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On freedom

Like it’s supposed to, it was the eclipse that started it.

All the talk about new beginnings and strange happenings passed a cynic like me by, but it was the eclipse that made me do something I’ve never ever done.  The eclipse made me think about something that an ex partner said to me on the day of the 1999 eclipse.  It was quite innocuous in the context of our relationship. It was no doubt horrible, as many people pointed out, but was by no means the worst.

It wasn’t what he said that got me thinking though, it was that I’d never, ever tweeted anything about the bad times of our relationship. Yes, I’d mentioned him and yes many people know it wasn’t an easy relationship to say the least but as for actual specifics on the main timeline, I certainly can’t recall doing it.

Then I realised that it was because I felt safe to do it, and no longer felt the need to keep the secrets. After over three years and various stages of twitter silence, changing my account name and various suspicious random accounts following me, I finally feel like I can say what I want on my twitter account.

This in turn got me thinking about the concept of freedom. I don’t want to make this post the gory details about previous relationships, firstly because it’s only my side of the story and secondly, the person in question has no right to reply to this, but I haven’t always had physical freedom.   That took a lot of getting used to and still does from time to time, but the mental freedom still isn’t 100% there. That’s why it took me a while to write this, I suppose. If I get it out and manage to post it, it’s one stage on from the tweet, right? It may be that I spend my whole time panicking after pressing send but then at least I stop being worried, and stop feeling like I have to protect the people that hurt me.

Mental freedom is the hurdle that I now face. I still constantly feel like I’m in the wrong;  that every act of indifference is rejection or something to do with me being inherently bad or unlovable. I am better at this than I was- I wear makeup, I wear nice clothes and I try to take care of my body as much as I am able when I am able – but I wouldn’t say that I was free from worrying about what other people think, see or judge me to be.  I’m slowly learning that if people don’t appreciate me that that may not be my problem. It could be theirs.

I know I’ve a way to go but now, finally, I feel like I can tweet like nobody is watching and I’m coming round to the idea that I may be the kind of person people like to be friends with.  So please bear with me if I need your reassurance, and those that know me know I need a LOT, because I think that it’s all part of me getting better and getting my freedom back.

Thanks for reading,

Hx

 

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Yesterday, I tweeted this:

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It was a throwaway comment, but it got me thinking.

 

I’ve never been cool. A desperate need to please people tends to do that. Cool people aren’t bothered what people think, are they? They just walk around, being cool. Not caring what others think about them. I’m the kind of person that apologises when my foot dares to be where someone else wants to put theirs. I’m not fashionable, I have no idea about what’s cutting edge or current when it comes to music and films. But I know what I like. I always have.

 

My mum and I were talking the other day about when I was a kid and my insistence that I watch the Rocky Horror Show once a week from the age of about ten.  The crux of the conversation was that I was probably never going to fit in.

 

And you know what? I was glad. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but who does? When you’re a teenager, all you want to be is like everyone else. All I wanted to be was a grown up so that I could stop caring.

 

Turning 30 was fabulous for me because I could finally stop pretending that I was bothered about staying in on a Saturday night watching talent shows.

 

I still worry about what people think but I’ve realised something.

 

Although I’m not cool, I am unique. I am me and this is what me is about:

 

I’m useless at playing it cool. I still get excited when I see a celebrity, however minor.  Seriously, I once followed Rick Waller around HMV in Bromley for a ridiculous amount of time.

 

I own a High School Musical box set which I have watched more than once.

 

My top ten favourite bands probably haven’t changed in the last fifteen years.

 

I don’t watch the news, but I’m up to date on Hollyoaks.      

 

I actually do things like I said in the tweet above.

 

I think puns are hilarious.

 

I love that I can get to be scathing about television on the internet. It brings me great joy that people actually read it.

 

I don’t drink and I’m absolutely fine with that.

 

Oh and finally…

 

My favourite film is still Rocky Horror.

My poor neglected blog. It’s been a while, but something happens that makes you want to write something beyond my usual Facebook status or 140 twitter characters.

I was having a pretty crappy Monday. It was my first day back after two weeks off. The clocks had gone forward and I wanted my hour back, dammit! I was having my “quick read” of the internet to prime me before I faced the email mountain and the pile of crap that was about to face me.

Then it popped up on my twitter feed.

The Bluetones are disbanding.

