Everyone is not as happy as they look.

Setting off to university in my parents car crammed with all of my stuff, I was excited to begin a new chapter of my life. I was finally going to be living with a group of people my own age, and I imagined it as some kind of 90’s chick flick, where we’d sit on the sofa eating popcorn and watching corny films, or cry over a tub of ice cream about boys, wearing face masks and having sing-alongs. And it wasn’t like that, it wasn’t like living with my best friends. While my first year was filled with a lot of fun, I didn’t get on with some of the girls in my flat. They all did the same subject, I didn’t. I had my boyfriend over a lot of the time, and I was working and concentrating on making friends on my course. And so, what begin as enthusiastic friendship turned into me feeling isolated and alone. Now, I had a lot of friends both at home and at uni, so it didn’t phase me that much, and it dawned on me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, the girls were just in a clique, didn’t have any friends themselves so stuck together like a boring pack of hyenas. I was naive, but eventually came to realise that life is not like a film. in fact, films glorify and romantisise everything about life, giving us false expectations of what life should be like.

And so, when Christmas came around, I was in the pub with some old friends, and I ended up telling one how I didn’t feel it was fair that everyone had great housemates and flatmates, while mine were shit. I told him how I’d go on facebook and instagram, and see all the cute photos – “house meal with the gang!” or “flat girls night out!” and get jealous. And then he told me that a) I was being dumb, and b) that everyone pretends to be happier than they actually are. He told me that people aren’t going to put on facebook when they’d argue or felt isolated with their flatmates, or when they felt ugly. They weren’t going to show instagram their breakdowns and tantrums, but instead, put happy photos on to make themselves feel better, even though it was a lie. Instagram pages, full of little photos just show the highlights of everyday life. They’d show pictures of the best parts of their life- and none of the bad. And this ‘best of’ feature means we obsess over other peoples couple pictures and feel crappy about our own relationships, see their ‘Squad goals’ pictures and doubt our own friendships. See their gorgeous selfies and feel baad about how we look when we don’t have makeup on or our hair done. It feeds into the competition of ‘whos-got-the-best-life’, a page where even though your life isn’t perfect- far from it- in a series of pictures, it appears to be.

And it’s true, we compare our lives with what we see on film, or on our friends social media, but we don’t know the whole story. As the phrase goes; you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. And it made me feel better. Our whole lives, we are told and trained to search for the ‘elusive butterfly of happiness’- a term I’d recently discovered. I’d have moments where I didn’t really know how to be happy, or even if I could be. It seemed that the few shining moments of happiness I had were merged in a sea of feeling shit, upset, angry or just numb. So I almost take comfort in knowing that sometimes, especially on social media, people are not as happy as they seem. Now, I never feel bad about my own life from seeing other people online. I recently spoke to an old friend, at a different uni, and looked like she was having the time of her life, going out all the time, new friends, new boyfriend. It was only when I spoke to her on the phone she told me she was quite heavily depressed and miserable. There is a song called ‘Wear Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrman that gives advice on life, and to be honest it is one of the most accurate things I have ever heard, and never fails to make me feel better. One bit that always sticks out to me is when he says “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

We spend so much time comparing our lives to what we see from other peoples when it doesn’t matter, at all. At the end of the day, you are the protagonist of your life, and your life is controlled by you only- your decisions, mistakes, choices. It is your life that matters, not what you see of someone elses. You never know what that person truly feels or who they are from an instagram page, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because it has no relevance to your life. So, the main thing I try to keep in my mind now is to focus on how I, myself, can make my life happy, not to compare it to other peoples, and most importantly, understand that there are going to be rough times ahead, bad periods- maybe years even, when you’re not okay. But you’re not alone in this, something easily forgettable. Life is hard, for everyone, but you need to focus on yours, and making it as happy as it can be.

Anyway, late night ramblings over. Peace out. xoxo

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Sterilisation, Utopia & Inferno

 

 “There comes a moment in history when ignorance is no longer a forgivable offense… a moment when only wisdom has the power to absolve”
(Dan Brown, Inferno)

What I believe the quote means, is that humans are selfish. Inherently selfish. Now, I assume that everyone that reads this will know and understand what I mean when I say the words; Global Warming. And yet, our brain switches off. We don’t care- and why? Because it is not our problem. By us, I don’t mean humans, I mean everyone alive and well at this present second. We are warned of global warming, of the melting ice caps, and the scorching earth, and the exploding sun- and then we realise- its not our problem. We won’t be alive for that, so what’s the damn point of trying to help? And this is our ignorance. It is not a forgivable offense, because we know what we’re doing. We’re passing down our shit, our issues (all of which we’re contributing to) onto others, because we won’t feel the effects. I will use Dan Brown (author of Inferno, the text in question) to show what I mean.

