Reflections on 2014

To my dearest darling reader,

 So another year draws to a close and we begin the old drill of looking back on the memories of this trip around the sun.

A selection of my favourite disposables from this year
 Rereading last year's equivalent post I find myself confronted with the fact that despite so much happening and changing in 2014, my feelings about how the year has gone has changed little from how I felt 2013 went. 2014 has been wonderful, but mainly because 17 has been wonderful (although, yes, it does bring a second puberty).

This year marks my last year where legally I am not an adult, and the future seems beautiful fluid and uncertain. But next year I shall (hopefully) get a place at University and leave school and do all those other things that I will do but as of yet I do not know what they are, which will all contribute to the overall direction of my life. And that's ok.

2014 was the year that I:
  • Reacquired a fringe
  • Applied to University
  • Fell in love with German literature (after I had applied to University rather annoyingly)
  • Did most of the (limited number of) teenagery stuff that has happened to me
  • Gained some truly wonderful friends
  • Came out as bisexual/Was attracted to a girl for the first time, despite knowing I could be since year 5/Had a breakthrough when I found out about grey-sexuality
  • Co-founded a Feminist Society in a boys' school
  • Didn't post enough on here 
  • Was told my flower crowns were 'well random' by Carol Ann Duffy
As of yet I don't have any resolutions (but I did do generally well with last year's ones) however if any pop up over the next day or so I shall let you all know

Have a wonderful year sweetpeas!



"I'm not eccentric, I'm just more alive than most people"

Hey Readers!

 I wish I had something interesting to say but I really don't.

 My time as usual has been stocked full of stuff and as ever I am amazed that I manage to do everything and potentially even do it to reasonable quality. I had the chance to speak in Canterbury Cathedral last week in my school's Christmas Carol Concert which was pretty rad. Even though religion is not really my bag.

 I've had a dip in self-perception over the last few weeks but I've realised that after 17 years there is no point in allowing myself to wallow in it as it will suddenly go and be of no consequence. Oddly, I am ready (dare I say excited) to turn 18 in two weeks and a day, despite the fact I'm teetotal. But hey, being autonomous in the eyes of law is pretty rad state to be in.

I'm doing a poetry competition in mid-January. My friend signed me up for it and I am torn between really pissed off with him because I don't have the time to commit to it, and loving the chance to perform a feminist call to arms*, Sylvia Plath, and this rather gorgeous poem by Edith Sitwell (who is responsible for the title of this blog post):

The floors are slippery with blood:
The world gyrates too. God is good
That while His wind blows out the light
For those who hourly die for us –
We still can dance, each night.

The music has grown numb with death –
But we will suck their dying breath,
The whispered name they breathed to chance,
To swell our music, make it loud
That we may dance, – may dance.

We are the dull blind carrion-fly
That dance and batten. Though God die
Mad from the horror of the light –
The light is mad, too, flecked with blood, –
We dance, we dance, each night.


*ish. The ending confuses me slightly but I think essentially fits with what I think. But it was written in the late 1700s, so perhaps the differing context would explain why I don't feel totally comfortable with the point of  view of the writer.


I can hear the library humming

Hey Reader,

I write to you from a University library, while I take a break to question what on earth I’m doing here at 5:30 on a Saturday evening. Year 13 (and therefore my final months of school) seems to be slipping by very quickly, months becoming moments and weeks mere seconds. I can feel myself wanting my independence more, and I’m beginning to resent everything I have to do that is imposed on me by another person as opposed to myself. Annoyingly, I know this will happen for the rest of my life unless I go off and become some atheist Ayn Rand inspired hermit where the only person I would possibly ever have to think about is myself. Perhaps I would feel this less if I had had two weeks off for half term as I may actually have had time to get everything done. At least UCAS is out the way (PS Offer from Birmingham! Woo!).

It’s my friend’s Halloween party tonight and the first time I think I will really socialise this holiday. I’m going in a joint costume with Max inspired by our favourite theory in physics known as ‘Linde’s monopole’*, which basically just involves me painting my hands and feet blue. As fun as I am sure it will inevitably be, a large part of me does just want to spend this evening curled up on the sofa watching a German film. I guess it doesn’t help I have left my disposable camera at home, which I have developed a distressing habit of doing.

