Obligatory 2013 Review

Hey Readers!

 Happy completion of the Earth's orbit around the sun! But seriously, enjoy yourself more next year than you have in other previous year. But not too much, otherwise the following year might not seem so fun.

New Year Resolutions according to my Exercise Book of Life. 'Scuse my dodgy thumb and nail polish.

I prefer even numbers to odd numbers. To me even numbers automatically say happiness, and so 2013 seemed as if I could be nothing but not that great. I should really be less prejudiced. 2013 was a brilliant year, mainly because it was a really different year. I wish that I could do a run down of all the months with what they meant and with their significant moments, but I can't really remember January. Oh my Lord. Yes I can. I was doing my Unit 2 GCSE science exams. Geesh that seems like a long time ago. And that's what has made this year so special.

I've changed so much this year. I don't think it's anything to do with the magical allignment of the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 3 that has helped me, but rather I'm just going through one of the rare stages in life were you really can change as a person and for the briefest of moments you can at least feel fungable. Considering that I can't really remember what it felt like to be me at the beginning the year, I don't think that feeling is illusion.

In a way I'm lucky that my birthday is so close to the beginning of the year because it means each year has been defined by my age. Obviously defined is slightly too strong, but 2013 was not the year that I was 15 for a bit, then 16. 2013 was year that I was 16.

I began this year with diary entries that are too basic and boring to put up here (but also contains references to events which I would rather not put up online). It began with me just forming friendships with people that I became incredibly close too, yet now feel like they have drifted away. Of the top 10 people on the chat list on the side of facebook, I knew three at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of 2013 the school I'm at now didn't even figure on my radar of potential sixth forms. I certainly didn't expect to be taking the subject combinations that I am.

During this year I discovered what means it to be a feminist. Not just to simply have feminist views, but to actually be a Feminist. It means putting yourself out there, knowing that you are going to be defined by beliefs that you hold that you know everyone should hold. It means changing your language and the way that you think. I means reading the best pieces of writing the internet has to offer, meeting the most interesting people, and having something to comfort you in times of crisis.

I met some really great people. I met boys. And then had to go to school with them. I also met girls. A few of whom a hope to know for as many years as I can muster. I count Cecily in that, because I feel like I really met you this year.

All in all, I just feel a bit more comfortable being me. Before I sort of had accepted who I was. I never questioned myself, I never allowed myself to be actively comfortable in myself. Of course I'm still not 100% comfortable, which is fine. It means I still know there's room for improvement.



Book Review: 'Steppenwolf' by Hermann Hesse


The book and the man himself. At least I hope it's the man himself. He might just be a guy who enjoys posing next next to covers. [source]
Hey Readers!

 I feel it's time for a little cheeky book review! I haven't done these in a while...

So yes. Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is one weird book.  It's like Hermann Hesse has taken a piece of art from the Weimar era and put it in words; which is not a coincidence as it was written during the Weimar period. You can't deny the fact that it's weird: it's about a guy who thinks he's a wolf and ends up in a theatre where he runs people over in cars during the war between machinery and man and the such like, with the odd threesome along the way. That said, it's also one of the sexiest, most intelligent and by far the most openly intellectual books I have ever indulged in.

Hesse weaves in references to other German authors (with the odd medieval German poet thrown in there for good measure) which I'm sure would be very symbolic if I actually had any idea of who they were or what they had written. The most important of the writers talked about was Goethe, so if you don't know who he is, I suggest you take a glance over his wikipedia entry prior to reading. He also whacks twenty pages of character psychoanalysis in the middle. Just because he can.

Throughout the whole book there are essentially five characters, one of which is never named. This character introduces the book, and you begin under the impression that it is Hesse speaking, until you are thrust into the main part of the book, where you can't help but feel that Harry Haller is actually the confessions of Hesse. Notice how they have the same initials.Upon reading the essay bit at the back after finishing Steppenwolf, I discovered that this book was indeed written while Hesse was having a full-on crisis and tended to write autobiographical work. Then you have Hermione, who is rather unlike the Hermione we know, as well as Maria and Pablo. Each young, beautiful and bisexual; the three traits that I associate with Germany (or more specifically Berlin) during this period. All three contrast beautiful with the misanthropic and isolated Haller as they propel him head first in to the life he systematically fails at rejecting.

As a translation, the language can feel and bit clunky and doesn't have the natural rhythm of a book written in the language that it belongs in, but hey. The Germans have a reasonable number of tenses (although I can't forgive them for the number of cases they deem as appropriate) so it's never going to translate easily. Moreover, I can't really comment on the writing style because, as Cecily and I were discussing, I'm not sure whether that was Hesse or the translator.

If you are up for feeling rather cultured or taking on a literary challenge or want to experience more of the Weimar period (I'm talking to you Fleur) then go and read this book. If you can, take a trip to Berlin, it does help set the mood. I was discussing it with my Uncle and he said he never enjoyed Hesse's work more than when he was my age, so by not reading it now, you're just loosing out on more pleasure.  Five Stars.


P.S. If you're wondering what I mean by "FOR MADE PEOPLE ONLY" your just going to have to read the book. But oh my Lord, wouldn't that be a fantastic name for a blog? I might consider going solo, just so I can call it that...


Strictly's "Historic" Final

Hey Readers,

 For those who do not leave in the UK or/and are not sixty-five year old ladies at heart you may not have watched the Strictly Come Dancing 2013 Grand Final. Well, if you didn't you certainly missed out on a vital piece of our history.

Let me explain. Here is a picture of the finalists from this year:


Abbey Clancy, Natalie Gumede, Sophie Ellis-Bexter  and Susanna Reid all had the supreme honor of being able to compete in Strictly Come Dancing's first ever all-female final. I mean just wow. The first ever all-female of Strictly Come Dancing that there has ever been in the entirety of human history. I'm just amazed I've been able to live through such a significant event in women's liberation.

I hope you are noting the sarcasm.

Because I would hope you would all agree that the fact this final was all-female is, well, rather meaningless. As a feminist, I'm all for women being more prominent in our every day lives. However hearing Tess Daily squeal with delight as four women flounce about on stage, hold hands in smiley manner while a roared on to stage to Here Come the Girls, I can't help get a little bit angry.

