Thursday, 9 December 2010

Interview With Tim Vigon Plus Catch Up

Hey guys,

It seems every time I talk to you, it begins with an apology for being so infrequent. So let's just shuffle through that. When applying for my postgrad I had to write an interview. I recently posted the interview I wrote to my website, so you should all go and check it out and let me know your thoughts =]


I currently have a full time job and have just moved into a new house, so until this morning did not have the internet. But I am back, kind of. I still have no time, but I am a writer. Writing is what I do. I haven't felt like me for a while now. No time to read, no time to write, no time. But on Monday I went to my parents house and picked up a Nietzsche book and started reading again. I've been planning in my head, making notes, writing. Not loads, but more than nothing. I'm slowly beginning to feel like me.

It's strange how there is never enough time to tick all the boxes at once and something always has to give. My world should be perfect right now. Perfect girlfriend. Awesome job. Amazing house. And I'm almost content. I just want to make sure I don't lose myself. I imagine it is something everyone faces at various points through their lives. Maybe learning to find the balance is what it is all about. Finding the middle ground. I'm working on finding balance, as it goes I have just found a very sleepy Pennie.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Of Adventures and Such

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed a decrease in love on my blog, focussing more on just letting you know about my website. I will try to find a middle ground, because you are very important to me.  I enjoy our chats about the arts and philosophy and the pessimism and optimism you throw at me on discussions about existence and the world. This is something I do not want to lose.

On that note, I do hope you have been visiting my website from time to time and keeping up with what I'm doing =] I have put in a 'Writings' section, which houses links to my work elsewhere on the internet. That has constantly been updating for the last couple of weeks, so there is lots of you to read.

There are also those stories, which will continue to be added. Though I have decided I will not included all the stories I write for the TubeTales section to the website. This is because my book will (hopefully) be happening by the end of the year and I want it to be a combination of short stories and poetry. If you were to buy the book, I'm sure you'd like to see something you've not seen before...

This evening I will be performing at SpeechMotion as the Feature act! You should try and make it (if you're in or near London). It's at the Horse and Groom on Curtain Road in Shoreditch and starts at 7. The night will be hosted by the lovely Catherine Brogan and also performing will be Ernesto Sarezale.

Check out for a preview I wrote about it =]

Also, you should, of course, pay some attention =p

Friday is my last day of work experience with MPG, so I'm going to have to really find a job now. It has been ages since I graduated, it's getting silly. 

I will be going to Hong Kong soon, so I will be sure to share with you my AsianAdventures either while I am there, or on my return =] I am very excited. I am very lucky to be going. 

I sent suite101 a sample of my work and they accepted me to start writing for them. I don't know if this is a good thing or not... anyone have any idea? I can get some dollar (though I can't imagine it will be a lot) for writing for them and can use it to build my portfolio of work in the hopes of one day finding a job... but do real writers write for suite101 or am I going to cause myself more harm than good? I also have discovered hubpages, so the same question goes to that... 

Oh oh update: I've been accepted onto that Journalism course! 

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

First Days at MPG

Yesterday was my first day of work experience with Millivres Prowler Group. I woke up extra early to give me getting-lost time or the often necessary London's-moving-too-slowly time. As it turned out I was far too early and after a quick induction was handed over to the editor of Diva, until the guys I'm working with got in. She too studied philosophy at university, so we were talking for a while, both having written about Marxism. She seemed very cool, (most people do in fact). I spent much of that time telling her that I was amazing, to the point where she told me if that was the case they'd have to scoop me right up. So here's hoping I impress.

I got put straight to work actually writing stuff which is amazing! The first of which can be found on the Pink Paper website, following the link below:

I have been working on things for Diva, Gay Times and Pink Paper, which is fantastic. Last time I was with them, in 2008, it was only Pink Paper stuff.

Today I was given a news piece to write about concerning a man running for Senate in Kenya. If elected he would be the second elected gay politician in Africa. I wrote a short article on it, then (who I imagine is like) his right hand man emailed us saying he's rather it'd be more focused on the positive stuff. So I phoned him (in Africa) and got the Senate's phone number. I however got a 4 and a 5 the wrong way round and ended up phoning a woman who didn't speak English - three times. I soon corrected this and phoned the right person (thank you internet).

I interviewed the Senate over the phone (for over 10 mins) then transcribed the whole thing and turned it into an article. This was all very scary, seeing as phones make me anxious, but I did it, and I think I did it well. It's all so exciting. I've been gleaming all day. This is most definitely where I want to be. At one point today I had three things to do (including sorting the interview stuff). I loved it. I loved being busy. I loved writing. I loved researching. I loved the environment.

Hopefully the article I wrote today will be up on the website tomorrow =]

Oooh the editor of the Pink Paper wrote me a letter today to take with me tomorrow to my interview (tomorrow is my interview for the post grad in magazine journalism), which is all very exciting. I wanted to take a clipping of the piece published in the paper copy of Pink Paper in 2008, but I can't find the paper in my box of stuff. I found my scrapbook, which has a clip of it stuck in, but it's too heavy to take the whole book for one page... and I wouldn't want them looking at the rest of it.

I am feeling very positive. I hope tomorrow goes well.

Be sure to go check out - It needs to become part of your routine =]

Sunday, 10 October 2010

TUBE TALES: The Boy Who Always Ran.

Hey guys! I hope if you haven't already you will head over to and check out the first Tube Tale, Mr Panda.

Below is the second story in the series, The Boy Who Always Ran. I figured I'd post it here too, just until everyone gets used to following the website, though I will always link to what's new over there anyway =]


The Boy Who Always Ran

I thought he was mine; just mine. That he was especially for me, existing only to keep me company. A true friend.

Years later I discovered he would visit other kids too. I wasn't the only one! I felt cheated.

Of course, the grown up in me was astonished by the fact that children who did not know each other could share an imaginary friend. But more importantly the child in me was excited to know her old friend must just be off entertaining other kids these days, after all it is a most important job.

I must admit, the child in me was also a little heart broken at the thought that he left me, to play with another kid. It's like he was stolen from me. Like losing your best friend to some other kid and never even getting to understand why.

I don't remember his name. Maybe I just never knew it. We didn't really talk much.

He would always keep me company on those long journeys and entertained me with his tricks. He was the fastest runner I ever did see. I guess you could say he was like an extreme free runner on fast forward.

For years he would be by my side.

Every time I got into my parents car or onto a bus or train to go somewhere, he'd be there. Not 'there' exactly… he was always outside.

Not because I didn't want him in the car (of course I did!), but because he didn't need to be in the car.

Running along fences and walls on the road side, he's always be able to keep up. He loved to run and jump and swing from poles. Heck, I guess he still does.

He'd run along the road, jumping up and over the cars. They'd never even care about him. Not one of them ever slowed down! To begin with I'd be worried he'd get hurt. I'd get angry at the drivers who'd constantly threaten his life.

I slowly began to understand that it was him threatening his own, that it wasn't anyone else's responsibility to protect him other than his own. He helped me learn that we need to take responsibility for ourselves.

That if you do something stupid, it's your own fault if something bad comes of it. It's not other peoples place to ever tell you what to do, just warn you if they see something you're blind to.

I also came to realise that he was never going to get hurt. He was a pro! He was the best extreme free runner on fast forward in the business.

He'd fling himself from lamppost to lamppost across the long stretch of motorway and run along those metal bars that are always placed along the edges - I never did learn their name.

