Funny Girl

I seem to be making all sorts of life connections with movies this week. My productivity levels regarding university work are utterly out the window, only this time because I can’t stop singing the soundtrack of the Barbara Streisand hit “Funny Girl”. As an appendage to my account of Tinderella throwing off both glass slippers at the ball and running out the door, I contemplate if being a funny girl makes “life candy and the sun a ball of butter”. Well Babs, I can’t decide if my parade is being rained all over (maybe someone will get the reference- please?). How does life in practice as the funny girl play out?

If you’ve ever seen the movie, great-it’s wonderful. If not- watch it, it’ll change your life.

A young Fanny Brice (yes Fanny, before it picked up all those lurid connotations) falls in love with Nicky Arnstein. She’s feisty and  an absolute hoot who charms Nicky with her humour and brazen attitude to life. We follow her journey as she ascends from chorus girl to Broadway star. She’s certainly not a girl’s girl. She’s rough around the edges and everything she does is hysterical in some way, intentional or otherwise. I’m not the melodic diva she is nor half as attractive,but watching it I felt a lot of similarities in how I’m perceived in terms of relationships and my social life. I’ve been told on numerous occasions, “Nicole, you know what. You make me laugh when you don’t even mean to be funny” by my ladies. And from the male compadres (of a romantic nature) “Nicole, there’s no one quite like you”. And although this would seem a welcome compliment , I know that it’s a synonym for hysterical really. I’ve learnt this over time.

At first in all this I was glad someone thought I was funny. I finally had a word that could be attached officially to a description of “me”. With friends, it makes you feel secure in knowing they’ll always keep you for comedic factor, and in some capacity you’re not readily replaceable. In day-to-day life, it can be a little frustrating. The moments in class discussion where you come out with what you think is a fairly insignificant one liner, and everyone laughs. You think to yourself, am I failing to observe some basic rules of social etiquette that everyone else is in on? Am I just really funny? Do I look funny? Is something on my face? And when you move beyond situations where you’re just dying to be taken seriously like a discussion on politics (funnily enough a prerequisite for participation in my degree) you hit a totally new set of frustrations in relationships.

When you have a talent to present a constant lax attitude to life’s trials and tribulations (whilst harbouring the secret/or not so secret if you know me, that your mind runs at a 100mph), combined with an innate ability to make most grim scenarios light hearted, you’ll know when you try to express how mad you are it rarely is communicated. Especially to a partner in which you’ll get a variation of responses. “You’re so cute when you’re mad” or failing that…they’ll merely laugh. Poor Fanny knows, with how it turned out with that gambling eejit Nicky Arnstein. It really is a double edged sword being the “funny” one.

But for now if i’m keeping everyone entertained, much to my class debating detriment, I’m okay with being the funny girl.

Tinderella.

the-mighty-thor-the-complete-1966-animated-series-dvd-3f5a5

Thibault, 21

-“21 year old city worker. Love to travel and looking for fun. Are you my #tinderella?”

Well… Thibault, I feel that’s pretty unlikely. For one, the likelihood is if you’re in anyway attractive you’ll have the charisma of a gnat and a conversation ability making someone feel similar to sitting across from an eating Ed Miliband at a fast food restaurant. If on the other end of the spectrum you’re a pretty unassuming fellow you might progress through conversation in a normal manner until you hit the third date, send a spooky facebook relationship request and post a picture of you and me at Nandos, claiming you’re with “Bae”. Whilst these are huge generalisations, they are the norm I have came across in my unfortunate escapades throughout the Tinder wilderness.

This will actually be the first Carrie Bradshaw-esque blog, ever. And I regret the fact it’s come to this as I claimed I would never fall into the trap of being a self-indulgent blogger who starts an article with something like..

“I looked out the window, onto the busy winding roads of London, my scented yankee candle flickering in the backdrop. He hadn’t called..”

However, having just hooked myself up once more to the dating life support machine that is tinder I am just astounded at the situations I have faced, and the utter disrespect and disloyalty of a hopefully minute proportion of the male population. At first I thought oh it must be only those that are a little socially challenged, or failing that really very frustrated in their lower regions,coming out of this worm-riddled wood work. However, much to my dismay after gross message after gross message I discovered the multitude were made from singularities ranging from high fliers with money perhaps just not time to meet people to.. you know what I mean, to those with too much time and clearly spent an awful lot of time in bed (it was irrespective if they had money or not…) and on top of that a mixture of everyone in between. Some nice, some odd, some crude or crass. But no, it was not just the “weird” that I had assumed made up those coming out to “rep” the male community of London in a largely vile manner, but a mix of everyone from your banker to your barman. Naturally after numerous disaster dates I was feeling a little dismayed, hoping this wasn’t what I faced for the rest of my relationship seeking life. Given that I had only ever went on tinder to put myself back out there, and if anything indulge in the trend almost everyone was doing, I don’t write this with a heavy heart. I feel I can laugh about it all.

