Sundays

Sundays are those horrible nothing days. Days spent hungover, reminiscing the past week and constructing future plans. Sundays are the weekly prep: cooking lunches for the week, washing, ironing. Like an emotional limbo, I linger in a daze flitting from one chore to the next until my week is tidily prepared in a neat little bow.

In an attempt to recapture some of my wasted day I write, paint and lose myself in TV programs that my brain has been overzealous in its attempt to empathise with characters I have nothing in common with.

I slip deeper and deeper into my chair, my eyelids heavy with exhaustion but my brain active with ideas. It’s now I torture myself with ideas of grand gestures: a change in career, a bold house move, something to break the monotony of the day. Maybe this is just down to an unoccupied brain, maybe secretly deep down I want something to change, for something to give.

But nothing will, until I say so.

So I throw myself into my writing and my art with a new found enthusiasm, a passion to feel something. I get angry as I launch my paint brush at an empty canvas, feel the bubble of excitement in my stomach as my fingers type before my brain gets a say. I shut off that part of my brain that is most susceptible to anxiety and bouts of depression and let passion run the show.

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Reading Festival: My highlights

It’s post-reading festival, I have the blues and festival flu. What better way to cheer myself up than to reminisce about my highlights during my four and a half day stay?

Thursday: There was a cool calm electricity to the air as the night settled in, everybody exploring the arena with steadily brewing excitement. A timer ticked down on the screen announcing the arrival of Hot Dub Time Machine, a DJ set travelling through the ages to entice and excite the crowd.

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16 minutes on the clock.

 

The crowd is alive and roaring, feet trample the freshly cut grass as it flows towards the stage. The newbies are confused, dazed but carried upstream into the tent.

 

Sweat drips off my body, I have never been this warm in my entire life, as I dance to remixes I’ve never heard. I join in with familiar chants, chants that will later be heard at nearly every gig I attend in the arena.

 

It’s 2 or 3 am when I finally roll into bed, having made new friends. I feel alive.

 

Friday: It’s a thankful sight to see the pink and white striped ‘seat of luxury’ band on my wrist, the morning after the night before I cannot face cold stainless steel and an uncomfortable wet baby wipe. I stumble through the luxury toilet doors, my legs heavy and not responding in the way I want them to. It’s been a long walk here, purple camp being at least a ten-minute walk away, but I am finally here, and I have never been so happy to see toilet paper and running water in my life.

 

Early afternoon, after spending an astronomical amount of money on three chips and a slice of burger cheese, my friend Lucy and I wander into the Festival Republic tent and watch the illuminating and mesmerising Transviolet. Having seen them before at a gig in Brixton last year I knew what to expect, hauntingly beautiful vocals, catchy choruses and easy listening. When you listen to Sarah sing you feel a strong urge to mimic her as she reaches out into the crowd, waving her arms with a fairy-like aura.

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Lewis Del Mar was my top reading festival highlight, even though I had paid for my ticket to see Fall out Boy and Twenty One Pilots (which I nearly missed). It was an intimate gig, with me even managing to reach barrier to listen to this four-piece band rip my heart to shreds with heavy basslines and put me back together piece by piece with soulful singing. Never have I seen a band with such a ferociously intriguing lead, his passion on the stage evident within his movement that I can only compare to a whirlwind, twisting his way across the stage.

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Friday evening was a blur of drinking and laughing with our new friends, our final attempt at re-joining the chaos of the arena ended up in me catching ‘Car Radio’ during the last song at Twenty One Pilots and throwing a hissy fit because I had been too busy drinking to bother making a move to see one of my all time favourite bands.

The final highlight of the night was being burnt with a cigarette in the pit while seeing Asking Alexandria. Seriously dude, that hurt.

 

Saturday: We had an overnight casualty. During a normally harmless game of ‘crouch behind your friend as someone pushes them over’ one of our new friends landed funny on his shoulder and it blew up like a balloon overnight. Deciding that he’d rather be at home he left his belongings and caught the next train back.

