I’ll be there for you (or not)

JEN PIC

So, it’s all over the news. Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have split up. And once again, what irritates me is the criticism she has received. I’m not trying to jump on the band wagon here. And I’m not a fan girl, I can’t tell you what her dogs are called, or her favourite ice cream. Yes I adored Friends, but this observation is more about being a fellow human and woman. Considering the current climate, men everywhere are probably worried we are going to start burning our bras again. The platform is shifting, and so it should, but it’s a collective consciousness that we should be striving for, and sadly women still troll other women.

Even the language in these vacuous pop up videos, ‘JEN didn’t want to move from LA, JEN didn’t like it in NY, JEN is a Cali girl.’ Yep, probably all true but I think there’s probably more to it than that. And why isn’t it, ‘JUSTIN couldn’t stand LA?’ These tacky entertainment vids are subtly trying to make us think that she is at fault. Relationships are a two way street, and that’s a tough street sometimes.

I thought Justin seemed pleasant enough, but what I noticed was that he never seemed that fussed you know? Always a forced smile. In interviews talking about her he looked uncomfortable. This isn’t to diminish their love. He’s obviously not that demonstrative. But maybe Jen needs someone who is. Actually, scrap that, she definitely needs someone who is.

After the hardship with her mother, and in interviews where she revealed she felt like she wasn’t good enough, she needs someone to be like ‘OMG, I’m, I’M with Rachel’ ya know? Because it doesn’t matter if you are the most famous person on the planet, if people everywhere think you are gorgeous (and they do) nothing will matter when you have grown up with your own parent telling you that you’re ugly. Jen has described her low self esteem from her mother repeatedly telling her that she was ‘unbeautiful.’ Reading about her mother’s comments, she was just downright cruel, and it was totally unnecessary. Jennifer has said that her mother was ‘gorgeous, stunning, and I’m not and I’m fine with that.’ That statement is a little bit sad; Jen was trolled by her own mother, and worst of all, she believed it. The irony is, I would wager, that it was the opposite of what she thought – her mother was probably jealous of her daughter, and saw the potential in her to go further than she ever would.

There are also the trolls on the web – something Jen knows all too well and probably why she steers well clear of social media because it would just be one long bummer. But to the people saying she can’t hold a man – how ridiculous is that? I didn’t realise that all of the responsibility fell to her. We could say he can’t hold a woman, but we don’t. The scrutiny is always on the woman. Even when brad Pitt left her, there were still people saying ‘it must be something she did… She didn’t give him children’ well actually it’s highly likely he was already being unfaithful, and that’s not Jennifer’s fault, that was his choice. He didn’t have a gun against his head (or maybe he did, Angelina is known to be into weird stuff) and actually we have no idea why they didn’t have children but who cares. It’s their business. Apart from her eloquent essay in the Huffington post, http://bit.ly/2Bd75az  Jennifer has remained extremely reticent about all the irritating people banging on about her having children. People are obsessed and it’s kinda weird. To these people, you do realise if Jennifer has a baby it won’t affect your life? Your marriage won’t get better? Your relationships won’t be better. Hashtag your obsession is weird, let it go.

If the tabloids are to be believed (and they aren’t) the problem was their differing lifestyles – her a Cali girl, him a hipster in New York. There was also talk of Jen not feeling comfortable with him hanging out with a 25 year old grungy girl photographer (insert her name here. I’m not giving her fame.)  Erm, I’m with Jen. I don’t think any woman would be comfortable with this, or see his need to hang out with her. Sure, in a group, you have friends and stuff in common and of course men and women can be friends (can they?)  But if he felt the need to regularly see her privately, damn straight this is an issue. I’m trying really hard not to come across as man judging (I love men) but it does sound like he was being, dare I say it, selfish. My grandmother once told me; ‘2 things to know about men- they don’t want to hear your problems and they will always be selfish.’ This wasn’t even said in malice – it was just her observation.

At the end of the day, it’s just a shame. I think after all the shit she’s been through she deserves happiness. On the plus side she has such a fierce network of strong women around her – Ellen, Courtenay, Chelsea to name but a few – that I think she’ll be okay. She’s a girl’s girl, and she can do better.

As for brad Pitt? I have seen people literally exploding on twitter (okay not literally, gross) at the thought of them back together and are hoping for a reunion but somehow I don’t think that would be the healthiest thing for her. Or that she would even be that fussed – he has his own issues. One of them being that he has to deal with an icy ex and that he has about 45 kids to attend to. And that he won’t be the same person. Having said that!  Healthy schmealthy – if it makes her feel better I say go for it – they are both single after all.

