Category Archives: Fun

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?

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.