Friday, 30 December 2011


The title of my Alevel art project. Though I think much better in written terms, so I could really do with getting my thoughts down here before I attempt to move onto some actual art type things.

So, I began by looking at 'growth' and then distortion; as in, the opposing force of natural growth being people unnaturally distorting themselves. I'm looking the why and the how, particularly with regards to culture. Why is it that in some cultures, people distort themselves so as to go along with their culture whereas in western cultures people distort to rebel and stand out. Take for example, tribal neck stretching in Africa. This began once as a cultural display of wealth, people adding rings tightened around their necks gradually throughout their lives solely to go along with the cultural tradition. Although, in recent years this has instead become a source of income for the tribes, as they are almost demanded by local governments to persue the distortion to attract tourism. Whatever the reason, it is an extreme distortion and pressure to place the human body under.

Compare this with western culture- obsessed with plastic surgery, piercings tatoos; and i'm sure many more ways in which we change ourselves. However, this form of distortion seems to be more about a need to stand out, and let our 'individuality' stand out. It seems that in a society so guided by media and materialism that we seem to view people mainly on appearances. We see someone with piercings and tatoos and build up an image of rebellion, and perhaps consider them to be someone who conciously declines social norms. Why is it therefore, that we feel the need to do this; and change or distort ourselves to do so? And what is the better cause- Change to conform, or change to stand out.

Ultimately I feel it comes down to how we value one another, and how much we value personality over appearance. Or better yet, how SOCIETY encourages us to value these things. Do we change ourselves on the outside to change and even hide who we are on the inside? Perhaps we buy clothes, apply makeup, dye our hair, or get piercings and tatoos to create a facade of who we want to be. An opposing idea could instead be that we do infact like who we are, and so desperately want this to shine through in out appearance. I prefer this one. It's much more optimistic, and one that I consider that I do myself. We fashion ourselves on the outside to make damn sure that people know who we are on the inside. We accept that people make initial judgements, so we need to grab their attention and introduce ourselves aesthetically before we can do so personally. Whether this is the 'right way' is regardless- it is the necessary way, if we want to adhere the workings of this society.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Joy of Teen Sex.

Sorry guys, but this won't be a post about teen sex, inevitably a joyful (awkward, troubling) activity. This is more my thoughts on the Channel 4 program. 'The Joy of Teen Sex' is yet another graphic, intimate and indepth look into teenage life, in a way that can only be described as an examination. I use this word to denote the scientific nature in which these programs approach the social or sexual aspects of adolescence.

Partly this comes from my disliking of science. I am an arty person. Always will be. Though even I am willing to admit that we do need to learn about biology and the way things work. This became even more evident when watching the program the other day, where one teenager asked "If you spin a girl round after cumming in her, can she still get pregnant?". Now, I don't claim to be overly experienced in this whole area, but it is morons like these that make me feel like a guru.

In this respect, I do appreciate what these programs do achieve; education. It seems that some people aren't capeable of common sense, or in some instances, that the information we need simply isn't available. Therefore these programs offer a way for us to find things out that we daredn't ask parents, teachers, doctors; or perhaps even friends. 'The Sex Education Show' seems to be a great example of this. Granted, it's aimed at a slightly lower age bracket to myself, though it does what it says on the tin.

So, to the program in hand- The Joy of Teen Sex. Yes, in some ways it provides similar educational functions, though to be quite frank it takes it a bit too far. Ironically it is me apologising for being frank, when the program has no sense of the concept. I only hope that I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy and lack of sexual variety when watching the program. Which basically translates to "No, I am not having rampant sex with well adept men, or using vibrators on a daily basis". Because, according to the program, this is what anyone over the age of concent should be doing. So long as it is protected, it is fine!

This is not in any way to put down those who are far more adventurous than myself. I can appreciate an active and exciting sex life, and the benefits of how it can make you feel in general. Though do we really need another program to take away every ounce of romance and intimacy that comes with it? Call me an idealist, but I consider sex, love, intimacy, passion, respect and emotions to be all interlinked (and by this I don't mean I use sex to obtain love or respect). Therefore, the bullet-point, tick-list criteria of a 'good sex life' presented by the program puts on a definite pressure to match up; though this seems to go against it's aim of inclusion. With this pressure it seems that the spontinaety and intensity of emotions that are part of a sexual experience are shoved aside with thoughts of "am I doing this right? Is this how long it should last?"

