18/08/2015

Comment: The self(ie)ish generation

In 2013 the word ‘selfie’ was chosen as the word of the year by Oxford English Dictionary with the definition: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”. In the same year Time magazine also famously published their ‘Me Me Me’ issue which criticised my generation by calling it the most lazy, entitled and vain one yet with the cover of this issue even featuring an image of a girl taking a selfie.

Two years since this magazine cover and selfie culture is still firmly weaving its way into mainstream society. Last year ABC commissioned a programmed called ‘Selfie’ and whilst it was short lived and got cancelled a few episodes in, it represented quite a fitting metaphor for selfie culture. For those that never watched the show, it was actually an incredibly funny and touching update on the classic tale 1912 George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. However much like the main characters of this story, the program was prematurely judged for being shallow and as a result never got the show run that it deserved. You can’t help but wonder if part of the reason people didn’t tune into the show was because of its name. Whilst there are many people taking and sharing selfies, there are also people that continue to be afraid and even disgusted by the word and the notion of taking photos of themselves.

One of the most popular gifts this past christmas was the selfie stick, a device that makes taking group selfies easier than ever. On Christmas Day Instagram and Facebook became instantly flooded with people excitedly taking selfies with their new accessorises. However within hours the backlash to these presents shared as much space on your twitter feed as the selfies themselves did. There was a clear 50/50 divide between people using their selfie sticks and people wanting to break them.

Most recently Kim Kardashian West released 352 page book ‘Selfish’ which is a collection of the stars favourite selfies. It’s no surprise that many people are completely baffled by this and wonder who would buy this book or what the point of the book even is. These questions are usually followed by criticisms on Kim herself, a woman who rose to fame when her sex tape was leaked back in 2007 and has since become the Marilyn Monroe of the social media obsessed selfie generation. Every time Kim takes a selfie, someone is waiting in the sidelines to criticise her and ask the internet why she is even famous. However despite all of the criticism Kim faces she appears to behappily married to Kanye West and took someones betrayal of her trust and turned it into a multi-million dollar business for her and her family. Also, Kanye West knows about her sex tape and selfies and he doesn't seem to care so why should anyone else?

The most common argument against selfies is that taking them is a vain and shallow act only committed by people that have low self esteem and need to be ‘liked’ in order to feel validated. There is a constant stream of news stories calling selfies “cries for attention” and acts of “globally accepted selfishness”. People are apparently outraged that somebody would dare take a selfie in an art gallery and that in doing so you are suggesting that you are the most important thing in the picture and not the painting (that I hate to tell you is not actually a sentient being unlike the person taking the photo). This opens up debate about art and the value of art, but why does a selfie need to have any artistic value? Is that the purpose of a selfie?

These all seems like a shallow and poorly thought out arguments to make and whilst I can’t claim to talk on behalf of everyone who takes selfies, the most common reason why I take a selfie is because I like the way I look  and maybe on a day different day when I don't like the way I look I can find my selfie and feel a bit better. If this is an act of vanity, then I accept the title of being vain. And anyway, what’s wrong with a little bit of vanity? Maybe it’s because culturally we aren't supposed to self promote or brag about things, and it’s certainly well documented that women aren’t supposed to be aware of their beauty. The second a woman not only accepts a compliment but believes it, her beauty apparently evaporates and she suddenly becomes vain and self absorbed. A recent online experiment by teenager Gweneth Bateman found that when she accepted compliments made to her on social media, those complimenting her would instantly change their tone and call her a “bitch” for thinking she was as beautiful as they told her she was.

Self love is an important thing to learn, and if some people gain it by taking selfies then who are we to criticise them. Maybe constantly taking selfies does make my generation the most vain one yet, but it’s hard to ignore the argument that historically people used to pay artists a lot of money to paint their portrait which they would later hang in their offices or above their fireplaces. So is this generation really the most vain, or does this generation just have the tools to frequently take pictures that our ancestors would have done if only they had the front-facing camera and a selfie stick.

