I have to update my blog!

Mainly because I’m sick of seeing Gemma Collins at the top of my blog! Since writing that post in January this year, I’ve decided she’s no longer my hero.

She was in Heat magazine going on about how ashamed she was of her size 22 body (‘I can’t bear to look in the mirror, my body is disgusting. I need to lose weight. I’m ashamed of my body.’)

It’s not a great attitude to have when you’re hawking plus size dresses to women who are a size 22 (Gemma’s size) and bigger. Why would you want to buy dresses from someone who has admitted she thinks your body is disgusting?

Anyway, this point was made way back in February by the wonderful Mrs BeBe at her awesome blog. And much better than I ever could!

Onwards!

One small splash for Gemma..

During the the summer of 2012, I did something I’ve never done before, and I may well never do again. But I really enjoyed it! I watched sport. Actual sport on actual live TV (so retro). Usually I don’t like to watch athletes sporting endeavours since it makes me feel like I should be using my gym membership instead of sitting on my bum staring gormlessly at other peoples achievements.

 But it was the summer of 2012 – the Olympics had come to London. I had the day off work. It was rainy. The men’s diving event was on. The recipe was ready. It turned out to be incredibly addictive. Some friends came over and I just couldn’t turn the TV off. Soon we were all transfixed. When Tom Daley won a bronze medal I was so happy for him. Plus it was cute when his friends all bundled him into the pool with sheer joy.

Diving is beautiful to watch. But to do it takes a lot of courage. To hit the water from a ten metre height is extremely painful.

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When I heard that Gemma Collins from Towie was going to be on reality TV celebrity diving show, Splash, I thought wow, how brave is she! Diving is not an easy sport, and jumping off the board when you’ve not had that experience must be terrifying.But she’s also well aware that being a female on TV is not easy. She probably knows that her body will be under constant scrutiny in the press and online.Since appearing on everyone’s favourite Essex reality based drama, Towie, Gemma has had her body analysed constantly.

So, to summarise, Gemma knew she would be on TV in a swimsuit and she knew she’d be fabulous she didn’t give a flying fuck about the haters. How punk rock is that. What an inspiring lady!

As soon as the news that Gemma was taking part on the show, the insults began. Predictably, ex boyfriend and not at all skinny James ‘Arg’ Argent was quoted as laughing – ““It’ll be so funny – absolute TV gold. The poor girl , she has set herself up for it.” People on Twitter came up with hilarious quips like – “Watching Gemma dive on splash is like watching free willy lol” and “BREAKING NEWS: Flood defences fail in south east England following Gemma Collins’ attempt at diving”.This reaction was depressingly unsurprising. It’s unbelievable how much pressure is put on fat people to be invisible, to not stand out.

Gemma was a bundle of nerves before her dive. She had not stopped trying during training, even when her body was badly bruised.

But she did it! She wore an amazing sparkly swim suit (which will be for sale this Summer!) too. It was one small dive for Gemma, but one giant leap for fatkind!

I think Gemma was incredibly inspiring and I loved being able to see a fat person on TV doing sport, looking fabulous and not giving a fuck what nasty, narrow minded dicks would say. Big LOVE to Gem!

PS If that hasn’t convinced you Gem is a total babe – watch this!

One LOVE for One Direction

Last night I watched One Direction – This is Us movie with my besties, and it was so much fun! Luckily for you, it’s been been perfectly blogged about already – you’ll feel like you were watching the film with us.

Now, as we all know, boybands are a fantastic asset to the world of popular arts. But One Direction are the best in the world right now!

One Direction have all the qualities I look for in the perfect boyband -

1. They don’t take themselves too seriously

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In the This Is Us film, Niall dresses up as a disgruntled bearded Glaswegian usher at the O2 arena and rants at the fans about how much he dislikes One Direction. At one point the boys push a wheelie bin around another generic backstage area, and then Harry’s face pokes out from inside the lid.

The boys have made no secret of the fact that they think dance routines are stupid. It fun to watch them parodising typical boy band routines, which they rocked as early on as their One Thing video. In rehearsals for their world tour, their silly made up dance moves are so cute and funny to watch.

The Best Song Ever video is genius. The first time I saw it, I had no idea that the two Hollywood bigshots were Niall and Louis. And Harry in glasses is just straight up fabulous. And Zayn makes for a very hot looking lady, but we’d guessed that already.

2. Their music is really good

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I’ve never been a fan of a romantic ballad. Especially a boy band romantic ballad, where during the dramatic key change, the boys in questions get up from their chairs and sing the heartfelt crescendo to the screams of the audience. Do I dislike boy and ballads because they are cliched and hackneyed? Maybe that’s a part of it, but the sad truth of it is that I find them boring. I like a song I can dance to.

So. One Direction have sung a few ballads, but unlike for example Westlife, they don’t make up the majority of their discography. They make wonderful songs that I can sing along to, dance like an idiot to, that make me feel happy. I particularly like their song Kiss You because at once it sounds totally retro but fresh, all at the same time. I like how the rhythm of the chorus is so different to the verse, I love that juxtaposition.

And the other thing that people forget is that One Direction don’t have a lead singer, like so many boy bands tend to. All of them have a go, which I appreciate. There are debates online about who has the best voice.

3. Harry Styles is a superstar

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Harry, Harry, Harry.

