Inbetween Days – 20/1/2015

John Baldesarri- I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971. This piece really struck with me because...SIMPSONS.
John Baldesarri- I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971.
This piece really struck with me because…SIMPSONS.

So, there I was, minding my own business, having a nothing sorta day when suddenly The Inbetweeners came on television, and something really touched me about the fragile nature of the human condition and the delicate relationships withi…. EDIT: Just kidding! I wouldn’t do that to you.

I feel as if I’m in a bit of an inbetween currently- but I don’t mind too much. At least not too much of the time anyway. I’d consider myself a generally outgoing, sociable creature, but I sometimes feel best at home, on my own in my room, drawing on my knees with felt tip or reading the same books I read when I was 13. I had a bit of a freak out last week when I realised the life I am currently leading is essentially that of a day off sick from school, but EVERY DAY, which is, like, so dreamy, but also: YOU CANNOT JUSTIFY TOAST AS A PART OF EVERY MEAL.

Something I have observed though, having given my brain a chance to cool down over the past couple of days, is that some of us don’t feel like we’re accomplishing anything unless we’re totally burning out. There is a sort of satisfication in total exhaustion, like *Oh, my little body is aweary of this great world, how will it survive if I ever take a day off from perfectionism and do a Ferris Bueller?* Take some time, if you need some time! The world will keep spinning, babe. Anxiety is so not the new black, and when hitting a bad spell of it, e v e r y fucking thing can feel like such a life changing decision.

I know I’ve hit a bad place when my mind is whirring through every bad-case scenario ever, all of the consequences of every decision I’ve made, and then, oh, I’m at the front of the queue and I begin to speak but don’t recognise my own voice, so speaking sounds (or as a medical professional might say: FORMING WORDS) becomes really difficult for me- and so commences the bouts of low self-esteem. For someone who has a shitload to say all the time, my stammer (which is infrequent but has persistently been part of my life since I was young) can feel quite devastating at times. In high-pressure scenarios especially (interviews, auditions) if I feel like a separate entity from my body due to a bad week, a lot of self-inflicted doubt, or a particularly condescending individual, finding my voice can be difficult. More often than not I struggle the most when tired or stressed, and then comes the frantic search for a synonym with a different consonant, but never quite being able to say the word you mean, thus sounding so-not-verbose, or whatever the opposite of verbose is (See, synonyms just ain’t my forté)

Anyway, that week has blown over now, and I am feeling much more like myself. I know I am in a much better place because I am out of bed by 8am, have applied for two jobs today and am writing this blog post. Interestingly, furthermore to what I’ve already said about ‘feeling 13 again’ *sigh*- it has not come totally without advantages. There is a fear of returning to the habits of our former selves, especially when we’re constantly striving for self-improvement. However, as long as I don’t return to any negative, self-inflicting natures of my younger years, surely it can only be a good thing to regain some of the aspirational ambition I had 5 years ago?

For example, I used to write a lot more when I was that age, but now I just…er..don’t…have the time? (I have a lot of time.) I mean, yes, I don’t have like, SEVEN unrequited crushes to write lengthy essays on – (these days, I tend to just draw huge, wobbly smiley faces on every page as a reference to my current beau) but I miss that feeling of just creating stuff as a form of release. I filled a scrapbook from the ages of about 12-16, it took me FOUR YEARS but I still filled it right to the end.

Some things are nice without deadlines. The immense sense of accomplishment once finished took me by total surprise, because I had no pre-conceived ideas of what it should look like, I just did it for fun.
Perhaps the best thing about this year ‘off’ has been the ability to have 24 hours totally to myself to read what I want, write what I want, listen to what I want. Truly things that I want to do right at that moment, not on a syllabus, not syllabus-related, not something that might make me look good on my personal statement. Sixth form totally starved me of enjoying learning, although I tried to at the time- but I felt really empty of positivity.

They say old habits die hard, I was (maybe still am) in a harmful cycle of perfectionism, comparison, pessimism. Feeling sorry for yourself is the easy way out of most situations, but self-pity can be so corrosive. This pattern can become so commonplace, but even changing your routine in tiny ways can slowly change your perception, which is a form of self-improvement that is more patient and more rewarding.

Repeating positive affirmations when you wake up could make all the difference, i.e “Take what you need from today”, or “You are totally shit hot, talented, and one of a kind and you must not settle for anything but the best” – whatever, each to their own.

This post totally didn’t turn out as I’d planned, but now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say anyway. I didn’t even realise I wasn’t talking about whatever I’d wanted to say for the last 40 minutes, so maybe the above is more authentic. Whatever. Who even cares? I’m gonna get a beer.

