Category Archives: Fun

Songs for a New World

The future is global, regardless of the whims of the BNP or Donald Trump, or Katie Hopkins (a woman who should genuinely be shot into outer space and left to shrivel up alone). And so, to celebrate this fact, I’ve decided to compile a list of songs I love in languages other than English.

This post may also be fueled by Boyfriend’s obsession with the first track.

Despacito – Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee
This is everyone’s favourite tune at the minute, and I have to say, it’s pretty catchy. Particularly without unnecessary Justin Bieber.

Aicha – Khaled Sahra
My mum used to listen to this when I was younger, and get me to translate the lyrics for her. I have no idea how I did.

Ai Se Eu Te Pego – Michel Teló
Catchy AF (here AF standing for “and forgettable” because I can never remember the name of it and then end up just searching for vowel sounds until I hit the right few)

Adiemus – Karl Jenkins
I’m not sure if this counts, because it isn’t actually in a language – it’s been designed to just sound calming but structured.

Ya Banat – Nancy Ajram
This was played to us in one of my Uni classes, and I don’t know how you can’t love this song, even if just for the video.

Que me quedes tu – Shakira
She had to make an entry on the list somewhere, right? Because she’s the queen of my entire life.

Bonustrack – La Oreja de Van Gogh
Spanish language songs were always likely to dominate this list, because I am biased towards my own language base, and there is something about this song which has always just made me smile.

Major Tom – Peter Schilling
I am historically not a fan of German, because it has too many genders and cases, and LOTS of syllables. But Deutschland 83 and its amazing soundtrack definitely won me over.

Volare – Domenico Modugno
It would be wrong not to recognise Eurovision as the home of all the best music, and Volare just feels like the right choice for peak Eurovision.

Spies and Superheroes

The ultimate question, above all other questions, is:- would it be better to be a spy, or a superhero?

I guess technically you can be both, if you’re James Bond, or Black Widow, but realistically (she says) you’re likely to be one or the other. And by likely, I mean not at all likely, but run with it for a second/the length of this blog post. I’m a daydreamer, and what better daydream is there than being in the middle of an adventure? The question is, is it cooler to be a spy, or a superhero? There are so many factors at play.

Pros of being a superhero

  • Superpals
  • Great outfit
  • Blend into crowds easily by taking off your glasses/hat/just stop being on fire

Pros of being a spy

  • Gadgets
  • Awesome fight scenes
  • Also blending into crowds because that’s literally your job

The cons of being a superhero are primarily that you will definitely have a VERY exploitable weakness, and you’ll probably have a super-sad backstory (everything about being a superhero is also ‘super’ by default and that’s SUPER-annoying). You’ll also have an arch-enemy, but at least you’ll know 100% that you’re the good guy.

Spies can be both the good guys and the bad guys, so if you’re a spy you’ll never be totally sure you’re on the right side. However, that does mean you might as well just go about your immoral and debaucherous lifestyle without worrying whether what you’re doing is ‘right’.

Other considerations – if you’re a superhero, you might die a very painful death, only to be resurrected any number of times, probably with no memories. Or altered memories. Or altered powers. But if you’re a spy and you manage to not be the protagonist, it’s lights out for you pretty quickly, and probably quite horrifically. If you’re a superhero, you’ll probably never find true love. If you’re a spy, you won’t either but you probably won’t care.

I think personally, I’d choose to be a spy. Superheroes are awesome, but I just don’t think I could handle the press.

Thoughts?

Tweet tweet

Just a reminder that you can still register to vote (REASONS)

It’s a real skill to express yourself well in tweet form. Or in any form, really, but particularly on twitter. Since my blogging trend of late seems to be lists-of-things, I thought it only made sense to do a list of the best people to follow on twitter.

I might get back to real (real) content soon. Who knows?

  1. @GeekandSundry
    Because really, just stop pretending you’re not a massive nerd.
  2. @TomDyckhoff
    For architecture and general interesting thoughts
  3. @Lin_Manuel
    Writer of exceptional musicals and exceptional tweets (he will make you feel great about yourself)
  4. @CuteEmergency
    TINY ANIMALS
  5. @KLONE2061
    Because I love graffiti really,  and so should you
  6. @MaraWilson
    As in Matilda but now she’s just a really interesting grown-up
  7. @TheBloggess
    Yes, she’s in every list, and do you know why? Because you should spend your life aspiring to be her, like I do.
  8. @qikipedia
    For learning things about stuff. You don’t need to know any of it.
  9. @AndrewNadeau0
    Funny.
  10. @valstones
    Hands down just the best person on Twitter.