Look: Instagram update 18/07/2015

 
1.  Nylon and lemonade in Soho Coffe // 2. Mint choc ice cream // 3. Exploring Bridgenorth
4. Bridgenorth // 5. Wearing my new Topshop trousers // 6. My newest Murakami novel
7. Poem by Frank O'Hara // 8. The new Lianne La Havas album plus M&S raspberry lemonade // 9. shameless selfie.
10. Night out for my birthday // 11. What it's like to be 21 // 12. My new children - Stan Smiths 


Life: feeling determind

Today I woke up once again feeling extremely determined to succeed and get a job in the media industry.

I'm not sure if I had an inspiring dream last night but regardless, when I got out of bed this morning I felt hopeful that even though I'm still mind numbingly bored of writing applications I'm not even close to giving up.

It's only really been 2 months since I left Falmouth so in the grand scheme of things I've barely even started my post-university life so I shouldn't feel bad that I haven't got a great job yet.

I'm slowly transitioning away from trying to get a pit-stop job in retail and going full force trying to find a work placement in the media industry. Once I've secure a placement I think I'll feel hapy to start applying for other jobs again. My main career focus is on the media after all, so I want to spend more time focusing on that rather than putting all my energy into trying to get a job at the local shopping centre.

Whenever I do start to feel sad about not having a work placement it's only ever really 40% due to the fact I haven't got one yet. The remaining 60% of the feeling is caused by comparing myself to other people whether they're friends, or friends of friends, or even people that I've never met before but I just like their Instagram page. When I see all of these other people finding their own success it makes me feel guilty that I haven't found mine yet.

I know that there isn't some secret race or a competition to get a job at a magazine or a radio station or wherever, but I've always hated the feeling of being left behind and I don't want to sit back and watch other people have these amazing lives whilst I'm still sat at home watching Netflix.

I know that comparing your life to someone else's never turns out well but it's hard to avoid doing so when you constantly hear people talking about all of these great opportunities that they have. I know that online you can gloss everything over and make your life seem completely different to reality but even so all of their hard work finally payed off, now I'm just waiting for the same thing to happen to me.

As I've mentioned in a previous blog post I get so worked up when I have nothing to do. I hate feeling bored and I'm truly at my happiest when I'm busy with about 4 different projects to work on. So today I'm keeping myself busy applying for even more work placements and opportunities.

Something else that's frustrating at the moment is that every job that I find requires work experience if you even want to be considered for an interview. I guess it's fair enough but just securing work experience is turning out to be one of the hardest things I've ever done.

16/08/2015

Comment: The problem with celebrity endorsed feminism

2014 was undoubtedly the year of the Feminist and now that we’re over halfway through 2015 this sees no sign of slowing down. Whilst feminism is by no means a new concept, the sudden rise in popularity for a more mainstream and contemporary understanding of feminism indicates a hopeful change in the attitudes of a new generation of young people.

In the past 12 months many female celebrities have more openly and publicly advocated feminism. For example, Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign generated over 1.1 million tweets between the 20th of September and the 2nd of October in 2014 and this created an online discussion of what it means to be a feminist, and what feminism even is.

However Emma Watson represents quite a friendly and easy to digest form of feminism. Whilst it is fantastic that she got people talking about gender stereotypes and the untapped potential of women she should be seen as a gateway into feminism rather than a single representative of every feminist issue in contemporary society. If in 2015 people didn’t know that a feminist isn’t somebody that hates men, it’s because they never bothered to learn what feminism means not because feminism hasn’t tried to teach this to people or due to a lack of resources. Emma Watson just happened to be the mainstream-friendly celebrity that made a large group of people realise this.

