Friday, 29 November 2013

Things I've Learnt From Emily Park


Emily Park is one of my best friends, our friendship is based mostly around tap-dancing penguins, fajitas and the fact that we are both unlikely hip-hop enthusiasts. I have meant to write this blog post for awhile and now that I haven't blogged in a little while is the time for it. So here are the things I've learnt from the one and only Emily Park.

1. Contrary to popular belief having a wardrobe of entirely white clothing is totally sustainable; even when you have a fajita fuelled life.

2. Just because a person owns 5 cats it does not mean that they will appreciate additional cat items. Cat items include: jumpers with cats on, cat calendars, cat pens, cat notebooks etc. etc. HOWEVER, unicorn horns for the current cats are totally accepted.

3. No matter how little time you have in your day there is always time for an emergency fajita break.

4. There are stringent criteria for people you can talk to on a night out, ones who look like Anakin Sykwalker and ones who are trained in restraint are two key types of people.

5. When you lose your cat and he eventually returns the only appropriate response is to lift him above your head and sing The Circle of Life.

6. It is perfectly acceptable for our friendship to be fuelled by the fact we have mutual anger about the way most things in the world work.

7. Unicorn is an appropriate colour adjective. It is most often used in the context of nail varnishes, as in the colour resembles a variety of nail varnish a unicorn would wear.

8. It is acceptable to get a McDonald's Happy Meal on your way home from a night out but you must put vodka into the drink...

9. There is no sadness that cannot be solved by DJ Flula videos.

10. Everyone needs someone to sit through 6 hours of hip-hop dance-offs with.

Bet you're all secretly jealous that she isn't your friend!

Hannah x

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Why Writers Read



I have been in a very "thinky" mood today which usually results in me over thinking literally everything in my life and I end up concluding imminent death, thankfully it wasn't quite that dire today. I got onto thinking about how I haven't really written much this week; sometimes I feel dried up on the writing front. This week I've kind of felt like someone has shredded my internal book pages so now all of the things I want to say are all scattered inside of me which is most frustrating. I talked to a friend about this and then decided on "Why Writers Read".

I think as a writer I read back over things (usually via my Inspiration Board) other people have written when I can't explain things to myself or I can't articulate it in the way I want to. It doesn't annoy me that other people have the words I don't, if anything I reckon it makes my book feel a little less shredded. I think to some degree I read with my writing head on because I'm somewhat angry that I can't fix together the words I want.

as said by Peyton Sawyer(:  im a lyric girl too.
Peyton Sawyer - One Tree Hill
A good example of me just being totally in awe of another writer and the way they explain concepts is the way the character Peyton Sawyer is scripted in TV Series One Tree Hill.

"I want to believe in it all again, art and music, fate and love, and I want to believe 
that I've made the right choices, and I'm still on the right path, and there's still 
time to fix some mistakes I've made. I guess I want hope."

So I guess when I read, I am reading for answers to the questions of my shredded up book.

Hannah x

Monday, 11 November 2013




I think I am a script writer.

Last night I had a Script Writers Anonymous Group (SWAG) meeting, a place for non-conformist writers* to go when they aren't quite ready to admit that they are Script Writers. A place where you can discuss your on-going prose issues, a place to moan about the fact that 95% of your prose is actually dialogue and the only bits that aren't are the "he saids/she saids". So after about 3 hours of writers problems I have concluded that yes, I am a script writer. So we decided to try and look at the perks of being a script writer over a novelist. One perk: script writers stand more chance of being able to to leave the house, even if it is to attend SWAG.

Hannah x

*note, writers only includes myself and Ben.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

15 Minutes Live - Slung Low Theatre Group


So this weekend I was in Leeds for 15 Minutes Live, a show produced by Slung Low Theatre Group but for it to make sense we need to go back three years to when I was still at school.

I was 16 and should have been revising for an AS Psychology exam but instead I procrastinated by writing, because I am a writer and that's what we do when we know we should be doing something more important. At the time of writing The Cure were the backing track to my life, no I wasn't trying to be all tortured artisty, I just like them, see other blog post. So I sit and write what I thought was short prose based around Just Like Heaven by The Cure. It was a stereotypical teenage girl soppy love story which I am totally not into usually but hey it wasn't Psychology revision and no-one else was going to read it. Think again Hannah, think forward three years.

So three years later that so called prose piece becomes a radio play thanks to The Writing Squad, Slung Low Theatre Group and fabulous editing by Jess Brown. It is bizarre to see what was a figment of my imagination performed but I am so grateful for how well articulated it was. Actors Jo Mousley and Ed Smith were absolutely incredible. Extra thanks to Ed for learning the songs and performing them perfectly. 

The Lovely Jo and Ed in Rehearsals
I am leaving Leeds a very happy lady this weekend.