 

Down a member and significantly lower in spirit, we attempted to perk ourselves up with comedy from Russell Kane. Russell Kane is one of my favourite comedians. With his not so subtle hints at his politically left winged opinion he made the alternative stage roar with laughter, especially the small Essex girl stood behind several rather tall men who found his comedy far too relatable.

 

After another afternoon of drinking, we were shocked to hear that You Me At Six were the surprise band and quickly made our way over to the tent. Being a fan of older songs like ‘Save it for the bedroom’ I listened with quiet amusement as I noticed how much further they’d come. Definitely adding ‘Night People’ to my list of songs to download.

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By nine when the Red hot chillies were due I found myself slacking. An afternoon of sunshine and alcohol led to me passing out in my tent just after ten.

 

Sunday: Filled with a renewed electricity from my ten hours sleep I was determined not to waste the day. Today was the climactic ending to our musical exploration. With bands like Fall out Boy, Biffy Clyro and Good Charlotte there was no time to waste. Only Biffy and Good Charlotte were on at the same time, on different stages. Fml. I chose Good Charlotte.

 

Mid afternoon we drunkenly attended Delta Heavy’s DJ set and partied our way through the afternoon. Decidedly, the party may have been premature and would have preferred the set to have been later in the day, maybe the evening, after a few more drinks.

 

I was pleasantly surprised by Five Finger Death Punch and really enjoyed his T-shirt change to a ‘straight outta Compton’ Tee, probably far too much for it to be actually funny.

 

Almost missing Fall out Boy due to alcohol, this was becoming a regular occurrence, I made a run for the crowd, screaming my lungs out to every song, being the musical Fall out Boy mega fan that I was, I think I scared some of the more casual listeners.

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Fall out Boy did not disappoint. Although not quite the barrier I’d had during their gig at the O2 arena I still felt entertained, watching the pyrotechnics of the scantily dressed performers on the large screen and oo-ing and aah-ing as the fireworks concluded the show.

 

Monday: Death had taken me, I was sure of it.

 

An early start and a sad goodbye to our new found friends, Lucy and I made our move and ended up stuck in the car park for hours.

 

Blistered toes and bruised larynx’s we moped in silence as we waited for cars to be forcibly removed out of the way with car jacks. If I was more awake and not hanging off my tits I probably would have spoken out about it.

 

Warning to future travellers- do not park in any of the unofficial car parks along the main road, not unless you want to wait until mid afternoon to leave and get charged a shit tonne of money just for the privilege.

 

Overall Reading was a fantastic experience. It was an eclectic mix of music, the atmosphere was friendly and the booze was flowing. My only bugbear was how expensive everything was inside the festival grounds. At least next year I know what to expect.

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Loneliness

There is nothing worse than feeling lonely. It’s an empty feeling that pulls you down the more you think about it. It can’t be tamed by loud music, singing in the kitchen, pretending that you are some superstar, nor can it be solved by endless amounts of tv, no matter how good the series is.

What’s worse is being the extroverted introvert that loves her own company and hates people in general but loves to party and dance all night.

It’s a Friday night, I don’t have to get up early and I have no plans- go out and get trashed in the club? Half of me says yes and I am well and truly one foot out of the door, ready to go. Only I can’t make myself leave. I am not even frightened to be social, I am quite content to buy a few drinks and people watch, maybe start a few conversations. What I can’t be bothered to do is initiate any type of human connection with an alien, a foreign body who does not understand who I am and what I like.

And that is my issue. In a nutshell, I strongly dislike the pussyfooting of people around people, them fearing rejection or embarrassment when they accidentally reveal too much. I mean, it takes a certain kind of person to linger in the acquaintance zone, not fully befriending people, if anything that scares me. Although I can see the appeal of lingering in this zone, never getting hurt, never having to try too hard, but surely to take a step into the deep end of the pool is to decide whether to sink or swim.

I have been told that I am all or nothing, and I believe them, If I cannot see why I should put the effort into something, like a friendship or a relationship, then I will not proceed. On the other hand, if I see potential I claw my talons into the skin, grasping onto my prey like a hungry fulcan, wanting, needing the friendship like air.