Similarly, Taylor Swift has been discussing feminism throughout her recent interviews and spoken out frequently about how feminism is something that she has only recently has started to gain a fuller understanding of.  Swift is a great example of somebody slowly unlearning problematic behaviour and demonstrates how many people actually hold feminist beliefs without even realising it! But again, she should not be seen as the single representative of modern day feminism.

Beyonce is another great example of a somebody publicly advocating feminism and disputing tired stereotypes of what a real feminist should be like. Yes she is a wife and a mother, but she is also a strong and sexually empowered business woman and none of these things make her any less of a feminist. One of the most popular misconceptions of feminism is that only single, childless and career orientated women are feminists, and whilst there are some feminists that do fit this description (which shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing, and a certain ‘type’ of woman shouldn’t be thrown under the bus to further the cause or popularity of feminism), feminism isn’t exclusively for these types of women.

Another popular voice in feminism at the moment is Laverne Cox, who has become a pivotal individual in advocating transgender rights and showcasing how feminism is about supporting every type of woman and not just those that are white, cis, able bodied and heterosexual. Similarly Caitlyn Jenner is another highly notable transgender spokesperson who has encouraged people to have more open discussions regarding acceptance and understanding towards the LGBT community. Something that I personally adore about Caitlyn is that she understands her position of privilege and uses her voice to draw attention to other members of the transgender community that do not have this same platform or support system.

Nicki Minaj is another great role model for young women as she regularly gives incredibly feminist and empowering interviews and encourages the success and celebration of other women. However because she dances in minimal clothing and loves wearing make-up, or because of some other equally shallow reason, a lot of people write her off and don’t give her the credit and respect that she deserves.

However despite this increase of influential women bringing feminism into the media spotlight, there are still just as many celebrities criticising it. Unfortunately most criticism seems to stem from a complete misunderstanding of what feminism is based on poor representation in popular culture. Kaley Cuoco has previously said that she’s not a feminist because she loves being a housewife and taking care of her husband, things which are commonly assumed to be against feminist beliefs. But the important thing to note is that she said she enjoys doing these things! She cooks for her husband not because she is forced to do so but because she love and enjoys it, and these choices don’t make her any less of a feminist. Whilst it’s obviously fine if a person doesn’t want to walk around declaring themselves a feminist at every given opportunity, it’s frustrating seeing women say that they’re not a feminist because of reasons that are actually in line with a lot of feminist beliefs.

One reason why people may be reluctant to call themselves a feminist is because there is no tangible finish line where you get a badge and can suddenly begin to call yourself a true, unproblematic feminist. Also, with so many pop stars and actors being given a feminist spot light this creates quite a fractured view of what feminism is as they may not all completely agree as to what qualifies a feminist. Whilst it is fantastic that there are people that can call themselves both a feminist and a pop star, more media attention needs to be given to women that have a more politically and educationally fleshed out feminist background. In Beyonce’s song Flawless*** she samples a 2012 TED talks by Chimamanda Ngozi titled “Why we should all be feminist” and undoubtedly many people only became aware of this talk after listening to Flawless***. This is a great example of a celebrity using their platform to give attention to people that have already eloquently spoken about feminism rather than diluting down what has already been said in order to make it more popular-media-friendly

There are no strict guidelines to becoming a feminist, however there are common beliefs that are woven throughout the foundations of feminism. In the most diluted down sense of the word, feminism is about equality and justice. The only problem with this diluted down, bitesize definition of feminism is that this get’s passed around and warped until it encapsulates a common understanding of what feminism represents, and many people may be left feeling dissatisfied with this new wave of feminism. Feminism is a socially complex and multifaceted issue and only understanding it based on a simplified definition can cause problems. These problems are wonderfully addressed in this comic (http://www.robot-hugs.com/definition/) but to summarise for you for the purpose of this post, what this comic addresses is the fact that a dictionary is a subjective, man made document that could never possibly encapsulate all the nuances and variations of language and how it is used and understood.