“It took the earth’s population thousand of years-from the early dawn of man all the way to the early 1800s-to reach one billion people. Then astoundingly, it took only about a hundred years to double the population to two billion in the 1920s. After that, it took a mere fifty years for the population to double again to four billion in the 1970s. As you can imagine, we’re well on track to reach eight billion very soon. Just today, the human race added another quarter-billion people to planet Earth. A quarter million. And this happens every day-rain or shine. Currently every year they’re adding the equivalent of the entire country of Germany.”

One of my modules is Apocalypse, Utopia and Dystopian fiction, and today we studied one of the Utopia (2014) episodes. Set in the 70’s, it showed a scientist, Philip Carvel creating a virus called ‘Janus’, the main gist of the virus is that it would automatically sterilise whoever it came into contact with, it’s intent is to cull overpopulation issues. He teams up with Milner (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones) and together they form a bond over the project. When presenting how the virus works, Philip raises the idea that he can tweak the virus, allowing it to separate ‘groups’ of people, allowing them to be sterilised. One character points out that this is selective breeding, comparing it to Third Reich fascist ideologies of eugenics, and refuses the idea. I would heavily recommend watching the episode, even if you haven’t seen the show, as its so interesting and stimulating. The episode makes you constantly change your mind on a character and their ethics. When you think someone is good, they do something abhorrent, and when you see someone do something bad, they provide explanations and justification for that character. I’m being cryptic because I don’t want to ruin the episode, but it also delves into the election, and the rise of thatcher, fictionalising a large portion of history. After watching the episode, we all sat around and discussed it and it raised many debates on sterilisation, bringing me to my main query.

How immoral is the idea of sterilisation? Now, it’s not a form of genocide, surely, there is no actual murder involved, it is not even a form of abortion, as no life has been conceived yet. Yet it does remove choice and free will from people, bringing up ethical questions regarding human rights. I asked one of my housemates what he thought, and he said if we were to remove the chance of people having children, it wouldn’t be fair. And this is true- if I found out I was unable to have children, I’d be devastated. As a women, it’s been ingrained within me that one of the main goals/events of my life will be to bear children. And if I found out something or something was responsible, I’d be furious. Yet, aren’t we removing free will and choice for humans later on if we do nothing? If we allow global warming and over population to get worse and worse, then is that fair? Another point raised in the episode of Utopia is race. If sterilisation was to occur, what is to stop people from tweaking the effects, or controlling who received the virus, meaning certain races could be wiped out due to lack of breeding.

One friend suggested to me that instead of sterilisation, perhaps humans later on would inhabit and colonise other planets, like mars, and start anew. While this is a far out idea, it is not impossible. Yet isn’t it completely selfish and narcissistic of us humans to ignore the damage we have caused, continue being the problem and ruin other planets? If we do inhabit mars and other planets, and by some miracle, do not die and kill the human race, then surely things will continue and continue. Because global warming is not a seemingly near-problem, it seems that people do not care enough to try and save the earth. When I make general musings on sterilisation, I mean in general terms, not for selective races.

So, my general musing or query, is how ethical is sterilisation? Is it unthinkable, immoral? Or is it a logical solution to the overpopulation crisis?

In 1979, a policy was introduced called ‘The One child policy’ in China. I’m sure many people have heard of this, but to briefly summarise; the idea was to allow families to have one child and no more, to increase access to water and resources, to alleviate economical and environmental issues (such as crowding and overpopulation). Form what I gather, it was largely successful, with healthier benefits for infants, and helped decrease the intense over-population. I had heard rumours ( though I don’t know the truth of this) that the parents could be arrested if they had more than one child without… asking? Applying? I’m not sure- do you apply for your own child? Anyway, I’m not sure how it works, but from what I understand, fines were introduced if the family were to have a second child (as if having more than one child wouldn’t decrease bank amounts enough.) From what I hear (AKA, Wikipedia and other shady online resources, not actually from china government officials) the economic development was fantastic, etc. Apparently (again, if you’re interested, feel free to double check facts) above 70% of Chinese people supported the policy (2008) in a survey. As of 2015 the policy has now been changed to include a second child.

This brings me back to my general argument. If couples were allowed to have one or two children, THEN were sterilised, would this remove all argument? People still get the family they desire, but within limits. People don’t keep popping out babies by accident. Someone raised the issues the other day that women over the age of 30 that were already mothers were more reluctant to consider abortion as an option. And if people wanted a larger family, then adoption could be an option? I’m not a mother, and I’m not in a position to continue having a family yet, so I don’t know. I guess I’m curious as to what others think about this. I’m trying to remain neutral, but there is a logical, calculated sense in the idea. Think of the hundreds and thousands of childrens without families, without homes, that are not adopted. Think of people that have children simply to claim benefits, and their children go neglected and unloved. Think of the future humans that have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Despite us all doing a bit of recycling, it seems that no one seems either aware, or rather, seems to care, about these effects. I’d like to state as a disclaimer that I am in no way for sterilisation, it’s just a musing from one of my seminars. it does lead to some very interesting questions, however. What would the effects be? Are there any more reasons for or against the idea? If anyone does read this, then please, let me know your thoughts. And to really instill the fear within you, here’s one last quote from Mr Brown.

“Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease—they are the symptoms. The disease is overpopulation. And unless we face world population head-on, we are doing nothing more than sticking a Band-Aid on a fast-growing cancerous tumour” -Dan Brown, Inferno.

WICCAN, WITCH AND A WARDROBE

 

With the cheer of Christmas approaching, both myself and others have to deal with the inevitable Halloween-Blues. Goodbye pumpkins, goodbye treats and sweets, goodbye dressing up as anything you want without being judged because it is a mystical, magical night.

Alas, don’t fear- while Halloween may be over,ve a wickedly devilish sense of fashion style. In using on infamous witches in pop culture. Starting off, we have he Witch and The Wardrobes ‘Queen Jardis’. now while Jardis is called ‘The White witch’, I would stress to point out shed anything but good. Well, with the exception of her fashion sense. Jardis here manages to effortlessly encapsulate the winter wonderland . And while I would never condone the use of real animal fur, my god does she work a lion shawl. Sorry, Aslan- pain is gain, darling.

Moving on to – dare I say- an even deadlier opponenet, we are fac the most terrifyingly brilliant characters in ficitional TV. Welcome to the stage- Miss Bellatrix Lestrange! Bellatrix’s wardrobe- much like her soul- is black and morbid. We’re talking floor length gown, with hardered, stiff materials such as… And yet, despite all this terrifying… there,s still a sexy appeal there, somewhere.

 

MONOCHROME vs HOLOGRPAHIC- a battle of trends.

Two main fashion trends emerging on the streets is monochrome and holographic.

Vogue has declared that this autumn/winter 2015- 2016 trend is monochrome. Vogue states “from complex geometrics to simple contrasts, this season monochrome finds power in its purity. At its most effective, the discipline of strict black and white is mirrored in clean lines and sharp silhouettes“. How could anyone go wrong with classic black and white? It’s simplicity is what makes it so elegant and beautiful. And yet, there are still many different monochrome styles and patterns for everyone to wear in different ways, so I do believe that monochrome will never go out of fashion. here I am slightly disappointed with vogue condoning such a classic idea instead of branching to something more enigmatic, something… different. Something holographic.

I will now admit and add a disclaimer that this will be a biased article. As a colourful individual, I feel fashion and colour are used to express everyone’s tastes and emotions, especially young people.

In Vogues Spring – Summer 2013 ‘The Shining’ issue, it declares “The sheen that features heavily in the spring/summer 13 collections has magical qualities. When hit by light, one colour becomes many, while the gauzy fabrics float about the body like a mystical glow“.  Francesca Burns, Vogue fashion editor. And I agree- everyone could use a little magic in their lives.

With the rise of social media platform ‘Instagram’, many of the popular users have branched into a more vibrant, colourful style. Armed with vials of glitter and pink paint tubes, my Instagram feed is bombarded with teenage girls being creative and artsy. This includes more holographic clothing. Much like the 50’s mods two tone style suits, holographic items are something edgy and different. Why have one colour when you can have two, or three. At first, i was reluctant. After being on tumblr and seeing a thousand different pictures of the pretty oil spills on the floor, I wasn’t sure about this latest fashion trend. However, after purchasing my first pair of Topshop platforms in holographic purple, blue and green, my opinion has been swayed. I have the fortune to live in Brighton, a town infamous for it’s quirky, original and diverse fashion sense. Donning my new platforms, I got many compliments on my unusual footwear. I have always worn fairly unusual things- while I admit, I never categorised myself as a ‘fashionista’, I chose individual pieces that I liked, and that works for me.

So, for me, holographic- with it’s unusual, interesting, lustrous aesthetic, wins this battle. Sorry monochrome- you’ll always be a classic, but it’s time for something different.

REVIEW: DRY THE RIVER – SHALLOW BED

Armed with a watered down, lukewarm beer in a plastic cup trying to find my friends, I stumbled upon an absolute gem of a band at Reading Festival 2013- Dry the River. I’ve had the fortune of seeing this band twice more after that- once again at Reading, a year later, and then finally a gig at Tooting tram in December. The interesting use of vocal harmonies across the band paired with finger-picked guitar, violins and intense crescendos showed me music in a way I’d never heard it before. This wasn’t just music, this was an experience.