You’re welcome

My Talented Friends

Know that feeling, where you hang around with talented people and it’s totally inspirational and then you buy a sketchbook on sale at Paperchase because money shouldn’t be a barrier to talent?

Anyway, I have a bunch of talented friends, and I’m constantly awed and inspired by the amazing things they do, so I thought I’d do a bit of a compilation listing of some of those people.

Firstly, the wonderful and talented people who run Northern Opera Group. This company is currently run on love and spare time, and they are still managing to turn out some of the most impressive shows I’ve ever seen. The next is The Wandering Scholar, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Want to read some awesome stuff about fashion, and disability, and a bunch of other stuff? My friend Gem has you covered. If there’s any blog/vlog to follow, it’s hers, because you’ll learn all of the things, also while being made to giggle.

Want a singer because REASONS? I know a lot of them to be fair, but I’d definitely recommend the lovely Heather Watson if you’re in the Leeds area.

Need some awesome photographs of your stuff and/also events? Try Pelly  & Me. Need a band for your stuff/also events? The Ashatones are 100% ridiculously talented. Proof.

Want to watch videos of actual magic on your phone? InadequateChris does that, and also other things, on Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube (so really all of social media I think probably)

Do you need a thing drawn? Literally, anything. A dinosaur? A face of a character from that book you just wrote? OTHER THINGS? Charli Vince is an awesome illustrator with exceptional style. Also look out for Charles Vincent Animation, horse-gif expert, coming soon.

Live in the US and are vegan/want to know about vegan places/want to eat vegan cake? Try Sugarloaf Bakery, or at least follow them on Instagram (particularly if your aim is to always feel hungry)

Want to go to a unique and alternative club night? I don’t really do that, so I won’t come with you, but I’d recommend Come Thru, because I think it’s what you’re looking for, and it’s run by my friend H among others, so you’re basically in for a good time.

I’ve definitely missed some amazing people off this list, but I really think this is a good start. If I’ve not included you then I’m super sorry, please don’t get mad, just tell me. Or don’t and be really passive-aggressive about it, while still piggybacking on this post for advertising (I generate great advertising, one time I got over 50 entire views, all of which were not my mum).

Story of my Life

Sometimes I wonder who would play me in a film of my life, but then I think it’d probably be some relatively unknown recent graduate, because so far that’s the age I’ve reached, and also if anyone were to make a film of my life I think it’d be one of the shoestring experimental ones, not a blockbuster.

I’ve not led a blockbuster life (yet).

The older I get, the more I look at people around me and envy them for their life achievements. Not the sensible ones, like getting fancy jobs and houses and things, because I feel like those are all things which will come. I envy the ridiculous things, like winning an Olympic bronze medal for gymnastics, or speaking 14 languages by the age of 12. I hear about those things and think, what have I achieved.

Except, of course, I’ve achieved quite a lot, which is why eventually they’ll make a shoestring experimental film about my life. Starting with a small northern girl who loves to swim and sing, transitioning across living in North Africa, noting my EXTENSIVE family and general backstory on the way. Returning to the UK to experience all kinds of cool and edgy (pahaha) teenage experiences – a great role for an up-and-coming child actor, ideally with massive cheeks – and then on to the magical world of University, living abroad, and working in a students’ union.

It writes itself, that’s all I’m saying.

April Resolutions (2, return of April?)

Those of you who know me will know I don’t buy into new years’ resolutions, because January is a terrible time of darkness and chubbiness and remembering you have to go back to work, so literally why would you also promise yourself some lies about running?

Instead, I’ve decided on the tradition of Aprils’ Resolutions. Because if you’re in the UK right now then you’ll know that today is GORGEOUS, and I feel like I can take on the world, and I’m wearing shorts and making pie, so we’re all set for some resolve. Firstly, a recap on last years’ stuff.

  1. I have cooked more. But less pizza. I think this time last year was the last time I made pizza. Hey ho.
  2. I have made many beautiful things in the last year, helped by having a “crafts” page in my bullet-journal.
  3. I resolved to enjoy my friends more, and I think I’ve achieved that to a certain extent. I’m certainly better at getting up of a morning to meet up, so I’ll call that a win.
  4. I have 0 plans. Resolution failed.
  5. Self-care y’all. I am bad at it, except for face masks because you can do a ton of chores while also looking terrifying to your loved ones. So I suppose we can count that as not a total loss?

