Monday, 25 March 2013

They'll be there for us.

For anyone who knows me, they know there are six very special people in my life. Six people that have taught me a great deal about life, love and friendships. Six people who swore they'd be there for me, no matter what. Everything from how to carry a sofa twenty blocks, to what Unagi means and everything in between. Yes, of course, these six people are the F.R.I.E.N.D.S cast. Six people I developed an affinity with a few years ago, and I've never looked back, not once. No matter what mood I'm in, I can rely on them for absolutely anything, and I can guarantee they'll make me grin.

Everyone I know must get sick and tired of my constant talk about them. I'm the girl who has a Friends quote for every possible scenario, and is always firing little snippets here and there, to the annoyance of my (actual) friends and family. I swear I know the script and I'm (somewhat childishly!) proud of that. It's the obsession I'll never grow out of, and, thankfully, I'm not alone. There are millions of FRIENDS fans out there, considering how big the show was to begin with. Looking back, I wish I'd been old enough to see the original episodes air. The on-the-edge-of -your-seat excitement, the dramatic revelations, the incredible cliff-hangers between the series. My box-set is probably my most prized possession, think of that what you will, but it is. Me and my sister, Caitlin, can go for hours at a time, live-quoting episode after episode, only taking breaks for refreshments and stolen breaths between all of the hysterical laughter. Even now, after god knows how many views, it still makes me laugh as much as the first time I ever saw it. 

Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey. The six people who changed my life, and thousands of others, and being totally oblivious. They are my heroes, and everybody's best friends. The moment E4 announced that they would no longer be showing episodes of Friends, fans around the globe went into uproar. How could they not show Friends? What would we watch instead? How could we get our daily fix? (or at least, those who didn't have access to a box-set.) So, everything went mad. People were, literally I'm told, grieving for the metaphorical deaths of six dreamt-up people who had become such a permanent fixture in so many of our lives. We were never to see them again, never to catch a glimpse of Phoebe's terrible guitar-playing, or Monica's erratic cleaning, or Chandler's endless reel of sarcasm and hilarity. State: completely, utterly, irrevocably in mourning. FOREVER MORE.

Well, that was until a little channel, not previously a channel that had been made a fuss of, decided, perhaps on a whim, to buy the Sitcom we all loved to love. It was announced, that Comedy Central, would purchase the gang, and show them whenever and in which order they liked. Cue the celebratory Chandler dance. A day that saved so many people's sanity, (i guess) because I know, it saved mine. This all sounds terribly dramatic, as I'm well aware it's "just a programme." But, any fans will tell you differently. Friends, is not, and never will be, just anything. It's a series of life lessons, tightly packed into ten incredibly funny, stupid, wild, emotional, passionate series. I can applaud it forever, write about it for an eternity and quote it in my sleep, but I'll never be able to convey my love enough.

Everyone loves finding people who share their same interests and passions, it just makes it easier to talk to one another. I confess, there is, in my mind, nothing more exciting, than meeting a fellow Friends fan (or addict, as a few people have described me as) for the first time. The endless questions you have for them. Which is your favourite episode? Did you cry at the last one? Which quote do you like the most? Which scene made you laugh until tears were streaming down your face and your stomach was painful. And, of course, the question of all questions, the one everybody wants to know the answer to. Who's your favourite? 

