Sunday, 29 July 2012

Proud to be British.

You know what? Despite my somewhat cynical view of the olympics, partially influenced by those unimpressed by the whole concept of it, I was thoroughly in awe of London's opening ceremony. It made me feel immensely proud of my home country, I was glad to call myself British. Actually, I was never in doubt of my country's endeavour to perform to the world a quintessential view of ourselves and succeed fabulously, only our current political stature has my disapproval. The ceremony at hand involved all manner of beautifully British aspects combined into one spectacular show. Danny Boyle, I feel, is deserving of a ginormous amount of respect from the Great British public for representing us in such a way that we appeared as the true deferential yet striking country that we are known to be.

The wonderfully clever transformation of the green and pleasant land into the dark satanic mills imposed a great sense of British history that was both humbling, possibly even quite abasing, and majestic at the same time. It symbolised a great beginning of the world's future, creating an olympic spirit right from the start. Although portrayed as a dark point in our history, red lighting, heavy smoke, dark colours, contrasting significantly to the green, bright, lighthearted start, its brilliant grandness also conveyed the importance of the moment in time.

One thing that this part of the opening was really special for, was that it was not a history of kings and queens and the aristocratic aspect of our country, it was a history of the people. And the people, the workers, are what really allowed things such as the industrial revolution to happen. A Tori had made a comment the following morning on how he thought it was a bit left wing, well let me tell you something mate, it was fantastic that it wasn't right wing. If it had of been a right wing director then I'm sure that instead of representing true, hardworking people who deserved to be recognised it would have been portrayal of the rich, "distinguished" characters of our past whom may have had some intuition into the revolution but their work was significantly minimal in comparison. Boyle did well in relating to today, recognising hardworking citizens as very important tools in the machine of our country. The NHS workers for example, real doctors and nurses dancing to represent a vital health service that quite frankly we'd struggle without. They deserved to be in the opening ceremony because they are a part of Britain that literally keeps us alive, working admirably hard and with the constant criticism from the media and a threat of closure from the right wing government.

Another wonderful aspect of the ceremony was the uniting of James Bond and the Queen, which allowed me to have new respect for Her Majesty because of her ability to make fun of herself in a lighthearted way. It was enough to make me me say "we have such a cool Queen!" regardless of my skeptical opinions of the monarchy.

The opening moved on to represent our literary wonders for children, the magnificent Harry Potter both portrayed with the author herself reading from another wonderful author's work, Peter Pan, and a bloody great 40 foot tall Voldemort. Boyle presented these imaginary marvels in a weird, dreamlike manner that was almost quite scary. We had the Queen of Hearts, the monster under your bed, Voldemort of course, and many other characters plotted to enter children's nightmares. Adding to this quirky madness was Mary Poppins coming to save the day, that would have made Harry Potter a whole different story. And a rather wonderful one at that. The creative chaos was beautifully British in its own right, crazy, and quirky and perfect.

Moving on to our very own evolution of music, making me realise that we had a superior amount of fantastic music. Music destined to be great forever with wonderful amounts of icons and idols, all British and all known worldwide. We had Bowie, The Who, The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Prodigy and tonnes more that I cannot remember because there were so many great artists. So many great movements and revolutions of British youth culture, hippies, punks, new romantics, the raves in the 90s, all making me realise that we have a really, really boring generation of young people. Our popular music has gone downhill as well, it's no longer revolutionary lyrics and spine tingling guitar solos, but rapping senselessly about "passing out" because of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. No thank you, Tinie Tempah, I'd rather head bang to Anarchy In The Uk.

Apart from our rather uninspiring music and youth of today, our fireworks were also pretty awesome. No pyrotechnics needed to put on a great show, nor was a draining of resource from our defence budget. We ended our rather brilliant entrance into the Olympics for the third time, with a spectacular array of beautiful planned explosions leaving a good impression on the rest of the world.

Danny Boyle created a wonderful, quirky, mad, weird, quintessentially British opening ceremony that is sure to stay with us for a long time. Yes it cost a lot of money, about £27 million or so but there's  56 million Brits so that's 48p each, so stop complaining like a whining baby and be proud of your country.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


I really enjoy performing. You get such a kick out of acting or dancing or singing in front of a group of people. It's the thrill you obtain from appearing on stage that I adore. The excited nerves that build up beforehand as you hear the bustling of an audience arriving, the absolute concentration on the stage and you and your fellow performers as you stand vulnerable before the crowd, and finally, the relief and elation you feel once you have finished all contribute to the wonderful atmosphere created from a performance.

A smile is planted on your face for a good few minutes after a show, not because you are grateful it has ended, but because "YOU DID IT!" and it was amazing, and the crowd loved it. You feel as if you want to scream and shout and jump up and down with joy. Embracing everyone in your sight to express how wonderful it was to them, jumping frantically round in an awkward hug both participants squealing loudly is an experience I frequently come across. You feel so unbelievably happy, and I think that's fantastic. That from just doing one tiny thing in front of a group of people you become completely besides oneself with joy.

Of course, performing isn't for everyone and may inject absolute terror into some it is, however, a wonderful way of expressing oneself to a crowd of people through any means of art. You could be playing the recorder, or be at the back of the stage in a bit part for all I care, I believe that this fabulous feeling is felt by everyone and anyone who performs. And I love it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

William Shakespeare.

I think I might be in love with William Shakespeare.

Regardless of the fact I have yet to read or watch all of his work, I am infatuated by all that Shakespeare has to offer. His work is so beautiful, ingenious, gob-smackingly wonderful that it seems almost impossible not to, at some time in your life, fall deeply in love with the idea of this brilliant man whom no other writer could ever surpass. I, personally, do not find the language so obscenely difficult to understand although I do struggle at times, I sort of find that a rather magical part of his work. Not ever fully knowing the meaning behind his words is so romantic and mysterious and wonderful and carries a whole world of endless validity. This code that no one will ever really be able to unlock is what keeps William Shakespeare eternal and is why, for most of the population, he and his stories will never, ever die.

Although for some just the thought of Twelfth Night brings shivers down their backs as they remember the horrific essay they were forced to write in their first year of high school, for me I remember really being able to write an essay and enjoy it. For most of the time, unfortunately, writing controlled assessments in school makes me feel slightly queazy, however, when writing about a specimen of Shakespeare's work I look forward to writing with passion and in detail. With most essays my work is slightly altered through the general lack of interest in the subject, but with Shakespeare essays I feel as if I could write forever. This is not to say that I no longer enjoy any other piece of literature if written by another author, just that the thought of having to write about it fills me with uninspiring dread.

I think that possibly, the reason behind this, is the unfathomable compel of Shakespeare's words. Every sentence you feel as if you have to read with such care as to not misrepresent the almighty author. I feel privileged to have read and heard and even to have spoken what was once only thought of and known by him. It's almost as if every separate word was written with absolute intention and purpose, placed for ultimate pleasure and awe created by the English language. Every meaning behind every sentence has a special place on this planet that will never be removed or exceeded.

The man discovered and expressed the truth behind all humans. All hatred, anger, evil, pain, grief, sorrow, despair, madness, helplessness, vulnerability, mischief, joy, ecstasy, happiness, mystery, wonder, curiosity, love was defined by one man when they didn't even have toilets that flushed. And I shall forever be eternally grateful, as will the world.