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[Predictable, sentimental New Year post]

I do actually have good reason to be sentimental about this year!

2011 was the best year of my life. So many things happened that I knew this year would not be able to contend with, although I did have very high hopes about continuing my happiness into 2012 when it started. Ideas bounced around in January on a personal level... entering the Great North Run visiting Paris, learning to drive... and then there was the fact that the Queen would celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and we would host the Olympics and Paralympics in our country - a big ask! So how did it all go?

My birthday in February was great. On the actual day, my mood was
up and down far too frequently, but my parents did let me have a fabulous house party for it - if it is, as I believe so, the last house party I will ever host here, then I think we did it right. I will never tire of the euphoria Mr Brightside creates. Nor will I tire of hearing Discolights by Ultrabeat and Darren Styles, even after six plays. he air guitars to Out of Control by U2 were something else! What a special time, cramming thirty-five (give or take!) bodies into one place. My friends are the best! almost started learning to drive, but put off making it happen so many times that I decided to wait until my exams were out of the way. They went well, I thought, except for the first and most important exam went a little bit tits up! hat was resolved when I got my results in August, which I wa very pleased with. Before that, though, I also had a dancing show to be a part of. It had been over a year since my last one, so in May I took to th unnerving slippery stage with my girls. Admittedly, I have neglected practising routines whenever I had college work and driving to focus on, but the simplest and dearest flare of mine has shone just as it did last year, in my own time and the exams themselves, in which I FINALLY got my Honours with Distinction in contemporary freestyle. There is a God! :')

I am proud to say that I was here when Buckingham Palace was one big celebration station for our Liz. It was lovely seeing her so visibly moved by everything. Not too big on the royal family usually but I love it when they bring people together! The remarkable thing that happened in 2012 on a massive scale was, of course, the Games. The rowing, cycling and Super Saturday were definitely my favourites! Greg Rutherford is my Ginger of the Year!!! I cried a lot and still do, watching some of the footage back. Just makes my cheeks tingle (I don't seem to ever ever get goosebumps, only when I'm cold). Particulary proud of Kath Grainger, the rower who finally got her gold medal, Nicola Adams for being one of the first female boxer and winning gold, Andy Murray for getting back to it after being defeated at Wimbledon, Chris Hoy for being legendary... I actually could go on forever so I'll stop now! Cry whenever I see Jess cross over the line in her last event... ok, now I'll stop. I saw these guys in September, briefly:

16th September
This was at the start of the Great North Run. I actually managed to get through it! The crowd were amazing and it was lovely to be running in memory of my grandma and for the Stroke Association. There were people around us with their own stories and it was totally outstanding! I GOT PIZZA AT THE END AND I WAS VERY HAPPY. But by that point I was all cried out ;) Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France when we were arriving in Paris. I would have loved to see him at the Champs-Élysées, but it will have been packed out, no doubt! Paris was gorgeous - such a picturesque place, buzzing with grace and life. It was so warm and the food was delicious! Can I go back one day? I will have to. Paris was among the things I discussed with my driving instructor during the six months it took me to pass. We also discussed The X Factor, which I no longer watch as religiously as I used to, but pointedly kept up to speed with what the contestant James Arthur was doing. He's from Saltburn - I remember hearing that Olly Murs and TV crews were coming up specifically because this is where he lived. I didn't think much of it, but did think how wonderful it would be for him to get very far in the competition. He won. I was so overwhelmed with pride, not only because he comes from the village next door to mine, but because of his raw talent and the special edge he has. I cried, thinking about where he has got to, where he is going and where I will be going, too. It doesn't matter where you come from - I think that has been a big message across 2012.

Music. This year has been phenomenal for it. I could try and put it into words, but I think Sigur Rós, Beach House, Bloc Party and Example, to name a few, say it better with their sounds. Not forgetting The Killers. Who were, you know, incredible. I had the tiniest hope of seeing them this year... not believing that I would actually get to see them for a second. But I did and now I can die happy. Thank you.
This is it. Here's to 2013!