All my love,

T.A.L x

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”- Audrey Hepburn

“Can I write a piece about you now that you’ve made it?” – A review of Belle & Sebastian’s new record!

(Caitlin Moran said something once about if you want to be a writer, you must learn how to be a writer on a treadmill, lest you will die from eating biscuits. I feel the same applies to a gap year.)

A still from the band's new video, Nobody's Empire.
A still from the band’s new video, Nobody’s Empire.

Hi hello hi! I haven’t written for around 2 months, but I’m back today for a specific reason- we have had the new Belle & Sebastian album unleashed to us, and I couldn’t help but take a listen, in the same way that I can’t help but eat another biscuit. It’s called Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, which we so do, and it’s released on Matador next week. I feel guilty, and ashamed as J pre-ordered the LP for me for Christmas, but I still couldn’t help but take a listen. In a way that a New Year often promises a feeling of fresh starts and beginnings, it seldom does compared to the excitement behind a new album, especially when it’s their ninth studio album, and the previous 8 have been highly regarded as ‘my jam.’

I saw them play in Paris, Halloween 2014, where they played some of the new material- much to the approval of myself and Ella, and these 2 or 3 European guys who we befriended for the night, quietly discussing beforehand which was our favourite B-side as we sat on the ground in our cardigans so we were near the front (we weren’t in cardigans but let’s just create the twee dream.)

The album opens with Nobody’s Empire, and although not initially loving it, I now really really rate it, especially as an opening track. I think I wasn’t listening to it at all at first, I was just playing it as background music, tossing my hair back like ‘Zzuuh, nothing will ever beat The Model, or whatever.’ But then I played it, thought about it, listening to the lyrics along with the lovely Marx-and-Engels-y piano, and decided I was into it, really hard. Essentially, an autobiographical song about the frontman of your favourite band, is the best thing ever in a fangirl sense. The song talks about Stuart’s struggle with ME, dealing with a chronic illness, lying in bed feeling all useless,

“I was like a child, I was light as straw
When my father lifted me up there
Took me to a place where they checked my body
My soul was floating in thin air”

Very cool. A great opening choice, it reminds me of Thunder Road, the notorious opener of Born to Run by Springsteen, with it’s storytelling-y, piano-y beginning, into a big sounding, life affirming sound as the song builds and builds. Also he sings, “If I had a camera I’d snap you now, cause there’s beauty in every stumble”, which makes me swoon- BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS STUMBLING, METAPHORICALLY AND PHYSICALLY.

Track 2 is called Allie, supposedly the female perspective in which Stuart writes from for this album. I can’t possibly comment on this track as it opens with Stevie, ‘ba-da-da’ing, which is too much for a fangirl. You’re just like, OMG! It’s Stevie! And he’s ba-da-ing!

Anyway. What I can disclose about this song, what I like about it, is the same old, trusted B&S formula- which is all like, ‘Angry girl gets angry about things and we sing about it with pretty 60’s melodies and instruments.’ It just works, “You made a list of all your heroes & you thought about what they went through/ It’s much harder, much darker than anything that happened to you.” I can relate to that, I’m ashamed to admit. That frustration of being a teenager and wanting anything ANYTHING to happen to you, no matter what, it’s just something that will trigger you to move out, or write a song, or get a haircut. Kind of wanting to pursue the *ahem* struggle of something to get a story, if anything, out of it- but then in reality just sitting around in your pants eating Wotsits watching Netflix. Adolescence.

Next up, The Party Line! This is the first single released from the record, so if you haven’t heard it already, you probably already have in H&M or something. (I’m not denouncing them as sell-outs, I did actually hear this in H&M, and internally squealed, bopping my head in a nervous, twitchy sort of way for 3 minutes, probably looking like I’d shoplifted something.) I totally hated this song when I first heard it, and mourned the loss of my band- before the curse of the fangirl hit and I was like- HEY!! GUYS!! CALM IT! IT’S JUST A DIFFERENT DIRECTION!’ I thought it was too repetitive and tinny-sounding, and nothing *sigh* like Judy and the Dream of Horse *sigh*, but then I got over it, and now it’s my alarm. It dances me out of bed, every day. Favourite line goes to: “Where were you when I was king in this part of town?” I love the idea of fallen popularity, the more local the better; being ‘famous’ within the teenage population of your hometown. Just for wearing a cool leather jacket, shaving your head, etc.