Celebrating the achievements of a particular gender is only important when they are in a system that is engineered against them. A quick bit of research shows that Strictly Come Dancing is not an example of this system. Every final up until now has been mixed, with the the combinations of MMF and FFM both appearing five times each, and five of the eleven winners have been women. So Strictly isn't exactly a system engineered against women. What it is, is an example of is probability. In fact of all the years this one was most likely to be an all female final as their were more female celebrities than male ones.

So, no Susanna Reid. This is not a "historic" final, as you called it. The gender ratio in this final is nothing to get excited about. However it could have been a note-worthy final if gender did not come into it at all. If we could value the quality of the final based on the ability of the competitors* and not their chromosomes (as it has been in the past) then maybe this all-female final would have been something to get excited about in terms of the feminist movement.

While I was considering this, a question popped into my head: What would they be saying if this was an all-male final? I posed this question to my Dad and he was of the opinion the BBC wouldn't have been made such a big song and dance about it for fear of coming across as sexist. Oh the irony. That, or they would have been exactly the same, and used it as a chance to break out the male stereotypes instead of the female stereotypes.

Before I finish, I would like to say that I am not a feminist being picky and not being happy with anything and seeing sexism everywhere. I'm a feminist who is tired of gender still being such a thing because it only drives sexism further (that is a post for the future I'm sure). Especially when gender has nothing to do with it, as with Strictly. Where gender does matter, on the other hand, is in politics, or in pay gap or in any other way where men or women are systemically discriminated against. But not in Strictly Come Dancing**. 


*On this note, Susanna and Sophie should not have been in the final. It should have been Ashley and Richard.

**The overall representation of gender on another hand is something that might be worth blogging about, however I'm simply talking in terms of gender ratios.


I'm certainly fancying our blog at the moment.

Hey Readers!

 I'm home from Berlin (You can see my catastrophic attempt to post from my phone here [I'm going to leave it as it is as a memorial to my visit]) a trip that I will do a long and detailed post about at some point. Probably Christmas Eve. It can be my present to all our wonderful blogger friends/Following friends!

 In the mean time, the more astute amongst you may have realised that there have been changes made (courtesy of Cecily) to Their Harangues & Their Fancies. Please do take time have a gander around the blog as it stands. And when I say gander, I mean gander: Cecily and I now have our own pages and an FAQ! Also, I'm liking the seaside theme. It brightens up my little English December life!



Guten Abend Readers :)

 Just quick update from Berlin when I should be sleeping...

I really love this this city. I find myself connecting with it in a way that
I don't normally do with European cities outside of Britain. Yet the overall
Tone of the city is like something I  never felt before. I think Fleur describes
It bst with 'it's as if they have superficially tried to forget h war but it's still in
The phsychology.

That's all. ow. I aologise fthe quality fspelling and formatting a I cn't a cn't ee what I am typing. Ccily asort .


Things that I like at the moment

Hey Readers!

 I'm going to casually brush over my silence.

Instead I'm going to write about things that are making my life happy and good at the moment. In the most beautiful and artsy way this physics A-level student can manage.

 I'm loving that I have less free time. Everybody says that like it's a bad thing. But I'm doing things like working with CERN. Or that I'm seeing my writing style develop into something I can be proud of. Or that I honestly am loving all my subjects. Even maths. Even when we're shown this in maths lessons.

Gloria Marigo Photography
I love that I'm developing my own opinions. And I can scrutinize others and not just blindly agree anymore.

 I love that I'm getting my camera out again. And using it to take good photos. Like really nice one. That's partially down to Fleur. Whom I'm loving also. Like I'm loving all my friends. That's why I've stopped worrying about the drama and the arguments because I know it's not important anymore.

I'm going to Berlin on a German exchange trip in two weeks. We're going to make Feminists On Tour t-shirts. And maybe even a cheeky short film. Gah. I'm so excited. It's Berlin. The city in Europe I most want to visit. Und ich kann viele Deutsch sprechen.

 I'm loving the sound to my life at the moment. It's a lovely mixture of Lorde, Swim Deep, Haim and Blondie. With the off bit of Chvrches and Foxes thrown in for good measure. We went to see this band in town in a cafe on Friday called Zebra Crossing. Go on. Download their EP.

You can imagine I'm the most popular girl ever.

 I'm particularly like that I did a presentation of feminism and intersectionality to my year. And was somehow allowed to put in this picture.



Liebster #4

Hey Readers!

 We've been nominated for the Liebster Award for a staggering fourth time by Eileen - thanks a lot! I'm currently lying on my sofa watching The Great British Bake Off Masterclass, and frankly after a day of photoshooting and Cecily seeing, I can't really be bothered to restate the rules so you can find them here.

1. Since my entire life seems to be taken over by the scholastic establishment it seems fitting to make the first few facts about me in relation to my education. The most obvious of these facts being that I'm studying for my AS-levels in English, German, Maths and Physics.

2. My school is technically a scientific research centre that works very closely with CERN (that massive experiment under Europe that's smashing particles together and was apparently going cause a black hole) and is sending an experiment up on a satellite to space next year.

3. I count myself as the best female debater in my year. Basically because I'm the only female debater in my year.

4. I have a part in the 6th Form Play, which requires my God-like presence to remain off stage and invisible to the audience at all times. Yet somehow I have to do all the things I hate doing in regards to acting: laughing, northern accents and sing.

5. I'm considering going to University at either Durham, Yale or Cambridge. Because we all know that can totally happen.

6. If I were to pick an album that would be used as the soundtrack to my teenage years in the movie about my life it would be Where The Heaven Are We by Swim Deep

7. My earliest ambition in life (at the age of seven) was to be an architect. And then I realised you needed to have some drawing ability.

8. I've developed an extreme hatred of spam websites that skew your viewing stats. Any tips on how to stop these?

9. I'm completely running out of things to say. Arrrgggghhhhh.

10. I went to my friend's Halloween party as a gender stereotype.

11. 7 x 3 is my favourite multiplication of three.

If you could be in a different plane, in a different dimension, what colour would the sky be and why?

