Monday, 31 December 2012

So Long 2012!

Now I honestly can say that 2012 has not been my greatest year ever. The highs have been amazing but fleeting and some of the lows have been so low I almost thought I'd never escape them. I'm already looking forward to next year because as long as all my family members stay as healthy as they are currently *touch wood*, it has got to turn out better than this one overall.
2012 was the year I got my heart well and truly broken when I got dumped in April, which didn't help me with what was left of my studies and generally made life a bit unbearable for a while. To compound matters my ex (who was still a good friend of mine) and another close mate got together and decided that I no longer fitted into their perfect lives any more and just cut me out of them, leaving me with a bit of a hole where I had previously had friends who cared about me. Judging by the endless stream of Facebook updates they are clearly happy together and any feelings I may have on the subject don't matter one jot to either of them.
2012 was the year that I had to move out of my beloved city and away from a lot of my close friends and the support network I had been relying upon to help me get back to myself. I've spent some of my loneliest days this year just sitting in my old childhood bedroom in my pyjamas with no-one to talk to and no money to do anything really missing having friends close by, if only for a hug. I was unemployed for some months and found out just how dull that is and how hopeless you start to feel about everything very quickly. I've left all my social activities behind in Sheffield too, and some times I didn't have anything to get dressed and leave the house for for an entire week, which isn't a fun realisation. In 2012 my birthday was terrible AND I was ill on Christmas day-basically all of the holiday periods have had a downer put on them some way or another.
But. Things seem to be on the  up again. I'm over the break up and actually almost starting to enjoy being a single person with no-one else to answer to, and being free to do anything. I'm employed, albeit only until the 19th of January, but I love my job and it gets me out of the house and socialising with people that aren't my parents which is something that I really needed. I'm not making a fortune but I am so much happier than I was in October, and it gives me the freedom to travel to Sheffield to see friends when I want to. My childhood bedroom is getting a much needed influx of new furniture and I might even slap a lick of paint on the walls too.
In 2013 I hope to get a "proper job", move out of my parent's house and into a space of my own and get my life safely back on the road to adulthood. I want to get back on stage and sing and do all the things I love again. Maybe even find a new boyfriend but for once it's not something I'm giving a high priority to. I'm going to have a kick ass awesome birthday to make up for this year's massive flop. I'm deleting the ex and the ex-best friend from Facebook because I'm drawing a line under the whole thing and moving on, rather than wasting my thoughts on them any longer. I'm pinning my hopes on you, 2013, don't you let me down.

But it definitely hasn't been all doom and gloom this year-I've laughed as much as I've cried probably. I played my favourite character ever in a show and got to stand in the middle of the curtain call for the first time. I travelled around the country and did some awesome things whilst I was working for my Student's Union. I graduated from university, surrounded by the friends who had done it all with me and though I was sad to be leaving, the day itself was awesome. I went to Rome with my besty and didn't melt despite the scorching heat, and laughed myself silly in the process. I went to the Edinburgh festival with some amazing people and performed a sell out show and had a really really good time. I've visited people around the country, seen shows and gigs and comedians and made enough good memories to tell me that this year was definitely not all bad. Not even half bad, really.

So I'll raise a glass to 2012, and cross my fingers to make a wish at midnight, surrounded by people that I love and who make me laugh enough to forget my cares about everything.
Hope your 2012 has been good, but hope your 2013 is even better.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

It's Behind You!

Dick Whittington Kid's Performance in 2011,
In which I get exuberantly pied in the fizzog.

Pantomimes, to borrow a phrase from Marmite, you either love em or you hate em. Me? Well, you can probably guess- I love a good panto. To be fair, I love a bad panto too. While I feel I have grown up a lot recently and grown out of a lot of things I used to love, I don't think I will ever lose my childish enthusiasm for going to/being in a Pantomime at Christmas time and having a thoroughly silly romp. I know that some people just cannot stand them, and it seems that (after talking to some of my colleagues) when you've seen one the general consensus is that you've seen them all because the jokes are always the same and there's always a happy ending. But that's why they're so good as far as I'm concerned, you know that the 'Butter face' and 'Sheepdog bra' jokes* will make you groan, and you know that the good guys will always win but that doesn't stop you from enjoying every thigh slapping, "he's behind you"-ing minute. In no other type of theatre (apart from possibly stand up comedy) can the audience join in with the show in such a way- in fact, the audience interaction is usually fairly integral to the plot. After all, how on earth would the good guys save the day if you didn't tell them that there was a ghost/bad guy behind them and to get out of the way/hit him with a sword? I honestly love everything about pantomimes, from the innuendos that go flying over the kid's heads to make the grown ups titter to the costumes and the sets to the plot-holes that are neatly avoided by sidestepping them altogether to the fact they're inexplicable to people who don't hail from Barmy Britain. "Well it's a fairy tale, right, and there's a man pretending to be a woman and a woman pretending to be a man and it's really very silly *trails off*" Believe me, I've tried to explain them to international students from my university and seen the baffled looks on their faces; I always just ended up saying "It's a very good example of British eccentricity."

