They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han
Release date: 7.9.2017
From Amazon: On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.



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Initial thoughts
Another competition win that I very gladly received. Having read History is All You Left Me as part of Zoella’s book club, I was very excited for the release of this. Not only does it not fail to disappoint, it surpasses History in its engagement and concept.

It kept me calm while waiting for my first counselling session on Thursday. Believe me, when my anxiety is high it is hard to keep my attention so that is a true testament to Silvera that not only did he keep my attention, his words soothed my soul.

Plot
I have to talk about the plot first, as it is ‘high concept’. This is a world in which you are informed the night before that you have 24 hours left to live. No other details or specifics are given; just that you will not be around for the day after and that you should get your affairs in order.
I love that there is no explanation about how the system works. I don’t need to know, it exists and that’s all good to me.
Social media has hooked into this phenomenon and have introduced apps to help people through their last day, and that’s how two boys, on the cusp of adulthood, find themselves meeting. The are each other’s Last Friend and they do amazing jobs in helping the other live for the day.
You know how it ends; the clue is in the title. However, you don’t ever find yourself wishing it wasn’t true. At least I didn’t, it would have cheapened the experience.

Characters
I loved the joint protagonists; Mateo and Rufus. Not only were they able to pull me into their lives and make me care, they helped me live along with them. I liked the approach both took towards their deaths.
As I said before, I didn’t want them to survive. That sounds harsh and makes it sound like the deserve it. They don’t, but for me there is still hope at the end of the book for both of them and that’s the important part.
With death, it’s very rarely about the people who die, but those left behind. I found it an important factor to have chapters from their perspective, it’s what some of the recent books I’ve been reading have lacked because you don’t identify with those people and they’re left feeling a little flat. Not here, you find yourself identifying with those people. A subtle touch, but it makes all the difference.

Writing
The writing was addictive. The chapters were a perfect, digestible, length and had circumstances been different, this would have been a one sitting read.
There were subtle differences between the voices of the characters participating within the narrative. There’s nothing worse than having a book that requires a different font to distinguish between characters. For the two protagonists, you didn’t even need the chapter titles to keep up with who was speaking.

Without being specific, Silvera was able to convey the emotions of both boys clearly. I found that quite a refreshing read and makes me want to read more with male protagonist.


Final words

It is a book that will leave you thinking about what you would do and how you would live your life each day; whether it be because you know you are not set to die that day, or even more importantly, you knew any minute it could be your last.

It’s a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Slvera has done an amazing job once again, and I look forward to reading more from him.

Harry Potter Tag – #Gem #Han

we got the tag

So… we got the call! I’ve attempted to complete it a few times over the last few weeks. But weddings, overgrown toddlers and books have gotten in the way. So with a drink in hand and my best friend at my side, we finally got to grips with the questions.

Big thanks to https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/hogwarts-tag/amp/ for tagging us.

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AM I A PUREBLOOD, HALF-BLOOD, OR MUGGLE BORN?

H: Total Muggle.
G: Same as Han, total muggle!

WHICH WAND CHOSE ME?

H: Picture1

G: Alder and Unicorn Hair, 10 and ¾ inch

DID I TAKE AN OWL, CAT, RAT, OR TOAD WITH ME?

H: I picked a cat, ideally a ginger cat. I have a soft spot for gingers in all walks of life, so it was the natural choice. It would be a male, very friendly and loyal. Only I’d spot this beautiful creature in the shop and I’d name him Janus.

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G: I picked a snowy owl. I think they are stunningly beautiful and I remember seeing one on my porch roof when I was 3 or 4 years old. It stayed there for a day or two and then we never saw it again, I’m pretty sure it must’ve escaped from someone’s aviary, although as a child I just remember thinking it was magical because I’d never seen such a nice white bird (as seagulls are clearly evil chip stealers, even at a young age I knew this!)

WHERE DID THE SORTING HAT PUT ME?

H: Ravenclaw– it lies. When I did this years ago, it put me in Hufflepuff. All the quizzes put me in Hufflepuff, but in the last year I’ve been getting Ravenclaw. Have I really changed that much?

G: Ravenclaw, and I’m stunned. Every quiz I’ve previously done, including this one years ago, have put me in Slytherin. Therefore I’m going with Slytherclaw from now on.

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WHAT HOUSE DID I WANT TO BE IN?

H: Hufflepuff and proud. I have the t-shirt and everything. I’m a Hufflepuff and you can’t make me move!

G: Slytherin, but Ravenclaw would be my second choice so I’m happy to be Slytherclaw!

WHAT LESSONS ARE MY FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE?

Favourites:

H:The year in which Professor Lupin was running Defence Against the Dark Arts, it became my favourite. I secretly had a crush on the Professor. Okay, so it wasn’t so secret. I think this makes me a hipster Huffle! After all, I didn’t join the many fawning over Lockheart the previous year.

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I prefer my men brave, moral and good hearted. So, his clothes were threadbare; that’s what happens when society is prejudiced against afflictions people have no control over.

It might surprise people to hear, but I really enjoyed potions lessons. I got the impression Snape didn’t like me all that much; mainly because I was too clumsy and flighty but that didn’t stop me having a blast in his class. Still, I had a lot of respect for the overgrown bat. He knew people didn’t like him, but he didn’t care.