Sometimes he would turn up on a skateboard or wearing a pair of blades.

He'd almost always wear a blue t-shirt. Or maybe it was black.

He taught me to be brave. And that if you give yourself a chance to panic, you'll never jump, so to be prepared to take chances once and a while. I think I lost some of those lessons growing up. The day you get hurt you get too scared to jump. Before you ever get really hurt, it doesn't occur to you that it could happen. You think you're immortal. Untouchable. The older you get, the more you come to realise that you're not.

I don't remember exactly the date he ran from me. I think it's been a while though. Sat on this train back to London I found myself staring out the window, thinking about him.

I sure do hope he's still running and that he didn't get too old.

And I sure do hope he's stilling teaching little kids all those lessons he's there to teach.

Please, oh please, if anyone see's him, or knows his whereabouts, could you pass him on a message from an old friend? Tell him I miss him and long journeys haven't been the same.

And tell him thank you for even running in the rain.


Tube Tales

Hey there guys! I've started what I hope will become a series called Tube Tales. Sat on the Tube on Thursday I felt a little inspired. Seems I'm a bit of a people watcher. I have written what I suppose can be called a story or something called Mr Panda which is the first part in the series. It has been posted up on my website for you all to enjoy. Please go and check it out! I'd love to hear your thoughts =]

Friday, 8 October 2010

Moving Up, Along And Backwards

I have much updating to do here and probably not all that much time, so I'll just jump straight in. I have been working on my website lately and am only deciding and discovering what it is I want exactly as I go along. In the spirit of going with the flow I will begin using it from now, posting stories and such and we can all just watch the site grow and develop together. Some of you may have already noticed the address for this blog has been redirected to become part of my site, going under the title I will continue to use this but will also be using too. Everything I post there will have either a copy posted up here with a link or just a summary with a link for you all to see.

Hopefully this will mean more content from me. I already have a few ideas in the works. The first of which I wrote on the tube yesterday and which I will hopefully get online over the next couple of days =]

In other news, I performed at The Great Bardic Alliance in aid of National Poetry Day last night. The Guardian published an article discussing modern poetry and mentioned the night, which you can all read and comment on here. To begin with I was a little annoyed with the author, but on further consideration, we were given free advertisement in a national newspaper, so that's a win. It was an awesome night and I got to see many acts I have never seen before. I was there representing SpeechMotion 

I have a bit of footage and will hopefully be getting a video or two of me too, so I will be sharing those with you shortly.

Remember the work experience I had to cancel when I tore the ligaments in my ankle a while back? Well, I have managed to rearrange it and I will be starting on Monday! This is very exciting, but it does mean I will have no money and have to travel around London everyday without a student Oyster card... I've not worked out how that will happen yet.

And finally, I have an interview for my post grad in magazine journalism on Wednesday. I don't want to say anymore about it, partly because I don't want to jinx anything and partly because I don't want to get too excited, but you all have to wish me luck and send me good energy and do whatever other ritualistic things you do, if any, in these situations. It would be much appreciated, though admittedly not completely understood. But I have come to accept that I will never truly understand very much and those who say that they do are either pretending or mistaken.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Telling Stories

After being somewhat inspired by the new blog of a university friend of mine, I decided sharing some stories from my past with you could be quite interesting. Having a retrospective view of the events allows for a different understand of how and why things happened, whilst offering you, my trusty army of followers, an insight into the life and times of SuperPennie, before she claimed her title.

Once upon a time, lived a dorky little girl called Pennie Varvarides. She was the youngest of three, born nine and a half years after number two, her elder sister Helen. You may be wondering why there was such a massive gap... no? Well, I'm going to explain this to you anyway...

After my mother had my sister, she had one of those coil things put in, so she couldn't have any more kids for a while. They couldn't really afford another one and they had far too much work to do as it was. Unfortunately something went wrong and the coil got infected, so it had to be removed. The dr's told my mother she wouldn't be able to have any more children. She just wanted to put it off for a bit, until they were in a better place, but it looks like the dr's just took with them any hopes for another child, ever, even if they were ready and really wanted one. So eventually they stopped even thinking about it (I don't actually know if that's true, I'm just guessing... but I'm the storyteller... so I'm allowed =p), until one day my mother started going through those familiar signs of pregnancy.... that's right... it was me!

My parents and the dr's were all worried that there would be something wrong with me and this is how I got my name. In the Greek Orthadox religion, by naming your baby after a saint you are promising them your child's soul in exchange for protection... or maybe that's just the deal my mum had with Mary. You see Pennie is short for Panayiota, which in Greek is the name taken from the word Παναγια (bah-nah-yee-ah) referring to the mother of Jesus; Mary.

My sister always told me she asked Santa for a little sister and that he gave her me... I was born in March though, so just always thought Santa was tardy with his deliveries that year or something.
My brother always told me he had asked for a little brother and to compromise, rather than sending two new babies, I was a tomboy. This sounded logical to me... I just always assume I was like a boy, just without boy bits. Made perfect sense... to a 5 year old.

Being considerably younger than my brother and sister (as well as all the cousins) I got used to playing on my own. So much so, I kind of preferred it. Now days, I'm still pretty much the same, really enjoying any time I have to just hang out with myself and not have to talk or worry about whether my actions are fitting into those social norms everyone tries so hard to fit into....
Actually, to be honest, I never make that much effort in trying to be sociable and follow suit. I just have been lucky enough to find other people who are equally bonkers or geeky to bide my time with.

In playing by myself, I would often lay claim to empty notebooks that my parents had yet to start on and pens I found lying around. I'd write my own stories, of love and adventure and even put them into chapters. I'd pretend I had my own magazine or newspaper and interview adults around my parents factory if I'd been taken with them on days there wasn't anyone to babysit me. I'd write my own songs and dance around the house singing to myself. I was always writing. If I wasn't writing, I'd be making up games where I'd be keeping scores... where I'd still be writing, just stretching my arithmetic skills.

It didn't occur to me that I was always supposed to be a writer until fairly recently though, as strange as that is. I had wanted to be a scientist and invent things from as young as I can remember up until the age of 7, when I switched to wanting to be a lawyer for some reason. I imagine this thought was carefully planted in me from an external source, but I have no idea. When deciding on universities I went to visit King's College London on the law open day. I then went to a few other law open days. I realised it was most definitely something I never in a million years ever wanted to do. But I did however fall in love with King's and had my heart set on studying something there.

I picked up the prospectus and flicked to the humanities section, as writing and reading have always been my strong suit. Humanities subjects are the ones I'm best at. Had a flick through, took in mind the ALevel grades I thought I could get and picked a course out of those choices. It came down to philosophy and English lit, but as I'd never done philosophy before, it seemed like an amazing idea and I went with it.

This all kind of makes it sound a little planned out and thoughtful, but in reality this process took about 5 minutes. I can be fairly impulsive sometimes, but I find it normally works out ok. Part of me just kind of knew that was the right decision and there wasn't anything else I should be doing.

I wrote the most amazing personal statement, with help from a friend of mine from Taekwon Do who was currently doing her masters at King's in English. On seeing my personal statement my head of sixth form got really excited and came to speak to me. He had studies Maths and Philosophy at university and wanted to share in a moment with me. I had no idea about any philosophy whatsoever, apart from the first book of Plato's Republic which I had read while writing my personal statement for some inspiration and to be able to say I read it.

