Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.
Today was a pretty dreadful day. It has been months since I have felt this low and although I managed to get dressed in the end the project came close to coming under a new name; 364 dresses and the boy’s best t-shirt. Part of the reason for the low was loneliness; the boy was at work today which left me alone with my thoughts which are particularly unpleasant at the moment. It has now been months since I finished my course and longer still since I have been in the work place and I am starting to feel frustrated at the sheer amount of rejection and red-tape involved in the job market at this timde. I do not think I am a particularly unemployable person; in spite of my head troubles whenever I am in the work place I am generally in good health, am hard-working and committed and throw myself into every task and have been told I am great fun to have around the office as I get on well with most people, even tolerating questionable clothing choices for the sake of harmony in the office. My illness has never effected me in the work place as far as I am aware other than perhaps taking things to heart more than most.
When I woke up this morning and found myself drifting into melancholy I tried my best to regroup and remind myself of all the wonderful plans I had made for the day. The night before I had made a lovely list of things I wanted to do today; I am a freak about to do lists and can think of few things more pleasurable in life than ticking off an entire to do list in one day. Upon my list there was a couple of CD reviews I wanted to get finished before the weekend as well as a note about a trip out to see John Ryland’s library on Deansgate; it has been restored for some time now and I am desperate to explore the literary treasures within and see the splendour of a building filled to the brim with beautiful wonderful life affirming books. I had also planned to spend the day hunting out a new purse, finding some thermals for skiing in Chamonix and tracking down some reasonably priced vintage tea sets for an event I’m planning.
I like to think that had the boy been about I would have tried harder to prise myself from my mood. As it was however he was not and seeing as there was nobody about to make me feel embarrassed for mooching around like an angst ridden teenager I put my plans to the back of my mind, pulled the quilt up to my chin and queued up an indecent number of episodes of Glee to keep me calm.
I am not usually a big fan of television. There are few things I find worthy of dedicating my time to on the schedule other than the football. I did become hooked on Celebrity Big Brother at the start of the year but generally I find trash TV rather disturbing as the producers of reality TV seem genuinely hell-bent on going out of their way to find the most mentally disturbed people in the country and placing them all in a confined space. If they are not unbalanced when they enter the house they are certainly lacking in reality when they leave and most develop delusions of grandeur which are really rather worrying.
There are however a few series which I am happy to dedicate hours of my life to at a time. These are, in no particular order The Wire; The West Wing; Dexter; Glee and Scrubs. Scrubs, West Wing and The Wire hold a special place in my heart because when I was suffering from severe episodes of depression they kept me company and eventually aided me to abandon my bed in the hope of brighter days which laid up ahead.
When I was at University in my second year I was hit by a virus which knocked me for six right in the middle of a string of deadlines. I was ill for about three weeks in total and although the virus was severe I probably would have got better sooner had I not allowed myself to sink into sadness. My boyfriend at the time was not the most understanding of fellows and it was easier to tell him I was sick than psychologically flawed and in this way I was able to keep the truth of my crazy from him for a little longer. In fairness to him whilst he thought I was sick and not sad he did try to help me out, he downloaded me three seasons of scrubs to keep me company whilst he went to lectures and even cooked for me on a fair few occasions. Although Scrubs is terribly twee I found myself comforted by its softly softly delivery of lessons on morality and motivational speeches from the infamous Doctor Cox and in the end I forced myself to get showered and dressed all at the same time and dragged myself out of bed. I managed to keep my poorly at bay for a while longer but less than two months after my Scrubathon I fell into a much deeper depression. The same Scrub sourcing sweetheart had become bored of my blues and without too much trouble had found himself a distraction. He dumped me the day after I stumbled upon a conversation he’d had with a friend via MSN about a stunning girl who was apparently model hot. He had pulled her in front of his friends whilst I had been back home with my family and had apparently been speaking with her every other day since. Unfortunately when he left me I couldn’t even find solace in Scrubs as it had become too closely linked too him so instead I turned to the bitter sweetness of 80p Apple Sours from the hall bar along with any other alcohol available to numb the pain. I did try yoga for a while and even went to the doctor in search of a magic pill but oblivion was a much more attractive albeit destructive way to heal my wounds.