Well if the sky was a different colour, that would suggest that the atmosphere is composed differently and therefore life – at least what we understand as life - would not be able to evolve. Therefore I would either have to be blue in order for there to be life to observe it, or I wouldn't know as I wouldn't be here.

Name a person you would definitely not enjoy having coffee with?

So now you are having coffee with this person, what are they criticising you about?
That I'm not spreading enough world peace

Would you rather have braces for eyebrows (but it's all cool because you can pick the colour) or another iris on your nose?
I'm going to go with another iris on my nose

What TV show do you wish you could watch without giving them your view?
Well I only have urges to watch good TV so this questions seems slightly redundant.

If you could pick one animal to evolve and become as intelligent as humans, what would it be?
The Philastines*

If you could pick your legacy would it be?
Some of the best seasons the National Theatre had ever seen.

Would you would you engrave on your epitaph?
  For full list of achievements, please see overly large obituary in The Times

Fav Poet?
Carol Ann Duffy

Fav Aspect of Childhood
Expectations of Adolescence.

Trait you look for in other people?
Engagement with the world

I'm only going to nominate one blog, as I haven't been as aware of as many new blogs since my last Liebster Award Post, and that blogger might happen to be my soul sister Fleur at her blog That Little Flower and I'm lazy so the questions are the same as last time, with a minor alteration to the last one:

1) One Harangue?
2) One Fancy?
3) Favourite play?
4) Favourite quote?
5) Hidden Talent?
6) Favourite poem?
7) Favourite ice-cream?
8) Favourite place in your home country?
9) Strongest subject at school?
10) If you were guaranteed success in any career, what would you do?
11) Annoying Habit?

*Let's face it: do they really deserved to belong to species with the name Thinking Man?


International Feminism

Hey Readers!

 I was spending this morning having a browse on the Der Spiegel when I came across this article about the feminist group Femen.

 I like hearing about feminist movements in other countries, I find it both oddly comforting and upsetting.

 I just find it annoying that feminism is having to go to such extremes (and as the article points out, extremes that are being ignored) in order to basically say that sexism is wrong. Pretty much every other progressive movement that promotes equality in the 21st century gets good press and support. But feminism doesn't. It just goes to show that feminism is still definitely relevant and is still a cause worth fighting for.




Hey Readers!

 Lately I've been getting my rampant feminist on. Much to the annoyance/amusement of my peers. I've also been lurving a little bit of music – probably because I can comprehend how great Haim is, unlike particle physics. So these are a few of my empowerment songs to make your life a little more empowered.



As to why posts have been limited

And I'm loosing Saturday to a photoshoot – hope you have a less stressful weekend than me.



Hey Readers!

 Sixth form has messed up my sense of time. Year 7 happened yesterday. This morning was a year ago. My blogging sisters*, are you feeling me?

 I want to tell y'all about my first week and half, but blurgh... There's so much and so little to tell.

I've discovered a real life bigot. I have managed to produce the worst school photo ever. I've taken part in feminist vandalism (I'm hoping to retrieve the picture from my friend soon). I have finally been able to tell people about all some of my pathetic feelings. I've also realised that I'm basically Olive in Easy A. I have managed to attract no attention from boys, despite being around a gazillion of them (but that's cool: I'm a strong independent woman who likes to shove her feminist beliefs down everybody's throats).


*I swear there is no XY interest in blogging


Life at a pretty standard school.

Hey Readers!

 I haven't blogged much lately- mainly due to the effects on my body caused by my return to the scholastic establishment. Or should I say start? For those who were wondering (although it was pretty blatent), I've decided to go the boys' school.

 Starting a new school kind of reminded me about the stuff I always forget about, and the stuff that is the same everywhere, and even some stuff I've never realised:

  • Popularity is maintained by everyone else believing someone is popular.
  • "Popular" doesn't actually mean popular.
  • When somebody says "Top State School", what is actually said is "Top [despite being a] State School [but still not as a good as private schools]"
  • One can be saved from geek-dom by being good looking.
  • The geeks are always the best.
  • Teachers pick on you to answer questions if you make eye contact.
  • Teachers pick on you to answer questions if you don't make eye contact.
  • Homework will always be set for tomorrow.
  • Staring is a terrible wooing tactic.
  • Gender stereotypes regarding gossip and being two-faced are completely wrong.
  • The snooze button is too conveniently placed.
  • The only thing you want to learn in another language is insults.
  • The year above is always terrifying.

The back of my hair, taken by my Dad



Diary of a Socially Inept Hermit: Just slightly overdue Part 4

Hey Readers!

 Yesterday I realised I never did the final part of my Diary of a Socially Inept Hermit (follow the links to locate parts 1, 2 and 3) but luckily I also remembered I did more than usual detailed diary entries about that so I'll just write that here! Woo!

Day 4

 You join me on a trip to UEA with the top IB state school in the UK.

Tuesday 2nd July 2013

 It may come as a surprise to you to learn that I am currently writing from flat NC24E at UEA.Technically, I should be asleep right now so I feel a little like a naughty school girl having to turn off my lamp whenever I can hear a teacher moving downstairs. The light I'm currently writing in is very harsh, like I'm being inspected however the isolation and silence of having almost no one in the same building makes the atmosphere perfect for writing.

 Being the only student from my old school coming on the trip, I wasn't really sure what to expect socially, but after the three days last week, I wasn't expecting it to be this awkward. All the girls from here are very cliquey and so it's been difficult to intergrate, however the external students I have met are lovely (although I can't remember their names), while the internal students have been a bit of a mixed bag.

 In the flats next door it's very clear the boy-magnets definitely not my type of person generic popular girls have taken up residence as there have been hoards of boys going in and out throughout the evening. I had the unfortunate task of socialising with them in our break and although most seem OK there is this one girl seems to have taken after her name, in that she has a name that just has an annoying sound.

 But it's not all bad. I came up on the coach with a group of girls and we talked (very energetically) for the whole journey, much to the annoyance of the rest of the coach who clearly just wanted to sleep.

 Activity wise we had a tour around campus (as warned,UEA really is just an ode to concrete), had a talk about why we should go to University (they had a really hard time convincing me), 'group bonding activities' (one of which involved making a symbol that represented our group [ours was people holding hands] which then had to be presented. I was nominated to speak, which I think went alright as pople laughed and remembered me for it) and of course, lots of school propaganda.

