Summer Bangers

Summer has offically arrived. For the first time in years, I might actually have a sunny birthday, as opposed to the rain I have become used to.

In light of the weather (pun) I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a playlist of summer songs that sound perfect in the sun. If you have any recommendations, please let me know, I love hearing new music!

The first one is a bit of an obvious one, but I still think it deserves to be included. Aptly named “In the Summertime” this song sounds bloody good in the sun. If you’re feeling crazy, Shaggy has done a version. I know.

 

I think this is also an obvious choice, but you would hate me if it wasn’t included. I think this song is one that will never stop being loved. It’s iconic, cheerful and catchy, and I love it. There is also a great opportunity for air guitar. The fashion in the Mr. Blue Sky video is spectacular.

 

Now for a song that isn’t over twenty years old. When I heard a clip of Let the Sun Shine on a podcast I couldn’t quite believe I had forgotten it, it was one of my favourite songs as a teenager! If I hadn’t heard that podcast I think I would have genuinely never thought of this song again. I highly recommend turning this song up, especially when driving.

 

I used to love this song, it was an iconic song of my teenage years, and one of my most played songs on my iPod. Mama do the Hump is a real toe-tapper and is a song that you just have to dance to, I don’t think it’s possible to sit still and listen to this song. If you don’t clap along to the “clap clap, sing” line then are you even listening to the song?!

 

Time for George Ezra. Paradise was released earlier this year, but it is definitely worth adding to your summer playlist. The drum beat is catchy and the lyrics are upbeat and wonderful. It’s one to sing/shout along to when in the shower or in the car.

 

My final one is probably a little random, but please stick with me. When you think of summer, you don’t typically think of The Hoosiers. BUT, I do think Goodbye Mr A is a banger, and I think it sounds even better in the sun. It’s a bonafide toe-tapper, and (I think) an underrated song. If you’ve never heard Goodbye Mr A, you are in for a treat.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

Today I am doing another post about my experiences with anxiety. (For more read this post about my skin condition and how that compares to a mental health condition and read this about comedy and how it’s helped me don’t worry all links open in a new tab)

This week is all about giving the people who suffer with a mental health condition a voice, and the confidence to use it. More than ever mental health problems are being talked about by celebrities, from musicians to the Royal Family, which is obviously incredible as it makes these conditions seem more “normal.” It shows you are not alone and that you do not deserve to suffer in silence.

It’s easy to say “my hayfever is really pissing me off”, but saying “my anxiety is challenging today” is a different matter. The stigma attached to this still make the first step towards talking about it a hard one to take, it’s less of a step more like a jump over a puddle.

For me, it took a series of intense panic attacks at university to convince me that I deserved to feel better. I went to counselling where I learnt to pick up on the symptoms I experience when feeling anxious, such as uneven breathing, and feeling on the edge of tears, as well as learning to stop the panic attack before it hit with breathing techniques and recognising “unhelpful thinking habits”. These are the thoughts you experience during a distressing situation (such as catastrophising and using bad memories of past events). Noticing these thoughts allows you to challenge them before they lead to something worse.

Four years later I’ve only had two panic attacks. However I do still feel anxious, but I am hopeful that with more time and practice I will get better.

I’ll give you an example. Today my colleague went into a meeting room with our department line managers, and their overall manager. I was sat at my desk unable to breathe properly and physically shaking because I was so anxious about the fact they might be talking about me. I kept thinking this was it, I’m getting fired today. I couldn’t concentrate on my work, all I could think about was “they’re talking about you, they’re talking about you, they’re all talking about you” just looping around my head. I felt anxious and stupid all at the same time.

I wasn’t fired, of course I wasn’t. I was just overthinking things again (catastrophising as I mentioned above).

I’m so afraid of judgement that at any opportunity to be judged my brain switches into overtime. Whether that’s as “simple” as getting off a bus (where I have to psych myself up to push the bell, then stare at the floor and away from the eyes of the passengers as I walk back past the bus once I’m off), ordering food in a restaurant which requires internal rehearsals or something like the above situation with my colleagues, I will just be worried, afraid, panicked. It’s exhausting.

Of course the more comfortable I feel around the people I’m with, the less anxious I feel, but even when I’m not feeling anxious I’m still shy, I’ll be sat with a group and I won’t speak for ages, if at all, because it takes a long time to pluck the courage up to do so. (My blog on this and it’s link to my anxiety is here).