He introduced me to Sartre. He lent me Nausea and insisted I read it. I was hooked. By the time I finished reading it I was in love. In love with Sartre. In love with philosophy. And in love with words. The book made me feel so much, so much more than a book had ever made me feel before. I knew then that I had to be a writer. To one day create something that can make somebody feel even half as much as I felt reading Sartre.

One day, I'll write something that amazing. But I'm still just a baby in the grand scheme of things I guess, just finding my footing in the world. So I'm not in a hurry. When something comes to me, I'll just go with it.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Job Hunt Strategies

It seems in this day and age, finding a job is not an easy venture. For every available position there seem to be scores of applicants to compete against, meaning standing out from the crowd is a major factor. Finding your first real job is thus painfully difficult for most, after all there are so many people with years of experience, why pick up a graduate?

After a couple of months of sending out CV's and applications I am taking on a more aggressive approach. I'm collecting the contact details for all the jobs I'm applying to, and in a few days I will phone them and remind them of my sheer awesomeness in the hopes of encouraging them to hire me. In finding a job, you need to get noticed and a phone call is more noticeable than an email, which can be lost in a packed out inbox never to be given a second thought. A couple of phone calls may be what it takes to get someone's attention.

Earlier tonight I found a fantastic job giving me the foot in the door I am in such desperate search for. I wrote the perfect cover letter and clicked apply.... only to be faced with the guardian website/the internet crashing on me. It was lost. I couldn't even find the page again anywhere. I had written the contacts name down already, but there was no other contact information available... thanks to the powers of the internet and some good Googling skills I found not only his email address but his phone number. I sent him a personalised email and my CV in the hopes of a (positive) response. And I plan to make use of his phone number.

I must admit, I hate talking on the phone, but if I get brushed off I will be trying again. You have to be persistent to get anywhere and in a world where your voice blends into the background, you just need to learn to make more noise. Wish me luck in this venture people. And if anyone has any UK media/publishing contacts they wish to share with me, I will be more than grateful.

Monday, 13 September 2010

It's All About The Buzz: Hearts Under Fire

It's always about the buzz; the attention you can get in the area you live and breath. And that is exactly what these guys need!

Hearts Under Fire are a fantastic band who need your help! I have been in love with these guys for years, ever since I first heard their acoustic demo of Spitting Glass up on their Myspace. Since then they have been making swift steps to stardom and I even got the chance to see them play Download this year! But they need to create a buzz to win a competition, which will give them the chance to record a new album with RedBull Bedroom Jam as well as a support slot on the Kids In Glass Houses Tour.

All you have to do is Tweet "@rb_bj @heartsunderfire #huftowin"
Or go to their Myspace and listen to a track or two and leave a comment.
Or go to RedBull Bedroom Jam and watch their video (which is pretty damn awesome =p ) and leave a comment.

It measures how much hype a band is getting. There isn't long left, so let's give this a final push =]

Currently in first place is a band called You And What Army, who also performed at Download this year. Personally I felt they had really bad attitude and were rude to the fans. The lead singer insulted playing Download making out as though he were too big for it. For this reason, I don't think they deserve to win (or need to apparently =p)

So if you do one thing today, make it listening to Hearts Under Fire or checking out their video.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Eye's Wide Shut

Though there has been much of a transformation in my outlook and behaviour this year, I have far from reached my goal. My goal being the place I would most like to be of course. I still find myself falling into the same traps and missing the same sign posts I've failed to avoid for a while. But the other day offered me a wake up call. From another one of my own mistakes I was able to truly see why I need to move forward and let go of certain chains that have held me down for so long.

But how? How does one walk away from their comfort zone and step out into the real world? To start taking responsibility and taking all ones chances rather than letting opportunities fly by?

I imagine to one extent or another, everyone has been in a similar situation. Perhaps you are so used to a person you can't recognise their actions as being negative or inappropriate; perhaps you are so frightened of the world you are quick to retreat back into yourself and your world of fantasy. There are a million different scenarios you could find yourself in, that leave you lost or broken.

I can't pretend to be able to help anyone achieve anything. I'm still young and don't know much. I can't imagine I'll ever know much, perhaps just learn how best to deal with a lack of true knowledge. Or how best to deal with the superficial knowledge we are accustomed to. But this isn't a philosophical blog about the nature of knowledge and our ability to possess it... I'm sure many of you already know where I more or less stand on the matter. This is about a community helping each other.

I like to think that my regular followers can come together through their comments to share some advice with one another. I have come to realise the only way to save yourself from a bad situation, is to find something to hold onto that makes you want to stay clear of the darkness. But finding something to hold onto isn't enough. You can't climb from the darkness for someone or something else, because if that thing or person were to ever disappear you would fall straight back down. You need to do it for you. You need to truly want to see the light and have that happy fuzzy feeling when you wake up. You have to want your health. You have to want to achieve something. Having something to aim for makes it easier; set's your focus.

I would love to hear back from you lot! How do you pick yourselves up when you're down? How do you keep yourselves from falling back?

Friday, 10 September 2010

When Dreams Blend With Reality

You know those dreams that feel so real, you wake up thinking they happened? Even when you know they didn't really happen and that you were only dreaming, they've still manage to get hold your your emotions and can determine how the rest of your days go. In a discussion with a friend of mine the other day, she was telling me she woke up very cross with her girlfriend, 'cause in her dream she had been cheating on her (or maybe they broke up, I don't remember the specifics on this one).

These dreams can take you by the throat and halt your breathing, or make you anxious. They can stun you into a daze, where you are completely and utterly confused. And they can jolt you into consciousness with tears or fear embedded. Sometimes you may not even remember what it was you dreamed about or think perhaps you didn't have a dream at all, yet somehow you still awaken somewhat shaken.

Recently I had a dream that my father was trying to kill me and chasing me around the area we live in with this metal rod type weapon. The only way to save myself was to  kill him. I was terrified and didn't want to hurt him, but I had no choice; he'd gone mad. So I found my own metal rod thing and stabbed him in the chest with it. I woke up in tears. The next time I went to my parents house I told him all about it and he laughed at me and told me to give him a cuddle. He said this old saying in Greek, which pretty much translates to 'stupid dreams come to stupid people'. I felt a lot better at this point. When I walked into the house I just felt guilty. Guilt that I killed my own dad in cold blood... Now obviously I know that that was a dream and that he is still here and he is able to hug me... but it changes nothing. I still felt it.

You know when dreams come back to you, hours later, or sometimes even days? Well, I had one of those moments. The other day I was acting all strange and dopey when I woke up, more so than usual. My eyes were leaking but I didn't feel like I had a reason to cry, I was quiet and had trouble focusing and just generally not ok. I just thought I was still tired or something. Maybe I was exhausted after a night of dreams and no real sleep.

Isn't it strange how if you go to bed and dream all night you wake up completely worn out? It's like the recuperative nap was a complete waste of time.

As my dream from the other night came back to me, I realised why I must have been acting so bizarre. It was that guilt again. Not the same as the killing-my-father-in-cold-blood kinda guilt, but a guilt nonetheless. Guilt for something that didn't even happen.