Whilst all the women highlighted at the start of this post have undoubtedly faced prejudice, and oppression should never be treated as a competition, it also needs to be recognised that celebrities live in a world in which they are distanced from some types of prejudice. This isn’t to say that this their fault or that they’re not a worthwhile feminist because they haven't faced the right kind of oppression, but rather that there are many feminist issues that don’t get media attention because celebrities haven’t experienced them and have no knowledge that they exist. Again, this is more of a problem with the stories being told in film and TV and people not being given media attention rather than the lack of stories out there waiting to be told.

It would be ignorant to assume to know what oppression the women at the start of this post have faced and it would be equally as ignorant for us to put them on a feminist pedestal and expect them never to do an unproblematic thing ever again. You can have a a vast and complex knowledge of gender fluidity but still be ignorant when it comes other social issues such as racism and white privilege. However something all of these women highlighted above do have is a platform. They have a mass of online (and real life) followers that care about what they say and it’s already evident that this is an invaluable tool in keeping the momentum in the ongoing discussion on feminism. But as I've already said, they are simply opening up the gateway for feminism and should not be seen as the only important voices in the movement.

Style: Olivia Burton Watches

For the past six months I've been on a constant search for the perfect watch.

I already own a couple of Swatch watches from when I was younger but they're not really my style anymore and whilst I still love them, I really wanted a more 'traditional' looking watch that I could wear every day and grow up with during the next phase of my life.

I've always loved watches, probably because most of my family members always have one strapped to their wrists and as I've grown up they've somehow become one of their defining characteristics whenever I think about them. Their watches suit them perfectly and in the same way that dogs can sometimes look like their owners, I think watches can sometimes resemble the people who wear them.

Watches are the kind of jewellery item that can just completely become a part of someones personality, there's just something about the fact that people wear them everyday which makes them quite personal and gives them a sense of life and sentimentality that other things like t-shirts and socks don't have. It's probably why in American high-school movies when the guy gives his girlfriend his watch it's seen as a grand romantic declaration of love (I'm mainly thinking of John Tucker Must Die as my example of this but I'm sure there are more).

So anyway, I've spent hours online looking for the perfect watch and I can say that 99% of what I found was absolutely horrendous. Everything was so bright and glitzy and over-complicated. Nearly all of the watches that I found that were aimed towards women were just ugly and sparkly and looked like something that the Disney channel wardrobe department would adore.

If you've ever met me in person you will know that I'm an extremely picky in pretty much all area's of my life, especially in terms of my sense of style and appearance and I can decide in 3 seconds if I like something or not.

Finally I managed to stumble upon a brand that made the perfect watch for me. The watches are all vintage-inspired and undoubtedly feminine and delicate without being overwhelmingly girly and thank-god none of their watches encrusted with rhinestones.

The brand that I found is called Olivia Burton and I honestly adore all of their watches. Everything they've designed is very traditional, stylish and ageless and is the type of watch that you can wear with any outfit without worrying if it's going to look good.

Another thing that I love about this brand is that some of their watches feature botanical illustrations that are drawn in a very similar style to my tattoo's so they will look perfect on my wrist.  I also adore their more simple designs and one of my personal favourites is a rose gold watch with a navy leather strap.

I know this post has just been me having a weird rant about watches and gushing over Olivia Burton (if your PR team is reading this and wants to send me some watches over then feel free my friend, feel free) but I've spent so long looking for the perfect watch that I needed to write a blog post about it incase I can help any other poor souls that are also on the lookout for their perfect watch.




09/08/2015

Life: Back to square one

So today I had another one of those slightly down days where I feel like I'm back at square one in terms of the whole job hunting thing. I did hand in my application to Waterstones on Friday so hopefully I'll get something back from that, but either way I'm be going to go back to scouring the internet for jobs for the foreseeable future.