The West Wing helped me out in much the same way as Scrubs did. After struggling for months to find work after graduating I sort of gave up and started sleeping more than was strictly healthy. Admittedly it didn’t help that I had given up my medication upon some manic hippy notion that love could cure-all but depression did indeed beckon it’s familiar claw and without the help of medicines I gave up the fight to it all too easily. As I sleepily struggled to force myself from the safety and comfort of the quilt I found myself happily distracted by the popular sharp tongued protagonists. Escapism enveloped me as I became entirely focused on deciphering the endless dialogue spoken at a speed which even I struggled to keep up with. It took me twenty-four episodes but in the end I got myself back to reality and even managed to make tough choices to move home and take a job at my father’s company as a purchase ledger clerk. It wasn’t my dream career but at least it gave me a routine and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Finally the other series which has been a band aid in disguise over the years is The Wire. Unlike the other programmes I have mentioned, this was a series which was watched from a decidedly upright position. Knowing as I did that exercise is one of the best ways to combat a low mood I decided to combine my usual remedy of box-set with bench work. Every morning before I got a shower, I would watch an episode of The Wire whilst working out with weights on the stepper. In this way, with a lot of help from family, friends and pharmaceutical companies I finally managed to get my mojo back and even got a fairly flat tummy for my troubles.
This morning when I chose to watch Glee rather than get out of bed I was annoyed at myself because I knew it was a bad decision. I knew that if I could just drag myself from under the covers and into the shower I could still stand a chance of going for a walk, getting out the house and maybe letting the sunshine and the sound of others getting on with their lives do the rest. Unfortunately it wasn’t until gone four in the afternoon that I managed to get myself in the shower and dressed and by the time the boy came home he was too tired to do anything other than drift off to sleep on my lap. I moaned like a child about wanting him to fix me and make me feel better but in my heart I know that when I am in a mood like this there is little he or Glee can do to make things better. All I can ever hope for when I am struck down by a low like this is that come the next morning the clouds will have cleared enough to tempt me into taking the tiny steps needed to bring me out of doors to see the daylight. Only tomorrow will tell.
- Today’s dress was donated by Sinead Kenny, sister of Monica who loaned yesterday’s gorgeous grey dress. This maxi dress is a size 14 but is one of those wonderful one size fits all dresses which is elasticated round the waist and bust. With pink Marks and Spencer tights and extremely high heels I avoid the fatal mistake of letting it trail on the pavement and prevent it being soiled with Manchester muck – leaves and rain mashed together to create a grey and brown paste. It was totally freezing today and though I did spend the majority of the day hiding out indoors I did make it out in time for the last of the light even if I did jump straight back in to bed afterwards.
I want to tell you all about the delights of my day. About the interview I had with a small locally based paper who are looking for a senior reporter with multimedia skills and the ability to hunt down a story. After having a little think however I think it is probably best if I don’t; I am scared of getting my hopes up and so hopefully one day soon I will be able to share the experience with you as even if I don’t get the job it was without a doubt the most enjoyable interview I have ever had.
For the first time in weeks the family and I are getting on rather well. There was a great energy in the home which only a near full house can provide. As my mother and brother attempted to unnot a 50 meter climbing rope sausages were sizzling in the Aga which me and my little brother kept trying to pinch even though we were due to head out for dinner. Even the giant and I were getting on quite nicely thanks to him taking my attempts to steal one of the four cars in the drive in good humour. My new tact to get a car back is to just keep asking for lifts everywhere, so far it is having little effect but I shall persevere.