It was awful. I said on twitter that I genuinely hadn’t been this upset since Robbie left Take That. I think some people thought I was joking, but it’s true. Never has a musical announcement even made me feel slightly upset since then and before Monday.

It took me a while to realise why I was so upset. I put a lot of it down to Monday blues – a compound effect of all the other crap that had flung itself my way that day, but the feeling of sadness lasted through until today.  Then I realised.

I always thought they’d be there, because they always have been.

My brother bought me Expecting to Fly for my 16th birthday. I’d given him a choice of albums to get and he chose that one.  I can’t remember what the other choices were, I wish I could because it would be an interesting aside that would add texture and colour to this.  I still have the tape. The front was embossed with a sticker that’s nearly worn away. The back half of the tape is missing. It’s cracked but the jagged edges are smooth.

That tape left home with me. It was joined by another album that was the soundtrack to my gap year; Return to the Last Chance Saloon. Another tape that I still have.  This was followed by Science and Nature, which came out bang in the middle of my time at university, and the tour that accompanied it was the first time I’d seen them live and one of the best nights of my student life. The albums that followed are not so marked by eras in my life but are still memorable to me. I have a Bluetones song for every mood, every event and every eventuality.

The Bluetones pop in and out of my life. It’s unfortunate that this happened at a time when they were very much in. I saw them in November and giggled and waved. I saw Mark Morriss on his own in January of this year. I met him and I was charmed. He was a lot taller than I thought he would be too.

I posted on Facebook that night that all I wanted to do was build a time machine and go back and tell my 16 year old self that I would meet a Bluetone one day. I’d never have believed me, but I’d have had a lot of fun winding me up about it.

All I can do is publicly say thank you and all the best for the future.  Oh, and see you in September!

Loved and Lost

I know that the internet is currently awash with theories and opinions about the Lost finale. It seems that the majority have decided that not enough questions were answered and it descended into sentimentality. Opinions have ranged from absolutely in love with it to absolute rage that their favourite mystery had not been solved.

I for one, loved it.

In a rare moment of being a morning person, I rose at 4.30am to see it with the rest of the world. I’m glad I did. It gave me a chance to digest and rationalise before I articulated my opinion. I’m now going to, like several thousand other bloggers across the world, give you my take and just why it was such a fitting end to a wonderful show.

I was telling myself during the final series that the destination didn’t matter, because the journey had been so good. The destination did not hold the answers to everything, but I did enjoy it.

I like that it ended up about the characters. Whatever explanation was given for the island and it’s powers, most people wouldn’t be happy. We get to make our own decisions about what happened to those who lived and what it was that made the island so special. We knew it was about light and dark, good and evil, fate vs. free will, logic vs. faith.

As Christian Shepherd (I didn’t notice either) said, what happened on the island happened. They didn’t all die in the crash. Everything on the island was true and it was so life altering for everyone they chose to meet up in the after, where there is no now so they could come whenever they were ready, whenever they died.They were as they were on the island, because they were so important to each other they decided to create a whole universe together so they can meet each other afterwards. When they were ready to move on, they moved on together.

On the island, Jack and Kate killed the smoke monster by getting Desmond to switch off the light, temporarily blocking the island’s powers and making him mortal. Jack then passed the torch to Hurley, before switching the light back on and ultimately dying. Hurley took Ben as his number two. Jack then died in the same place he arrived.

It’s the afterlife part that seems to have got people the angriest and most confused. The way I see it, everybody got the chance to be redeemed in the flash sideways universe. Those who weren’t were not ready as they were still feeling guilty about someone. Here is my take on each character’s journey and what they needed to move on…

Hurley goes from cursed by the numbers to the luckiest man alive. He met with Libby again. It was the love of Libby that allowed him to move on.

Juliet got her baby, and got the chance to be the doctor that she wanted to be, but ultimately it was her love for Sawyer that allowed her to move on.

Sawyer got to be the good guy, and got a chance to see what path his life would have taken if he had not chosen the path of revenge. It was his love for Juliet that allowed him to pass over.

Jin and Sun got a chance to be together without the pressure of Sun’s father’s expectations on Jin. This led him to be the man he became on the island. I think it was seeing their child that let them move on.

Kate couldn’t quite let go of her crimes, but it wasn’t her mother’s boyfriend that she felt guilty about, it was her boyfriend that died in the car accident. She had to atone for that. It was the birth of Aaron that was her moment of redemption both on the island and in the afterlife.