Post-coming out of quite an…interesting tinder relationship (massively short lived) the whole occasion conveyed to me that there is most definitely a gap in the natural magnetism when first contact is made remotely and at distance, finding the spark was on a scale of strange to non existent… I found there was something like a sense of audio delay, the lip sync didn’t match the sound just like the typing of keys didn’t match the actual physical reality of growing to know someone, there and then. It also made me make up a little list of tick boxes when I swiped and spoke to “matches” which only recently I realised was created only relative to the types I had encountered through poor misfortune (the gross, the bad and the outright horny) and not within my usual bounds of judgement. I found myself not engaging in that every day filter, of what I knew was right and wasn’t right for me, when on this really odd app (when you think about the concept).

Basically, after a multitude of dates with those with dishonest intentions, their own demons they were seeking to rebound from and those who just didn’t realise i’d come wearing 4 inch boots making me a whole foot taller than them, it’s time to call it quits. I’m not saying there isn’t lovely or genuine people on tinder. There are, and the people I’ve known have been lovely (most) in their own ways, or clearly just very misguided but I hold hope that the behaviour exhibited is hopefully an opportunity to hide behind a surnameless screen and keyboard. Nonetheless, I just think the whole experience was a reality check. I guess the message for me, and others, is if there are genuine and lovely men on tinder…meet these genuine, and lovely people, on the street, when you bump into them in a bar or catch eyes when you’re reaching for the same book at Waterstones? It may be a little idealistic, but the whole while something told me

it doesn’t happen like this, girl. 

On the other hand, tell me if I’m wrong… Could love at first swipe, be love at first sight?

But she’s a real phony..

“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.”

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

When you move to London you’re confronted with the widest scope of characters imaginable. The quiet reserved bookish types, the arty farty to the hippy dippy and the downright bizarre. When I saw all these people I was in awe at how unique and off the charts they were, both  impressed at their “out-there” way of thinking and absolute disregard for how they are perceived. As if it were all really just for them. But once the first glimpse of the untouchable individuals had passed, and I looked for longer than a glance, the dream, so to speak, started to collapse (a little like inception)- a dream within a dream within a dream. Layers and layers of something that did not stick.

Thinking of one case, as I got to unravel this one particular individual, I was amazed at what I thought was a natural charisma, a raw magnetism all as a result of looking and sounding as if they’ve stepped from a world decades ago, their air of you don’t know me and never will, multi-faceted exterior and utter lack of gravity toward THIS reality. But, I became to see the situation for what it was. An impeccably constructed image, but barely even an image it ran much deeper than appearance; an idea. Through voice, and senses and attire, the pauses between their spoken words- each carefully thought out so as to exude a breathy sumptuousness that none is born with; that part should have at least been apparent.

Stumbling upon the reality of what they WERE as opposed to what they had formulated, I could not buy into it any longer. However, whether this was my own issues or not, I began to question the line between being inspired by the movies you love, the music you listen to, the way it makes you feel, the places you’ve been and how you want to completely embody the essence of these things…and question the line between inspiration and transformation of the self. What this train of thought brought me to was an apt quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A Truman Capote line I never really understood until I was confronted with it’s message- ” the real phony”.

As intertwined as the whole thought process became, and as unsure as I was if I was just getting stuck in a line of thought that was irrelevant whatever it’s outcome, I wondered if we were all real phony’s. Whilst I had always thought we were influenced by our likes and loves, I now questioned if my whole persona, much like the phony I had so unforgivingly dissected, was as carefully constructed as theirs. Had I missed that I had been articulating every taste and passion verbally to others, through my appearance and pictures, only to add to an exterior image and perception I wished others to gain of me? Furthermore, were those typically handsome bearded men, the coffee drinkers, the bookish types that I had lusted over (and still do really) as some romantic “idea” been an “idea” themselves? Was anyone a true reflection of themselves, because of just loving the things they loved… without becoming them? And in fact…was this even possible?

Nonetheless, why did it matter if I, or they, were a phony…

because in the end, at least they’re a real phony?

Nights out that never happened.

A group of friends sit in a bustling bar. It’s a birthday, they look their best and everyone can see it. Not the people there with them in the bar, no their phone contacts, their Instagram followers, your most snapped. Through eyes of their fellow punters they are a group with added artificial appendages strapped to their hands where bright flashes and risen arms catch moments in videos and pictures. These are the nights out that never happen.

