Thursday, 15 December 2011
Production date Friday 2nd December 2011, National Theatre
Directed by Thea Sharrock
Writer-in-residence Mike Bartlett's latest offering for the National is an ambitious, sprawling look at modern day London that has received mixed reviews from the press, and I can certainly see why. With an ensemble cast of 13 you would hope there is something for everyone, but instead it left me feeling bored and uninspired.
A Christ-like figure arrives in a painfully obviously parallel London of a few months ago, while a group of people are waking from the nightmares that plague them each night. He quickly gains a following of disciples (12 of them, making him the 13th - how clever) as he preaches on a bucket about 'belief' and other vague yet rousing crowd-pleasers. Meanwhile, the female Conservative Prime Minister, who is at pains to remind us is absolutely not Margaret Thatcher, agonizes on whether or not to join the US in a war on Iran. A precocious little girl is killed before the interval presumably to ask us if personal responsibility is greater than government responsibility, and because due to child acting laws she has to be in bed, but the character was so odious I hardly think many judged the mother too harshly. There is a sprinkling of mystery with John's reappearance that takes 2 hours to come to any kind of fruition, but never really feels all that interesting anyway.
Surprisingly the most likable character is Geraldine James' steely Prime Minister, giving a persuasive and passionate defense of Conservative values in a modern world, which was possibly one of the best pieces of dialogue in the whole play. Aside from a comedic cleaner and her nervous yet endearing would-be boyfriend, who gets to regale the audience with some spooky facts about the number 13 in case we'd forgotten the title, most of the other characters felt unfinished, and served merely as superfluous, orbiting, stilted plot devices to facilitate dramatic revelations, which even then it largely failed to do.
The second half, while easier to follow thanks to the pruning of characters, felt far too much like a late night televised debate between a pompous, self important and ultimately disappointing 'Messiah' and an angry, borderline Islamaphobic atheist who happened to be dying of cancer, at which point I was surprised John didn't attempt a 'healing'.
In terms of set design, Tom Scutt's revolving black box center piece completely fails to capture any of modern London's atmosphere, and aside from a few slightly clever moments where the action was contained within the cube, it felt too bland a set. For a minimalist set to really work the action on the stage has to be compelling enough, the writing more absorbing, for the audience to really suspend disbelief and be transported by the actors. When the source material is as dull and insipid as 13 however, a minimalist set doesn't so much highlight the drama on stage but rather the lack of it.
Bartlett has attempted to write a play that interweaves government, politics and personal responsibility with human drama, but for all of its posturing and gesticulating, its angst-ridden riotous youth and social network revolution it is a play without any real direction or point.
There is a preachiness to 13 that I found tedious and frustrating, and I felt I was watching a play that wanted so badly to say something and to be so very profound, but never manages to decide whats its point is. Instead it settles for trying to tell us everything in an overly long plot riddled with monologues that feel like patronizing teachers, led by a sanctimonious and entirely unbelievable Welsh man, a character so irritating that even Trystan Gravelle's performance cannot save him.
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
In some ways I've felt like I've needed to blog here everyday for the last few months, but I feel like I haven't been able to. I still almost feel like I can't. Almost in a "not allowed to" kind of way. There are people who (theoretically anyway) read this blog, it's not set to private, so it's there, so sometimes recently I've felt that my usual avenue of expression and expulsion hasn't been open to me. The same goes for twitter to some degree.
I don't know.
Things have been up and down over the last few months. For a while I thought they were going to stay up, at least level out if not keep getting better. But that was a stupid hope. Cos things went tits up. Just for a change.
Again I don't really feel I can say much about it, for fear of criticism. Actua
lly, I don't think that's what I mean. I just mean that, stuff happened, and someone else is involved, and in theory they could read this. And it's not criticism, and I don't dear it. Because to be honest I'm allowed to say what I want, and it's not like any body really reads this. There's been something going round on Tumblr recently, a quote saying something about broadcasting your every thought on the Internet as a way to... you know what I can't even remember the quote. But I know it's true for me. Yes, I can know that something I can't remember, applies to me. I'm a genius. Anyway.