When you come from a large family; the giant, the mother, two sisters and one brother chaos and high decibel chatter is just as soothing as a lullaby. At University I used to put on regular Saturday morning brunch clubs to try to recreate the family unit of my childhood home where we all attempted to have a nice dinner but inevitably tiffs would break out and by the end of the meal our mother would lose her patience and demand we eat in silence. Although the most fierce rows took place around the table they were also, and I think I speak for all of us, the location of our happiest memories and the place we learnt to speak up or get sidelined. When there are four women in a household your ability to communicate becomes so acute you are able to skip quickly between different conversation topics, finish each others sentences and send the males into near meltdown by a sudden succinct tongue lashing about the need to put the toilet seat down gosh darn it.
During the week I managed to book us into Ascoughs, Market Harborough’s greatest restaurant. They do a great set menu for £15, less during the day, where you get two courses, plenty of vegetables, potatoes of the day and the all important baked that morning bread roll. Although I have been on several occasions with friends, family and former lovers never before have myself and the boy been together. As today was our four-year anniversary I was delighted when I managed to get us in for a 9.15 setting, usually you have to book up to a month in advance if you stand any chance of getting a table, even on a week-night.
The boy was too kind to say, but just before I went to meet him at the station I checked the time of our meal in the diary and realised my mistake. It is in-fact not our anniversary till tomorrow. Oh dear. As it was we had the table booked and I had spent too long on my make-up and prettifying myself to cancel the reservation so I thought I’d just not bother mentioning it. The meal was utterly fantastic, apart from one unpleasant moment during my starter when a piece of pancetta lodged itself in my gum and I had to run to the toilet to stem the blood. There is crispy then there is just cutting, the boy for once even let me give them feedback on this culinary assault which was present enough as he never usually lets me.
I love going out to eat with the boy, especially when we have been apart for some time as we have hours to catch up on what we have been up to. He had also had an interview so we chatted late into the night and were the last to leave the place at midnight. I am a terribly slow eater, mainly because I am a chatter box and when I was young I was always put on the slow eaters table which I think is just a recipe for an eating disorder. I hate rushing my food particularly when it has been put together so carefully as it is at Ascoughs and can’t bear rushing a meal, I do not see the point.
Other than the lovely food, what I love about going on “dates” with my love is the little gestures he makes to show he still cares; he pulls my chair out for me; helps me into my coat and once I have decided what I want he will even order for me. In spite of all the feminist bravado there is something terribly romantic about such gestures and it is lovely to relinquish control, though I always am the one to taste the wine. We had a lovely evening but are both terribly tense about the result of our respective interviews and although we wanted to share our experiences we were both trying so hard not to get our hopes up particularly as the jobs we have applied for will place us further apart. The die is rolled for both of us, they are our dream jobs but I do wish they were in the same Zip-code.
Come this Saturday me and the boy will have been going out four years. In spite of me having a fair few up and downs and in all honesty a couple of quite serious breakdowns during this time, I think the reason we have come the distance; aside from the fact that he has the patience of a saint and we still quite fancy one another; is because we have always right from the start applied the basic vows of marriage to our relationship. Now, I’m not one to say that marriage is essential to make a relationship work; I have plenty of friends who have got along quite nicely thank-you very much without ever feeling any urgent need to put a ring on it; but nevertheless I think that relationships work best when you apply principles such as “in sickness and in health”, “for richer for poorer”, and unless you have a really very cool/ liberal lover, “forsaking all others”.
When myself and the boy first met I was flat broke and though I was not looking for anything serious as tends to be the case we accidentally went and fell in love. At the time I was spending all my spare pennies on cigarettes and alcohol and because he was a sweetie and probably because he didn’t want to see me lose my rather curvaceous figure he kept feeding me fry ups and insisting on cooking me dinner. I remember one day when I was about to set off for home he slipped me a tenner to go and buy food. Ten minutes, 20 Marlborough mediums and a bottle of red later I came to the conclusion that yes 12p chicken noodles were a suitable source of nutrition.
Although he was the provider at the start of our relationship by the time I graduated I was making a tidy enough package so that if he was skint we could dip into my privy purse to pay for cinema outings, bottles of wine, nights on the tiles and steak.
