Saturday, 22 September 2012

Reasons Why I am a Massive Girl

It's strange how things happen sometimes. Little coincidences that kind of feel like more than just coincidences, even though that is all they are.

On Thursday the guy who I have this "thing" with went to Copenhagen to visit his brother who has just moved out there for the next two years. The next day I get a text from my ex, giving me his new phone number. Now that in itself isn't all that strange - the text was just a mass text, not an attempt to re-kindle lost romance.

But then today happened. I get a text from a guy who I was seeing briefly (we went on walks together, the pub occasionally and I went over to his house to watch a movie once). Now that *is* strange. We didn't end on the best of terms (he had just got out of a really big relationship when we started seeing each other so didn't really want a relationship, but all the signs he was giving indicated that he was up for one. I wasn't ready for another relationship, but he didn't really understand that. I asked him if he was messing me around and he said yes.) but because we got on well, we kinda kept in contact. By in contact I mean once or twice a month one or the other of us would text and we would make small talk about what we were up to or how we were - by no means a close friendship. For the past couple months, I've been the one getting in contact, but today he text me. For all intents and purposes out of the blue. Our last exchange of texts had essentially been me saying that we couldn't go back to how things were four months ago, as I had started this thing with my friend. So it was a bit strange that he text me. Nice, but strange.

Now, I am fully aware that this is all a massive coincidence. And yes, Freshers is soon so the chance I will meet new people (new guys?) is on the cards, and the guy with the thing is away and we aren't an actual couple, but... really?

So. Just being a massively stereotypical girly girl. Sigh.

In other news, one of my best friends left for Uni today! We had a lovely meal at The Bell and girly chats. She will be sorely missed - and if by some chance she stumbles upon this little corner of the Internet: GOOD LUCK HONEY!!

TTFN! xx

Just Finished: Flappers and Philosophers (Kindle edition) by F. Scott. Fitzgerald. Rating: ****
Currently Reading:  The Pilgrims Progress (Kindle edition) by John Bunyan.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Anna Karenina (SPOILERS) and Bitches Be Crazy

Like it says in the title: WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! Just so's y'all aware.

Remember. SPOILERS. So feel free to exercise your free will and go right ahead and not read this, ok? Good. Just double checking we are on the same page over here.

So initial thoughts: I enjoyed this film. I really did. There weren't any points when I sat there thinking about what I wanted for tea or anything like that. It was engaging and intriguing. For some reason I'm not raving about this film, and I can't quite put my finger on why. It might have something to do with the fact I didn't read the book first, and the two male leads (played by Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) both have the same first name, or maybe because at one point the (overall excellent) cinematography made me a little dizzy. But all of those things I can completely overlook for the following reasons.

Background info/basic plot-type-thing: So, Anna Karenina (as a film) is based on the Leo Tolstoy novel of the same name and stars many fabulous actors, including Kiera Knightly (who I will be eternally infatuated with), Jude Law (ditto), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (ditto) and Matthew MacFadyen (oh come on guys he was Darcy! Obviously I am going to be madly in love with him! The 2005 adaptation of P&P is still my favourite adaptation. Think about it. Him. Kiera. Rupert Friend. Carey Mulligan. Donald Sutherland. See what I mean...).

It follows the story of Anna (Knightly)- a rich Russian woman -who is married to a much older man, Alexei Karenina (Law) - a prominent politician - with whom she has a son. Her son is the centre of her world at the beginning of the film. Her brother Oblongsky (MacFadyen) has been having an affair, so Anna goes to visit her sister-in-law (Dolly - played by the amazing actress Kelly MacDonald) to try to convince her to take him back. Whilst she is there she goes to a party with Dolly and Dolly's sister Kitty. It is at this party that we are introduced to Kitty's two suitors - Levin (a wealthy land owner) and Count Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson). Levin is madly in love with Kitty and proposes to her - she turns him down in favour of Vronsky. However, at this party Vronsky meets Anna (technically for the second time - they also met at a train station when Vronsky gave money to the family of a worker who had just been run over by the train he was fixing) and it becomes very clear that they are attracted to one-another. Kitty is distraught and Anna, feeling guilty, returns quickly home. However, Vronsky follows her and they begin a passionate affair, with Anna eventually falling pregnant. There is a very complicated situation in which Alexei refuses to divorce Anna on the grounds it will ruin her, but eventually after the birth of the child he begins the divorce procedure. Anna is rejected from society and, highly aware of the whispers that follow her, becomes increasingly jealous of the attention she perceives Vronsky giving to other women, and is convinced he is having an affair (as Dolly tells her "men never change").

