Monday, 22 October 2018

Eyes take heed the colours call

Back over the summer I bought a secondhand film camera as I've always enjoyed photography but have felt inspired to try more film. I've been feeling jaded with digital, and how I feel more focused with taking 10 shots of the same thing to get a perfect photo instead of just enjoying seeing. Although I know how to manually adjust a camera I'm still getting the hang of my Olympus OM-10 as previously I've only ever used disposable film cameras. This was my first roll of film, and I'm actually pleased with how it's come out! I'm hoping to perhaps shoot a roll and film a month, but I guess we'll see as it's pretty expensive to get film developed nowadays (and I don't foresee using the medium enough to invest in self developing)

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Social media is becoming less and less sociable

emily temple cute falling alice Yuko Higuchi japanese fashion jfashion mori girl otome
emily temple cute falling alice Yuko Higuchi japanese fashion jfashion mori girl otome

Although the glorious sunny weather of today does match these photos, I admit I took them a couple of weeks ago but have been too busy to sit and type out a post until now. I had surgery on my dominant arm this past Friday to remove a plate that was holding it together, so I've had a busy couple of weeks trying to do everything I could in preparation for not being able to do a lot.

The most difficult part of having to have such an inactive October is the fact that I feel I'm missing out on my favourite season. I'm incredibly limited at the moment as my forearm is full of holes so could snap very easily which is a scary thought! I can't even draw which I'm definitely finding the hardest. Not that I haven't gone for longer than this without drawing before, but I've recently come out of a period of art block and so typically am feeling incredibly inspired at the moment. I feel so much happier with the artwork I'm creating, and although skill and style-wise I'm not where I'd ideally like to be, just feeling inspired to do something about that is pretty huge for me.

emily temple cute falling alice Yuko Higuchi japanese fashion jfashion mori girl otome
dress - emily temple cute | underskirt - axes femme | boots - new look | necklace - bunnyhell | all else thrifted

I've been devouring TheGothicAlice's sketchbook tour videos, a genre of YouTube video that I usually detest as they're usually so unrealistic and impractical with perfectly curated finalised illustrations on every page. Sketchbooks are supposed to be messy, to be full of ideas and experimentation, and that's exactly what TheGothicAlice's are - something personal that she carries around daily and treats just as much like a journal as a sketchbook. It's got me itching to return to drawing everyday like I used to and stopped me from feeling so intimidated by it's blank pages as I loose that toxic idea that it has to be perfect and cohesive for some imaginary audience to enjoy. This feeling of wanting to draw every day has only been reinforced by re-watching Leigh Ellexson's videos about her 365 project where she drew every day and seeing how much it improved her artwork. I really want to do something similar, but not to share online like she did, just keep it for me. I know I lose a sense of accountability this way, but I'm rather tired of this modern idea that everything a creative makes has to be shared and put up for public opinion and consumption.

I've been thinking a lot about internet culture lately, and the unsocialness of social media. I remember a few years ago my favourite blogger switched off comments to her blog and at the time I felt completely perplexed - her blog was popular and received hundreds of comments to each entry, it blew my mind that she wouldn't want that. But now I get it, as I realise that social media isn't as sociable as we're lead to believe. It's become warped into this attention seeking space, as if attention and interaction are the same thing which it isn’t. Wanting to express yourself and share your interests with potential like minded people doesn’t mean you want to open yourself up to unsolicited advice and people making assumptions based on the slither of yourself you present online. The actual community aspect of social media is rapidly disappearing and I’ve grown weary of the constant bids for attention that come with being online. Internet culture has us in constant competition with each other, instead of just befriending one another.

I've been just as guilty of this in the past as I've suffered with feelings of impostor syndrome and have sought validation online. I mentioned before how I've spent the past few months rediscovering some old interests and passions which has made me feel happier than I have in absolutely years (which is no doubt why the art block has lifted!). And a rather nice side effect of rediscovering this old part of my life is that it's making me even more nostalgic than usual for the internet of old and reminding me of online life before ‘influencers’ and follower counts mattered, when we’d interact on forums and support each other with no 'follow for follow' ulterior motive (I long for the days of forums with tight knit fan communities and intricately crafted graphics; back when we'd self-learn HTML and PHP just to build fan sites from scratch, and spend hours creating icons and graphics for LiveJournal). Whilst I may not be able to regress the internet back 10 years, I think a lot of my happiness is stemming from this nostalgia and losing the absurd need try and impress anyone. I've learnt to stop caring as I'm no longer looking for popularity or validation, I'm not looking to be the best, or the biggest fan, or anything like that, I'm just enjoying stuff that I'm absurdly passionate about again. And I'm reminded of that favourite blogger who switched off comments, and I get it now - because sometimes that outside interference can ruin things.