The boy graduated two years after me, not because I am seeing a toy boy you understand but because he was rather more keen in being the drummer in every Mancunian band around the way than getting all academic. It was because he was still a student that when our one year anniversary came round, I ended up treating us to a holiday to Rome and when we were too lazy to cook it was me who paid for us to eat out in West Didsbury, Manchester’s one stop haven of heavenly cuisine.
When I lost my job though, both times, it was the boy who helped me pick up the pieces, kept me financially afloat when I was too proud to go to the job centre and who even helped me search through the rubbish to find a new role.
Although most of our relationship has been spent just below the poverty line we have always found ways to entertain ourselves; games of Scrabble where JB, Onions lead singer always wins; games of monopoly where I always win; tea and music; my ever more elaborate attempts at dinner parties for ten even when we have no table; gigs; walks in the woods; running (failed after one attempt when he smoked throughout whilst I had a series of small heart failings) tennis, technically not necessarily legally sound movies and more gigs. Although we loved it when I was making a tidy package money never brings happiness and as Neil Sedaka’s wife says to him in Laughter In The Rain, “Sometimes I miss the cold days.” Struggling together is terribly romantic and there’s nothing quite like playing cards through the night with nothing to fuel you but a pot of decaf tea.
The other issue is of course the sickness and the health. Luckily the boy is fine and dandy other than the occasional sulk and the dreaded man flu, according to the boy he has single handedly fought off swine flu and is a pillar of strength in the face of modern medicine most of which he views as being in some way linked to a conspiracy of making us weak. Maybe because of this, when we first met I waited till June to come clean with him about my crazy. I didn’t want to scare him away and if I’m honest I thought I had completely recovered, love does wonderful things for your brain and your body; eating becomes a chore and your entire mind turns to mush. if you don’t watch out you end up boring all of your friends to sleep by talking about how fabulous your lover is. Luckily however, by the time me and the boy got together I was a cynic about love and when he etched the words “I love you” on my back I told him to, “Get a grip”.
When I told him about my poorly head it was because I had decided to come off the anti-depressants I’d been taking for two years. Buoyed up by love and the wonderful newness of it all I didn’t think I needed them. With his approval and no advice from any medical practitioner I came off the drugs. Within a month I crashed so hard and so fast that some days I couldn’t even look in the mirror because I felt so ugly and frustrated with what I saw. I put on weight and because getting out of bed was so hard I would sleep for hours and rather than looking for work I would watch West Wing episodes convinced there was no point trying because I was useless. In the end I had to move home so I could survive. The boy did try to support me but he was still a student and one part-time job shared between two people equals not a lot left to live on.
With the help of some friends in the know, my family and the boy I managed to pick myself back up but it wasn’t easy. Every time I go down hill it is always the boy who has been there over these last few years who is there straight away to drag me back up again. Every time I get poorly he’s there to wipe away my tears, calm me and convince me that the world is a good place and that things will get better.
On one poorly head occasion when we somehow found ourselves at A and E after a particularly bad reaction to Sertraline, (the name still gives me the shudders), we came face to face with a psychiatrist who had obviously decided he was not a fan of women. After deciding, from looking at me rather than my notes you understand, that I was anorexic with father issues he banned the boy from hugging me, told me there was nothing wrong with me and then finished by telling me I should just go ahead and give up then and live in a mental health ward. Thankfully both the boy and the psychiatrists assistant realised I was just extremely anxious in a very scary place and needed to get some sleep and the boy got me the hell away from him before had a chance to lock me up and throw away the key.
I have never forgotten what he did that day and acknowledge that what ever happens with us in the future, without him being by my side that day I could still to this day be living in a closed ward, misdiagnosed and miserable overseen by the most tyrannical mentally unstable medical professional I have ever come across.
We never signed any contract when we got together but both of us always find a way to work it out, scream it out or just forgive regardless. I like to think that its because he like me knows that whatever our problems with us when its good it’s so very good, though at times we can of course both be wicked.