The Power of Three is lovely, and Sarah is singing. The Cat With the Cream has some lovely, beautiful melodies with some sacred sounding strings. Enter Sylvia Plath is a total mess, and sounds like the Pet Shop Boys, but hey, I’ll probably love it by next week. The Everlasting Muse is a fantastic load of fun, with a Greek sounding chorus, a sound favoured by me and my friends, who happily danced to Zorba the Greek and Dominick the Donkey, on repeat for a long time on New Year’s Eve. Before I get quoted on that, it doesn’t sound remotely like Zorba the Greek, but hey, I am not equipped to write serious, proper album reviews. It just reminded me of NYE. This is a first listen, OK, guys.

Perfect Couples has the perfect (lol) Sympathy for the Devil sounding introduction, before it explodes into BASICALLY THE BEST PARTY SONG OF 2015. Maybe not a party party song, but the song to play as you set out the cheese before the party. It could so be in a musical. Oh, a Belle & Sebastian musical. They played this in Paris to a background montage of a very stylish, very choreographed scene of a living room party. It was all just très cool, bèbè.

The next song, Ever Had a Little Faith?, was so perfect for today, and is good, old fashioned B&S, with lyrics so perfect for rainy bus journeys, “Something good will happen, wait and see/ Do you spend your days second guessing fate?” & “Drop your sad pretence/ You’ll be doing fine, you will flourish like a rose in June.”

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Aural proof new albums provide more hope than a new year ever could. (The last 3 tracks also exist for you to stream, along with all the above tracks I’ve spoken about, but I have a to-do list the length of my leg. Also, with my ideal album at 35 minutes, the running time of just over an hour is too much for my ears and their poor stamina)

Stream it here:

In other news, I’m glad Christmas is over, spent 4 nights  in 2 different hotels in the past 7 days, was in Dublin last week, am in London twice this week and in Cambridge at the weekend to see First Aid Kit, again. Things could be worse.

Thanks for staying with me, if you did (which if you’re reading this- you did! So like, uh, thanks!)

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 rookiemag.com – 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.)

http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/06/the-boys-guide-to-not-being-a-jerk/

Also:

http://everydaysexism.com/

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!

TAL x

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

“I have a lot to learn & I’m starting tonight”

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I am feeling pretty excellent today, not in a really loud and shouty way (actually, I am always doing things in a particularly loud and shouty way) – yet I mean I was able to come home this afternoon and sit in a very cool room in my underwear and listen to the whole of First Aid Kit’s ‘The Lion’s Roar’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘Ram’ and not feel frustrated or hungry or crave a cigarette etc, instead just listening to the layers of instruments and thinking, ‘Yes. This is not bad at all.’  (BTW: My dad listened to The Lion’s Roar last night from start to finish and claimed it was the best album he’d heard in 10 years, apart from Fleet Foxes, well, duh.)

It was around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and after ringing a couple of friends I padded about the house for a few minutes, thought to myself ‘Jean Paul-Sartre once said, Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do-‘ and progressed to sit about just as Sartre would want. It reminds me of the time I auditioned for Drama Centre & the little old man asked me what I knew about existential writers (with a smug little smile) and I just said that quote, and smiled. I can’t remember if my audition slot was around 3pm, but my, what a line if it was. I wonder sometimes how I didn’t get a place.

I’ve just got back from a walk with my mother, which is very rare. We only walked the public footpaths around where we live but she still claims she’s never walked it before. When I said, ‘Seriously! I always walk round here.’ – or pointed to a riverbank where I once sat and read Beth Ditto’s autobiography in a whole afternoon (true story), she simply said ‘No you didn’t. Don’t lie’ and carried on walking, complaining of her hay fever and suffering her bad case of hypochondria. I love her very much but I think sometimes it is hard for us to be open with each other. It must be hard to see me growing up as I’m her youngest, and I think my incessant chatter about travelling and my gap year and continuous weekends stumbling home drunk (usually at 7am) is making her miss her youth a little. Still, she rocks and is my rock etc etc.

Meanwhile, I am luckily back into writing in the most frequent way for months; aiming to write for at least half an hour a day- with many of those half an hours spent scribbling, ‘HmMMM??!! What shall I write today??!?’ and then BAM!! Half an hour is up and I am a writer.

Also: reading:

‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ by Hunter S. Thompson, something discovered on the endlessly delightful Brain Pickingsimage (1)

 

 

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Most delightful dedication ever written. Bob Geiger, I love your work (for reasons that need not to be explained here.)

 

 

 

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Greatest chapter titles.

 

 

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& Ralph Steadman’s iconic illustrations (which are sooo tattoo worthy.)

Listening to lots of things, also:

 

 

 

Finally, photo (1)

 

I promise I am done now. Thank you for reading, and for your patience.