To conlcude, it seems the world is going a little overboard on sex. And I say this as a big fan of 'Sex and the City', where the indepth erotic experiences of four women are completely unavoidable- moreover quite educational or relateable. However, it seems this constant stream of education, education, education is becomig too academic. So long as we know how to do it safely regarding pregnancy, emotions and physicality (no acrobatics for me please), can we not apply the old "learn on the job" tactic?; if you'll excuse the pun. Or if not, anecdotes from friends have never ceased to provide the top level of education. Remember: Reliable sources. No Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Notebook.

The Notebook, My Sisters' Keeper, and PS I Love You- Three films built up to be extrodinarilly tear-jerking by my peers, therefore placing them all on my 'to watch' list. With P.S I love you I found it difficult to relate, having never really suffered the death of a loved one. Therefore perhaps it should be the job of someone who has to comment on the film more accurately. However, teenage heartbreak is something that I have felt, and therefore found The Notebook to fit and exceed this 'tear jerking' criteria.

The film encompassed elements of my own experiences, and I'm sure the experiences of many other teenagers, as well as elements of what I dream that I could experience. The feeling of struggle to be with someone you love, whilst fighting with the reality that your age makes it difficult to put a mark on what exactly this love means. Therefore, I don't want to naively overestimate my own experiences and claim that I ever 'found my soulmate' or a 'reason to live'; though equally as much I don't want to undermine the true power of young love and the strength of the emotions you can feel. This is exactly what the film does, and left me jerking-those-tears through the majority of the film.

Aside from the idea of teen-romance, the film looks into other emotional issues and struggles. It takes an interesting form, of which the story of the lovers at a young age is paralleled with those same lovers at the age of retirement. However, whereas early on their struggles come from social expectations, parental influence, or need for stability, subsequently the tragedy comes from Allies suffering of dementure; and therefore Noah's emotional suffering to keep them together.

The emotional potential of the storyline gives credit to the origional novelist Nicholas Sparks, though I feel the emotional investment comes from the portrayal of the characters through the acting.Young Allie (Rachel Mcadams) comes across as the passionate, attractive and playful girl that i'm assuming any teenage girl aspires to be. Young Noah (Ryan Gosling) similarly plays a passionate, attractive and incredibly considerate boy that i'm sure any young girl aspires to have. In the ending of the play, an equally as heart-warming relationship is presented in the old-age couple (James Garner and Jena Rowlands), encompassing a love that anyone with a sane mind would strive for.

The film left me feeling a multitude of emotions, including resentment for allowing myself, usually so synical, to become so emotional. It left me feeling the pain of the couples struggles, heart-warmed for their inseperability, and hopeful that this is not an experience left only to the world of cinema.

Ultimately, the film left me with an undeniable aspiration- in that all I want to do with the rest of my life is to fall in love. A good career, social life, and self confidence will just be those menial things that I do on my quest to find it.

And now all I have left to do is watch My Sister's Keeper.

Woyzeck Puppet Performance.

'Woyzeck'- An ambiguous play from an ambiguous context, giving a potential director creative freedom to interpret it how they wish. The director(s) of tonights performance chose the setting of apartheid South Africa, and used puppets to tell the sorrowful and tragic tale of a man's demise towards killing his partner.

Woyzeck, the main character, has the potential to appear as the antagonist of the play. However in this setting of injustice and inequality it is difficult to percieve him to be anything other than a victim of society (and perhaps a victim of mental illness also). The actors behind the puppets manage to bring to life the characters and bring out the raw emotion behind the conflicts; of which the text alone can not achieve, in my opinion, as effectively. Here we see Woyzeck as a man struggling to keep his life in order and his family together, rather than what I had previously percieved as a dismissive partner too wrapped up in his own mindset that he is lead to murder; this ultimate act being a contrast with the empathy obtained throughout for this socially and mentally oppressed character.

Aside from the general storyline, this production effectively demonstrated the technical and physical capeabilities of the actors in captivating movements, these skills somewhat undermined by the realism of the puppets. It was difficult to consider that they weren't characters in their own right, but rather controlled by the strong vocals and movements of the actors. I feel the use of puppetry was an interesting interpretation on the play as it allowed a large element of charactature to be added. The scientist for example appropriately engulfed the stereotype of a mad scientist, particularly through the use of voice giving the character a disturbance and villanous edge.