Today has been one of those days where my mood lifts but only for a short period at a time, much like the periods during which I managed to find a live stream of the United match the highs are short lived and unsatisfyingly fuzzy. I blame the dress; although it is gorgeous; a mac design by Topshop which has to be pinned together at the bottom to stop any Cheryl Cole esq front rump, (yes I know she is having a hard time but really why did this mean we had to see so much of her) but even still I am not a fan. It is partly because I feel I look too healthy to be wearing it, the last time I wore it I was decidedly more slender. The other reason is that wearing it reminds me of a bad decision I once made in it when I had too much to drink and trusted someone to look after me who was a friend, but isn’t any longer.
The details are unnecessary but it is foolish decisions like this and my tendency to feel low for days after if I have had too much that has led me to want to give the booze a rest during lent. I am not giving it up as such, I find that as soon as I give something up it is all I can think about so I am going to treat alcohol in much the same way as I did cigarettes. I’m not giving up, I’m just not having it at the moment. This way I don’t put myself under too much pressure and if I fancy a glass of wine one night or am out for a friend’s birthday I wont feel the need to be a total kill-joy. I just feel I need to get back to the point when I have a limit on what I can drink which I know suits me and which I can stick to. .
The last time I tried to give alcohol up for lent I was in an incredibly intense but simultaneously extremely destructive relationship. I was utterly in love with the guy, not at first but he wore me down and eventually I let myself go to him. Unfortunately when I met him I had just recovered from my first episode of depression and having left my first boyfriend I was vulnerable and although the euphoria of falling in love at first kept the lows at bay, once they returned he couldn’t cope especially when I drank to try to get me back to what everyone expected me to be, fun.
To be fair to him he was younger than me by a year and prior to meeting me was widely known as a man who played the field. It was inevitable that something so intense would end in tears, and it did when he got with someone else whilst I was back at home trying to put myself back together. I had sunk too low and he wanted to be with the girl I was when we had first got together, I tried desperately to get her back but with being away from home and a doctor that was keeping an eye on my moods I couldn’t lift myself and so understandably he went elsewhere.
What was so strange is that when I decided to knock the booze on the head for lent he brought me a shot of vodka and placed it in front of me. I don’t know why, perhaps he too hoped the drink would cheer me up and it did if only for a time. After things fell apart, as all destructive relationships do, I was left a sad little soul and it wasn’t until a year later that I really began to recover from our affair. Eventually I got my drinking back under control, I learned what my limits were and avoided drinks that had a tendency to send me tearful and other times just chose not to drink.
The one person who helped me throughout this period was a boy I lived with in my flat in the halls I was President of at the time. He was a muslim who was enjoying his first taste of freedom, loved getting down to R&B as I did and cooked the nicest curry I have ever had in my life. He also shared my insomnia patterns and so we would stay up watching Godfather together and playing silly computer games and pranks. He kept an eye on me and never let me unravel too far and even put up with my pathetic tears. If it wasn’t for him I think I had the potential at the time to fall into full-blown alcoholism simply to escape the hurt and sadness which had as much to do with my mental health at the time as it did with the humiliation of being publicly betrayed.
What my friend taught me which was extremely important at the time was first and foremost to hang on; that I needed to get my confidence back because I was a good person I just couldn’t see it. The other was why it is that we give stuff up during lent and the importance of sharing ones wealth for one’s happiness. During Ramadan I joined with him in his fast, unfortunately I only lasted two days because of my delicate disposition, my low blood pressure and my tendency to faint if I stand for too long. What the experience and my friend taught me is that we give things up to recognise how much we have available to us. although for me it is essentially a religous tradition it is equally a chance for me to reflect and be grateful on all I have.