 I really don't know what to do in regards to sixth form. I still maintain that the IB is a superior qualification to A-levels, but it's not as the latter is completely awful. However at the boys' school I felt immediately comfortable, while it's taken me a while to relax here and get used to the atmosphere (it was better around boys). Unlike the other school where I will be genuinely sad if I didn't see anyone I met again, I don't know if I can say the same for here. 

Day 5

Wednesday 3rd July 2013

  I am currently almost half way through my journey home (I'm leaving early due to prom) but no closer to my decision about sixth form.

 I see no point in lying and I am not afraid to admit that at some points yesterday I had pretty made up my mind that I would be going to the boys' school. I felt very out of place and could not see myself immediately settling in. Although I am not 100% of the way there, it was much more enjoyable today, although I was not necessarily sad to leave early. 

 Waking up was hard this morning (the alarm went off at 6:45am) but I was packed, dressed and ready to go within about fifteen minutes of finally leaving my bed.

 I ended up being much further ahead of the group I found myself in yesterday when getting breakfast, so I did have to sit awkwardly by myself for about ten minutes, but luckily acting has given me enough techniques  to relax when I am by myself and feeling like all eyes are on me. The girl with annoying name and another girl in my house were at the table next to me and so I spoke with them for a bit. I am warming to her, since she has come under the much misguided to conclusion that I'm good at sport. Ha.

2:30 pm

I've just changed trains and am now on the one that will take me right back to my joyous home town and may I just say I feel very cool. To begin with I am wearing a very pretty dress, however I have paired it with my boots, my red leavers hoodie, and a number of bracelets, but it's my UEA wrist strap that gets me free food that makes it. On top of that, I am traveling through London by myself with The Wombats for my soundtrack. I love having independance.

After breakfast we went up into Norwich to do a rt race a.k.a. exploiting the internet. As part of this we had to go around and take pictures of gorillas. Which was a fairly good bonding experience, despite the face I can't remember anyone's name.

After that I needed to leave and get the rain, which brings me to now. 



Theatre Review: "The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable" (Punchdrunk)

Hey Readers!

 What would you do if you were invisible for a day? Well last night, my Mum and I went up to London to give it a try in the coolest theatre experience ever.

 Punchdrunk is a groundbreaking theatre company  that works within the emerging theatre genre "immersive theatre" in which the audience is given the ability to run free around the set and explore the story as much or as little as they like. Sounds confusing? It is. Sounds fun? It definitely is. Their latest production "The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable" works with National Theatre and recreates Temple Studios, Hollywood's London outpost until it closed for unknown reasons in the 1950s. Inspired by Buchner's "Woyzeck", Punchdrunk combines (limited) dialogue, (stunning) dance
and a (masterful) sound design.

 I first heard about the company in a Radio 4 documentary "It's Fun, But Is It Theatre?" and so it was a no brainer when the collaboration was announced that we would get tickets. They were expensive, about £50 each, but it was worth it.

 From the beginning the experience was great. I mean, those loos! And because I'm under 18 I got to wear a visitors pass and feel super special. But then we went in, and were immediately confront with a pitch black corridor, which my Mum had serious trouble navigating, before we encountered other audience members (who I thought were actors originally). From there, we were given masks and shown into an old school lift with the doors that were opened manually by an actress. Inside the scene was set: it was the 1950s. We were going on a tour of Temple Studios after they had just finished filming their latest film. We had been given complete access to the studios but were advised to not go into the surrounding neighbor hoods. The door was opened by the actress and we were guided out. When I say we I mean my Mum and I, because the door was immediately slammed, and the rest of the group continued up, whilst we were left to explore on our own.

 I now encounter a problem writing this review as I don't really want to write about what happened. Even though I know my readers are strewn across the globe, and therefore won't be going to see this production, it's as if it a secret. Because everybody really does have different experiences (some scenes are performed to just one audience member) it feels like an exam. You can talk about the things that everyone had (in this metaphor, the questions), like the amazing set, which no matter how hard I tried, I could not find a fault with, but you must never talk about what happened to you (answering the questions) as it will leave other people questioning themselves and worrying they did it wrong.

 What I can say is that I don't think it was supposed to end for me like it did. I think the visitors pass meant that actors couldn't take me off by myself, but one did. Was that slightly illegal?

 If you ever find yourself at one Punchdrunk's productions (they are currently running Sleep No More in New York) don't hold back. Go everywhere, follow whoever you like (I would have liked to focus on the story slightly more as I became a bit too excited by my independence and flitted from character to character, floor to floor) and enjoy it, because you will never have the same experience again.


My experience: 4*
Set: 5*
Performance: 5*
Technical: 5*
Overall: 5*



I think I should be Education Secretary.

Hey Readers!

 As you may have been aware from my last post, or if you live in England and have any exposure to the news/facebook, you will know that on Thursday many teenagers got there GCSE results. I'm pretty happy with mine.
Stereotypical happy, smiling, pretty blonde girl receiving results. [source]

 But of course, the Government isn't happy. Which isn't surprising considering that the GCSE curriculum is often mind-numbingly dull and patronising, filled with exam technique and little room for learning really great and interesting things for the sake of learning. It really is time for a re-think in regards to what we're learning. But hold up – this is the Government. They don't care that school is a place for learning and exploring knowledge, they're obviously exam factories where the only mark of how good they are is the number of A*s  achieved, and if this number isn't at some target imposed by people who left school long, long ago and don't what it's like to be a teenager in the 21st Century, then clearly something is very wrong. Naturally, the only way to deal with this catastrophe is a continual fiddling with exam system and grade boundaries.

 I'm not saying that grades aren't important – they definitely are. But how much does that A* I achieved in Drama really tell you? Does it tell you about my passion for the subject? All the hours I put in reading drama books and plays? Does it tell you about how my political beliefs and understanding of world was slightly altered? At the end of the day, does it even tell you if act or do lighting? The majority of the population will have no idea about what is involved in doing GCSE drama and so realistically an A* will mean nothing, other than that I reasonably good at the subject; a subject which most people don't take seriously, nor understand the sheer amount of hardwork and commitment involved.