Another aspect I felt to be highly effective and unique was the staging, main aspect of which being the use of projection. It was as though the screen acted as a portal into Woyzecks mentality, using both intricate and expressive chalk drawings to give a visually captivating and somewhat hypnotic interpretation of a man's psychological struggle. The imagery behind the whole production was incredible, allowing the audience to be completely engulfed into the world of the characters and invest in their lives; which is an incredible achievement considering the characters were clearly inhuman.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Inbetweeners Movie

Cringeworthy- But in a good way.

So good that I felt the need to torture myself with it twice; which with orange wednesdays, is a luxury I can thankfully afford. I use the words 'good' and 'torture' in the same sentence to demonstrate my complete mixed response to the film. In one moment alone I felt myself wanting to cry, engulf the characters in a bear hug, laugh until my sides hurt; and vomit.

The essence of the film comes from three hormonal teens and their struggle to find social acceptance. It is a story of breaking conventions, redemption, the growth into adulthood, and most importantly; how not to act around human beings. I feel that this film takes a didactive form in teaching its' viewers moral lessons in life.

Number 1) Don't consider the possibility of wearing matching t.shirts to your friends that read 'Pussay- Patrol'. You will look, despite the purpose, the biggest fool imaginable.

Number 2) Don't trust a random stranger when he promises to buy all your shitty old clothing, including what you're wearing at the time. You will be left naked, alone, holding a newspaper to your crotch to maintain any ounce of modesty you didn't quite have to begin with.

Number 3) Don't leave your friends to book a holiday for you. It is likely that you will wake up in an ants nest as a result of excessive drinking, or wake up to the pleasant sound of your friend recieving oral from an elderly woman. I'll leave you to decide which is the more desireable option.

The film encompasses overdramatic situations with complete emotional and character realism. It is the relateability of the characters, despite their ridiculousness, that I feel makes this film what it is. The feeling of being the only virgin left in the entire world. The feeling of heartbreak from your first love. Or that feeling of complete awkwardness as you emerge into an empty club with a promised atmosphere. We've all been there; and so have the imbetweeners; Simon, Jay, Neil and Will.

It is Wills sarcastic yet genuine narrative that particularly draws me in. He and I suffer from similar syndromes; Social Awkwardness, despite knowing deep down that you are the coolest specimine that ever walked the earth. Even when your friends 'help you with your suncream' to ensure a falac shaped burn on your back, or when being mocked by your own family for being 'uncool', we still maintain this to be true.

Not since American Pie has there been such a hilarious demonstration of teenage boys and their mission to find 'clunge', or many other varations of the word that appear in the film; this film made all the better because, lets face it, it's a british comedy. And we british know how it's done! It includes all the humour from real life situations, along with tragic truths and saddening realities. We know that life is coming to get us, and take us off to university or work, or just somewhere away from one another; but we may as well have a great send off!

I think though, personally, I'll give Malia a miss.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Needing to 'Find Myself'.

Yesterday I was told by my sister, age 14, that her friend had split up with her 'long term' boyfriend. The excuse the boy gave for the breakup was that he needed to 'find himself'. The boy has not yet developed chin hair, yet he needs to 'find himself'. Sounds to me like someone's been eves-dropping on their parents conversations a little too much.

This short introduction was my way of instigating the revelence of the phrase in focus to my own life, though I felt mocking it would make it more okay for me to use it. Warning: This blog may contain cliche'd phrases, over-dramatic points and over the top ranting. Well hey, I'm a teenager, so get over it.

So. They say your teenage years are the best years of your life. In which case, why do I bother? Or, to quote Will from 'The Inbetweeners' (a personal idol of mine, as those who know me may notice): "They say your teenage years are the best days of your life. In my case, that would only be true if I went straight from school to prison, and then died".  (I did pre-warn you about the dramatisation). So what are these 'best' moments reffering to exactly? Heartache? Continuous exams? Combined judgement from peers, teachers, parents and ultimately yourself? And that's without mentioning the 'wanting freedom without responsibility, but getting responsibility without freedom' paradox. To apply another cliche'd line: IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!