I think that I probably feel disheartened again today because I don't really know what I'm working towards. Every time I look for jobs online I don’t know what I'm searching for and I'm too stubborn to look at office jobs or jobs that I know I could probably get to earn some cash whilst I look for something else. I have this grand idea of what I want my life to be like and I'm not willing to put it on hold for a couple of years whilst I have an uninspiring job. I've seen enough films to know that the job you get once you graduate that you swear is just a pit stop ends up turning into the place you spend the next ten years of your life whilst your real dreams slip awayyyy...

I know ultimately what I want to do with my life but unfortunately there's no fast track to get there and I don't know quite where I'm going to find my 'in'. I also know that my title of "fresh exciting graduate" is going to expire in the next six months so I really want something to work out soon before I have to try and explain what I've been doing since graduation other than applying to internships with no luck.

But I also don't want to become one of those boring people that just complains all of the time about not being handed a great opportunity on a plate. I know that nobody owes me anything and getting where I want to be is going to be hard work and it's going to take a while before I get there, it's just that the 'getting there' bit doesn't seem to be much fun at the moment.

I can tell that I'm going to have the spend the next few weeks reluctantly gritting my teeth and writing up articles to send off to places for freelance work. I know that's the deal in this industry but it's still annoying. But I'd rather do that instead of getting a soul-crushing job in an industry that I have no passion for. I know what I want and I'm not the type of person to give something up, one way or another I always get what I want. I just think in this case it's going to take longer than usual.

I'm also the type of person that annoyingly always seems to land on their feet, even if it's the final second before I hit the ground. I know that something perfect will fall into place and I'll feel stupid for ever doubting myself but I'm just so bored of being at home! I honestly want a job just to get out of the house at this point, maybe as much as I would like some money.

One of the only good things about being at home whilst I look for a job is that I have time to write on this blog. I wonder who actually reads this, I know I get views but I have no idea who you are you little mysterious internet ghosts. I haven't really started any conversations on here it's more just been a place for me to write things and you to read them. It would be nice to get comments from you guys, it's only fair that I read about you after you spend this time reading about me.

I found this quote on Tumblr the other day, and it pretty much articulates everything I've been feeling recently:
"So the last year of school has ended, and I am going to start another kind of life. It strikes me as strange, and among the many anxieties that seize me, the strongest is the choice of a future profession. It already preoccupies me and torments me, all the more so because I don’t feel I have a vocation for anything, and I feel I have many different tastes all dominating me thinking one after the other."
Charles Baudelaire, in a letter, qtd. by Rosemary Lloyd

07/08/2015

Quote: Neil Gaiman, American Gods

I've had a tumblr for a few years now and it's mainly a place where I reblog pretty editorials and pretty quotes. After my last blog post I thought of this quote from one of my favourite books and thought it would be something worth showing you all...
“I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.

I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.

I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.

I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.

I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.

I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.

I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.

I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.

I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.

I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

Update: 07/07/2015

Today I was woken up at half 9 by my mom asking me if I wanted to go to Lidl with her to get some cheese twists (the answer obviously being yes) and before I had time to slowly adjust myself to the day I got a phone call from the shop where I had my job trial.

I didn't get the job, which sucks. For the past couple of days I was sensing a negative vibe from the universe or the unemployment-ghost or something, so the call didn't really catch me off guard or surprise me that much. Of course it would have been awesome to get the job, it sounded really cool and was the type of thing I would have been excited about but I guess everything happens for a reason right?

I've always had mixed feelings about that quote, "everything happens for a reason". It only really seems to work when there's a positive outcome. Everything happens not because of the blind luck and chaos of the universe but because there's a divine plan in place that ensures that you will end up where you're supposed to.

But things don't always work out for the best. Not for everyone. Otherwise this quote is suggesting that for people that are constantly dealt a bad hand, there's a justifiable reason for it. Everything happens for a reason so your suffering is part of the same divine plan that makes some people healthy and happy and other people sick and miserable.

Not that I'm sick or miserable at all. I just didn't get this one job.