It’s this overpowering emotion that frightens me. What scares me more is the fear that my prey will abandon me, deciding that I am not worthy of their friendship, leaving and not saying goodbye.

Who knows, a psychoanalyst would probably rip into me about some sort of Freudian issues I have going on or tell me that I need to get over myself but either way I have decided that being all or nothing is not a bad thing, if you get all of me then I will be a viciously loyal friend, protective, and I will love you with all of my heart. And in the end who wouldn’t want a friend like that who cared for them?

I cannot be the only person who longs for a deep human connection to battle the empty lonely feeling inside. When it comes to human connection I would rather take the risk and potentially sail together.

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Paris: An adventure

Forget New York as the city that never sleeps, Paris is the place to be at night. The metro is buzzing at midnight with people travelling home from work, the tramlines work with a steady efficiency, never running late and never delayed en route.

I took the metro last night by myself to see the sites at night. I ended up watching the lit up eiffel tower with a bottle of wine and only myself as company. It was a risk worth taking and I returned to the hotel unscathed.

Who is this renewed person I see in the mirror, full of body confidence and bursting with passion? It most certainly is not me. I see glimpses of the shy girl I once was and will be again but Paris has rubbed off some of its charm onto me which I intend to sneak back on the plane to England. It is temporary, a holiday high that has me feeling this way but oh so I wish I could bring it with me.

I know my wanderlust is insatiable. Even more so now that I have been to the city of love and felt its warm embrace washing over me like silk sheets. Taking my first step off the plane in England will not only be devastating but I know I will slip into routine like an old familiar glove.

There is a chance that this feeling is all alcohol induced. This high is nothing but liquid confidence letting me soar. I desperately hope that this is not the case as I have fallen in love with the city that never sleeps and have left pieces of my heart all over Paris.

If you ever get the chance to go to Paris please take me back with you. The romance, the energy and the shopping are all to die for and I would happily take the blade for another chance to see this wonderful city again.

J’adore Paris.

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Writing Prompt: First Kiss

Today was the day. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. A bitter salty taste nipped at the back of my throat, the air rolling in from the ocean. Seagulls squawked overhead, threatening to drop a good luck bomb on an unsuspecting victim. Today was the day that I was finally going to tell him that I loved him.

Leaning against the half brick wall that separated the beach and the high street I blindly watched as people wandered past, none of them Lucas.

It wasn’t the usual time of day for Lucas to be out and about, he normally didn’t roll out of bed until at least three in the afternoon, so I hadn’t expected to see him until at least sunset, I couldn’t help the excitement bubbling under my skin.

A couple perched on the bench, tucking into a late lunch of chip shop chips, lovingly laughing and enjoying life.

It had been late one night when Lucas had kissed me for the first time. He had been all tongue and sex appeal, his hands roaming my bare hips openly as if we hadn’t been kissing in the parking lot against his car.

Lucas drove me home that night, even after I had refused him any more than my precious kisses, and had even walked me to the door, although in hindsight he probably had ulterior motives.

It all seemed a lifetime ago. That had been the day that our tainted love affair had begun, his lips on mine as his then girlfriend waited at home for him to come back from his gig at the local madhouse. It had been exciting, enticing. The lure of the forbidden.

Obviously, his romantic involvement with his girlfriend had dissipated and Lucas had crawled to my side like a love sick puppy.

I didn’t know why I loved him, I just felt this niggling feeling whenever he was near, these butterflies in my stomach that had begun fluttering now.

Today was the day I was going to tell him how I felt. I wasn’t expecting the world, or even a fairytale happy ending, all I wanted was for him to feel the same, for him to want me.

Only, when he’s with someone new, taking someone new on a date, rubbing it in your face, it’s hard not to feel frustrated.

He was never the kind of man that woke up in the day, never the kind of man to take a woman on a date and yet there they were on the pier rubbing their happiness in my face.

 

Today was most definitely the day I expressed how I felt.

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Mortality and the crippling fear of the Unknown

I think I had a pretty good understanding of life from a young age. I remember being quite young, maybe ten years old, and having this moment of perfect clarity as I tried to fall asleep one night. I knew that one day my parents were going to die.