Mine, is and always will be, the lovely, charming, geeky, hilarious Chandler Bing. He's my ideal man, theoretically. He makes me laugh far too much. His wit, cheesy lines and the sheer bluntness of his sarcasm are just a few reasons why Mr Bing is the one I love. Don't get me wrong, I adore them all equally and it's sort of impossible to separate them and truly pick a favourite. Rachel's ditsy personality, her amazing fashion sense, her spoiled side and her over-the-top romantic side make her such a brilliant character. Monica, the bleach-weilding, overly-controlling, freakishly-clean chef never fails to make everyone howl, plus 'Mondler' is something we'll never, ever forget. Phoebe's hippy side, her moving rendition of so many inappropriate songs (but everyone loves Smelly Cat) and her ability to make light of any situation that arises, is why she's so well-liked. Joey. Well, what can anyone say about Joey? With charm, looks and an amazing grin on his side, and the addition of his best line ever 'How you doin'?' it's enough to make any girl weak at the knees. Everyone who's anyone loved Joey. His playfulness, his sheer stupidity and ability to go from absolute player to cute romantic in five seconds flat. Finally, and last, but by no means least, Ross. I think some of my favourite episodes focus in and around Ross, so really, if I wasn't routing for my Chandler-esque love affair, he'd be my all-time fave guy. The intelligent one, the utter geek, the drama queen of the group. And who can forget his endless string of wives and girlfriends. However, none of it was ever going to last, because all of the superfans (like myself) were always, (and still are, everytime we tune in) routing for Ross and Rachel. The meant-to-be couple, even though they had one hell of a rollercoaster ride to get to where they end up.

So, ten years. 236 episodes. Six friends. Hundreds of break-ups. Three divorces. Three weddings. Two bad hair cuts. Five babies. Endless "We were on a Break" excuses. Too many Janice encounters. Quite a number of outfit malfunctions. Four attempts to play (extreme) Fireball. Trips to Vegas, Barbados and London that all ended dramatically. We learnt a lot from these guys. We were there, every step of the way; through their best and worst moments,  we shared their happiness and their tears, and in the end, everything turned out the way we were all hoping. From the Ross and Rachel saga, to the revelation that Chandler and Monica couldn't have children, there wasn't a dry eye in the entire Northern hemisphere. We feel for them, we love for them, and inevitably, we cry for them. The six people that never fail to make us laugh uncontrollably, the ones who never falter, and ultimately, the ones that, as the Rembrandts so cordially sang, will be there for us.

Joey: So, Ross and Rachel got married, Monica and Chandler almost got married, do you think you and I should hook up?
Phoebe: Oh, we do, but not just yet.
Joey: Really? Well, when?
 Phoebe: Okay, um, well, first Chandler and Monica will get married--and become filthy rich, by the way. Yeah. But it won't work out.
Joey: Wow.
Phoebe: I know. Then, I'm gonna marry Chandler--for the money--and you'll marry Rachel and have the beautiful kids.
Joey: Great!
Phoebe: But then we ditch those two, and that's when we get married. We'll have Chandler's money and Rachel's kids, and getting custody will be easy because of Rachel's drinking problem.
Joey: Uh oh. What about Ross?
Phoebe: I don't want to go into the whole thing, but, um, we have words and I kill him.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Wasted weekends.

Opening your eyes even just a fraction, and immediately you wince. The light wounds you, it's too bright. No one prepared you for this. Daylight. Morning (is it?) Sobriety. 

Lifting your head off the pillow, everything stars to spin. Your vision is well and truly compromised. Wince again. You're in a lot of pain. It's self-inflicted. You hate yourself for it. That 'it was a good idea at the time' lark. Mindless self-indulgence. Dry throat, severely dehydrated, hot and shivering at the same time. Alcohol is seeping through every pore in your body. You can smell the night before very vividly. Stale perfume, a stranger's aftershave, day-old beer, vodka remnants, chinese or pizza or some kind of takeaway box is strewn across the bedroom floor, half-eaten, grease glistening. Your stomach flips. A distinct stench of vomit and the feeling that you've forgotten something important. You look in the mirror, gawp at your reflection. 

Your face is blotchy, exhausted, worn. You've had the same make up on for about thirty six hours now, and it's showing. One earring in. You're still wearing last night's dress, but it now has a very obvious rip down the left-hand side. You don't know how you got home, or where your phone is or how much money you threw angrily at the barman demanding 'teeeequilarrr!'  Last night was, probably disastrous. Spilled drinks, smashed glasses, arguments and probably very drunk interactions with the entirely wrong sort of people. Waking up feeling like you've drank the bar. Having bad skin days, bad hair days and generally just had days. You feel run down, and tired and just rotten. Bloated, boring, dull, exhausted. Coffee, painkillers and the comfort of your bed is all you need. 