I only told my parents and a couple of friends that I even had the interview and trail so at least I wont have to explain on multiple occasions that I'm still unemployed and I currently have no direction for the near future other than watching what's on my Netflix list and writing posts on this ol' thing.

Weirdly, not getting the job wasn't the worst part about not actually getting the job, but rather telling people that I hadn't got it. Maybe it's just leftover angst from being one of those promising school kids that always did well in exams so people just kind of assumed that they'll always do well in exams.

If you're also one of these people you'll understand what I mean. When you're at school teachers tell you how clever and brilliant you are and so when you're not clever or brilliant at something you have a mini existential crisis and you suddenly have no idea who you are because you're supposed to be the clever and brilliant one but you're no longer doing a very good job at proving it.

Whilst it's obviously great having people believe in you and thinking you can achieve all of these great things it does make you extremely anxious about letting them down and failing at something. And I failed at getting this job.

I sent a text one of my friends pretty much straight after I got the call and we started looking for the positives in the situation. Firstly, I know that not getting the job wasn't because of anything personal. They'd only met me twice and the person that did get the job clearly just had a better trial shift than I did. They're not necessarily more brilliant or clever than I am.

Secondly, if I did get this job it would have meant having to get the train into the city centre and this would have meant spending around £5 every day on travel alone, without even considering all the food that I would probably buy during my lunch breaks.

Those were really the only two positives I could think of, and my friend also offered up the point that at least now I have the experience of interviewing and trials so when I next have one they won't seem so daunting.

Now it's just time for me to get back in the game and start looking for another job. My friend also messaged me saying that the local Waterstones are currently employing so I'll brush up my CV once again and hand it in this evening. Maybe the universe wants me to work with books. It would make sense after all, with me wanting to be a writer and such.

If I did work there it would also mean that me and my group of school friends all work within the same shopping centre which I think could be the origin story of a great sitcom. Also maybe being around books all the time would help keep me focused on writing my own stuff.

And anyway, what good would this blog have been if I got the job and instantly became successful. I do need exciting material for my writing after all so hopefully all of this will become useful to me and one day make it into a number one best selling novel.

06/08/2015

Letters: A Project


I've never really written anyone a letter. Not a real letter, something you can open up and hold in your hand that talks about life and friendship and has been sealed in an envelope and sent in the post.

As you all probably know by now, I've finished university and I live back at home. It's great that I get to see all of my home friends again but now I have the distinct problem of trying keeping in touch with all of the friends that I made at university that live all over the place.

I know that social media is a thing that exists in 2015 but there's just something so careless and impersonal about sending a text or Facebook message to someone that you consider a friend.

(Don't worry, this post isn't going to be one of those boring anti-technology and social-media rants that keep on cropping up at the moment, I bloody love Instagram and Twitter and think they're endlessly useful tools when it comes to connecting with people, but let me continue...)

In the same sense that I love vinyl because it's a more romantic and personal way of listening to music compared to iTunes, I love letters because there's a certain care and effort that goes into constructing one that just isn't needed when you're sending a text.

Also, there's just something lovely and exciting about receiving letters in the post that aren't from the bank or advertisements from the local take-away. And because it's not an instant online message there's something satisfying knowing that your letter went on a little journey to reach you (a journey that wasn't dependant on wifi or phone signal, but the good old postman.)

So today I decided that I'm going to start writing letters to my university friends. I've never had a pen pal before so I don't know how good I will be at this but I am a writer so hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Something else I quite like about this little project I've set up for myself is that it makes the task of staying in touch with people less daunting. Because we live in the age of instant messaging you'd be forgiven for thinking that not talking to a person everyday means that you're going to lose touch with them forever. But because a letter takes time and care to write, I feel like sending one letter a month is the equivalent of sending a text to someone every day for a couple of weeks.

I think I've done enough blog posts for one day, I'm going to turn off my Mac now and start reading more of Norwegian Wood and then tomorrow I will get started on writing some letters!