I know right, pretty morbid for a ten-year-old.

Now I’m twenty-three, lying in bed and having exactly the same thought about my partner lying next to me. Maybe I’ve been influenced by the dire local news reports or even conversations I’ve had with friends or colleagues but for whatever reason I’m faced with this crippling fear that one day I will be left alone and there will be no one else to remember who these significant people were in my life.

Mortality is a terrible thing, it prevents us from taking a leap of faith. It causes anxiety and crippling fear of the Unknown. It’s what causes people to turn to religion, drink, recreational drugs. It can flip a switch in people, cause a midlife crisis or even drive people insane.

I feel like I’m faced with this constant need to prove that I have ended up here on planet earth for a reason. I should be proving my worth and leaving my mark. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not the end if I am not remembered by a lot of people.

I have to remember that we, as human beings, are here on earth as a scientific anomaly and should never have existed, yet we do, and that is pretty phenomenal in itself. So I’m going to keep existing and keep being me because I am one special bundle of stardust.

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Writing prompt: Fear


“Can you pretty please get rid of the human-sized spider in the living room?” I begged as we climbed into bed together.

He sighed, “all you need to do is get a cup and a bit of paper and chuck it outside. I also highly doubt that it’s human sized.”

“It was!” I sat up against the pillow gesturing how big the spider was with my hands, “its body may not have been much but it’s legs extended to about this big.” I admit, I was probably exaggerating slightly with my hands but I didn’t care, I wanted the creature gone.

“I can’t just get rid of it anyway, I’ve tried to go near it with a glass but I get so shaky and” I shuddered, “what if I miss? What if it drops in my hair, or on my arm?”
“Then you just brush it off.” He said sleepily, his back facing me.

“Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen? It can’t kill you, we don’t live in Australia.” He mumbled.

“It could touch me!” I shuddered again.

“Anyway, I know it’s an irrational fear. I know it can’t actually hurt me but it’s the anticipation that kills me, like balloons about to pop. Ugh! That’s the worst.”


I looked over to my partner all wrapped up in the sheets and tucked the cotton around the bare bit of back he had exposed to the elements. How could he be so calm at a time like this? When a spider could be roaming free in our apartment at this very moment!

“Do you have any fears?” I asked, “you don’t seem to be afraid of anything.”

If I knew he wasn’t afraid of creatures in the night then I could use him as a protective barrier. Maybe the spider would get him first.

It took him a moment to answer.

“Fish. I don’t like fish.”

Smiling I curled in the sheets next to him and drifted off to sleep. The spider could be dealt with tomorrow.

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Graphic Design: A Summary

 

Definition : Graphic Designnoun “the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.” (Ripped straight from Google itself).

So you want to be a Graphic designer? Me too, hence the blog post! Anyway, through my studies at Norwich University of the Arts I believe that the basic comprehension of key design practices is integral to the success of a creative so I have dipped my toe quite gently into the surface of the design pool in the following exploration.

Firstly, you’re going to need an understanding of colour theory. A great blog post, other than this one, can be found here and is probably far more comprehensive than I could ever attempt. Basic summary: Contrasting colours are a great way to make a statement.

Secondly, since your design work will be aimed towards the commercial word I.e Magazines, adverts, etc, it is a good idea to get a firm grasp of composition: Rule of Thirds, where to draw your focus, etc. Here‘s another good article that I didn’t write.

It wouldn’t be an article about graphic design if I did not include any graphic design work so I have put a few of my favourite links below.

Maxime Quoilin

Katsuhiko Kuwamoto

Volkswagen

The most important tip to remember is that memorable art is usually the most striking, edgy and stands for something. Rarely does an artist sit on the fence. Your graphic design work should be asking questions without having to put the words on the page.

Another key part of Graphic designing is the typography. Here is a glossary of helpful terms. Who knew there were so many parts to a letter!

There are plenty of aspects to the design world but I hope that by understanding these few core components we can build a solid base to work up from. I wish you all the best in your ventures!