This isn’t her first rodeo. But let’s not punish Jennifer for her relationship history or for eating a burger or for essentially being a human. We all are, funnily enough.

Fortune Favours the Bold

NEW YORK SKYLINE

So, it’s been a criminally long time since I last blogged. Why you ask (or not) well I’ll answer it anyway. Life, work, distraction, motivations. Here’s the truth and the sad thing about modern life and society; I want to write every day. I just feel so damn guilty because it’s not something that is bringing in money (sadly I’m not one of those blogs that is monetized – probably because I don’t bloody blog enough.) In today’s age we are conditioned to think that if it’s not gonna make us rich, it’s a complete waste of time. (Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be rich, but is that our only motivation?) Often we don’t pursue our passions because it’s not seen as something that will lead anywhere. Yes, there are the JK Rowlings of this world but that kind of success is rare, as we are often told (bludgeoned over the head with.) And there is that sense of judgement and derision which is such a sticky residue that it’s hard to get off. I admire the teflons of the world – Stallone was told numerous times that it was a big fat no re Rocky. ‘You’re too ugly, too unknown, it will never sell.’ How he didn’t punch himself in the face and torch the script right there is beyond me, but he didn’t, and it’s what made him. He pursued. He had faith. Man, I’m jealous – how do I get that?

FORTUNE

 

It took me 5 years after graduation to apply to a summer drama program in New York, even though I knew I wanted to go a further 3 years before that, for fear of what people (mainly the elders of the family) would think. Dad always thought actors were drug addicts or porn stars. In some cases, yeh he was right but I tried to reassure him that if I had wanted to be either of those things, I WOULD be already. He didn’t see the humour. I remember at Uni getting the prospectus for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, I was SO excited. As I leafed through the pages, a grin on my face, my housemate said – is that where you are going yeh? ‘Maybe’ I replied. She looked disappointed for me, probably realizing I was foiling myself. ‘You should go, you will be great.’ Her enthusiasm and support was lovely, but I was much more used to listening to the doubters. Besides, she was going to be a doctor so what did she know? She was going into a ‘real’ profession.  It used to be much more of a taboo to say you wanted to be an actor or a writer. People would look at you as if you just said you wanted to transform into an underwater mermaid – interesting idea, never gonna happen. I’d get a look of pity, as if I had just declared I wanted to climb Everest naked – an idea doomed to failure. Oddly I got a more positive response if I said I wanted to do something benign like work in customer service (does anyone actually aspire to that?)

The negative voices pervaded; ‘You should be earning, saving, doing ANYTHING.’

‘At your age I had a mortgage and 3 kids to support, get your head out of the clouds.’

I’m sad to say I definitely let it affect me. I’ve done so many shit jobs I can’t even count, stuff I’ve absolutely hated. With people I’ve hated! All for the ‘greater good.’ But what is that exactly? I’ve been miserable. Completely creatively unsatisfied. Another thing a shitty 9-5 does is drain your energy and then the last thing you want is to switch a computer on again after staring at one for 9 hours. I admire the people that do have the discipline, but I hear that voice in my ear ‘it’s never gonna happen, it’s a waste of time -give in to the void of the humdrum.’ Except I don’t want to give in to the void.

When I applied to AADA, I was at a low. Uni was well in the rear view mirror and I was doing a succession of crap jobs thinking is this it? Is life never gonna be fun or satisfying or stimulating again?

After my audition, and 4 long weeks going by, I got the letter on my doorstep. I remember I was shaking, which showed me just how much I wanted it.

When I saw that I was accepted, I was ecstatic.

When Jennifer Aniston said Vince Vaughn was her defibrillator, I kinda knew what she meant, because NY was definitely mine. I was very lucky because my experience was wonderful. I had an amazing, funny, supportive class, an inspiring teacher and great housemates to boot. It was as if the stars had aligned. That is so cheesy, but you have to understand the stars don’t usually align for me – this was something really special. It made me have an epiphany – life could be great, I could be creatively satisfied, mentally stimulated and excited about things once again. It just took courage for me to pursue a passion.

Now I know this isn’t always an option. In fact 95% of the time it’s not. This isn’t an after school special. Life a lot of the time sucks, and it gets in the way. And it’s frustrating.