Style Essential: The Band T-Shirt

I was originally going to do a second inspiration post today full of images and photos that are currently influencing my style, but it ended up just looking like a messy clutter of Pinterest pictures that didn't really look right on my blog.

So instead I've decided that rather than doing occasional posts full of street style pictures found online that I would instead post more regular blog posts featuring images around a certain street style theme/element that I'm currently loving or a person who's style I admire.

For the first post of this kind I obviously had to write about the beloved band t-shirt. I've been slowly hoarding band shirts for as long as I can remember. I love how effortlessly cool they look and every fashion week you're guaranteed to see street style photo's of models and bloggers wearing the coolest  faded/vintage/borrowed-from-their-boyfriend band T-Shirts.

One of my personal favorite things about band T-Shirts is wearing them and annoying people by claiming that you know nothing about the band you're wearing. I know that music can mean a lot to people etc etc but until we can have an open and educated discussion about the serious implications of cultural appropriation I'm afraid you bitching about a Ramones or Led Zeppelin top being sold in Topshop just makes you sound like a pretentious prick.

Whilst all of the band T-Shirts that I own feature musicians that I grew up listening to and loving, what does annoy me is how young girls often come under criticism for wearing a Nirvana shirt that they bought in Primark because of course young girls can't be multifaceted and enjoy skinny jeans, One Direction, make up and *gasp* Nirvana.

I do understand how annoying it can be when you completely adore a band and everyone only seems to be wearing their shirt because a celebrity was spotted wearing one, but as I said, there are more pressing issues that need to be discussed before we move on to this.

After that breif little cultural comment on band T-Shirts, here are some lovely images showing you how cool they are (in case you ever had any doubts)

 

Life: The best places to be alone

I saw a tumblr post recently that listed out the best places to be alone, and as someone who is part socially anxious, part socially lazy and part introvert I thought it would be nice to conduct my own list of places that I think can be pretty fantastic when on your own.
  • on the train
  • in a small busy coffee shop
  • lying in bed in the middle of the night when everyone else has gone to sleep
  • a bookstore
  • art gallery
  • sat by a window during a storm
  • surrounded by flowers
  • on a small, hidden beach with only a few strangers scattered around

I think being alone can be quite nice sometimes. It isn't necessarily synonymous  with being lonely and I think most people are scared of being lonely so can feel scared about being alone. Sometimes all you need is that human energy and buzz that can come from simply being near other people, even if you're not sat having coffee with them but just sat having coffee on the table opposite overhearing snippets of conversation. I'm not sure how strong the stigma about being alone is when you're only 21 but I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling OK about being alone sometimes.

I know that in the next couple of years I'm going to be entering into that awkward age bracket where half of my friends are in long term relationships, settling down and thinking about children whilst the other half remain as bewildered and confused about the concept of growing up as I am. I know life's not a race or a competition but it can feel a lot like you're losing when those that are settling down are seen as winning a place in a secret grown up club where people talk about things like dishwashers and meetings and olives and other grown up nonsense.

I guess I just wanted to write a post to let people know that it's fine to be alone and that you're still a whole person on your own even if you haven't found you "other half" yet. You can have happy and  fulfilled life even if you don't have someone to share every detail with and your life doesn't stop being valid just because you don't have someone else to confirm it happened.

I fear that this post is slowly becoming cynical and I'm segwaying myself into a life full of the pitter patter of tiny cat paws (FYI I'd be more than happy to live out my days surrounded by cats, I'm using this stereotype more for imagery than an actual discomfort at the thought of being a cat lady).

I'm not saying in this post that it's awesome to be alone always and forever, but just that there will be periods of time in your life where you will probably be alone. So rather than thinking about it as this big terrible thing to try and avoid be ashamed of, just find small things about being alone that you can enjoy because it's honestly not that bad.

