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Top 10… People I Wish I Had Met Before They Died.

2 Mar

The third in my series of wish lists; here is a little run down of people I wish I’d met before they died. It took a lot of restraint not to fill this post with poets, authors and musicians, and these categories are still pretty dominant. Oh well… in no particular order…

10. Andy Warhol. He was a printmaker, a painter, filmmaker and writer, and probably the first figure to come to mind when the topic of the movement ‘popart’ comes into conversation. When I stayed in Pittsburgh, his home city, I visited his museum, and was surprised about how much I didn’t know about his life. I really enjoy the philosophizing of Andy Warhol; his vanity, his greed, the way he describes the monotony of real life, and the places where he gets his inspiration. He is a genius, and the fact that he doesn’t attempt to hide these vile traits make him all the more interesting to me. I love his contribution to music, particularly his adopted band The Velvet Underground. I love that he once said ‘Buying is much more American than thinking, and I’m as American as they come’. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol is a favourite book of mine. I definitely recommend it, fo’ sho’.

9. William Shakespeare. Because, well, you know!

8. Rosa Parks. After spending my college years studying civil rights, I always found a real interest in how such bad things such as racism could have happened, and still do happen. Rosa Parks was a catalyst for the start of the 1960s bus boycott in Montgomery a civil rights movement that changed history.

7. Edie Sedgwick. Style icon and natural beauty- Edie Sedgwick was an inspiration to the music of Bob Dylan, and the musings of Andy Warhol. She is still well known in the world of famedom, and was recently played by Sienna Miller in the 2008 film- Factory Girl. More information on this beauty can be found here on this cute and quirky website: on this day in fashion. She died of a drug overdose in 1971, at the tender age of 28.

6.  Roy of the Rovers. OK, so I know this is cheating, because, well, he was never alive to begin with, but I am a big football (soccer…) fan, and the fictional footballer Roy Race, who played for Melchester United, was a sporting legend. His football career ended in 1993 when he lost of a foot in an accident (so I believe, although I was a little young to be mourning…). According to my father, his achievements were phenomenal… although maybe this is because the story often involved Melchester as the underdogs, creating a soft spot in our family of die-hard Villa fans.

5. George Harrison. Because lets face it, he was without a doubt the best Beatle…. the most modest and the most talented.

4.  Oscar Wilde. I love how Wilde wrote in epigraphs which, although confused the hell out of me at times, always made me ponder life and existence. He wrote; ‘life imitates art more than art imitates life’. His greed and life choices are interesting to me in a way similar to Warhol, and I think can be used as a microcosm for the evils of human kind, he once said; ‘I can resist anything but temptation…’

3. My Grandparents that I never got chance to meet. I know it’s a tad cheesy, but I’ve always wondered where I get some of my features and characteristics- and I have a sneaking suspicion this would answer some questions…

2. Alexander McQueen. Because his designs, execution of clothing and contribution to fashion was simply incredible. He combined beauty with the idea of a woman’s strength which resulted in the most divine clothing.

1. Elvis Presley. Like I said, this is in no particular order, but I have to admit, I think Elvis is a god. When I was staying in Pittsburgh, PA for a few months, I took a trip to Memphis on my own. This was due to a love for him, and a love for all kinds of music. This wonderfully eclectic city saw the beginning of many different types of music, and I appreciated visiting his home, Sun Studio’s where he first recorded (albeit a little sneakily), wandering up and down Beale Street, going to the Stax museum, and many more attractions.

Who would you like to have met before they died?

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Top 10… Words I Wish I’d Coined.

26 Feb

 

I love words. Funny words, stupid words, beautiful words. Here is a little run down of the top 10 words I wish I’d coined, and their definitions courtesy of Wiktionary. What are yours?

 

10. Obstreperous.

Adjective.

obstreperous (comparative more obstreperous, superlative most obstreperous)

  1. Attended by, or making, a loud and tumultuous noise; boisterous.
    The obstreperous mirth swiftly turned into yells of dismay.
  2. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.

9. Cantankerous

Adjective.

cantankerous (comparative more cantankerous, superlative most cantankerous)

  1. Stubborn, bad-tempered, cranky, surly, ill-humored, irritable.
    The cantankerous landlord always grumbled when asked to fix something.