But it starts by overcoming the fear. The anxiety. By ignoring the people who are too keen to piss on your parade. Those success stories you hear about are because people said ‘great story, but Imma do it my way haters.’ I wish I had that resolve sometimes. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty scared about uprooting and moving to New York without knowing anyone. But it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Fortune indeed, favours the bold.

It’s the ten year anniversary of my trip to NY and I think of it often. I’m still friends with those I met there and I know I’m so lucky to be. Nothing I do now will discount that experience. I just need to somehow harness the magic of that trip, and apply it to my life. So I’m starting by writing again, I’m starting by blogging again. And any suggestions you have, I’m all ears.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Midnight Special – a review. #film

midnight-special-poster

So Midnight Special.

 

Please only read this if you have seen it – contains some spoilers.

 

I thought about acting school recently – my teacher said ‘as a protagonist you always need to lose. In all major movies, the good guy loses, even if he gains.’  I thought about major movies. My god she was right – Shawshank – he loses his wife, his freedom, his friends, Forrest Gump – he loses the love of his life and so much more, Casablanca he loses his love, Raging Bull etc you get the picture. They all lose. Got it.

And while Michael shannons’ character in Midnight Special very much loses something very important to him – I didn’t feel like Alton, his son, was losing anything.

Alton, as you may have guessed, is extremely special. The title of the movie actually refers to a late night news report about the fact he is missing. A man, played by Michael Shannon, appears to be missing with him. His importance isn’t stressed at first, but you guessed it – he’s his father. Alton does a lot of screaming and crying and shooting bright effervescent blue laser beams out of his eyes for no apparent reason.  It’s certainly mysterious, interesting. But when the thing happens that is supposed to split us apart as an audience – it doesn’t happen. There was no struggle, no sadness at leaving his human* birth* ? parents. The thing about ET was that he knew he had to go home – but he had bonded with Elliott – it was going to be a struggle – he was going to miss his friend. This is what tugs at the heartstrings, this is what moves you, this is what causes that conflict in ourselves. As an audience we are completely invested, and devastated really, that this friendship and bond gets terminated. You all blubbed watching ET too, admit it.

 

While Midnight Special was tense – and it certainly was -the tension is ratcheted up beautifully, to the point where you are almost uncomfortable, squirming in your cinema seat.  The thing is, I didn’t feel very much else. I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel turmoil at the predicament. The parents had completely, almost matter of factly, accepted the fact that their son was probably going to be jetting off to another plane.  I didn’t feel anything from Alton – the boy. He told his parents not to worry. But he was quite happy to bugger off back to his people.

And although Michael Shannon has a very intense face – and his face is perfect for these odd, tortured parts due to his very bizarre, almost boggly eyed look- I was almost distracted to the point of not getting much else from him. It was a stress for sure, having the FBI on your arse, trying to capture your other-worldly son, but what else was going on? I didn’t get the layers (did you Mary Berry?) No offence to Mr. Shannon, I think he’s a good actor, but I wasn’t receiving the subtext.  He was always so tense, that anything else was almost inaccessible.

I also didn’t really get a sense of why he was where he was as a character.  Why had his son been adopted? Had he been a bit of a crap father and then had an attack of guilt last minute? Was it because he left the creepy cult acrimoniously? Having not brought up his son, was this why he was seemingly so detached?

Joel Edgerton on the other hand was fantastic. I felt the most from him. His guilt about the storm trooper they shot, the concern about the boy’s health, his empathy at the family that couldn’t be – shown by very subtle actions, basically you could read his face like a book. He’s very good at emoting. Not what I expected, having just seen Exodus, in which he was fine but the character was  a brash buffoon (and hard to accept as an Egyptian when he looked more like an eastern European wearing eye liner ha.) But he did impress me in this. I could see someone like Jake Gyllenhaal taking the part of the father (had he been older.) He would have been good too.

I will say that this film was super compelling. It’s a chase movie really, with supernatural elements. A road movie without the popcorn and soundtrack. An ‘us against them,’ the ‘little guy versus ‘the man.’

There is a wonderful reveal at the end, I won’t go so far as to say ‘twist’ and I certainly won’t say what it is (even though this review pretty much has ruined it for you all anyway.)

Midnight Special is definitely worth the watch. If you have seen it, please let me know what you thought, in the comments below.

