Thursday, 22 August 2013

TEDx

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One of the things I am busy with at the minute is working on a TEDx talk which will be performed in August. My talk aims to discuss the impact modern day society has on the body confidence of young people. Is the promotion of unrealistic body ideals squashing whatever confidence people do have and should we be teaching more media literacy?

I have taken it upon myself to become well informed on the topic of body confidence and the representation of body ideas which has involved lots of watching and reading. Before this I knew next to nothing about male body confidence so that has been the focus of my attention. If I'm honest from what I've found out they seem to be pretty clueless on the pressures on women too; the amount of times I've came across the notion that they "have it worse than women" is insane! I don't neglect the fact that there are a million more pressures on men now than there has ever been in the past but I don't think they necessarily have it worse than women, they're probably catching up. The fact that people from the pornographic industry think that men are more pressured is probably the most shocking, given the way women are represented in pornographic material it seems difficult to believe that it is harsher on men. So really, we (men and women) no very little about the pressures the other sex face, would this be the way if we taught media literacy and body confidence in schools more? I think not.

Also, I'm not a dieter so I have spent quite a bit of time reading about diets and oh my who knew there were so many somewhat ludicrous ideas?! I mean really, can the eradication of specific food groups be a healthy option? Or cutting out solid food? Or living off mushrooms? What is this all about? All of this to get a 'good figure' which can probably be obtained by leading a healthy lifestyle so why don't we just promote health instead?

One last thing I don't get. The fixation society has on boobs. WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?! First I thought boobs/cleavage/whatnot were a concept isolated to women (besides moobs) but I have recently found out that cleavage in men is an actual thing. A man in a bar asked me to rate his cleavage on a scale of 1-10 and I honestly had no idea what on earth I was even commenting on, I haven't exactly encountered this before, this was evident in me unintentionally offending him.

My brains aren't in my boobs so why do they matter?

Hannah :)

Today's Thoughts on Music

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I propose you take a trip down memory lane and play this song whilst reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJLIiF15wjQ

Today I slept in, edited a script and watched a glasses fashion show. Today I ran for the bus and still missed it despite skipping drying my hair. Today I went to a music journalism session which I'm now digesting on an eight minute late 57 bus, embarrassingly playing Country Roads - Hermes House band too loudly.

I used to think I was a 'bad reviewer' because I am very rarely critical about the work of other artists. Today that changed. Reviewing isn't always about saying "this was good" and "this was bad". Why not discuss the music itself, what it evokes in you, where it takes you not what you think is pants about it.

I am quite possibly the only person to listen to The Cure when they're in a happy mood. It's just not done. The Cure have an incredible ability to make the happiest of topics sound sad on the surface. Yet somehow, somewhere, in that long summer before sixth form I discovered that their beauty extends beyond the sole cheeriness that is "Friday I'm In Love". I formed an attachment to the album "Wish" that I didn't believe to be possible between myself and an object. For months my CD player existed solely to hold that album and play it as background music to my life.Three years on I'm still using it as background music to my life, nothing can attract my undivided attention the way the intro to "To Wish Impossible Things" does and each time it tells a different story.

That's what music gives you, a story you can't find in any book and that is a one that changes with each listening whilst still having the ability to take you back to a distinct moment where it all happened. For me, every time I hear Taio Cruz - Dynamite I'm back in black hotpants, surrounded by a haze of hairspray about to take to a dance show stage. Or when I hear Biffy Clyro - Mountains I will always be taken back to that somewhat dead nightclub where a mop-haired man sang it to me whilst using interpretative dance and handing me jaffa cakes as a token of love. Or something like that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is when did writing about music start being about the gossip and stop being about the music.

Today I fell back in love with writing about something I love. And today I almost forgot to get off the bus because I am writing this whilst getting lost in Nada Surf.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Beckhams Are Pretty AND Great.

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I quite like the Beckham family. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm a Beckham-fanatic but I certainly don't get the issue people seem to have with the Beckham's. If I'm honest they seem like quite a normal family, all be it a little richer than the rest of us, oh and that bit where your dad is an international football star and your mam is a fashion designer/former member of girl power band: The Spice Girls.