Hannah :)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Writing for Mixtape Theatre


A couple of weeks ago I went to see Mixtape Theatre at the Dog and Parrot as part of Alphabetti Spaghetti's Brolly Season. It was so genius! So naturally when I got asked if I'd like to write for it I said yes of course. Today on my train journey to Leeds I thought I'd try and write the piece. Oh my goodness it is horrendously difficult. My head just became a jukebox of cheesy 80s tunes and I was unable to rehash any of them! I have eventually finished writing them after a few sing songs.

If you're around in Newcastle on Monday 26th November, head upstairs in The Dog and Parrot at 8pm and take the challenge to guess my 80s rehashed cheese!

Hannah x

Mixtape Theatre: Cuckoo Review


Mixtape Theatre: Number 1s 
28th October 2013
The Dog and Parrot Upstairs

Two Sides of the Same Song

As part of Alphabetti's Brolly Season Upstairs at The Dog and Parrot, a pub quiz with a twist, Mixtape Theatre has talented play-writes take classics and rework them into unrecognisable pieces of theatre. The short plays can be no longer than the pieces of music they are inspired by and can only use lyrics that are featured in the song. As a fan of music inspired work Mixtape Theatre was an event I couldn't miss and I definitely was not disappointed.

An explosive rehashed version of Lionel Richie's Hello sets us up for a night of well worked number ones, which it turns out I am very bad at guessing. My horrendous guesses are good for something though, showing how clever the scriptwriters are in that some of the original songs were more than difficult to pick out. My guessing picks up in the second half until shamefully I can't guess Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice and note it down as Superbass - Nicki Minaj; needless to say the coveted Golden Mixtape was not in reach for me.

Theatre director Melanie Rashbrooke is onto a winner with this concept and the inclusion of both young writers and performers is a one which pleases me; giving young people a platform to show off their talents results in a funny, clever, well thought out evening of new theatre. Get yourself there on Monday 25th November, 7:30pm for a night of 80s classics like you have never heard them before. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bus Friend


People never talk to each other in person, they send texts, tweets or emails. In social situations people put their headphones in and pretend other people don't exist. That's the way it is. Northerners are supposed to be more friendly but in my experiencee we still rarely talk to people in the queue for the bus for example. Today I had a lovely 20 minute chat with a man on the bus.
This old man taps me on the shoulder: "pet, are you loving your life?"
I reply with "yes" despite having had a rubbish day and ask him back.
"Wey yes pet, I never thought I'd see the day I turned 82."
This made me smile and I thought the conversation was over. Nope. He continued: "So, are you married?"
"Eee, no, I'm only 19."
"Ah, just a boyfriend then?"
"No, I don't have a boyfriend."
"Bloody hell, a beautiful girl like you, without a boyfriend. Never."
Again I thought we'd finished, no: "Well, they are only after one thing the most of them pet. I know because I was the same, that is until you find the one. When you find her it's all different, you don't just want that one thing, you just want her, nothing else matters. Just you wait. You're doing well, too many marry too quick, takes years off you!"
Then he talked for a little bit about "the one" and I had to get off.
"You enjoy your life darling. Life is wonderful. See you later."
I smiled my whole way home, more people should just talk to you.
I now feel bad because I don't even know his name.
Hannah x

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Eating Disorder Waiting List


Waiting for treatment within mental health services is something that really annoys me; according to the NHS constitution if you have a physical health complaint you have a legal right to treatment within 18 weeks of a referral being sent from your GP. Mental health problems aren't included in this; within Mental Health Services there is no "right to treatment" rules. You just have to wait and more often than not get more poorly whilst you are waiting.

Beat (Eating Disorder Charity) published a survey on waiting times within Eating Disorder Services last month and the results are shocking. Given the right to treatment within physical health services is 5 months, the survey concluded that 26% of people with an eating disorder waited more than 6 months for outpatient to start. Eating disorders have dozens of physical effects yet still because of it being as a result of mental well being there is no right to treatment. Following this 54% said they strongly agreed that they felt they weren't sick enough for treatment. Give someone who doesn't think they are "sick enough" with an eating disorder an extra 6 months to try and cope and they are surely to get more poorly, then they need more treatment. Early interventions are shouted here there and everywhere; if it isn't possible to be done why is it spoken about so much?

The survey also showed that 40% were told that their BMI is not low enough for immediate treatment. I am aware of someone that was told they "didn't meet the criteria for treatment". Do some professionals read books on how to make someone feel worthless? Telling someone who is crying in your treatment room about the situation they are in that they don't fit criteria will just push their self-worth into the ground. There is no need to tell them they don't fit criteria for a certain service, just ensure they have access to treatments that are appropriate.

The thing that annoys me about this is that there are amazing Doctors and Nurses out there that are fantastic at their jobs yet the rubbish ones always get the press. Contrary to what this might read like I have faith in the treating professionals it's just sad the lengths people have to go to in order to receive treatment.

For those looking for support in the mean time, I recommend visiting B-eat website, they provide brilliant advice and services.