And if you haven’t seen ET, then get a hold of yourself, and go and watch it immediately – it’s a master class in how to do it :)

 

The End of Longing – a review

The_End_of_Longing

So a couple of weeks ago my lovely friend who lives in London treated us to tickets to see ‘The End of Longing’ – a play conceived by and starring Matthew Perry. The reviews had been mixed and one of my friends warned they heard it was awful but I like to make my own mind up about things and try to avoid reviews like the plague (how ironic as I write this) because I don’t like to have any pre conceptions before seeing/experiencing something. Otherwise you don’t know if what you are thinking is your own feeling, or something subliminal.

That in mind, this does contain spoilers, so I would only advise that you read on if you have already seen it, or you are the kind of person who loves spoilers, you devil you (my aunt is such a person.)

I have to start by saying that the name Matthew Perry  is very much the reason this got to the west end. Friends was, and still is, huge (see my previous post about it http://www.lippychick.co.uk/the-one-with-all-the-talk-about-friends/). It’s certainly a creative dream to write something and have it performed on stage (I had this pleasure at University.) Even more luxurious to be the person to star in it too, after all, who knows how to interpret your writing better than you?

I just wish he had been braver. I wish it hadn’t been so predictable. If themes of ‘life is pointless’ etc then where was the moment where life IS displayed to be random and unpredictable and completely unyielding. The play opens with the character of Stephanie, a prostitute, telling us ‘It’s not my dream to work on my back, but then again neither am I happy about the fact we all DIE at the end of our lives!’ Each character is introduced in a snappy way, to give us an insight into their motives, and so that we as an audience don’t have to think too much. We get all four of their MOs in the opening 30 seconds. Fine. It’s just that none of them have a proper story arc. None of them develop. There is no rite of passage, no real suffering. A lot of arguing, a lot of matt pushing his grey hair back and swearing but no epiphanies. The fact that Joseph prays hysterically for his ill and pregnant girlfriend, and she is saved – is Matthew Perry trying to tell us he’s secretly religious, or does he not want to offend anyone ? OR does he really want to believe that there is life after death? (As this is something he is seemingly wrestling with.)  The scene where Joseph is praying could have poignant, maybe, but it’s still interjected with jokes when he is ‘talking to God in the church.’ He starts by thanking him for an encounter he had with another woman… it just made it hard to take seriously.
It’s clichéd, it’s cloying. It’s very American.
It didn’t move me, but I really really wanted it too.
Of course Matthew Perry can act. We’ve seen him do it before. He was very convincing as a drunk – I suppose he’s had lots of practice (sorry Matt) and it’s definitely a well observed take on our society – especially the women – we are all neurotic head cases. There’s so much to worry about these days, and modern technology (ie smart phones and social media) haven’t helped one bit. We have all become obsessive, paranoid cluster fucks ‘he hasn’t texted me in 4 hours, what does this mean?!’ And I love the line ‘why aren’t you in therapy? Maybe we should put you in therapy so we can figure out why you aren’t in therapy!’
The writing was really good in some places, like the example above. Other times it was cloying and dragged a little bit.
I was most disappointed that I predicted the whole thing. I would have loved a twist. I also found it strange, that Matt having been an alcoholic in real life, thought it was realistic for his character to declare and successfully quit drink in 30 days (as he promises her character he will.)
And it definitely had far too many ‘fucks’ in it (swearing, not literal fucks although I suppose that would have been entertaining.) To the point where it loses all meaning and you think that it’s a lazy writing device. All the characters swore. There was no differential in terms of their dialogue, which speaks volumes about character, except for the ones they banged over our heads – Joseph is stupid, Stevi is neurotic, Jack’s a drunk, Stephanie has daddy issues.
I’m afraid I found the delivery of Stephanie so sing songey that I found it difficult to connect with her as a human being. She was fine being a prostitute and made loads of money ($2500 per guy, really? Did the customers get a gold model of her vagina at the end?) I think I found her to be the most 2D. And realistically, Stevi, who found Joseph dull and boring, would have settled with him for 2 minutes before it all turned to shit in reality. What her character screamed was desperation and ‘ladies, if he likes you, settle, at least it’s *someone* girls!’ Not such an attractive or realistic prospect.
There were a few moments that made you semi smile, but unfortunately no laugh out loud moments. Lots of ‘Friends’ style devices – leaving a long pause after someone delivers a line and then saying your one worder-  ’anyway.’
There was also a lot of waiting for the laughs – which Matt did frequently – and he did get them – people who adored him as Chandler were fawning over him in the front row. Pretty sure he could have dropped a turd on stage and people would have loved it – such is his gravitas and preceding reputation.
I don’t want to completely trash it of course. It was certainly watchable and ticked along. There was potential here.  But there was no epiphany, no defining change, no development of character and nothing that made me emote. And it’s very easy to make me emote. I’m a softie. I like to feel when I go to the Theatre. But all I could feel was how hard my seat was, and the legs from the person behind me, pressed into my back.
The end of longing was fine, but it could have been so much more.

