Good moments

Everyone knows them. Those times when you just pause and think, this is brilliant. When you can’t believe how good your life is at that time. Well, I’ve created a list of some of the best moments you can have. I physically cannot do any of these things without smiling, and God knows we all need to smile a bit more.

Getting into a bath that’s the perfect temperature
You’ve run a bath. You’re tired, you’re pissed off, you cannot stand the earth at the time. And without testing the bathwater first, you lower yourself in. It is perfect.

When you wake up at the right time without an alarm
Wednesday morning. You groggily open your eyes to the golden light streaming through your open window. You take a few seconds to acclimatise yourself to your surroundings. Shit. You’ve overslept again. What time is it? Reaching for your phone, you see that the time is 6:48. Brilliant.

Tossing an apple in your hands
There is no full explanation for this one. It just feels good. It sounds pretty bizarre, but try it. After a minute or two, you’ll feel better about everything.

Putting a video in a VCR
The single reason why I watch videos instead of DVDs (although price does play a major part). The too-satisfying-to-be-true clunk and whirr of the machine in front of you coming to life. Instant nostalgia and comfort.

Opening a book and simply smelling it
A personal favourite of mine. It doesn’t matter if the book is old, new or someone else’s, smelling a novel is something that every single reader does. Whether they admit to it or not.

Having a cat (or any other furry animal) sit on your feet for no apparent reason
This one is a bit more complicated, but bear with me. You’re lying in bed, and a small orange thing slinks into your room. Sighing, you expect it to start asking for food, but instead it jumps onto your bed and settles itself onto your feet, all the while purring. Who needs a heated mattress when you’ve got a four year old ginger beast sleeping on your toes?

I used a graphology book to analyse Sherlock Holmes’ handwriting.

You know when Sherlock leaves the note in Scandal?

Well, I have this book…

 

And I thought I might have a look at what Sherlock’s handwriting says about him.

First, It’s quite difficult to see the ‘C’, so I’ll start with the ‘R’.

The ‘R’ is very angular and knotted, which says ‘Caution, efficiency and thoroughness’

The ‘I’ is a single stroke, which says ‘Straightforward, intelligence’

The ‘M’ is also angular, which says ‘Impatience, penetrating mind’

The ‘E’ is angular, but is obviously written with heavy pressure, which suggests ‘Cruelty, brutality’

The endstroke on the ‘N’ is angled slightly to the left, which suggests‘Protectiveness’

The ‘P’s start from the left and are in two seperate parts, both of which indicate ‘A strong desire to be the centre of attention’

The extremely circular ‘O’ says that the writer has ‘Imagination’

The straight sidestroke in the ‘G’ says ‘Agile mind’

The abundance of angles in the ’S’s imply that the writer has‘Aggression, determination’

The extremely small, almost non-existent upper loop in the ‘L’ suggests‘Jealousy, possessiveness’ 

The rising crossbar in the ‘A’ tells that the writer is ‘An entertainer’. The tightly closed top suggests ‘unsociable’ 

The ‘D’ probably says the most about Sherlock though. It is written in two strokes, which implies ‘Individualism’, The starting and endstrokes are extended, which says that the writer has ‘Good powers of concentration’. The endstroke is slightly more extended however which means that the writer has ‘A sense of one’s own importance’.

The both strokes in the ‘T’ are balanced, which suggests ‘Pride’.

The ‘U’s simplistic and horseshoe like quality screams ‘Tendency to limit and restrict others’.

And finally, the ‘B’. The slightly separated, almost 13 like nature of it says the writer has ‘A mind for facts and figures’. And the large opening at the baseline says ‘Desire for knowledge’.

So that’s:

    • ‘Efficiency and thoroughness’
  • ‘Impatience, penetrating mind’
  • ‘Cruelty, brutality’
  • ‘Protectiveness’
  • ‘A strong desire to be the centre of attention’
  • ‘Imagination’
  • ‘Agile mind’
  • ‘Aggression, determination’
  • ‘Jealousy, possessiveness’ 
  • ‘An entertainer’
  • ‘Unsociable’ 
  • ‘Individualism’
  • ‘Good powers of concentration’
  • ‘A sense of one’s own importance’.
  • ‘Pride’.
  • ‘Tendency to limit and restrict others’.
  • ‘A mind for facts and figures’.
  • ‘Desire for knowledge’.

