Once and never again?

Do you re-watch the same television shows? Do you have a certain book that you read every year? Have you got those couple of movies that you’ve seen more times than you count? Are your walks to work dominated by the same few albums? Do you consume media and then consume it again?

I hear some people don’t do that. Who are these people, I wonder? I’m a big re-watcher/reader/listener.

But I’ve been trying to work out why. Because, don’t get me wrong, I love discovering new things. I mean, you’ve heard I like books, right? And I’m always taking Netflix show recommendations from my mate and listening to songs my brother sends me on Spotify and watching, what I can only imagine at this point is, the eighty-seventh Rocky movie with my partner. But I also have personal classics that I’m always coming back to. Or thinking about the next time I get to hang out with them. And that’s when I realised it.

Returning to things makes me feel safe.

I think that’s what it comes down to. I like to feel safe. And comfortable. Like I’m among friends. And they’re helping me with my problems. I like to wrap myself in a big warm cocoon of songs I love and words that make me pause and movies that break my heart or make me laugh so hard I cry.

They’re my history. Each little piece of them tells a tiny tale that all weave together to become the whole of me. I remember sitting cramped around our first family computer on uncomfortable chairs with my siblings watching The Day After Tomorrow. I remember the first music video we ever saw was Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor (squished around that same computer). I remember making our parents sit painfully though our dance routines to the Vengaboys that we were so proud of. I remember hours of car journeys each getting to choose one CD in turn out of our big black case. Sometimes U2 or Blue or S Club 7 or The Kooks. I remember memorising every line from the movie A Cinderella Story because I watched it every day after school on my portable DVD player that I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get for Christmas. I remember watching High School Musical in 10 minute snippets on Youtube and feeling exhilarated that I’d cheated the system. I remember discovering streaming sites and watching endless hours of Heroes and Prison Break in my room hoping I didn’t accidentally get a virus on my laptop. I remember the reading group me and my friends had in our ICT classes, constantly swapping around Sarah Dessen books. I remember singing every word to The Scene Aesthetic with my friend during our edgy adolescence. I remember watching The Breakfast Club for the first time in my room because a guy had come around to put new carpet down on our stairs and I was stuck upstairs alone whilst my family all watched Neighbours downstairs. I remember watching Neighbours every day after school with my siblings and my mum. I remember watching What Lies Beneath at a Year 6 sleepover and being absolutely terrified. And I remember night after night working bar in uni listening to the same trashy pop songs every night and rolling my eyes but then shouting the words the next Friday when I was there myself, wasted.

Whilst many of these examples are not my favourite things or ‘safe spaces’ it’s still interesting to recollect. So many moments in my life link back to a book or a band or a movie. And I kind of love that. It’s like sensory memories. And I find those really satisfying. People remember what something tasted like or smelt like. But what were you listening to? What were you reading? What melodies were vibrating through your heart and what words were swirling around your head?

I know that on the beautifully silent, early morning summer paper rounds I discovered and fell in love with Snow Patrol’s album A Hundred Million Suns. I know that when I was home for Christmas from my year abroad in America, Brooklyn Nine-Nine kept me company during my long hours of jet lag. They helped me sleep again a few years later when my mum died. I know that my favourite song from last year (Old Friends – Pinegrove) came from a mixed CD my brother made me and we played on loop whilst we (and my boyfriend) hung out and drunk beer and talked about life. I know that Legally Blonde has got me through just about any bad mood I’ve ever had. All the way back to when I bought the DVD with my teenage part-time job wages and dreaming of the day I’d be as excellent as Elle Woods. I know I spent my childhood quoting School of Rock and Mean Girls endlessly with my siblings and feeling so loved. And I know I sat in a Creative Writing class at uni in America reading Autobiography of Red and Dept. of Speculation and Citizen: An American Lyric and We the Animals and realising that writing could be so much more that I had ever realised. And I don’t know, when I revisit these texts and songs it gives me a floating sense of connectedness. At least, I sense of floating that grounds me.

Do you have moments like that? Are you an avid re-watcher/reader/listener? Or have you just read all that and thought, ‘what the fuck is she talking about’? Either way, thanks for coming on the journey with me! This is what happens when I start writing about something without a clear idea in mind, haha. But what I was thinking about mainly is returning to things now that we know and love. I think it’s a kind way you can support yourself in 2021. It’s respite from the dystopia we’re living in. It’s a good way to feel content. With that said, I’m off to start season three of Grey’s Anatomy (again). Wbu?

Mind Mischief – Tame Impala

Elle Woods Is A Boss

Elle Woods is unapologetically herself and I think that’s the best thing you can be. Want to wear a baby pink suit to congress or have scented CVs? Why the fuck not. Be individual and authentic and original. Don’t compromise yourself to please others or to be who you think they want you to be. Elle tried that and she showed it only affects you and your identity. Even if you change for others it will never be enough for them. Other people have got their own lives, don’t worry about what they’re doing.