A lot of women you speak to seem to dislike Victoria Beckham and I can honestly say I think they dislike the media's representation of her, rather than her herself. It all started with the Spice Girls, she can't sing, apparently. So? If you could make a living out of something you are gonna go for it aren't you? I have a horrendous singing voice but if someone was going to pay me to sing horrendously I'd probably go for it. So for all intents and purposes she was an independent, self-sufficient woman thanks to her inability to sing and just look good. Then she met footballer David Beckham; embarked on a solo career, became a mam and launched a fashion label. At no point was she dependent on someone else in order to make something of herself, so in that respect she is definitely a strong woman. On top of this, Victoria and husband David have done work for charity Save The Children and are patrons of the Elton John AID's Foundation. What's not to like? This is where I think the media come into play; her size seems to be what people have an issue with. So, she's slim but I wouldn't say she exactly publicises how slim she is and there isn't exactly mindless witterings about diet plans. The media do that purely on a speculation level. On google-ing the matter the only thing it brings back is the fact that she thinks that she is a normal size. What is wrong with that? The only thing I would say is: "Please smile more!"

As I was writing this I thought I'd have a look around at some recent photos of the Beckhams and have established that David Beckham has a few wrinkles. YAY. I don't think I've ever been happier to see a face age a little bit. He is still a very attractive man, so says his fabulous modelling career. Photos of him with his children just look so admirably normal and make him seem like much of a family man.

I would say that children Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper have been quite protected from media exploitation. However, I would guess that Harper is star of probably one of Vogues youngest Style Files, I know very little about fashion but I'd say she is a very well dressed toddler with a vast Stella McCartney collection, making her very cute!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Beckham's are pretty great and NORMAL.



Friday, 9 August 2013

This Time Last Year

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I have had far too many "this time last year I was....." moments recently which in my head hasn't necessarily been a bad thing but I figure it is probably annoying the people I keep saying them to so I thought I'd do a quick post on it.
I went on an Outward Bound Classic Course (see previous post) last summer which hugely cahnged the way I look at things in life so it's nice to keep thinking "ooooh I did X this time last year". I turned 18 last summer and on my 18th birthday I was sick; not because I had one too many tequila slammers but because apparently you can get sea-sick in a kayak. Who knew?! I got up at about 6am on my birthday, did a cross-country run, had a dip in a loch then went kayaking. To cut a long story short, it was a tidal loch which was very choppy because it was raining and windy; by back was aching so I couldn't paddle properly against the tide, my tummy was doing somersaults and my kayak had to get toed by an instructor. Despite the fact that all of this happened and I was away from home for my birthday this year just didn't feel as good, which is a bit of a bizarre feeling. I would give anything to go off on expedition right now.
The whole Outward Bound experience unlocked this immensely determined side of me I hadn't noticed before; I'm not a fan of high up open spaces yet somehow I just can't say no if someone asks me if I want to jump into a gorge. I just have to say yes; I wouldn't exactly call myself an adrenalin junkie so it can't be that, I really like the feeling of doing something that scares me and that I think I can't do just to prove to myself that I am capable of doing it. This is probably why I am such a busy person; I hate to think that I could miss out on an opportunity just because I don't have enough time, I find time to do it in, which usually involves me trying to condense what should take 48 hours into 24 hours and having my diary glued to me hand.
If you met me in person I would probably seem like one of the least likely people to appreciate wild camping; I think I come across as distinctly girly yet somehow I have this love for being outdoors. I think it might be because you can detach from everything; we live in a world now when we are constantly connected to each other, at any one time you can contact someone at the other side of the world and sometimes I think it's just nice to be uncontactable. The second reason I love being 'out and about' is the fight of it, to stand at the foot of a mountain and think "I'm going to get to the top and it's probably gonna hurt in the morning but it will be worth it" is just nice (for a writer I have horrendous use of adjectives). I like the sense of achievement that extends beyond being able to connect to someone's unprotected WiFi; this sense of achievement is so personal and almost impossible to explain but I'll give it a shot. Your muscles burn, your joints are wobbly, your brain can barely concentrate on pealing a banana, your hair is glued to your head off a mix of sweatiness and rain, your feet are blistered, you feel physically drained so much so that you could sleep for a week. Yet, somehow it is the most liberated you've ever felt, take off your backpack and you could run for miles purely off the feel good it has all given you. That is what I miss sitting here, in a city library. There is no feeling of freedom or exponential achievement, I crave the thrill of expedition. I miss the thrill of expedition.
Hannah x