 

G: Potions was my all-time favourite. The idea that you could mix a few ingredients together to create something so powerful was intoxicating. Snape himself is clearly a legend. I don’t think I’d have necessarily been a popular student, but I’d have certainly been an attentive one.

I also love the idea of being able to transfigure, particularly to the level of the Marauders and be an Animagus  – and probably like them I’d have been unregistered. It always surprised me that it was never revealed in the books that Snape had the ability to transform into an actual bat, it seemed to me so likely that he would have added that to his repertoire.

Least favourites:

H: I didn’t enjoy Muggle Studies. I lived it, I didn’t need to study it. Weirdly, I’d get things wrong as well, not because I was wrong (It was how baking a potato would be done in my house), but it wasn’t what was in the text book!

G: Divination. Absolute nonsense and a waste of time that could be better spent learning something that had an actual use.

 

THE FORM MY PATRONUS TAKES:

H: A bloody Wild Rabbit. I bloody hate rabbits. If I’d have a choice mine would be a hippo.

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G: A vole apparently. I literally have no idea why or what this means! I do remember being on a family day trip to Matlock and sitting by the river (or canal? It was water anyway!) and me and my brother feeding the water voles with the remnants of our Sonic the Hedgehog biscuits. That biscuit reference alone indicates quite how long ago this was!

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WHAT DOES A BOGGART LOOK LIKE FOR ME?

H: My boggart takes the form of an empty room. My biggest fear is isolation so a room in which I am alone would suffocate me.

G: A Pennywise from IT type clown, and as a muggle I’d have been aware of this reference.

DO I PARTAKE IN ANY MAGICAL HOBBIES OR SCHOOL SPORTS?

H: I think I’d be involved in something underground, like the DA! I’m not sporty in the slightest, but I would attend Quidditch matches.

G: As much as I’d love to be on the Quidditch team I am massively uncoordinated. Uh, so Duelling Club?

WHERE WOULD I FIND MYSELF HANGING IN MY FREE TIME?

H: The library or Hufflepuff common room (not Ravenclaw! You can’t make me)…. Reading, writing or listening to music.

G: I’m assuming Gem would be with me with this.

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WHAT WOULD I MOST LIKELY GET DETENTION FOR?

H: Either being clumsy and making a mess; annoying Filtch or forgetting to complete my homework. I’d start it, get distracted and completely forget about it.

G: Cheeking the teacher, wandering around after hours or arguing with fellow students who disagreed with my opinion!

WHAT CAREER DO I WANT AFTER LEAVING HOGWARTS?

H: I would work in muggle relations and education. I’d reform Muggles Studies and ensure that it’s kept up to date to ensure wizards don’t freak non-magic folk out by brushing their hair with forks.

G: I love the idea of being an Auror and capturing and putting away the truly dark wizards. I think there are various levels of power, and whilst it’s perfectly ok to seek to further your knowledge in a particular subject (such as potions) it is unacceptable to use that power to discriminate against people, or to take it as far as Voldermort’s loyal Death Eater’s did.

I think other than that, I would probably just end up in a random role within the Ministry of Magic and try and work my way up!

 

So there we have it, we’ve finally sat down and completed it. Phew!

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Mental Health: Know Thy Self

I found these 25 questions for personal growth. I figured it was a good way to spend some time reflecting upon myself. I think I intended to answer them with a comedian’s mind-set. However, I don’t think I’ve been all that successful.

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  1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would involve starting the day by sitting and reading in a comfy chair with a good cuppa. The rest of the day would involve a mixture of walking alongside a canal (ideally not one strewn with rubbish), stroking any passing dogs, cats or even cows before having an afternoon in a nearby pub where I could work on my writing.

(side note- I spent a week last summer in the Outer Hebrides and I became adamant I was going to stroke a cow. Alas, they gave me the eyes and got away as fast as they could. Some even turned their rears and emptied their bowels in protest. I wondered why I was ensuring cows joined the ranks of cats in the fight to give me a complex about my self-worth. I recently realised why I’d come to my conclusion that they were more like large dogs; Jurassic Park. “Just think of it as a big cow,” Encourages Grant. “I like cows.” Lex goes in to stroke the dinosaur. Damn!

I’d end the day with a good film, good company and an excellent bottle of wine. Or two.

  1. What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an author, a chef or a dinosaur tamer (that was back when I thought the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park were really and needed taming. I’m sensing a theme here). When I was 8 though, I knew I was destined to be a teacher. I didn’t know what subject, or even which level. I just knew I would spend some time the other side of the classroom desks.

I had hoped that teaching would enable me to write during the holidays. As half of my holidays are now expired, I can quite clearly say that it’s not quite working out as I hoped.

  1. Who are you most inspired by? Explain.

29thu2web-master768Carrie Fisher.

She’s a new inspiration to me, but because of her battle with depression I have found her openness and honesty refreshing and needed in the current social climate. If everyone had the attitude that she had about accepting that people need help for his or her chemical imbalance, those affected wouldn’t feel so ashamed and, as a result, have one less battle to face.

Carrie faced her demons, she did it with charm, with clout and with a little bit of bite. She didn’t make any apologises for her mental health or behaviour as a result.

Considering she was acting royalty, she’s carved out her own mark in the industry. Carrie raised her daughter as a single parent and she whipped the arses of trolls when Force Awakens came out. She was beautiful, inside and out. I only wish I’d gotten the chance to have said that to her face.