X

 

“She’s the colour of a magazine”

– something I wrote about Suede, and glam rock, to help aid and justify a delicate day after the night before. Also, I’ve been meaning to write something on here for the past few days as I realise some of my friends are now looking at this! Hey! How you doing!

I am so surprised I am even able to write this right now. It is half past 4 and all I’ve done since returning home this afternoon is sit very still, occasionally scribbling something down in my notebook, such as ‘I am going to have a cup of tea and then I will read Othello.’ Turns out Othello is pretty long and written in a form of jibberish. Writing down these little affirmations in the hope that I will be inspired to start getting on the productivity thing- whereas in fact I feel much better about myself today lying on my bed, half asleep, half-chewing my gum from last night, coming in and out of naps.

The other day at the gym I was absolutely sweating and beaming out all the endorphins imaginable, and I had a really clear thought where I went, ‘Suede!’ I’ve never written anything about Suede, (except tiny pleas/love letters and explicit drawings of Brett Anderson) so I thought it was good if I could explore them through my writing in order to discover the undiscoverable and unexplainable magic of the whole thing, man. (I am still feeling pretty baked.)

Aside: (I was listening to Suede earlier to rekindle the old obsession, but as I write this I am listening to none other than 3 Feet High and Rising, the best album ever recorded. This had to be mentioned.)

So, let’s begin with Exhibit A.

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Beautiful, androgynous Brett. I saw Suede last winter in Nottingham with my dad and he still has that compelling, captivating stage presence that just makes you hooked on his movements and the lyrics he’s singing, (Brett Anderson, not my dad.)

I searched his Wikipedia page in order to unravel the mystery a little for the sake of the blawg, and the anonymous and undderated writers of Wikipedia summed him up, perfectly: “[He] combines Morrissey’s homoerotic posturing with David Bowie’s glam theatrics”

I love the band because when listening to them, feeling a bit regretful and lousy, they manage to translate every bad decision I’ve made into something beautiful and otherwordly,  + *spoiler alert*AND THAT IS THE BEST THING WITH GLAM ROCK!!!*

Bowie, Bolan – it’s all about glitter, glitter in excess, excess, theatricality, making mistakes but turning those bad feelings into something else. It’s about saying, I’m gonna put on a show for you guys because life can be humdrum and monochrome at the best of times so we may as well make a big deal of it. Then, all of a sudden: pastel colours look simply washed out- what you thought were neutrals ‘beiges, creams, whites’ are replaced with the real essentials: ‘leopard print, sparkly silver, red, shiny black’ – and bam! You are in a good place, amongst friends.

Digressing (as per), but for me, the way DB wrote Starman ‘which had shaken everyone with its somewhere-over-the-rainbow chorus…’ – as Morrissey puts it in his Autobioraphy as well as ‘he is a Wildean visionary about to remould England’ – which always makes me smile as it’s lovely to see how musical influences all link together. (really digressing now)

I suppose Morrissey is not totally regarded as a glam-rock icon, but he was intrigued with the ambigious sexuality of the movement with Bowie, T.rex and particualrly the New York Dolls for instance. He also adored the gender-less nature of Patti Smith, and writes of her chef d’oeuvre, Horses, ‘[it] told me that, however heavy-hearted and impossible you might feel about yourself, you can still bestow love through recorded song.’…The fact that you don’t look like a pop star in waiting should not dishearten you because your oddness could be the deciding wind of change for others.’

The first Suede album I came across was ‘Coming Up- my dad handed me the CD and said, “listen to Track 9”, and I did- for a very long time over & over and it has actually inspired a lot of my little writing pieces over the last few years.

“Oh, we are young and not tired of it, we are young and easily led , oh – with all the kids getting out of their heads.”

I am growing sleepier (you don’t even know how long its taken me to write this post – today has been very delayed and mellow) – so I will leave you with a few more songs to hear, if you can handle the barrage on all of the senses.

“Shaved heads, raveheads, on the pill, got too much time to kill.”

“What does it take to turn you on now he has gone?”

“Sunshine will blow your mind, and the wind blow your brain.”

So good, so good.

Oh, so good.

Things what I gone and learned, aged 17

I turn 18 on Friday, and the other night I was gripped by an insatiable need to write (which is so so rare)- where I was lying in bed and then had to get up in order to note some stuff down.

17 is so romanticised, and I’ve tried to emphasise that even further- which goes to say that I’ve had a pretty intense year if anything. I remember watching a video with Mike from Friends, or Paul Rudd as people now know him (after the Clueless revival) where he says your teenager years are irreplaceable because you will feel the happiest you’ve ever felt, the saddest you’ve ever felt, you’ll laugh the most, and cry the most etc, but everything is so blown up and gives a lot of potential for learning, or getting creative, or just thinking about things and sussing them out for yourself.