The day seems to last forever, as you struggle to piece together the night before, with the help of texts from friends. The ones you dread 'Can't believe you last night!' 'How drunk were you?' and the worst are texts from unrecognised numbers. You swear under your breath, realising you must've been giving out your number to anyone who'd take it. As for your sent texts, you can't even bare to read them, as the recipients' names are enough to make you want to bury your head under your duvet for evermore. Although you're well aware that hangover cures don't fully exist, you spend the day trying anything humanly possible to rid yourself of The Hangover from Hell, with no luck. Your aversion to anything remotely alcoholic heightens, ironically. Everything is too loud, too fast, too bright. Your senses spend the day attacking your immune system, until you're well and truly overcome by last night's antics. Retreating to bed, earlier than ever before and as willing as a child on Christmas Eve, only without a Santa-like figure. However, we've all got one little consolation, even if we don't remember the little details, and that's the sheer, undeniable hope that it was worth your while. That last night, no matter how many hours you spent throwing up, how bad your headache was, how much money you threw away and how much of an idiot you made of yourself, that for even a short time, it was worth it.

Who are we kidding? We'll do it all again given half a chance.  

That infamous thing we call fame.

Fame. The eighth unknown deadly sin, right? If that's the case, why is it that everybody wants those four golden letters. F-A-M-E. I'm not just talking about the bright lights and Hollywood Boulevard, but also, the feeling of being something, someone. Everyone wants that. To show themselves to the world, warts and all, as it were, and for the world to smile back, unwittingly, accepting every goddamn thing.

Four little letters with the power to make you or break you. Who would want to be famous? Well, it seems pretty much all of us. We all want that thrill of being recognised, the feeling that you're appreciated for your talent and more than anything, that you have a fan-base that accept you for who you really are, as well as who you want to be. However, it's easy to get swept off your feet by Fame, seduced and then left pining for something you never should have fallen into in the first place. It takes over, engulfing everything, from your friendships to your relationships, to the route you take on a morning to Starbucks. Fame sticks around, for it's sins.

It's the ever-insistent third wheel,  the friend that follows you everywhere, waiting for you to slip up and point out your mistakes, the ghost that haunts you, the problem that rears its ugly head whenever you think you're safe and it's dead and gone, the interfering, persistent ex. If you commit to it, you've got to be serious. You can't go into the fame half-heartedly; it absorbs you and throws you into the vicious jaws of the media, of which you aren't guaranteed to get out alive. For some, it's salvation, for others, it's disrepute. You don't get a first chance, if you're lucky. Some of the unluckiest of us get a second, or a third, or a fifth-fourth shot at fame. Fame will ruin your life unless it's everything you've ever wanted as well as so much more. If it isn't, it never will be. If it's not enough, to be 'famous', infamous or celebrated, you'll be devoured by it.

Whether you want to be an actor, a doctor, a writer or an astronaut, who you are as a person means everything. The difference between 'Making It' and finding yourself in the metaphorical gutter, downtrodden, the grey skies overhead, with only dashed hopes and good intentions for company, is tiny. But, on the off-chance you do make it, should it be something to raise a glass to, or would a paper bag over your head be more appropriate. The latter, it would seem. Maybe being 'famous' isn't all it's cut out to be. The industry is savage, ruthless, unforgiving. Full of rules and limitations, boundaries and restrictions. Surely that isn't a reason to be famous. Just think, your lover, your best friend, your stalker. They will all go by the same name. So, what will it be? Are you ready to make your choice? Now, here's the million dollar question...

What are you willing to give up for the chance to bed fame?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Why so serious?