  1. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

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I would love to meet Richard Schiff, again. Properly. I’d love to sit in a quiet coffee shop and set the world to rights with him. I’d ask, if he was open to it, about his faith and its impact upon the roles he’s picked and his participation within politics.

 

  1. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

Break- my love and addiction for cheese and bread. They both keeps me from losing weight and don’t make me very happy. Start- I’d love to enjoy going to the gym, or running. I was at the gym about a month ago and I realised, I want a partner who’ll be my gym buddy.  

  1. Think about a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

They are funny, honest and well balanced in their happiness. They can be sad, and they are not ashamed to cry. As someone who finds it difficult to hide my emotions, it’s good to see someone embrace them.

  1. How do you like to relax?

I read or watch a tv show. Fresh pyjamas, fresh bedding and a good cuppa after a shower. It’s why autumn is my favourite season; it’s the perfect time for nesting.

  1. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

When I came home to Liverpool last week. I left my socks off, revealing my tattoos to my father. I was petrified of his response thinking he would get in a mood, shout, then give me the silent treatment.

  1. What are you most proud of?

Getting around 30 year 10 students through their RE GCSE in one year, after school and with no support. While a lot of it was the student’s motivation and ability to work independently I was also able to prove something to myself and many others; I’m amazing at my job and I know what I’m doing… Right before the government decided to change the blasted rules and playing field.

  1. What are you most afraid of?

Finding out I’m evil. Sometimes, when people turn on me I wonder if I blackout and do or say things to them that cause it. It’s probably just that I’m a nice person with a shelf life and they’ve bled me for all they can.
I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. Not in the romantic sense; I think people mistake that with me. I mean in the physical sense. I hate spending time with myself, so I assume others think the same.

  1. If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Flirting more and telling men when I fancy them. I learnt from getting my courage up with one person that if they mean anything to you, things won’t be awkward. It’s a good way of weeding out the genuine people, I guess. Plus, what if I go ‘Hey, you’re cute, I like you… let’s get a coffee?” and they say yes? It uncomplicates things.

  1. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

I don’t think there is anyone. I’ve either made connections, they have, or I’m feeling much better without them in my life. I think because I give people so many chances before I break the communication, I don’t think there is anything to be gained.

  1. What qualities do you admire in others?

Honesty, transparency, creativity and humbleness. I admire intelligence too, so long as it’s not used to put others down.

  1. What practical skills do you wish you had?

The ability to make origami and to drive. Both of which an intelligent person should be able to master. Alas not me; I can understand, just not execute.

  1. Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?

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I’d like to be able to bore my grandchildren with all the celebrities I’ve met. Some will mean nothing to them, others they’ll have a vague recollection. But Alexander Sidding? Oh, they will love that story and know exactly who he is, mainly because they’ll have watched lots of Star Trek with me.

  1. What is your favourite book/movie/song?

Book- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Movie- Jurassic Park. It’s by no means, not the best made film but it’s my favourite film, now and forever.

Song- The Man Who Sold the World- David Bowie

That’s not to say there are more! This was probably the hardest question of the lot.

  1. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?

I can’t answer this question. It’s too hard and from watching/ reading 22.11.63 it makes me wonder what the impact would be.

  1. What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object- something from you personally)?

I love cooking, good homely and filling food. A little selfish, but it’s something I don’t enjoy doing just for myself (something I need to work on).

  1. What excites you?

New films, books and being creative. People often talk about me ‘lighting up’ when I’m talking about films they need to see.

  1. What do you wish you had more of?

Gut instinct. Or at least the ability to reflect on it and follow it. Self-control when it comes to food.

  1. Pretend money is no object? What would you do?

I would have a Central London apartment with a library and gym. I’d have a chauffeur to take me to work (yes, I’d still work, but probably part time). I would input money into the World Book Night fund so they can return to the old way of giving out the books. I would also start up a podcast and buy a slot at the Prince Charles Cinema in order to film it live after a screening of the film or TV show I’d be talking about.

  1. What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?

Best- reading for pleasure. Having time to decompress after a difficult school year and traumatic time in my personal life.

Worst- anxiety. It stops me from enjoying certain things, going to certain events and sometimes traps me inside my own head.

  1. Let’s jump forward a year, what would you like to have achieved in the past year?

I would like to have gone on a date. A date! That’s it, not looking for a relationship here. Nothing too… filled with expectations. Ideally without using a dating app. I don’t want to stay in this state of picking the same sort of men.
I want a successful year in my job, where my anxiety and depression are managed and don’t make me struggle.

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  1. What piece of advice would you give to five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Right now?

5- You are not a monster. Something is going to happen in a few years, it’s going to change the rest of your life because you will always blame yourself. Just remember, you are not the monster. Try not to take things so literally.

Keep talking to people. You’re a bubbly person and people like you; don’t hide away because of this.

16- Please get help; open up to someone, anyone. These feelings are normal, but they don’t have to be there. Learn to be okay alone; it’s not a punishment. It’s freedom; start seeing it like that and it’s half the battle.

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  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?

Kind, fun and eccentrically beautiful; at least on the inside.