I have FAR too much time on my hands. I thought that was quite interesting anyway, as Sherlock’s handwriting did, quite accurately, reflect his personality.

‘The Slot Machine’, a story I wrote at age 9.

As Tom stared around the smoky night club, he saw a man swearing at the barman, a DJ that looked like he was about 65 and his best friend Steve dancing to ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ by Shakira. He ran his fingers through the chestnut hair that never left his eyes. One thing stuck out, a 1950s slot machine, it looked out of place in the bleak room. Tom, who was smiling curiously walked over to it and put in a pound coin. He won. Soon afterwards he heard the ker-chunk of metal on metal and put his hand into the small metal drawer. He pulled out a one pound note, a sixpenny and two half pennies, and was surprised to find the old money as he pocketed it without a thought. He turned to Steve and said “Mate, I think I’d better get home.”, before heading to the train station.

“One ticket to Surrey” he said to the man at the desk, who on inspection of his name badge was called Simon. Tom handed over a twenty pound note and took the ticket. He looked at it and realised something was wrong. The time and destination were right but the date said ’14th May 1960′. He walked to the platform to find the train just about to leave, so he hopped on with the help of a conductor. He was surprised to see an oddly old fashioned uniform on him, and nodded gentley while he wittered on about his brothers in Bristol.

Immediately after leaving the train, Tom didn’t feel tired any more so he decided to go for a beer. He took off toward his favourite pub, The Coat and Arms, but when he arrived it had changed it’s name to The Lionheart and no-one knew what a Guiness was, so instead Tom settled for a home brew that was very pleasant. When he tried to pay for it with a five pound note, the barmaid simply asked “Are you trying yo mess with me, giving me play money like that?”. Tom thought about what he heard for a second then said “Hang on, can I use this?” He held out the one pound note and the barmaid took it. Tom sat down and slowly sipped the beer. ‘I’ll have a go on the arcade machine to cheer myself up’, he thought, and he put in the two half pennies. He won. Again, Tom pocketed the money (six pound coins) without a thought in the inner pocket of his jacket. He went to the toilet and when he came back everything was back to normal. Tom bought a Guiness and slowly sipped it.

Wreckers (2011) review.

To start with, I want to get in writing how incredible the film itself is. The actors are extremely talented and the direction is boldly quiet. The audience relies on subtle looks and visual metaphors to understand the isolation each character feels, as they come to truly understand the saying ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’. The film’s plot is based around newlywed Dawn (Claire Foy) and David (Benedict Cumberbatch) as they move to the country to start a family, planning to renovate a house that is crumbling at the foundations, not unlike their relationship throughout the course of the film. The initial marital bliss is interrupted by David’s brother Nick (Shaun Evans) on leave from the army, as his post-traumatic stress wakes them in the night and his dangerously dark sense of humour disturbs the fragile Dawn.

The film takes a deep look at lying, as the characters tip-toe down the thin line that separates sanity and insanity. You’re never sure which out of the two brothers is telling the truth, and the conclusion leaves a rather bitter taste in your mouth. An interesting feature the direction took, is the choice to barely have the three main characters in shot together, which apparently made choosing publicity stills difficult. This makes the isolation a lot more literal. The fourth, unmentioned personality is of course the countryside itself. Dawn goes through the film feeling like an outsider in David and Nick’s childhood home, David gets increasingly paranoid about Dawn and Nick’s growing relationship and Nick is not only suffering from extremely serious PTSD, in which he hallucinates, sleepwalks and lashes out, but is growing aware of David’s untruths to Dawn.

