I’ve Not Yet Seen A Movie That Beats The Book

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Last night I finally got round to watch Gone Girl. Ever since the news came out that there was to be a film I had mixed feelings. Of course I wasn’t at all surprised; Gone Girl was the biggest book of 2012. It’s the last book that I read with complete obsession, turning pages dramatically and being genuinely gutted whenever I would reach my stop on the tube. Any spare moment was filled with my nose in that book – the ending disappointed me after being so engrossed in the plot, but to be honest, it was probably just because the book had ended full stop. What ever the end may have been: a neat ending, a cliff-hanger, or a spanner in the works, nothing would have satisfied me, apart from me knowing there would be a Gone Girl: Part 2. It always sucks to finish a really good book. You do a little mourn for your devoured book.

The bit about the “Cool Girl” stayed with me, long after I finished the book. It was so fricking true. I must have re-read it about ten times. I wrote about how much I loved the book here, in early 2013, so I won’t bore you with it again. But I am enjoying some of the articles talking about this fictional “Cool Girl”, because we all relate to the pressures of who she is, but as Helen Coffey said, she doesn’t actually exist. 

The cool girl that eats hamburgers, stays out late, never gets jealous and always stays a size 8. She isn’t real.

I enjoyed the film, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read the book. This is because:

a) they’ve repackaged the plot as a full on thriller (cert 18), something that mass audiences will enjoy and;

b) I already knew that it would struggle to beat the experience I had of reading the book.

This is, of course, one of the those magical things about reading. The story is yours. You imagine the characters, the scenery, the voices, the thoughts. We already created the “film” in our heads. And then we are watching one of the most famous actors in the world try and recreate the character of Nick Dunne. Affleck did a good job, but it was too Hollywood for me, too shiny. The narration of Amy’s diary entries sounded like the woman who does the Gossip Girl “xoxo” voiceovers. It was too… perfect sounding.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy watching the film. It’s just that it missed out bits , clearly because of the time limit. They ruthlessly cut out some of the best clues of Amy’s treasure hunt, they missed out characters, and they changed bits to make it a bit simpler for first time viewers.

After stewing on it for a bit, I’ve realised I’m more obsessed with Gillian Flynn’s writing of Gone Girl that I am with Gone Girl. I think my love for the book goes back to the fact the Flynn’s writing is so incredible. I’m glad she wrote the screenplay, but of course it was watered down.

I love this article on Mamamia which title reads “Gone Girl Is Not About You”. It seems as though people are obsessed with writing long think-pieces about gender stereotypes, marriage analysis, feminism, sexism, murder, rape. They are interesting reads, but at the end of the day, Gillian Flynn wrote a really really good crime fiction novel. One of the best. It’s not necessarily about us.

On a side note, I got home last night and found her “About Me” section, it’s proper lolz.

xo

Finding Your Tribe

 

You don’t find your best friends over night. You don’t find them hiding under a rock, or in a stationary cupboard, or waiting patiently on a train platform holding a coffee-with-one-sugar-and-skimmed-milk just how you like it. You aren’t born with automatic, hand-me-down best friends. The mission is to go out into the world seek them out. Picking and choosing and trying them on, understanding what truthfully fits.

You end up finding some though, on odd years, even years, up and down years, unusual situations and unexpected occasions. Often the mathematics doesn’t quite add up. Like two clashing algorithms on a dating site – on paper it shouldn’t work out. You’re too similar, you’re too different, you hate each other’s food choices. But then something ignites. The tiniest private joke, a knowing look, a cackle – and you both know there’s no turning back.

My friend Laura talks about friendship as tribes. One of my favourite ‘thinkers’ Seth Godin talks about tribes too. He describes tribes as this: “founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change.” Laura’s definition is more along the lines of “soul-sisters-who-are-on-your-side-whatever-the-fuck-happens” kind of friendship. Both these things. That is a tribe.

Sometimes your tribe members take a long time to appear. Sometimes they don’t appear for years on end, and you start to worry a bit. Sometimes people tell you when you’re likely to meet them (like university) and then when you don’t, you freak. You have friends that are nice. You have coffee with friends who you’ve known for years. It’s nice. Really nice. But then you start to think: Where is my tribe? You’ve found some of them, sure, but in the small part of the country you grew up in you won’t find them all. You know more are out there – you know have not found them all.