Why am I Still Paying My Contract?

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By the time this posts I must have fixed something because right now I have no internet. I am contemplating investing in a Nokia 3310 or just cutting myself off entirely and getting rid of a mobile phone entirely. I am all for all of these technological advances and such but seriously, why do they even bring them out if they can't run smoothly. I pay about £16 a month for my phone contract, yes I am aware that isn't very much but I have very little money, with that £16 I at least expect my phone to function to a reasonable level. It however does not. I got my phone less than a year ago and it functioned reasonably well when I got it, however, recently it can barely make a phonecall. I try to call people, it cuts out. I try to text and it doesn't recognise any of the words I input. I try to connect to the internet, it was network connection errors. I eventually get connected to the internet and try to use it as a hotspot for my laptop; it is unable to connect. Dearest Orange why am I paying my contract for none of it to actually hold up?

Extreme OCD Camp

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Extreme OCD Camp is a two-part documentary shown on BBC Three as part of the It's a Mad World series which follows six young people who have obsessive compulsive disorder as they travel to America to embark on a treatment program. Before I watched the program I had high expectations as other programmes in the series have been really good at raising awareness about mental health illnesses; also I'm in love with the outdoors and interested in how it can help with mental well-being.

Firstly, I'd like to note that all of the young people that took part in the program were incredibly brave for fighting and raising awareness of OCD to the world. To expose their vulnerability on such a large scale must be terrifying but the progress that was evident by the end of the second episode surely made it all worth it; youngster Jack said himself "apparently you change on American road trips" and this is incredibly encouraging to other people battling OCD. It was nice to see the young people push themselves further than they initially thought possible as the program went on putting their progress in their own hands. The program showed just how powerful a positive mindset can be when in the company of other people striving to make comfortable lives for themselves.

In terms of mental health I particularly liked the use of "weather forecasting" as a way of articulating mood and how they are coping with any difficulties. I suppose describing mood using weather is a way of being able to spin a positive light on the situation; it can improve as the day goes on. The methods of treatment used within the program really intrigued me to learn more about adventure therapy after seeing such positive responses to it.

Overall I think the programmes were a fantastic way of telling the world what OCD is for those unsure and taught those who suffer from OCD that it can be managed; there is support out there! It also made me reconsider my future career. Well done all involved!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Hello Internet

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Hi There Everyone!

I haven't really updated much recently yet I have a million and one things I want to blog about but I have been really busy recently.

I have this idea for a story which I'm battling because I'm determined to make it work and actually get it somewhere which is very unlike me. More often than not when I have creative ideas I start them then get scared that they are ridiculous ideas that won't work so stop working on them. So, this is a really big deal for me that I might actually make something of this!

Also, I got accepted onto a Talking Shop program which means that I get to do a talk on something I'm passionate about, I'm talking about how body confidence issues in youth can affect body confidence in adulthood and that maybe if society didn't push unrealistic ideals onto young people they would be more confident in their own skin.

Last weekend I went to Edinburgh with some friends which was lovely to just get away and not have to concentrate on anything important so I could de-stress and party!

And now I have a script to write because I have been given an opportunity for it to be performed which was the nicest surprise I've had recently.

So, yeah, I've been really busy but it's all good things. I appreciate nice busy and I don't really know how to be a non-busy person.

Hannah

P.S. Will blog spoon!