 Contrastingly, my "useful" A* in ICT will tell them almost nothing about what I actually know about computers. Does that A* say that I can write a line of code, or design a half decent looking page on a website, or do an IF statement in excel? I would love it if I could. Instead that A* means that I am fully qualified in taking screenshots. I can honestly hardly remember anything I learned, meaning that I realistically I am no better a candidate than somebody without GCSE IT in applying for a job. And what if I could remember something? How about I put it like this: if science is supposed to inspire us to become astrophysicists or chemical engineers, then the ICT course is clearly designed for us to spend our lives in an office doing admin.

 I'll admit that in the sciences we do usually learn useful things. However when you look closer and compare to other subjects you begin to realise that there is a political agenda at play. We have to learn almost continuously about the environment. I understand and completely agree that the environment is one of the most important issues we face as a species, but by the time we have had it shoved down our throats in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Languages and even Religious Studies (all of which are compulsory or highly popular subjects), it just becomes boring, and my mind switches off the moment it is mentioned. We're just going to loose interest. It will loose it's power to shock. And while I sit there writing about how a Muslim would feel about recycling, I look towards our politicians and see very little action being taken. It's time we stop learning the theory, and start implementing it.

  When students are still leaving school without achieving "5 A*-Cs including Maths and English" it is clear that the priority should not be on how hard it is to gain certain grades, but creating a curriculum that is more engaging than mobile phones or bunking off school. One which can engage teenagers no matter what their background is. One that can challenge and stretch every pupil, top and bottom. One which is worth more than an A*.



Good Luck!

Hey UK Readers with results tomorrow!

 I want to wish good luck to anyone getting results tomorrow. This is most likely to be GCSEs, but it could your driving test... Or an STD test.

 I find with these types of things its best to go in with a negative mind set so your bound to be happy with how well you have. Or very prepared to deal with the fact that your future is looking iffy to say the least. So as the fantastic blogging friend I am, I have decided to take inspiration from the Romans and install a "prevention not sure" way to deal with your on coming depression due to said results. I suggest that when you open your results letter and realise your life is completely screwed, before the first tear even leaves your eyes I suggest you watch this [see below]. It may not start off as funny. But the second time you watch it you should be giggling like a giggly thing. Eventually you shall reach my unfortunate state where it is not funny, but hey.

 And remember: no matter what happens, your results can't be as bad as the current layout.

 P.S. For a song that is genuinely uplifting, I suggest you head right on over here



To my wondeful blogging friends: can anyone give me a CSS code to make the background semi-transparent that works? Nothing I can find seems to :( Or a possible reason as to why this may be the case?



Hey Readers!

 I'm feeling rather emotionally, physically and mentally drained at the moment, so sorry for the lack of activity.



Coffee, books and Capaldi.

Hey Readers!

 You find me at midday, in a cafe and writing this post in a very old school way, a.k.a. on paper. Being up at my Granny's and having limited access to the internet has made me confront that fact that despite the short time I have done it, blogging really does play a large role in my life, and when it is withdrawn a resort to just making posts up in my head.

 I love spending a week with my Granny every summer (although this year looks like the last) purely for that I can go down into town (think stereotypical small, affluent, very middle class town on the Thames) for a hour or two by myself in the mornings. I always start in a small local cafe with a regular Americano, plus room for milk (the volume of which seems to vary every day [but at least they know my order now {which is such a good feeling}]) before moving onto the highstreet to poke about in the same old shops. Sometimes I will walk upon the Thames*.

 However this morning my routine was interrupted by a lack of reading material, which caused me to frequent the Oxfam bookshop. This is by far my favourite shop, and it would be a rare occasion indeed to find me leaving there without something (all Penguin books 99p – who could resist?). I was hoping to find "Brighton Rock" and "A Clockwork Orange" (In preparation for next year for next year may I add, I'm not some psychopath with a sick interest in rape [Dear Lord, what does that say about the school I'm going to next year though?]) as well as Cecily's leaving present (the name of which shall not be revealed for obvious reasons). I did leave with three books, however the only planned one was Cecily's present. Apparently they usually have the other two, but today they didn't (clearly this small middle class town is full of psychopaths who have a sick interest in rape). This meant I could enjoy some guilt free browsing and ended up with "The Grass is Sining" by Doris Lessing (just for the cover, books about racism and farming are usually not my thing) and a collection of poems called "Touchpiece" by Elizabeth Whyman. I am yet to read any of the poems, but I have started "The Grass is Singing". As Lessing's first novel, there is something immature and un-formed about her writing, that rather gives the lovely feeling she is across the table talking to me.

 To finish, I shall focus on the big news: Peter Capaldi is to be the new Doctor. I think this is a f****** brilliant decision and should bring some f****** darkness to the f****** show. I have also been lucky enough to see him live on the f****** stage in the Lady-f******-killers; he's a f****** fantsatic actor.

 Hopefully anyone f****** old enough to watch The F****** Thick of It will get my change in tone.


*Like Jesus, some may say.


(The Final) Music Monday! WOMAD

Hey Readers!

 As you may have gathered, this will be our final Music Monday. Now before you start rioting on the streets and stalking down my house in the middle of the night with torches and forks etc. I feel I should let you know that this is Cecily's doing and not mine. I did try to protest, however she says we should stop it because she always forgets. However this now means I can subject you to my uber cool music taste without being restricted by theme or days of the week! What fun!

 In last weeks post, Cecily pointed out that I was absent due to being of at a music festival in South-West England called WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance). I would love to tell you all about my experiences but for this post it's going to just be about the music due to lack of time.

I'll start with my favourite band just to make you sure that you actually listen to it. This was also the final band I saw, and they are soooooooo good live. They also happened to be the soundtrack to Obama's re-election campaign.

"What Makes a Good Man" by The Heavy

"Edge of Earth"by Syd Arthur

 These guys were recommended to us by a friend, and then when we saw them we became all protective because they come from a city just up the road.


 I have no idea what this video is going to be like, but they did this wedding song, and it was the most depressing thing in the world.