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Written by Kirsty Allen on WordPress.com

Ayoade on Ayoade: a review

As a fan of TV programs like the Mighty Boosh and the IT Crowd it was probably inevitable that I pick up Richard Ayoade’s biography which I can’t seem to put down- it seems someone has unfortunately glued my hands to the cover.

From the opening page I had found myself hooked, which is unusual as I normally find myself skipping over the messy acknowledgments and introductions, wanting to get to the juicy bits. ‘Ayoade on Ayoade: a cinematic odyssey’ had me giggling to myself in the middle of a particularly full park, reading the funniest extracts to my disinterested partner who had rolled his eyes and continued to sun himself.

As I read further into the self proclaimed portrait of Ayoade’s life I began to really appreciate his use of footnotes which happily accommodated the third person perspective he had chosen to write in. It was like the ramblings of a coherent madman and I adored it.

His personal timeline is well worth the £9.99 price tag alone: his angry phase in 2004, ‘the age of mystery’ that spanned between 1986 and 1990 and his profound adoration for ‘N Sync. Without sounding like a broken record, Richard’s writing encompasses all my favourite things- sarcasm, adventure and just a dash of mystery, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from one page to the next. It was fresh and exciting and I will be highly recommending it to anybody willing to listen.

Richard, if you’re reading this, please do a handstand, I have a fizzy cola bottle waiting for you.

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Is literature a dying art?

I recently read an article in the guardian that suggested that literature is a dying art and it got me wondering about the topic of English language in fiction. Now, controversial opinion alert, I’m not a huge fan of literary classics- Catcher in the rye, Ethan Frome, To kill a mockingbird- and I have a sneaking suspicion that it was due to them all having one thing in common, they were all based on reality, rather than the escapism I am after when I pick up a novel. Heavy subjects such as racism and sexism were laid thick, as if to be obvious about a subject matter was to be deemed intellectual. Maybe I am just too harsh a critic, or maybe my brain doesn’t span far enough to look past the dreary storylines and find comfort in the metaphors and similes of a time long since past but I prefer modern novels, novels that tell a story of lost worlds, romance and fantasy.  
Every book on writing I’ve ever had the privilege of opening has explained that to be able to write is to be able to tell a story, so what does it matter if it’s written badly? Obviously I’m not talking unedited stories from independent online authors, although I have come across a few diamonds in the rough, but as long as you can tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, with plenty of conflict and character development then who’s to say that isn’t literature?

The full definition of literature, according to merriam-webster is: “writings in prose or verse, especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest”. So literature is a well constructed piece of writing which holds lasting interest. I’m starting to see why the classics were deemed literary but to say it is dying out seems a tad extreme, surely, as society changes our eye for literary classics adapt to suit? To further this idea, it seems as if it is these classics, as I have listed above, are becoming outdated, and if anything, losing their literary status. This poses a link to my next question, how long does a prose have to be popular before it is deemed a literary classic?

To me novels like the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey aren’t literature. They are popular due to the shock factor and die out once the hype has disappeared. It may be that novels with re readable content, great stories and lengthy hype duration may be more of a candidate for this status. Again, there’s the possibility that I’m being presumptuous and overly expressing my dislike for the novel, who’s to say that, going by my previous argument, that this novel, due to it’s popularity, may have literary status in the future?

Another article I read recently, again from the guardian, was stating how children are taught how to write stories using the correct amount of adverbs, adjectives and basically how to churn out mechanical stories, arguably sucking the life out of imagination. It made me wonder: why do grown ups actually write stories? The answer I came up with was simple, they want to have fun. The best way to have fun with writing? Literally, no pun intended, throw words on a page and see what happens, visualise the story and write. Although, in direct comparison to this, the article read that in order to break the rules one must first know the rules, but how much do you need to know in order to write a successful prose?

There is always the possibility that I am discrediting what it means to be a literary author to justify my own writing but if I am happy reading current popular novels and skipping the literary classics as most of the general population tend to do, would writing a literary classic entail a doomed existence as a writer? Or in a hundred years time when we contemplate the literary geniuses of the 21st century, will we consider popular fiction from today?

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