Sayid is a tricky one. My take is that he felt so guilty about the death of Nadia he wouldn’t let himself have her. Instead, he allowed her a happy , stable life with his brother and killed the bad guys to protect that. Shannon loved him on the island for who he was and it was that love in the end that allowed him to move on.

Desmond is a trickier one. He had the approval of Penny’s father, something he never had in the real world, and he got to meet Penny again with this. I think that it was getting the chance to save Charlie, who died to save him that allowed him to move on.

Charlie still got to live his rock and roll lifestyle, but was saved from messing it up by Jack. He got to meet Claire again and it was this that was his key to move on. Similarly for Claire it was Charlie that helped her. She found her family to help her with her baby.

Locke had a chance to hurt his father, which I can’t blame him for really after what he put him through. It was his feet on the ground that allowed him to move on.

I have been wondering why Aaron was there as a baby but Ji Yeon wasn’t. I can only assume that several years passed between the first and last deaths so why didn’t anybody age? The best explanation I have for this is that Sun was pregnant in the afterlife to give Jin a chance to meet her. Aaron, well if everyone else was as they were on the island, why shouldn’t he be.

The characters that were not present in the church played their parts, but were not part of the core group of islanders. Ben couldn’t, so stayed outside. Ana Lucia was presumably still feeling guilty about Shannon, hence her “not being ready”.

Jack had his son to work through his daddy issues with, but ultimately, it was his dad that helped him move on.

The one question I do have that I think needs answered is what becomes of Desmond. I’d like to think that Ben showed him the way out and he, Penny and baby Charlie were reunited. Anyone who tells me otherwise is in trouble.

Eloise Hawking is another that seems to be confusing people. Here’s my theory. She enjoyed the life where she never had to kill her son. Never had to encourage him on to the island where she would ultimately kill him in order to fulfil his fate. I think that this is why she didn’t want questions answered, or wanted to move on.

So there’s my theories on the end of probably my favourite TV show ever. I’m no expert and I’m sure there are probably several other opinions, and questions that I didn’t answer here, if you want to know what I think about anything, feel free to ask below!

I’m all for a bit of trash television.  I like reality shows, I enjoy my X-factor and even indulge in the odd bit of Hollyoaks.  But sometimes, something comes along so truly terrible that it makes me question ever turning on my television again.

The Door was one of these programmes.

This was indeed quite possibly the worst hour and a bit of television I have ever set my eyes upon. Not only did I want to switch off my television, I wanted to smash, burn and bury it, only to dig up the parts to add to my trusty flux capacitator and invent a time machine to take me back to a simpler time where trash like this could never possibly infringe on my life.  You talk about time you will never get back. This is time I wanted to have a funeral service for, and record a charity single to raise funds in its memory.

It was on for two hours over Friday and Saturday night. I managed Fridays episode, and some of Saturdays but I truly lost the will to live after the first five minutes.

So what was it about.  Well, it was equal parts Saw Game, I’m a Celebrity, Crystal Maze and Middle Management Training exercise. Fronted by Amanda “Windtunnel” Holden and Chris “Desperate” Tarrant, it saw six celebrities competing against each other by facing their worst fears, the winner earning £25,000 for their favourite charity. This I suppose was the only polish to this stupendously steaming turd, but it was buried so deep you forgot about it.

Set in a “Mysterious” “Russian” storage facility, Dean Gaffney, Michael Underwood, Keith Duffy, Louisa Lytton, Frankie Sandford and Jennie McAlpine were to pit their “wits” and nerve against each other through a series of challenges involving rotting carcasses, caged animals, creepy crawlies, fake sewers and some thinking to see who would come out the winner.

So why exactly was it so terrible?

The Door puns – The Most Unhinged gameshow in the world! No.

The lack of any actual peril- There was pretend peril in night vision cameras and tight spaces, but no actual danger.  There was one part about them having to crawl past dogs IN CAGES! I have a dog phobia but I could manage walking past one in a cage. The point that this was “The most terrifying celebrity ordeal on television!!!” was hammered home to us several times. It wasn’t.

The GCSE Psychology – Amanda Holden actually uttered “They’re working as a team now, but it won’t last. O RLY AMANDA?! that’s so insightful. People in a competition may be competitive?

Dont’ get me started on Holden.  The talking out of the side of her mouth and mime artistry in lieu of any actual emotion on her face was grating after the first 30 seconds.