Mental Health- The Rabbit Hole and the App that saved me #mentalhealthmatterso

 

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I suffer from depression. I’m medicated for it and I’m happy to say that. Now! I never used to be. When I first started dating my ex, I had been on my medication for about 6 months. I’d been following my 3 positives a day for about 2 of those months and I felt fabulous.
The weekend I met him, I was meant to have 4 dates. It was the first time in my life I’d had dates with multiple people without about 6 months between them. However, in hindsight, I misread the signs (I didn’t, but owing to him being a massive sociopath, he convinced me I did) and thought we were heading for a relationship. (And we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend for about 12 hours until he told me he couldn’t bring himself to stop sleeping with the other women in his life; ones up until this point I had no knowledge of)

I digress. One of the things I stupidly did was I discontinued my medication. He was staying over most nights (hence it being a total shock when he informed me of two other lovers) and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I was on anti-depressants. My anxiety kicked in and told me if he knew, he’d run a mile. It was okay at the start; we were in the honeymoon stage and I was blissfully happy.

By Christmas though, I was having massive side effects to not taking my medication. (Side rant- why don’t GPs set up alerts for when patients don’t return for anti-depressants. I’m not saying I need them to be concerned, or remember themselves, these are volatile drugs that can lead to serious consequences if not taken properly.)  Upon having a fake Christmas weekend as we couldn’t spend the holidays together (We were in an Open Relationship at this point. One that was never actually followed properly) I was told ‘You’re making me feel weird about sleeping with other people, so I can’t see you as much anymore.’ I had a meltdown. I returned to the doctors and I got some medication.

The anti-depressants didn’t quite work as well as they should have. On top of this the GP encouraged me to go back onto the contraceptive pill. FUCKER! Despite asking about its impact upon my mental health, I was told it would be fine. Word of warning to anyone out there; avoid microgynon at all costs, never mind if you’re being treated for depression. It is notorious for increasing depression in women. I felt like I was going insane.

Yes, I was still seeing my ex. No one knew except my house mate. Why didn’t I tell anyone? Because I knew he was bad for me. He was like a drug though. When I was with him, things were okay. So long as he didn’t bring up the others. At this point, he’d also started gaslighting me; “That’s not what I said.”, “I was drunk, I didn’t mean it. You can’t hold it against me.”, “We didn’t set that in stone. I can’t cancel on B.” so that didn’t help with my mental health.

I guess at a certain point, I wanted out but I didn’t know how. Cutting someone like that off is always the best move. However, every time I’d distance myself he’d become more affectionate and loving. I felt like a failure, unlovable (literally, he told me he no longer loved me after being the first one to say it) and trapped. It led to hospitalisation. That prompted a month-long silence from him. “I’ve dealt with girls like you before. You all do it to me.” He told me.

He got back in touch, told me he missed me that I was beautiful. I fell for it.

Within a month, there was a new girl on the scene. Someone from his past. I was told not to worry, she was just a friend. A fight ensued when he sent me away for the first time ever after telling me about her when we were at the cinema. He couldn’t be bothered with me told me sometimes and he wouldn’t want to see me. I just had to accept that. Being one of my strong moments I questioned the arrangement “So we only meet if YOU want me?” Apparently, that wasn’t fair and it wasn’t my fault that I always wanted him. I felt so cheap. Dirty. I knew it was because he’d seen her that day, and arrived to me late. It was actually my mum’s birthday (death, issues… another post) and he actually got angry with me for being upset about this. I hadn’t told him for this very reason.

A week later, he’d slept with her, loved her and was probably going to be his girlfriend so he couldn’t talk to me anymore. The crushing blow, I don’t know what made me ask but his response to ‘am I not beautiful anymore?’ was “you have always been ordinary looking.”

Now, any normal, well-adjusted person would have ditched him back in October when all her friends were screaming there was something off about the situation. They certainly would have walked away when the efforts of creating an awesome Christmas knowing he’d be alone on Christmas Day was essentially ‘fuck off while I bang other women without feeling guilt’.

Back down the rabbit hole I went. I thought I was certifiable. Doctors claim not. Just a bit of sleep is needed; medication change and sleeping pills rammed down my throat. This wasn’t what helped me move on. Hell, even now if I’m drunk I miss him. Not him really. The idea of the romantic man from the start who said ALL the things I’d never heard or believed would be said to me.

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What helped me was an online community. An app called LYF.

I’ve been reluctant to share this, because I like the anonymity of the site. I had hidden my identity completely, as the app gives this option. However, the stronger I’ve gotten the less I’ve wanted to hide. This is MY journey, MY pain and I must embrace it. I went through most of it alone. So me publishing it here opens me up to you all finding me and reading my story. I must be okay with that. (The biggest fear is not being believed)

Now, what is amazing about this app is what the anonymity brings with it. You can be truthful and candid. There are things posted there that I would never tell my friends and I’d certainly not post here.
It also helped me reach out in times of weakness. For example, I was petrified that last weekend, at my brother’s wedding he would get in touch. Mainly because it was the ONE TIME I didn’t want him to. The last time I felt okay about not hearing from him a box of my things arrived at my door with a formal typed out note. Set me back, I can tell you.

I also told the community who were following my journey when I’d have a slip and try and reach out. (Hello! I’m fucked up. Drunk me makes stupid, crafty choice… such as signing up to a postcard app and sending him a qwerty tee. I was very pissed with myself the morning after I did that because I WANTED THAT tee!) They remind me that’s part of the process and to be kinder to myself. I try.

