Thursday, 21 November 2013

What happens next?

If you are around 21 or 22 years old I think you should give yourself a pat on the back. You have made it through 14 years of school, conquering SATS (when are these going to be scrapped?? These kids have only just learnt to write for goodness sake); GCSEs (and its coursework) and A levels (and its COURSEWORK). You stressed through personal statements and university applications. You managed to grab one of those elusive places (I still have no idea how I did that!) and you furiously scribbled your way through more COURSEWORKKKKK, presentations, essays, reports, commentaries, evaluations and exams to get that degree certificate. You're still in your early twenties and you have never before been able to move without a hefty textbook falling on your toe. But now, what has almost been 20 years of education, has come abruptly to a halt. And you are in the big bad world.

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO NOW?

This is what hit me this morning. Whilst walking to a placement to get experience in a field that I know I definitely do not want to work in. The enormity of it all suddenly crashed into me. In just over six months, I will be free which should be super exciting. And it is. But it is rather like letting a child out of a playpen and into a ginormous toyshop. I have no idea where to turn. And it all costs money.

Unfortunately for me, not many of my friends are sharing my concerns. I am on a teacher training course so the majority of them know exactly what they want to do, come September. Snaps for them. I, however, have decided that teaching isn't for me and, as good as it is that I have found this out now rather than later, it has left me more than a little lost. Because I have virtually no clue about what I do actually want to do. Funnily enough, a mere few hours after having a mini melt down about this, my friend (on a different continent, hundreds of miles away) who graduated last July, messaged me for a chat, desperately needing my sympathy/advice because she was freaking about the exact same thing. It was good to know that I wasn't alone. And I have a sneaky feeling that the majority of people who are at university not doing a vocational course will be experiencing something roughly the same.

So my advice is this (I will try to stick to these rules as well)....use your twenties to try things out. Apply to every single job that takes your fancy and see what suits you. Don't get stuck doing something you hate (plenty of time to do that later) and definitely don't sell your soul to a company quite yet. No need to settle until you are completely sure you are not going to want to slit your wrists in 20 years time. If you want to travel, do that now too. Once you are on the job ladder, it will be so much harder to pull yourself off it and go back to having no money/having to start on the bottom rung again. And finally, don't worry about the future - try not to judge a job on whether you want to still be doing this in 20 or 30 years time because invariably that will freak you out. Just take each day/year as it comes. You will manage to find something eventually as life somehow does have a way of working itself out. That's the hope I am clinging to anyway.

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

List of performances I have been to see


This is for me more than anyone else and to show off just how...um...cultured I am. So here I go

West End Musicals (in order of preference)
Hairspray - in Southampton and Norwich
The Lion King
Billy Elliot in Victoria Palace Theatre, London x2 and Southampton
Guys and dolls
Show Boat
Half a Sixpence - in Chichester x2 and Noel Coward Theatre, London
Miss Saigon x2
Made in Dagenham x2
Funny Girl
Jersey Boys x2
From Here to Eternity x2
Bend it like Beckham
Mary Poppins - in Southampton
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - in Southampton and Edinburgh
Book of Mormon
Gypsy
The Last Five Years
Cats
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels x2
Memphis x2
Once x2
Phantom of the Opera
Top Hat
Wicked x2
Loserville
Wizard of Oz
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory x2
Grease - in Southampton
Aladdin
Chicago - in Southampton 
Urinetown the Musical
Kinky Boots
An American in Paris
Mamma Mia
The Commitments
Les Miserables x2
Kiss Me Kate - in Chichester
Mack and Mabel - in Chichester 
Matilda the Musical
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - in Reading
Dirty Dancing
In The Heights
I Can't Sing. The X Factor Musical
Viva Forever
Shrek

West End Plays
The Cripple of Inishman
Mojo
Shakespeare in Love
A Mad world by Masters (RSC)
Nell Gwynn
Bug (London Fringe)
An Enemy of the People (CFT)
A Room with a View (CFT)
Sex with Strangers (London Fringe)
Forty Years On (CFT)
The Country Girls (CFT)
Sweet Bird of Youth (CFT)
Gloria (London Fringe)
The Ferryman