My parents thought I was actually coming up here tonight to meet up with some mysterious boy. Part of me wishing I was just because it would mean I wouldn’t be procrastinating from this essay that I gave myself to do optionally over the holiday. And I didn’t bring a coat as I forgot that it is much colder at 6:30 than at 2:30 when one just needs a jumper. Ah well.

I don’t have anything intelligent to say. I feel like I stopped having anything intelligent to say a while ago. Cecily is the Queen of the Intelligent Content-Driven Posts but her digital presence seemed to disappear from this blog a while ago and I really miss it. But I assure you dear reader that she is alive and well, flourishing at school and still on track to win a noble prize.

In middle-class news, we got a new kettle today that boils the water a good few magnitudes quieter than our old one, so it is now possible to have conversations while waiting for a cup of tea.

It gets dark so early now, which probably doesn’t help my perceived speed of time. But it does amplify the feeling of being inside or outside. The former has become so much more intimate and cosy, while the latter seems so lonely, but nicely atmospheric with the right music.

The highlight of each week has become this new podcast I’ve found called Serial. It’s from the producers of the equally wonderful ‘This American Life’, and it seems so frivolous when I know I should be listening to In Our Time Podcasts about Shakespeare and the Metaphysical poets. It’s about a murder case in the 90s, where Adnon (the guy who supposedly killed his girlfriend) still maintains never doing it. Each week looks at a different aspect of the case, and you really do oscillate between feeling like he did and didn’t do it as neither side can put forth a solid argument. It sounds so stupid, just an easy way of attracting listeners, but in reality it is half an hour of brilliant story-telling, that I would thoroughly recommend you indulge in.

I should probably spend the next 45 minutes working solidly on my essay. I hate that I’m finding it so hard to construct a decent argument as this is the subject I want to do at University and really should be excelling at.


*Monopoles are theoretical particles with one isolated magnetic pole. This theory suggests our entire universe is contained within a monopole, inside another universe monopole, inside another universe monopole etc. (Not forgetting of course that there will be one solitary universe containing monopole floating inside ours, also containing a monople etc). Then each of these monopoles are connected to their anti-monopole by a worm hole, which would be able to observe as a magnetically charged black hole (I think that is how the theory develops at least). 


A short story by my much younger self

The Tunnel

Once upon a time, in a magical village, there was a long tunnel. There were lots of families and two of the children were very famous. There was a little scaredy boy, and a tall brave girl. Everybody was taking the mick out of the boy. So he went into the tunnel. It was really dark in there, and whoever went in never came out.

 There are also lots of doors in there. And they each lead to something. One of them leads back to the village again. When the little boy opened the first door, he found a beautiful garden. And he played and played in it. But then he found a bomb! So he ran out of the garden as quickly as possible. Then, he found a unicorn in the tunnel, and it helped him find the door that led out of the tunnel. But the unicorn was quite slow.

Meanwhile, back in the village, everybody was getting worried about the little boy. So, the tall girl went into the tunnel to find him. She searched and searched - after a couple of hours she found him. And they both went looking for the door back to the village. The unicorn had forgotten which door it was. It took four days to find the right one. When he came out, everybody was really happy. They have the unicorn a rosette, and the boy and girl a medal each.

The End.

I found this when I was searching through some old school reports at the weekend. Rereading this alongside my reports was odd. They both present a version of myself which is acutely similar to the person I am now, yet seem to tell a different story to the one I remember, or at least perceived to have occurred. I wasn't an unhappy child, and certainly I had (and still do) a lovely home life. But I never had stable friendship groups during primary school - I always, as many of us do, felt like a constant outsider and never felt particularly (eurgh, to quote Willy Loman) well-liked. So it was weird to read that I was apparently a 'popular' child.