8. Hobbledehoy

Noun.

hobbledehoy (plural hobbledehoys)

  1. An awkward adolescent boy.

7. Slangwhanger

Noun.

slangwhanger (plural slangwhangers)

  1. (rare) One who verballyattacks others; normally a politician or editor.
    Ugh, I see that slangwhanger has written yet another rant about our place in this war.

6. Gazump

Verb.

to gazump (third-person singular simple present gazumps, present participle gazumping, simple past and past participle gazumped)

  1. (UK, Australian) To raise the sellingprice of something (especially property) after previously agreeing to a lower one
  2. (UK, Australian) To buy a property by bidding more than the price of an existing, accepted offer

5. Inglenook

Noun.

inglenook (plural inglenooks)

  1. a corner or nook beside an openfireplace
  2. a bench or seat placed in an inglenook

4. Vomitory

Noun.

vomitory (plural vomitories)

  1. The entrance into a theater or other large public venue, where masses of people are disgorged into the stands
  2. (medicine) A substance that induces vomiting

3. Bumbershoot

Noun.

bumbershoot (plural bumbershoots)

  1. (archaic) A whimsical term for an umbrella.
    It smells like rain. Perhaps we should take along a bumbershoot.

2. Logorrhea

Noun.

logorrhea (uncountable)

  1. (medicine, US) An excessive and often uncontrollable flow of words.
  2. (humorous, US) Excessive talkativeness.

1. Wabbit.

Adjective.

wabbit (comparative more wabbit, superlative most wabbit)

  1. (Scottish) exhausted, tired

Top 10… Albums I Wish I’d Written.

23 Jan

I have been trying to think about my wishes recently. I am one of those people who relies on other mediums to express their true feelings. I have always been a little ashamed of it really, I feel like I can’t articulate my own feelings, and instead I use books, poems, fashion, music or some other medium to explain what is going on in my hectic little mind. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t blame my degree in Literature for this… but when someone else has said exactly how I feel at a particular moment before, but has said it better, then why not ‘quote’ them? Originality is hard to come by, and I can shamelessly admit that sometimes I feel I’m a bit lacking in it these days. I used to think I was a realist, but I’m not at all, I live in a dream world. Anyway, with this in mind, instead of writing my upcoming Top 10 lists just because I love the items referenced, my series of Tops 10s will be of things I wish I had done, said, or thought of doing first. To start with, here is a little run down of the Top 10 albums I wish I’d written. I have hundreds more, but unfortunately I don’t have the time or space to get all the way through. If you disagree, hit me up with it.

Image found here.

10. Bright Eyes- I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning. There is something about Conor Oberst that I fell in love with when I first heard this album. It might be the roughness of his voice which seems so perfect, particularly when he sings lines such as: ‘I could be a famous singer, if I had someone else’s voice, but failure’s always sounded better, let’s f**k it up boys, make some noise’ in ‘Road to Joy’. Or it might be what Chris Dahlen described in his review for Pitchfork as his ‘straight-from-the diary-lyrics’;  either way this album can pretty much relate to anyone who has experienced any kinds of angst or questioned the pointlessness of conflict…

Image found here.

9. Fleetwood Mac- Rumours. Probably the most popular album to come from the band, every song on ‘Rumours’ touched a nerve with me. And the sound it produces on my beautiful record player emphasizes the ostensibly simple, yet stunning and seductive nature of their sound.

Image found here.

8. Paul Simon- Graceland. Everyone knows that Paul was the genius of the duo Simon and Garfunkel, and his solo careers and achievements exemplify exactly why.  This particular album has an enchanting mix of pop, rock and African style music. Walking the streets of Memphis, I listened to this album and smiled. Driving in my car in Manchester I listened to this album and smiled. Right now, sitting at my desk in our flat in Daegu, South Korea, I am listening to this album, and smiling.

Image found here.

7. The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Anyone that doesn’t smile when the Beatles comes on the radio I simply cannot fathom…

Image found here.

6. David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I have always been a Bowie fan. The Labyrinth was my favourite film when I was younger, and the innovative nature of all Bowie’s music is excellent, in my opinion. It has to be his flamboyant glam rock stage that gets me the most though when his ‘musical Mr Hyde’, Ziggy Stardust, rears his ridiculously fabulous head.