There’s a discover section if you’re not quite ready to delve into your own journey. You’ll very quickly see that you’re not alone. Sometimes that’s all people need. When you’re ready, it’s painless to follow and I’ve yet to have any trolls. (When I posted an eye infection, someone did unhelpfully tell me they thought it was a tumour but I put that down to individual eccentricities rather than a deliberate attempt to upset or cause me stress)

It does seem to be a new app, and therefore there are some teething problems. For example, I’ve not been able to access the app for the last few days while at home with my father. It does need wi-fi to access the content. I’m not sure if this is to do with data protection.
Also, I’m often finding that because of its layout people give me advice based upon the one post. They don’t go back to read the whole story; mainly because it is hard to reach those early posts. There’s not page jumps but a reach the bottom of the page and more uploads.
For me, now being of sound mind and strong resilience (I only get a pang when I see something Rick and Morty related) when someone responds with ‘reach out to him, tell him this.’ My voice is able to go ‘fuck that. It’s a bad idea AND you don’t WANT that.’

Thanks to this app, I’ve now blocked him from everything I can. It doesn’t matter that he blocked me first, he’d have gotten back in touch eventually once the novelty of this new girl had worn off. I have deleted that pesky postcard app (drunk Hannah is a menace) and I’m making a conscious effort to drink less. Aside from last weekend, at my brother’s wedding. Only, that was the first time I didn’t attempt to contact him.
I also left at a decent hour, knowing I had enough to drink, and watched a film at his house with one of his friends. I had a bad hangover the next day but it still didn’t stop me being happy that I’m now free to have what my brother has; love, family, respect, partnership and trust. All things I threw out the window, along with a part of myself I’m building back up; my self esteem.

Until then, I will still be seeking the support of the community of LYF and I hope, should you need it, they’ll be there for you.

Be strong, be happy. You are loved!

H

Fan Entitlement

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I’m a fan! We’re both fans. Of many things. Find us on twitter, give us a topic and we’ll talk… at length, whether you want us to or not. We love music (Panic! At the Disco, MCR, The Killers), TV (Buffy, Hex, Star Trek for Han) and Films (Jurassic World, Princess Bride, Harry Potter). We are advocates of YA (Holly Bourne, Laini Taylor and Non Pratt) and have just spent an amazing weekend at YALC.

However, we’re both upset right now. Mainly because of this article: http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/brendon_urie_wont_be_meeting_fans_after_kinky_boots_shows_anymore

I know Brendan has refused to sign at Panic! Gigs for the last few years for essentially the same reason. In 2015 I (Han), caught the set list at a Hammersmith Apollo gig and waited for two hours at the “stage door” to be told he’d been accosted at a gig in the US. He’d agreed with his body guard and not signed since.
Thanks to “fans”, people are now losing out on meeting a role model and idol. We’d normally have our bitch together if it was an isolated incident. But it’s not. And it’s not fair.

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Tom signing and posing for photos early in the Coriolanus run,

Back in 2013/14 Tom Hiddleston was in Coriolanus at the Donmar in London’s West End. I had tickets, I watched the play and then queued for SIX hours to have the honour of telling him how amazing he was. However, my anxiety is a bitch and I didn’t get to say a word to him while he signed my programme.
A month later I had another ticket to see him. Due to the restrictions at the stage door, this meant I had the chance to join the line for his autograph. I decided at the last minute to join. Only what I saw as I approached was nothing short of chaos; mob mentality ensued and the main door was so swamped that a man in a wheelchair struggled to get out. Fans refused to move in fear of missing their chance to get a photo with Hiddleston.
This alone disturbed me. However, that was before I was informed why Tom had refused to leave via the main door that evening, meaning his security was not policing the crowds.
The reason, as I feared, was fan related: two girls a few days before had crossed the line with Tom. They attempted to place their hands down his pants while he was signing for them. This ensured that for the remaining 5 weeks of the production, no one managed to engage with Hiddleston. This did not make the news. Had it been Sienna Miller, who is currently starring in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it would have made front page news. It would have been sexual harassment. However, Tom kept this quiet.

Now Brendan has had to do the same. He was doing something he loved and fans enjoyed, however warped sense of entitlement that meant the minority has spoiled it for the majority.

My reason for stage dooring or wanting to meet celebs is not to say “I’ve met Mr X or Ms Y”, but to tell them they have made an impact in my life and thank them for the performance they’ve just been in. Because of my anxiety, I find programmes for plays they’re in are the perfect prop. While they’re signing, their attention is elsewhere and I can talk. It doesn’t always work. Heck, its worse without a prop though. Upon being wingperson for a friend when meeting Domnhall Gleeson all I could muster was “My brother is really looking forward to seeing you in Star Wars”. Not the fact that I adored his recent film Frank or that he broke my heart with About Time. This was before my crush on him had fully developed too.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who thinks like this. It takes courage to open my bloody mouth. In fact I’m starting to avoid stage doors because of these sort of situations. Yet out there are “fans” who not only take advantage they have this sense that it’s okay and that the celebrities welcome this behaviour. I’ve also seen these people melt down when they don’t get what they want. Even if they’ve already had countless opportunities to meet the person.

