Thursday, 29 June 2017

“You're a wizard, Harry.”

So there are a million and one things that I want to write about right now. But at the risk of over complicating my life even further with some pointless wonderings, I decided to go with a Harry Potter related post. So a couple of days ago it was twenty years to the day since the first Harry Potter book was published. Which means, yes, Harry Potter came into the world shortly after I was born. I am as old as the Harry Potter books. That feels pretty damn good.

Okay, I'm going to start by sharing my house. I am very proud to be a part of Ravenclaw! Sharing a house with Luna Lovegood would have been brilliant! I wish I had the bravery and courage of a Gryffindor but Luna is proof that yu can be both brave and courageous without being in Gryffindor.

I know it's unusual but I actually only finished these books earlier on this year at nineteen. I read plenty as a child but went straight from Roald Dahl to Meg Cabot, then onto Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking Series when I was about thirteen. I just seemed to have skipped over Harry Potter. I'm pretty glad about it now.  I appreciated them more than I perhaps would have a few years before,and I took my time working through them. There's so much that can be learnt from Rowling's brilliant series. I think if I am ever to have children, I would rather withhold this series from them until they are mature enough to appreciate it.

So what's my point with this post? To bring you a list of my favourite things about Harry Potter, of course! Here goes nothing;

1. Hermoine. She is one of my favourite literary characters ever. I adored Hermoine from the word go. For her intelligence and its coexistence with bravery most of all. I loved her because of her curly hair, for her compassion for the Elves. She is the perfect example of a girl with good intentions growing up in a really shitty world. She is conflicted, and passionate and a relatable character for any number of ages. And who doesn't love this particular line:

'It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long'.

2. Umbridge. Now if I were you I'd be reading this and feeling outraged. How can anybody like her?! I included her in this list because I think she is hilarious. She brings a whole new dynamic to the 'crazy cat lady' and a new dimension to the concept of a villain. She's a mature woman, who wears pink consistently and loves cats. Typically, she is the furthest thing from what one would expect from a villain. Yet she's one of the most sinister, terrifying, characters that I have ever come across. I love that we had some female villains. She and Bellatrix are pretty sinister and it's extremely interesting. Is it acceptable that there are equal oppurtunities even in villainy? (Does she remind anybody else of Theresa May?)

3. The possibility of defying the odds. These three characters have just about everything thrown at them. Their families are threatened and occasionally killed, they are left wondering the world alone and resourceless in search of means of destroying He Who Shall Not Be Named. Even when they are captured, they still manage an escape. Hope never loses its value in the Wizarding World. With this presence of hope, comes the unexpected nature of the universe. I'm sure a better reader than I could probably have predicted what happened in some of these books. But for me, the element of surprise was always present.

4. Snape. Professor Snape is one of my favourite characters. He's got one of the best character developments in this series I think. From my favourite villain to my favourite hero. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bit of a strange attraction to Professor Snape (I'm sorry!). I think in the end I liked Snape much more than I liked Dumbledore.

5. Quidditch.  Do I even need to explain this? Wizards and Witches have their own sport, involving broomsticks and flying! It's awesome!

6. The political aspects to the series. There are so many political elements to the Wizarding World. I think the books would be really helpful to younger readers as an introduction to the Political World. The concept that torture is wrong. Dumbledore's Army. And do I even need to comment on the parallels between Miss Rita Skeeter and a certain red headed journalist in the real world? I think not! Rowling remains clever, entertaining and amusing with the introduction of politics though. But it isn't difficult for younger readers to acknowledge right from wrong.

7. A happy ending. I'm a sap, okay? I like a good happy ending. Harry and Ginny are a beautiful couple!

8. 'You're a wizard, Harry' and a squashed birthday cake. Simply Genius!

These are just some of my favourite elements to the Wizarding World. I absolutely adore this series and I cannot wait to start rereading them at some point; they are a series that I will always return to. I hope to someday make it to the studios in London. I hope you're all having wonderfully magical weeks and I will return soon.