For all I know the only person that reads this is me, ever. If others do read it, then I'm grateful. But I've always maintained that this blog is, along with other creative outlets, a place and a way for me to get stuff out of my head, a weird kind of therapy. Sure I could just write it down somewhere private, but somehow the thought that someone could in theory read it, and maybe offer me advice, or care enough to talk to me, is more theraputic than if I just wrote it somewhere only I could see it. I'm deviating again.
The point is that for a while I thought I was onto a really good thing with someone. They know how I felt, and still feel. But things changed. I didn't think they would, at least not that quickly, but they did.
So I'm in a position now where I feel my usual ways of getting stuff off my chest isn't available for me, because the other person involved could get shitty. Part of me thinks if they do get shitty, it proves something. I don't know. I never really know anything apparently.
So yeah. The last week or so has been rough on my heart and my emotions. I was able to blog here about the situation with Lucie and how that turned out, but feel unable to do so this time around. Which is slightly frustrating. At times I've thought I need a pseudonym for my pseudonym. Silly.
But aside from all that stuff, which I'm still sorting through in my head, all the hurt, all the anger, the frustration, the confusion and, somehow still, the deepest caring for someone, that I will hopefully eventually get my head around, I'm.... Okay.
I can't think of any other word to describe my state right now than okay.
If you'd have asked me last week I would have said "awful". A few months before and I would have told you "I feel great. Amazing. There is someone in my life making me smile every fucking day, who I love, and I miss, and I want to see every day." or something to that effect.
I've started losing some weight, apparently not eating for 4 days when I felt really fucking down and angry worked a treat for that. Bright side.
I've applied to my uni's, picked Greenwich as my first choice and De Montfort as my second. Obviously there will always be a part of me that's disappointed that I won't make it to a 'better' uni now, but I have to keep reminding myself that that isn't my fault. Greenwich is lovely though. And I always knew I'd end up at a London university really, because I'm in love with London.
But obviously to get there I have to pass my A Levels.
I'm confident of at least a B in my Photography AS, if not an A. I got a B for my English coursework and an A in the first module of my A2 Politics. Basically for my two A2's (English & Politics) I need an A and a B. Politics will actually be easier to get an A in thanks to my AS results, I need to get 73% on this last module to get an A, whereas in English I'd have to get full marks for every question to get an A, so a B is more achievable there.
Revision is going... with difficulty.
I've basically got 2 weeks until both my exams on the 16th June. In theory that's plenty of time if I really apply myself and get my ass into fucking gear. Which is what I need to do.
After exams I need to concentrate on sorting out shit to take to uni, losing fuck loads of weight, and getting a job.
I'm also gonna sell loads of my gadgets and stuff for some extra funds for uni. But I will need a job. Eugh. If someone would like to pay me for sleeping I'd be all for it.
In typical me fashion I'm getting distracted by thoughts of selling gadgets etc now, when I need to be concentrating on revision.
I've been thinking of moving from the iPhone 4 to an HTC, and I've told myself I'm going to wait until after my exams to do that, but seem to be finding myself gravitating towards the HTC website time and time again. I need more self discipline.
Story of my life.
When I think about going to university, I do get a bit excited. But I think when I see myself there, in my minds eye it's a thin me I see. A marginally more attractive me. A happy me. A new me.
I've got the summer to find that version of this girl.
I'm excited but also somewhat terrified, in all honesty. I'm hoping that my housemates aren't a girls, because I genuinely don't think I could cope with all the bitching. I'd hope for an even guy/girl mix, best case scenario. And I seriously, really hope I don't end up sharing with a bunch of weirdos. For that matter, I'm more than happy to be the weirdo of our halls. Easily. Just please don't give me a flat load of cunts... I'm totally getting five utter weirdos now aren't I?