He also told me about how it is the done thing in the muslim world (and forgive me seriously if I am getting this wrong I am happy to be corrected but this is what I remember) to give 10% of ones earnings to the poor. I always thought it was such a brilliant idea as if we are lucky enough to have money why not share it. Even when I’ve had jobs that paid I’ve always been struck with how much I have compared to how much I need. The boy told me I was crazy when I suggested this to him as he pointed out that tax means I don’t need to give it away as someone will do it for me but it is a nice idea and I hope i will one day get paid again so I can carry it through.
For the meanwhile though this will essentially be my last day of chocolate and sweets. Also because I want to make sure I can and because I am concerned about what the latest drugs may be doing to my liver this glass herein pictured will be my last glass of wine for 40 days and 40 nights, I’m gutted it isn’t bordeaux.
This is an extremely exciting post for me because I have had to hold back until the embargo time was breached. I have only faced an embargo once before during my short time as a writer and this was over the details of the celebration of the Girl Guides in the UK. It was I am sure very exciting for them but for me at the time it was just another press release to get through so I could get on to the juicier crime and scandal. Yesterday I let slip a little taster of what was to come, the girl who leant me both dresses over the weekend, the musical theatre superstar that is Anna Clayton is now to star in the musical about Neil Sedaka’s life story which will be showing all over the UK during the next six months and she will be playing the lead female role, well the female who is married to Neil Sedaka so I’m pretty sure this means she has the lead female role but either way it is still a lead role!
Now for those of you like me who are not entirely sure who this Neil Sedaka is before you end up getting as confused as I was last Saturday when I was entrusted with this information, only four hours after she had found out herself, I shall spare you hours of googling and possible misunderstandings about the story being about Bill Kenwright, he is the producer you see. Anyway Neil is apparently a bit of a musical theatre legend who has sung songs, performed all over the world and as well as writing songs for Elvis Presley and working with Elton John he also wrote the track Amarillo which is the best-selling single of the 21st century so far.
Now the reason this is so exciting is because when you come from a friendship group which is mainly made up of people who dream of doing a job that they enjoy, when we find proof that it is indeed possible we tend to get rather over excited. Here in our lovely Ms Clayton is living proof that if you carry on believing dreams really do come true. I know that this sounds like typical musical theatre la la land tosh but I genuinely believe that if you have a talent for something, be it football, music, rugby, writing, baking or even teaching, if you work hard, believe in it and just as importantly, if you have people around you who support you and believe in you, you can be whatever you want to be. I do emphasise though that this does not apply to people who lack talent in their dream profession, if your singing is more you tube fodder than X-Factor fabulous best reassess your career options at the old job centre.
Anna has for years been plugging away at the world of musical theatre, she has her own agent (google her) has gone on numerous courses to assist her acting skills and practices regularly. As well as all the work she puts into perfecting her acting and singing she holds down a full-time job so she can pay to attend auditions, go on the courses and just survive on a day-to-day basis. One thing the government unfortunately do not recognise is the need for an artist to have time to develop their talent and as a result unless you get a scholarship or come from a privileged background you will have to work twice as hard to climb the greasy ladder of show business.
When I finished university back in 2006 I was convinced I was going to be the next editor of Marie Claire. I had such high hopes and genuinely thought that if only I met the right people and just carried on applying for jobs and sending out positive cover letters with my CV I would be working as a writer in no time. After all I was the president of my halls, I had attained a 2:1 from a fantastic university and I had even set up my own society. It was a knock in the teeth when gradually I came to find out that who one knew has a lot of bearing on where one goes and out of necessity I worked over the next few years in various poorly paid highly stressful positions including events management for a publishing house, media sales, purchase ledger clerk and pr.
It wasn’t until I got made redundant from the pr company, due to a problem with clients paying their bills on time; though I admit it stung when they threw a massive Christmas party complete with transport, booze and ball gowns a month later; that I realised I had to make a decision about whether I was going to continue doing what I could do or whether I was going to do what I wanted. After talking to several friends and a conversation with the legendary leader of News associates in Manchester who gave me a run down on the delights of journalism, I dropped the dream of the magazine and took the dizzy dive into journalism. In spite of having to give up all of my savings to so my NCTJ - trainee certificate for journalists, I can honestly say that it is a decision I have never regretted. When there is a job that you want to do no other will ever satisfy you entirely and unless you go for it full throttle and throw all caution to the wind you will get to 40 and as you watch your children head off to follow their dreams you will be bothered by regret that you never did the same.
