Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Hard Goodbye

With an imagination so big and heart so full of love, my grandad could turn anything into an adventure. Whether I was being whisked into Rebecca's world during my night time story or swinging "higher than the tallest tree" on the swing, any time I spent with him was magical... and that was a lot of time.

On the outside, my grandad was a typical man. He loved cars, the pub and was a dedicated lorry driver but it was his youthful soul that made him different to anyone I've ever known. His love for life and make-believe was infectious and something that has moulded me into the person I am today. We all said his calling in life was to work with children. He understood them like no one else and they gravitated towards him because of it.

I thank my grandad for teaching me to live with my imagination wide open, for spending hours inventing new games for us and for always carrying a piece of blue rope in the boot of his car. I thank him for wrapping me up in his coat and taking me for walks at night, for putting an old cushion on the crossbar of his bike and for marking an X on a tree in chalk. I thank him for the endless beautiful memories that I will hold onto forever.

We were told my grandad would start to fade away all those years ago. Yes, his mobility, speech and short-term memory did all suffer and seize up but his soul burned brightly until the very end. My grandad knew who we all were. He could still hear us and I can only hope he knew how much we all loved him.

I raced down the same roads my grandad had taken me along as a little girl on my gran's old bike when I got the phone call on Friday. My gran and grandad's house has always been a place of family, love and laughter. So many of my memories have been made there and it's still the first place I visit when I go home.

That day, their home was full but incomplete. My grandad's light was dimming, he was tired and his story was on the last page. When my grandad took his final breath he didn't do it alone. A man like my grandad will never be alone and anyone who knew him well will never be without him either.

Losing my grandad has broken my heart and I haven't quite come to terms with life without him yet. One thing I do know, though, is that his essence and spirit will never die but will continue to live on through the characters, stories and memories he created for me and I was so lucky to have been blessed with.


Monday, 17 April 2017

The Death Of The Subculture

Is the death of the subculture a good or bad thing?

I know, personally, I had nothing to rebel against at home as a teenager because my parents were cool with letting me express myself in whatever way I wanted. We listened to the same music, I could dress how I wanted, I was allowed to be friends with who I wanted and, actually, I was allowed to do what I wanted.

Our parents lived through a movement that saw the youth revolting against traditional British values. In short, they've seen it, they've done it and nothing we do could shock them... 

Now, for our generation to be part of a subculture, we would be restricting ourselves, wouldn't we? We have the freedom to express ourselves however we want to and by being part of a group that all look the same and think the same would just be going backwards, wouldn't it?

But the creative process is pretty insular now. We have everything at our fingertips which has its benefits but also its downfalls. I want to make a short film? Cool, I can do that. I've got a camera, I've got a platform I could promote it on and that's that done. 

Is that where it stops, though?

If I don't want to collaborate and learn from others, I don't have to and I can still create as much as I like, whether that's good or bad. I could churn out content after content and as long as I follow the formula to success to beat the algorithms, I'm sorted.

Before technological advances, people had no choice but to get out there and collaborate with other creatives. So is that what we're lacking? We have everything we need! We don't have to go out and try things because we know what works and what doesn't.

We're too scared to take risks because we don't want to make a mistake.

In a world where exams, perfection and masquerading a false reality is everything, it's really hard for us to take risks. Now, without taking risks, failing and learning, it's really hard for us to ever discover anything new...

There isn't really an answer to my question. Personally, I don't think subcultures would mesh well with the current climate but, for us creatives, there are certainly aspects we can take from them that can only enhance our work and remind us it's OK to take risks, fail and learn.

If in doubt, give my skinhead-inspired playlist a little listen and see if it awakens the inner risk-taking rebel in you!

Skin'ed Moonstomp

1. You Don't Love Me (No, No, No) - Dawn Penn
2. Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
3. A Message To You Rudy - The Specials
4. London Calling - The Clash
5. Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
6. You Really Got Me - The Kinks
7. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
8. 54-46 Was My Number - Toots & The Maytals
9. My Girl - Madness
10. Wonderful World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff
11. Red Red Wine - UB40
12. 99 Red Balloons - Nena
13. This Is Reggae Music - Zap Pow
14. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
15. Louie Louie - Toots & The Maytals
16. Pressure Drop - Toots & The Maytals
17. Return of Django - The Upsetters
18. War Head - U.K Subs
19. Shirley - Billy Bragg
20. Guava Jelly - Johnny Nash
21. Give It Up - Lee Dorsey
22. Gangsters - The Specials
23. 007 (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker
24. Red Red Wine - Tony Tribe
25. One Step Beyond - Madness
26. Tighten Up - The Inspirations
27. Pusher Man - The Pioneers
28. She Will Never Let Me Down - Toots & The Maytals
29. Funky Kingston - Toots & The Maytals
30. Can't Satisfy Her - I Wayne
31. Lip Up Fatty - Bad Manners

Friday, 14 April 2017

Curing My Negative Relationship With Food

Like a lot of people, it's safe to say that I haven't had a good relationship with food in a long time. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did... I will admit, I am going to skirt around these issues in this post because what I really want to talk about it how I am slowly starting to make my relationship with food more positive and 'normal'.

So, here's a very brief, glossed over explanation about where I have been at for a few years:

I feel like I have been living in a really negative/yo-yo type cycle when it comes to my eating patterns. I go from skipping breakfast and lunch and working out really hard, reminding myself how unhealthy it is so eating a normal, balanced diet for a bit, feeling guilty about it, and then back round I go.

I feel like this, on top of extremely neglecting my body in my teenage years, has affected my metabolism, digestion, skin and relationship with food in a really negative way...

For the past few weeks, however, I have been feeling like I have been working towards really stabilising this relationship.

How, you ask?

I have been trying to live a paleo-based diet and also reduce my dairy intake. I say 'paleo-based' because I am definitely still a beginner so still learning what I can and can't eat,,, and I sometimes have oats! My body has always been a bit funny with dairy, too, so I'm seeing if reducing or maybe even cutting it out of my diet will improve my skin problems as I know the two can often be related.

The paleo diet is also described as a hunter-gatherer, primal or caveman diet but it basically means eating high fat, low carbs and stripping your diet right back to basics. This means no gluten, grains, refined sugar or saturated fat and eating only meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds etc.

I call it a diet but I'm not on it as a quick fix 'lose-weight-for-holiday-then-go-back-to-eating-shit' type of diet. I am hoping to convert to it for a long time if my well-being continues to improve.

I have been aware of the 'paleo way of living' for a good five or six years after my dad converted to it and lost five stone! It's the only diet that has worked for him and he now has adopted it as a way of life as well.

The strange thing for me is, I am eating the most I have for a long time but I also feel the lightest I have too. I incorporate it with high intensity, resistance based circuits in the gym and I can feel myself getting stronger each day as well. My main aim isn't to lose weight. I mean, getting a little leaner would be great but I have already seen a positive difference in my digestion, energy and most importantly for me, my mental health towards food.

At 22, I feel like I am at the start of a long journey in seeing what my body reacts positively or negatively to but I am hoping that a paleo-based diet is the answer to my problems! I will keep posted on how I am finding it and any further improvements/revelations...

Before I go, one great thing I've found that helps curve any sugar cravings is cacao powder! I have been having a 'healthy hot chocolate' most nights and as of yet, I haven't felt like I've missed out... The real test will be Easter Day, though, so we'll see!

Thanks for reading... I'm aware I haven't been posting after I had a mini creative crisis/breakdown with my content (us creative types are never happy) but I'm back on track and really excited to get posting again!

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