Who else has the same sort of strong connection to their dreams? I'd love to know some of your stories of how your dream affected your mornings, or even your whole day!
Why do you think we can be made to feel so many things by something we know to be separate from our reality? Sometimes, dreams are so realistic, you find yourself confusing them with memories. Ticking things off a to-do list you never did and catching up with friends you never phoned. Have you ever continued a conversation you'd been thinking about all day, only to discover the conversation never happened and the person has no idea what you are talking about?

Imagine the consequences of particular dreams that are so realistic they blend into your reality so completely, it has you fooled for a substantial period of time. Imagine a scenario where you relived a real time event, but played it out a little different. Maybe you had an argument with someone the other day and you were still very cross about it, but in your dream instead of walking away you got into a physical fight. Or the person you were arguing with attacked a love one in your dream world... what do you think the chances of you wanting to deck the person next time you see them, either because you think they got aggressive, or because you were simply overcome by an unexplainable urge and strong emotions egging you on?

Share you thoughts =] I always love hearing back from you lot!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Look

Just a quicky to ask you all what you think of the new layout? The lovely GregoryGaige spent the evening (morning) designing and implementing SuperPennie's facelift. He is a bit amazing =]

As I'm doing the update thing, I finally finished reading 1984. I know, it took me ages! I'm a slow reader... well not exactly. I read loads, fairly quickly, then wear myself out and only read tiny bits in several intervals until I get all excited about it and read loads in one go again. I have a short attention span!

I started reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World yesterday, on recommendation from a man that frequents our pub. He lent it to me ages ago, but as it took me so long to get through 1984 I have only just got round to it. I will try my best to read this faster.

I was left a little empty after 1984. I will now permit myself to watch the movie and compare. I didn't want to watch it first. Though I am not looking forward to the bit with the rats.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Spotting The Light In The Darkness

For those of you who have been by my side since my early days of blogging, you have most likely noticed a shift in perspective. Some followers may have since stopped reading, having felt the darker tones were what they required of me, rather than the sparks of light that sometimes weave into my consciousness. To those, I apologise. Not for letting you down, but for leaving you behind. 

Constant negativity and pessimism may seem 'realistic' but does nothing for you. It leaves you hollow and bitter. This is from first hand experience, perhaps it suits others better, but I for one love it when I can hold on to the good. Sometimes I pretend to see the good, as many of you know, because it's what those around you want. It's hard work being the one having to put up with the negative person who wants so much but expects so little, to the point where they stop wanting. I've been on both ends of the stick, so I can understand both sides. It takes a lot out of a person if you're always down, and you can say it isn't your fault that you're down, the world just hates you, but I've seen people who have been through more than I could have imagined still shining bright. These people are doing more than just holding on and being strong, they are living. They are taking the world by the horns and riding it all the way to the end. These people inspire me. 

On Saturday I woke up in a very bad mood. I feel like if I tell you why I'm over disclosing, but perhaps we've come too far not to. I woke up in pain, horrible, stomach crunching pain. It seems by body is confused about the natural menstrual cycle and is on repeat, every two weeks. To anyone who has ever experienced a bad period, I'm sure you can empathise. I then discovered numerous texts and missed calls from my mother, who has locked herself out, along with my father and our dog. I'm not entirely sure how all of them got locked out or how they managed to close both the inner and the outer door... but I am the only other person with a key. 

Instead of getting a locksmith (who would be there in 30 mins) they wanted me to come and let them in. You may be thinking, that's hardly a big deal Pennie... but I am in Swindon and they live in London. So it would take me 3 hours to get there at least, especially as I just rolled out of bed! 

Has anyone travelled London on a weekend? It's not fun, I assure you! Almost every tube line had part closures or delays meaning we didn't get to their house until around 4pm (we woke up at 11.45 ish). 

You can imagine my dismay at this request. I was not happy. 

But now, the light...

Saturday was my best friends 22nd birthday and I couldn't afford to get to London to see her. The situation with my parents meant, they would give me the money for the train thus enabling me to see my friend. We were able to surprise her by turning up at her door unannounced when she finished work. We also spent the day baking her a magnificent birthday cake until we met up with everyone in the pub for a birthday drink. 

As I wasn't expecting to go I sent her a card on Friday - recorded delivery - so she could open it in the morning. It didn't turn up on time. I also sent her a present from a website online, paying for next day delivery. Not only did this not turn up Saturday morning, but I was charged twice, because their website malfunctioned. I was sent an email today saying it's been dispatched, but I emailed them on Friday demanding they do not charge me twice. I was ignored. I may have to phone them. I just hope she would have got it today at least. 

Amongst my really bad day I was given the opportunity to see my friend. By focusing on that part it helped me ignore the bad mood I was in and enjoy the day. I suppose it's a lesson for everyone... search out the good bits, 'cause it'll help you through the bad. 

Monday, 16 August 2010

Life in a wheelchair

I recently discovered a whole new world; a world where more often than not you do not exist and you do not matter. Thanks to my own clumsiness I found myself wheelchair bound for about three weeks, with a torn ligament and an oversized, purple and green ankle (sounds lovely, I know). It is almost as if this ordeal allowed for a bit of undercover investigation of what life is like for those in wheelchairs. So, ofcourse I decided the best thing I could do would be to share my experiences with you lot.

(Gross, right?)

For anyone who has ever attempted travelling London in a wheelchair, it comes as no suprise that ramps are not a common feature. I was lucky enough to have been able to grab hold of my crutches to hop up and down stairs where necessary whilst someone else was left with the task of carrying the wheelchair (usually Kaity). I must stress how massive this wheelchair is! I could quite easily fit two of me sat side by side in it! But what about those people who are permanately tied to their chairs? In all honesty I have no idea how the people who can't just stand up, get around London at all.

I began what became more than just a journey from Zone 5 of London to Swindon, but an unecessarily difficult mission to the beyond.  

As it goes, busses do not really have much space for wheelchairs and their access ramps don't always open. 

It also seems as though not many Underground stations have lifts, meaning we had to try to take a route that would accomodate us. Handed a giant map of the London Underground, which was designed to help blind people out too I imagine, the journey began. 

I do have to give it to King's Cross for having lifts, placing it ahead of many a station, but it was like working our way through an underground labyrinth, moving from lift to lift trying to change lines spread across different levels and at different ends of the building. Having made it all the way to Paddington, we were naive enough to think we'd be in the clear... Oh how wrong we were!

Paddington station, one of London's prime mainline stations, failed to provide any accessibility and right when we thought they might have had some sensibilities towards those who's only mode of transport is on wheels, they yet again let us down. The gap from the tube to the platform is a little scary! As Kaity pretended everything was ok to me, to stop my panic, she tried to figure out how on Earth one person could ever possibly get someone in a wheelchair onto the platform. We were lucky; four men jumped to the rescue and picked the chair up off of the train and on to the platform. In small pinches throughout my time in a wheelchair, human kindness was discovered. People would go out of their way to be helpful... This is most definitely a side of London I don't usually get to see. 

Once on the platform we were faced with our next challenge; the flight of stairs up to the main station. A man that worked there appologised about the lack of accessability and offered to carry the chair whilst Kaity helped me up the stairs on foot. I wonder how I would have made it if I couldnt use my legs at all! 

To top it off, we saw the most ridiculous scene. Like I mentioned above, we could remember there being a ramp and rolled over to where we thought it was. We were excited to be able to just relax for a minute and roll along to our train. Alas, things were not so simple; at the top of the ramp were three steps leading down. 