So, what am I aiming for this year?

Firstly, I resolve to blog more. I know that’s super easy for me to say (because I have said it a lot of times before), but I want to hold myself to account a bit on this. Aside from anything else because I love it, and so should just do it more.

I resolve to listen to more things. There are so many great radio shows and podcasts, and music, and here I am still taking in content with my eyes like some kind of peasant. I’ve just been introduced to My Favourite Murder, and it’s creepy and great and I refuse to be judged.

I resolve to get healthier, by which I specifically do not mean doing more exercise. I may do more exercise, but I also want to walk more, eat better, and sleep better.

I resolve to spend more time on Twitter, because if I’m honest I really enjoy it, and it’s a bit hilarious, and it’s not as distracting as long-form internet so it’s really a good solution to that particular interest.

And finally, I resolve to cook more recipes. I have a bunch of recipe books but I’m just very bad at following written guidance, so I end up getting an idea and just mostly make it up. So. More actual recipes. They are almost always better than my attempts to redesign cuisine using only my quite minor GCSE food tech knowledge.

Socialite

I’ve been trying to get to grips with social media, and I know that makes me sound somewhat older than I am, but bear with.

When I was about 10 (I think) I got my first phone. Said phone was small and orange, and I decorated it with nail varnish, and I don’t think it had snake because it wasn’t a nokia, but it had some snake-like game. I could text fairly quickly, mostly used full words, and only used one hand (because my phone was tiny, and who is using two thumbs to type, really).

A few years later Facebook blew up in the UK, and I refused to buy in at first because I had Bebo, which seemed to basically do the same thing, and MySpace, because I was alternative. Also, Facebook wanted you to say which university you were at, and I was 15 and therefore not at university.

Of course, it didn’t exactly take long for me to succumb, just like the rest of the “youth”. I wasn’t so easily lulled into Twitter, I only got that once I started working for a digital development company (where a colleague suggested I’d get sacked for not having it). This came about the same time as my first smartphone, and really I think it’s just spiraled from there.

Not badly spiraled. I haven’t tried all of the different forms of social media, of which there are now MANY. But if you wanted you could find me on twitter, possibly YouTube (not that I make my own videos), instagram, and snapchat.

Instagram I love, because it has enabled me to become a minorly less terrible photographer than I once was. I’ve never been good at photos, as this blog will attest because I have hardly any of Morocco or Spain. If only I’d had instagram with it’s various make-it-look-better settings, and the ability to pretend that strangers might be interested in the quirky (“quirky“) things I capture. It romanticises my terrible photographs further than I could have hoped or dreamed. I even take pictures of myself, though as far as I’m concerned the art of the selfie is for wizards with extending arms and an unnatural understanding of light.

Facebook is a bit creepy in all honesty. I think because I don’t really use it to communicate except by private message (which might as well be text), I just see other people’s lives pass by, and occasionally I get in someone else’s life and they acknowledge it on the internet through the wonder of tagging. My entire history feels so well catalogued now, in an incredibly imbalanced way.

Twitter catalogues the unbalanced side of my history, I feel. There’s a definite art to putting your thoughts into words, let alone a limited set, and so it really shines through what you considered to be important to share with the world in that second. Or, what you needed to get out of your head before it exploded. Or, how unfunny you are. Really any of the above. It’s also not very cool any more, which is fine because it’s full of shouting older people who think they’ve won the internet by tweeting, and I LOVE them.

YouTube and Snapchat are both a bit of a mystery to me. I ‘get’ how vlogs work, I just would never willingly film myself and then let other people see. It is totally great for learning how makeup works, however. Disappearing content I’m still getting my head round, but I do think I see the appeal – looking back over some of my social media history there are things I’d like to just vanish, but I don’t think I’m totally on board with actually making content designed not to last.

You know, because I write a blog.

Blogging feels like something quite other than social media. It’s something more outward than journalling, there is an implication of involving other people, but it’s also very private. There are drafts of posts on here which I’ll never finish, and some which I’ll never start. There are views I’ve shared which I’d probably entirely go back on now, but I shared them for a reason at the time, so committed to the page they stay. I think blogging is my favourite social media because really it’s quite anti-social, but it’s still inclusive.