On the stagnant nature of modern art

Hey Readers!

 All has been quiet on the Gwendolen blogging front... And for that I apologise, just a rather entertaining music festival got in the way.. Sorry bout dat.

 ANYHOO, I was planning to do a response to a statistic that I read in the paper in relation to plain cigarette packaging, but then I thought Meh, that's a bit depressing; why not do something on art instead? Conveniently, my family and I (minus my brother, he was taking his first driving lesson and surprisingly no deaths have been caused) went off the to Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. 

Botticelli: beautiful but standard
 As one should always do on entering a gallery, we headed straight to the restaurant and had a rather enjoyable lunch (I had roasted Mediterranean vegetables and humus), and we began to discuss the role of the Tate, as it is now one of the biggest art 'brands' in England. I personally have very few problems with having a 'brand' of art galleries, as surely giving more people access to art is a good thing? Of course this only works if people want to go to and actually see the art, but when they turn up they may only see one type of art if it is only being provided by the Tate. And, most likely, this will be conceptual modern art.

 Lack of variety immediately strikes as a bad thing, yes? But when you think back at all the
celebrated eras of art, such as the Renaissance, there doesn't appear to be much variety either (although time does act as a filter); it's just a continuous supply of beautifully realistic paintings of religion, mythology and the rich people who actually commissioned the art. So maybe it is just natural that there isn't that much range within art.

 But why do we seem to have such a stagnant state of affairs in art? You just have to take a day trip to Florence (because we can all do that) to see the continuing popularity of this form of art, and equally just going to Tate Modern shows that modern art is equally appreciated. So surely it's not just giving the mob what they want?

Mission Drift: just part of the varied and accessible puzzle of modern theatre
 When compared to drama, the story seems quite the opposite. Considering the range of forms that drama can take – theatre, film, television and now even video games – it should come as no surprise Eastenders, Travelling Light, The Birds, Singin' In The Rain, Glee, The Princess and The Warrior, Mission Drift, Harry Potter, Downtown Abby, Saw and so so so many more; all of which are
that we can have
different. It doesn't take an insider to see and understand the range of drama that we continue to have.
Bog standard modern art
 The key difference, however, between drama and fine art: money. I'm no expert, but I would be very surprised to find out that fine art makes anywhere near as much money as drama. So how can an artist make money? Large interest and collectable status. How does the artist gain these? How does the artist gain these? Usually controversy. How does the artist do something controversal? 'Push the boundries'. We now have the problem that every artist has decided to push the boundaries in the same direction, resulting in this stagnant art. Maybe it's time the artists stop pushing boundaries, and wander back in the original world of beauty.



Look at the baby!

Hey Readers!

 As I'm sure anyone in the Commonwealth is aware of, Kate Middleton has had her baby! And do you know what, I am happy and I am celebrating on the inside (I have no real facilities in my house). GASP! A feminist could be happy about a royal birth?

 I know that the feminist community is going to explode with "It's just a baby, blah blah, thousands of
others will be born today" (some of the first posts I saw when I woke up this morning) as well as a load of people in the UK will. But I would just like the chance to say that I feel this baby should be celebrated, not despite feminism, but because of it.

 The only time I ever here about fetus/baby/pregnancy related news is in regards to either abortion, premature births or single parents. Which, let face it, aren't the happiest of things. But for once we are celebrating a healthy baby, born to two loving parents with a supportive family. That is one of the most natural yet precious and underrated things that can happen. As a feminist I feel this is what we should be aiming for every child to have (although one loving parent is often as good as two), and this serves as a reminder as to why access to abortion is so important.

This is going to be one attractive King
 Also, the gender: can people please shut up about the gender. The whole point about the legislation that meant an older sister would not be overtaken by a younger brother in the race to the throne is that the gender no longer matters. BAM! Isn't that what we kind of believe of as feminists? So for feminists disappointed that the baby isn't a girl, just remember that this is the first prince who will become King because he is a royal, not because Prince William so kindly donated a Y carrying sperm when he and Kate cuddled in a special way one evening, which is just as good as a girl not becoming Queen because of her XX. Wanting a girl so that we can have a Queen is equally as bad as wanting boy to become King, in my opinion.

Thirdly, there is no escaping that this child will become a cultural icon. He will grow up to become our King and in doing so a symbol of our culture and heritage. However he will not grow up to be our ruler and ever have any real power; that will be left for our elected politicians. And honestly, who prefers David Cameron to the Queen?


P.S. Congrats to everyone who had a child yesterday as well, I hope you enjoy your royal care package!


Music Monday! France...

Hey Readers!

 All has been quiet on the blogging front... Because I have actually decided to do a very brave thing: venture outside. It's been about 30 degrees for the last few days in England and I don't want to miss out on the chance to enjoy this rare occasion! Therefore I've even gone down to the beach with some friends and watched some open air theatre. Or at least I tried to, because on the one day I decide to do summery things is the one day it decides to rain.

  So Cecily has ventured off to France so naturally she has decided on this weeks theme, but has been unable to post so it's me two weeks running! Aren't you lucky ;)

What? You want to know the theme? Geeezzzz, just look in the title....


Cecily: "La Vie en Rose" by Edith Piaf and "Le Temps de l'amour" by Francoise Hardy

Gwendolen: "Can't Speak French" by Girls Aloud

... Yes... I know... However the fact I dropped French in year 7, it did seem fitting.



Diary of a Socially Inept Hermit: Part 3

Hey Readers!

 Ok, I admit this is dragging on a bit now, but I think I might only have one more post after this one! The problem I'm finding now is I'm having to confront the ethical side of blogging and having to self-censor what I am posting due to the real life knock on effects it might have. So in reality these days were far more amusing and dramatic than may come across on the web, but hey ho.

Day 3

 For the first time the public transport actually worked for us! Woo! In other words, we actually went to the right platform. On the train over Arawyn and I had a massive hit of nostalgia when we started listening to a group of year 8 on the table opposite us. It's quite scary to realise that we are about to become those scary sixth formers who looked about 27 and seemed so much more mature and in no way could you ever make eye contact with them in the corridor*.