I think I've been feeling left behind again, as my old friends start coming home for the summer having finished their first year at uni. I've seen Hannah a couple of times now and each time it's felt really awkward, like we don't know how to be around each other anymore, and I don't understand why. I was with her and a friend she knows from friends, and they seemed to get on so much easier than her and I did. And she's supposed to be my best friend.
I guess I'm just maybe straining at the bit for a real, proper fresh start. This year at college was meant to be a fresh start in some respects, but that's difficult in the same city, in the same college, with some of the same faces.
I can't wait to get to London and find out more who I am. Get away from the past, the memories round every corner of friends who turned out to be cunts. Be a better me, maybe even the me I actually want to be. I can only get that if I get away from here and break away.
So. I'm excited and terrified about uni, nervous and stressing over exams, determined to but scared I'll fail to lose weight, and still hurting from other stuff.
That's my life right now.
Oh, and Doctor Who. That is also a big part of my life right now. Amazing.
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
It's pretty obvious that ema is hugely flawed.
Judging how much a kid gets based on their parents earning is ridiculous; for someone who's parents earn say £1000 over the means testing threshold, the system effectively assumes that all of that £1000 will be spent on that child's two years at college, regardless of other familial overheads and bills etc that the parents (whose income you test after all) have to pay for. Even though whose parents are further over the threshold have those things to think about! Having parents who earn above the means testing threshold does NOT assure that money goes to the child's education.
And extolling ema as an incentive to get kids to go to college? Rubbish. Give a kid £30 a week and tell him "you must spend this on books and paper etc, but we've got no way of checking whether that's what you're actually using it for, or if the tax payer's are giving you a night out, so have fun" and what do you expect to happen? There are plenty of people out there who see high school as a chore, and as soon as they hit 16 want to get out of the system, so why drag them back in with a hand out? So they can sit on classrooms, if they ever turn up, an distract those of us who want to work hard, who want that education? So they can be the 'problem' kids? Give them something more worthwhile to do! Don't give them 'something for nothing' to the detriment of others who actually want to remain in the education system.
I truly believe there is merit in a meritocratic system, and to be honest, the abolition of ema is a first step to that - it's harsh but it's true. Some people aren't built for college, and academia. But that's not to say they aren't 'worth as much' or 'less human' or any of this other foundational equality mirth - those not cut out for academia have other skills that society should by now have learnt how to utilise, for our sake and theirs.
I'm all for equality of opportunity, which is why I believe any ema-like system should not judge just on monetary grounds but on some degree of academic ability: every one has had the same opportunity at high school, so those that can show they actually want to continue with education should obviously have that chance.
So in essence, I agree with the scrappage of ema. It was an unfair system anyway, implemented poorly.
How did people manage to get through college before ema? Ask my brother and sister. Ask me. Or get a job. Thrift. Save and don't spend. Don't assume you 'deserve' a handout - life is hard and everyone has to to work at what they want. But as I say, removing ema should theoretically mean that the money previously used for it should be used in some other educationally beneficial manner, most importantly, for those most willing to learn and apply themselves.
God I sound like a Tory :P
And another thing: the British public really piss me off.
You vote for someone that isn't Labour because you blame them for every problem under the sun, voting for 'change', then you moan like a banshee when anything actually is changed!
Most of the people up in arms about all the reforms being made are those that don't understand them.
I do not for one moment proclaim to be an expert on any such reforms, which is why I'm keeping my mouth shut. I have initial opinions based on the little knowledge I do have, but I'm not going to push that down anyone's throat til I actually have all the facts and know more what I'm talking about.
Sure, if after consideration and possession of the facts I don't like it, then I'll say so, as everyone is so very entitled to do. But what bothers me most about a lot of the British public (vast generalisation I know) is how fickle and ignorant they are.
"We don't understand this, so we'll disagree and shout about it."
You wanted change? You got it. At least find out what that change is before you go running around with your juvenile name calling and partisan bullshit.
One thing the British do well is turn on what we have created.