Case in point: I went to see Lyndsey Lohan in Speed the Plow. It was an okay play, but her performance was appalling. I had a moral dilemma; I wanted Richard Schiff and Nigel Lyndsey’s autographs (By autographs, I mean I wanted to tell Schiff that I loved him in The Lost World and the Infidel. That he is an awesome actor and in all honesty I just wanted to see him smile.) but it was a three person play, Lyndsey was a full house. I was struggling to bring myself to do this as I didn’t have something positive to say about her performance in the play. I text a few people to gage their opinion about the stage door and how to handle it.

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I need not have bothered seeing as everyone and their aunt were outside; their cameras ready, sharpies poised on their Mean Girl prints. People who had not even seen the play were there, in the prime positions as well.

All I could hear during my wait were vile comments. Links to Lyndsey’s drug use past (and predicted present) and her bad performance of the play. I couldn’t help but wonder why these people were waiting let alone coveting the spaces at the front of the barrier.

After a time we were informed that Lyndsey has already left the building via a different exit. I totally understand that and was ready to get home and move on with my day. However other people did not. What followed the announcement was abuse. She was a whore, people would not watch her work again and she was worse than Satan and someone even wished her dead.

I would say about 90 percent of my encounters have been amazing, uplifting and unique. The best experience I had was meeting Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Alexander Siddig when he was performing at the Globe. I headed to the stage door and thanked every cast member who came out (cast of 25 and I got every single autograph, meaning I was able to thank every single one of them for a play that meant so much to me). There were two other women there, just hanging out for Alexander Siddig; to the point they blanked other cast members when they drew them into the conversation we were having owing to them being stood so close.

Out came another cast member and when he finished signing for me he questioned whether we were waiting for Siddig. The girl’s ears pricked up and they listened intently as I was told he would be in the bar and that if I had any issues, to tell Alex that he’d sent me.

I watch these two girls run to the bar and shadow him. By some stroke of luck he ended up beside me as I was calming myself at the bar. I was able to have a chat to him (before the women I might add) and express my gratitude for playing the character that got me into Star Trek. We ended with him asking for a hug and telling me his name. The one thing I love about my encounters is that I seem to have a way of making them forget the fan/celeb line and they introduce themselves to me as if I haven’t got a clue who they are. I mentally tell myself as I walk away “That’ll do Pig.”

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With Alexander Siddig

I have no desire to meet many of them again (Who am I kidding, there are a few I would love to see again. But in a ‘let’s go for a cuppa, put the world to rights’ sort of way.) I know I can’t improve my experience or gain them as my friend, so it blows my mind when people will actively repeat their actions, gain nothing out of it but a photo and/or autograph. How can it be fulfilling and don’t some of the more ‘devout’ fans see the look of fear on their target’s face?

What can we do to take back our fandoms my friends? I want these victimised stars to know that we’re not all the same. I also want to be able to continue to stage door without having to compete with these people who despite having 5 autographs, will step on your neck to get another. Even if you were to explain to them that you’ve never met them before.

Han needs to love herself first.

I have a 40 minute commute ahead of me. I’m finding it easier to read most mornings than scoure the internet. I lose myself in other people’s voices. Their worlds wrap around me like a blanket and hug me until I’m ready (forced) to deal with the day.

However, this morning I’m struggling. The book lays dormant in my bag while I educate my foggy brain on the latest memes and become more and more frustrated with myself for not picking up the god damn book.

My need for social media isn’t as bad as it once was, but I do feel a mild anxiety when I don’t have my phone. If the battery dies?! I get it in my head that there’s a catastrophic message awaiting me when it again has juice. Jeeze; I’m my own worst enemy. And people look at me when I say I hate being me and spending time alone. I’m a total grade A bitch to myself.

Anyway, I digress. I know I’ll feel ten times better but I’m procrastinating like some sadist hooked on punishing myself. I just don’t know what for. But I make a habit of it and it ruins my reading enjoyment.

I’ve spent the last 9 months miserable and in a relationship I was convincing myself I wanted (and in the end, needed. I was more concerned with ‘fixing’ and making it ‘work’ than gaining something from it other than emotional scars). Why did you put up with it? My friends would ask once they’d discovered the truth (I’d stayed with him long after the expiry date and kept my contact secret). The Hannah I know would have walked away if anyone said that, why didn’t you? I was questioned when I recounted just some of the problems we encountered.
Because I felt I deserved it, I believed it was all the ‘love’ I would ever deserve or be granted. Mostly, it’s how I treat myself so I thought ‘it’s the best it will ever get’ or weirdly so ideal match.

I’m 31 years old and no one told me that they loved me before. Fuck, none of my boyfriends would ever say they liked me, let alone lower themselves to love. Who cares if it wasn’t real? Who cares if it was taken back when I *thought* I was at my weakest. (That came later when he took ‘you are beautiful’ back and replaced it with ‘you’re ordinary to look at, we don’t get people that look like that’ when talking about his deep seated crush and lust for a co-worker.

Gawd!!! That was deep.

Fuck this shit. I want to be loved. I want to meet a man, fall in love and have a family. But most of all, I want to be loved.

I don’t need a man for that. I can love me. I should love me. I need to love me.

So I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking 40 minutes out of my day to indulge in the reading of a book.