I hope this doesn’t make you think talking about it doesn’t help, because it really does. A problem shared is a problem halved. I urge you to talk about your mental health with someone, whether it’s a friend, a family member or a doctor. Talking about it is the first step to recovery. If I hadn’t had counselling I don’t think I would have finished my degree.

2012 me VS 2018 me

The other day I saw a lot of people sharing pictures of the 2012 version of them, with a picture of their 2018 them, to demonstrate how they’ve changed over the last six years (by the way, six years seems ridiculous, how has it been that long). So I thought I would share with you how I’ve changed in the last six years.

In terms of appearance, I havent changed a lot. In fact, I don’t think I’ve changed in the last decade. I’ve kept my hair the same style, mainly because I like the parting I have, but also partly because I hate hair on my face so a fringe would never work as that, by definition is hair on your face. I don’t wear makeup very often so I can’t even act “grown-up” with a flawless face and glowing cheekbones. I think the fact I’m petite also makes me look like I’m 13.

Below, on the left: my year 11 photo. On the right: a photo taken from January this year. Other than the fact the lighting makes me look either orange or like a ghost, I have the same face.

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of my personal life, 2012 was the year I got my GCSEs. 2012 was the year I went to sixth form (which I loved). 2012 was the first time I ever went abroad without my parents. 2012 was the first time I had ever stayed away from home for more than one day (without feeling too homesick). 2012 was the year of my first ever gig (Michael McIntyre in Dublin). 2012 was the first time in years I felt settled in a group of friends.

Now in 2018 I have been in full-time employment for six months. In 2018 I ventured to the north of England for the first time. In 2018 I went to Radio 1 for the first time. In 2018 I have been able to meet celebrities 2012 me wanted to meet, but thought would never be able to. In 2018 I have (already) been able to meet up with so many of my friends. In 2018 my confidence levels reached an all time high. The last few years have tested my mental health to the limits of what I thought I could cope with, and although I’m not cured, I am getting better.

So maybe I have changed after all.

Top 5 Songs of the Moment

It’s that time again. That time where I share with you some of my current music favourites, in the hope that it might provide you with a new shower playlist or that it might remind you of a song from the good old days.

Let’s begin.

This first choice is down to Greg Davies. I saw him live at the end of last year for his “You Magnificent Beast” tour, and his walk on music was this song. Ever since this moment, it has been looping around my head, not that I’m complaining, it’s a classic after all. Despite months passing since I saw Greg (which was one of the best gigs I have EVER been to) Ignition by R. Kelly is still the first song I listen to in the shower every single day. Let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the incredible lyrics in this song, such as “you must be a football coach, the way you got me playing the field.” Poetry.

 

 

The next song is one of my recent discoveries, thanks to hearing it on Radio 1 on Clara’s show. If we forget that the video below is just some advertising, the song is so upbeat it’s impossible to be sad when listening to it. I love how much piano is in this song, I feel like you don’t get enough pianos in music these days. Big Boi was in Outkast as well, so if that doesn’t convince you to listen to All Night, I don’t know what will.

 

 

The next song is another old one, but one I have been loving ever since I heard one of my colleagues singing it at work a few weeks ago. It’s one of those songs that you know, but you don’t really remember the title or most of the lyrics. If you don’t recognise the title, listen to the song, I guarantee you’ll recognise the chorus.

 

 

The next song is one of my favourite songs from 2017. Sigrid recently won the BBC “Sound Of 2018” thanks to her catchy and beautifully produced music. This song is such a good synthy pop song, it really stands out amongst all the other new music out there today. She’s the same age as me, which is both weird and wonderful at the same time. I can’t imagine being successful at this age, but I am so glad she is out there representing us 21 year olds.

 

Finally, a song that is current, but slightly different to “Strangers.” I first heard Tip Toe about a month ago, and loved it immediately. When I say loved, I mean the melody and the music, not the lyrics- the words themselves are problematic.  Don’t even get me started on the music video (which I saw for the first time a few weeks ago and I was quite taken aback, I won’t include it in this post, but you’re more than welcome to YouTube it) But I digress. If you need something that you can tap your feet to, or nod your head to, or sway to, this is the song for you.

I Was Hating You

This week’s blog post is about something that has been bothering me for a while now.  It’s hate. Specifically, Twitter Trolls.

Over the Christmas period there were a lot of Christmas specials on the TV, this included a lot of comedy.  I saw a lot of negativity online, which coupled with the general day-to-day negativity out there, I was inspired me to have a rant.