Night night!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

With a bang, instead of a whimper?

Currently I am knee deep in the summer break from university. I'm pretty sure that I'm meant to be planning dissertation ideas and a future and I'll be honest, the whole thing is freaking me out. It has suddenly hit me that in a years time I will be finishing university. My degree will be over. Three years ago, I'm pretty sure it felt like it would drag on forever. And just as suddenly, I am faced with the abyss. A sickenly large void that is otherwise known as the future.

It terrfies me. Life right now is full of endings, and of new beginnings. And lots and lots of change. I'm wondering about what the end of my degree even means. Am I meant to finally start getting my shit together? But then, what does that mean?

But finishing my degree is the end of such a big chapter and I am worried about leaving it behind. I'm going to miss seeing friends every day and even announcing my panic in the safety of the lecturer's office. All of it.

Am I meant to start looking for a graduate job? I don't even know if I'm ready to do my masters or why I'm thinking this far ahead? I'm worried about being out of education; will my brain turn to mush?

Am I the only one who is worried about all of this?

I don't know. I'm hoping that all of these recent changes will bring about happiness and peace (probably a very unrealistic and stupid thing to hope for but here we are).

I hope you all have wonderful and stress free weeks

Friday, 16 June 2017

'Mierce's Marks'

So last night I decided to go along to a poetry event and it was pretty great. Mierce's Marks was organised by R. M. Francis, who is a PHD student at my university and prominent in the local poetry community, and Sam Roden. Sam is a graduate of The University of Wolverhampton and also my high school English Teacher. Together they gathered four other poets for this event and their choices were amazing.

I've seen both R. M. Francis and Willis The Poet perform before and they're both incredible entertaining and talented. Willis is hilariously funny and witty. However, the rest of the line up was entirely new to me. There were poems about parenthood, death, loss, love, heartache, the past, and the West Midlands. They were all so beautifully different. I laughed and smiled but sat in awe. I envy those able to perform their work. Especially so confidently! Maybe one day, eh?

I bought Sam Roden's chapbook, Catch Ourselves in Glass, at the end of the event and it is beautiful and witty. With regard to favourites, I'm currently torn between Shove Your Tissues and Zero.

I cannot wait to go along to another poetry event. They're always inspiring, and I cannot help but wish more people attended.

Have a good evening folks.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wonder Woman!

Good evening folks.

I've been gone for a few days; partly because I've been working and I've been so very tired and partly because I've been trying to process the results of the general election. I think it is safe to say that
I am disappointed. I really thought that change was coming. I suppose that in a way change has come. Labour gave the Conservatives a damn good run for their money and I am proud to have voted labour. I do not regret my vote at all. I'm very worried about the next five years after today's outcome. I'm worried about the world that my sister is going to out into in a few short years. Worried about the world my children will grow up in. I am scared. And DUP?! What's that all about Mrs May?! I mean I'm pretty happy that Jeremy Corbyn hasn't given up. Oh and that Mexican wave from her this week guys- pretty crazy right? But the real question is: is the Mexican wave crazier than her running through fields of wheat? I think not. You simply can't top that level of cheeky.

Okay... last week I went to see Wonder Woman with Chels (dinner and a movie ready to be crossed off the bucket list for the summer). It was a pretty spontaneous and I only had about half an hour to get ready. But oh my god, and wow. Patti Smith's Wonder Woman is easily one of the best films of this year.

Okay, so the opening of the film depicts the Amazons; a tribe of women living on the isle of Themyscira. Diana is just a young girl when the film opens, and she is seen escaping her tutor in order to observe the other Amazons learning to fight. However, her mother catches her and explains their history. Their island was protected by Zeus, and hidden from the God of War that is Aries. Diana's mother discourages the little girl's dreams of joining the defense ranks by telling her this story; their origin story. She also introduces a young Diana to a room in which the gifts from the God's are hidden and includes objects such as the lasso of truth. The central gift within the room is what Hippolyta refers to as 'The God Killer'. I should probably mention that Diana herself is a gift from the Gods. She was fashioned from clay by Hippolyta and Zeus gave her life. Diana is already very unique.

