Monday, 23 August 2010
Sunday, 8 August 2010
What I did do however, was begin volunteering at the community cafe and spend two days in Edinburgh. More on the cafe in a later post, there have already been far too many awkward customers, "unusual" volunteers and mishaps involving various beverages to cram in here.
Edinburgh is incredibly beautiful. Its historical value is amazing, even I, who was a lot more concerned with the amazing vintage shopping in the city, found it extremely interesting. As a visitor from the countryside where almost everyone either works in the oil industry and uses a BMW to commute or is a farmer and drives a tractor purely to hold me up when I'm late to meet someone, it was the multiculturalism of Edinburgh and the vibrancy of its city centre that really made me want to stay.
Thursday, 1 July 2010
I'm so, so excited for Summer. I won't be off on any amazingly exotic holiday (York with my parents and best friend actually), nor do I have a jam packed social calendar for the seven blissful weeks ahead. I will be in my room, study or garden having the time of my life. What could possibly be better? I can read for hours and hours and hours, I can paint whatever and whenever I fancy, my abnormal sleep patterns seem only to be frowned upon when I have my education to think about, I do not have to go to sleep each night aware that I have to face decidedly disinterested teachers in the morning whose enthusiasm for us as students and for the subject they're forcing upon is is almost as plentiful as ours. In Summer I can blog to my heart's content and where what I please every single day. If I so wish I can spend the entire day indoors, drinking coffee in my pyjamas, painting the various ornaments and dog toys that clutter my home (rather poorly I hasten to add).
To hardened, more traditional educators this may sound like an appalling attitude and one which must be straightened out right away. Reading nonsensical novels all day and scribbling ideas in tatty notepads is hardly the most productive use of our time, they might say. I disagree completely. Obviously I enjoy doing so far more than poring over algebraic equations or puzzling over osmosis and diffusion but I can honestly say I feel that I've learnt more in the past fortnight I've been off school ill than I had in the fortnight prior to my illness spent at school.
I've learnt how to get as many tones as possible from a 4B pencil, I've learned how to edit a blogspot.com blog, I've learned how to get rid of stomach flu quickly, I've learned how to use dialogue more effectively in my writing, I've decided that I'm sure about what I want to do after I leave education, I've learned how to play the intro to Dammit on my guitar, I've learnt not to eat pick n mix when I have stomach flu, my painting has definitely improved, my writing has also (believe it or not), I know more about mediaeval history, I know more about Victorian fashion, I know more about cranberries and I know more about Andy Warhol and Tracey Emin.
I am definitely not saying, that's it, I give up on school. I don't, I fully intend to carry on and hopefully somehow manage to get a degree at the end of it all. I've just realised that sometimes you learn the most when you're not at school and the things you really end up remembering and using in later life, the things that really however pretentious it sounds make you a better person and a more interesting one are the things you experience and learn for yourself without a teacher or a uniform on.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Since I was maybe about eleven I’ve been on and on at my poor parents to allow me to go to the hallowed fields of Glastonbury, or at least T in the Park. Understandably, the answer has always been no and will continue to be a no until I’m eighteen. Even then I’ll only be going because there’s not much they can do to stop me and not because they approve. Every year I watch all of the festival coverage and long to be amongst the sea of fans, to sing along to the “indie anthems” with thousands of other music fans and to go for days without a shower. This, my mother will never understand.
I can’t say I blame her; it does seem like a rather odd thing to do. Paying a considerable amount of money to stand sweaty, tired and dirty in a field surrounded by the unwashed masses to see with no home comforts a band you could watch on TV. Considering the basic facts, the attraction of a festival isn’t something I quite understand, but then perhaps that adds to the appeal.
Thousand of music fans all excited and elated to be where they are, all as unshowered and messy as one another, all united by their love of music. The roar of the crowd as an artist walks onstage, the ascending cheer at their collective recognition of a song as the intro rings out across the field. That’s where the appeal lies.