There’s a piece in Lena Dunham’s new book Not That Kind Of Girl that rung so true to me. It was how I felt in my late teens and early 20’s. It felt like she’d stepped inside my secret thoughts and blurted them out into a book. Huh? How did you know that, Lena? HOW? This is the excerpt:

“I have friends: a king group of girls whose passions (baking, pressing flowers, community organising) do not stir me. I feel guilt about this, a sense that my inability to be at home with them proves, once and for all, that I am no good. I laugh, I agree, I find reasons to go home early. I have the nagging sense that my true friends are waiting for me, beyond college, unusual women whose ambitions are as big as their past transgressions, whose hair is piled high, dramatic like topiaries at Versailles who never ever say “too much information” when you mention a weird sex dream.”

Then this: “But that’s how I felt in high school, sure my people were from elsewhere going elsewhere and they would recognise me when they saw me.”

If you haven’t yet found your tribe, you will. There passions will stir you, and they will never say to you “too much information” whenever you over-share anything weird. You will instantly recognise each other.

Even in the last year, I can’t believe how many more incredible people I’m happy to welcome into my tribe.

xox

A glorious blogger brunch at Gail’s Bakery

The weekend was wonderful; as it was a lovely combination of being lazy but also productive at the same time. Lazy because I just ate food basically. But productive because I was testing out my NEW CAMERA at a blogger event, and also tried out filming a few YouTube videos (more on that later).

So yes, I didn’t realise I could be so excited about a new camera. I felt like a child who had a new Christmas present and has to sleep with it under your pillow. It takes amazing pictures and videos with a digital screen that flips (thank you for the recommendation Victoria) and I’d been desperate to test it out.

Up until now I’d use my iPhone to document everything. But, how ever much I adore my iPhone, it was really only good enough for Instagram pictures or silly things to send my friends – a real camera is needed especially if I want to document more events/holidays etc on this blog. As I’m going to more events and reviewing things in more detail, I realised that something was missing: a really good camera.

So on Sunday the lovely lot at Gail’s Bakery in Exmouth market invited a group of bloggers (including the lovely Plum) to try out their new menu. It was amazing. Here some pictures, and you’ll see on the menu, it wasn’t just your usual brunch. IT WAS AMAZING. My favourite was the SHAKSHUKA – I’m in love.

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Party Of The Year: #ZoellaBeauty

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Warning: a vey gushy blog post follows…. Strap yourselves in because I am about to unleash some soppiness.

Last night I attended Zoella’s beauty launch party. If you haven’t heard of Zoella then you must have literally been hibernating for the last four years. She is a YouTube personality slash vlogger (I always find it funny when people put “vlogger” in inverted commas, like it’s THIS CRAZY NEW WORD). But Zoe is also an author, a radio presenter, and now a BUSINESS WOMAN with her debut of new range products. Sophia Amoruso would call her a #girlboss, that’s for sure.

I had really been looking forward to it. I went to Sweden with Paul two weeks ago and when I got back to the office there was an envelope on my keyboard and honestly when I opened it I practically screamed. An invite to the #ZoellaBeauty launch. And errrr….I WAS GOING TO GET TO MEET ZOE. I tried not to act like a 12 year old, but it was difficult.

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I had been tweeting Zoe back and forth after I wrote a blog post about the news of her new book – and continued to send her virtual support from behind my laptop – because I absolutely adore the stuff she does and what she’s achieved is BONKERS and amazing on so many levels. I watch her videos in the evenings instead of turning on the TV: I find it entertaining and relaxing to just watch her live her crazy life. I think this what our generation is like – we don’t necessarily need to go through crappy TV channels looking for something to watch – we can binge on Netflix, YouTube, iPlayer. Also with Zoe’s videos there’s that feeling of she’s just like us – which makes her videos even more relatable to 20-something people who grew up with the Internet firmly wedged in our lives.

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I managed to chat to loads of YouTubers last night and honestly my first reaction was how lovely they all were. They weren’t in any rush to get out of conversation even though they must get hounded all the time. They were calm and happy to chat openly about their crazy lives – and they were FUNNY. I loll’d a lot last night. Nobody felt intimated by them – they are literally the same off-screen. You’d think they might have an aura of “celebrity” about them, considering that if you added all their followers and subscribers together you would honestly reach over 100 million. Teenagers were camping outside the venue for the hope of getting a quick selfie. I was doing the same inside, TBH.

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I was just as happy to have met them. #Hashtag. #Fangirl.

Zoe was brilliant. She chatted to everyone in a stunning floor-length dress, had a bit of nerves before giving a speech, running in and out of the photo booth and picking up her friend’s babies, who you can tell absolutely adore her. She is a real girl who was slightly overwhelmed, taking it all in that she had built up an amazing empire from just being herself in her bedroom.