Saturday, 1 January 2011
Note; as per usual, this started as one thing and then sorta... developed a life of its own? I know I haven't written anything on here for a while, but that might change this year, who knows! Anyway, yeah, this is more or less a stream of consciousness.
I'm the kind of person who thinks so far ahead. Too far ahead maybe.
I want to be in a relationship with someone by the time I go back to Australia, and I want them to come with me. While I was there, I'd go off on little walks on my own every now and again, at dusk or at dawn, or even in the middle of the day, and I'd find these little spots and be like… "wow. I want to share this with someone." The path down the spine of Palm Beach/Summer Bay approaching dusk, when the light swam and glittered through the leaves of the trees and danced on the colder sand in the shadows, that led to a little sandy clearing on the edge of Barranjoey Head, nestling into the cliff and sloping down towards the gorgeous stretch of Palm Beach, where I could see one couple silhouetted in the distance walking along holding hands. Uluru at sunset, naturally. That little boat house by the river in Perth, that I drove or walked past nearly every day; I want to walk down the little jetty and sit in there, dangling our feet in the water while we have a picnic, then when the sun gets high you can fall asleep on me in the corner or we'll cross the road and doze under the huge trees, draped across roots as thick as my legs. Busselton - the winding streets and the parks, and the jetty, jeez that jetty at sunset. And all these other little places just dotted along the Great Ocean Road that so obviously could be romantic, and would have been… if I wasn't with my parents :') like Apollo Bay, to wake up and just open the door right onto that beach. And oh god, how could I forget Monkey Mia? The views, the beach, the sea, and the dolphins. (Everything there just seemed so… full, and happy. Naturally I'm sitting here getting mega nostalgic for Australia now and totally wanting to be back there, and not just for the romantic bits!)
It's like I look into a version of my future, more like a wish, a dream or whatever, and I can see so clearly how I want things to be with 'my girl', but everything else is blurry. My face is blurry, and my body is barely there; obviously this is reflective of my desire to look different, to lose weight and transform my body but my lack of confidence at my ability to ever do so. Age is indeterminate, neither of us are any age at all, it could be tomorrow I'm seeing, or 5 years away from now; maybe because I've never actually been in a relationship, only 'nearly' ones or whatever, and because I've never had anyone in my life as more than a friend really, because of all this I am so ready to be in a relationship - all of this probably affects this 'dream' in so far as I could happily do all this stuff now (in theory) but know its not likely to happen for years aka ever.
And you never have a face. Now this is fairly obvious, because I can't possibly know who you are. Every now and again when I literally do dream anything like this ie actually at night, if I've been thinking about any one person in particular their face will usually be there, but only sort of, like a half face that I can kind of recognise but isn't entirely who its supposed to be. But you've all had dreams, you know how I mean with people's faces and stuff. But by and large, you're there, but not physically there. Well, you cant be really can you, because you don't exist there. But you know what I mean.
In those dreams, and whenever I think about things like that, or whenever I'm somewhere and I think "I don't want to see this place again unless I have someone to share this with", or whenever I see couples in town and wish I could just twine my fingers with someones, you just don't have a face. I can see you, I can look right at you though. I can look right into your eyes that aren't there and drown in them. I can run my fingers over the lips that are never there and smile and the softness. I can kiss the nose that isn't there, everything. Its strange.