Happy New Year!
xxx

December

First thing's first: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It has been the best holiday. We laughed so much! Christmas, more than any other time, makes you realise that your family has a particular 'flavour' - a type of humour, a way of showing affection. Being the baby, I am always picked on and laughed at the most... I just learn to accept these things... ;) Here's a pic of my stunning sister and me!
25th December
In other news, I passed my driving test. First time! Miracles can happen! I thought I had failed and also spent most of the time talking to the examiner; at one point, the topic of conversation was all about dancing and how interesting it is to see two styles of dancing brought together. My examiner was a big Scottish bloke - hilarious! I will never forget my test... or how to drive, let's hope! Miss Atomic Bomb was in my head as I was driving around and I have been listening to it loads since. The video is absolutely magical!

I feel like I have got loads to talk about but I want to stop here so I can get a hot chocolate...
Christmas rocks!

But sometimes in dreams of impact I still hear...
xxx


OH CRAP I GOT HONOURS WITH DISTINCTION IN MY DANCING EXAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7 Reasons Why I Don't Smoke

"No way - she's actually structuring her entry!" says everyone...

I say everyone, but I can't kid myself that my blog is like the morning paper, read by all. In fact, it might as well be the morning paper where my generation are concerned - do any of us read a newspaper in the morning, or at any time at all? I just read it every Saturday for the sudoku, forgotten verse and to hear which famous and prominent people have died. Yep, it's a tabloid. Shoot me! My point being, that my Livejournal is very dead... UNTIL MICHAEL DECIDED TO START BLOGGING! HI, MICHAEL!!! This is actually inspired by his own '7 Reasons' post regarding smoking... so I better get on with listing these reasons and keep up this 'structured' kind of writing while I can...

1. It's internally harmful. The years of being passed jars full of tar and shown graphic images of rotting organs throughout my education have really paid off. The most memorable of these people who warned us of the effects of smoking has got to be the bald Geordie who first told us all about what goes into cigarettes - when we were about six. We were so ready to hear it. But hey, it worked! I can't fathom why anyone would want to smoke knowing what it can do to you. Having said all this, there have been times in my early teens when I have imagined myself smoking and liked the thought of it. Yeah, you didn't want to meet the thirteen / fourteen year-old me. Or the fifteen year-old me, actually. Nevertheless, thinking back to how I used to be provides much entertainment :') I'M GOING OFF TRACK AGAIN!

2. It's externally harmful. Having already been asked if I am a fifty-something year-old in disguise (THANKS ELEANOR) I can't bear to imagine how worse I would appear if I smoked. The same goes for my teeth! I like my coffee and yellow teeth-enducing foods and drinks, okay?!

3. I can't stand the smell of lingering smoke. Admittedly, the smell of fresh cigarette smoke isn't unpleasant in the slightest, but the aftermath that clings to furniture, clothes and seemingly skin is just appallingly bad. For me, it almost embodies regret - enjoying something in the moment and then wondering what the hell you were thinking a little while later. Yep, I needed to get a metaphor in here somewhere - reason #3 is not a bad call at all!

4. IT COSTS MONEY. I mean, really? You want to spend your money on fags? Students are supposed to be skint anyway - so it baffles me to see so many people stood in the smoking area at college! The money could be spent on food or clothes or books or music. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE MONEY COULD BE SPENT ON ALCOHOL. That's the spirit! ;)

5. People who smoke can be really ignorant. I must stress that this doesn't go for everyone, but we've all been there: walking past a bus stop or waiting for a bus, or any situation similar to that when a person blows their smoke into your path and you get a good lungful of the stuff. Thanks for that. Also, the idea that people have to experience peer pressure where smoking is concerned drives me mad! Nobody should be made to feel like they have to do something - especially when it is detrimental to them like smoking is. RAGE.