I also met Carrie from Wish Wish Wish, Victoria from In The Frow, Polly from PollyAnneB, Lucy and Lydia, Niomi Smart the list goes on – and got to hang out with Megan from Wonderful You all night (I love this girl) and saw Zoe London (who’s dress was TOO GOOD – you must go and check out pictures). OH AND JAMIE OLIVER.

 

I am extremely hungover, so I must end this post now. Because in a nutshell:

  • YouTubers are amazing humans
  • Follow them all now
  • Zoe’s range is live on Superdrug sooooo check it out
  • The body mist smells AMAZING and I’ve OD’d on it today
  • The make-up bag has brightened up my day – um, a guinea pig in glasses, people
  • Zoe throws a really really good party

For more photos follow me on Instragram @girllosincity or the hashtag #ZoellaBeauty.

XOXO

ps. I have also written something for The Debrief which will go up soon. x

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Don’t Be Too Much Of A Fangirl, They Said

 

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I watched The Fault In Our Stars on the plane. Probably not the most intelligent choice of film when you’re feeling mega sleep-deprived, pensive, confused about life and acutely hungover – but often watching a sad film helps with a much needed cathartic release. A friend of mine openly admits to have nights in just to listen to sad music in a dark room because “better out than in”. Anyway, your allowed to sob on a plane because no one will see you and the flight attendant can give you a glass of water and nod sympathetically and leave you to it. It’s the film, I say, just the film.

Of course we all know the book is really sad, and therefore the film is sad. I knew what I was in for. Just like the hangover these tears were self-inflicted. Not having read the book the whole way through I enjoyed the sad suspense of not knowing how it would end. All I knew what that it is a tragedy. A modern day Romeo and Juliet horribly riddled with the C word. Every mention of the word cancer blows away all of the happiness away like a wind machine that gives the characters absolutely no respite. There is a haunting amount of realism too, with depressing lying-in-bed scenes, laptop scenes, Gmail chat, iPhones, normal open parks – it’s a Hollywood film sure, but there is a surprising lack of sugar-coating. And how can it be, with such a harrowing subject? Nothing is particularly glamourised except for their good looks. It makes the film all the more grim to watch, and the many morals of the story hit you over the head with a large frying pan.

Thinking about the author, John Green for a moment, the technique I found the most impressive was the way he wrote a book within a book. A book so seemingly real that I wanted to see if it existed, or perhaps even available on Amazon to read in its own right. I googled An Imperial Infliction by Peter Van Houton, whom the main character Hazel is obsessed with and quotes daily. But it’s not a real book in the real world, unfortunately, it’s planted there by the author as a meta seed. Peter Van Houten isn’t a real author either. And it’s a good job too, because he turned out to be a complete arsehole. A true example of the phrase “never meet your heroes”.

This made me think a little about a recent night out I had when someone said to me that I should stop reading the work of people I admire so much. That I should concentrate more on my own. Because to focus too much on other peoples you are not giving your new ideas the attention they need to blossom. It’s true that there about five writers who I read obsessively. The advice was coming from a good place. But it also jarred with me for some reason.

It was an interesting point to make; because I would never see being a huge fan of someone’s work or to obsessively read books in the hope for inspiration to ever be a bad thing. But I saw the point that was being made. There have been times when I’ve spent hours trawling through a backlog of archives of someone’s work who I admire. Re-reading their pieces again and again. Reading stuff that I cannot necessarily learn anything new from. The other day I went back to 2007 on an archive of articles by a certain writer. I was doing it in order to try and trigger a new idea or be inspired but after a while that doesn’t work. Really, you can only inspire yourself.

The reason why it’s important that Hazel had to let An Imperial Affliction go, is because she was holding on too tightly to it. She was enslaved to the book, to the ending, to the quotable paragraphs. She was so obsessed with the book that she wasn’t writing her own story. None of it was real and she’d become to hooked on it. I have certain books that I cling onto as well, but it’s not always the answer. It could be guiding you in the wrong direction.

I understand why it’s important to step back a little from being a fan of someone and their work. You can be a fan of what someone does but you have to also make sure you aren’t just hanging on to their every word. You need to keep your own thoughts and decisions in check and to avoid being guided too strongly. At some point you will have to create your own words, your own chapters and your own narrative. Something happened recently when I stopped following said writer so closely. I still read it. But I focused more on my own work. And since then, I’ve unleashed more ideas and better work because of it – because you can’t imitate, you can’t compare and you can’t do the same as what someone else is doing.

Go forth and enjoy the work of your idols, but don’t let it get you stuck.