Category Archives: Fun

Happy

Happiness means different things to different people.

For example, to some people (Pharrell Williams), happy means feeling like a room without a roof. Some people (Pharrell Williams) have an odd description of happiness.

I think my definition of happy is a pretty standard definition. I feel happy when I see other people smiling. I like knowing that the people around me are having a good time, and that they have the things they need and that they are enjoying life. Sometimes (read: literally constantly) I help people feel happy by providing them with copious amounts of baked goods. Less frequently I give people hugs. Sometimes I make jokes.

Normally my jokes are terrible and don’t make people happy.

I’ll do just about anything though, to put a smile on someone’s face. It’s utterly selfish. I truly believe that we all deserve to get that warm fuzzy feeling of genuine proper happy, which is a little bit lacking in the world at large these days.

Sometimes I get caught by surprise by happiness, because it turns up in unexpected forms. Today, for example, I was thanked for a bunch of things I barely realise I’ve even done. It was so unexpected that I caught myself actually grinning (which is terrifying and I think we can all agree should be avoided). I hope that someone else got their happy from knowing how happy they made me. God bless all the happiness vampires of the world.

Given that this has taken a turn, it’s probably time for me to set my keyboard aside and go back to the other things that make me happy (my bed, netflix, late-night coffee) but before I do, please don’t forget that the best way to make me happy right now is to come to all of the things – as a reminder, they are:

Leeds Vocal Movement

Leeds Vocal Movement summer concert, 16th June, Left Bank

The Wedding Singer - LIDOS

Wedding Singer – 19th-23rd June, Carriageworks Theatre, with LIDOS

Left Bank Opera Festival

Left Bank Opera festival – 22nd-26th Aug, Left Bank, with Northern Opera Group

Not an ad vol 2. (return of the not-so-covert ads)

love to sing.

When people ask about singing I always give the same answer. All range, no skill. That’s me, though it’s probably a little unfair to the parents who paid for lessons, and the singing teachers who taught me for years. It feels accurate though, because despite many years of pretending otherwise, I really can’t read music at all, I struggle with pitching, and I can’t ever hear my line in a harmony.

I can sing a bunch of notes though, so I do. And as with a great many things in life, I do so with great (and slightly intense, I imagine) enthusiasm. If being enthusiastic is a talent, then that’s my talent. Need someone to think your thing is the best thing ever. Give this girl a call [points at self].

In recent times I have been testing the limits of my singing a bit – dabbling in interesting bass lines, mostly hanging around the tenor section (being a tenorlady, yes the joke is purposeful, no I will not stop making it) and singing soprano while dancing (!). Sometimes singing soprano instead of tenor for kicks/to see if I can still hit the high notes – with questionable results.

I remain, I fear, mostly range, minimally skill.

But, the other people in the room are full of skill, and range, and all that good stuff. So, you should come and see them. And me. But them. And their wonderful skill, and beautiful singing.

Leeds Vocal Movement

Leeds Vocal Movement summer concert, 16th June, Left Bank

The Wedding Singer - LIDOS

Wedding Singer – 19th-23rd June, Carriageworks Theatre, with LIDOS

Left Bank Opera Festival

Left Bank Opera festival – 22nd-26th Aug, Left Bank, with Northern Opera Group

Not an ad (part 1)

Spoilers: It’s totally an ad.

It’s an ad for a show I’m so keen about that I drove all the way to Horsforth today without actually checking to see if I was needed.

I was not needed.

Good thing it was a lovely day for a drive.

So, what is this show that I am happy to drive all around Leeds for? And what do you mean I’m in a show again, didn’t I grow out of this? WELL. That’s what you thought (and I thought, and I mean I think we all thought I’d move on from this phase but now look)

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This won’t be the first advert either, because of several reasons (to be elaborated on later) including the fact that I have to dance, that I have a child (possibly numerous, still unsure), that it’s genuinely hilarious, and that I potentially (unconfirmed) get points if I bring people. And points, as we know, mean prizes (probably).