Shakespeare
Henry V - starring Jamie Parker at Globe Theatre
The Tempest - 3 times - Globe Theatre
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Globe Theatre
Romeo and Juliet - Branagh Theatre starring Lily James at Garrick Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing - RSC at CFT
Love's Labour's Lost - RSC at CFT

Gigs (most recently viewed first)
Katy Perry with Iconapop as the special guests
Maroon 5 with Robin Thicke as the special guest!
Nina Nesbitt (unplugged Live on the beach)
Beyonce
Lawson
Paloma Faith
Jason Mraz
Joe Brooks
Hackney Weekend - Jessie J, Professor Green, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Tinie Tempah, Labrinth, Plan B
Lucy Rose
McFly
John Barrowman

Comedians I have seen live (most recently viewed first)
Miranda Hart
Russell Howard
Sarah Millican
Rhod Gilbert
Daniel Sloss x3
Ed Byrne


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Once


It is safe to say that I have been to see quite a few musicals. And, despite the fact that each one is very different in terms of stories and sets, the special effects and structure of each one runs in a similar vein to the rest. Therefore, I didn't think that much could surprise me any more. I was wrong. From the very beginning, Once proved to be totally unique and unlike anything that I had come across in the West End before.

For a start you were allowed up on to the stage -  which is every theatre addict's little dream. So of course, we took advantage and went up there to buy our pint at the fake yet real bar that was used as both a set and an actual bar. As we were doing so, the stars of the show came out and started playing together. As if it was a real Irish bar. In Ireland. But it wasn't. We were in London. At the theatre. Mind = blown. With all the actors, present already, the pre show rolled effortlessly into the start of the actual show without a big deal. A mere dimming of the lights and a brisk shooing of the audience from the stage and we were immediately thrown into the Irish world that encompassed Once. But to be honest, we had already been there for quite a while and this unique beginning gave the show such a realistic feel to it, that you felt a complete part of the action, rather than simply watching a spectacle in front of your eyes. It also helped that the leading lady, Zrinka Cvitešić, appeared on stage after walking through the audience, giving the impression that she was one of us.

This realistic feel remained throughout the whole production, as did the set itself, never changing from the bar scene at the beginning. There were very few props and lacked even an orchestra with the small cast (which was only made up of 15 people) accompanying themselves on the piano, accordion, ukulele, guitar, violin and drums. So if you have taken away the majority of things which make a musical great, the cast has to be superb, to make up for it. And luckily this one was. In particular, the two leads (Cvitešić and Declan Bennett who are billed simply as Guy and Girl) but everybody pulled their weight and proved their musical talent as well as their excellent acting abilities. They all led us on an emotional ride that just chucked you all over the place.

If you are looking for a massive, extravaganza of a showstopper, this musical is not for you. What you will get is an uncomplicated, unfrilly display of pure talent that will take your breath away. With fitting dialogue and truly beautiful singing, I was totally enthralled right up until the deeply unsatisfying (but elegant) end.

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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Nights out at uni


Continuing along the what-is-it-like-living-at-uni theme that I seem to have going on here at the moment (I am clearly getting nostalgic in my old age) I thought that I would give a little insight into my experiences of clubbing as a student. And the main thing I have to say about this is that it is extremely hard work. For girls anyway. Let me explain...

Nights out for females, and some males as well, include properly intense preparation. We primp, pamper and make ourselves up, make heart wrenching decisions about what to wear and how to do our hair. It takes hours! While, at the same time, some guys just turn up after merely changing their shirts. I am so jealous of them.

But it doesn't stop there. Once we have gone through all that it comes to the actual event. For those of us that are single it turns into a night of eyeing up guys, deciding whether they are hot enough, flirting with those that make the cut, while trying to fend off those that don't...

But, believe it or not boys, not everybody does that. Sometimes we just don't want to 'pull' and have simply come out for a laugh with our friends. And yes, we may have made an effort but that isn't necessarily for your benefit. We just like to make ourselves look pretty simply because it is a great excuse to dress up and put on a pretty dress. It is the little girl inside of us making a reappearance, the ones who like to play princess. Therefore do not be surprised if we tell you to go away - not all of us want to pull. Least of all because a few of us, are actually in happy relationships. Or sometimes just because you are ugly.

So whether you are in a relationship or not, these nights do tend to end up as being quite hard work - whether you are trying to attract the opposite sex or beat them away. And they say a woman's work is never done...it has never been more true.

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