Remember those days, when you were about 14, and you and your BFFs would have gossipy sleepovers, paint each others' nails and talk into the small hours about that guy you sort of liked in your English class. Those were the days. When 'crushing' on someone didn't have to be a complicated, heart-wrenching, unhappy thing. It was light-hearted, fun and full of giggles and the exchange of stolen glances over the top of battered copies of The Tempest, brought out of their dusty home on the floor of the English cupboardThe feeling, seeing someone reciprocate a smile or even a small 'hello' would make your entire day. When did everything get so complicated?

At the somewhat grand (old) age of 19,  I wonder whether we long for the days that have already passed, the friendships we shouldn't have walked out on and the times that were altogether easier to cope with. I recently heard a song I hadn't heard for what must be five years, and it got me thinking of an old friend. We don't speak much anymore, not for any particular reason, we just grew apart as we got older. However, no matter how long had passed, or whatever disagreements we may have had along the way, none of that seemed to matter when I heard that song, everything was forgotten. It was as if I was back to an easier time.  When school days weren't full of stress and exams, when discussions about guys were naive and pain-free and when friendships were supposed to last forever. 

Everything changes when you reach a certain age. Being 14, so hung up on someone you know, getting carried along by the whole Will he/Wont he? argument you play over and over and over in your head. The funny times seem funnier, the sad times seem more trivial and the great times, seem, well, greater, because, back then, a lot of the serious stuff didn't matter. At 14, if you make a mistake, you can, and undoubtedly will, put it down to experience. Five years later, when you're messing up after god knows how many shots of gin and JD, everything seems threateningly serious. You're officially an adult at 19, you can drink, drive, gamble and vote. You can take out a mortgage or a loan or buy your own house. However, at 19, are we really ready to face the world and every ounce of responsibility that comes with it? Instead, we prepare to leave the nest, with arm-fulls of hope, a suppressed amount of fear, and every now and then, some necessary  dutch courage. 

From the days you spent pouring your heart out to your parents over some little spat with your BFF to the break-up of a 'relationship' at that age, looking back it all seems so innocent, so simple. Fall-outs over who wore the same outfit to someone's birthday party or the fact that two people share an interest in the same guy. No real fights, no bitter slurs and back-stabbing and spreading vicious rumours or brandishing her a "stupid slut." At 19, we hear it all of the time; Know Your Limits, Act Your Age, and Think Before You Speak. None of which were necessary rules to live by at the tiny age of one-four. Now crying over someone seems immature, being upset about having harsh words with friends seems futile, and saying stupid things seems, well, stupid. There are certain expectations everyone has of you after you reach a certain milestone.  Whether you fulfill them or not, is another matter entirely. 

Now, staying up all night, has entirely different connotations. Late-teens and Early-twenties are supposed to have reformed attitudes to things. Chasing someone you have feelings for, or in fact, being chased, suddenly becomes something a bit naive. It's like your unconscious is ready, on its haunches, to scream "GET ON WITH IT!" At fourteen, a love life was a big deal for most people, something you were ready to shout from the rooftops. But now, it's not like that. Little things aren't appreciated. That smile, the few seconds of eye contact, the first stages of getting to know someone, they seem to be swept under the metaphorical carpet of life, to gather as much dust as that battered old copy of The Tempest. Now, you find yourself saying "we just kissed" and watch listeners' eyes sort of glaze over, bored, as if they were expecting something juicier  It's just a stepping stone to something more, and I guess, in a way, it is, but also, it's kind of sad. How can something that used to be such a big deal, now mean so little to us a few years later? Cue our younger selves, bearing refreshing little grins and encouraging you to smile about it.

Your teenage years are supposed to be the best and the worst years of your life. I never really fully understood that until recently. All of the fun and the freedom, with none of the responsibility. As you get older, you're supposed to get wiser, but instead, you just invest more, you make more qualified choices, and when all else fails, you make worse mistakes than any mistake you every made as a teenager. Then again, i guess no one can make your mistakes for you, and you can never truly learn from someone else's. After all, what does it matter if, at nineteen, we still don't know when to stop drinking or realise when you're being played, we're still relatively young, so we'll use that excuse until it expires.