6. The smoking ban. I think this law is amazing. Is it that essential to you, Smoky, that you would drag your feet outside of a public place, whatever the weather, to take a drag? Fascinating. I'd much rather be sitting inside a restaurant or pub for the duration of my time there and not having any of those cravings for a fag willing me to step outside and away from everyone I'm with.

7. THE AMOUNT OF 'SCARLETT FAG-ASH' JIBES I WOULD RECEIVE WOULD BE UNBEARABLE. Think about it, though...

I was running out of steam, then, but fondly remembered the occasion where my tutor at school called me Ash instead of Scarlett. Hilarious - someone said, 'what's your last name? Tray?' NO. Just been listening to I'm A Survivor by Destiny's Child, too - how apt! YAAAAY - I WILL NOT DIE AS A RESULT OF SMOKING! :D

Killers blog coming shortly - don't go anywhere...
xxx

Let's talk about, hmmm...

Mmmmmuuuusssiiiiicccc!!!!!!!

In two days, I will be watching my favourite band perform. Is it a big deal? You could say it is, since I have been waiting four years for this to happen...


It's funny how music stays with you; the bare minimum of notes that you can remember from that song you don't know the name of still surface into the conscious mind now and again. When I was little, I heard this track on the radio that, when I wonder how to describe it, seems only able to fit the verb 'haunting'. The pitch, the melody and the peculiar echo that it had really got to me. Strangely enough, I associate it with my first glimpses into the concept of death, like dipping my feet into the idea as I began to understand it. Maybe this is due to how the track was playing as we were driving along a winding road next to a wood, where a person my dad knew had died. On another occasion, I asked my sister whether the song was a remix of the T.A.T.u song Not Gonna Get Us, because I wanted to know what it was. I don't know why I made that link now as I could never remember any vocals. I didn't get to know what the track was and thought it would remain a mystery, the only notes that I could remember haunting me for the rest of my life (ooooh, spooky - bit of an overkill!) Also, another song I thought I had lost forever is one that was played on the radio a lot when I was about ten. The vocals reminded me sooooo much of Kylie Minogue, but it wasn't hers. I also associated it with Doctor Who, which was back on TV for the first time in years with Christopher Eccelston and Billie Piper. I suppose I imagined Billie was singing it as it was very floaty and wondrous, like a human's perspective of a timelord, perhaps... my interest in Doctor Who has long vanished, unfortunately :( as did the song from the radio waves. All I had was the first verse, and no matter how much I searched for the title and artist to accompany them, I had no luck in finding out what it was. 

Very recently, I was at a party at Chris' house, and we were flicking around music channels towards the end of the night. Clubland TV came on, and I heard that haunting track. I couldn't believe it - it took me a few seconds to realise before I gasped and began pleading with the person with the remote to leave the channel on... they changed it, and I thought I had lost it again, but to my amazement I had caught some lyrics... I'm damaged, so how would I know... I made sure I had written what I could remember of those words into my phone and when I went home that night, searched them into Google. I found it. It only took a few words, and it was there, slightly different to how it had sounded in my memory - especially since I had no idea that there was a singer over the top of it. I was elated - so I tried the same tactic of typing just a few words into the search engine to see if I could discover the second unknown song... it worked! How do you spend years remembering snippets of songs and then find two in the same night?! The songs are: the Antillas edit of Damaged, by Plummet and the radio edit of Bluewater by Black Rock and Debra Andrew. In all honesty, they were not popular, so you might not like them... but you never know, since I have liked them since the ages of six and ten!