I've realised that this is why I've struggled with blogging in recent years. It's become something ridiculous where you have to show off in order to be interesting, but that's not what interests me. I don't care how much you spend on your clothing or art supplies, I don't care how many times you've seen your favourite stage production or band, and I'm utterly bored of people constantly trying to be an expert and act like the single biggest fan of a particular thing. Life isn't a competition to be won or lost. Let's have less shouting, less boasting. Take things slow, just enjoy stuff, and create things just for you because you want to and no other reason.

emily temple cute falling alice Yuko Higuchi japanese fashion jfashion mori girl otome

Friday, 28 September 2018

It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here

Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to see Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets. It's something I've been looking forward to a great deal as not only is Nick my favourite living member of Pink Floyd, but he's using these concerts to celebrate the often overlooked early era of the band during and just after Syd Barrett.

I saw Roger Waters earlier in the year, and really wasn't sure what to expect of Nick. Unlike Roger who was one of the frontmen of Pink Floyd, Nick was the drummer so it's not like he'd be lending his vocals or anything. I was also apprehensive as Syd's era of the band means so very much to me. Thankfully, I really needn't of worried, it was an absolutely fantastic night.

What I loved most was just how much the band were very clearly enjoying themselves. When Pink Floyd began, they played long improvised set lists which were essentially extended jam sessions, and Saucerful of Secrets stayed true to their namesake and provided just that and created the essence of Syd, Rick, and Roger (and Nick of course!). It was incredible hearing all of the psychedelic sound effects live, I’m not a musician so it really impressed me seeing how those sounds are actually created live on stage. They also included some lesser known tracks such as Vegetable Man, and tracks such as Lucifer Sam, Bike, and Fearless which were never played live by Pink Floyd.

Nick was incredibly humble and sweet, and made sure to give recognition to Syd which caused the whole theatre to erupt in applause which was incredibly special. It really did feel like a tribute to him, and it makes my heart so happy knowing that my favourite living member of Pink Floyd paid him such respect.

It was difficult to take pictures as the light effects obscured the band, which felt exactly how it should be. That was the initial reasoning for the psychedelic oil projections, to allow Pink Floyd to disappear into the background and ensure that their music took precedence. During Arnold Layne there was a reel playing clips of Nick behind his drum kit during the early years, and it was wonderful seeing him sitting in front of this at his drum kit once more. Several times during the show I had tears in my eyes, thinking of Syd and Rick and how much the music of Pink Floyd means to me.

I hadn't intended to buy anything, but naturally I couldn't resist! Syd is incredibly special to me, and I'm always up for adding another shirt to my collection. I love that it's maroon too, far too many music tshirts are black which is so dull! They were also selling a couple of bits and pieces that Nick had signed, so I grabbed a drum head. This is now the second item I own signed by him as he's also signed my copy of his autobiography.

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets have extended their tour and are going to be annoucing North American dates soon (and further I hope!). I really can't remommend them enough, even if you're not as nutty about Pink Floyd as I am it's a wonderful glimpse into the psychedelic clubs of the 1960s!

Friday, 14 September 2018

'Cause getting your dreams, it's strange but it seems a little - well - complicated

I knew as soon as I booked the ticket that I wanted to write a blog entry about seeing Wicked to mark the occasion, but now I actually sit in front of my computer I feel so overwhelmed that I don't know what to say without it sounding trite. A lame review with a critique of the performances seems trivial, as to me it's so much bigger than that. Because it's not just Wicked (although it mostly is!) but also that this was the first time that I've been to the theatre since 2011 and it's the fact that I feel as though I've reclaimed that part of myself; that part of me that loved musical theatre with my whole entire being, that built my life around it, that went to the theatre multiple times a month, that got accepted into drama school and had every intention of making it my career.

I really can't say what it is about Wicked that's captivated me so thoroughly, as it's a show I'd seen before and liked enough even if no where near as much as I do now. It's funny how things can re-enter your life and just speak to your soul in a way that it didn't before. As soon as the show was finished and the actors had taken their final bows, I was already calculating when I can hopefully go and see it again and I spent the entire four hour journey home fiercly trying to remember every last detail. Which is just about the best review I can give it!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Silly Old Bear

Winnie The Pooh always meant a lot to me growing up like I previously explained, ever more so since re-reading the books as an adult and being charmed by the characters and their wise wit all over again. Secret Honey are a Japanese brand with full licencing by Disney, and for many years have been releasing exquisite original clothing inspired by various characters. I've collected a few of their dresses over the years and always enjoy browsing the new releases, but this Winnie The Pooh dress passed under my radar until recently when I spied it in the sale section - so it worked out in my favour! I adore how it's based around the map of 100 Acre Wood which features in each book, and it feels perfect for autumn.