 Then there is all the psychoanalysis you can do on this story. On Sunday, the story struck me as a metaphor for depression. Typing it now, in some ways writing it alongside my former self, it still has that tone, I began to notice other things. Firstly, that the presentation of the girl as the savior means it's quite clearly feminist (woooo!). Secondly, that it centres on a sibling relationship. As much as I hate to admit it, my relationship with my older brother has been one of the biggest influences on me. Namely, it's made me into the slightly too competitive young woman that is writing this post. I wasn't imaginative enough as a child to not be writing this about me and him, and in that context it's interesting that our relationship to each other is completely reversed: I'm older and taller, and I'm the one who is brave and saves the day. Then depressingly at the end, it is not the actions of saving her brother that makes the story worth telling, but rather being given medals. It's this desire for award that I need to get out of my system, and this again ties into my competitiveness. But I am getting much better.



August/September Disposables

The rather grim view from my room in Sidney Sussex

The time we found teapots in Fleur's sink

I got experimental with hairspray, toothpaste and disposable camera lenses to variable success


PS I shall be haranguing Cecily to post


I tie my life to your balloon and let it go

Hey Readers

 Well I guess year 13 has really begun to kick in what with my absence. I would also like to note that Cecily is also letting the side down (your publishable drafts are running very low *hint hint*).

 The last three weeks have been pretty full on, but great. Minus a very horrendous Thursday and weird hormones. Suddenly the general outline for the next few years have fallen comfortably into place (gap year inc. some time in Deutschland, then off to University to study English or Liberal Arts). My UCAS application will be in by tomorrow evening (Final choices: Manchester, King's College London, Cambridge (Ha.), Edinburgh, Birmingham*) and then I can start my applying to the odd Dutch one. I am in a moment where how quickly the future and adult life is approaching is actually kind of ok.

The lightest weekend all term

 For the first time since year 10, I have one teacher I definitely don't like, and another I can't quite make an opinion on. I am also experiencing a desire to push back against authority, in a perfectly normal and healthy teenage way. All my experience of being an adolescent seems to have been pushed into this wonderful year of being 17. This one is just a bit odder than the rest because I guess in some strange way I am also now in a position of authority.
Chatting with Mum during my family's traditional first day at school photos

I have once again become aware of how emotionally ruthless I can have a tendency to be if I don't watch myself. Actually "emotionally ruthless" is the entirely wrong phrase. On one hand, it's plain old emotional constipation. On the other hand, it's not having the time or energy to actually push out said emotions and consider them properly.

I haven't written in my diary since I last wrote on here and I can feel the emotional build up from not being able to expel all my thoughts. Every now and then I will catch myself wishing I had a completely secret blog where I could be slightly too open, and before I start saying that little bit too much I am going to go and journal.

Amber Run - I Found. They are my brother's friend's band so it's nice to see them doing relatively well


*Dat offer range**
** For non-UK teenagers, they all ask for A-level grades of A*AA or AAA


You must prepare your bosom for his knife

Hey Readers!

 This is the end-of-summer-holidays evening I will ever experience.

 I'm going to miss the feelings that inevitably come with this night. When there seem to be an infinite number of events to occur, friendships to form and conversations to have, all wrapped up in the depressing yet comforting sense of predictability.

 September is going to be a stressful month. I have my Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition to Snowdonia next week - 6 nights of camping, which mean I shall be missing my friend's house party and the Birmingham open day. The internal application deadline for anyone applying for Oxbridge is the 30th September, so that's 27 days to get my UCAS up to scratch. Then there will also be head student stuff. And organising meetings for the Feminist Forum. Plus the Manchester open day. And 4 A2s. And my EPQ. And all of the other stuff I will inevitably end up doing.

 I can feel myself coming to the point where I will be ready to leave school. It's an odd thing to say, because school has always been such a safety blanket, the one thing that I know I can do. Part of me is worried it may turn out to be the only thing I can do. I am looking forward to University (Note to self: speak to teachers re gap year). I've spent most of this summer residing in the University of Kent's library pretending to be a student. I don't want to end up somewhere uninteresting. The best thing my sixth form has done is probably make me into a slightly more interesting person, and I want my future to do the same. I'm almost ready to move on from school, but I'm not ready to move onto a 9-5 office job and a house that looks like every other house ever.