I can't understand why this is necessary. Who's idea was it to build steps leading down to the disabled ramp? Who was it that looked at the proposed idea, and signed it saying, 'yeah, sure. That makes sense'? 

I have a new found respect for anyone who has to deal with this day in and day out. Both disabled people and their carers work incredibly hard just to go from A to B, something we constantly take for granted. Even something as simple as going into a shop and having a look around becomes a task, having to fit through gangways placed too close together. Many trips to the shop taken during my time in the chair, would result in me being left near the entrance because the chair could not fit to navigate the store. 

Back to the topic of human kindness, it does seem like people are a lot more willing to help those less able, if they could see them struggling. Well, sort of...

As it goes, people were more than happy to help Kaity help me around, but it was very rare for anyone to even really look at me for too long. It was as though I didn't really exist, just a piece of luggage a pretty lady was struggling with. Being us, we questioned many people while we were out, taking the opportunity to talk to strangers (as we do) and learn something new about a world I for one never gave much thought to. 

Many people told me they didn't want to offend anybody by offering them help, whilst others would be more than happy to help someone if they needed it. It seems like it's a tough call, as there are all those  people who are independent and can manage on their own, regardless of anything we might class a handicap. I did however sure appreciate any help people would offer, but maybe that's because I'm not used to having to deal with such situations alone. My upper body strength is somewhat nonexistent, so rolling myself along in the chair or using the crutches to get anywhere was far too difficult and I'd have to stop every 20 seconds for a break. 

People would constantly be apologising to me, even though normally it was me that was in the way. On the train back to Swindon, we were in search of somewhere to put the wheelchair so we were out of the way and were pointed towards the wheelchair space. A woman with a buggy was on one side, so we parked the wheelchair on the other; there was plenty of space. She immediately began apologising and trying to take up less space, she then asked us if we wanted to take her seat as she had a table on the end. We politely declined and left her and her child put, but she explained how her wheelchair bound friend is always complaining about buggies in the wheelchair space. 

The train conductor came to talk to us and apparently we can request help getting on and off trains, who knew? This meant once we reached Swindon we could just roll off on a ramp rather than me jump out and Kaity carry it off. If only we knew we could ask for help sooner... 

Friday, 30 July 2010

Quick Update

Sorry I vanished for a bit guys. You'd think not being able to walk would give me optimum writing time, but rather I took the opportunity to lie around and not do anything... I had to cancel my work experience which is most definitely a sad time, as there was no way I could manoeuvre my way around London in the state I've been in.

I just thought I would let you all know that I am performing at Summer of Love and Music Festival this weekend thanks to my magical girlfriend. I'll be on the acoustic stage tomorrow afternoon. If anyone lives in the area it's only £20 for the whole weekend including camping and money goes to charity! Win. Or I think it's a tenner per day.

Also, me and Laura have begun work on our horror screen play. We've not written a screen play before so we're excited about what we might come up with. If anyone has any ideas they wanna throw at us, put them below =]

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Just My Luck

Saturday was Kaity's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It was the most amazing party I have ever been to in my life. There was a piñata, bubbles, Twister, Jenga, sword fights, fancy dress, party hats, edible tea cups, a trampoline, poi, frisbee, some other ball type toy thing to throw, vodka jelly, bowls and Ring of Fire around a bon fire. As well as lots of booze. What more could anyone possibly ask for from a party?

How about a cake?

Anna spent ages making THE most amazing cake ever. I wish I had taken a picture from a different angle so you could see just how great this cake was. 

At the end of the night some friends were leaving and after saying goodbye we remembered they had the only pack of Rizla. I was sent on a mission to catch up with them and ask for it before they left, so off I went, running down the garden. 
It was dark and I couldn't really see.
I've only been to Anna's house a couple of times so I'm not exactly familiar with the place. There was a couple of steps at the end of the garden that I hadn't thought about and went flying to the ground. I lay there for a moment to gain my composure then attempted standing up to continue on my mission. I'm not a quitter and figured a bit of pain shouldn't stop me from doing anything...

How wrong I was...

Standing up most definitely was not happening. I lay there a little longer then started thinking about how stupid I had been. You see, about 5 minutes earlier when the friends I was chasing were leaving, one of them had in fact tripped down the step that had just taken me out. I was there. I watched her do it. And I laughed.

I only laughed because she was ok. If she was hurt it would have obviously been different. But there I was...

When I was sure I could gather myself, I stood up and hobbled to the living room. I lay down on the sofa and just rested for a bit. Thought about taking a nap to be honest... naps and water solve everything!

15 minutes later K and a couple of her friends appeared wondering where I'd disappeared off to. Then saw my ankle. It was gross.

Before letting them put an ice pack on it I felt the need to pause and take a picture. I hope you appreciate it!

I was lucky enough to be around awesome people, so I was well looked after. K's parents took me to the hospital the next day, so I got out of tidying... plus side?
It's a torn ligament, so if I keep off it for the week it should hopefully be ok. Just need to remember to not walk. This is something I have discovered is really hard work. I realised how much I hate people having to do things for me, it makes me feel so guilty! I hate feeling like a burden.

I was sat in the hospital with K's parents, in a wheel chair and was staring at my ankle. I was sure it wasn't broken, but nobody else was. The nurse sent me for an xray and whilst in the waiting room I started thinking about how funny it looked and how funny it would be if I had broken my ankle on K's 21st birthday. Now that is a lasting memory... I burst out laughing.
For ages.
In a silent room.
I just couldn't stop myself.

I've realised how much I take my body for granted. I don't appreciate how easy it is to be able to walk around and get yourself a drink when you get thirsty. I'm just going to be limping around for a week or two, this is some peoples life.

As you know, this week is the first week of work experience... I am however incapable of doing very much. I am gutted that I have to postpone it for a week as I have been so excited about it but on the bright side, I get an extra few days with K. I was supposed to be heading back to London for a month so we wouldn't be able to see as much of each other, but I couldn't get myself back home like this.

Wednesday is graduation so tonight we are heading back together so I have someone to help me. After graduation I will rest up the best I can all week to make sure Monday morning I can make my way to the office! It also means, I get a few days at home being looked after by my mum and catching up on things I could be doing. I'll just have to make sure I am on the ball when I get to the office on Monday to make up for being so clumsy. You always want to come across as amazing in these situations and make a good impression, I am worried that this ankle thing may damage that a little bit. Hopefully when they see how excited I am about writing and working with them, it'll give me bonus points to make up for not being able to walk.

Everything will be fine. And when I can walk again I'm going to make use of those legs of mine and be a little less lazy. She says...

I'm really lucky it wasn't worse and I'm really lucky it was at the end of the night. I got to spend the whole day playing! Well, a lot of the day was in the kitchen tidying up but I took on the job with pride. I imagine Anna and K spend just as much time if not more doing the same. If I ever make it as a writer I'll be sure to hire cleaners and caterers for K's party.... I'll just throw her one for shits and giggles. It can be an unbirthday party =p
I've become that person that always looks on the bright side. When did that happen? Blame K.

Monday, 19 July 2010

In Response to 'On Wearing Less'

This is a response to my friend from Philosophia. Read his post On Wearing Less here.

I think there is something in the idea that nudity is treated as something to be ashamed of. As if the human form is some embarrassment to bare. By covering up and hiding bare skin from innocent eyes, a culture of shame is formed convincing people that there is something wrong with their bodies; something wrong with the bodies of other people. It is as though people shouldn't be comfortable in their own skin, that they need to hide behind their protective wall.