My first USLES Panto...and a very good example of British Eccentricity! 

I think for actors as well, pantos are a different experience to any other type of performance. I've told people that I did pantomimes at uni and almost visibly watch them turn their noses up at me like they were too good for comedic theatre. But as an actor in a panto you have to be so much better at skills like not corpsing and being quick on your feet to respond to heckles as well as the usual facing the right way on stage and remembering which way round your lines come. You have to make the audience fall in love with you if you're a good guy, and hate you if you're a bad guy and be OK with being overly theatrical and silly about every movement. You have to not mind getting a plate full of shaving foam to the face, or getting water squirted down your trousers and try your hardest not to laugh/object when the dame sweeps in and steals the scene away from everyone. But they're really rewarding to be in as well- you have freedom like no other to make stuff up as you go along, to improvise, to heckle the audience back and to have as much fun as you possibly can. And you get constant feedback from the people who watch too- cheering for the goodies, booing at the baddies and shrieking "OH NO IT ISN'T" as loudly as they can-it's all such fun. I don't think you can go to a pantomime and not enjoy yourself, because you just get swept up in the merriment and frivolity of the whole thing and come out with a big smile on your face. And here's the thing, they don't need to have z-list celebs in to be a good show-you need local actors who come back time and again because they love to make a tit of themselves on stage so that people will get to have an awesome night out full of fun.

Pantomimes will always be up there with my favourite Christmas traditions, they're not just fun for kids but big kids too. As one of the older customers said to me the other day when I took her ticket "Yer never too old, are yer?" NEVER. Get yourself down to one and shout "IT'S BEHIND YOU!" to see how much fun you can have. Brill.

And so as it's Christmas Eve tomorrow and I shall be working and hopefully watching some of the show whilst I do, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that whatever you get up to is full of fun and happiness and too much food.


*If you don't know I'm not telling you.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Getting Back To It

Hello readers, it's been a while since I last said hello, hasn't it?
I haven't forgotten about you, I've just been a tad busy really. Plus I seem to be having a blog inspiration drought, can't think of anything to rant about, for once in my life. Since my last blog entry all the way back in November, I managed to finish my NaNoWriMo with 50391 words- hurrah! The story is nowhere near finished though, and I think it might even take another NaNo attempt to get it completed, though this is no bad thing because I really enjoyed the act of creating something awesome every day and wouldn't mind doing it again. I've also started my job ushering at the Nottingham Playhouse for their Christmas pantomime and I have to admit that I am really loving it. The rest of the staff all seem really nice folk, very willing to have a chat to all us newbies and include us in their tea breaks and the theatre has such a lovely atmosphere because, let's face it, you can't really be down in the dumps when there's a panto going on just the other side of the wall from you (OH NO YOU CAN'T). I'm in denial that I ever have to leave to be honest, because I really love it so far. I also appear to currently be experiencing reverse insomnia for no apparent reason- normally I really struggle getting to sleep but at the moment I am conking out the minute I get into bed but waking up almost every morning between 5 and 7am which leaves me exhausted by about 10pm. I also keep popping up to Sheffield to visit my friends up there and enjoy the delights of my favourite city at Xmastime. All of this is leaving me with little to blog about and not much time to blog in, but I am determined to get back to it properly soon. I'm really looking forward to my Christmas and New Year plans and hope you all are too!
So if I don't get around to writing another blog before then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas/Non-religious winter holiday/primary gifting window/Hogswatch and a Happy New Year/Hogmanay/Anything else you may be celebrating.