 I should go and get my bag packed and enjoy this evening. I have already done the necessary stationary organisation, and my entire life is now divided up into 7 folders. I shall try and do a post tomorrow in an effort to digitally preserve my last every first day back at school.



I want to turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet

Hey Readers!

 I've been meaning to blog all summer, and when I went onto blogger today so what y'all we're up to, suddenly all these 'end of summer' blogs had appeared. So I shall do a quick review of the summer, which will probably be fairly sparse as the pictures are either on celluloid inside disposable cameras, and the stories are inside my head and probably won't make it onto the internet.

 The summer started in such a wonderfully teenage way. The last week of school fizzled out into nothing and pretty much everyone in sixth form handed in their work and went home early. I technically did finish early as well, but I still came in on the last day for a couple of hours to hand in a book, before heading off to my friend's farm for the end of year camp out. Only the tent space to attendees ratio was 4:15. While others decided to stay up all night, exploring the ruined abbey and sitting around the bonfire, I ended up sleeping under the stars (we were miles from any civilization so the sky was wonderfully clear) watching meteorites dart in and out of the atmosphere with two of the most important friends I shall probably ever have.

 My local theatre put on a series of performances by local writers, where I acted in one of the plays. It was a chill script-in-hand performance, with the quality of every aspect ranging in a beautifully am-dram way. It was also a melancholy experience as I knew that was probably the last bit of drama I would do before University (next year I need to reduce the amount of extra-curricular due to making what will almost certainly turn out to be one of the most stupid decisions of my life by choosing to do 4 A2s + EPQ* + Head Girl + Feminist Forum + Maybe attempting to continue a social life), and therefore probably the last time I would act in that specific theatre. I also met Orlando Bloom, which was so underwhelming that my Mum has to remind me about it every time I have to recount my summer to some family member.

 Fleur and I helped out on an archaeological dig in a nearby village. For a long time I wanted to study Archaeology and Anthropology at University, so it was good to be able to satisfy that part of myself. I spent a lot time cleaning the finds, which was far more enjoyable than it sounds as the other people helping out were mainly elderly ladies from the village so we had a good old natter.

 Cecily and Fleur came over to make flower crowns and cake to celebrate our blog's first birthday, which we manged to totally neglect when it actually happened back in May. Pictures below. Cecily and I also bought a red scrunchie in reference to the film Heathers.

 That all happened in the state of tense but blissful pre-results ignorance. I'm very happy with what I got, and I feel it reflects the work (or potentially lack of for a couple of the exams) I put in. It's very odd to find myself in the position where I have a month and a week to apply for University**, and to be able to apply for all the Universities that could have been out of reach academically. Overall, however, I can definitely feel the drop in results - many of the most talented and intelligent people I know seemed to have missed out the grades they deserved.

 The post-results party was odd. For the most part of it it was more underwhelming than meeting Orlando Bloom. But then there were two events in particular that will probably hold some significance when recounting the exploits of my adolescence in twenty years time.

 The beginning of my final year of school seems to be coming towards me at incredible speed. I spent yesterday evening watching the Arctic Monkey's headline set at Reading and researching leaver's hoodies. I'm looking forward to year 13. I feel more comfortable with myself then I think I ever have done, and I feel I have finally blossomed into an actual adolescent. Given the choice, I don't think I would decide to live anybodies life.


*Most British teenagers will only be studying three subjects in their last year of school. Extended Project Qualification - 6000 word research-based essay on a subject of your choice. After spending the summer working on an essay about objectivity, I decided to change it and look at female sexuality in Sylvia Plath and Carol Ann Duffy two days ago. This is not the recommended procedure.

**Finally settled on English. Part of me feels guilty for choosing it over Physics, but I finally gave in to the lure of literature when I realised that the one day I didn't look forward to on my timetable was the one without English.


"Last Post" by Carol Ann Duffy

Hey Readers!

 Today marks 100 years since the beginning of the First World War. On reading Fleur's post I was reminded of one of my favorite poems by Carol Ann Duffy, which was written following the death of Henry Allington and Harry Patch, two of the last surviving soldiers of The Great War.