The idea of a carpet of shame and embarrassment around the human form isn't universal. This means it can't be something inbuilt in human beings but rather something created by our culture. If you look at tribal type communities, inhabitants wear minimal clothing. Women have their breasts out and nobody bats an eyelid. 

Where has this come from? Why has society created taboo's around the subject. I'm not saying people should all walk around naked or anything, simply that nudity has certain connotations. It's seedy and dark, holding a negative banner over head, drawing in negativity. The only nudity we are offered is in a perverted form; think of boys mags for example. This perverted idea surrounding nudity forces people to think of it only as perverse rather than the simple state of nature that it is. We are animals. Like animals, we shouldn't be ashamed of ourselves and feel the need to hide. We shouldn't look upon the bodies of others and judge them. 

I can't imagine a dog walking round in a pair of trousers looking down on the dog going commando... 

By only being given an airbrushed picture of perfect naked bodies we are convinced that we ourselves are flawed. That our imperfections make us ugly and we should hide our bodies away unless we can match such beauty. We are regulated by taboo and made to feel bad about ourselves and look down on others. In America everything is even more regulated than it is over here, but it's all the same thing. It has reached the point where something as natural as breastfeeding is condemned as a private activity that should be hidden behind closed doors. 

I'm not calling for a revolution. This isn't me saying, let's all walk around starkers. This is me saying we don't need to be embarrassed of being human. We all have skin. We do all look different, but only to a degree. By trying to prevent prudence and hide from shame, a culture of shame was born. 

Gok has something good going with How To Look Good Naked showing people they can be comfortable in themselves. 
This may be not so much a response to William than inspired by his post. A branch from the same tree so to speak. Let me know what you guys think on the topic and also go check out William's blog =] 

Friday, 16 July 2010

Work Experience

This one is just a quicky. Yesterday was Kaity's birthday and tomorrow we're having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party/BBQ and Bonfire. It should be amazing if the weather permits. If the weather hates us, we'll still have an amazing time, it'll just have to be in doors.

Monday is the first day of my work experience. I'm kind of excited to be doing something with myself. I enjoy having things to do and seem to create jobs for myself. Since finishing university I have made things for myself to do so I feel like I'm still achieving something and not just bumming around. Being me I've created never ending lists of things to get done and slacked on certain tasks, but I find the more I give myself to do, the more I'll get done. When I have less to do, it becomes impossible to even reach the simplest of goals.

I hope I learn lots at the Pink Paper and they get me writing articles. It'll be weird being in the office from 10-6 five days a week and is definitely something I'm not used to but it'll be ace. By the end of it I should know if this is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life as I apply for that journalism course.

Wednesday is my graduation, which is a little daunting. I'm looking forward to seeing the other philosophers and a couple of my tutors. Over the last couple of years my personal tutor has been absolutely fantastic.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Atlantic Wolffish

I came across this and just thought it was cool, so needed to be shared.

These fish can grow up to five feet long! Standing at 5'2" myself that's a little daunting, especially when I heard their teeth are strong enough to nom through my arm... 

Check out the National Geographic Gallery to see more deep sea creatures. 

Monday, 12 July 2010

Human Leather

I came across a website selling products made from human skin thanks to the wonders of Facebook. Initially you think it has to be a joke, right? People aren't walking around wearing dead people, are they? But there are an elite few "who have everything they could possibly desire" and this company has snapped up their need to stand out and show off their wealth. They've given them something to spend their money on that very few people will have. Products sourced from the skin other people.

You can get your hands on a Human Leather Wallet from €9,000 (USD$14,000 approx) or if you're really splashing out, why not grab a pair of shoes from €18,000 (USD$27,000 approx)? Roll up, roll up, fresh out the morgue...

Obviously my initial response to this is "gross! What's wrong with people?" How is it someone has so much money that they don't know what to do with that they're willing to walk around in some dead guys back? 

Then I began to wonder how they got hold of the dead people to use their skin in the first place, so I had a nose around the website. Apparently people "bequeathed their skin" to the company before they died. The families of the "donors" are apparently rewarded very handsomely, which I imagine means a big pay off. Surely something like this opens doors to killing off sick or unwanted family members for the "reward". It's like the whole organ donor argument as to whether they should be sold rather than donated. If people need money, what's stopping them from killing off people to sell their skin or heart or lungs?

But then there's the other side... poor people can make money out of their dead relatives. If they're dying anyway, it's not hurting anyone to take money from the very strange rich people wanting to turn them into belts and shoes... though it is somewhat disrespectful. Just like, if someone has good organs and their family has no money, you may as well sell them to save a few peoples lives as well as your families when you die. Surely we'd get a whole lot more organ donations if they were getting something out of it. People find the idea of their body being chopped up and spread between the bodies of other people creepy, but if they could help their families out they'd probably be more willing to save a few lives. Most of the time nobody cares about helping anyone if they can't get anything out of it. 

For the record, I'm pretty sure I'm an organ donor and I'm not expecting monies out of it. 

Of course, lives are saved through organ donation whereas all that's happening with skin donations is rich people get to feel like they're some sort of elite. Next step is stuffed human heads above the mantle piece in between the deer heads... 

But why is wearing a person so different from wearing any other animal? What is it about human leather that makes us go "ew"? I imagine it's the same sort of notion as cannibalism. It's turning on one's own kind. It's this bright light illuminating the fact that nobody is safe. When someone is sat at a table eating a chicken, nobody thinks anything of it, because it's a chicken. But if they were eating your uncle that would be a different story. We have connections to other people. I imagine if someone was eating you dog you'd be pretty upset too. It's the emotional connections we have with things that stops us from thinking it's ok. From being able to stand objectively and say, it's just food and I need to eat. Or it's just shoes and I wanna protect my feet. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Both on human product as well as organ donation. 

Friday, 9 July 2010

Self Worth

Everybody wants to be loved. People want recognition for who they are and for their strengths. A lot of the time, if people feel as though they are not getting these things, they fall into themselves. They question their worth and their ability; question themselves. Ironically if you don't have faith in yourself it becomes difficult for other people to have any in you.

Modesty is drummed in as a virtue, when pride is seen as a vice. This confuses the situation; people proud of their accomplishments play them down to look modest. This makes others lose interest and almost agree that it's not a big deal or they see that you're wrong and lose respect for you. But of course, pride can be misconstrued as arrogance and piss people off so that doesn't do you any favours either.

So what is it people are supposed to do? What is the middle ground?

I imagine in most cases the answer is: lie.

Pretend that you think you're pretty. Pretend that you think you're skinny. Pretend that you think you're great.
Or vice versa, pretend you don't think you're that pretty or that great.

What good does lying to everyone do? Well, I'm not a self help guru. I can't help anyone out and I can't solve the worlds problems. But I have noticed that if you pretend you think you're pretty and you look comfortable in your skin people will warm to your confidence. It draws people in.

People love confidence and can't help themselves. But nobody is attracted to the fat kid pulling at his tummy. So maybe the answer is doubt silently and put on your game face when you're out and about. You'll get more friends, more work, more everything. Because those are the people that succeed in life. And heck, maybe if you lie to yourself enough, you'll start to believe it and sooner or later you will be comfortable in your own skin. Maybe if you play the game you'll get to win in the real world AND in your own head.

Nobody achieves anything sat around sulking.