(If you’re struggling to read my post today because of all of the bracketed clauses I’d like to apologise and say I KNOW but I just can’t help it, so there we are)

I’d also like to advertise gardening as an excellent thing to do with your life. Having discovered I didn’t need to be at rehearsal I promptly went back to the shop and bought wild flower seeds, which I’ve not planted yet because my garden is a hideous lumpy mess of weeds. But slightly less hideous and lumpy now that I’ve given it 5 hours of my life. Look at me, being all kinds of an adult.

Other things to advertise include Avengers: Infinity War (but only if you’re quite into the MCU) and the Lego Avengers game (because let’s not pretend I’ve actually fully become an adult – that may never happen).

April Resolutions (pt 3)

For those not in the know, I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I don’t want to do anything in January except sleep and eat cheese. A far better time of year is April, when the sun is beginning to shine (intermittently, admittedly) and the birds are beginning to sing, and everything is right with the world (apart from famine, and institutional racism, and Trump, but you get my drift).

So, this years resolutions are:

  • Bake more. A constant resolution for me, which is not only fulfilled by the insane amount of baking I’ve done today alone (two banana loafs, 17 cookies, two chocolate-coffee roulades, but who’s counting?)
  • Walk more (but do so healthily). I walked home last night, which I do often. However last night’s walk was about 3 times as far as usual, and today my foot hurts. A lot. So more walking is a yes, but maybe in trainers.
  • Exercise. Again, a regular resolution, but this year has been a particularly bad one for my fitness levels. The aim is to get back to doing at least 4 HIIT circuits a week.
  • Keep my house clean. Now I have one, I resolve to keep it clean and tidy, despite how enormous it is. Lots of hoovering is in my future, and I’m ready for the challenge.
  • Make more friends. There’s nothing like a big life-changing event to make you look at yourself and realise the things you’ve been missing out on. I love people, but I have very few close friends. And they are beyond enough, and I’m so very lucky in them. But I also can and should meet new people and make new friends. So I shall.

What do you want to do this (tax/financial) year?

Easter Fools

9 year old me was hilarious (which in interesting, given that my inability to take a joke is practically a talent now).

Why do I say this? Because in December 1999, we made time capsules at school, because of the millenium or something (the rapture, the end times. I don’t know). And 9 year old me, in her infinite and wonderful wisdom, set a very specific opening date for this time capsule. Not December 2009 (10 years later) as you might expect. Oh no.

Little me told me to open it on April Fools day. Because little me is hilarious, as previously stated.

As these things do, it got packed away in a pile of books and papers, and only resurfaced this month when I moved into my new house. EXACTLY 10 YEARS AFTER I WAS MEANT TO OPEN IT. You can’t write this stuff.

So yesterday, as instructed by tiny me, give or take a decade, I opened my time capsule. And it was magical.

There was a checklist of things to include in the time capsule – some personal details, a list of favourites, a picture of your family, and then some weird things like “the top 10 things in your house” (mine included books, bookcase, the Video [no idea why definite article and capitalised, but it was clearly significant]) and an odd spider-diagram with the central field time:web.

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Personal high points include:
– How pale I am in my family drawing, and how tiny my brother is
– The importance of ART
– Enid Blyton and JK Rowling as categories of books (distinct from author)
– Mystyrys
– The fact that rather than actually including any additional things apart from the key ring, I just wrote a list of “ephemera” and included that (lazy child)
– The fact that I knew the word ephemera at 9.

Good work little me. This really was a hilarious thing to open on April Fools day, even if I was a decade late.

Jitters

I have spent this evening repeatedly telling people that I’ve not auditioned for 9 or 10 years, and in the interests of honesty I should say I’ve realised that’s a lie.

Technically I auditioned about 4 years ago for a music theatre showcase. I sang ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ because I’m everyone’s mum and I’ve got a posh girl singing voice. I didn’t get in, which was a blessing because on the evening of the actual showcase I had no voice and only just made it through the evening. I also auditioned 8.5 years ago, when I first started university, to be in Grease. I was also unsuccessful there, but it did help me find my place backstage, so I mustn’t complain.