I mean, just look at Warner: ew. All he does is try and please people. He’s selfish but he’s mainly just a puppet of his powerful family. By trying to win Elle back once she’s bested him in every possible way shows his cowardice. Where Elle oozes intelligence and integrity Warner demonstrates none. He doesn’t know how to be his own person. Don’t be a Warner.

Elle is a badass feminist and I’ll argue with anyone who thinks she isn’t. Her ferocity is why I’ll time and time again come back to these great movies. (Though not knock-off Legally Blondes, that’s two hours I’m never getting back!) When they both finally arrived on Netflix I was bloody elated. I think it’s easy to dismiss these movies as rom coms – as with Mean Girls and many others – but I think that’s a real shame. You’d be missing a great role model. Elle empowers young girls and women. I mean the whole premise of the first movie is a blonde, Malibu girl trying to make it at Harvard Law School. You expect her to be out of her league. Yes, she originally goes to win back her boyfriend but who can say they haven’t done something stupid in the name of love? At least Elle was coming out of it with a law degree.

But the tale quickly becomes much more than that when Elle realises she’s actually good at being a lawyer. She’s honest and bold and she believes in the good of people. She’s not cut-throat because she doesn’t need to be. She’s just confident and effective. She’s strong and intelligent. She’s underestimated constantly and by basically everyone in her life – most dishearteningly by her parents – but this only fuels her determination. The scene with Elle in the pool at her parents house gives some real The Graduate vibes. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Elle is looking at her parents lives and thinking, yeah, she’s not entirely sure where this next adventure is going but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t at least try. Her parents lives are frivolous and she wants better for herself.

I think that’s pretty boss.

I think a big lesson in the movie is understanding your self-worth and then fighting for what you want. And for Elle she concludes, sure, she loves glitter and bikinis and getting her hair done. And she always will. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But that’s just one part of her and she’s so much more. She craves a greater purpose in life and a bigger challenge and I think that’s only a good thing. It’s inspiring.

Go and change everything about yourself like Elle because why the heck not. Or just use Elle’s positivity and drive to go after something you’re already slightly working towards but mainly just in your head. Turn intention into action. Just be daring. Be kind. And don’t ever compromise yourself. Because if you’re being truly who you feel you need to be then you don’t need to worry about fitting in or being cool because you already are.

At least, that’s what I learnt from Elle Woods anyway. I’d go as far as to say she’s a feminist icon. But maybe I’m just being a fangirl. Either way, I’m still sitting here waiting for the third movie.

Perfect Day – Hoku

Cinema Etiquette

At the beginning of this year, apparently like most people in the world, I ventured to the cinema to see La La Land, and yes, whilst it was amazing it is not the point of this post. I’ve always loved movies and cinema but I’ve long stopped getting dressed to enjoy my slice of Hollywood. And not because I don’t want to. But as a poor student I always chose that next bottle of vodka over an extortionately priced ticket. Like many in my generation, I favoured online film watching; the comfort of watching whatever you wanted in sweat pants, in bed, eating pizza. You remember the golden days before Netflix blocked VPNs? Why would you ever get showered and go the cinema? But I’ve recently decided I’d like to start going the cinema more frequently. Call it the adult in me since graduating. I’m trying to navigate proper society now and apparently that means you have to leave the house. Who knew? But in my expeditions so far to a variety of Odeons, Vues and independent cinemas I’ve noticed something quite distressing. People are annoying. And for a select few it seems no one has ever taught them how to behave in civilised society.

Watching a movie in public shouldn’t be difficult. Or am I just being naïve to assume everyone’s parents gave them good manners like mine? And we all know the irritating culprits. The ones who slurp their drinks, munch their popcorn, rustle their wrappers, check their phones, repeatedly go the toilet, kick people’s chairs and worst of all, the ones who decide the climax of the movie is the best, most suitable time to have a heart-to-heart with their friend. Plain and simple, mate. People are stupid.

So what is simple cinema etiquette? Couldn’t be more simple. Act like a functioning, polite being, not a neanderthal. Make the journey to your chair with minimum disruption to others around you and zip that mouth from the second the lights go down until the moment the credits roll. The expected polite laugh or silent cry is allowed. If you’re a loud eater, please satisfy your hunger before or after the showing. If you need the toilet constantly or at least once within a two hour period, sit on the end. If you feel the need to get your phone out of your pocket then please do, place it under your foot and stamp on it. You’re doing us all a favour really. And if you want to kick someone’s chair, sit on the front row where you won’t be tempted. If you don’t want to sit on the front row because the view is terrible and neck-breaking then learn to act like a grown up and maybe you can come back to the top.

Savvy?

If you think you can adhere to these easy human niceties then please come to the cinema often and enjoy the film. If not, I guess you can watch a bad pirate copy online and when the black silhouette stands up to go the bathroom and you moan just remember that’s why you’re sat at home, alone.

What You Know – Two Door Cinema Club (See what I did there?)