Most of my days lately have been spent drawing (my recent Oz infatuation has really gotten my creative juices flowing and taught me to enjoy drawing again, it's a nice bubble to be in), reading, and walking through the fields to watch the seasons change. The fruit is plentiful and I've already been foraging in the hedgerows. I just love this time of year, although everything is dying it somehow feels renewed and full of hope.

I've also been making the most of my railcard and travelling as much as possible. I've always enjoyed the train, and the quiet moment of calm it provides to bookend the adventures. It's my favourite place to read, which is a shame as it isn't terribly practical for me to get the train often! I attended a record fair this past Sunday that was several towns over where I managed to complete my Pink Floyd LP collection, and this week I shall be travelling down to London to go to the theatre. I'm due to have surgery at the beginning of October which will no doubt cut my autumn rather short (it's on my dominant arm which will render it unusable for several weeks - so no drawing for me, but hopefully plenty of reading) so I'm determined to make the most of September.

“Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Sunday, 26 August 2018

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,

We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

I think summer is coming back next week, but I've enjoyed the early autumnal weather while it's lasted. Today was beautifully cold and wet, and mushrooms have begun sprouting down the lane.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Current Favourite Things ♡

I last wrote a favourites post this time last year, but I felt inspired to share a new one. They're not something I create frequently as honestly I'm mostly enjoying the same stuff over and over, but they're definately something I enjoy writing from time to time. Especially as I've been rediscovering my old interests this summer, and have been having a blast.

1. The Wizard of Oz / Wicked ➳ Something that you may not know about me is that I used to be a huge musical theatre nerd. Living in London I used to visit the West End regularly, and even after I moved away I would follow my favourite productions on tour around the UK. It feels like a lifetime ago, and like many of my interests from back then I'm not sure why it ended. I've mentioned before that I've been in the process of rediscovering old interests, back then I hadn't thought of theatre. But then a few weeks ago I had the urge to listen to the Wicked Broadway soundtrack, and oh my! I can't remember the last time I heard it, but I used to like Wicked a lot back in the day and saw it in London a few times back around 2008-'10. It's reignited something in me, and not only am I enjoying musical theatre again in general, but I'm kind of obsessed with the world of Oz! I read L Frank Baum's original novel in the space of 2 days, which may not sound like a lot but I lost my passion for reading a while ago so it really is something to be so glued to a book again! I can't remember when I last looked forward to bed time just so I could carry on reading! It's also helped me get over my art block, as I'm really enjoying drawing all of the characters and scenes and just getting back in touch with my creativity. I'm going to be popping down to London to see Wicked in London next month and I really can't wait, and now I've finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I'm going to attempt Gregory Maguire's book that the musical is based on (which I've heard mixed reviews on, so I hope it's not a let down!).

2. Sour Cherry tea ➳ I've always loved a good cup of fruit or herbal tea, it's both wonderfully refreshing during the warmer weather and warming and comforting when it gets colder. After my beloved Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty tea ran out I was a bit miffed that it wasn't in my local store until I found this Sour Cherry tea. Cherry is my favourite flavour in the entire world in absolutely anything, and paired with aniseed and star anise it's just everything I love rolled into one. I can't stop drinking the stuff, but at least it's good for me!

3. J-Fashion ➳ Japanese street fashion is another interest I used to have back when I was into musical theatre, and like musical theatre it fell to the wayside. Most of my wardrobe contents used to be imported from Japanese brands themselves, I was very heavily involved with my local EGL subculture, and it was a big reason of why I visited Tokyo in 2011. I fell out of love with it when EGL began to feel a bit costume-y and I fell in love with 60s and 70s vintage instead, but the past few months has seen me reaching more and more for the few Baby The Stars Shine Bright and Emily Temple Cute pieces I still have in my wardrobe. I don't think I'll be going as 'go big or go home' with it as I used to - I'm finding myself much more drawn to mori girl and otome styles nowadays anyway. But I'm certainly having a lot of fun with it, and am enjoying feeling like I'm dressing for myself again.

