Friday, 29 December 2017

sure as the sea it's just you and me (more love songs)

So I just heard Japanese Denim for the first time and it felt like getting stabbed... or getting hit by a car... or perhaps something not quite so brutal. Anyway, the first lyrics killleedddd meeeeeeee and I felt an all consuming urge to create a playlist straight away, even though it's 2:30 AM and I need to sleep.

This one ended up being only love songs, but they're all excellent and I hope you enjoy. Also, I realised I never posted about visiting Newcastle so here are some photos of that... it was really cold, I've grown too accustomed to the South.

Goodnight. (You really should listen, this is a good playlist... if I say so myself).

confessions of a former emo kid

It seems as though each generation beholds its own fascinating and effortlessly cool stream of subcultures, rebelling against mainstream fashion and rejection whatever Vogue claims to be "so in right now."  From the eccentric Club Kids parading through the streets of New York City in the eighties, wearing platform boots and drag make up, to the youths rejecting fashion during the grunge era in thrifted flannel and unwashed hair, subcultures have continuously defined what it means to be young and rebellious.

Unfortunately, my own childhood was deprived of the glamour of heavy drug use and New York City nightclubs, instead consisting of faded band t-shirts and tragic hoodies designed to mimic animal ears. Even more unfortunately, I proudly paraded around my village wearing fishnet tights, neon hair extensions and an assortment of tacky jewellery strung around my neck like a medal for winning the ugliest outfit competition.

Yes I was, at the time, a proud member of the 'Emo community', with the unnecessarily long side fringe to prove it. My days were spent perfecting winged eyeliner and gluing (much to my parents dismay) posters of bands I barely knew, onto my bedroom walls. I devoured Kerrang! magazine each week, scanning each page as if I was stranded on a desert island and these were the secrets to survival, and plastering my pencil case in the free All Time Low stickers. Frying my hair and almost causing permanent damage to my vision were regular occurrences in my attempt to achieve the 'Emo' look, as I studied Youtube tutorials daily, desperate for a drastic change in my appearance. Even my school uniform fell victim to customisation, as my backpack jingled from the hundreds of badges and keyrings attached to it during my daily trudge to school (while wearing neon shoelaces of course).

Despite my appreciation for the outlandish attire of punks or hippies, my own attempts at alternative style are simply painful to recall, and I now resent my former self for ignoring my Mum as she told me this was "just a phase." Perhaps it is a romanticisation of the past, enforced onto my by fashion magazines who claim decades as trends, but in comparison to previous years my own generations attempts at subcultures seem disappointing, including my involvement in them.

However, few memories of these disastrous times are beginning to become tinged with nostalgia, as I start to reminisce the days my bedroom walls were barely visible beneath the abundance of posters and the sketches I spent hours on in failed attempts to seem artistic. Admittedly, it was fun to be twelve years old and completely, unapologetically excited about my favourite band, and to scream because Gerard Way looked at me during a concert, without even a drop of self consciousness. Doodling depressing lyrics between sums in my maths book and wasting hours watching Scuzz with my equally as deluded friends are now, strangely, some of my fondest childhood memories.

I've spent a lifetime examining photos of my parents as teenagers, wondering what possessed them towards that particular choice of attire... yet looking back on my own photos, I realise that not only are you blind to what is socially acceptable as a child, but that once a trend is over it looks, frankly, stupid. Wearing 'ugly' clothes and making questionable decisions regarding hair and makeup are simply an, albeit slightly painful, part of growing up... and perhaps that is worthy of celebration in its own right.

To exist as part of a sub culture seems exciting and almost exotic in contrast to the regularity of ones everyday surroundings. At least in most cases, it is not supposed to be trendy, but rather a rebellion against what is deemed acceptable within society. Most subcultures exist as an act of nonconformity, yet without realising they are simply conforming to an alternate set of standards. I may not have dressed identically to the other girls at my school, but my outfits matched thousands of other angsty pre-teens with a desire to stand out. The sense of superiority within those who choose to be different to those in their surroundings is laughable when you realise that everybody is probably copying somebody else. But, that doesn't mean subcultures should not exist. Despite how pretentious they may often seem, they are an outlet; individuals with shared interests who are able to establish a connection with others based on common passions.