You have to listen to your inner critic and instead of letting him beat you down into a dark room, prove the fucker wrong!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Underground Challenge: July 5th Recap

Inspire a Stranger Day was on Monday! I apologise for not getting this up Monday night, but by the time we got in I was knackered. So this is an apology from two fronts, one for being slow and two for already failing to keep to my schedule. I have to admit, I saw that coming. But I will be sure to write at least two posts a week, just maybe not on strict days.

Anyway, staying on topic...

Monday was fantastic! A group of us went around London (mainly on the tube but the streets got some attention too) sparking up conversation with hundreds of commuters throughout the day. Four of us donned plain white tee's with 'Underground Challenge' and 'Inspire a Stranger' drawn on the fronts and backs. We had a basket filled with sweets to hand out to people as well as passing around cards saying things like "don't forget to smile" and "you're beautiful".

We also had a poet in our group handing out his poetry in envelopes to people. Peter started the day quite shy but as time went on we noticed a change in him which was nice, as he grew in confidence! 

Most people were confused by us and kept trying to offer us money. I imagine if we accepted half the money we were offered we would have made back the groups train fare to London! Lots of people smiled with us and had a chat about how great they thought the idea was and how we brightened up there day. Some people pretended we didn't exist. 

On the way back to Paddington Station I sat down next to a man with a newspaper. It was quitting time, we were tired. I decided to offer him a sweet anyway and we ended up talking all the way to my stop. He started off by not wanting a sweet but he did take a "smile" card which he promised to put on his desk at work the next day. He was telling me all the reasons people like the silence on the Underground and why Londoners don't talk to each other; a lot of which I could understand and agree with. But he kept talking to me, even though I was willing to sit back and let him read his paper! I think he was intrigued by the whole idea and kept asking questions and telling us that up North people talk to each other all the time. Finally, he took a sweet. I call that a victory. 

In fact, the whole day was a victory!

We lost Danni and Jake on the tube as we jumped off and the doors closed before they made it. The carriage was full of school kids. Apparently they ate the rest of Danni's brownies! One kid saw "free hugs" written on the back of her tee and asked for one. Next thing she knows ALL of the little kids are hugging her! I wish we could have seen it! Better yet I wish Jake had a camera on him so we could all see it!

We got a few pictures through out the day but not too many. Peter had a camera but had to leave us for work so I was left using my phone. Nokia's are known for the camera skills... But here is an example of a happy commuter being fed =p
Quite a few people let us take pictures with them smiling away =] If you'd like to see those, head over to the Facebook Group!

You can also see a couple of photos other people took to show their contribution to the day! 

Such as:

All the way from Porto, Portugal! 

Hopefully other photos and videos come in so we can see what everyone else got up to! If you guys did anything on Monday and took a picture, please share it with us!


Friday, 2 July 2010

Underground Challenge: July 5th

Monday is our Inspire a Stranger day! This is what we've been preparing for. Cards have been handed out and left all over the place, videos have been made, pictures have been taken. Here comes the moment we've all been working so hard for. I hope to see lots of people taking part on the day, taking pictures or videos of themselves playing along so we've got some sort of documentation of our first run. The next one will be bigger and better of course, but we do already have over a thousand people involved via Facebook, plus anyone not on Facebook who we've spoken to and roped in.

This week has been push week so we've been promoting the challenge wherever we can. Hopefully get some media attention if we can. I want to see pictures and videos from you lot showing me what you got up to on the day! This is a community project, a world wide community. And where better than to share it, than the world wide web. The interweb is our portal; for everything. Let's make a change and most importantly let's have fun! Don't forget to smile!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


I mentioned getting a regular schedule together on Sunday. I'd like to aim for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday but I'm worried that four times a week will be a little much to keep up with along with everything else going on in my world. So I've decided to ween myself into a system instead of just throwing myself in at the deep end. I'm the sort of person who always aims for the stars, expecting to fall a little short. I figure if I aim high and miss my target, then I'll still have done pretty well. And I do normally do pretty well I guess, but I am always disappointed that I didn't make it to the stars. So maybe I should be sensible and aim for a little less now and then and when I get there - 'cause I will get there - I can raise the bar a little.

If I was training for high jump, I wouldn't go straight to the Olympics and stick the bar at 3 meters now would I?

The idea of lowering my expectations of myself almost feels like a kick in the teeth though. Why can't I do everything? What is this thing called 'time restraint'? Why can't I bloody well fly?

I imagine this is something a lot of people have to deal with. Let me know I'm not alone...

So the schedule I'm aiming for is going to be Monday and Friday every week and then Wednesday and Sunday if I'm feeling inspired. I imagine getting myself into a routine is good practice for when I'm a fully fledged member of the real world and have a job and stuff... Right?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Facing Anxiety

Part of me feels like anxiety is almost a Western phenomenon facing modern man. This thought led me to a bit of research on the matter to see if I was at least close in my hypothesis. Turns out a study on the Ancient Peruvians found the stress hormone cortisol in their hair, so it's clearly something that has plagued humans for a very long time.

Check out Science Daily for the science part. 

Maybe it's just a human thing, period. Our gift of rationality and thought allows us to develop and build and all the amazing things that come with our humanity, but it leaves us capable of worry and angst. Worry comes with over thinking and that is something humans do pretty well. From studying philosophy I have come to realise first hand that the more you think and try to understand the further into darkness you allow yourself to fall.

Now, this isn't me saying I'm depressed. I'm actually happy as Larry (whoever Larry is... never really understood why he's always been the measure of happiness, but heck if I'm going to take it away from him). When I found Kaity I got a few comments and messages pleading with me not to get all happy and ruin my blog, and part of me is a little worried that may have happened.

See, there is worry about everything, even happiness. But I wasn't unhappy before, just a lot more pessimistic I suppose. Kaity's optimism has rubbed off on me I guess but it means sometimes I don't see things how I saw them before, which probably means those comments predicted some sort of future.

I've always battled with anxiety, though it's more like anxiety has always kicked my arse. And I let it. It's easier to just freak out and cry than to deal with things sometimes. But sometimes you need to just man-up.

I wore a dress on Friday night. Out. I went out in a dress. I never wear dresses, 'cause I look ridiculous. Normally dresses make me anxious and want to throw up - anxiety always makes me want to throw up - but I let it go, or at least I pretended to let it go. The only way I have discovered to dealing with personal angst is to lie to myself in the hopes of believing the lie. I don't know if that's the best technique and I probably shouldn't recommend it to anyone, but it worked. I was out and I didn't throw up. I imagine you could probably still see the anxiety in my shoulders and arms, 'cause that's where it hangs out.

Tensed up, shoulders raised, fists clenched.

But fuck it, one step at a time. I danced the night away. It was my best mates 21st and we went to Proud Galleries in Camden. I'd only been there once before, for a fashion show Greg walked in for Your Eyes Lie, so I wasn't sure what to expect for the club night. It was the first time Kaity had been out clubbing with us in London and turns out, it was a good introduction. Kind of expensive, but if we got there earlier we would have got in for free. Keep that in mind in case you ever decide to go!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A Midsummer Feminists Party

The Saturday before last some artsy friends of mine held a Midsummer Feminists Gig at Balham Bowling Green. There was food, drink, poetry, music, dance and even a fire place. So all in all a good night. The night was hosted by Catherine Brogan who had the audience giggling the night away talking about everything from how the toilets work to how a poem she wrote for my sisters night, Dyssing Monadys is now being used in schools to teach teachers about dyslexia (how amazing is that?)! 