Regardless, this evening when I auditioned for the first time in a fair old while (if not actually 10 years) I remembered what it feels like to be genuinely, face-shaking, knee-knocking nervous.

As a general rule, I’m a fairly nervous person. I just hide it well with facts, and lots of confidence in other people. Once I know people I also hide my nerves with wild gesticulations and slightly ridiculous voices. I’m just used to having low-level nervousness most of the time.

In a slightly unexpected turn of events, most of my nerves came through in my singing (I think), and I managed almost all, if not all, of the basic dance. A definite first for me.

One way or another, I’m looking forward to the Wedding Singer – it seems like a fab show, and if I don’t get to see it from onstage then I’m sure I can see it from the wings or the audience. And one way or another, I’m proud of sticking with today, pushing past (to a certain extent) the nerves, and getting involved. When the worst outcome possible is someone saying no, that’s not a terrible thing at all.

(And when I’m alone, I can sing the below shake-free, and it’s a fab song)

Oh yes I did

Two weeks of panto is over. I’m exhausted and I feel like I could sleep for a million years, but I also had a fabulous time.

I’ve done a lot of amateur theatre in my life. A good dose of school shows, a bit of village-hall drama, and a very serious amount of university society theatre, both backstage and front-of-stage.

Since I graduated I’ve been thinking I’d like to find a new group. I don’t really know what stopped me particularly, because I know of a lot of different groups performing in Leeds, doing all the kinds of things I love to be involved with. Maybe it’s an innate shyness which held me back – waiting to be invited, so I didn’t feel like I was diving in alone to prove myself in a brand new group of people.

I don’t know why I was worried, but I was, and I’m happy to say that 2 weeks later I feel ridiculous for ever thinking that way. You could not wish for a kinder or more welcoming group of people than the people I met doing the panto with LIDOS. From little trinkets and good luck cards, to hot cups of tea and biscuits in the interval, it was like settling into a family.

I was also lucky enough to talk to a lot of people who have been involved in the society for years, and learnt all about the history of amateur theatre in Leeds, especially those groups based in the old Civic theatre and latterly the Carriageworks. This city is so vibrant with culture, and the Carriageworks is a wonderful hub for the amateur sector, so I was horrified (as so many people have been) to learn that there are plans afoot which will seriously impact on the amateur groups who currently use the space.

If you have a moment, please read and sign this petition, which gives much more information about the proposals for the Carriageworks. It’s fabulous that Leeds has such an active, friendly, and engaging amateur theatre scene, and we should do what we can to preserve that.

Oh yes we should.

We need to talk

..about Tinder. Mate. It’s so weird.

I’m something of a serial monogamist, though serial is probably taking it a bit far. I’ve had about 6 boyfriends, and 5 of those were between 16 and 18 when the most couply thing to do was hold hands and maybe meet up at the park. So I’ve never really “done” dating.

It’s been a month, and so in a moment of bizarre adventurousness, I decided I needed to Get Out And Meet People, so like all good millennials I took to the world of the internet. Because nothing says “healthy adult mindset” like picking out your best pouty photos in the hopes of getting strangers to like you.

I don’t have high hopes, I have to say. I’m (despite all appearances to the contrary) very shy, and apparently you really have to be willing to talk first. I also have no idea what to say. Hi there, I’ve recently separated from my long-term partner, I’m having some kind of life crisis, also I quite like opera. It’s a winning line, I’m sure.

And I don’t know what I think about the other people. Sure, some of them must be like me, just after a quick way to meet some new people in different circles (don’t get me wrong, I love my circles, just interested in new circles [but not Google circles, no-one cares about those]) but they are vastly outnumbered by people with terrible bios full of cheesy jokes or random quotes from obscure TV programmes. Or maybe those are the same people and I’m just doing it wrong.

Who knows, quite frankly.

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?