Have We Lost Personal Projects?

At the weekend I spent my morning watching The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, a documentary about the final cinematic venture of Hayao Miyazaki and his history with Studio Ghibli. I don’t want to go into a massive raving review of the piece, so just trust me when I say every film fan needs to watch this documentary. The personal genius of Miyazaki is perfectly captured in his quiet reflections of life, and like all Studio Ghibli products, is filled with childlike sincerity.

A scene that particularly caught my notice was one in which we first enter Miyazaki’s house. In his rather modest home, we find hordes of creative projects that Miyazaki has been quietly working on. One project was a documentation of daily life after the recession hit Japan. He flicked through page after page of a enormous scrap book, each one filled with photographs.

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“I tried to document the effects of the recession on the people in my area but what I ended up with was just pictures of everyday life.”

To me, a person of the internet, his scrap book seemed like such a foreign concept. The idea that he had put so much time and energy into a project that (if it wasn’t for the cameras) would have never been seen by another person. It was a project he had untaken for himself and for his eyes only.

Older readers of this blog (are you even there?) might be rolling their eyes at my confusion but to you 90s and millennial kids I have to ask – have personal projects died? Has the blog become the new diary? Tumblr the new scrap book? Facebook the new photo album?

When I think about my own creative projects – writing and improvisation – they’re all undertaken with the goal of anothers eyes. Yes, of course, I do them out of my own passion and pleasure, but would I feel so strongly about them if I didn’t have access to an instant audience?

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Someone in my office remarked today that the new app Periscope was symptomatic of our culture. “It’s just another way for people to feel like everything they do is worth something.” This statement was made as we watched Nick Grimmshaw (Radio 1 DJ – don’t worry older readers, I’ll keep you current) go running through an airport because he was running late for his flight. I mean… I do wonder what Shakespeare would have to say if he could see what we were feasted our eyes on. DON’T WE HAVE THEATRE TO WATCH OR SOMETHING?

It seems to me that we are the generation that has crossed from having too small a platform, whereby it was significantly harder to show off your amazing projects, to having too big of one. A platform so big that we can literally just take a picture of a taco and dub it #BALLIN’.

Now I’m not going to stop posting a majority of my creative endeavors online but perhaps it would be nice to have a secret project… a whisper of creativity that only I can open up and was created with only my viewpoint in mind. The internet often clouds who and what we’re creating for. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most beauty blogs look the same, or that my own tone of voice sounds like some of the blogs I read. In many ways, the internet comes with templates or we find ourselves joining communities that we merge our voice into.

Being a voice within a community isn’t a bad thing. In many ways, the collective element of the internet is one of its best features. However, maybe once in a while we might enter that kingdom of madness and speak to ourselves for a while…

Weird Things That Make Me Happy

Today has been dubbed ‘blue Monday’ because it’s apparently the saddest day of year. Just to recap, January is also famous for other fun loving days such as ‘divorce day’ and ‘fuck it, let’s make a suicide pact day’.

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In these times of winter gloom, it helps to know what makes you happy – what really makes you happy. Sure, in a survey you might list your sources of happiness to be your friends, your job, or even… your kids *shudder*. But these are pageant answers, publically acceptable responses that make you seem like a nice normal human.

What you need on a day like this is true joy, the joy that can only be gained from the weird stuff you watch cathartically on the internet. Such as…

That Soothing French Interview

I don’t know why but I find nice voices to be the most relaxing thing on earth. Renee Zellweger has one of these voices, but sadly my favourite interview of her isn’t on Youtube (it’s an interview she does for the ‘behind the scenes’ bit on the Miss Potter DVD). However, I found the next best thing when I discovered this old interview with French New Wave star Anna Karina.

There was a point last year when I listened to this video every night before I went to bed. It was my French bedtime story. I just like the way Anna can make ruffles look cool, or say things like ‘I didn’t eat for two weeks’ like it was no big deal. Also, at the end she puts on a wig. Just because.

