Monthly Archives: February 2014

I’m Sorry

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I’m sorry that I’m always late
I’m sorry I don’t know what to say
I’m sorry for forgetting the milk
I’m sorry for laughing when you said ilk
I’m sorry I flirted with him
I’m sorry for saying the wrong thing
I’m sorry for eating your food
I’m sorry for my frequent bad mood
I’m sorry I burnt your shirt
I’m sorry the things I did hurt
I’m sorry for panicking you’d leave
I’m sorry I was always naïve
I’m sorry for my teary eyes
I’m sorrier for the goodbyes
I’m sorry
So very sorry
For falling in love with you

12 Years a Slave

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When was the last time you saw a film that stopped your breath and brought every emotion possible right to the forefront of your mind so that you feel like you may have a little bit of a nervous breakdown?

For me, honestly, it’s been a while.

So, the other night, I went to see 12 Years a Slave and boom! cue miniature nervous breakdown and blurred vision (probably from tears).

Based on a true story of a freeman, Solomon Northup, kidnapped and sold into slavery it’s obviously pretty harrowing stuff but it’s a story that needs to be told. Apparently, the beginning of the book where Solomon’s childhood is depicted is skipped, which is a shame but it’s the usual case that films cut something.

The acting is amazing, particularly Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays Solomon. Benedict Cumberbatch is also amazing as always and Brad Pitt is good, but the Canadian accent does leave a little to be desired.

The costumes are historically accurate and accentuate the difference between the slaves and the slave owners which emphasises the emotional content of the film. The sets are real historical plantations which reminds the audience that this did happen, even though it never should have.

The injuries portrayed have been done with the kind of make up that makes you go cold all over. It looks so real and raw. Whoever did the make up deserves an Oscar or something.

There’s a lot of reference to religion, the role of obedience and the power of prayer. The contrast between the religious practice of the slaves and the slave owners (they’re all Christian) emphasises the ridiculousness of slavery and the fact that it could ever happen and shows the slaves having hope in what often seems a hopeless situation. Without any intentional spoilers, the discussion about suicide, murder, mercy and damnation will turn everything you ever thought right on its head.

All in all, it’s depressingly brilliant.

And there’s a happy ending, which is always cool.

Go see it, and read the book. I’m going to read the book. It might take me a while if the tears blur the page like.

If you like 12 Years a Slave, other things that tell this important story are the TV series Roots http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Roots-Collection-Original-Anniversary/dp/B000W70GY6/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1393068843&sr=1-1&keywords=roots which is still as good today as it was when it was released in the 1970s and Andrea Levy’s The Long Song http://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Song-Andrea-Levy/dp/0755359429/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393068974&sr=1-1&keywords=long+song, which crosses the period of the long overdue abolition.

51 Shades of Maggie – Review

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Saturday night, the Theatre Royal Wakefield and a request for no nudity in the auditorium!

To be fair, I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, apart from one very short excerpt in a writing magazine and I’ve listened to a reading on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1RcKJVbHA it’s really quite funny). From what I have read/heard though, I didn’t like it. I didn’t find it offensive or anything, I just thought it was a bit poor. *ducks to avoid being beaten by the fans* So when my friend asked if I wanted to go see 51 Shades of Maggie with her and some others, I was a little bit apprehensive, but agreed. It was a mick take. How bad could it be, and after all, it’s not like I had anything better to do this Valentine’s Day weekend.

We had some food in Leeds first (All Bar One burgers are surprisingly nice), then ran for the train, missed the train (probably my fault, I’m a punctuality disaster) then got another one. We arrived, pretty much on time in Wakefield (Westgate Station has been all done up and is well posh now, check it out if you have reason to go!) and scurried off to the theatre.

The Theatre Royal is one I’ve not been to and I have to say it’s dead nice. Quaint and cosy but I had plenty of leg room. I realise this isn’t difficult with 29 inch legs, but still.

There were also a lot more men there than I expected.

So, the deal is I went in with a closed mind expecting the show to be a bit crap, but it was actually really really good. It was well written, well performed and really funny. I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s basically a one woman show with a revolving bed as the only prop. Leah MacRae performed all the roles brilliantly. You could always tell who she was, which is a skill that a lot of one person shows fail on. The music fit the tone, the costume design was simple but genius. Without any deliberate spoilers, there’s also a big change in tone at one point which was performed beautifully and believably. The theatre went silent (apart from one cackling woman who got told to shut up by someone and responded by telling them to screw themselves – really – and it wasn’t me, I swear!) and you could feel the atmosphere just completely change.

Then there’s a happy ending, and that’s always nice isn’t it?

I’ve read a few reviews online before and since seeing the play and there’s a general attitude that the show is vulgar and there’s too much swearing. From what I do know about the original Fifty Shades, I’m not really sure what these reviewers were expecting to be honest. As someone from a working class background I barely noticed the swearing (judge me on that if you please, I don’t really care) and as for it being vulgar, it’s about sex and BDSM so if you’re likely to find that offensive, don’t go see it.

Personally, I think Leesa Harker’s written a good show and it’s being performed well. I’m also stealing the phrase Niagara knickers, because it amused me.

The icing on the cake was after watching this show, full of references to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Scotland generally, performed in a variety of Glaswegian accents, was my friend saying “so what was she Geordie?” on the way back to Leeds.

Awaaaaay!