The music is simple and rarely used, with just a violin, accordion and piano scoring the film. More often than not, you hear merely the birdsong orchestrating the drama unfolding. This gives the film a more real and down to earth feel, but also makes it more intimate, with some of the best scenes featuring David and Dawn lying in the protective bubble their bed has become, voices barely louder than breath.

Because of the stripped down nature of the film, a lot of the weight lies on the shoulders of the actors, and they bear it brillantly. Claire Foy plays the porcelain doll role perfectly, and you can read her thoughts and decisions very well on her face, which is near crucial as the entire piece is from her perspective. Benedict Cumberbatch is another driving force of the film, as you can practically see layers unfolding as his past comes to light and he becomes increasingly merciless concerning his brother. Shaun Evans was an excellent choice as the traumatised Nick, as Evans had done a lot of previous research into the condition and he plays it hauntingly. Even as the minutes go by, you feel more and more sympathy for him.

In short, Wreckers is a thought-provoking and intelligent look at loneliness, lying and the mechanics of relationships. The slow breaking of the Bambi-like Dawn is almost painful to watch, as you see her abandon her morals and question those of everyone around her. Another interesting revelation is concerning Nick, as what comes across as arrogance turns into uncertainty and you feel pity for the man, as you come to realise David has been lying about their childhood. The entire film is a series of realisations and the plot is so perfectly plausible, as it reflects the utterly corrupt nature of humans, and how anger can lead us to do things we will certainly live to regret.

Four stars.

Teenagers and their representation in the media

For decades, teenagers have been subject to not only discrimination in the media, but some of the most terrible television that a multi-billion pound industry has to offer. Take the 2011 London riots, people from a wide variety of backgrounds, age groups and ethnicities were participating. Alas, only the 19 year old thugs mouthing off at news reporters were shown. Not only does this anger me to an insatiable degree, it makes me wonder whether this is done deliberately. It wouldn’t be much of a story if there was no ‘uprising minorities’ involved. A whole generation was discriminated against because of a small percentage of fools fighting for something they A) Have no idea about and B) Have no connection to. This was a merely a load of dickheads trying to get a new telly.

Not everyone saw that side however. On the 7th of August, I took the W7 bus only to get shouted at by a woman for ‘disgracing the city’ and she even tried to argue that I shouldn’t take the bus for free (Like all under 16s do in London). All the time that these ugly accusations were spewing from her mouth, I was thinking “What the hell have I done to deserve this?” Every single rioting night I spent lying in bed sending wishes to those I knew in affected areas. I know, this was just one case of one ignorant woman having a bad day, but still. The media can tell any story it wants to by selecting the right mixture of carefully crafted words and edited footage. The story it told was one of vandal teenagers uprising against society.

Not only are we treated like naughty toddlers, but because of the general idea that everyone aged 13-19 has pot noodle for brains, we’re usually subjected to the simplest and most patronising advertisements out there. For example, take the Dorito’s ‘Friendchips’ ad campaign, it played on our screens for several years in the early noughties to display a group of gormless idiots so obsessed with gaffawing at their own wit to notice that that at the rate they were eating Tortilla chips, they’d consume 540, 000 calories a day. And they say the camera adds 10 lbs… No-one seems to try being clever with teenagers. They either try to understand the mindset and angst of puberty so much that they fill their shows with sex, drugs and depression (Skins, Waterloo Road) or completely go the other way and give us something so brain-rottingly obscene that you want to shoot yourself in the head just to escape it all (Gossip Girl, 90210).

I find the first two examples entirely unrealistic, but then again, my teenage years haven’t exactly been what you’d call ‘partying hard’. My own special mix of social anxiety and all around nerdyness prohibits me from doing anything other than watch Doctor Who on a Saturday night. Seriously, this is the girl who smells books when she thinks no-one’s watching. I digress, but my point still stands. When was the last time someone did it right? The last time I saw something capture the awkward and confusing teenage years was Richard Ayoade’s incredible film Submarine. Detailing a few months in Oliver Tate’s life. Think Adrian Mole crossed with Christopher Boone. Oliver is socially awkward and depressed but neither self pitying nor melodramatic about it. He accepts his fate and moves on with his life, as do many teenagers. Passing under the radar has never felt so normal.