Now I'm going to tell you about a band I really love, which starts with a TV series that I also really love: Skins! The music featured on that programme is fantastic! It is one of the things that has shaped my music taste, I believe. Radiohead's House of Cards reminds me of it, although it has never featured in the programme itself. Obviously, if you ask anyone which series of Skins to watch, they will direct you to the first two. They are unbeatable and I conveniently have them both on DVD... in series two, there is an episode at the beach when the characters go camping in the woods. The music used when the lighting is delicate and dense is by Beach House - an apt choice for an episode set at the beach. Their songs Childhood and House on the Hill feature here, which never immediately jumped out at me in a way that meant I needed to hunt down the details of the tracks and play them again, yet I still made a mental note of them as they were the ones that I liked most out of that episode. Sigur Rós also have their moments in that same episode, although the song Samskeyti (one of my favourites of all-time) was edited out of the DVD, which is sad, although the replacement track is also pretty damn great! So Beach House were lingering somewhere in the bank of cool artists that have mildly awesome songs in my head. I folllowed them on Twitter when I got it, and as I also followed Later with Jools Holland, it was brought to my attention that they would be performing on the show. I never religiously watched it anyway, but after an episode with Peter Gabriel in it, thought that it was definitely something I should catch whenever I could. I actually didn't watch the episode that they performed in live on TV (BAD SCARLETT), but tweeted about them and then watched it later.

The song they performed was Myth, which is the first track on their album Bloom. I have this problem that I like to call first track syndrome, as I never seem to be able to get past the initial track, appearing the best to me in a number of instances. What is special about this song is the simple percussion at the beginning, which I gradually understood to be Beach House's signature sound, followed by the overwhelming keyboard that epitomises the music I would most associate with the beach. That pitch... when you can't find the words, you know the music is good. It's so rhythmic and constant - much like the sea itself. Thinking about it, there is a song called On the Beach by York from my childhood that probably laid the foundations for this idea. The whole album is flawless, right to the hidden track at the end, and there you have it: a new band to soar alongside The Killers, Sigur Rós and Cocteau Twins in my precious cluster of favourite musicians! Beach House really get to me with their sounds and their words... grappling with my fascinations, like 'all I wanted comes in colours' in the song New Year. The song Troublemaker, I discovered, basically embodies an idea for a story I had... 'somewhere, out of the blue it will find you... someone like you'. I think I may need to update my list of favourite songs! Isn't it incredible to find something, knowing how important it is to you now and always will be?

beachhouse   

And what are you made of?
xxx

Two things...

I have to go to bed now, but first...

1) I AM GOING TO SEE THE KILLERS. I KNOW. I KNOW. IT WON'T SINK IN.

and...

2) I am doing the Great North Run tomorrow with my mum, sister and aunty in memory of my grandma and in support of the Stroke Association. Wish me luck, eh?!

xxx

Open up my eager eyes

September is the best month!

It's Autumn, it's back to a routine, it's back to seeing people and it's back to FATSO'S!!! I have missed my coronation chicken sandwiches on brown bread. A year ago I didn't even know they existed; now I cannot bear the thought of life without them. Anyway, even more pressing matters need to be discussed... why are The Killers so bloody amazing and why have I failed to get tickets to see them live? So gutted; I have always been on top form on knowing what they've been up to (this is because they have just been on a long hiatus! Not hard keeping up with them when they're not really doing anything together, but shhh!) and I had to be informed by Robyn that a tour had been announced and that they would be in Newcastle in November. Ugh. Why didn't I know that? Why didn't I plan how to get tickets earlier? I was at college when they came on sale and I involved the gents who I share a table with of my stressful episode of checking the availability of tickets. The website traffic was unreal - too much for this technophobe to deal with! Long story short, I will not be seeing my Las Vegas lovelies this year, although I had previously tried to adapt to that fact earlier after not getting tickets for V Festival or their one-off show in Leeds during the summer. It's awful getting your hopes up for something and to have those scenarios you simulate in your head - dashed. But it will happen one day. If there is one thing I love about The Killers, it is their showmanship that embodies their home city / state. That showmanship has surfaced from my veins, somehow (Brotton is no Las Vegas in that respect), which is why I think this band are perfect for me, perfect to be my favourite band of all-time. Their magic branches off into other reasons why I love them, but to simplify this, you only really have to watch the video to their new single (I KNOW - FOUR YEARS WE'VE BEEN WAITING!!!) Runaways to see that they are in my bones and dance with my soul. The lightning bolt strikes the road red - it says it all!