 

 

 

Plenty of Freaks

AWKWARD DATE

So.. I almost don’t have words for this latest shitty internet date.

 

Am I missing something? Have I typed in the wrong HTML? Have I somehow joined plenty of fucktards instead of plenty of fish?

 

I really think it’s time I wrote a book. You can’t make this stuff up – from the guy who cried to the guy who told me he was suicidal (at the beginning of our date you smart asses.)

 

The latest was a woman hater. Good god even worse he was some judgemental, generalising xenophobe. He ‘hated all Irish’ because they were ‘pikeys.’ Umm okay. Bit stereotypical I venture ‘ no they really are – they steal, they pillage – one came into my bar with a crowbar, he wanted to smash some girls face in’ did he say that? ‘No I could just tell.’ Okay then.

 

He asked me what I did for a living and I answered and then mentioned my siblings and asked if he had any ‘woah, I’m trying to listen to you and wasn’t expecting all these questions.’  I asked him if he had any siblings, and the age difference. That was it.  Are you close to you sister?

‘Yes. Ish.’ Then later in the conversation he tells me she’s a ‘cunt.’  I find this abhorrent seeing as I’m so close to mine, and pretty strong language for a first date.

 

We start talking about men and women and the difference. I say women need a reason to have sex and men just need a place – a great quote from city slickers which I totally believe to be true. He says that he’s read a study and women in tribes hump all the men and so women are actually more whoreish than men. He’s lost me of course, because he’s talking utter nonsense.

 

He is then telling a story and stops because ‘he’s distracted.’ By what? I ask. He laughs. Then he looks really serious and tells me I made a gesture that communicated to him that I was ‘bored.’ What did I do? I ask. He’s not telling me, he wants to see if I do it again. Right.

 

‘I don’t like being quizzed’ he says later in the date.

 

‘I wasn’t quizzing you’ I reply ‘ we are strangers and the way to get to know each other is ask each questions – that way we learn about each other.’

 

‘No you really were quizzing me mate.’

 

MATE. God I can’t stand this. I’m not your mate. We are on a date. I don’t even call my own friends  ’mates.’ I choose to ignore this however.

 

Then he says he’s defensive and this is because all women are shit because we are deceptive and lie about everything. Keep in mind he said he had a degree – (he didn’t,) and that he was 5 ft 10 – (he wasn’t,) so we have a whingey  guy who’s also a big fat hypocrite – my bloody favourite!

 

He then tells me he can recognise a sociopath  and  ’it’s the same as a psychopath,’  I tell him it’s not the same and try to explain – he says the lines are blurred. I ask him if this is the point he tells me he’s a sociopath. He looks me dead in the eye and pauses. (Too long if you ask me) he then says no, but he’s worked for one. Convincing stuff eh.

 

He goes on about hating being quizzed and tells me he gets quizzed all day in his job – he’s a Barman. I suspect they aren’t actually quizzing him but probably just asking for their drinks – maybe he’s reading too much into ‘recommend any good spirits, mate?’ He then says he’s tired and he’s worked today and I’ve done fuck all so it’s fine for me to be ‘mentally alert’ whereas he’s ‘exhausted’ – like he’s the only guy on the planet who ever worked a Sunday.  What the actual fuck.  I’m sorry, we are on a date – you are not down the mine. Bring your A game you twat. Guys, it’s unattractive to be moody, say you are tired, say women are all shit. You have put yourself on a website – you want to meet women – well act like that and maybe you will get somewhere.

 

At this point on the date I totally  lost my patience and told him he needed to man up a bit and stop being so wittery. This of course went down like a lead balloon but he had already made himself so unattractive that I didn’t care. And the irony was that he was an attractive man facially but here’s the rub – personality matters!

 

The final straw was when upon splitting the bill he told me that as I had had a tea I would have to pay for that separately  and we wouldn’t split it. I was kinda disgusted. We paid our bill and the best I could say was that it was ‘interesting.’ And that everything is good material. He said I should ‘put it in a screenplay’ in a rather patronising voice and I said I’d put it in my blog. He probably thinks I’m joking.

I hurry to my car and delete his number.