My Precious

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I love my Cloud 9 hair straighteners. I love my Leeds United shirt. I love my 1950s hoop skirt with a poodle on. All of these things, while very different, have one thing in common. They are stuff. Just stuff. Easily replaceable, well maybe not the hoop skirt, it is an original, but nonetheless stuff.

I’ve been thinking about things that actually matter. Real stuff. Sentimental tat that looks like rubbish to most people, but whose eternal disappearance would upset you the most if your house burnt down. I’ve come up with a little list, and why it matters.

My silver wrap thumb ring that my Grandma bought me when I was sixteen. This was my first piece of real jewellery. Before that I’d owned a vast collection of rubber bangles and plastic karma beads which I thought were cool at the time but, really, what was I thinking? My thumb ring was proper jewellery though. I wore it non-stop for thirteen years until, sadly, this year, I snapped in clean in two while half asleep. I haven’t thrown it away though. I’m determined to get it fixed even though it’s silver and, on the face of it, “cheap”. The cost of fixing it isn’t relevant. Its value is more than that. To me at least.

My silver charm bracelet my Grandma gave me. Now this is an especially heavy charm bracelet. Nothing like Pandora this is a proper original one that my Grandma wore back in the day. When I was little (OK, I’m still little but, when I was a child) I loved playing with all the little charms (a lot have moving parts) and my Grandma promised I could have it when she passed away. She’s impatient, still alive and I have it now. It’s completely irreplaceable and I hold it responsible for my love of all things vintage now.

My signed picture of Al Pacino that my uncle bought me. This is probably replaceable, but he does get older every day so the likelihood of a duplication diminishes. My favourite actor, the picture itself shows the final scene in Scarface, my favourite film. It hangs above my bed. I know nor care not what potential boyfriends think of going to sleep underneath a picture of Al Pacino holding a gun. It’s awesome.

My battered up teddy bear my Mum gave me when I was born that she herself had owned since she was eight weeks old. He’s been around for everything I’ve been through. Anything you’ve had all your life has to mean something right?

My ticket to the Leeds United v. Tottenham Hotspur match in the FA Cup last season. I have a lot of football tickets. I have a lot of concert tickets. But this one is special. We won, for a start, but there are lots of other reasons it was a good day. Long story, but of all the “scraps of paper” (an ex-boyfriend’s words, not mine) I’ve kept over the years, this one really really means something.

My notebooks. Almost everything I’ve ever written is saved electronically, but everything I’ve ever written started out on paper in pen. I can’t think on a computer. My brain just doesn’t work like that. My stories are pieces of my life, my characters my children, the places they were first scrawled out is so much more important than the black mirrors they reflect off now.

So, those are my important material possessions. Everything else is either replaceable or I’d get over losing it. These things though, they matter. And while I probably couldn’t carry them all in an inferno emergency, I do have a lot of notebooks and my hands are very small, they will always be special to me even if they look like total crap to everybody else.

What matters to you?

Copy and Paste

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Ctrl C
Ctrl V

Copy and paste.

Valentine’s Day’s coming up. Again. I’m single for it. Again. But I digress. I’m not going to be sad and complain and be bitter. I don’t care really. I won’t cry at all when flowers get delivered to all the coupled up people in my office. They’ll all have red roses and, as a good Yorkshire girl, I don’t even like red roses. So there!

I have however been struck by how I’ve dated the same guy over and over. Not the exact same guy, but the same guy. I saw this t-shirt on another blog, “I don’t wanna date you, I just wanna copy and paste you” (http://www.manrepeller.com/2014/01/i-cant-say-it-so-my-shirt-will.html) and while I’m pretty sure this was not the point Leandra was trying to make, I think that most of us may be doing just that much of the time.

I do have a type that I generally go for. Things I like include beards, blue eyes and an anti Manchester United attitude. (I did actually go on a couple of dates with a Man U fan once, but, as a good Yorkshire girl, I just couldn’t get past it). But, I’ve now realised that the men I go out with generally have lots of other things in common. There’s a generally tendency to be what I consider a little over clingy, patronising about football (which I do happen to know more about than most blokes appear to feel comfortable with) and a complete inability to spell. Obviously they have their good points too, I’m being unfair. There’s always banter, cheeky smiles, a diet high in steak, an enjoyment of reading and a liking of fantasy/science fiction type shows. All in all, in some way, they’re all pretty similar. And it doesn’t work out. So I guess to get the red roses that make me shudder, I need to find something different.

But there’s the problem. I seemed to have Ctrl and C’d the first guy and I’m walking round with him stuck in my hard drive and Ctrl and V’ing him into every guy I’ve met since. There’s always some little differences. Potential Boyfriend 14.0 was a massive improvement on Boyfriend 1.0 so possibly there’s a little anti-virus software installed in me as well that’s finding the bugs and fixing them bit by bit. I’m getting there. But these things take time. Of course some of them are worse. These things happen with development. Windows 8 anyone? There was the one guy who thought confessing he’d been tea bagged was an appropriate first date conversation topic, and the Man U fan, obviously.

Maybe it won’t take many more reboots before the bugs are fixed enough for me to stick around. Then again, with my commitment phobia, might take a few more fixes of the operating system first!

Husband 1.0 is out there somewhere and I guess he’s probably similar to Boyfriend 1.0 in a lot of ways, just a better version of him.
For those of you who have found compatible software, Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy it for what it should be. A chance to show that you love what you have got, not a chance to spend a fortune on those disgusting scarlet flowers.