Meanwhile, both Levin and Kitty are miserable, however Levin has the added concern of a very ill brother who is also revolutionary anti-capitalist. Levin finally plucks up the courage to ask Kitty to marry him again (with a little help from Oblongsky) and they appear to have a happy future together.

Anna, on the other hand becomes increasingly more manic and convinced of Vronsky's falling out of love with her, and so throws herself under a train. The film ends with Alexei sitting in a field, happily watching his son and Anna's daughter play together.

So, as you can its a pretty complicated story, even with only the bare bones. The whole film was set in a theatre, which I adored, and with many of the scene changes the camera simply followed the main character as they walked from set to set, with extras pulling in new furniture or pulling down backdrops. This was such a clever idea - and even though it made me a little dizzy at points - it added such a sense of atmosphere and also entrapment, which became vital as the film reached it's conclusion.

The acting performances were incredible. There wasn't a single character who was weak. I particularly enjoyed MacFadyen's performance as he held some light comic relief for the film without detracting for its dark plot.

The thing I most enjoyed about the film, however, was it's presentation of women in the late 19th century. Women are completely trapped within society. It is acceptable for a man (in this case Oblongsky) to have a series of affairs and still be deemed a respectable gentleman. Anna, on the other hand, is condemned by most of society for her affair  (with the exception of Dolly, Princess Betsy and Princess Myagkaya). She has no escape, except madness and, ultimately death. This is a theme that is reflected through literature over centuries, from Shakespeare to Bronte. Madness is the final escape of a women who is perceived to me damned (multiple times throughout the film Anna and Alexei refer to her damnation).

This struck a particular chord with me as the guy I went to see the film with and I had been discussing how women go "crazy" in relationships. He argued that women go more crazy than men, and recounted from his personal experiences with girls he had been in relationships with. I argued that women and men go equally crazy, just if a man goes crazy it is perceived as sweet and "oh my gosh look how in love he is with you", whereas is if a women goes crazy then she is psycho, creepy, something to be avoided. It amazed me that this was still so prevalent in society today - a society that prides itself of equal rights and anti-discrimination. The complete sexism of the perception of the emotional states of men and women. It disgusted me that we still viewed the world in this way, and also made me reflect on the different escapes women have for their emotions now as opposed to a century or so ago. Luckily we have a lot more outlets. Women are allowed to be viewed feeling and experiencing the same emotions as men - through literature and art and self-expression. And the fact we are allowed that shouldn't be undervalued. But to be honest, it shouldn't have been something we were "allowed" by men. It should have been accepted as norm a long, long time ago. That is what is so hideous about society. It still holds patriarchal values. Films like this highlight how recently these values were held so much stronger than they are today, as well as the fragility with which they are held.

Recommended reading: she posts some excellent things on feminism and you should probably check her out.

Anyway, I am told that the book was better than the film, so I'll be reading that as soon as I can.
Rating: 4 stars

TTFN!! xx

Currently Reading: Flappers and Philosophers (Kindle edition) by F. Scott. Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Decadence, Debauchery and Hedonism

Yesterday, whilst watching The One Show (because it's cool to be a middle-aged woman, ok?), I caught a brief article on Freshers Week, and as a upcoming Fresher (T-minus 5 days and counting) I found what they said rather interesting.

Youth in the British media are routinely portrayed in a highly negative light. We are uncouth hoodie-wearers who hang around on street corners drinking and swearing, our singular goal in life to disrupt the lives of those adults around us, and corrupt the minds of the innocent. Girls tend to get it even worse. Boys are expected to be a little bit mischievous, girls have to be the symbol of maturity. However, we are slutty, have no respect for our bodies, provocative - both in dress and manner. We lack the grace and elegance of the elder generations, who would never have, not in a million years, drunk as much as we do or gone out as much or kissed as many boys (or, heaven forbid girls) as we do.

(And don't even get me started on how every year, when we perform better in exams than the previous year, we aren't congratulated, our success (and the success of our teachers) isn't celebrated. Oh no! The exams must be getting easier, the markers must be getting lighter. We, the decadent youth, cannot be more intelligent than the elder generation, with their endless wisdom.)