Mental Health- Ramblings of a scared and abandoned woman #mentalhealth #ramblings #Han

This is a post I wrote for a secret blog a few years ago. Because it was written just for me and not for an audience, it’s rather candid.giphy

I had an operation this week. One I’ve been waiting a year and a half to happen. That’s when I started the process for this operation. In reality I should have had it almost three years ago, in the actual dentist. While awake. They’d cancelled it the day before and claimed because the dentist was leaving, I would have to go through the whole process again. ‘Fuck that’ I believe my words were at the time. It was all going well until a rogue nacho caused a week long infection that had me stinking of clove and the cheek scaring that the Joker would be proud of.
Perhaps that awake tooth pulling would have been for the best. Rather than the mind fuckery, emotional bruising and quite simply a cruel and unusual time travel inducing lesson in who your friends are.
So. Many people were under the impression that I was fearful of going under the knife. While, that bit is certainly true of this particular branch of surgery (plaguing dreams of microscopic spiders crawling out of my mouth as they woke me sans teeth saw to that) this would be my fifth operation and I know how it goes. Oh so the same, but very different.
Tuesday evening, I text my best friend with instructions should anything go wrong:
Songs:
Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars
Nothing More by Alternative Routes

Readings:
I’d Like to be a Teabag by Peter Dixon
Puck’s final soliloquy from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream.

There was more. It was detailed, right down to the ‘go home and watch Jurassic Park together.’ Yes, I’m perfectly healthy and it was only my teeth. Have you seen Coma (1978)? Totally melodramatic and could have had a different reaction had I sent it to someone else. Did my best friend and twisted sister totally understand? She simply called it organised. That’s why I love her.
I wasn’t scared of dying. I don’t mean that in a ’cause for concern, this woman doesn’t value her life’ sort of way. Hell, I’ve never valued my life more than I do at the moment. I do not want to die. I did not want to die in that operating theatre. What I feared was that people didn’t know me enough to give me what I wanted should anything happen. I don’t open up. I chat shit and I talk and people probably would say I’m very open. Probably too open. That’s the tip of the iceberg. You start churning off things that have happened in my life and people will start to think I’m a liar or crazy. It’s no one’s fault but my own. It’s not the situation that causes the damage, it’s what you do with the situation.

The operation went fine. More than fine. I used the word ‘happy’ for the first time in at least six months and truly meant it. It was a synthetic high that I knew wouldn’t last. I emailed a few people. Streams of consciousness. Nothing deprecating or revealing; no declarations of true love or odes in comparison to Hiddleston, Smith or Strong. However, I was vulnerable. I went out on a limb and said ‘hey, I care that you know I’m okay.’ I might have been spouting my utter outrage that they gave me my rotten teeth in a jar or informing them I could see Minion butt cracks from my hospital view but I was reaching out.Stupidly.

Four days later, still a blue little tick. My email is sent, but not read. Along with a few others. Not many people knew I was having my operation, but a few I told failed miserably and in those few little gestures I’m back to being 15. Week 4 or 5 of my post surgery recovery and I’m watching my friends at the bus stop. They’re no more than 10 feet away from my house and they can’t be bothered to knock and see if I’m okay. The ‘get well’ card from school said it all; one person from my collective five friends signed everyone’s names. All these memories spilling out like hot lava, just because three people haven’t asked how things went?! What the FUCK is wrong with me? Why is it hurting so much?

Because the biggest fear of this whole operation is staring you in the face. The reason you are almost 30 yet clutching onto a battered teddy bear at a hospital for adults. Mother, mum, mummy, Marilyn, Lyn. Best friend, protector but not perfect. She never let me know what it was like to be alone. She hugged the pain away. She distracted me from the absence of friends. This woman isn’t here any more. My biggest fear was waking up from the operation, foggy and without memory. I was scared that I’d relive the loss all over again. How do you tell people that? Who do you tell that? The person you tell everything to; the person you’ve already burdened your last requests to? The new friends you trust, but feel like you’d just be giving one little bit of the jigsaw. A part that won’t help them help you. Or do you tell that person you want to tell? The one person your gut is telling you to tell. Only going onto day four post-op and you’ve not heard from him. You’re guts are full of shit Hunter. He wouldn’t understand and he certainly wouldn’t care.


This was about a man I would have done anything for. I loved. I don’t think is was actually in a romantic way, even though I did think he was the most beautiful, perfect thing in the world at the time.
I loved him in a way that made me like his company, want every happiness to come his way.
We’re 3 years later and this bloke is just a distant memory. I was used to help him progress professionally. All I wanted was a friend. Luckily I’ve recently discovered; friendship, true friendship, should never be that hard. It shouldn’t make you feel less than and it definitely shouldn’t make you think you would be better off dead.

I know it’s his loss. I’m frigging awesome (I will repeat that until I believe it, I promise) and friendship with me is easy. However, I still, every so often, miss that smile, that laugh. Hell, after what the replacement ginger did, I miss his mistreatment of me.

The key is how I move on. What do I do to ensure I don’t get trapped in a asymmetrical ‘relationship’ again?! That’s what the counselor is for, and over the next six months I’m going to work on my self worth.