I have a list of things that I want to say to these haters, and they are as follows:

  1. “I don’t understand how they’re on television or successful, no one likes them”
    They are on television BECAUSE people like then. The chances are they have worked hard to be on television and over their career have built a fan base. Very often this person on TV has sold out venues all around the world, these venues seating 12,000 people who have paid their money to have a great evening watching someone THEY LIKE.
    If no one liked them, the programme would have NO VIEWERS or NOT EXIST AT ALL, they wouldn’t sell out venues.  The fact you’re watching their programme is contributing to the viewership, you are one of the MILLIONS OF PEOPLE watching the programme. The programme makers then see the rating and think “ooh this is popular we shall recommission this!” then in a years’ time another series comes out and you then Tweet the same thing, having apparently not considered the fact that just because you don’t like them, it doesn’t mean that nobody else likes them.
  2. Wishing them death or serious injury.
    This is something I have seen countless times and I cannot understand how you think this is an acceptable way of voicing an opinion. You can say that you don’t find someone funny, without wishing that they should be “burnt alive” or “strangled” or “punched in the face.” This is just vile behaviour, death threats are never acceptable.
    See also using a disease or a tragic event as a comparative for a human being. This is a bit much, let’s be honest. You can dislike someone without telling them that “They’re about as funny as *insert disease/event here*”
  3. “I was hating you […] for being bland and rich”
    Although not quite Twitter Trolls, reviewers reviewing a TV programme should just review the TV programme. If you don’t think the programme is very good, then by all means, tell your audience, but I don’t think it is necessary for you to start attacking the presenter’s personality or their wealth, just to try and justify why you don’t like them. You can say something like “the presenting came across as rather forced” without saying “I hate you, you’re bland.” This is even more obvious when they actually end up liking the programme, it’s like they’re apologising to the audience for liking something someone they hate has done, “annoyingly, I found myself laughing”. If someone you don’t like, has done something that you think is actually good, you should celebrate that, not find it “annoying.”
  4. Labelling all of their fans as a certain stereotype
    According to some people, because I am a fan of a certain comedian, this makes me a “Tory” and a “Brexit voter.” I am neither of these things. I presume the assumption was based on the celebrity and how they appear to act. But fans, don’t have to be the same person as the person they’re a fan of.  And the celebrity may be neither of these things too. Stereotypes, although unfortunately a part of life, are not 100% accurate.
  5. Wishing fans death
    Much like the above, I have also seen people wishing fans should be “executed” or “pitied” for liking a certain person.

A fan is someone who likes and cares about a certain celebrity (or celebrities.) and they should not be laughed at or abused for liking the person who makes them happy. Just because you don’t like the person that they do, it doesn’t mean you are “more normal” or “better” much like them liking the celebrity doesn’t make them “more normal” or “better.” It works both ways.

At the time of writing this I saw this very statement on social media:
“actually astounding that *insert comedian’s name* is so successful. I’ve witnessed tearful eulogies more entertaining than his tea and crumpets ass” following on to say “he’s def a tory as well”

I have decided to remove the comedian’s name as I don’t want this post to look like I’m forcing people to become a fan of them if they aren’t already because that’s not right, but as you can see, this statement is containing several of the points above and just goes to demonstrate how often these sort of comments pop up online.  I JUST CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE LOGIC BEHIND IT.  I’m not asking anyone to be a fan of every single thing on TV, on the radio, in music, whatever the industry is. But the concept of just sitting there watching or listening to something just to hate it baffles me, it’s tiresome and boring.  Everyone has different tastes, and just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean that thing/person isn’t popular with other people, and it doesn’t make the people who do like it any less human than you are. God knows I don’t like some comedy out there. I’ve tried to watch an episode of something, and just ended up turning it off because I didn’t find it funny. I haven’t taken to the internet to tell the people who starred in it that I wished they were dead, nor have I wished that the people who do like it to be “executed” (I have genuinely seen this.)

And with that, rant over.

Reflecting on 2017

Another year has passed, 2017 has had to follow a tough year in terms of politics and you’ve only got to look at Twitter to see another meme based on what Trump or Theresa May have done, which is both funny yet incredibly sad at the same time.  But enough about that impending doom. As is traditional with my blog, I thought I would do a reflective post on the year.

2017 has been a year of changes, against all odds, I completed my degree, I ended up with a 2:1 which was my ultimate aim so I am very pleased with myself. But do I recommend university? No I don’t, and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking it’s overrated.