My eager eyes have opened as I enter a new academic year and another year at Prior. I am eager to see what this next year will bring; it is undoubtedly the biggest year yet and I do believe that it will be far better than the previous year. My first year at Prior was dismal in some ways. What ruined it for me, really, was people's relunctance to spread out a bit and stray away from their friendship groups. People in my classes were incredibly quiet and awkward! However, I have met some unforgettable people and made some absolutely lovely friends! The people in my lessons now seem wicked, too! Can't wait to get to know new people all over again! Hopefully the awkwardness will have completely eradicated over the summer and into this new year. I got my AS results: A in English Language, B in English Literature and Cs in Psychology and Law. I did think that Law would be the subject I got the A in, if I got one at all - I was pleasantly surprised that it was the subject I did the least well in as it has absolutely nothing to do with what I want to do in life and it's EXCRUCIATING! I enjoyed it to begin with and I did get the hang of remembering cases, but I am soooo glad to be rid of the cases now anyway! R v Nedrick established the virtual certainty test; a man poured paraffin into the letterbox of a person's house who he didn't like, not intending to kill their child, but injury being virtually certain to occur as a result of the act - when I described this case during revision once, I met the looks of genuinely horrified and disgusted people, who were looking at me as if I had committed the crime myself! Don't hurt me - it's just Law revision! I can draw a line over all that stuff now, anyway! WOOP! So I can focus on my beautiful English Literature, which I was absolutely chuffed to bits with when I got a B grade. Manchester Uni are looking for an A by the end of the two years, so this shows them that I am perfectly capable of achieving it! I have also discussed doing a resit for the exam in June so I can bump up my marks even more and possibly aim for an A* overall! How good is that?!

Breathe... calm... ok. Got a bit swept up in this blog, I'm not gonna lie! Beach House blog coming soon...


Call your girlfriend, it's time you had the talk
xxx

An exchange

Just a brief entry for the time being...

I have LOADS to talk about. Music, my holiday and my exam results. Right now, though, I just want to share one thing: I wouldn't call it a conversation, but it was an exchange of words between my dad and me. I was dancing in the kitchen - and I have always danced in the kitchen. My mum will be baking or cooking with the radio on and if I am in there talking to her or I have ran in because a song that I really like is playing, then I will make myself look ridiculous without a care in the world, waving my arms and my hips and my legs about like a lunatic. The song in particular that I have to stop whatever I am doing to dance to it if it starts playing is Give Me Everything by Pitbull, Ne-yo, Afrojack and Nayer. My mum asked who the artists were after hearing my slippers skip across the linoleum and seeing me boogie in front of the back door. She joined in when Pitbull sang 'excuse me' and had a giggle, too!

Then my dad came in. Earlier, he was on the phone to a company because he had been sent a letter that he shouldn't have got, or something like that, blah blah. I can understand why he would have been angry because it took him half an hour to speak to someone about it and sort it out. When he saw me dancing, he said "You need a job. Put some money in the house." It's a fair enough comment, but it's not fair to make it when I am doing something that I have been passionate about all my life. It's really irrelevant. I would say that dancing is my hobby, but I hate that word: 'hobby'. It belittles something that I love doing, that is totally central to the person I am. Anyway, I bite back by saying "Wait till I'm a famous author!", throwing my arms into the air still and catching a glimpse of my dad's moody visage. Somewhere in between spinning around on the spot, I hear "You won't be famous." 

"Yeah I will."

And I scooted past him as he headed for the back door, ready to take Harry for a walk. My mum was stood in the dining room doorway and I mouthed 'arsehole' to her. She just smiled and told me to have an M&M.

Yeah I will. Just watch me!

xxx 
It's results day - DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN!