So... although memories of my former self are excruciatingly painful to recall, it can be fun to laugh at photos with my dyed red hair covering my face and the word 'dead' scrawled on my knuckles. After all, have you even lived if you can't say "What was I wearing" at least once?

(btw, making this playlist was so much fun)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

teenage trailblazerzzzz

Despite their existence in different millenniums and a noticeable contrast in fashion, the growing popularity of One Direction in 2013 resulted in an onslaught in comparisons to the Beatles. Many would argue that this was simply due to their shared origin in the United Kingdom, however one underlying similarity was their fanbase: young girls. 

Ignoring the differences in attire (the sixteen year olds screaming for John Lennon sporting mod haircuts and cat eye glasses, while One Direction fans cry wearing crop tops and skinny jeans) images from both eras are virtually identical. Fifty years later and teenage obsession still looks the same; an aura of hysteria combined with a crazed look, present in the eyes of each and every girl in those photos. 
But it is not how fashion has evolved throughout the years, or if One Direction are actually talented that is up for debate in this circumstance. What’s fascinating is that even fifty years later, the interests of teenage girls are still mocked by society. The trend of ridiculing whatever happens to be the current subject of pre-teen attention in popular culture remains prominent today. Justin Bieber, the Twilight Saga and One Direction are all fairly recent example of teenage ‘crazes’ that have been derided by, mostly adult male, media figures and comedians. Admittedly, they’re not exactly critically acclaimed, but since when was it necessary to satirise something purely because of the target demographic? 
The Beatles are now considered the founders of modern music, yet without the initial support from adolescent girls, their success would never have occurred. With their critical acclaim in mind, it’s difficult to imagine a time when those involved in Beatlemania were thought of in the same manner as ‘Beliebers’ or ‘Directioners’, yet a 1964 ‘New Statesman’ essay by Paul Johnson demonstrates that the belittling of female interests has always existed. Within the article he states “Those who flock round the Beatles, who scream themselves into hysteria, whose vacant faces flicker over the TV screen, are the least fortunate of their generation, the dull, the idle, the failures.”

Today, Beatlemania is deemed almost revolutionary, as young women abandoned the rigid standards of the generations before them in regards to how they should behave. As a 1992 essay titled ‘Beatlemania: Girls Just Want to Have Fun states “To abandon control – to scream, faint, dash about in mobs – was, in form if not in conscious intent, to protest the sexual repressiveness, the rigid double standard of female teen culture."
The fact is, teenage girls are responsible for the majority of popular culture, yet are mocked relentlessly. What is the problem with children harmlessly expressing their interest in something? Artists popular among this demographic are dismissed as being trivial, only able to become “real artists” when they begin to attempt to appeal to an adult audience. Essentially, it is uncool to appreciate pop music, purely because teenage girls like it. They’re deemed simply mindless consumers, basing their musical taste on the appearance of the artist rather than their songs, while their male peers are free to express similar passions for sports stars or bands without the same mass judgement.

By enabling this attitude, we as a society tell girls that their interests are inferior to boys. After all, nobody’s calling them ‘crazy’ or ‘hormonal’ for shouting at their favourite football team. While boys are allowed to embrace typically masculine hobbies, girls are attacked for taking pride in their femininity. Makeup and fashion are viewed as trivial, with women being disregarded as “superficial” or “stupid” for taking interest in them. Teenage girls have often been a target of satire, from their clothing choices to the way they speak. Any sign of femininity is deemed “weak” or “stupid,” preventing women from expressing their traditionally feminine interests. However, this doesn’t mean they’re encourage to adopt ‘masculine’ hobbies, as female sports teams are typically less supported and viewed as 'butch'. Women are also pushed out of other male dominated past times, a notable example being the sci-fi genre, as organisations such as ComicCon result in over sexualisation and harassment of women who choose to take part, or the dismissal of their blatant interest.