Dry the River’s album ‘Shallow Bed’ can only be described as a treasure chest, full of exquisite, beautiful songs all incredibly special and unique. Lead singer/ songwriter Peter Liddle has a Godlike talent for creating an old-soul sound, contrasted with an experimentative youthfulness. Each song, while mysterious and enigmatic, has the blessing of not being terribly cryptic, and so I find a multitude of people can extract different meanings from the songs. With the same soulful melodies of bands like Sigur Ros and the lyrical genius of -dare I say- Bob Dylan, Dry The River provides it’s audience with something archaic yet fresh. One could say it’s…. riveting.The five piece British indie folk band all came from different origins, experimenting with more hard-core branches of music, but ultimately decided to take a more folksy, alternative approach.

 “The Dry the River sound is what you’d hear if you were in the bath after being dumped”
– Scott Miller (Bass & Percussion).
While not an incredibly glamorous statement, the melancholic sounds can generally be enjoyed whenever, but personally I would add it to an autumn/winter playlist due to the gentle melodies that match the simplistic beauty of winter weather vibes. The aesthetics of the lyrics create a deep, philosophical stance; a nice break from the bombarding of the repetitive, common pop music dominating the radio.
The use of biblical references combined with allusions to mythology and animal imagery sets Dry The River apart from other alternative bands singing of teenage heartbreak and smoking cigarettes *cough*.
Additionally, the lyrics break down the cliché stereotypes of discussing love via the medium of music in a poetic style, akin to Bon Iver. Pete’s angelic voice certainly adds to the heavenly aesthetics of the songs on ‘Shallow Bed’.
The luxurious innocence combined with dark themes form a truly imaginative album, and whilst Dry the River may not be the ideal band to listen to for a drinking session with your mates, it certainly adds something new to the up and coming alternative/folk genre of modern music. 

Late Night Memories

Sitting on my windowsill, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of Earl Gray, I feel a sense of peace. Ever since I was a child, there was something mystical, something indescribably magical about night time. The glow of the moon, the black pavement glittering and shining, the deathless quietness of it all. Later, night time became even more special as I associated it with sneaking out and going to parties, drinking the forbidden fruits of alcohol and bitter drugs, feeling out of control. I’d go outside, loosing sense with reality as I stared into the night sky and thought about the universe. Tonight, however, was quiet. As I stared out into the streets, I thought about the fragility of mortality. I once read a quote that apparently the gods envy us. “They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” I think about how the boys brag about their drunken conquests, armed with their liquid courage and their lynx scented ralph lauren shirts. I see the girls, light in their naïve eyes describing their hopelessly romantic summers and how they felt love on their lips in the form of a blonde-haired boy with a crooked nose and a tattooed name across his chest. And now I know. Now I understand- we are obsessed with the past. Even as I’m writing this, the moment I put down that first word, it’s all a memory. There is no reality, as each second passes and fades into our recollection, it’s gone. We can never feel it again, never grasp it again. Maybe that’s why humans are so self-absorbed, using a magical tongue to tell exaggerated stories, because we want to explain how we felt, how we loved, how we cried and lost and laughed. We want to go back there, but we can’t. It’s gone. Forever. There’s something impeccably beautiful in that, though. Even trying to recreate a memory creates something else differently entirely. I will never be as young as I am now. I will never sit in Louie’s flat, have the same conversations I had with Chris, and Jodie. I will never be on the top of that Ferris wheel with Jack, looking down at the world. I will never sit between my mother and father and feel so blessed to have these two wonderful people always look out for me. And if I do, then it will be different. A new memory, a new experience. People are sometimes terrified of the future. Of the unknown. But I am not afraid. The future will arrive, and soon, it will be gone.

A Witches Remedy For Love

Moon bright, star light.
strong wrist, small twist,
ignore the darkness, ignore the mist


Stir, tap. Stir, tap.
Silver engraved spoon.
In the black, pale face loom.
Snip, snap, Belladonna root.
No Wolfsbane, wolves are cute.
I see a silver arrow shoot.

Stir, tap. Stir, tap.
He loves me, he loves me not
if he doesn’t, let him rot
if he does, if it’s true,
I shall not, just run him through.

Whisper whisper, she’s a witch
throw them all in a ditch
put a curse on the snitch
enough of that, back to black
I commence my tap, tap, tap

silver spoon, I hold tight.                           
 in the black of the night

Will he love me, can it be?
or will his heart remain so free?
I do not know, I do not ask
I just go back, commence my tap

Call me Duffy, call me Plath
All I know, I have no wrath
I am not scorned,
I am not mad
all I know is I am glad

Mine he is, mine he’ll be
After a sip, then we’ll see
if my special brew has worked
in the darkness,
I will lurk. –
then his eyes will fall on I
my hunger will be satisfy- ed
Oh, my witches remedy
Soon you all, you all will see.