I had a dream last night that I read 'ENGLISH: A' and had a total fit of elation. Then when I wondered whether it was English Language or Literature that I got the A in, I looked down the page and saw 'ENGLISH: U' and dread swept over me surely enough. I also got a D in Law and a C in Psychology. Weird stuff! I think I will have done loads better in that in Law as it was my best subject exam-wise, plus I probably will get a C or a B in Psychology! I can't even think about either of the English subjects right now :')

If I get Us across the board tomorrow and die, you have my permission to make a film about my tragic, short life. As long as you cast Olivia Hallinan as me.
 

STEP-UP-b

We don't look alike (although...
...I do have a sequinned shawl like the one in this photo...
I also have wavy hair and wear my eye makeup light with red lipstick...


17th February
OOOH, ISN'T THIS BECOMING SPOOKY?!) :')

...but she is ginger after all - and it is crucial that my character is ginger. If she is not available, just get Prince Harry to do the job. Much love.

Best wishes to everyone receiving their results!
xxx

Paris bizzzzzz

I'm going on holiday tomorrow!

It's not just a holiday. It's ABROAD. I am getting A PLANE! Wowsers! And I have to be up in six and a half hours. Oops ;)

I have a lot to talk about, which I will address when I return from my city break. Listen to me - my mum is calling it a city break but it's too sophisticated for me to use seriously :')

Dreaming comes so easily, 'cause it's all that I've known
xxx

'I wrote all over the walls with my words'

For once, I can actually say that I have chosen a cracking title!

It is quite possibly my favourite line from any poem: Catrin, by Gillian Clarke, which I studied for GCSE English Literature. It's a poem about her daughter (I really love art that is solely dedicated to a loved one of the artist) and how she remembers giving birth to her - the struggle they had to become separate that they still deal with in the present when Catrin is older and wants independence. I think that line in particular affects me so much because of what precedes it: Clarke talks about how the hospital ward is blank and joyless, which sets up this metaphor spectacularly as childbirth is certainly one of those life changing experiences that has the power to turn something dull into something wonderful and personal.

Tonight, when I visited my grandparents', we were discussing the weather and my dad was showcasing some of his finest hyperbolic statements with how we are having the wettest June and July "since time began". Don't worry - I did correct him and say "since records began". But he went on to say that the Jehovah's Witnesses have been talking about this (hmmm... sure he's not exactly correct on that topic, either) and that the world is supposed to end. Then, my grandad said this: 

"Bugger off, John. It's a marvellous world; it's never going to end."

How amazing is that? My grandad is eighty-two. We've been a bit worried about him over the past year as we think he's showing signs of dementia. It hasn't got to the point where we're seriously concerned as my dad is making jokes about it all the time and I personally think we shouldn't worry. He's still Grandad: opinionated and funny, like most elderly people! But on rare occasions, like this, he just blows me away. I really admire his resilience and faith about things. I also love how he can't get my name right sometimes, but when he does, he calls me Scally. It's a nickname that only he uses and it reminds me of 'scallywag', which makes me feel like a mischeivous granddaughter. A few weeks ago, my grandma was telling me something along the lines of how when you are young, you can do anything, but when you are old, you can do nothing. I didn't comment and just soundlessly chuckled at her, but my grandad piped up and spoke about ambition. If you've got the ambition, you can do it. I never had him down as an optimist before! He's the coolest eighty-two year-old ever! I will always remember the pair of us sitting on each end of his settee and I would listen to him talk about his youth, from walking to church to farming. It can be really interesting to hear about the lives of an older generation. Mind you, I won't pretend that when I was little I didn't get bored of potato-talk! :')

Currently listening to Beach House, who you will hear all about very soon. Plus, I heard new stuff from Bloc Party today (mint!!!) but most importantly, The Killers. The Killers. I love The Killers. Have I ever mentioned that? I really do! Can't wait to unleash my thoughts on that gem of a new single on you lot! ;)

All I wanted comes in colours
xxx