Dogs 101

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out that Animal Planet have basically created a dog-lovers Nevada. The Dogs 101 series basically features a video on every.single.dog.breed. I have spend hours watching these videos and weighing up which breed is right for me (I’m not even getting a dog).

Some personal favourites of mine: the Labrador (obviously), pugs (their eyes can pop out – ew), and the weird mop dog.

Zalfie Vlogs

If I was a 13 year old girl there probably would be no shame attached to this activity, as it is I am 23 and yes… part of me is ashamed of loving Zalfie. However, there’s something that’s just so nice about watching two nice people just go about their day. They go shopping more than I can, they have a pug puppy, Zoella has a lot of time to get her make-up just right. It’s just all so nice.

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Of course, what they put on camera is probably very carefully edited but isn’t it reassuring that no matter how shitty you day, you have the guarantee that someone has been having a good day? God bless Zoella’s candle shopping.

Movie Trailers

I really enjoying being emotionally manipulated by instrumental music and choice sound bites. A good trailer is like crack for me. Here are some of my current favourites:

  • Selma
  • Tyrannosaurus (watch the actual film at your peril)
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Unbroken
  • Never Let me Go

This Guy

I don’t know how the internet survived before this guy appeared. He is our new God. The God of Swift Sass.

I’ve Moved to London & Some Online Feminism

Well I’ve done it internet, I’ve made the plunge and rented an over-priced flat in the most expensive UK city – LONDON! Or should I say LAAAAN-DAAAAN! This move has resulted in many life changes, some good and some bad. The worst has to be that I am now living in a world without internet. People who have moved into new places know all about this dilemma, of that agonizing first few weeks, where you wait, going mildly insane, eating up your mobile phone data, as you wait for the internet man to come and hook you up. I am currently  camped out in a Cafe Nero, huddled in the corner and pilfering their internet to write this message.

Obviously, while Carrie Bradshaw and all those other cafe-shop writers make it seem effortless to write in public, I find spilling my emotions out on a blog a little tricky when a fake Italian barista is staring at me. Meaning you’ll all have to wait until August 7th for this blog to return to its former glory (it did have a glory, right? Remember all those posts about film star’s penises?). To keep you internet dwellers wanting more, here is some interesting internet things to keep you going until my majestic return. Said return will almost definitely be defined by virtual fireworks, scotch and naked go-go dancers. Or maybe just some pictures of my new place and some feminists rants about oogling on the tube. You decide which is more realistic.

Until then, enjoy these internet treats that have been mostly harvested from the mysterious place called Reddit.

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I Applied to be a Gay Agony Aunt and Failed

I applied to be a gay agony aunt and somehow managed to be a runner-up – not bad, considering I’m not actually gay.

As Vada Magazine doesn’t want my weekly doses of knowledge, I thought you lovely people might appreciate some of the wisdom I spouted in the application. Whether straight or gay, relationships are tricky things but it’s nothing a little bit of well-meaning sass can’t help with. Observe.

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Ben: I don’t really have any problems meeting new guys but I keep falling into relationships that fizzle out within a couple of months. I always get swept up and think I really like the guy but I lose interest and end up finishing it. Each time I meet somebody new I think it will be different but I just repeat the same cycle. How do I know whether to pursue someone or not to bother trying?

Remember in that rom-com, when the boy and girl FINALLY got together, and there was that passionate kiss and some implied steamy sex before the credits rolled? Of course you do because that is EVERY rom-com, like, ever.

Hollywood had made millions from selling what I like to call ‘Honeymoon Relationships’. You might have heard of the ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship. It typically comes at the start of hooking up with a new person and usually lasts between a few months and a year. In that time you and your partner do nothing but shag endlessly, talk dirty, and throw around phrases like ‘this guys is the ONE’.

Unfortunately, for people in the real world, what Hollywood fails to show is that the honeymoon period ends; it has to- otherwise doctors would just get overwhelmed with chaffing issues.

Now it seems to me that your relationships seem to fizzle out around the time when the honeymoon period comes grinding to a halt. You may feel from watching films and seeing couples on TV that there’s something wrong with this, but getting into a long-term relationship is a pretty big step and not everybody is ready for it.