Last Post

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 

If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud ...
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home -
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce - No - Decorum - No - Pro patria mori.
You walk away. 

You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too -
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert -
and light a cigarette.
There's coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile. 

If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.



Book Review: 'A Dead Man in Deptford' by Anthony Burgess

Hey Readers!

 I guess I am now on my summer holidays. But I won't do my end of year post just yet due to the way school ended: it kind of dissolved into nothing. Technically the last day of school is tomorrow, so I shall do that post at the weekend. For now, I shall do a quick book review (my laptop has 17% battery).

 As none of my friends (or indeed anyone who has mentioned anything to do with books near me) have been able to escape my gushing speeches of love for Burgess, it doesn't seem right that you, my Fair or Foul Readers (but where's the difference?), should either. However I must admit I have only read two of his books - A Clockwork Orange and A Dead Man in Deptford - but I shall be doing a Burgess Binge (dat alliteration) this summer. And when he titles his books like "Mozart and the Wolf Gang" or "1985" (which is a tribute to Orwell's 1984) I feel I can be pretty sure the rest of his writing shall live up to wonders I have already read.

 A Dead Man in Deptford is an re-imagining of Christopher Marlowe's life. Marlowe was a playwright who grew up in Canterbury and studied at Chorpus Christi College, Cambridge before becoming a playwright, who many critics feel would have outshone Shakespeare, had he not died in a pub brawl with a dagger to eye (don't cha just hate it when that happens???). The image of the eye recurs throughout the book and often sparks musings on solipsism. However Burgess' real point of interest in regards to Marlowe is the more dubious aspects to his life: his addiction to sex and potentially working as a spy for Queen Elizabeth I. 

 Although the book is about Marlowe, it is told through the eyes of an unnamed narrator who didn't witness many of the events in the book. The way Marlowe drifts in and out of his life is sometimes unclear, but I quite like the tone of confused memory this gives the book. The narrator is one of the most interesting aspects of the book, and I feel it places the role of the author as one of the central questions of the book (Barthes would not be happy), especially in terms of how historical fiction influences our understanding of past events. And then there is the last paragraph, but I don't want to give away the ending because you are all going to go and read this book.

 As always the Burgess, his use of language is simply divine. He writes in a way that forces the words off of the page and into your imagination. You have to sit up and take notice. The opening paragraph is more opaque than the majority of the book, so don't be put off. Instead, spend some time just admiring how he mingles poetic techniques with prose. Burgess also presents speech in a different style to that which we may be used to: speech always begins on a new line, is indicated by a '–' and it is not clear when the speaker finishes. This was alienating at first, but in true Burgess style, this alienation makes you part of the book's world, by clearly differentiating it from our own.

 In short, this is a truly fabulous book by a truly fabulous writer. Probably not that great if you're a raging homophobic as a lot of the sex takes place between Marlowe and other men (sometimes in Latin which led to a fun hour of translation). However you do have to pay attention when you read it, there are a lot of characters and the relationships between them are not entirely clear if you zone out for a moment. But if you are zoned in, as you should be you diligent reader you, then I promise you will have a most pleasurable reading experience when reading this book. 

Rating: *****



Non-smoking, tee-totaling, celibate stoner

Hey Readers!

 It has now been a week and half since I returned to the scholastic establishment post-fucking-up-my-future-exams. I did want to do a post last weekend however that was all taken up with seeing friends from my old school, Kings' College Open Day and zine making workshop. Then my week was taken up homework/Extended project research/Head Studenting/a silly amount of UCAS and University talks (I'm mean like shit yeah I get the point I should probably go to University next year and let's be real it's only Oxbridge not frigging WW2).

 Friday could have been an episode of My So-Called Life/Freaks & Geeks etc. I guess it all started with a lunch of erection talk and Brian Krakow crushing. All beautifully summed up in that photo.