Ms Anna Clayton is going to be a super-star, if there is ever any dream you want to follow, do it. Nothing’s impossible, and no door stays closed forever.
Today I had a wonderfully productive day. ALthough I usually do a lot from day-to-day I also find that I waste an awful energy just faffing and flitting from one project to another. I am crazily organised about what needs to get done but I still continue to do it in an order which makes no sense to anyone bt myself. Yesterday though I was able to focus my mind completely on one task at a time and as a result I was able to get two blog postings done; my sincere apologies for the delay I have had a topsy-turvy week; write two single reviews for citylifer’s website and an article on Manchester’s newest night out, Sound Control. As I had done so well I was about to take my mother’s advice and just “take it easy for a change”, in spite of the fact that this is a concept which I find rather alien and quite frankly somewhat frightening. As I settled down to catch up on my weekly TV treat, (I can’t watch any more than one programme at a time, I get confused and lose the plot and asking what’s going on every five minutes is a quality not many people appreciate whilst relaxing) which was Big Brother as it happens I received a txt from my mother saying she was staying for a fascinating evening lecture and would I mind making the dinner for the giant.
Usually I would have no problem with doing so. The giant likes to think he can cook and most of our family friends think he is a chef of such respectability that he no longer has to prove it by preparing anything but the truth is he would struggle to put together a tuna toasty if it wasn’t for one of us running around after him finding impossible ingredients and wiping up potential bio-hazards. The difficulty with her asking me to cook last night was that as well as having to catch up on two episodes of Big Brother, darn social life, I had also suffered a bit of rejection with regard to the dress project and was feeling a little in need of some love and care myself and as the giant is usually a bit of a grump about what food he eats I knew I wold have to conform to the usual meat and two veg speciality. I am a creative cook and enjoy either following strange recipes with lots of new fangled types of vegetables and pulses you can only get in health food shops or just stirring a load of leftovers together, sprinkling it with balsamic and mozzarella and calling it something foreign. Admittedly this does mean I have produced some memorable culinary catastrophes but generally my food goes down well and I resent cooking dull food.
I forced myself to get on with it however and abandoning the delights of Davina entering the house; I am not even embarrassed of how much I have enjoyed it, I stopped watching over four years ago but this year’s has been brilliant; I got in with making a chicken and mushroom pie, some peas and mash. The giant was still not happy as I do not think he appreciates his wife having become a part time student. He found it difficult enough when we asked if we could go and laze about for three years and thought he was finished with all that jazz when my brother started work. He showed his crotchetiness by asking whether these were some new fangled type of peas I had made, they were petit pois, and by waiting until the last possible moment to sit down for his dinner.
I mentioned to him before dinner that I had a bad day and as is customary he screws up his face and tries to take it in but worry gets the better of him and as he is terribly English he struggled to engage in such emotive talk. I took pity on him and switched the conversation to the business of getting dresses and the possibility of expanding myself as a freelancer. This cheered him up greatly as he has a fantastic business mind and is so good at arguing his point without ever raising his voice that he would have made a fantastic barrister had he not become involved in the car industry. He was so much more comfortable advising me on best practice and with whom I should be talking to that he even remembered to thank me for the tea and did the washing up.