4. Film photography ➳ I recently bought a second (or third, or forth, who really knows!) hand Olympus OM10 camera as I've always enjoyed photography but have felt inspired to try more film. All film cameras I've used before have always been of the point and shoot or disposable variety, and I confess I'm lazy with my digital cameras and mostly leave them to run on auto. I do know how to adjust the settings, but honestly I feel there's little point nowadays as it's all become so easy. I've been feeling jaded with digital, and how I feel more focused with taking 10 shots of the same thing to get a perfect photo instead of just enjoying seeing. Although I know how to manually adjust a camera I'm still getting the hang of the Olympus OM-10, and I'm yet to get the film developed so who knows what they'll turn out like! But it's wonderfully refreshing to take one photo and walk away with the faith that whatever it turns out like, it'll be OK.

5. Record fairs ➳ I feel a bit of a cheat putting vinyl on a favourites list as it's one of those things that I'm always obsessed with and constantly adding to my collection. And I'm certainly not new to the concept of record fairs! But I've recently moved home after being away at uni, and was absolutely thrilled to see that the vinyl community has really picked up since I was last here! There's four record fairs on just next month! I'm absolutely in my element, there's nothing like finding something special digging through a crate when you least expect it. It beats eBay any day!

6. Autumn ➳ I've been looking forward to autumn since mid-July, and now the evenings are beginning to draw in, the air is getting fresher, and the acorns are getting fatter on the oak trees each time I walk past, I can truly feel myself beginning to come alive. I love this time of year so much, it just feels so magical. I'm trying my hardest not to wish summer away, but it's hard!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”

I've always been a huge, huge fan of Disney, but I haven't always been a fan of their treatment of Winnie The Pooh over the years. I've held Winnie the Pooh very close to my heart my entire life - I had a specially bound collection of A.A. Milne's complete works as a child that would be read to me before bed, before I learnt how to read it for myself every night. We lived not too far from Ashdown Forest, which is the real location of Hundred Acre Wood. Being able to tangle my childhood memories of jumping in the real Roo's Sandy Pit, playing Poohsticks with my mum on the footbridge, and visiting the tree that inspired Winnie The Pooh's home with the novels resulted in these stories meaning the absolute world to me because they were real. Growing up and re-reading A.A. Milne's words only reinforced their meaning as I realised how full of wit and wisdom they are.

I've always felt disappointed in how Disney have handled the characters. Up until very recently they've been treated as the exclusive domain of babies and toddlers with equally dumbed down films. I've always liked the earlier animations from the 60s and 70s, but they've really lost their way with the characters. However I've been pleasantly surprised to see them recently release some merchandise of Pooh aimed at adults in Clinton's and Primark, and have been counting down the days since I saw the trailer for their newest film Christopher Robin, which I finally saw today.

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” - Winnie The Pooh (A.A. Milne)
This is far more of a film aimed at adults than it is children, which unfortunately seemed to confuse the audience of very young kids who were expecting the usual Disney Winnie The Pooh fluff. It focuses on the story of Christopher Robin, but more so the character than A.A. Milne's real son as it deviates away from his biography pretty early on with his father dying while he's at boarding school (the real Christopher Robin was an adult when his father died, and they didn't have the best relationship. Christopher Robin was also a bookseller in Devon, not a luggage salesman in London, and his daughter had cerebral palsy which also isn't in the film.) The film never states that it's based on truth though, and I loved the fiction they created based on the character. To see Christopher Robin become weary from boarding school, losing his father, serving in the war and seeing his daughter grow up without him felt only too realistic, and made him being reunited with Pooh even more emotional. I'm not keen on films that force emotion out of the viewer, but I never felt manipulated into feeling sad as despite the fantastical element of the characters the rest of the film was incredibly realistic and relatable. And I loved the overarching message of holding onto the magic no matter how old you grow. Being a fan of Disney I've often been told by complete strangers to "grow up" as if liking things is somehow immature which I've always found a bit tragic. Just because you reach a certain age doesn't mean you have to abandon creativity and wonder and live a grey, boring life filled with work and drudgery. You can have fun and responsibilities at the same time.

I really can't put into words just how much I loved this film, every single aspect of it was perfect and I loved how it included so many quotes from the original books. The only niggle I have is some of the voices, but that's just personal preference and me being used to the old animations. Jim Cummings has always done an amazing job as Sterling Holloway's replacement for Pooh Bear, and Tigger and Eeyore were spot on too. But the re-imagined voices for Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl just left me a bit cold. There was nothing wrong with them per se, they just didn't sound like themselves which does feel like an important distinction with such beloved well known characters. I loved their re-design so much though, and how they look just like old toys of the time period. I might even have to get a Pooh Bear of my own!

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