you’ve seen. It did feel like that – very much so, and I’d be interested to read/see more of his plays to see if this formula rings true. (I may have misquoted the above, I was rummaging through my bag for sweets. No interval, oh, the horror.)

I’d give it three stars, but then again – was I ever even there, if I wasn’t really there? Oh, god, my head hurts.

Signing off, not in London,

T.A.L x

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.

download

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

02/02/2015- I can’t think of a title. Don’t make me do it

(I’ve been listening to a lot of wordy podcasts/Desert Island Discs this evening so instead of improvising, so to speak, I’ve typed up one of my journals entries from earlier in the month where I walked around a bit and had thoughts about life stuff.) So eloquent, Tara! So verbose!

Greenland tots|National Geographic | December 1973
Greenland tots|National Geographic | December 1973

2nd Feb 2015-

It is odd coming to a city you don’t reside in so so frequently just to walk around desperately trying not to use your Oyster card.

Eventually, the novelty of aimlessly wandering around the streets of the capital wears off (usually, prematurely – you’re only in Euston) so you end up getting on a bus to anywhere, lest the unfortunate situation of having to realise you’ve been walking for 8 miles heading into a north-west suburb because you were following someone in a leopard print coat. (Happened.)

There is a weird joy I get from padding around the pavements of London, having no idea of where I am or why I’m bothering. I consider it a kind of weird, me-time. Some people treat themselves to a manicure, I spent £20 on a slow commute up to London just for something to do. (I also frequently get my nails done. I’m worth it. I am so poor.)

It’s quite a rare thing to be walking somewhere with no real intention or purpose, able to walk that bit faster as you’re not using breath to talk or laugh with someone. My only rule is no iPods. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to soundtrack your days pretending you’re in a film of your own sad, twee life (hopefully directed by Hal Ashby), but you seriously miss out on the most GOLDEN conversations if walking with earplugs.

Example A: (heard when walking through a strangely serene Southwark yesterday evening)

Girl to 2 other friends:

(very persuasive, trying to make a point) “I mean, yes, it’s unconventional- I suppose. (Mimics a posh accent)- So… how did you meet your boyfriend? – Well, he sent me a dick pic and we just took it from there, really!” (Cue friends in hysterics.)

I don’t feel lonely as much I think I ought to during these solo visits- which is either a really good thing to be able to do or really introverted and weird, depending on how you look at these things.

Enough about me, anyway. I’m sitting in an empty Pret-style health food place, the emptiness odd due to it’s super central location, (hey, guys, it’s not a Starbucks but they still serve coffee! And pay tax!)  Whatever, it had available plug sockets.

There is a man stocking up the fridges on his own, whistling to every song on this Samba Mix CD (remember- no iPods, comrades.) Oh! to be him! I wish I knew these songs so I could whistle along with him. Maybe, I’ll sit here for seven hours (I have a bit of time to spare), nonchalantly staring at the crease of this book- pretending to read, learning all the melodies and trills totally unbeknown to him.

He’s probably thinking about his girlfriend, or if he’s single, his brother’s girlfriend- and will presume I’m just some hipster reading a book. But alas! How wrong he shall be! I will come back tomorrow, stare him in the eye, sitting at exactly the same table, whistling every song back to him.

Maybe I’ll record some of it now on my phone to get some extra practice in on the ride home.

Things and more things – “It’s October 3rd”

Mini Paradise from Above my Desk with a Photo- Emma Dajska
Mini Paradise from Above my Desk with a Photo- Emma Dajska

I must make this post as short/or as a fast- as I can, as it is one of those beautiful, early-day in October sort of days where the sunshine is lazy and you can wear a jumper and drink tea whilst soaking up the warmth.

I’ve been offered a place on the Gap Year Diploma at the Central School of Speech and Drama! How grand. I may have wrote that in my last post. I literally have no idea what I post on here, no real recollection, and people say like “Oh yeah! I read that on your blog!” and I cringe deeply, in horror and regret ever saying words, ever.

The course should hopefully be very helpful for my application to drama schools again this year (if I EVER get round to it) – and really, REALLY hopefully be a good investment and starting point for me as a serious, professional actor-er in the long run. I plan to write about my drama school audition experience this year on here, as I’ve read a few and they can be very reassuring and helpful.
I feel very positive about me as a creative person right now, with the promise of this and new writing opportunities – and I can only thank certain people (particularly him) brimming with endless-optimism, general romanticism for life and genuine belief in me for that. I am very lucky, and grateful for First Aid Kit and their latest release for instilling literally ALL hope and resilience that us young lay-deez can essentially do anything, if we’re Swedish and have a sister.

(OH YES, we saw First Aid Kit last Wednesday- very very quickly, it was breathtaking – and I cried for the VERY beginning to the end, and then some, and spent a LOT of money on Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. A LOT.)

I am enjoying gap year life a lot more than I thought I would. Yes, I have to write nightly to-do lists just to ensure I get out of bed in the morning, but I am reading a LOT, (finally getting through the reading list that catastrophically built up in my stressful last year at school) – I can eat lunch, or brunch, or both, and then have a pre-dinner before dinner (bliss)- I can go for a run at 2pm, or 11pm, watch films, watch make-up tutorials on YouTube, read plays, scrapbook for HOURS, it really is a utopian lifestyle for me, the born-again, totally-devout procrastinator.

I have so much more to say but I’ll save it for my long-suffering journal pages. My mum thinks I’m getting too skinny, so keeps ‘treating’ me by leaving chocolate in the fridge to (her words, not mine) ‘fatten me up.’

I have to go now, there is a KitKat Chunky put in the fridge before I started writing- which should be perfectly chilled by the time I click Publish.

Enjoy the sunshine, mamasitas.

All my love, TAL. X