Anyway, Diana's isolation is interrupted by Chris Pine. Now I haven't seen Mr Pine in anything since I battled my way through Into The Woods (ouch). But his role in Wonder Woman was amazing and much better than Into The Woods. I was very impressed and grew attached to his character quickly. Okay so Chris Pine, also known as the lovely Steve Trevor,  crashes a small plane into the ocean surrounding the island. Diana, after unleashing a strange power when engaging in combat with her Aunt, is stood on a cliff and sees the man break through the protective barrier. And she saves him from the water without a second thought. It was refreshing to see it reversed; a male in need of a woman's aid. The long and short of it is that Steve Trevor is a British Spy and has just blown his cover in Germany. Now, the young man must return to England with vital information that will stop the 'war to end all wars'.

From the very beginning there is chemistry between Gadot and Pine. Steve Trevor presumes Diana to be completely inexperienced and naïve in all aspects of life, after all she doesn't even know what a watch it. Yet he raises the topic of sex and her response is my absolute favourite. She admits that she has read about sex and is well informed, but the books she has been reading have informed her that men are not very good at it. She is brilliantly funny, strong and yet very feminine.

The World War One setting was very uncomfortable for me. I've sat through films such as Saving Private Ryan and the like, and not felt even half of the emotion that I did whilst watching this. I don't know if it's because I was seeing it from a female perspective or not. But this film was touching and I cannot disagree with Empire that it gave Jenkins 'a chance to play with themes of female empowerment, feminism and standing up against oppression'. From a woman walking out into no mans land to the same woman questioning the practicalities of female clothing. It covered it all. Diana repeatedly denies every male order she is given; she refuses to be instructed and confined. It was so refreshing and entertaining.Empire continues to state that Wonder Woman is 'a film about the evil that men do, from small, snippy stuff to the big, bad, bigoted bullshit that could destroy the planet'. I couldn't agree more but the film is about an underestimated woman who battles against all of these evils with her empathy. This was amazing to watch.

I guess it's important to mention that Wonder Woman was joining the ranks of female super hero flops such as Catwoman and Elektra and yet it blew all projections out of the water with its incredible sales, even in its second weekend. So I may not have not the election result that I wanted, but it seems that change is coming with regard to the role of women in cinema and the superhero franchises. It is inspiring and beautiful. Oh and her hair is pretty damn good.

Oh and on a side note, Remus Lupin makes an appearance. I will never be able to disassociate the actor from the character that is Lupin.

Have a good week folks!

Monday, 5 June 2017

A confession; I am anxious this week

I've been trying to write this post for a couple of hours now, because I couldn't sleep. I wanted to think of a clever and witty way to write about it. I wonder if this is because I wanted it to seem appealing as a blog post, whether I was afraid of admitting it, or because I fear becoming boring. I
don't know. But this week is sure as hell not appealing. This is not me challenging the universal stigma surrounding mental health, for once. This is me trying to be brave and admitting that I have had a bad week. The slightest little things have been making me anxious and teary. Like the fact that my Norton anti-virus is up in a few days. How crazy is that? I probably would have been better off staying in bed this week but I feel as though this evening I am coming out of an anxious episode. I've spent my day off relaxing, reading and shopping. And I'm quite happy to admit that I am feeling a bit better! I am on the road to being fully functional again.

Last night I rediscovered Eat Pray Love. I didn't watch all of it and I'm under no illusions; this film is soppy as hell! It's not your typical chic flick and it is what inspired me to want to go to Italy after graduation. Sometimes, it's helpful to me. Last night I watched to the point of Liz Gilbert's discovery of the Italian word 'attraversiamo'. I forget this word often, and I shouldn't. I think it's the whole reason I watch this every now and then. This beautiful Italian word means 'let's cross over'.