Afterwards I tell a male friend about the experience. What he says makes me feel vindicated:

‘Aren’t dates basically just quizzing opportunities? I don’t understand how someone goes on a date and let’s all their crazy spill out. Clearly totally socially uncalibrated.’  Such a wry and astute observation.

 

So there you have it – you can’t stand the heat, then get off the website, you uncalibrated morons.

50 Shades of Nay

50 SHADES

 

So I read that Jamie Dornan didn’t attend drama school. Jamie thinks acting is ‘instinctual.’

That’s a shame. Maybe he would have been better equipped to deal with the cold slab of flesh that is Dakota Johnson. Rumours are they lacked chemistry and he found her difficult. To be honest I would struggle to act opposite a piece of wood myself. She certainly lacks je nais se quoi. (Sorry Melanie G). We know that the character of Anastasia is meant to be somewhat plain, however we are led to believe (in the book anyway) that there is something intangibly irresistible about her- which means Grey can’t stay away.

We failed to see this in the film. Unfortunately Dakota Johnson seriously lacks the sex appeal/innocence combo required for this role. Alexis Bledel would have been an ideal choice, and I think many fans envisaged her taking the role. I’m unsure as to whether she was even asked, possibly too old for the role.

A few things about the movie to consider:

 

*Why was her roommate like 35?

*Why was her roommate unbelievable as a human being? She seemed to be a caricature of a person.

*Why were Dakotas’s eyebags so fucking huge?

*Why was Dakota so bumbly?  Anastasia is naïve, but she’s not meant to be an idiot.

*Why is Jamie Dornan married (FML)

*What did Grey find so great about her? Whatever it was did not translate well to film.

Fact is that some of the bits in the book which are so hot (and of course implausible) became laughable when put on screen.  The bit where he growls ‘fuck the paperwork’ in the book is actually sexy as hell- on screen it’s just a bit… cringe.

Credit to Jamie Dornan though who acts his pants off, literally. I was disappointed that we didn’t see more of the goods though, especially as there was lots of Dakota naked.

Dakota I did not believe for one second in the role. In turns she seems positively bored, disinterested, disaffected. She doesn’t looked pained when she can’t touch him (in the book she is devastated) she’s more mildly annoyed here. This woman is supposed to be deeply consumed by him and I don’t buy it for one minute.

I think Jamie actually gets better as the movie goes on (i’m not biased I promise!) I thought he portrayed a very sympathetic Grey. It was obvious why she was so in to him. Also, a fucked up man is always so interesting/tempting/exquisite.

The one sexy scene in the whole movie is when they are sitting at either end of a very long table with a sunset type of quality to the background (even if it’s in the office) and he tells her he wants to fuck her and you wonder if they will on the table. They don’t and it actually makes it all the more sexy.

For her role I’m afraid they needed someone with a lot more gravitas.

The film itself cut a lot of the foreplay moments that the characters had in the book and I think this did it a disservice. There was no frisson or build up, or chemistry or will they won’t they ( I mean we all know they WILL but it never gave us any reason to doubt it. And that’s a serious quality that it should have striven to achieve, makes it sexier)

From the moment she fell in his office (like a dick), it just seemed to be a count down to the sex. And her writhing naked with too many shots of her twiglet nipples (while we see nothing of him – perhaps one tease of his ball – believe me I was REALLY looking)  while he does the odd spank isn’t sexy really. He should have really seduced her body – gone down on her for example (which happens in the book a lot and didn’t happen much here)  and she should have SOLD that shit like she was loving it and she simply didn’t. Disappointing. Believe me, if I had Jamie Dornan between my legs, it would have be difficult to keep it to just simulating if I’m honest.

I do wonder how different it would have been had someone more stylised tackled it – a Soderbergh or a Tarantino for example. Not that either would touch it with a barge pole, but there was potential here, and  I don’t think Taylor Johnson did it any favours.

It wasn’t terrible don’t get me wrong,  watchable – but a let down.

 

 

WHAT IF

BROKEN HEART

 

 

What if I hadn’t gone to that wedding, and humoured the best man, who I found repulsive and stepped on my toes. He had been ‘recovering from something’ and I had to dance with him, being the maid of honour.  I kept my face away from him, and dropped his hands like a stone once the song was over. He found solace in the sister in law and I was saved from his advances. Sometimes when you find someone so unappealing it’s like a foul odour you want to waft away. All at once we can find people either repellent or intoxicating.

 

What If when I got back home from that trip, I hadn’t contracted swine flu; the flu that meant I was unable to keep anything down, or move my limbs much, or keep my eyes open, or do anything but sleep in a weak and delirious stupor.