The Recaps – Why must we be treated like goldfish? I remember what happened before the break.  It was three minutes ago. But no, we were treated to a recap of the programme so far after every break, as making tea often erases one’s brain.

So there you go. It was awful. I spent the first hour just waiting for it to cross the line into bad/good. It never did.  I may even go as far as to say that this made Fort Boyard look classy, and that had Leslie Grantham, Melinda Messenger and midgets.

Flaming Heck…

PICT0068I was debating with a friend of mine about who was the best live band in the world.  My answer was, without a shadow of a doubt, the Flaming Lips.

 

You see, for me, live music is not just about the technicality of playing.  Some artists are technically perfect on stage, but where is the fun in that?  It’s not just about audience interaction or pyrotechnics either, because that’s no good without decent songs.

 

For me, the Flaming Lips are the perfect live experience.  I went to see them at East London’s glorious pastel painted, Art Deco music and cage fighting venue on Tuesday this week.  It was an all singing, all dancing spectacular.  Lovely Silver Fox Wayne Coyne is a wonderful, engaging frontman.  We had singalongs, we had chats, we had him sitting on the shoulders of a gorilla monster.  We saw up his nose with his on-microphone camera, we held up our fists for peace, he walked across us in a giant plastic ball.  We were sprayed with confetti, we were covered in smoke and when it was all over, we frolicked in spilled confetti as it was being blown from the stage by an industrial leaf blower.

 

From the emergence of the band from a giant on-screen flashing lady-part to the final bars of ‘Do You Realize?’, to which everyone cheerfully sang about everyone they know dying some day, a great time was had by all.

 

Granted, the material on their new album ‘Embryonic’ is not as accessible as some of their other stuff, descending sometimes into overblown proggy solos, but it was delivered by a band so charming  and obviously pleased to be there that it doesn’t really matter.  Even the poor security guards, who had spent their night being blown at by smoke machines, and batting aside balloons, were smiling by the end of the night.

 

Balloons went in people’s faces, drinks were spilled and feet stepped on, but there was no malice or fighting.  We were having too much fun for that.

 

“You may have been told by other bands that you have been to see that they have the best audiences in the world” Said Coyne as he was closing  “but they’re lying, we have the best audiences”

Rocky Heaven

I realised when I started this blog that I would never make the best reviewer.  A combination of being easily pleased, and a vocabulary of superlatives that doesn’t extend beyond “Amazing” and “Awesome” do not a good reviewer make.  I tend to keep the reviews to observations, but last night I saw something that I wanted to share with the world.  Something that deserves both of the words in my superlative vocabulary.

I saw the Rocky Horror show.  Again.  It was the fourth time I have seen the show live on stage, in the same theatre.  I’d even seen the same actor play Frank before.  David Bedella does not play Tim Curry playing Frank N Furter.  This is what I want to see.  I know this is wrong, but is this a play where actors should make the parts their own? When they have been played so definitively, on a video that I watched until it melted, once a week, all the way through my teens?

But I got over it.  The actor made me get over it.  His enthusiasm at being handed one of the most delicious parts in musical theatre was infectious.  He hammed it up in the right places, played it up in the right places, and played it down when it was needed, bringing nuances that I’d never noticed before.  It will always be Tim Curry’s part in my eyes, but David Bedella can have it part-time.

The rest of the cast were solid, my only small complaint being that Haley Flaherty’s Janet belted out “Superheroes” at the end like she was auditioning for Glee club, when it’s a sad song and she had just been thrown from a castle that had just blasted into outer space, after having had all of her values challenged and her relationship tortured, but that’s small potatoes really.  I liked Ceris Hine’s Columbia, taking the part to the ditzy airhead extremes.  Ainsley Harriot as the narrator was more hammy than a Spam factory, but it worked.

All was wonderful with the play, but we have yet to get to the BEST BIT.  As I was walking out for the interval, I spotted a rather familiar bald head, on top of a skinny body.  I started to hyperventilate.  It was…RICHARD O’BRIEN! I could not pass up the opportunity to meet him, and I did.  I shook him by the hand and thanked him for giving me Rocky Horror.  My favourite film of all time.  I told him how I watched it almost weekly through my teen years.  He told me he blamed the parents.  I’m sitting here with the worlds biggest grin on my face, and I don’t care that I must have come across as a sweaty, red faced gibbering fangirl, because last night I got to shake the hand of a hero.  And it was AMAZING and AWESOME.