The Social Network generation have gone beyond mere phones in hands during conversations and social events. An accelerating pressure beyond the need to be in know, in the loop and not missing out has been replaced with the need for everyone to be absolutely sure that you’re having a good time, even if in the process you’re missing the whole experience of being there. Rather than chat with friends, and experience BEING, the disposition of the twenty something’s “living” the best years of their carefree lives must be sure that everyone is seeing them. How they look, what their friends are saying, the 20 photos taken before leaving the house resulting in missing the last 20 minutes of happy hour, wondering how in all this uploaded calamity there was a moment of pause where they could wish a friend happy birthday, ingest the burger they added four filters on, on instagram or drank the 2 for 1 cocktail they pose coyly with in a hashtagged image.

I wonder if this is to do with the rise of the tinder fad, the confirmed actuality that this world is a competitive one for love and attention purely based on looks. But not just your aesthetics. Your constructed image, the places you go, what you eat who you know, what your friends look like, what you look like. The question is no longer one for most of capturing memories. It is an advertisement, a billboard of you, looking for accreditation. These pressures are real, they are understandable.

However, next time you realise you have a 110 second snapstory of your friends awkwardly smiling as the camera rotates around the table capturing faces lit up by bright phones while life continues around you,

is it a memory of a night out that never happened?….

Student Careerists

So I haven’t written in an AWFULLY long time and I decided to write this as it really resonates with a post I did before I went to university about  ambition and find what you love and do it, but upon embarking into the city of success, London (or not so much) I truly had these feelings. That there was opportunity abound and it was for everyone.

I’m fast approaching the final throes of University in my penultimate semester of my politics degree. This brings to mind many emotions. I’ll list a few

Petrified, nauseous, anxious, sad, confused.

Now, one would expect I would feel excited and thrilled at the prospect of entering “the real world”, about not being bound to the drudgery of the education system and so on. However, at this moment in time I can link none of these emotions to the event of finishing University. I say this not because of the fond memories, awesome parties and overdraft without responsibility but instead the prospect of struggling (as everyone but the lucky few has to, I appreciate that) for employment and the cessation of constant learning, which has been amazing in itself. However, instead of these emotions of elation I’m feeling crushed and suffocated by the expectations of how established we are supposed to already be for the working world and the meagre age of 21. This is in terms of Internships, financial considerations for further education, and not to mention examples of our leadership abilities, ability to cope under pressure, name a situation when you’ve led a group of people out of a burning building… and these are only a few of the questions you’ll be expected to answer in an interview for a pretty basic Intern scheme anywhere in London, by the way! Employers must know you’ve been test run.

One can accuse me of being bitter, so be it, but I am not. I’ve done my fair share of volunteering, interning and hard work, but I can’t help but feel the standard we are expected be at right now is dizzying. And how much clout should these menial positions we scramble over each other to get REALLY hold? An individual with promise no longer can truly envisage a future with promise and although there is the age-old claim that if you work hard enough, you will achieve what you want, the fact of the matter is there isn’t the quantity of Internships and opportunities to match the quantity of individuals with promise, and without this how an earth do you display in an interview, likely to be for another unpaid position, that you have been tried and tested to do administrative tasks in an office, regardless of the fact the education system is likely to have given us these much sought after competencies already. Our very social interactions, membership in clubs and abilities to pursue hobbies and finish a degree, as I had previously been mistaken about, hold some weight but nowhere near what is expected. Internships are very much a privilege in themselves, in the sense of having that extra experience somehow already to obtain them, and the financial stability to sustain yourself working in an unpaid capacity, as most of them usually warrant as a prerequisite as a result of being largely unpaid. But so long as students agree to fill these positions, there will be no incentive for companies or organisations to finance their student office lackeys, often working hours outlined as voluntary but with a covert expectation that you match the working week of any of their paid employees both in work load and hours for fear of not getting that gleaming gold dust reference.

For one who is a go-getter, it is difficult to summon an image right now of the getting aspect, as I have struggled all summer to update my work experience through numerous interviews for non-paid charitable positions and having little success. Instead I worked 45 hour weeks in a restaurant just to stay in London on the off chance something may come up, and while I recognise this was my choice the pressure I felt to stay and compete incessantly was overwhelming. Furthermore, I was often applying for positions I had no real passion for, which I fear will result in a generation of young people doing jobs “just because” for fear of not remaining competitive. Jobs and Internships are means to ends, but how much is expected before these ends materialise. Of course the world is not easy, but passion has been largely eradicated from the graduate world. The mantra of get by, keep your head down and eventually…just maybe…you’ll find a position which brings you actual joy. Get that CV gleaming young 20 something. You can play later.