What if I hadn’t been shivering to the point where I felt like my body was made of ice and all the heat in the world wouldn’t thaw me out.

As a consequence I crawled with my blanket to be by the fire to warm my chilled flesh on the hot coals emitting a soothing heat, pinching the duvet under my chin to comfort myself, switching the television on in that moment, to pass the time.

I could have crawled back to bed, but I didn’t. I could have laid down but I didn’t. I could have continued to watch the flames lick the logs but instead I chose to watch that particular channel. And at that very moment, that show flickered across the monitor.

Within the first 30 seconds, you appeared.

What if I had never  laid eyes on you?

You filling up my screen with your presence, being so witty and attractive. Me being utterly mesmerized and not being able to take my eyes off you.  I wanted you the moment I saw you. Without for a second contemplating that it would or could ever happen. But I did meet you. And I did touch your face and I did witness your stormy eyes firsthand.

The sound of you messaging, like cocaine for the soul. Any mention of you. Seeing your name emblazoned on my phone screen.

Maybe if I  was stronger I could handle the pain. The kind of pain that feels like splinters in your stomach, waking you up with a kick in the early morning hours. Once again  the realization that you are not next to me.

What if I could stop sobbing over the thing that I never had in the first place? Because I never had you. The deep throaty sobs that catch in my windpipe and leave me exhausted, my eyes burning.

What would be different?

Would I have had another heartache? Would there be nobody crushing my paper heart in their palm?

Would there be someone else enveloping me in their arms and telling me it’s going to be okay? Or would I have been alone, none the wiser, sitting by the fire and watching something else entirely.

I wonder; what if I hadn’t fallen for you?

 

I feel crushed.

Spin yourself Thin

SPIN BIKE

 

So in an effort to drop the pounds (new year, new me! Hashtag, emoji etc!) I have taken a few measures, one of which is joining the bandwagon of doing spinning. Spinning used to be something frequented by over 40 mums who needed an outlet and a place to spin out their frustrations – and let’s be fair – they were ripped.

Now millions of us do it and it’s proving to be quite the fun class to do, whilst also burning a shed load of calories – no mean feat. At first, I was afraid (I was petrified) thinking I could never survive, spinning on my hide, but survive I did. And it definitely gets easier. My first class was agony for my bum. (Cue sniggering for the dirty minded out there,) the seat is basically a slender slab of METAL, and you spend your time pummelling your cheeks against it as you spin enough to take off. This made me enjoy the time that my arse was off the seat and I was cycling whilst supporting my body weight in the air. Some find this very difficult. I actually do not. This is because I have a lot of strength in my legs. I grew up on a farm lifting hay bales, mostly using the thighs. I can’t lift for shit with my arms though – I don’t have much upper body strength. Maybe this is why this works for me.

Having had 3 different teachers in as many classes, I have found out that there are many different ways to teach this class (and experience it). Not all of which are that pleasant, but effective no less. I will say that as a woman, I do not enjoy the battering my groin takes. Women will concur, men will wonder what we are on about. Apparently you get used to this, but to get round it I just spend as much time as possible, out of the seat.

One teacher we had was utterly bonkers; she kept inviting passing customers to join in (there is a ceiling to floor window wall)  and then at certain intervals she would actually dismount her bike and walk around the room to check whether you were working hard enough, and bear down on you if you weren’t. Wasn’t a massive fan of this to be honest, neither was the rest of the class if the feedback I heard was anything to go by. The rest of her class was tough, with her telling you to yam up the resistance, but  a good workout no less. Another teacher spent the whole time telling us about the pasta and chips she had before the class (what were  you thinking woman??) and how she might puke, NICE. She also kept saying ‘I know that this next bit will REALLY hurt’ – which isn’t motivating at all. Her music was also shit. Amazing how much difference music makes to a work out. It can really push you when you have that rising crescendo and you feel yourself being geared up until the chorus -when you go NUTS spinning for your life.  The third woman told us we were fat, and that’s why we were in her class. I can see what she was *trying* to do, offensive no less. I didn’t like her class as it concentrated on alternating between on the seat, off the seat with too much emphasis on leaning forward which put a great deal of strain on the knee – not good.

The good news is that it DOES get easier. The more you go the more you can cope – even if you have to push though that first 15 minutes where your body is in shock going this again? Really??

And at 45 minutes it’s not *too* unbearable an amount of time.