It’s perfectly acceptable to come out of your honeymoon bliss and realise- “I’m not ready to go further with this.” Or even- “this is not the guy I’m meant to be with.” You’re meant to grow into relationships, and it takes time to be ready to take things to the next level AND find the right guy.

I mean, getting married at 16 like that fish girl from The Little Mermaid just isn’t realistic.

One day you’ll be ready for a relationship to last longer than a few months. Unfortunately I can’t give you a check list for what constitutes as the right guy (if I could I would be RICH). All I can say is that old romantic cliché that you’ll just know when you’ve found that perfect person, and when you do, your relationship won’t fizzle – it’ll BURN.*

* Like in a romance sense, not a gonorrhoea one.

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Alex: I need some advice on how to recover from the most embarrassing experience of my life. I’ve been chatting for a while online to someone who works behind the bar at my local gay bar. I was in there recently with people after work and got horrendously, tragically drunk. Anyway, I plucked up the courage to go and say hi and ended up being sick all over the bar. I was mortified. Should I apologise and try to re-start the conversation or just ignore it and accept I’ve ruined my chances?

Well plastic surgeons can work wonders nowadays, so maybe you could turn a few tricks, save up your hooker money and use it to buy a new face – preferably one that looks like a young Johnny Depp. Then you can just stroll back into that bar and be all ‘AHOY there sailor, want to walk my plank?’ cause, you know, you’ll have a sexy pirate face.

If you don’t fancy selling your butthole for a new face, then I’m afraid my advice gets a little less glamorous.

The good news is that you’re already known as ‘sick boy’, so you really can’t sink any lower in his opinion of you, which means you can only go UP at this point.

Another silver lining is that your friendship so far has been based online, so you can restart the conversation without any face to face communication. So if you’re willing to pick up the shattered remnants of your soul, you might still have a shot at salvaging this relationship. And without having eye to eye contact, you can say sorry without him having to look at you and have flashbacks of chunks of carrots flying at his face.

In my experience of making a tit of myself (and I have A LOT of experience), the best way to go about surviving public humiliation is to try and laugh it off. Start by saying the usual ‘ahoy there sailor’ (pirates are easier to forgive) and then jokingly be like ‘oh I tried to say hi to you the other night before I VOMMED ON YOUR FACE – LOL! Crazy times, am I right?’

If the relationships meant to be he’ll find the whole thing funny and the pair of you can use it as a hilarious anecdote in years to come when you’re at awkward dinner parties and people ask how you guys met – #ROMANCE.

Random Question: What Would Your Club Look Like?

So this happened today.
 
 
Apparently, according to some guy on twitter, I’m a club. Not only that, a bloody successful club that’s making his brother a lot of cash. Now the first question I asked was, what is the club? Is my body the club? Does ‘members’ mean… you know sexy parts? Because I’m pretty sure that’s prostitution. Am I a prostitute without knowing it?
 
Of course, once I reasoned with myself that I’m not a unconscious hooker, and yes, once I accepted this is just some weird kind of spam. I still got to thinking, if you were about to make a club based around my personal traits and stuff, what kind of club would I be?

I imagine it would have some kind of vagina opening for an entrance, maybe with a sparkling pink tunnel, with lines of feminists in mini-skirts with hairy legs flashing in glory, all offering you cosmopolitans while chanting – ‘grow your muff out, grow your muff out, grow your muff out’. Mirrors of any kind will be banned in my club so that nobody needs to feel self conscious while dancing, and casual bopping will be banned. I want the grandest shapes to be thrown, squares, triangles, ALL THE SHAPES! And every hour there will be a club wide sing-along of Total Eclipse of the Heart. The men will be given lyrics upon arrival so they can properly harmonise with the ‘turn arounnnnnnnd…’
 
 
There is of course, the very big possibility that my club would close down within a week but I’m okay with that.
 
So Internet, what would your club look like?  Would you visit my club?
 
And yes, this babbling about my uterus club is procrastination.