I worry that prehaps’ today’s dress was a bad choice and this is the reason for the rejection or giving that the dress is quite frankly fabulous I think perhaps it may have just been that I have to accept the fact that even though the project is close to my heart not everyone will feel as enthusiastic about it as I do. It was ridiculously cold today and to visit Harborough town I was forced to layer up to a degree which made me look rather round. With a grey cashmere polo neck which the boy has by accidentally shrunk and a pink blazer and thick tights I think I just about made it work for winter but really this is a Summer creation belted and worn with killer heels being as it is a luxurious combination of silk and thin leather panelling. I do not know if it was the result of going to contact the creator of a bipolar website or comment on the forum and finding I could not or that I got my consultation write-up through in the post but in spite of today’s knock back I am feeling incredibly positive about this project. I am thinking I may have decided to go with one charity, a mental health one and though I don’t want to get too excited about it I will be trying to arrange something with them which would mean 365 dresses can run throughout 2010.
After returning from a hard night’s work reviewing the launch of Manchester’s new indie club night (yes another one, but this one is actually quite good) I was struck down by the blues. It was frustrating because it was entirely unexpected. I had been out partying for goodness sake and me and the boy, or C-Dawg as he would apparently now like to be known, had a really great time. In spite of his usual dread of the dance floor he had conceded to stand around the edge with me as I acted like a female dance yo-yo. I kept spinning and jiggly bopping away off his, occasionally shimmering further afield but regularly returning to his side for a smooch. We had chatted away to near strangers, drank cheap beer and “own-brand vodka” which sounds cool and quite prohibition but is actually just a fancy way of seeing cheaper than the good stuff and bearable if you’re already a tad tipsy. In spite of all these nightly pleasures however there is no denying the sorry mess I crumpled into on returning from our night out.
I would like to blame the tragic legging lovelies I spotted in mass; most were wearing them with flats which is a guaranteed way of increasing canklage potential. Thankfully the amount of smoke did help to hide from view any front rumps but it could not prevent me spotting a new take on the trend involving cheap dimante sown sporadically over the offending article. It would not be fair though however tempting to blame the poor souls, they are only young and perhaps it is a way of attracting indie men of which I am sadly unfamiliar with.
We got through the door and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop crying. The only serious upset I can attribute these unexpected tears to was the thought of leaving Manchester the following morning. It is difficult when your heart is in one place but your home is in another. Though I am lucky enough to have good friends in both cities I often feel isolated and alone when I am in Market Harborough. Though I try to keep myself busy with no regular employment it is easy to spend the day alone and even with blogs to write and dresses to wear the hours leave you craving company and buzz of the office.
I fell in love with Manchester the moment I arrived for an open day at The University; when I moved there months later I would walk around the city with my eyes to the sky in awe of the architecture and the tall buildings, stopping off in a café for a coffee just looking out and lapping up the novelty of it all. Even after deferring my first year, mainly due to my first episode of depression, I still craved a return to the city. It has a buzz and a warmth which just seems accepting of all who arrive and I was hooked upon it even before I met the boy who loves it as much as me.
One of the difficulties with depression, particularly I find with my own is that a lot of the time it tends to creep up on you so fast you are left wondering when it began and more importantly why. I remember one friend asking me again and again what it was that was making me miserable, she was convinced there was something we could do about it if only I could find the cause but sadly it doesn’t always work that way. Some depressions I have experienced have been the result of specific incidents or situations. I had a particularly bad bout of depression after working as an Events Manager for a boss whose behaviour bordered on passive cruelty. I also suffered badly after a messy break up but the majority of episodes I have had have just come upon me for apparently no reason at all. I used to spend hours trying to connect the dots of how I had fallen into it only to give up frustrated that no matter how much I tried to trace it back I could find no cause. Nowadays I try not to obsess too much. It is wasted energy and unfortunately when it comes upon me I don’t tend to have too much too spare.
The dress I am wearing is another eBay purchase which is originally from Miss Selfridge. It is lovely looking but was a pain to get into, the boy had to aid me and I’m sure his poor house mate had to close his ears when he came home for his lunch thinking we were at afternoon delight and not clothing related recreation. It says it is a size 10 but I can only hope it was classed as a size ten a couple of decades ago when a size ten was the modern-day equivalent of a size eight or even six; either that or I better get myself on the treadmill.