In September this year I started my first, proper 9-5, full-time job. Not in the industry I want to work in, however I am hoping the experience and the skills I will pick up will ultimately help in achieving this goal. In the last few months I’ve also become a member of the Leadership and Development team at a local community radio station, which is the industry I want to work in, so I am hoping these two things combined will stand me in good stead for my future.

In more personal news, this year I’ve met loads of my internet friends, some for the first time, and it has been a JOY. It’s been a long time since I have spent a day hanging out with a group of people, but this year I managed to spend a day in London with a group of friends and it was a lot of fun. I’ve also been able to see some old uni friends again this year which was lovely, one of which came with me to see Michael McIntyre at the start of this year, which was her first ever comedy gig so it felt quite special to be a part of that.

I’ve also had a very gig filled year, which is amazing. As I’ve spoken about before, gigs are my happy place so getting to go to so many truly makes me smile, and it doesn’t go unappreciated. If anything, I’m now feeling sad that it’s all over. It’s even worse when you don’t know when *insert comedian’s name here* next gig will be.

 

 

 

Thank you SO much for reading, following, liking my blog this year too. Keeping up with posting “weekly” has been tricky as you probably have been able to tell, but I hope you’ve liked what I’ve done. I hope you all had a lovely year, and if it wasn’t so good, I hope there were moments of happiness for you. Have a lovely Christmas, here’s to 2018!

Ticketing Troubles

Today, I need to rant, so please bear with me.

I made the fatal mistake of relying on other people, specifically, the people who run venue websites, when I decided to book tickets, or should I say, TRY TO BOOK TICKETS, for two comedians.

I had left it a little late because I was unsure of my circumstances nearer the time, and as to whether the tours would be extended to venues that were closer to me and/or whether they would announce more dates on more convenient days. So I didn’t want to throw £30 away. However, I was refreshing and checking the websites multiple times a day to check if there were tickets left. When the website confirmed this by saying “book now” and “single seats left” I smiled to myself and continued with my day, silently planning the potential trips.

The day came when I was confident about booking one set of tickets for one comedian, and when I clicked buy, the unthinkable happened, there were no options to book seats.   I was baffled. The website was giving me the option of booking tickets, then I couldn’t book seats. I decided to email the venue and they advised me that the gig had sold out, and that I could be put on the waiting list. I agreed with this and gave my address to them. Then I got a reply asking for my number and how many tickets I wanted. When I said “one” (going to gigs by yourself isn’t actually a bad thing, by the way) my phone rang and I was informed that there were single seats available.

So, the venue had basically lied to me, I get that if you are going with other people, single seats aren’t much use, but the option to book one seat should be disclosed on their website. So, in the end, I paid my £22 on the phone, and I’m now off to the gig! Happy bloody days.

“But, what about the other comedian?” I hear you ask. WELL. This comedian was playing at a bigger venue than the other one. Which would lead one to believe the website would be updated regularly. HAH.

I checked the website, and was greeted with the “Book Now” button. I clicked it and was taken to the booking page. Here it says “only single seats & accessible seats available.” Perfect, I thought to myself, I’ll buy one. I look across the page and see the words “no availability online”

YOU WHAT!?

I sent the booking office an email, I get no response. I’m feeling more and more annoyed at this point, so I ring them up. This phone call was not free, and after being on hold for 6 minutes, I was told they had sold out. I then told them that the website said single seats were available so, she checked again, and after three seconds told me that there weren’t any single seats left either.  Brilliant.

So, that’s two separate venues both with official websites, claiming things that were not true. Can someone tell me how this is allowed?! I am not a website developer, nor a coder, so I don’t know much about how a website like that is updated or the timescales of doing so, but, surely, updating their website is a requisite? I know that booking in advance is the best thing to do, but when that’s not possible, you should be able to trust the venue website when it tells you “there are still tickets left, don’t worry about it.”

And don’t get me started on the fact that ticket bots probably got most of the tickets in the first place, just to sell them at an extortionate rate.

 

Don’t Be Shy

During my school years, at every single ‘Parent-Teacher evening,’ I would get the same comments, “she needs to put her hand up more”, “be more outgoing”, “don’t be shy”, “she’s very quiet”, “she’s as quiet as a church mouse.”

These comments were made as if I simply hadn’t realised what I was like. Almost like they expected me to go “oh my god you are so right! I will answer more questions tomorrow!” and then to come in and start putting my hand up. Worst of all, they were said in a way that made me feel worse about myself, they were said in a way that presumed it was an easy fix. I’d come in the day after a ‘parent-teacher evening’ telling myself to answer the first question I knew the answer to. That question would come, and in the few seconds before someone else was picked to answer, I’d be repeating the answer to myself in my head, willing myself to put my hand up. When my hand stayed on my lap, and someone else was chosen, I’d feel like I was slowly going mad.