(there will, undoubtedly be many more WHMS references as my blog proceeds!)

Harry: I'm not saying it didn't mean anything. I'm saying why does it have to mean everything?
Sally: Because it does, and you should know that better than anybody, because the minute it happens you walk right out the door! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

In a vacuum, no one can hear you blog.

It's strange, I debated making a blog for ages before I actually did it, and now I have, I'm sort of relieved. I never thought for a second anyone would read my online scribbles, although I'm not actually sure how many people are. I think there's a certain kind of liberation you get from blogging. Putting all of your thoughts down the minute they happen, and being able to press 'publish' immediately, and your brainwaves are out there. A live-feed into my unconsciousness. An insight into how messed up, crazy and chatty I really am. 

I feel like when I write, I'm sharing the world's biggest, most important secret, (not because I value my scrawl that much) but because it's nice thinking you're writing for an audience who don't have expectations. Posts can be from the mundane to the hilarious, and people will read them, enthralled and excited, no matter which. I know I've read countless blog posts and thought 'Wow. I want to know this person' and I've always wondered whether someone could react like that to my writing, even though it's mainly spontaneous thought. 

I haven't mentioned my blog to an awful lot of people. I guess I have reservations about how it's going to be received, but if I'm really honest, I write for myself, not for a readership of any kind. Writing is my passion, so my blog is my way of sharing the thing I love with people who may or may not appreciate it. If it's not to your taste, then I really don't mind, but I'd be eternally flattered if you like my blog, and would love it if you shared your thoughts with me. After all, there's nothing more flattering than finding out someone appreciates your opinion, in whatever shape or form. 

So, if you happen to come across this, I hope you like my nonsense. Whether it makes you grin like a Cheshire cat, laugh uncontrollably, or identify with privately, I appreciate it more than words can say.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Dedication #1: I'm the Cheryl to her Betty.

Elizabeth-y. Lizzybeth. Bitsy. Betty. 

The girl who knows me better than I know myself. My best friend, through everything. The girl I got to know over one too many creative Variation posters in Mr Cook's science lessons in Year 8. We have been through so much together, from mutual friends' fall-outs, to family problems and everything in between. The one I've taken countless photos with, the one with impeccable taste, the best sense of humour and the greatest air-guitarist of all-time. My Earth Hour partner, my confidante, my drunk text buddy, my other half on Bebo all those years ago. 

The one who I struggled to stifle laughter with through countless Media and English lessons with Rosey. In the time we've known each other, we've been all over together; A very wet, miserable yet hilarious 3 days in the Scottish Borders for 'team building', two very questionable, so-called 'educational' visits to Edinburgh, two very random, lengthy trips to Stratford, which our teachers swore were 'cultural visits', god knows how many cinema outings, meals and shopping trips in between. We spent two weeks together in Turkey a few years back, and lived to tell the tale, minus a few dodgy run-ins with the locals, some very funny experiences with someone we've come to know as Poodley (for unexplainable reasons) and the ultimate risk of being drowned in the pool, unless we participated, willingly, in The Dance. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

She's the one person who knows every one of my secrets, the person who means the world and more to me, the person I trust with my life. I was in a total panic, god knows why, when I was going to start Uni back in September, and for the first time, I wouldn't be surrounded by the same familiar faces, namely Betty. The fear that we'd drift apart and eventually become strangers, was horrifying to me.Obviously, I was blind to think i could ever get rid of her that easily. She's currently pursuing a degree in Primary Education, something she's destined to do, and I just know that if she's ha;f as good a teacher if she is a friend, her future students are lucky as hell.

We can go days or even weeks without seeing each other, yet when we do, nothing has ever changed. We can spark up a conversation as if we'd had no time apart. I've told her this, but to lose her would be like losing my right arm. I can honestly say I don't know what I'd do without her, and I never want to find out.