Most recently, Teen Vogue’s attempts at introducing ‘serious’ news topics into their usual stream of fashion and make up advice, has been criticised by many in the media industry, including Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson” who stated that the journalists should “stick to the thigh high boots” rather than writing about politics. It is possible for girls to embrace their femininity without being stupid or conceited, and Teen Vogue has represented this flawlessly. While Vogue itself strays from serious topics, the younger audiences are demanding political coverage that illustrates how the leaders of their country and their decisions will ultimately effect their lives. for example, the most popular article of 2016 was titled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America”, closely followed by “How to apply glitter nail polish the right way”.

Yes, everybody has rolled their eyes at young women screaming over Justin Bieber’s new hair cut, or their excessive use of the word “like”, but beneath the surface is an enviable characteristic; they possess the ability to lose their inhibitions and be completely, unapologetically passionate about something they love, and in doing so they ultimately shape pop culture and thus, society. Although the interests of teenage girls may seem trivial, it’s crucial to consider that throughout history they’ve been directly responsible for the success of some of the most famous figures, such as Elvis, The Beatles and even Frank Sinatra.

Image sources: 1,2,3,4,5

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The sound of 2017

As per annual tradition, here are my most played songs of the year.

I haven't really gone a day without listening to at least one song from Childish Gambino's 'Awaken, My Love!' which was released in December 2016. Donald Glover created a truly timeless album that doesn't have a single song I would skip, something that is a real rarity. My fave songs are: "Riot", "Me and Your Mama", "Have Some Love" and "Terrified", but the entire album is incredible and now one of my all time favourites.

I've listened to a lot of Paul McCartney and Wings this year. Songs that didn't make it onto the playlist are "My Love", "Love is Strange" and "Band On The Run" but they deserve an honourable mention as they've been on repeat often throughout 2017.

Obviously I needed to include some disco too... My goal for 2018 is to go to as many throwback 70s club nights as possible (or just continue to live in the decades room). For now though, "Got To Be Real" is on repeat in my bedroom (also, life tip: a disco playlist makes the tube at rush hour a lot more fun).

This playlist is particularly important to me, as it is essentially the soundtrack to one of the most significant years of my life so far. Each song has a specific memory attached to it, whether it was leaking through my headphones during A-level revision or on the radio each morning throughout my first months in London.

So once again, hope this eclectic mix of music is appreciated (as well as this probably noticeably unedited blog post).

Happy New Year

During this second there was: no rain, no fear, no stopping now. 2017.

2017 was simply the most transformative year of my life, as I imagined it would be. However, nothing could have truly prepared me for the sheer amount of change I experienced, which I'm endlessly grateful for. It's insane to think that only this time last year, I was plagued with doubt regarding my future, and I could do nothing but worry that I wasn't going to achieve what I wanted. (I must remember not to take anything for granted after working so hard for it).

This year I:
  • Turned 18.
  • Finished A-levels after thinking they would never end.
  • Left college.
  • Moved to London.
  • ♡♡♡ Met so many new people who I now love. ♡♡♡
I also dislocated my knee while on holiday, but that's not exactly a highlight...

Next year will be the five year anniversary of this blog and although it's PAINFULLY EMBARRASSING to look back on, I'm so happy I documented so many years of my life (although often sporadically). In 2018 I'm going to make blogging a priority.

Sooooooooooooo happy new year everyone who still reads this! I'll see you sooon.......

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

wishing my days away

The resurrection of this blog is coming. In the meantime enjoy your summer and this playlist, ideal for all situations involving pool sides, summer nights, waiting for results day and sheer boredom as you search for clothes you can't afford all day.... just me?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

up the ladder to the roof

After months of heart palpitations, tears and extreme panic inducing stress, college has finally ended. Perhaps the most difficult yet incredible two years of my life are over and I'm now in this weird state of existence where my days are simply a countdown to results day, where the stress is likely to begin again. Right now, before I know how my future is going to turn out, I want it down in black and white that I'm proud of how hard I worked and even though my A levels made me cry endlessly, I loved the past two years and it's undeniable that I learnt a lot.

So, this playlist is titled "waiting", as that is all my life seems to consist of as of late. I hope you enjoy this, as it's my favourite one yet!