Being quiet isn’t something everyone can help, and commenting on someone’s quietness isn’t always going to encourage them to use their voice. Being quiet can both stem from certain personality types, low self-esteem, confidence issues and from anxiety, as well as develop into certain personality types, low self-esteem, confidence issues and anxiety, it isn’t always as simple as needing gentle encouragement.

Being quiet shouldn’t be looked down upon or treated as a disappointment, why should quiet people be made to change!? It should be up to the individual as to whether they want to work on their quietness or not.

Not once in school did a teacher ask me if I was okay, if this quietness was a deep-rooted problem that needed fixing. Maybe if they had I wouldn’t be in my twenties and still getting called a church mouse. Still unable to join in a discussion without rehearsing everything I say before I say it, filled with the fear of judgement, messing up or being ignored. Still unable to look people in the eye when I’m talking to them. Still carefully picking where I choose to sit so I can keep an eye on people (in the corner or the back, at the edge of a room). Still getting nervous when getting off or on public transport. Still having to pysch myself up to make a phone call.

So, to the people who say “you’re very quiet” to somebody, please consider the fact that it’s not always a choice. And to those of you that are quiet, finding the people you feel the most comfortable with, makes a world of difference.

 

 

All the Fun of the Fair

Last week the fair was in town, which annoyed me for two reasons:

  1. the youths were out in force, and I hate it when youths gather, it makes me feel uncomfortable
  2. it was very noisy

I am aware this may be very petty, and probably makes me come across as very boring (I imagine I am boring) but I’m just not a big fan of fairgrounds. That’s not to say I don’t like fun, fun is great! I just don’t think that fairs are that fun.

My biggest reasoning behind this (other than my dislike of people and loud screaming) is the fact the rides themselves look like they’re made out of corrugated iron, or recycled metal from the central reservation on motorways. How does anyone have the balls to actually go on a ride that can be folded down and put in the back of a lorry?! HOW? I get genuinely worried for people’s wellbeing when they choose to risk their lives on a ride that swings them around 360 degrees all whilst being held together with two bolts. Last week I saw smoke coming out of a ride and the ride wasn’t stopped. IT CARRIED ON. As if nothing was happening, as if it was intentional! Maybe it was, maybe it was the generator, but in principle; if you’re sitting on something, you don’t want it to be on fire.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh towards fairgrounds. If I’m honest, I don’t like rollercoasters or rides at actual themeparks. Your life is in the hands of some metal pipes and a random stranger who may not even be looking. Hence why I don’t visit theme parks, or if I do, I stick to the teacups.

So I ask you this, have you actually had fun at a fairground? Or have you witnessed a small child get catapulted out of a dodgum?

 

The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful

On Saturday (which is yesterday as I write this) I had the pleasure of going to a literature festival. However it wasn’t your regular festival, it was the childrens festival. Before you all start raising your eyebrows in confusion, I went to see a few of my favourite people who happen to have childrens books out. However this isn’t what I wanted to write about today.

Yesterday Miranda Hart mentioned how important it is that children and adults use their imagination and that really hit me. Growing up I was ALWAYS in my own world. In cars I would imagine that instead of being in the car I was riding a horse alongside the car, I had not one, but three imaginary friends, I was always making up bedtime stories for my brother and writing my own stories for fun, Aged 11 I wrote AND DREW a superman comic, and I don’t even remember liking comics at the time. I don’t understand people who don’t use their imagination. It’s such a wonderful tool to have! It can quite literally take you anywhere.

I was tempted to insert a couple of extracts of a story I wrote when I was younger, at a time when I was inspired by Louise Rennison (who I have mentioned before) god knows how young I was, but it’s fairly embarrassing so I decided against it. Sorry to disappoint.

Yesterday, I was beyond thrilled to see children flicking through books, tilting their heads to hear stories being read, and talking about what they’re currently reading. I imagine being a child in this decade, where TVs are huge and phones are touch-screen, and YouTube is easy to find, it’s more difficult to find time to read or to go outside and swing on swings like I used to do, what if one day in the future all the parks are rusty, and the libraries and book shops are closed?! Yesterday gave me hope. Children raising their hands when asked the question “who wants to be a writer?” they weren’t bored at the prospect of reading or writing. This is so encouraging! Books may not die out after all.