So, to the most mental, funny, positive person I know, this is a dedication I hope you'll appreciate when you read. Bad news, you're stuck with me for a while yet. 

Young, free and legal: the perks of being 19.

I felt physically sick at the thought of turning nineteen. It was as if all of the hype surrounding turning 18 had vanished completely, and being one year older only meant one thing, the last stretch of the very much loved teenage years. However, six months later, I'm sort of coming round to the idea, there seem to be some perks after all.

Walking into a bar and flashing your ID with too much confidence, because you know fine well that the date and picture on the card are yours. 

Being the perfect age to distance yourself from school kids, but you still qualify as a 90's child. Meaning you don't feel ancient when you see that the Disney Channel is still showing re-runs of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, despite Will Smith not making an episode for sixteen years. 

Not worrying where or at what point you lost both your dignity and your phone last night, in between downing drinks and singing too loudly, because someone will be able to fill in the gaps, as soon as the photos are uploaded to Facebook.

Being 19, is, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. Sooner or later, the big 2-0 will be looming, and that will be a depressing year. 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

'cause you're the only one that can get me on my feet, and I can't even dance.

Standing in the crowd, in the arena, surrounded by thousands of Script fans, staring up at Danny, Glen and Mark. It was as if everything else went out of focus, and my eyes were glued to the stage.

 I got to wondering, if our lives had a playlist, what would be on each of ours, and what reasons would we have for the choices? 

From your favourite, your hated, to the down-right cheesy, there are, to quote someone very special to me:  “Songs for every occasion.”

So, whether you’ve got a pint, a mic or a hairbrush in your hand, singing along, although badly, provides us with some hilarious and unforgettable memories. 

The song you'll sing on karaoke after too many Vodka and Coke's, the soundtrack to your favourite film, the oldest song you know, the one by your favourite band, the only song you like by an artist, the one with the meaningful lyrics, the one with the personal meaning for you, your best friend’s favourite party tune, the song you sing in the shower, the one that requires your best head banging and air-guitaring, the one you shamefully love, the song you privately hate, the one with the stupid lyrics, the chart song everyone just can’t get enough of, the one to sway to, the one to scream to, the one to dance to. 

Whatever occasion, whatever time of day or night, no matter where you are in the world, I love that if a particular song comes over the radio, it’s like everyone knows what’s coming. That moment of recognition and expectation, where everyone, even strangers, exchanges knowing glances, just before they burst into dance. Those moments are the outstanding ones, the ones you’ll never forget.

Whether it’s the song that reminds you of That Ex, that special someone, a certain situation or it’s just a song that everybody loves to hate, music brings us together in a way that language never can. There’s nothing like the feeling of being surrounded by strangers, and a song coming on, and everyone sharing that one moment, no matter what’s happening in their own lives, for a moment, nothing matters, except the present. 

Slap on your craziest grin, put on your dancing shoes and whack out your air-guitar, because it’s not going to last forever. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Beginning the Madness.

I'm a total Blogspot rookie, so you'll have to bare with me until I get the hang of this thing. For all of you who don't know me, I'm Eleanor. My nineteen year-old, caffeine-junkie self is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing, at Northumbria Uni in Newcastle. Writing is my escape, but I've never actually broadcast it online, unless you count my constant tweeting and bitching. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life, but I'm having a hell of a time figuring it out. I've wanted to start blogging for ages, but always seemed to find an excuse. My constant procrastinating has finally come to an end, to the relief of myself, and hopefully anyone who reads this. I really hope you like my blog, and would  hugely appreciate any comments/feedback/help of any kind. I'd like to post something other than my slightly neurotic stream-of-consciousness, but I'm not making any promises. And of course, I wouldn't have been able to do this without Gracie, whose blog is my constant source of reference, conversation, laughter and amazement. She's such a talented writer, and I think you will all love her. So, for now, I'll sign off, send my First Ever blog post into the unknown, and hope for the best.