 Despite having two days to try a socialise, my tutor group was as divided as ever, with the external students on firmly on one side of the room, while the internal tribe sat on the other. We had all be given one of those sheets were you have to right down interesting skills that you could 'bring to the sixth form'. I appeared to be the only one who was actually brave enough to shed the society-imposed chains of modesty and claim that yes, I am the Queen of Chicken Keeping (which is a slightly lie as actually my Mum is the prime carer of Bertha).  But everyone else just sat there awkwardly claiming they had no skills for just long enough so that they could escape to their first lesson without having to admit that they do enjoy the odd game of football.

 My first lesson was physics. In a nice warm lab, which for the majority of the lesson was in the dark as we were doing wave-particle duality and needed to play about with lasers. However there was a slight problem in that I was very very very tired, the conditions were perfect for sleeping (Physics lab comes with a conveniently placed arm next to you that can double as a perfect pillow, absolutely free!) and quantum physics, no matter how cool, does rather stretch the brain. So I was reguarly having to scream at myself inside my brain to stop me from falling asleep. When the lesson finished I asked N if he had English next too he sort of nodded then ran off looking slightly terrified. I was left feeling rather confused.

 But yes, we both did have English next, in a room that was rather poorly sign posted to so I was almost late to. The English lesson was rather uneventful. Actually that's a lie, one of the most interesting and talked about events happened there but due to issues outlined in the introduction I think it would be very unwise and rather horrendous of me to discuss them in this post. But what I will say is that it put me in a rather awkward position and has had a knock on effect with my relationships and could influence sixth form choices for one of my friends. However that may not actually be the worst thing that happened in that lesson as our teacher revealed something shocking: he does not like Harry Potter. WHAT. I know. It's terrible. On a more educational note, we were introduced to one of the books we would be studying - A Clockwork Orange - and started discussing the morality of readers. Which after having a sleep-inducing lesson on wave-particle duality, became very hard.

 After break we had our second 'others' session where we had a tour of the school's sixth form facilities. That school is made up entirely of sixth form facilities. Every other room is a frickin sixth form study area. It is unnatural. Great, but unnatural.

 Then we lunch which proved to be much like my English lesson (stuff happened, but I can't talk about it). This lunch was very confusing for someone with limited brain power like myself as it was dived into two half an hour blocks with a talk from NCS in the middle.

 In our second tutor period something amazing happened - another external girl and I managed to infiltrate the internal students! This did admittedly result in three days worth of introductions etc being forced into one twenty-five minute session. Which was no problem for me as I can speak at a rather fast pace that I have a feeling slightly terrified everyone else. However it transpired that merely my having actual breasts terrified them. Talking of inappropriate things to say, the other external girl started passing around a piece of paper to get all the boys' names to add them on facebook. When it got to one of the girls, she was told she doesn't need to put her name down. It was a rather amusing event so everyone started to laugh at the awkwardness of it all, then I had to say "Oh it's like, 'I want your name, but wait... You have a vagina? NOOOO!'" Then all of the boys sort of sniggered, but then looked guilty at laughing at the word vagina, but then I confirmed to them that I did say vagina a lot and that it is fine to laugh at it. And they did and I got that nice feeling you get when you make someone laugh. Who needs to drugs when you can say inappropriate things and then cover it up by explaining you're a feminist who claims ownership of your body through unashamed speech, just to make everyone slightly happier?

Of course that's what I do. It's nothing to do with the fact I have no social skills.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful (I can't actually remember it) so I shan't be writing about it. However we had an early finish and I went around my friends house as I was going to go up to London that evening with my Mum and Brother to go and watch "Mission Drift" at the National Theatre. That show was the best piece of theatre I think I have ever seen and I shall hopefully do a review of it, despite seeing it about three weeks ago.

 On the train up I had plenty of time to reflect on the previous three days. It was then a realised how much fun I had had (hehehe "had had"). And that I had felt more able to be myself there, then I had been at the school I had been at for the last five years. I thought particularly about the last thing I had said to one of guys in my tutor group when we were leaving and he said "Well then, see you in two months?" and I replied "I don't know if I'm coming, so you might never see me again." It was true; I might never see some of these people again. That was a genuinely sad thought. These people were friendly, funny and intelligent. I admit that arrogance and mild sexism were two common characteristics, but that didn't stop me wanting to go back to Wednesday just so I can have another three days with these people.


*Unfortunately the current year 7s seem to have pigeon syndrome, as they now have no fear of the older years. The amount of times I have had a year 7 mock me as I ask them to move out the way of my locker. Luckily, the idea of having height still hasn't occurred to them, so I am still able to play the bongos on the heads of two unsuspecting children as I walk down the corridors. 


Music Mondays! Covers...

Hey Readers!

 Another week has passed and another Music Monday almost forgotten.......

So our theme this week is.....


This is essentially very self indulgent as there are two covers that I would very much love to share with the world and so I took advantage of Cecily's memory and secured this theme before she came up with anything else... MWUHAHAHAH

Cecily: "Blackbird" by The Beatles (Glee cover)

I've never watched Glee, and cannot even name the individual who has sadly been in the news the past few days, but I remembered some time ago stumbling across a cover they did of "Blackbird", a beautiful song, so felt it was appropriate today.

Gwendolen: "White Noise" by Peace (Disclosure cover) and "Royals" by Bonjah (Lorde cover)

 This is probably one of the best covers ever produced by the Live Lounge, and there are points on offer for every hidden song you can spot ;)

Oh going over to the left of the blog, are we?



It's 00:13 and I can't get to sleep

Hey Readers!

 I think the title essentially says it all.

 It's ridiculously hot for England in July and my room has become a sauna. Therefore I'm stuck with my eyes wide open and the inability to get to sleep.

 But it may not just be the heat. It probably has something to do with the fact my friendships are kind of stressing me out at the moment. I was going to write a blog post on this earlier, but I couldn't get the wording right, so I wrote it on My Non-Awkward Adolescence instead.

 For those who haven't read that post (shame on you) I talked about how my adolescence hasn't exactly been what it is made out be, and I also talked about how it has become built around friendships. My friendships are super important to me, as these are a group of people that just get me, and that I am able to just be a teenager around - or at least, my version of being a teenager. But lately they have been a number of issues rising to the surface or just bubbling away underneath that have just made everything a bit... Crap.