Watching Florence and the Machine at Glastonbury this weekend has only made me more eager to go. The connection between Florence and her audience was phenomenal, the thousands of audience members completely under her ethereal spell. On paper this sounds incredibly pretentious and airy fairy and maybe I’m one of the very few who view festivals in this way. Some must agree or have their own equally strongly felt reasons for making their pilgrimage to Glastonbury. The crowd sizes speak for themselves and tickets are gold dust.
Of course, I say all of this without having experienced a festival myself and so have no real authority to declare the less than desirable hygiene an unfortunate, but very tolerable, downside. For all I know my very sensible mother could be entirely right and upon my return I might very possibly vow never to repeat the experience. But from the outside looking in, festivals seem like the most glorious celebration of all the things I adore (fashion included these days) and I will literally count the months until I can see if I’m right for myself.
For now, I will continue to watch the BBC’s coverage avidly and imagine myself there. I’ll let you know if I love it as much as I expect to in four summers time.
Friday, 8 January 2010
Friday, 4 December 2009
I’m Claire and if you’re reading this you probably know my mother so I will try my best to reflect well on her amongst my rants. The title of this blog pretty much says it all, just another fourteen year old blogging about things which are important to her and her self obsessed, sheltered world and completely insignificant compared with the greater goings on in the world. Be that as it may, having my own little place on the internet to rant, to express my feelings and share the things that sparked one of my notorious laughing fits gave me a certain childish thrill.
I love that when you first make the transition between primary school and secondary your teachers love to tell you not to worry, that it’s nothing like the movies and there will be no cliques, no “queen bees” and no gossip. They lie. I am lucky in that I genuinely do enjoy high school, I love grades, I love learning, I love the debates, I love my subjects and I absolutely adore my friends but it isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. Everyone either is, will be or has been to high school. It’s more or less inevitable and I always enjoy hearing people’s experiences whether positive or negative. In generic, American high school movies there are cliques. There are Goths, geeks, emos, skinny girls, jocks, skaters, high achievers, band geeks, art freaks and most notably the Queen Bee and her ever loyal minions. In British school whilst efforts are made to blur the lines, to deny the blatant pigeon holing and to “include everyone as an equal” they do exist. I was very much into the emo scene and the whole Goth “I hate school, the system and colour” thing for a while and whilst it does seem like a ridiculous obsession with morbidity and gloom I can honestly say I have never had more fun. The people, the scene and the sort of union established with your fellow emos is empowering. It’s the perfect character building exercise, one in which you can rebel without actually rebelling, hate without actually hating and take comfort in your title. The Emo Child is a well known stereotype, once you’ve conformed to it your life becomes easy. Skinny jeans, converse, eyeliner, band shirt, straight hair, vegetarian, skinny, done. All of this is besides my point. When I gave up my emo act, I moved lunch tables, I lost my best friend but I did feel more like myself and my grades improved. Is this clique-ism simply part of teenage life or is it something worse? I think I participated in PE about thrice last year, PE in eyeliner? EXERCISE? Positive attitudes about what the government wanted you to do twice a week? Never. Since giving it all up, I enjoy PE and I actually do extra sport (hockey and badminton) in my own free time. Since giving up my emo act my grades and rapport with the teachers who matter (the teachers who have the power to make you head girl) improved. I often wonder if they improved because my attitude changed or if I became a more acceptable face of the school. Changing your makeup and your hair has much more meaning at fourteen. You lose friends, you lose your title and you become someone new. Why does this matter so much? Why does it matter what your title is, if you’re Queen Bee or not or where you sit at lunch? It shouldn’t, but it does and I do still care a great deal. Has this always gone on or is this a new noughties phenomenon? The cliques, lunch tables and grades are all that matter really. Two of the things we as teens spend our hours worrying over count for absolutely nothing when we leave school and head out into the big bad world. Will it stop us? No. And honestly, as long as we care about our friends and love our families, it doesn’t make us bad people. There’s something almost nice about that, that we can justify this. All we are is teenagers. And to me that means staying up bent over desks and chemistry books, hating our best friends, using history techniques we learned in class to analyse gossip, getting sweaty in tiny music venues with glowsticks in the air and shared hilarity in classrooms. The times the cliques don’t matter and the times we can all just be teenagers, stupid, typical teenagers. And we love it really, don't listen to us if we say we don't.