I don't know. Im 18 years old, overweight, unfit, socially struggling (although no longer practically a recluse like last year), and lonely. I'm so bored of my own company. And in the nicest way possible, I'm really bored of my family's company too. They literally still are the only people I see. Obviously its been different these last few months as I've physically been in college and so see people in the day, but I come straight home after college all the time. I don't socialise. Over this Christmas holiday I've seen Hannah once as she's back from Uni for Christmas, and that was when her and her parents came round for christmas nibbles and what not. I may have plenty of people to talk to on twitter, but I don't have any other physical people in my life. I knew it'd take time once I went back to college for the social side of things to happen, and overall its gone well, in that I half expected at this point to still be a nervous wreck if I had to so much look at anyone in college, but some days I feel almost like I used to again, like I'm emerging from my feet thick shell. But its still a little galling that I don't have any 'friends' as such. I find myself comparing it to when I started college the first time and getting sad, but I know thats stupid because its completely different. Then it was the first year of college, AS, and so we spent like the first 3 days of college just having like tutor group induction so by the end of the first week we'd all gone for lunch and what have you together already, plus I already knew a few girls in my tutor group. Also it was a drama tutor group, and somehow they're always a bit more immediately social and what have you. So yeah, the only physical human beings I see most days are my family, and even thats gonna change soon when my sister goes back to Australia :(
It really is the holidays that do it to be honest. Like I say, the last few months I haven't thought of any of this so much because in the day I am seeing other people, but being off of college and having no one to see feels way too much like how I spent the majority of last academic year, so its throwing my off kilter I guess.
I just feel ready for life again in the most basic sense. Ready to have friends again, ready to smile, ready to laugh, ready to do nothing but with someone, ready to talk, ready to live, and ready for love. But then obviously, at the same time I'm still so not ready, and running scared. But then I think; who's really ever 'ready' for life? No one chooses to be born, and once you're alive you don't exactly have much of a say in it do you? Who's ever really 'ready' for anything life throws at them? Yes, of course I have an 'excuse' etc in that I've been through the mill these last two years, been through more than most people my age blah blah, but still. Every time I say I'm scared of something or annoyed at myself and my life, someone always says that; "you've been through this blah blah" and its like, while it may be true, it doesn't help. Its like… I don't know… its like if you've broken your arm and its in a cast and a sling, and you're trying to reach something and you cant so you get really frustrated because it feels like you're not you, and someone asks whats up, you tell them, and then they say "well you have got a broken arm." "Oh really? I hadn't noticed. Tell me, how does telling me that help me reach that jar of biscuits at all? Exactly." You see what I'm saying? While some days I feel so sorry for myself about everything and want to scream to the world "Pity me! Love me! Buy me things!" etc (which is utterly ridiculous and only lasts a second or two, but you know what I mean), for the most part its just so frustrating that I still feel so held back. I know that I'm the only one holding me back now, that its my insecurities and paranoias and stuff that is all thats stopping me from doing the things I want to do, being the person I want to me… but like the broken arm, knowing that doesn't change anything, not really.
I don't know. I think far too much, I know that. You know that! I cant switch off ever and I hate it. I overthink, overanalyse, overwatch, overreadinto, whatever you name it i do it. I know I'm the only one that can do anything about any of the things that get me down, and I know everything is still a gradual process, and I know its still, in the grand scheme of things in this 'recovery' process (which I apparently am still in) that its still early days. I've seen cases of other people who have had similar experiences to me taking tens of years to 'recover', if they do, if they don't become a shadow of their former self and never really get back to 'normal'. But sometimes a shadow isn't a bad thing, its just a new thing. Sometimes a shadow can fit where we cant. So I guess what I'm saying is that while I accept theres no way I'll ever get back to the me I was before all this, I don't have to see that as a bad thing. Even though I'm now in this limbo state where I feel like I don't know who I am, what I am, when where and why I am, I have to remind myself that its ok to feel that, daily. I can see the last two years as wasted, ruined, soiled and marred, (which I always will in part) or I can see them as transition. Transition into this new me, whoever the hell she is! The transition is still going on, and maybe it will for another good few years, and maybe one day I'll wake up and realise 'I'm there' - happy. Maybe one day I'll wake up beside someone, and realise I've been happy for months, I've found the me I was always looking for inside myself, and I finally like myself. And love the one beside me.
Or maybe I'll wake up and push one of many cats off the end of my bed and begin yet another day as a lonely cat lady. Only time will tell. Time that I am so bored of waiting on, but what can you do? Push on, power through, soldier on, breathe in, breathe out, rinse, lather and repeat.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
I'm so fucking fed up of being on my own.