He is effortlessly stylish. He moves around the stage in skintight jeans like a teenage Jagger. He is incredibly charming. He’s already a superstar, and he doesn’t care. I think that’s what makes him such a star. He doesn’t try too hard to be cool. You can’t imagine him analysing what to tweet next. He’s just being his adorable self at all times, and I appreciate that.

Another thing about Harry – he’s incredibly likeable. He seems to get on with everyone he meets. In the This is Us film, he goes back to the bakery where he works and has a laugh with his ex-coworkers. And the next time you read about him, he’ll be in the front row at London Fashion Week laughing the same laugh.

MY ONE DIRECTION TOP THREES

Songs

1. Kiss You

2. Heart Attack

3. Best Song Ever

Boys

1. Harry

2. Zayn

3. Liam, Louis, Niall HOWCANICHOOSEI’MNOTDOINGTHISANYMORE

Ned Vizzini

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4th April 1981 – 19th December  2013

It was just before Christmas when the news broke. I felt sick to my stomach. I balled my eyes out. As I never met him, I didn’t have an anecdote to share on Twitter, or a story to share on Facebook. But not knowing him didn’t make the news any less than a huge, horrible shock. I still can’t believe it’s happened. I still can’t bring myself to watch him on YouTube. It’s raw.

But I don’t want this post to be about my grief. I don’t want to get maudlin, and I don’t want to want to get sycophantic, even though that wouldn’t be impossible.

I’m going to write about what made me love Ned so much. His writing.

 

Be More Chill

novel, September 2005

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It’s just the most ridiculously clever and funny story. Jeremy is a sort-of outcast at his high school, constantly feeling not smart enough, not funny enough – not cool enough. Then he hears about a squip, a digestible computer which will tell him (in the disembodied voice of Keanu Reeves) what to say, what to do, and how to be supercool. The voice of the squip is in bold text, making each statement shout out at you just like it is inside Jeremy’s brain. The squip’s unintentional comedy moments born out of its binary system are brilliant.

“Maybe we can hang out some time.” Say it like you don’t care about your own death.

“Maybe we can hang out some time.”

Chloe… Jesus, Chloe is looking right at me!

Don’t smile. Stay intense. And don’t think Jesus. Think fuck.

Fuck.

“Whatever,” Chloe finally says.

Be More Chill is more than a clever page-turner. Ned Vizzini really got into what it is like to be a teenage boy. I thought it was fascinating. And even though I read the book as a 20-something, I was surprised at how much boys can and do worry and stress about interactions with girls. They always seemed so cool when I was a teen. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t have squips, but who knows?

Ned wrote really sweet, funny columns about growing up in New York (including funny people he met on the subway, girls he met, random guys he played chess with, his love of Nintendo and Magic the Gathering)  which were published in the New York Press newspaper. These columns are all in his book Teen Angst? .. Nah! which I also really recommend.

 

Rutford Becomes a Man

short story, May 2004

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This collection of short stories are all about how it feels to be turning sixteen. There are stories about sex, and religion and getting your driver’s permit.

Ned’s story throws you into the middle of the Wild West in 1897, where Rutford is intent on not celebrating his sixteeth birthday. However, his father has a special birthday present for him – a trip to the local brothel. After reading this one short story, I felt like I knew Rutford so well. That’s what made Ned such a great writer. His characters were effortlessly brought to life as I read. Rutford is riddled with teenage angst, apathy and atheism. He’s a nineteeth century Adrian Mole and Morrissey combination.

I want to write about what happens in the brothel because it’s the sweetest part of the story, but then that would spoil it for you, so I won’t.

 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

novel, April 2007

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I don’t like to use the phrase ‘life changing’ because it’s just so hackneyed – but this is a life changing book. Sorry, but it is.

It tells the story of Craig, who has anxious and suicidal thoughts that race through his mind. He is really feeling the pressure at school, and he has a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, and he doesn’t know what will happen in his future. When it becomes too much for him, he phones the suicide hotline. He ends up checking into the psych ward at his local hospital.

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”

Did I mention this book is really funny, too? It is. Craig’s experiences in the hospital and the people he meet are described in such a relateable and yet absurd way.

After I read the book I found out that it was based on a real life experience. Ned spent some time in his twenties in a hospital for his depression and anxiety.  He said – “It’s Kind of a Funny Story is 85% true. I actually did spend a week in the adult wing of a psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn after calling a suicide hotline in fall 2004. I was 23 at the time, however, not 15. I made the main character, Craig, 15 in the book but gave him my problems and worldview. Then I added the love triangle.”

This book has given a lot of people strength to keep living, despite everything.

Ned gave talks in colleges – “How Not to Go Crazy in College” because he wanted to help people deal with stress and anxiety. He really wanted to share his advice with as many people as possible. He told people not to sell themselves short and to remember that stress is not a real threat. It’s too sad for me to watch right now, but it gives me so much happiness too, because he really wanted for people to feel happier, more calm. I know he helped a lot of people, and his novels will continue to touch hearts.

RIP Ned.

Hello 2014

A reveller writes "2014" with sparklers ahead of New Year's Eve, in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Happy 2014!

My New Year’s resolution is to write my blog more. I love writing and I totally let it slide last year.

In 2013 I travelled to countries I’d never been to before, I went to concerts, musicals in London and stand up shows, I read tons of books, watched lots of movies and didn’t write about any of it!

This year I want to write about all the stuff I experience, plus have more guest bloggers. Nudge me if I lapse.