 

Image found here.

5. Alanis Morissette- Jagged Little Pill. While I am not particularly proud that this has made my top 10 (and it almost didn’t), This album is one of the first CDs I ever owned and I still have a soft spot for it now. I was probably a bit young when it came out to really appreciate the bitter, cynical angry chick element of it, but I idolize my older sister, who, in 1995, idolized Alanis.

Image found here.

 

4. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins- Rabbit Fur Coat. I remember when my friend bought this album for me for Christmas many moons ago. Jenny Lewis is my idol, she has a fashion, music, an honesty and a quirkiness that I adore. She has an pure, unblemished sound which mixes country and indie perfectly and while the writing of this solo record isn’t spectacular this record is still dear to my heart.. Read one of my past blogs about her if you really want to know some more!

image found here.

3. The Smiths- The Queen is Dead. It’s not just because I’m a Manchester girl, but I am an adoring fan of the Smiths. They are a bit like marmite, you love them or you hate them… the miserable melodies of Morrissey tend to sooth me.

Image found here.

2. Neil Young- Harvest. As written here: ‘His haunting tenor, vividly coherent lyrics, seemingly simple music and superb instrumental and vocal support coalesce into a flowing pastiche of musical brilliance’. Wow, I definitely couldn’t have put it better myself…. hahaha.   

Image found here.

1. Bob Dylan- Blood on the Tracks. I know he’s not perfect and to be honest, I’m a little bit disappointed with the person he seems to be. However, there is something immaculate about this album. The sound of experience in his moody melodies and his imperfect bluesy voice compliments his faultless folk music so well. In a word, I love him. He is my number one.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions.

6 Jan

One of my friends mentioned the other day that he never keeps his New Year’s resolution and he sets the same one every year. Then another friend proceeded to ask ‘why don’t you set more reasonable and achievable goals then…? What was it all these years anyway?’ ‘To drink more water’ was his response. We all had a little laugh at his answer, considering it seems like a simple thing; to drink more water. I like to set New Year’s goals that nobody can actually claim I failed at. This year I’ve decided to be more positive. Who can judge whether I was successful or not?! It’s always been a flaw of mine; to expect the worst. However pessimism, while it isn’t the most attractive trait, has meant I’m never really disappointed, because expecting the worst just means that I’m happier than most when things do go my way. People always set themselves up for failure, in my opinion. Why give up chocolate, for example? Because you’ll only feel worse when you end up sneaking a bar of dairy milk in a few weeks, in fact you’ll feel worse than when had exactly the same calorific bar a week before Christmas.

So, I thought I’d compile a list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolution- a mix of the best/worst/most original out there. Here they are, in no particular order…

10- lose weight. Why do we torture ourselves with such difficult and not enjoyable exercises? Myself, I’m aiming to stay the same weight. Every morning my boyfriend wakes up early to do a workout while I get an extra hour in bed- if I can maintain my current weigh in, I know who the real winner is!

9- ‘According to some poll or another number 1 on most peoples resolutions list is to spend more time with friends and family. I say go it one step better. Start showing up at strangers family gatherings and pretend you are family. Saves time and money if you live far away from your own. Plus usually family gatherings have free food. Avoid having to explain yourself by excusing yourself from conversation whenever someone approaches. Good excuses to have ready: you’ve got a huge case of explosive diarrhea, you have a very contagious disease, you recently became allergic to other people, you’re drunk and about to vomit…’ Words found here

8- Get out of debt. It’s a standard resolution that unfortunately many people have to work towards. Myself, I just left the country. I do get the odd phone call from my nervous Mum when a letter from the student loans company arrives at our house, but while I’m not within the UK and earning, then the law says I don’t have to worry… so Mum… don’t worry!

7- Quit drinking and smoking. It’s a difficult one, and I think beginning such a big challenge after a few days off from work, makes you desperate for such things, especially when you see the pile of work you left lying on your desk until you got back to it. I don’t smoke, but I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine. For New Year, my resolution in this category is to not drink through the week… unless it’s a special occasion.