More importantly, while we are all racing and striving, being involved in anything from voluntary organisations in leadership positions or student publishing outlets, there is a joy of being involved and knowing it MAY add to your employability (who even knows what the criteria is for valuable experience now), but also a sense of lost fleeting youth for an undoubtable existing proportion who are just…scared? You should love your job, but should a job be all you are and your whole life a culmination of making that job happen. I know few who are involved in straining volunteer roles with an actual  job in mind of which they see as their absolute life vocation which is worth blood, sweat and tears. For those who don’t know what they want in life really, nor see a definite path for themselves, it’s a dualism of am I doing this to keep options open, or am I contributing a sizeable proportion of my time to creating a means to an end for myself and in the process perhaps missing out on being young.

These are the student careerists, and there is no resentment or criticism of them, but a pause for thought that the expectations of “The Panel” has created a generation fixated on achievement without real aim, essentially a generational loss of passion in some instances. I may be missing a large part of the picture, and I’m sure someone will correct me if I am, but how much would you give for someone to tell you you’re enough?

Breakfast with Audrey

A modern take on the beautiful timeless icon that is Audrey Hepburn..

 

SHIRT:URBAN OUTFITTERS                                                                                                   SKIRT:TOPSHOP

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

COAT: JONES+JONES..

AND NEXT ON MY SHOPPING LIST!! <3

 

 

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THE DRESS!..

                                                      DRESS: HOUSE OF FRASER

 

COLLAR: RIVER ISLAND

 

LOVE NICOLE X.

p.s I know the formatting on this is ridiculously bad, but bear with me ‘cos I have 3 A-levels next week!

 

 

It isn’t easy being me.

No I don’t live in a war zone, a famine stricken third world town or small dung hut on stilts over a river of malnourished crocodiles- but I feel really sorry for myself. In the words of a wise teacher, who fancied himself as a bit of a stand-up comedian, ” Let’s not have a pity party!”  But that’s exactly what I find myself doing so often. I have had a really lucky life I guess. I screwed up my younger years pursuing my teenage “sweet heart” (HA!) and still managed to come out with decent GCSEs. I realised I actually wasn’t as thick as I was perceived by some people. So, I decided to stay in school and did pretty well from there on!  AND..  As much as I will thank the education system in years to come for the great graduate job I may or may not have,I feel like my later childhood/teenage years have been snatched away from me.

So we start career planning in first year. Aged 11. Isn’t this just a little bit after we stop the replies of ” I want to be a princess/camel/popstar.” Mild exaggeration. But what I’m trying to say is that we’re made to look to the future from such a young age! It’s madness. Couldn’t we have retained a little bit of our blissful ignorance until our GCSE years?

And even now I feel as unsure as ever about what I want to do with my life. This absolutely GRIM economic climate has meant that it’s all about picking a job that’s in demand etc. Whatever happened to the good old, do something you love and work hard, then you’ll get a job? See, initially I had wanted to do something really creative such as… English and er, creative writing. I could well have done this. However, at every corner I’m being told that graduate prospects are poor, you won’t have a job, how will you feed your 17 children! Furthermore, Repossession on your house, no banged up Nissan Micra, no tesco value beans. LIVING ON THE STREETS! And before anyone feels I’m being insensitive, If that has happened to someone I am DEEPLY sorry, but what I am trying to say is that generalisations like this are ridiculous.

Odds are if you like something and are good at it, you will find your way in the world.. We can hope. I am now hoping to do a degree in politics. I do love politics and it was a sturdy choice for me to make. I can see myself finding a job I like from it.  BUT..*cue for a long list of what ifs*

I always wonder what would have happened if I had left post-GCSEs, as I had intended on doing, to take a course in Fashion and textiles. I’m sure I would have had a great time, and as much as I feel I made the right choice, I wonder if those careers advisors and pesky newspaper statistics would have been right in damning me to a life of poverty and no prospects, unless I am absolutely outstanding and basically the next Stella McCartney. Just because I don’t want to do law, or medicine, engineering etc, does not mean I am not going to do anything with my life. The world needs lots of different workers in different fields. We’ll always need bin men, postmen, nurses.. but we’ll always want the artsy types, too. Imagine a world without artists, or writers and journalists, musicians etc. Would be a pretty bleak place!

But yeah, I guess what I’m annoyed about is the fact I have to choose RIGHT NOW the moves that will determine the rest of my life. I can’t even choose between Deli sandwiches in McDonald’s without a certain degree of deep and intense thought. My mind changes A LOT and it probably will for a long time. Problem is that now changing your mind is an expensive activity. I’m sure a lot of people my age do feel like this. Pushed into a corner and trapped. It’s good to have direction, it’s just scary how quickly it all happens!

Now, I am going to take on the role of an elderly woman and say that I really hope things will be so much different for my children. They may have a nutter of a mother but I will always push them to take the route of what they love over what is construed as sensible. And if I forget this, someone send me this blogpost when I’m forcing them to revise 10 hours a day for a place in Oxford!

Love and good luck,

Nicole.

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