So I guess what I’m saying is, thanks for joining me.

Ireland

A couple of days ago a friend of mine asked me “how do you have time to write a blog when you’re doing so many other things?” – I think the proof is in the proverbial pudding, which is that I haven’t posted anything in a month. Sometimes life just takes over.

Let me tell you about recent things. Last week I went on holiday to Ireland. I have always been fundamentally jealous of the Irish because they have gorgeous accents and beautiful language, and a heritage which is fundamentally *not English* (more on my dislike of being English later).

But I hadn’t really ever been aware of quite how stunning Ireland is as a country, and now I’m more jealous than ever.

We started (boyfriend and I) in Navan, north of Dublin, where we had a lovely breakfast and people-watched. From there we visited the Hill of Tara, which according to actual history is very historical, but according to Artemis Fowl it’s a place where fairies go/are, so naturally we had to visit. We then drove across the country to Galway where we stayed in a charming little house.

We had two full days around Galway, so we used one for Connemara National Park, and one for the Burren. Unfortunately our Connemara day was a bit grey and grumpy, but our day in the Burren was fantastic. We saw the world’s 3rd largest stalactite at Doolin Cave, which was fascinating and awesome (note: potholing is insane), stood at the top of the Cliffs of Moher, and went exploring at Poulnabrone dolmen. Basically, rocks are great.

Next step was travelling via Limerick (stopping in at King John’s Castle) to near Cork, where we stayed in a fantastic place with the loveliest couple and their dog Bracken. We explored Killarney National Park, Kenmare (which has a fairy circle as well), and Gougane Barra (which our hosts recommended for a wedding venue, which was obviously hilarious).

Finally it was on to Dublin to meet up with friends for St Patrick’s Day. Our journey took us via mini golf (a must for any holiday), and culminated in the weirdest stay so far (in a funny little cottage with the host living outside in a campervan) plus visits to the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, the Brazen Head, Dublin Zoo, and the statue of Molly Malone.

Not to mention the actual business of St Patrick’s Day which included the parade, rain, LOTS of Americans, a pub called Church, Fibber’s Hard Rock bar (inc crazy outdoor pizza), and the Old Storehouse to finish the night with excellent renditions of Mumford and Sons, The Lion King, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (to name but a few).

Overall, success!

Opera and other drugs

This season at Opera North is a season of fantastic fairy tales. So far I’ve seen the Snow Maiden and Hansel and Gretel, and I have Cinderella to go, next Tuesday.

Let’s be clear though. Opera can be a bit insane. It’s innate to the art form, because everything is repeated a hundred times for clarity (but ever so slightly different musical inflection), and there has to be awkward exposition all over the place and eventually it just gets a bit clunky all round.

Also, fairy tales are insane. Have you ever read an original version of a fairy tale? I totally encourage it. They are full of gristle and cruelty and really terrible lessons for young children. You can imagine that combining them with opera is spectacular at the best of times.

Spectacular is not, however, what I’d call this season at Opera North. The music is stunning, as is the singing, and the costume. And the set. And the clever uses of different effects. It’s all great really, except for one thing. The direction. Because the direction is totally barmy, and no-one needs that when the combination of opera and fairy tale is on the edge as it is. Watching the shows is what I imagine being on drugs feels like – plot-lines which suddenly unwind themselves because they are trying to be too clever, while the rest of the show assaults your senses.

In other news I’m ill (again). So more drugs for me, mostly in the form of Benylin.

Things I am afraid of

I wrote this title in 2014, somehow thinking it might be engaging reading.

And it will be, so here goes…

  1. The dark.
    I keep thinking I might get over it, but no. I run through my house once the lights are off.
  2. Scorpions.
    Again, something to get over what with living in a country with no scorpions, but I still check the end of my bed about once a week in case a scorpion has snuck in.
  3. Fireworks.
    They are just explosives. Why does anyone like them.
  4. The future.
    Just like everyone else.
  5. Falling off high-up paths.
    I’m not on high-up paths very often, but the second I’m anywhere near an edge I become convinced I’m going to fall to my death.
  6. Losing my keys.
    Constantly convinced that they’ve vanished. It wouldn’t even be much of an issue if I did, but there we are.
  7. Scary films/stories.
    Because I can’t convince myself that they aren’t all real.
  8. Zombies.
    Because they are definitely real.