Category Archives: Fun

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.

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.