However, this One Show news clip was comparing how we might find our Freshers week as opposed to how our parents experienced them. I am the first person in my family to have gone to university, although Dad does have a degree he studied from home when I was a baby, so nobody has ever spoken to me about their Freshers experience. The parents in the clip were saying how they thought that in their time at uni (in the mid 70's) they would have been much more hedonistic than we are. Pints were a mere 13pence rather than the £2.50 they are today, for example, so they argued they would have been getting much more drunk much more regularly than university students of this generation. Equally, university was free. They weren't going to leave with goodness only knows how many tens of thousands of pounds worth of debts, so if they didn't quite achieve the grade they wanted they didn't mind as much, so they wouldn't take studying as seriously as we would. Therefore they would go out more, party harder, not give a damn about missing the odd lecture due to a hangover.

It is very rare that I get to hear an intelligent article about how the youth of today, my much besmirched generation, aren't that much different from the previous ones, who were just as pleasure seeking, just as uncouth and corrupting as we are. I was a really nice change.

Speaking of youthful excursions, last weekend was one hell of a weekend. It started on Wednesday night, when I hosted a "Come Dine With Me" style party. Which, in itself, doesn't sound too cr-azy. However, the quantity of alcohol consumed was slightly alarming. 6 people came to the party. Three of whom drank wine. We got through 3 bottles. One of whom drank cider. Again 3 bottles. Two of whom drank beer (4 bottles) and gin. Woke up the next morning with a bit of a fuzzy head to say the least.

Thursday was my besties birthday - 19! Crazy! - so we went on a pub crawl around our local villages. We started off at 1 in the afternoon and I left at 9pm, we the rest of them carrying on till 12am. I feel sorry for my liver just remembering it!

Friday I had to work at 7am till 1pm (and didn't even get my break!) and then I was off into Norwich to buy a birthday present for another bestie, pick up some mates and take them to his for the weekend. Friday night was so much fun! We stayed up till 4am drinking and dancing and playfighting and having deep conversations with new-found-friends about physics vs English and rape and pants and stuff.

Saturday, once we had sobered up, we went for a swim in the river, the boys in their trunks, us girls in our bras and panties. Diving in was exhilarating, and the amount of times one of my friend got pushed in was hilarious - he soon learnt to stand away from the endge. The highlight was probably one of my new-found-friends finding a frog in his pocket, which another on of my friends then put in his mouth before letting it hop out safely with the words "I thought it was a prince" or maybe me getting slung over one of my mates shoulders and him jumping in or maybe even new-found-friend diving in to save a conker dropped by a small childin a passing canoe.We bought some nice food and cooked ourselves a delicious pasta dish, before settling down to watch Doctor Who (which I may have napped through a little and will probably write a review of becasue I don't think it was as awful as everyone else thinks it was) and some basket-ball film starting Will Ferrel (which I also napped though) and wait for midnight (and my mates birthday) to roll around. We then had mightnight Martinis and played the worst game of Top Trumps ever, before calling it a night.

Possibly one of the best weekends ever, well until I had to go to work Sunday morning!

TTFN! xx

Currently Reading: Flappers and Phillosphers (Kindle Edition) by F. Scott. Fitzgerald

Monday, 17 September 2012

In Which The Person Who Loves Reading Neglects To Read

This post comes in several parts, so lets get cracking!