What is it about young people that is so difficult? Have our still developing brains malfunctioned and been set to a ‘No-one understands me’ mode, which makes celebrity crushes and unfortunate acne inevitable? I think what makes TV aimed at teenagers so hard to get right is the fact that if you ask the target market, we don’t even know. How are other people supposed to understand us when we know nothing about ourselves yet?

The day I said goodbye to Harry Potter.

This will be a weepy one. If you have no interest in either depressing teenage angst or Harry Potter, the exit’s over there.

I do not cry in front of people, for my own reasons. On the 7th of July 2011, I cried more than I ever have before, or have since. It is no big secret that I am an avid Harry Potter fan (we’re talking long term devotion here, I was reading the books before I could read). I went to the Harry Potter premiere, I stood in rain for six consecutive hours with very little sleep under my belt. It was a complete emotional rollercoaster. The anticipation, the waiting, the dread that maybe it will all be a disappointment and you will have botched the last chance you will ever get to attend one of these. The three hours of completely unprecedented euphoric highs then the sheer drop to head swimming, stomach clenching raw pain.

Harry Potter was always a thing I could fall back on. I wasn’t sad about leaving Primary School because I knew that a new film was coming out in a few months and just catching another part of the great adventure would soothe the pain. When my cat died, I read The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets that very night just to distract myself from the loss of the thing I had had since age four. The series has always served as an emotional remedy for me, much more potent than chocolate or chicken soup will ever be. So imagine the complete and utter world-turning dysphoria I experienced when everyone important to the construction of this series said their final farewellls. It was like watching the entire world burning the corpse of Harry Potter.

Everything was fine, I had just met my heroes and I was in some sort of ecstasy like state. Most people had left Trafalgar Square by then and the sun was setting to welcome a beautiful summer evening. Then the speeches came. Everyone in the inner circle of Potter came on stage and all gave speeches that lasted twenty minutes. It was unbelievable. Near the end, my tiny fangirl head just couldn’t take it anymore and the tears came. Slow at first but quickly they avalanched and I was what I like to call ‘ugly crying’. The type of crying where you can no longer control your entire body and you just collapse to the floor and rock back and forth in the hope that doing that will make everything bad in the world disintegrate. The ability of speech was lost long ago to you and all you can do Is scream and sob until your eyes are pink and your throat is raw. When I finally managed to control my limbs I got up and looked around me. Most people had left, dry eyed. Had the world gone mad? A kindly security guard whom I had made friends with throughout the day handed me a poster and I must have looked at him like he was god. I stumbled out onto the streets of London where I witnessed people running for trains, devouring food on the go, tearing down all of the Hogwarts memorabilia decorating Trafalgar square. The world was harsh and real, and I wanted to enter the dream-like premiere again. But alas, I took the 91 bus home where I got shouted at by a woman for bumping into her and scrutinised by strangers for having mascara half way down my face.

Of course, there’s always Pottermore, and the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ theme park is still expecting a visit from me… It’s just not the same. I didn’t cry at the end of Deathly Hallows part II, because the ending was satisfying and rewarding.

As I said to my mum when I got home, like going to sleep after a really long day.

What I have done in my holidays by Eve Rose Peden Aspinall

School breaks out. Your brain explodes with the possibilities of things to be done in six weeks without the constraints of school. I felt like this:

I woke up every morning at eight to go running.

I then travelled to the far away land of CUBA where I couldn’t run because It was too hot and I kept waking up at 5AM..

But when I got home, the opposite happened. I couldn’t run because I was waking up at 1PM.

But i eventually got into a cycle of that…

And my nights were spent like this.

I grew accustom to the darkness and laziness, so my days were spent like this.

When I went to a friend (you know who you are)’s house, she would say things like “It’s a beautiful day, let’s go out”. And I was forced to admit…

So now this is my routine. And I have even deluded myself into thinking:

I want to go back to school.

Please give feedback on the new style. If you all hate it then I will never do it again, I PROMISE.