The night was a fundraiser for the London Feminist Conference.

As it turned out, there was no Northern line and I started my journey in Swindon... so me and K had to mission it with a bunch of change overs and overground trains to get there (late - though it wasn't on a real time schedule anyway) and meant we had to leave early, to get back to my house at the opposite end of London.

We spotted the big gates walking down the street and I remembered doing this journey once before, last year some time, when Cat held another poetry event there. I've been to a few arts events at squats around London, but I think this was K's first. As we passed through the gates we were greeted by a couple of feminists sat at a table looking for donations. Further down the path we found a sign and the entrance on to the green; a large space with a bonfire hole out in the middle and a table tennis table set up in front of the building. Of course, we were soon to have a game... How could we resist?

Because of the time constraints facing me, I could only see a few of the acts. This is definitely a sad time, as I missed lots of gold, but here are some highlights:

The Kitchen Quartet were definitely at the top of the list for me. As you can (just about) see from the picture, the quartet was a person down for the evening, but don't worry the three of them still kicked arse. Their quirky style of new arrangements made from old songs were fantastic.

Sabrina Mahfouz was absolutely amazing as usual, performing a bunch of new material she tested out on us as well as the Red Riding Hood poem that won her the Lyrical Challenge the month I took part. 

Camila Fiori was another highlight, performing a poem in maybe five different languages. I'm pretty sure I spotted French, Italian, Spanish and English as well as maybe something else... unfortunately my language skills aren't nearly as amazing but I feel a little inspired to try to write my own bilingual poem. I may as well make use of being able to speak Greek! 

I've been a very busy bee this week but I'm going to make a point of blogging regularly. I have to do an Interview for the journalism course I'm applying to, so will be talking to The Dead Lay Waiting this week thanks to the lovely wife. She's a music promotor and is using her magic powers for good i.e. to help me out.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Underground Challenge: Promo Video

The Underground Challenge Promo Vid is live!

Check out the group and the video and help us spread the word. Not long left until our Inspire a Stranger day on July 5th so help us get as many people on board as possible!

Also, let me know what you think about the video!

Sorry posts are scarce at the moment... I'll give you a proper one soon!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Download 2010

I am off to Download Festival! This is the 4th year in a row me and my lot have hit Download. There aren't really that many bands playing this that I'm overly excited about, but today I found out that Hearts Under Fire will be playing on the Sunday, so I am very excited.

I have been a HUF fan since their very first demo hit Myspace, way back when. I still sing along to the acoustic version of Spitting Glass now and then, holding the title of one-of-my-favourite-songs. Admittedly since lead singer Sian left the band they haven't held as much of my attention. But on hearing they were going to be at Download I bought their new EP off iTunes last night and tried to learn the words.

I don't have much time to give you a big long post on my excitement about my adventures, but on my return I shall fill you in.

See you in a week!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I'm Allowed To Read!

The above statement may seem somewhat bizarre to a few eyes at least, but the point being that I have now finished my degree! The last exam is over and done with and I just need to sort graduation and stuff out. But the most exciting thing, is that I am now allowed to read! I've been avoiding reading for pleasure too much over the last three years (excluding summers) because I'd feel guilty for reading something that wasn't philosophy, but now I can read whatever I like and not have that guilt of procrastination follow each page.

On Friday I picked up 1984 off my shelf, which has been sat in wait for me for a few months now. I need a big train to get to the girlfriend, so used the journey as reading time... it felt great. I must sound like a massive dork with all this excitement about reading, but I'm just going to add to that impression and tell you on Friday, whilst packing for Download with my best friend, this reading thought occurred to me. I leapt up onto my bed and pulled a book off my bookshelf (1984) then - full of enthusiasm - my best friend and I high fived being allowed to read.

This is one of those books that you're meant to have read, so it's about time I got round to it really.

I'll let you know what I think when I'm done =] Ooh, I just realised I never got back to you about that Hector's Journey book about happiness... I'll tell you now it was amazing. I got distracted by revision and life but I'll try to give you a brief review if I can at some point.

Sorry this is such a brief post, but I am off to a wedding today and have to leave the house in seven minutes apparently.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Here Comes The Count Down

In about 19 hours I will be done. I will have walked out of the door of my final exam and be free to play at being a grown up and existing with out the massive safety net that education provides. While I was in school I was guided and protected from what it is to exist in the real world. Living alone and paying bills whilst at university has left me with a vague impression of it but it's skewed. In about 19 hours university will be over and (on the theory I did well and don't have to re-sit anything) I will be left stood at the foot of a mountain with just the few tools I was handed along the way. I'd been walking with a guide up a hill for years and I was under the illusion that it would be consistent throughout, but then the hill got a little steeper and a little steeper until here I am facing the biggest challenge I've yet to come up against and my guide is walking back down the hill to pick up other travellers.

Ok, so this analogy is a little long winded, but you get the idea. I have been sat in the library revising for the last six and a half hours, in which time I have concluded that I really dislike epistemology and though I was aiming for 3-4 different topics I seem to just have one huge all encompassing one going on, which is a little scary, but the other philosophers I've spoken to seem to be in the same position.

I was studying hard up until my black pen ran out. Note taking without a pen is kinda difficult believe it or not... I was writing in pink and red for a while, but all the notes being in pink and red isn't so great so I stopped and started reading. I've been debating whether I should go to the shop and buy a new pen or just go home... so far sitting here is winning.

I have work experience sorted for a month with Pink Paper in the summer, which should be fantastic. Hopefully they let me write some things... I did work experience with them when I finished my first year for just a couple of weeks and they invited me back. They let me write an article and review Reading Pride which was awesome, and I'm hardly going to refuse their offer to return!

There is this journalism course I want to get on as well, to start in January. I've got the forms ready to apply, but it's still too soon. The next course runs in July, so I'll wait for the first deadline to pass! If I apply quickly, hopefully I'll get some points...

I'm also looking at a media internship with the Green Party, which looks amazing. I couldn't find anywhere on their website that made applying for that simple so I've emailed a couple of email addresses I found in the hopes of a response... if I fail to hear back from them, maybe I should give them a call.

There is so much I want to do and I'm excited to be able to start my life, 'cause up until now it has kinda been on hold. This will be the first time I'm not in education, 'cause I never took a gap year. I now have time to get on with all my different projects; to dedicate time to my poetry - to my writing. To really get on promoting the Underground Challenge.

There is of course a pitfall in my master plan here and that is my lack of funds. I can afford the journalism course, after saving up for it this year, but that's about it. I need to find myself a part time job to work around my busy schedule up until I start the course in Jan to fund my life a little bit, other wise I'm screwed. Hopefully after the course I will find myself a writing job on a magazine somewhere, that would be ideal. Maybe a travel magazine, that'll send me all over the world to review planes and hotels.... Haha it might be a dream, but it's a plausible one.

Now, I suppose I may as well return to perception and the sources of knowledge... as well as induction of course, 'cause everything just comes back to induction.

Ooh ooh, before I go I'd like to leave you with something interesting I learnt in my revision yesterday. The word 'testimony' comes from the Greek word 'testis' and it would literally mean to swear on ones testicles... that would be a sign a person wasn't lying! Well, it made me laugh so I hope it at least put a smile on some of your faces.