Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Jackie Jormp Jomp

This week I am mostly going to be channelling Janis Joplin. Auld Janis has been in my thoughts a lot this weekend after I watched the BBC Four documentary Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue (watch it here). It may shock you to know that I honestly didn't know much about Janis before this weekend - and I do have a bit of a penchant for those musical icons who are no longer with us, especially at their peak. I discovered Jeff Buckley in 2004 and off that sprung a liking for other artists of a similar ilk, such as Elliot Smith and my beautiful Nick Drake (introduced to me via my dad and a BBC Radio 2 documentary narrated by Bard Pitt). Their tender souls cushioning me through the horror show of my twenties. Comforting me as I cried myself to sleep again, over some study stress, boy trouble or the weight of having to carry on living through the pain of depression.The Jeff phrase used to get a bit dark when watching Live in Chicago after nights out my friends had to calm me down, assuring me he was still alive somewhere. Now I am much more comfortable with the idea of the porch in heaven, where those greats as sitting, jamming all day long. 

So back to Janis, my Janis education began when I started watching 30 Rock not so long ago. Tina Fey fans and soul music fans, I can see you reading this shaking your head. I loved Jenna Maroney, a very shallow, so very shallow character, trying to grasp onto the complexities of Janis' character, something that is so beyond her that the writers leap at the chance to edit Janis' wikipedia page in order to fool Jenna into doing some pretty awful things. Like eating a cat, luckily Frank stops her in time. The combination of Jenna and Janis is perfect. At first I just liked the idea of the vain and self obsessed Jenna playing a spaced out hippy from the summer of love. Having watched the documentary this weekend, I am understanding this joke runs a little bit deeper than that. 

The documentary starts out talking about Janis as a school girl, and what a girl she was - she believed in the civil rights movement, even when it made her an outcast at her school and lead to her being picked on by fellow classmates. She was also picked on for her appearance, having bad skin and a different style to the others in her year. Well this is when I started to get it bad for Janis, all through school I never felt that I fit in. I always felt other to everyone else. I had a group of two or three good friends, with a few others who came and went over the years. Usually leaving to hang out with the popular kids for a while. I don't mean that I was some kind of social pariah either, I just liked doing my own thing, being my own person with my own interests and those tended not to interest many people I knew. I am pretty sure I was the world's biggest Muse fan in 2000/1/2, and no one in my year was really that fussed so this is one of many examples I could put in here. My fandom for Muse was intense, listening to both Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry before bed, memorising not only the lyrics but the duration in minutes and seconds of each track. This intensity and ability to get carried away in things stands me in good stead for catching up with all things Janis. 

I enjoyed Janis finding herself when she moved out of her home town, finally finding a home to call her own in Haight - Ashbury, San Fransisco. In the documentary, (I have tried to find the image), there was a picture of her sitting on her steps, with her new friends, looking so happy - noting to her family in a letter something along the lines of 'they are so cool, and that's how they always dress'. The letters, and unplayed audio gave me as a viewer a real feel of how Janis was seen by her family, and as it used her own words how she saw herself. Oh the fashion, the fashion was amazing. Every single item of clothing she owned was perfection. I am trying to work out of my home town in ready for me cutting about the high street with a feather boa tied to the back of my hair. Not many people can pull that off the way Janis could. This will be one of the ways I am going to be channeling Janis this week, pushing my own boundaries in a fashion sense. 

I have three wardrobes, a chest of drawers and a double bed all full of / covered in clothes. I have spoken about my mental health problems in previous posts, sometimes saying that I lost my love of fashion and music when I lost my mental wellbeing. I wear almost a uniform of clothes that I believe will keep me safe, or not make me feel like I am standing out when my brain is telling me that everyone is staring at me. Also my worst fear is having a panic attack/ bursting into tears with major make up and a proper jazzy outfit on. I have found safety in a somewhat normal wardrobe. Today's outfit for example a white striped top (of which I have three, because I like it so much) and black jeans (I have two pairs of these, one pair that feels better to wear on a day to day basis, the other's a back up), teamed with my Liberty London print Superga's - jazzy. I try to tell myself that this is all part of growing older, calming down my style, refining it. Well now I am saying fuck it! What is the point in having a wardrobe full of brightly coloured silks, beautiful scarves, and some right jazzy pieces in general if I am not going to wear them.I know what Janis would do - she would have an absolute field day with my wardrobe, layering pieces, bringing outfits together from things that I wouldn't never have dreamed going together. Safe to say if you see me in the next wee while, I am pushing my style boundaries, please do not cross the street to avoid me. Especially if I am dressed like someone who has just discovered lost luggage from the Hotel Chelsea in the 60s. 

'Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to loose', from Joplin's version of Me and Bobby McGee jumped right out at me when I was listening to her when I started writing this - what seems like weeks ago, it was in fact only last night. I need to make this my mantra. And here is the important bit - a positive mantra. My brain constantly plays me its own movie creation called 'What's the Worst Thing That Could Happen Here' when I am feeling particularly anxious, be it passing out in Tesco, passing out while out walking, passing out while driving.....lot of passing out. So I am going to say this to myself to keep myself going, to keep pushing forward. I need to free myself. If I don't I loose everything I have worked so hard for this far, and that is not happening anytime soon - because 'I'm gonna show you baby, that a woman can be tough'. 

Janis - I love you, and I am looking forward to our week together. Sans the drugs part obvs. 

(All images were sourced from google as I am a lazy toad)

Monday, 28 March 2016


So Easter has gone a little strange. I should probably start out by saying that although I am Christian, I'm not an off to the church every Sunday kind of Christian. I am not sure if it is because the church seems quite old fashioned (once again I am not there every Sunday so I don't know), or if it is the obvious fact that is takes place on a Sunday morning - the only time that I have seen a Sunday morning in recent times was when I was doing my hypnotherapy course, other than that I'm usually awake for Sunday lunch time. I am somewhat of a Quality Street Christian - picking out the toffee pennies, and leaving the rubbish green triangles, I take the bits I like about helping and being kind, and leave the weird bits that seems to have been written by some very angry men.

In the run up to Easter I watched Mary Berry's two part Easter feast special. It really was a lovely programme. She met many different people from different types of Christianity, from different parts of the world. The whole idea of the programme was learning about all types of traditions over the Easter weekend, finding out what different people made for their post Lent feasts, and bringing everyone together at the end for an Easter feast down Mary's local Church hall (I am assuming that is where they were). There were lovely parts of the programme where she brought the viewer into her home to see her own traditions with her own family. She met up with John Sentamu ('a lovely man with a lovely kitchen', my mum was pretty taken with the Archbishop of York's accommodation), and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. I felt honoured to watch their conversation as they shared in the grief of loosing a child, and how they coped with such a loss with their faith. And by talking about their grief they shared the meaning of Easter. Which is hope, The Archbishop of Canterbury went on to share this message in his sermon on Sunday, where he discussed the bombings in Brussels saying "On Easter Day hope decisively overcame fear".

For me this is what my own religious beliefs are about, seeing the light in the darkness, being given a little bit of help and guidance through the worst times, and giving thanks for the best.  

I am not sure how much of that message was shared yesterday as I looked through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Seeing presents laid out for children like Christmas morning. Maybe another question would be - would people bother with this if there wasn't this showing off/ over sharing on Facebook? Easter has become commercialised, and it feels very wrong. I saw it creeping in when I worked in GAP (I know who am I to talk), people buying, in fairness, a wee t-shirt in the sale (I worked in Baby GAP), rather than buying a kid a chocolate egg. I am down with that. Jamie Oliver is most certainly down with that, although he is in my bad books this week. That was about ten years ago and things seem to have escalated pretty quickly. I saw someone that I follow on twitter also lamenting about XXL Easter, saying she couldn't believe what people were giving their kids - when one of her followers asked what kind of presents, she said - 'a bike'. Now there is a Christmas present if ever I saw one. 

In the interests of honesty I should also disclose that I like things - I like clothes, I like make up, I like owning more books than I can read in a life time and the same with DVDs. This whole Easter thing really rubs me up the wrong way. I want to run about screaming - 'you are missing the point of this, you are missing the point - if this is what you think Easter is about, then what else are you missing the point of in life?!'. All this need for stuff and things and documenting it on the internet is getting a bit weird. 

So what will Easter look like for me when and if I have kids. I would imagine Easter Egg rolling, a couple of Easter Eggs, maybe a Lindt bunny, and a big family dinner. Gasps - I know I don't even have kids and am telling other people what to do with theirs. It's honestly not that, it is about taking back what is important from commercial profit. Appreciating time spent with family and loved ones, telling shops selling Easter gifts to shove it. Painting hardboiled eggs, chucking them down a hill in your local park, and leaving before the smell of multiple smashed eggs becomes too much.