How exactly do you get through all this? The one surefire way to solve teen angst (and mildly contribute to it) seems to be the following: Alcohol. Which raises a dilema when you have no money, no ID and the face of a 12 year old; so therefore no access to it. I remember my first taste of 'the good stuff'. Sitting on a local field, year 10, feeling too rebellious as my previous primary school teacher runs past with a wave. And I suppose it was down-hill from there really. Particularly when the teachers' running shorts left far too little to the imagination.

Anyway, this does all tie in with my opening paragraph. After a brief heartfelt conversation with the parents earlier; which, with my teenage hormones making me the emotional equivalent of a tsunami, is becoming quite commonplace. Overall it really hit home the importance of going to university, or just getting away from home. It will provide the chance for me to (here it comes): find myself. To study/do something that I love, and be someone that I love. Rather than occasionally be someone who resembles something quite cool and then drift back into my boring-self. Because it's difficult to be the 'you' that you want to be when the teenage 'you' you don't want to be hangs over you.

So there you are. An overly sentimental heartfelt blog. But again, i'm an emotional teenager, so get over it.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Riot Rant.

It has taken me some time to come to terms with the recent riots. Until now, I haven't quite known what to say; which in my excessively articulated life is a rarity. After seeing splashed across newspapers images of 'mindless youths', it is clear who the blame is directed towards. As always, we are being catagorised into this 'young adult' catagory.. The word 'adult' implying that 'we' should take some reaponsibility for our actions, whereas 'young' implying that we are naive enough to commit such atrocities in the first place. In some ways i'd rather the patronising term 'children' to be used in the headlines- that way the rest of the teenage population who leave their most violent acts for mosh pits, and use knives in the way of cultery, can be left well out of things.

However, I don't want to make this rant about how 'unfair it is to be a teenager stereotyped by the gang culture of today'. Whilst this may be highly true, the crimes that have been commited go beyond the usual pensioner groans of 'kids today', therefore my underlying point should go beyond trying to gain sympathy for the teens who are good and decent.

So back to the matter in hand. Who or what really is to blame for the riots? Is it possible to blame the rioters themselves- of course it it. They are mindless youths who have nothing better to do than destroy peoples livelyhoods. However, is it possible to blame the youths for this mindset and ridiculous attitude entirely- Of course not. Why have they nothing better to do? Why are they so mindless? Now I hate to sound like your typical wannabe sociologist, but we have to look at the 'deeper meanings' of the event. Whilst this may be far more consideration than the rioters have put into anything in their entire lives, someone must do the thinking in this world; and better the educated people who have a sense of morality than ignorant society destroying bastards who can't see the bigger picture (reffering to both the current government and the rioters).

Lets evaluate this logically. Throughout history, people have organised anti-establishment protests and riots, to fight against those who won't listen. And in the case of our society, this is definately true. Take for instance the outcome of the university tuituon fees. The government stepped out of line and created a policy that people don't agree with, failing to make any adjustments after a series of protests (some getting slightly out of hand). This being proof that the people just aren't being listened to. This kind of mass frustration seems to be precisely the underlying reason for the violence outbreaks- even if the criminals don't quite know it themselves.

Now by no means in this am I trying to justify the acts of thuggery, but simply look for explanations that go beyond the 'hard punishment' conclusions that seem to have been made. Great, well done to the Government and Police- for failing to protect innocent business' and people, now is the perfect time to clamp down hard on the rioters and make your oscar-winning compensatory point; that you have lost control of our country, and allowing it to be in the hands of people who haven't the sense to know what to do with it.

From this I suppose we can conclude that EDUCATION is the key thing missing here. We need to educate the ignorant, those who sit back and allow the oppression of the government (which I suppose in some respects is a catagory I fall into). But first and foremost, we need to educate those who are willing to take a stand, in how to articulate themselves. No, it is not right for us to sit back and watch the class divides increase. No, it is not right for the government to take such radical steps to reconsile their mistakes, at OUR cost. But most importantly, it is NOT RIGHT for people to feel that going out and destroying the business' of innocent people is going to be justified. People who, like themselves, are perhaps suffering the brunt of some of the cuts, though at least had the sense to create a business and livelyhood in the first place. It is not right for our society to be divided, and those who fall beyond the 'David Camerons' bitches' quota to be victimised both by the government and by the destructively ignorant.

As I said, Education is key. And more cuts on the Education sector are therefore not going to be the answer, are they Mr Cameron? I begin to wonder who infact it is that needs educating...