Life: Update 06/08/2015

Today I'm going to write up a few blog posts that I've been meaning to do for the past two weeks but I've been stuck in a Wet Hot American Summer Netflix binge so have been quite slack on the blogging front.

In the last life update post I told you that I had a trail shift for a job last Friday and it's now nearly a week post trial. I think (and hope) that the trail went pretty well! I showed my personality and demonstrated that I do know what I'm talking about in terms of style and fashion and that I'm passionate about working in that environment. I'm pretty much just waiting by the phone now to hear back on whether or not I've got the job. I think there were a couple of other people being given a trial shift so once everyones done the shop owner will get back to me with his decision. I'm in that weird state of flux where I obviously want the job but I don't want to get excited or talk about it because there's no guarantee that it's mine.

The main thing that's going through my head is that if i get the job: great! If not: it was only my second job interview and my first ever trial shift so there's no need to feel disheartened. Just try again and apply to some more jobs.

Since my last post I've also been slowly getting back into reading. I want to start writing book reviews on this blog as I start to make a dent in the pile of books that are currently taking residence in the corner of my room (until I finally find a bookcase to make their permanent home). I still have a couple of books that I started to read when I was still at university but because of deadlines I never got the chance to finish them. Once I've written up all of the blog posts for today I'm going to go back to my copy of Norwegian Wood and try to finish it so I can post a review! (the last time I read it was on the beach so I'm sure that when I open it a few grains of sand will fall out. It's been over a month since I left Falmouth yet I keep finding sand everywhere!)

Another thing I've been thinking of doing is posting some work on this blog that I did whilst I was at uni. Obviously not my 4,000 word essays on media ethics or anything but small articles that I wrote that I think would suit the style of this blog. As I just mentioned reviews I'll probably post a couple of those that I wrote for various deadlines to show you all that I can write in a style other than 'pithy blog posts'.

Look: Room Inspiration

It's been about three years since I last posted a mood board/inspiration post so I decided now would be the time to post a new one. And because I've been going on about redecorating my room for the past month it makes sense to post about my room/interior inspiration!



23/07/2015

Life: Update 23/07/2015

I haven't done a blog post for about a week now because not much has really been happening! Things have been bubbling away under the surface and hopefully during the next couple of weeks they'll start showing themselves and I can start writing about them on this blog!

I've been continuing to redecorate my room and it's slowly (slowwly) starting to come together. Half of my walls are now white and hopefully by the end of this weekend the final half will be too. I've also been on a mission to try and find a nice bookcase and storage 'thing' for my clothes. The only problem is that I'm very particular about what I like and everything that I do like seems to only exist on Pinterest and I have no idea where to actually find it in the real world.

As I just mentioned, a couple of things have been bubbling away so don't think that I've been doing nothing this past week!

Firstly, I have a trail shift for the cool indie shop I told you about! Next Friday I'll be going in for a few hours to see how I get on so hopefully *fingers crossed* I'll make a good impression and that will work out. As I've said before I know that a trail shift doesn't mean that I have the job, and I don't at all want to be cocky and assume that I have a job, but it's another step forward and another experience!

Secondly, I've managed to obtain a contact at a local radio station. My dad was recently interviewed by him and got to talking about me and everything I did at uni. The guy knows Falmouth well so was quite interested and passed on his email which my dad forwarded to me. So hopefully with this contact something may be able to work out even if it just means the odd days work experience here and there (that is if I do manage to get a job in Birmingham of course and this person even wants to offer me work experinence!)

And finally, I've been thinking more about this whole 'being a writer' thing and I do actually take it quite seriously. I've got a couple of ideas for books so need to start knuckling down and trying to get somewhere with that. I always hate people that talk about what they want to do but then they never actually bother to do anything about it. I don't want to be one of those people that talks about writing but never actually sits down and writes. I want to start looking into how people pitch ideas and get the ball rolling. I know some things from university when I did a publishing module but still want to research a bit more before I go sending out ideas without knowing what to do with them.