 I know that the likelihood is (and no matter how much I wish it wasn't) in a weeks time, the dynamics of friendships would have changed a lot. I really hate that. It's not that I'm scared of change, I just liked how they were before. When I forgot that people weren't 100% honest with how they feel. When I forgot that people weren't always 100% honest in any case. When I forgot that people can be two-faced.

Ok, maybe two-faced is a little extreme, because I think within our group people have always been completely honest, but just maybe not to the right people.

In fact the reason I think I don't like it is because I'm not the type of person to be involved in the drama. Sometimes it feels* as if everybody has something special going on with them. That you're either ill (mentally/physically), or there's a family breakdown or some other crap is going on in your life that makes you feel just a little bit special. I've never really had that. And as wrong as it sounds, I've kind of wanted it. I've wanted to be the one that people are interested in. Or the one that people roll their eyes at when I do an improvisation that turns into a suicide story because of course I would do something on suicide. Or the one that has counseling every Thursday, and sometimes I want this especially because sometimes I just want to be able to talk to someone. But no. I'm pretty 2D. I maybe have one thing (which I have only ever told one person about) but it's such a non-thing I'm like 2.1D

 Maybe the reason that I'm stressed is because I want to be the girl that everyone is stressed at. Because when I'm 74 I don't want to look back at my youth and think "Oh yes, I was a lovely straight forward girl, with her one non-thing" I want to think how interesting I was because I had something wrong with me, because the true horror of being a teenager in the 21st Century is that depression makes you an interesting person and nothing can appear truly wrong with you unless you self-harm.

 Well my midnight incoherent ramblings have been brought to a rather depressing end.  


*I stress that it feels, not that it is

P.S. Now it is 10:59 and I can think a bit more coherently. Yes, it did get a bit over-dramatic at the end, and what I really meant to say was that so many things have become romanticised that really shouldn't be, and that people going through them wouldn't wish it on anyone. However I have a very normal life and to me there does appear to be something special and interesting about and no matter how wrong I know it is, I kind of want it.


My Non-Awkward Adolescence

Hey Readers!

 There have been many points where I have looked back on my previous three and a half years of being a teenager, and kind of feel like I have wasted these years. I mean in reality, I pretty terrible teenager.

 Adolescence is supposed to be awkward; mine just isn’t. Yes, I admit that I am a very awkward person, with a few amusing stories, such as the arm wobbling on a train, the rest I am not brave enough to put on the internet. But I mean in reality, that’s about four stories, all of which have happened in the last seven months. Other than that, I have never had a boyfriend, never got drunk, only ever had one argument with my parents (which wasn’t even over a proper teenage issue) and haven’t even ever had a detention. It’s a year and half until I turn eighteen, and I’ve never had to go to a frickin’ detention (and out of pride I don’t plan to).

 As I sat out in my garden today enjoying the sun I mulled over this thought and I have come to three conclusions, which I shall discuss in this post.

Because we will all have a nice collection of Polaroids [Source]

Firstly, are we supposed to find it awkward when we’re going through it? Does every teenage have this guilt when they realise they haven’t done the ‘teenage bucket list’ and suddenly you begin to question what on earth you have been doing with your time. Does the supposed awkwardness only become apparent when you sit there reminiscing with old friends about what you did, and then awkwardness becomes apparent? Only at 32 can I truly see that my friend dropping a blanket (anyone there will know what I’m talking about) was a truly awkwardly adolescent moment? Even still, I don’t really feel I have had many Inbetweeners moments.

 At the same time I’ve often justified it to myself by saying I’ve never really had the opportunity. Going to a girls’ school and being a proud social hermit means that I don’t really know any guys, and those that I do, I don’t really fancy, and they understandably don’t really see me as the most desirable human being currently roaming this county. I have chosen to be teetotal (not that I would be drinking underage anyway *cough*), which is probably a small factor contributing to why I have never been drunk (amusingly I was actually pressured by my Mum to drink some Pimms* the other weekend, one of the weirder experiences of my life). Then as to arguing with my parents and never having a detention, I don’t see the joy in deliberately agrivating someone and thus making life hard for everyone else, plus you miss out on so many long term gains (clothes shopping, convincing teachers that you really have just forgotten your homework**). So it’s not exactly as if the opportunity to be an awkard adolescent came to my thirteenth birthday party, but then I sent him away because he wasn’t invited to my future. The reality is I’m just a bit of a boring person.

 Finally I have still got two years at school. And for the first time since primary school (I was very much an “ew boys” kind of girl) I’m going to be entering a mixed environment. Oh dear Lord no. I’m actually going to have to deal with those things with the penis things. And if it is anything like the taster days it will be very very awkward, because the boys and girls have such different reactions to the opposite gender invading their space. Us girls tend to get very excited at the sight of someone possessing a Y chromosome, and we all try to leap on them and claim them as ours. However we encounter a problem: we sort of… Terrify the boys? I mean the boys would stick together and not let any of us double X people in. They would stand so closely packed together it was physically impossible for us to infiltrate. On top of that, no matter where we were, this natural gender divide took place and it was firmly penis' on one side, vaginas on the other. I was rather amusing to observe, even more amusing for those  who had been to mixed secondary schools to watch just how socially inept we all were.

 Every now and then I find myself in the position of longing for the teenage hood that I’m currently living. I’m sitting here writing an angsty teenage post and claiming that I’m not a ‘proper teenager’. I think it might be finally time to accept and realise the adolescence is nothing like it is portrayed as in 90s teenage films and on the Disney channel. However I have my own kind of adolescence,  one which has become centered around education and the relationships I have with my friends. And with my current plans I can see awkward times ahoy, but maybe for the moment I should just celebrate the lack of events that will stop me being employed in the future.


*I actually had to check how to spell Pimms. That’s how clueless I am when it comes to alcohol related products.

** This was 1) a huge lie- I honestly couldn’t be bothered to do it, however I had been such a good child in the past, she decided to trust me. MWUAHAHAHAHA. And 2) goes back to the motto which my father parted unto me of “Thou shall not be caught”