I remember a few years ago, when I was about 14, I was really concerned that I was too ‘aware’ of being a teenager. It sounds really, really awful and shallow- but I genuinely feared that I didn’t feel like my peers because I couldn’t relate to things that were happening around me at the time (TBH, 2010 was a time when people did those ‘Rate me’ status’, etc) & I really didn’t get it, I just felt really aware that I was trapped in that horrible mid-teen existence, and I was just waiting patiently for it to be over.

My early teen years were ragingly ragingly angsty, in ways you wouldn’t believe, I once wrote a love letter to a crush in red watercolour and then ripped up the paper and ate it!! I was very passionate!! (and still am, but hopefully channel it a little better.)

Early adolescence is awful because you want to change your life so quickly and frequently, & nothing seems right (i.e SHALL I BE THE GIRL THAT WEARS A SINGULAR CLIP IN HER HAIR EVERY DAY? WAIT, NO, DOES THAT MEAN PEOPLE WILL PUT ME IN A BOX???) – but on the other hand you don’t want to change too obviously, so that your auntie will look at you and immediately say OHMYGOD YOU’VE GROWN UP SO MUCH! HAVE YOU STARTED YOUR PERIOD YET?! in front of your mortified dad.

Ways in which you can change your life when you’re 14:

  • Delete your Facebook for a few weeks- people will think you’re really wild.
  • Get a block fringe, write poetry about your newly-found identity, regret block fringe, write poetry about confused identity in relation to new appearance and lack of forehead.

Anyway, as I was saying. I used to try and reject the idea of change too much, because I didn’t want to control my life at a time when all I craved was adventure. I’d listen to an album, and beg for the belief that it’d be playing in my stereo forever, but deep down I’d know that nothing lasts that long and was desperately trying to cling onto these things, which were actually preventing me from trying new stuff. It got pretty cynical, “Oh, all of this stuff won’t be the same next week *mood swings mood swings* what’s the point of trying with anything if it’s likely to be gone when you begin to obsess over the next phase?”

I used to say no to quite a lot, ‘No, I wouldn’t normally do that.’ ‘No, people would think that out of character.’

SPOILER: You know when you were scared of working that singular clip in your hair, lest people put you in a box? Sister, that’s what saying no does too! Saying no puts you in a box. Putting a cool clip in your hair puts you in the coolest gang in the school, and that is what I learnt as a 17 year old. The End.

LOL! Just kidding.

(Please stay with me.) So, for ages, I was pretty bummed out being me-  I had a lot of opinions, all pretty negative, I got exhausted by this, my friends dragged me out of the hole, but I was pretty stressed out for a while because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (and unfortunately at that time I had no idea how insignificant and unimportant that decision was, and I wish someone at school had told me that, rather than give me a Work to Action list.) Of course, having an idea of what you want to do is really great for some people, but right now I’m happy to not know. Yes. Full stop.

When you get really stressed, heartbroken, rejected, exhausted, burnt-out- it tends to take it’s toll, and that’s when I realised I couldn’t add to the problem myself by using the little energy I had in a negative way.

I began to say ‘Yes’ to things I wouldn’t have done before, which is a great way to find out who you really are, cause you get to have it all, and keep some of it. It’s like saying you only like chocolate cake, and never eating anything else for 17 whole years, but then one day someone suggests you try a carrot, and you do, and your body is like ‘Wow. I really need more of that because Vitamin A is delicious’. Kinda.

So, yes- I’ve come to understand the importance of mindfulness and being present- but certainly the hard way- as 17th year is ALL ABOUT the future, (or that is what they’ll try to tell you.), whereas, in fact it’s about the weekends! DUH!

SPOILER: Sometimes during weekends you can get a bit Yes- happy, and people around you will keep asking you if you’re okay, because they care about you, & even if they can’t understand why you’re doing things you wouldn’t normally, well that’s fine, too. They just love you and want to know you’re doing good.

It’s a total cliche, but you have to really hit bottom for a little while in order to realise that change is ever-evolving and essential to life, and all things must pass, all the bad (YAY) and all the good (boo!) When I was thinking about this stuff the other night, I was reminded about the Buddhist tradition of the sand mandala’s, where they create and destroy sand mandalas as part of a ritual, to represent the transitory nature of life. – Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_mandala

Ephemeral is a great word,  literally meaning ‘lasting a very short time’ – and sometimes I just say it to remind myself that if you’re feeling shitty, you won’t soon, and if you’re feeling good, you won’t soon- so make the most of it. 17 isn’t forever, but that’s OK. Happy birthday me.