6- Do volunteer work. Ohhhh…

5- Enjoy life more. I like to group this particular resolution with my own: ‘be more positive’; and the standard, ‘say yes more’.

4- Be more organised. Send out birthday cards and presents on time rather than 2 weeks after (when the travel time from Korea to England is around 2 weeks anyway…). Tidy the house. Keep in contact with friends. Recycle the boxes of paper I have at work. Remember to blog… Tidy the house again…

3- Find your soulmate. But, I have to say, I wouldn’t go looking… I’m a stickler for that old chestnut ‘It’ll come when you least expect it…’

2- ‘I will stop considering other people’s feelings when they so obviously don’t consider mine – if that unwashed fellow sits next to me again, I’ll tell him he stinks!’ Found here.

1- I will learn the words to Auld Lang Syne. I even had to google it to remember how to spell it, and it’s always a little embarrassing when the clock chimes and I avoid every lyric except ‘should old acquaintance be forgot…’ and ‘for auld lang syne…’

Top 10 (of my) Problems With Moving to Another Country.

22 Nov

 

Landscape of Daegu City, from Trekearth.com

In no particular order…

1. The language barrier. It’s not even that it’s necessarily an issue in getting around or getting what you need, but now I’ve been in Korea for 3 months, I feel incredibly ignorant at not being able to have a proper conversation in this language.

2. Establishing your friends and family. While some people will embark on a similar teaching experience in a group, or with an organised activity/ training early in their stay, I came to my hagwon (private school) with no contacts, and an awareness I was the only ‘Westerner’ in the institution. I was super lucky when I met my best friend here as our bosses organised we go for our medicals together. There’s nothing like bonding over urine samples and blood tests!

3. Realising that not everyone you meet will be as cool as you want them to be. I guess I had a crazy idealised view of what my time in Korea was going to be like, and that every person I met was going to be incredibly interesting. Mainly because they made an active decision to leave their homes too, so we would have an automatic common point of interest. Unfortunately, I was being naive and really, often that is where the commonality starts and ends. I’ve met some weird people. And some unkind people. And some sleezy people. And some people who are really impressed with themselves. HOWEVER, I’ve also met some of the best people I’ve ever known, so I really can’t complain.

4. Missing home. I never saw myself as one of those people that would. But to be honest, sometimes I miss that bed, and the bath, and the comfort of knowing those people around you truly love you. I like to claim that I am NOT materialistic (although I miss my wardrobe!), and I’ve never really missed a place so much in my previous travels or university years, just the people that make that particular time and place special.

5. Food and drink. With my very sensitive geographic tongue (which refuses to consume any spice without some swelling) moving to an Asian country was always going to an interesting leap. This problem teams rather well with that language barrier, as you will rarely see a menu with a description in English. And while I can ask ‘is this dish spicy?’ ‘i-um shing maem na yo’ (이 음 직 맵 나 요 I think…) the Koreans idea of ‘not spicy’ still burns  my tongue off. I have consumed about 10 tons of bread since my arrival.

6. Clothing sizes and availability. Well, I never thought I’d be classed as big, anywhere in the world. I don’t profess to be a skinny-minnie, but the sizes here don’t half make me feel huge. I cannot even purchase a bra.

7. Understanding a new and very different ettiquette. Bowing. Handing over anything with your left hand touching your right elbow.  Receiving it with two hands. Waiting for the oldest person to eat before you can start, and stopping eating when they do. I am constantly learning new ways in which I can be offensive completely by accident.

8. Having to work for a living. I know this is just a shock for me, and it would be a universal problem no matter what country I was in. But being a teacher is exhausting, it truly is. And practically speaking, it’s not easy to sort out any work-related problem when no-one else speaks your language.

9. Missing out on EVERYTHING back home. New bands. My close friend’s baby’s birth. Friends going through tough times and good times. Nights out and wishing I was in the pictures when I see them on facebook. It really can be tough.

10. Christmas. I don’t really know what to say about this, as I have no idea what will happen. It’s approaching though, and I am aware it will be a low point for many of us, here. I’ve never been TOO excited about Christmas and at home we’ve never gone over the top. Nobody wants to spend Christmas without their nearest and dearest though. So we’ve vowed to be together, a Korean family ^^