  1. So, HSBC (A bank, presumably worldwide however I am not a fountain of knowledge when it comes to banks etc so don't hold me to this) was running a competition to receive a £10,00 student bursary if you made a 90 second video and uploaded before 27th of September. Which I, as both a student and somebody who wouldn't say no to the odd ten grand, was well up for. However. It appears that I neglected to read the small print of said offer. So, after collecting all my footage (a surprising amount for the 90 seconds) and beginning work on a script (which I may or may not continue to write as an essay/ode to literature), I re-read the T&C's. Turns out you have to have an HSBC bank account by the 27th, and the actual video deadline was the 13th. One smart chap sitting right here. All I can say is thank god I didn't start editing the video, or I would be very annoyed right now...
  2. Due to work and general life, I have ended up reading a worryingly small amount over the summer for somebody who is about to embark on a literature course.Which is mildly concerning and has left me kind of dreading next week (when my course starts ahhh so excited!) However, I have FINALLY got the start of a reading list coming through (took them long enough) and I'm very much looking forward to start reading again. I always forget how much I honestly love literature until I sit down with a book and begin to read and then look up at the clock and realise that a good hour or so has passed and I'm totally engrossed in this fictitious world that a person whom I know nothing about has created. The first two books I have been assigned are "The Old Curiosity Shop" by good ol' Charlie Dickens and "The Pilgrims Progress" by John Bunyan. I love a bit of Dickens, despite having never (I think) read one of his novels in its entirity. We looked at excerpts from A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield in high school, but I don't think we ever finsihed either of think. Either way, very muchly excited for reading and discussing literature again and yes. Might make a little tally of the books I have read/ am currently reading at the bottom of each blog post. That might be a thing that I will do. I'll see how it goes.
  3. Kind of continues on from 2, but, meh. Who cares. This is my blog. I have been more tghan a little worried about the cost of said reading list after hearing some horrific figures being bounded about (the worst of which was over £200 for half a years worth of books. £200!!) but joy of joys! Both of the two afformentioned books were free to download on the Kindle (Yay for Kindle! I will being writing a post about my stance in regards to Kindle ownership vs the publishing industry in the near(ish) future (maybe, I hope, although I make no promises)). Fingers crossed most of the books I will need (especially for Literature in History) will be free on the Kindle, as I suspect many of them will be old-er so therefore out of copyright. Althoug they aren't the recomended editions, but if that becomes an issue I'll cross that bridge when the time comes.
  4. Can't quite remember what else I was going to write that was reading related, and I'm sure as soon as I click publish I'll remember, but oh well.
TTFN! xx

Currently reading: Flappers and Philosophers (Kindle Edition) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Why, hello there stranger!

Lord only knows how you got here, but somehow you've managed to stumble upon my little bloggy-thingy-ma-bob. You poor poor soul.

I guess this should really be some kind of introduction - although the "About me" section thing kinda sums it up - but just in case you didn't read it (or want more detail): Hi :) I'm a University student studying English Lit with Creative Writing, and I suspect it'll become pretty apparent that I love reading and writing (so don't expect many short posts). I've always wanted to be an author since I was a but a babe (Although, matter of fact, that's a little bit untrue. I found an old school worksheet that listed my dream jobs as either a) a singer in a band, b) a pop star (I differentiated between the two, apparently) or c) an owner of a shop. I had high hopes for my life.). I applied for accommodation at my university of choice, but because I supposedly live too near to my uni I was declined, despite the fact I live outside the 12mile unguaranteed radius, and will now have to take a train and a bus to get to uni everyday. As you can tell, I'm not bitter about this. Not bitter AT ALL. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. NOPE. VERY UNBITTER, UNRESTENTFUL PERSON SITTING OVER HERE. So it looks liked I'm going to be living at home for the time being, which sucks.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my family. I get on great with my parents, most of the time, and my little sister ain't so little anymore (she's just started college - ahh scary) so it's not like she's a nuisance or anything. But having accommodation is part of the whole university experience, and experience I'm paying £9,000 a year for thank you very much, and it's not like I'm a kid anymore. Hell, I NEED some independence. So quite a few of these blog posts will be documenting the ups and downs of living at home whilst studying - they'll be labelled as "Sorry, No Vacancies" or SNV.

I also work a little part time job (although the amount of times they've called me in over the summer to do extra hours it's pretty much been a full time job) at a local supermarket-but-not-really-because-it's-not-that-big-but-is-still-a-chain-store-type-thing. It's not a bad little job, I get on great with people there and its easy enough work, but man has it made me determined to do well at uni! I CANNOT be doing that for the rest of my life, I think my brain would decompose.

I love music, fashion, going for long walks... blah blah blah, insert generic girly stuff in here that is true but also kinda dull just to list. I also took Politics at A level and had two of the best teachers in the world which made me totally fall in love with it. There appears to be a growing feminist movement among young women of my age (or there abouts), particularly in America with the presidential campaigns and the huge controversy surrounding Mitt Romney and other Republicans beliefs in reference to women's rights, rape and abortion - which I find completely fascinating. (So expect posts/rants about that).

I think that's about it for now... guess we'll just see how it goes...

Byeeee xx