More good news? I’ve shifted 11 pounds since Christmas. So let’s all torture ourselves together, and come to Spin class! Wahoo. Just don’t tell Spinning that I sometimes cheat on it with Circuits. Hey, variety is the spice of life.

Making the Jump.

Leap-of-Faith-Quote-by-Margaret-Shepard

Someone once said that ‘success is right outside your comfort zone’ and I reckon they are probably right. The problem is doing those things that take balls. I find it hard to do things that scare me as I came from such a sheltered upbringing. I wasn’t allowed near water till I was older (my mum was terrified about us drowning) and consequently I was terrified of pools and didn’t learn to swim till I was 16. This did not help me, obviously. It only hindered me.

If we suggested back packing our father warned of ‘murderers abroad’  and I wasn’t even allowed to go to my school overnight party at 13 in case the teachers ‘weren’t responsible.’ It all added up to me feeling anxious and on edge a lot of the time.

So is it any wonder, these neuroses?

 

The battle ever since has been doing things that are scary, but could be amazing. And for the most part, I have tried to take a leap, but it’s definitely not always easy.

There are so many things to consider, so many scenarios,  balls to juggle,  people’s expectations to manage.

And then recently (but not soon enough) I realised that I only had to manage my own expectations. That as much as I feel like I’m being selfish (because we grew up with a truck load of guilt poured on us, about EVERYTHING) that life is short. You may be wondering how this has only just occurred to me. Well, of course I have always known life is short. But we spend a lot of time thinking about how stuff *might* turn out, and how other people *might* be affected. We play things out in our heads a million different ways. But guess what? You can’t make everyone happy, in fact you won’t no matter what you do.  And however much you picture things in your head, if you don’t do them, you’ll never know.

I am guessing we all spend way too much time hypothesizing about the ifs and buts. But I really don’t want to be thinking about that when I’m 80 and wondering ‘what if’ instead of ‘wow that was good. So glad I wasn’t chicken shit and just did it.’

So this is the year I have decided to get scary! I mean we all know I’m a bit scary but I mean I am going to try and do stuff that I normally wouldn’t. No I don’t mean drugs, (that would probably result in a mild case of death knowing me.) No I mean just taking a leap of faith now and then.

I’ve actually applied for some competitions, instead of having the mind-set ‘I’ll never win’ and I actually have won some as a consequence – one of which was to appear on 4music – which I have done a few times now, on video crush. This mostly serves as a bit of exposure, some fun and the chance to do something a bit different and I’ve really enjoyed doing it.

It sounds so cliché but the saying you have to be in it to win It’ is kinda true. What did Michael Jordan say? ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’

My friend recently told me that I needed to change my outlook, and that I was being too negative. Even though I went mad at him at the time, he has a point. I need to stop being afraid.

So I have decided that 2015 is going to be fucking awesome. And I’m going to be brave.

All Tied Up

reaching

How do you unfurl somebody?

 

Somebody that you care for so much, yet they don’t allow themselves to care that much for you.

Somebody tied so tight in a knot. And then you come along, tugging at that knot, threatening to undo it.

They might even secretly feel good about it. It might spark some long dormant emotions. It might awaken a fire long thought of as extinguished. A desire not sated but quietened.

But you don’t want that. Your knot is so tight it makes you numb, but it’s all you’ve ever known. You take comfort in that knot.

If only you would loosen your grip of the situation. To embrace the warmth and light:

me.

But you won’t ever do that..

Am I strangling myself with the loose tethers you allow me?  Probably.

Every now and then I give some slack and I feel you slipping away. That’s when something brings us back together. We never truly let go. But you hold onto the peripheral of me. Not the whole of me.

I  just want to embrace the part of you that you conceal from me. Not these frayed ends that you reluctantly allow me to perceive.

But you have anchored yourself to a rotten post. One you’ve been attached to for a long time. One that once bore you fruit but now you are mounted to this wizened tree stump, striking you with its dagger-ous limbs. Every lance to the face only serving to convince you that you earned it. You enjoy the punishment. You think you deserve it.

My palm is constantly open to you. My finger tips stretching towards you, reaching desperately for you in the darkness. Hoping you’ll receive me, but you never do.

Maybe I should close my hand.

You are sinking, you and your post. Not voraciously; you won’t be gorged by a rapid quicksand. Yours is a slow and insidious journey. The steady envelopment of your soul until one day you realise you can’t breathe.

One day your hand may finally reach out to mine, when you are just about to suffocate.

But the question is, will I still be there to take it?

 

ROPE ON A WIRE