It was good to see Hannah for today, as she's down from uni for tar barrels, but all it did was remind me again, if I needed reminding, that I'm on my own.
They've all moved on, living their lives, made new friends already, kept in touch with the old ones, and nothing to worry about. And me?
I've gotta start over, only it's for the first time. Every time I've progressed through school, I've had those guys with me, and any new friends I've made were when I had self confidence.
Now I'm in a position where people know each other already, cos they've had a year of college together, and I'm just the fat weirdo who's still here for some reason.
I'm really struggling to make friends, let alone anything else.
The last week, things have seemed a bit better though. Don't get me wrong, I get along well with a fair few people in my lectures, but it's just that there's a fair bit of difference between getting on with people in a lesson and being friends.
My sister keeps saying to just ask one of them/some of them if they want to grab some lunch, but it's not as simple as that. Like I say, in most classes, people have got at least one person they know, so they leave with them, and I'm like ehhhhh I'll be quiet then.
As I've said, I'm finding it hard enough to make friends, let alone anything else. But I'm going out of my fucking mind. No I'm not talking sexually, though sure that'd be nice, but just company. But more than friendship. Someone to just sit and watch tv with, curled up and legs tangled. Someone to sit with in Bostons and read, don't have to talk, just sit and read a magazine or a book. Or someone to talk to about shit all that anyone else cares about or understands.
Of course, all of this, when I type it, makes me think of L. Natch. But I think I know I'm just idealising those memories and picking the best ones. There's nothing wrong with remembering the good things in life, but I've got to remember why my friendship with her ended and why things turned out the way they did.
I don't really know what the point of this was.
You've all had enough of me bemoaning my loneliness by now I expect, but it's there. It's not as simple as just getting out there and meeting people. I've got such little self confidence after everything over the last few years, that talking to people is a struggle. I feel ridiculously awkward; I don't know how to start conversations, and once I do almost everything I say I'm thinking "what the fuck was that?!!?" or I can't keep the conversation going or I put my foot in it or make a twat of myself or something. With all the college work, something I'm not used to, as much as I'd like the money I can't deal with a job as well, so that's another way of meeting people (how I met L, tumteetum) gone out of the window.
And as for just going out of an evening for a drink? On my own?! Are you CRAZY?!!! I don't really want to look like a loner on my own thanks. Gay bars? Ok, so by some freak happening Exeter has two of them (ikr!!?!) but I can't really bring myself to go there. I know it sounds odd, but a lot of lesbians really do my fucking head in! The whole overly butch thing, and the whole 'oh we've all slept with each other lar dee dar' doesn't really appeal. Plus, there's only so many lesbians in Exeter; we may have two gay bars but there's only so many of us to go around! So I'd just feel ridiculously awkward. And it's not like I've got anyone to go with, cos I have no friends... *talks round in a circle*
So yeah. I'm lonely.
For friends, people to hang out with you know? Someone to text! Someone to talk to on the phone! All of this stuff normal people my age get to do would be nice thanks.
And yeah, for a girl. Even though part of me will always struggle to understand how anyone could ever like me, (even as a friend; I don't get it, you're all mad) I'm also a bit like 'wait no, I'm nice!' I care. I can be sweet and cute. I like to make you smile. I like to make you laugh. Fuck that, I love to make you smile and laugh because I love to see you smile, and laugh. Y'know?
So yeah, I'm a mess, and physically basically repulsive, but I still reckon when it comes to girlfriend material, I could be a catch! Sure, I'll freak out over all the physical stuff, but that's another issue to be fair.
So, if anyone out there wants to be friends with me, and then eventually maybe more, and is willing to look past the exterior (theres a lot of it) and the crazy (a lot of that too) then feel free to appear in my life. At this stage, I feel that as awesome as you online friends are (read; very), I need some human contact.
And I need someone to give this love to, before it turns into more of the self loathing that I've got enough of in me, and my heart starts to fester.
And with that lovely imagine, I bid you adieu, and maybe hello.