I am now writing about a week after I started this post and that Friday night is slowly dissolving into memories of snatched moments. Moments sitting behind beach huts, hugging a friend when they/I most needed it most // Sitting on a beach and feeling completely happy with the people I am now socialising with in a way I've never really felt before // Gossiping and spying on future lovers // Chatting with police (it was nothing serious Dad) //  Straddling cannons // Dancing in the road and making jokes about the World Cup with some Spanish tourists // Breaking down on curbs and on friends beds // Finally been honest with people through anger, empathy and exhaustion.


PS I'm sorry I didn't stop you texting him 


Friday 30th May 2014; Reflections on myself

Hey Readers!

 I am in a state of permanent tiredness. I am going through moments of overwhelming insecurity and all-consuming not so much joy but like I'm-so-happy-that-I'm-living-this-moment kind of feeling. I don't seem to be able to stop thinking and analysing every part of myself and other people but it all seems to be a waste as I've generally messed up my ASs (i.e. not done as well as I would have liked which is really shit because I know when results come out everyone will tell me that I'm wrong to be sad but an emotion can never be described as 'wrong'; emotions are not true or false, they only are).

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"They [Women] cannot love each other in this easy, innocent, spontaneous way because they cannot love themselves"
                                                                                   -Germain Greer, The Female Eunuch

 Of course she's not the first person I have ever heard to say that, but she's the first person I have heard to say in that way. Reading that made me realise I am making my reactions to people overly complex. I could write like a fucking book on what I think and how I feel about each of my friends/family/people-paid-to-be-near-me. Yet a lot of is entirely false. Well not false, just overly complex - probably because that's my reaction to myself. I have this constant desire to change my three worst personality traits (competitiveness, defensiveness, pride) unfortunately they are rather hard to change as quickly as I/other people want them to change because a) they feed each other in an uncontrollable and destructive manner b) It makes all criticism not necessarily more hurtful but it builds up more easily without me confronting it, and when do confront I end up over-complicating my confrontation to the extent I can't actually remember what I have discovered about myself and it's physically impossible to manifest itself c) I genuinely do not talk about some stuff that I should talk about (and sometimes want to talk about) because I have the irrational feeling that people probably already know and even more irrationally I feel that this somehow invalidates and takes away from my thoughts d) I recognise that I'm probably over-complicating stuff to skirt the issue and appease these traits.

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 I do not know what I want to do with my life. Plan A has basically gone and made me realise that Plan B is probably better, but even so there are plenty of people who view Plan B as a cop out and it's hard not to find yourself invalidating it as a decision. 

Tumblr - I had the source then lost source and now I can't find it again

Before you have had your first moment of semi self-realisation you automatically assume you are the good guy in the story of your life and it's pretty crap when you realise that to many extents you probably aren't. And also that everybody is a victim and therefore everybody is perpetrator.  And people seem particularly keen lately to point out my flaws with various motivations, yet I never point out theirs because I don't know a) I hate emotional talks when I feel either I'm attacking/being attacked b) feel it's petty and pointless to point out other people's flaws, because often they are symptomatic of something else that that person may or may not be dealing with and it makes it even worse when somebody essentially goes oh you know that thing about yourself that you really hate well I hate it too. But then I also realise that there is probably a reason why people tell me my flaws. Also the phrase "I will always like/love/have affection for you not matter what anybody else says" suddenly curveballs at you what other people think in a way nobody really wants hear.

What a sickening load of self-pity.

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 I don't really want to socialise at the moment. I think it's more than just being antisocial but not as far as having a social anxiety. I can't really explain it as it is very much a feeling. A feeling that is a mixture of 'ach nein' and vulnerability at the thought of socialising with specific types of people. This is probably a projection of how I feel about myself.

I'm glad I have written this. I'm sure some people are going to read too much/too little/the wrong thing/the right thing into it. I've been wanting to write something like this in my diary but this is much quicker and I've been too tired to spend copious amounts of time on self-pity which is probably more destructive than helpful. But yes, my life hasn't been entirely like this recently, but it has been too much like this. I'm not sure why I've actually written about this publicly instead of writing to the individuals who most people would write to or talk to*. Anyway I'm really tired. I could quite happily write another post on everything I don't like about this post.


*By the way, that is not an invitation for people I know irl to speak to me