Oscar Predictions

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W- want to win

D- deserves to win
P- predict will win
It either doesn’t deserve to be considered or I haven’t seen enough to judge.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
W/D The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Best Actor

P- Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
D- Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
W– Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
P– Julianne Moore, Still Alice
W/D – Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor

W- Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
P- Edward Norton, Birdman
D- Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
JK Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

P- Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
D- Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
W- Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Best Director

P- Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
W/D -Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
W/D – Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
P- Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Best Original Screenplay

Boyhood
P- Birdman
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

Best Documentary Feature

Citizenfour
Last Days in Vietnam
Virunga
Finding Vivian Maier
The Salt of the Earth

Best Original Song

W/D- Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, and Nick Southwood, “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)
P- John Legend and Common, “Glory” (Selma)
Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, and the Lonely Island, “Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
The-Dream, “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me)

Best Original Score

Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
W/D/P– Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Best Animated Feature

W/D/P- Big Hero 6
Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Best Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
W- Guardians of the Galaxy
P- Interstellar
D- X:Men: Days of Future Past

Best Film Editing

American Sniper
Boyhood
W/D/P- Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game
Whiplash

Best Cinematography

P- Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
W/D- Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper
Interstellar
Unbroken
W/D/P- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Birdman

Best Sound Mixing

W/D/P- American Sniper
Unbroken
Birdman
Interstellar
Whiplash

Best Costume Design

W- Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
D- Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent
P- Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Best Production Design

P- Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts, Mr. Turner
Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods
D- Nathan Crowley, Garry Fettis, and Paul Healy, Interstellar
W- Maria Djurkovic, The Imitation Game

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

W/D- Guardians of the Galaxy
Foxcatcher
P- The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Short Film, Live Action

Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis, Aya (Chasis Films)
Michael Lennox, director, and Ronan Blaney, Boogaloo and Graham (Out of Orbit)
Hu Wei and Julien Féret, Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) (AMA Productions)
Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger, Parvaneh (Zurich University of Arts)
Mat Kirkby, director and James Lucas, The Phone Call (RSA Films)

Best Short Film, Animated

Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees, The Bigger Picture (National Film and Television School)
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, The Dam Keeper (Tonko House)
W/D- Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed, Feast (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Torill Kove, Me and My Moulton (Mikrofilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada)
Joris Oprins, A Single Life (Job, Joris & Marieke)

RANT- Taken 3 (abandoned)

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This is not so much a review of Taken 3 , as a rant about our cinema culture today. With a side swipe to the corrupt classification system.

Saturday afternoon, 3pm showing in a London Odeon. The corridors smell of pee, which instantly puts me on edge. I’m already grumpy because my cheese sauce is served cold and the jalapeños used up one of my ‘sides’ instead of being a complimentary extra. With 10 minutes before the scheduled start time, the tiny screen is empty. Save for a ten year old and his father. I did a double take; I check my ticket, I brave the corridor to check the screen number.

Minutes later four boys, without an adult and of questionable age rock up in front of us. To quote my name sake- I have a bad feeling about this. The film is about to start- the BBFC’s certificate pops up just to remind me that age certifications will ruin everything I love. About a dozen more people have filled the rows behind us- all adults, that shouldn’t be a problem right?

Within 20 minutes, I’d had enough, the four boys were talking; only pausing to shovel enough sweets into their mouths to put them into a diabetic coma. Not only that, but two pairs of adult are providing surround sound conversations. I was out of my seat and expressing my concerns to an employee. They had two people in there within minutes and they spoke to the adults. The boys were sensible enough to quieten down for those few minutes.

Within five minutes, the men had gone and the talking was back. Not only that, but we’d delved into action territory. There was a young disabled girl on the back row, whooping along with every gun shot or loud bang. This, of course, I can tolerate. She’s enjoying the film and after what’s gone before, it’s actually a welcome change. However, what does have my blood boiling is the woman to my left who has, since the film began engaged the person next to her in a loud conversation and repeatedly checked her phone. This woman, this truly inconsiderate excuse of a human being, turns round and gives an accusing stare to the young girl’s family.

Safe to say, my friend and I decided it was time to ask for a refund. The cinema did this without question and apologised profusely. Although, one thing that jarred with me was ‘we can keep going in and telling them, but those sort of people will keep on doing it.’ Really? You wouldn’t think to demand them to leave? I suppose you don’t get paid enough- I know that’s true, but the reputation of your brand (this is now my third visit to Odeon where I have had issues. So 100% of my recent visits have resulted in a tainted viewing experience) is in jeopardy and when you charge so much for cinema tickets- you can’t afford to let this slide. Zero tolerance, much more regular checks of screens and, if you need to get a security guy to be able to do your dirty work.

Now, BBFC; you’re safe for another day, but I do blame you for the hyped up adrenaline junkies (by proxy- hell these kids experience real adrenaline themselves their heads would blow up) invading a film that would have once been targeted for an 18 audience.

I’ve got a theory…

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I went to university with the dream of being the next Jonathan Ross. From the very first echo of ‘shoot her’ in Jurassic Park I always knew my first love would be film.
Whenever I couldn’t sleep, when I was sad, hell when it was Thursday- Jurassic Park was my go to movie. I was determined of one thing, I would work within film or dinosaurs.

I’m now a teacher, of RE. I love it and I try to use film to illustrate my point at every opportunity. It’s still a world away from filling Wossy’s shoes.

Due to a dare from my brother I attempted, with 12 weeks left of 2014, to see 100 films at the cinema in the year. I was at 68 at the time, so it was a challenge (I only got to 85 despite a christmas movie marathon of 6 films in the Prince Charles). I started seeing films on their day of release and a few people were asking me what I thought before making up their mind about whether to see it. I’ve figure- why not compile my opinion into a blog?!

So here it goes; welcome to my world of film and geekdom. I will be reviewing films, theatre and the occasional tv show.