So I came here with some thoughts on self care. I know that I forget that I have the option to change and 'cross over' every single day. To me, this word means that just because you are walking one path it is never too late to look across the street and decide you would prefer to walk a different path, instead. For whatever reason that is, it is okay. You are never stuck. Right now, I want to express how important it is to accept that sometimes a person must be selfish. At some point one must learn to love and appreciate the sound of their feet walking away from the things that are hurting them. By god, I wish I had perfected this art by now.

So we all remember how my wonderful friend Lauren and I wrote those letters to our younger selves? Well I've been doing a lot of thinking today about the things I wanted to tell future me. I hope that future me will have so much more common sense and be a lot wiser than I. Right now I feel pretty stupid and naïve about the world. So I'm hoping that twenty five year ld, even thirty year old me, will be better at, erm, life.

I'm going to aim for three pieces of advice and anything else is a blessing.

1. Okay, number one. I hope that you learn to put attraversiamo into practise. I hope you learn that crossing over and walking away is always an option. I suppose this comes under the much and simple phrase that is 'never settle'.

2. Never stop questioning. Seek adventure! I cannot wait to travel!

3. This is crap advice but be happy. Do whatever it takes to achieve this state.

Right now, I'm going to leave you with the mental image of me dancing around my kitchen listening to the Coyote Ugly soundtrack- Don Henley's All She Wants Do Is Dance is my absolute favourite song right now (I just finished watching the film!). I have cheese on toast cooking so I'm going to enjoy that! I hope you all have a wonderful week; I hope that they are anxiety free weeks. I should be back soon- probably after my interview tomorrow.


Evening all! So it has been a couple of days since my trip to London but I thought I'd finally post the pictures from the trip! First of all, I bring you a filtered selfie of me on the coach! The journey was so long and I totally underestimated the ability of my phone battery. The little thing let me down! I spent the whole journey taking selfies and playing scrabble with Chels across many miles. I had Courtney for company too. So it wasn't a bad four hour journey down there, all things considered.
Having never actually been to London, I was shocked by how much I liked the big city. The speed of the place was pretty cool. Kensington is so damn pretty! I wish we'd had more time to explore London but it has intrigued me enough to want to come back. The city seemed mostly full of other tourists which made me feel a little better!

The Globe Theatre was beautiful! There was something breath-taking about sitting on a bench, watching a Shakespeare play and being slightly anxious that the heavens were going to open at any moment, despite the consistent sunshine. Well the good news is that it didn't piss it down and my ribs hurt due to constant laughter. The performance of Twelfth Night was absolutely brilliant! I've not read it before, so it was a total surprise to me. It was hilariously funny and Olivia was by far my favourite character! Gender roles were quite radical, I thought. The cross dressing elements and hints are homosexuality were surprising! Totally sympathetic towards Olivia though, very sadly. Poor sod.

Exploring the city had me taking a lot of photos of the Thames. It's filthy but the view sure is pretty. Have another selfie of me amongst some pictures from the Millennium bridge! London is one impressive city and I cannot wait to go back! I was even fascinated by the red phone boxes and busses. It sounds so crap and lame, but I am super excited to get out of Wolverhampton and go see some more of the world. I cannot thank the University enough for putting this trip on and I wish I had gone last year! Also many thanks to Courtney for putting up with me for eight hours on the journey there and back.

I'm going to round up my appreciation of London with a picture of me stood next to a rather snazzy looking bin (why am I so awkward). I desperately wanted to express how much I wanted to go back to London when I got home, on social media. Yet very sadly I felt that I couldn't. Just as I got home and into bed there was a news update of another terror attack, in London not too far from where we'd spent the day. It hasn't even been two weeks since that god awful night in Manchester. I had a series of messages from friends asking if I was alright. Over the course of a couple of hours, two more attacks across London were reported. Chels and I sat there marvelling at the craziness of these terror attacks. I just cannot believe that we are in this situation and encourage everyone to stay safe. I caught the last half an hour of the One Love Manchester concert on television after work last night. That made me cry, it was so so beautiful.

Once again guys, I hope you all have a good week. Stay safe and be kind.