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what a life.

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Paper Towns, A Film Review

Paper Towns was designed for children that need to be protected from simple realities, human unfriendliness and over dramatic trigger warnings.

Paper Towns was designed for people who could only accept the notion of suicide if it was presented as something that would never happen to them, a thing that only occurs to middle-aged men going through their mid-life crisis; if you’re pretty, young and popular there’s no way you could fall victim to something as ugly and unglamorous as depression.

People argu that this film was produced to dismantle the notion of “manic pixie dream girl.” I feel like all this has done is reinforce this unrealistic idyllic representation of what young teenage girls “should be”. Margo Roth Spiegelman starts off as a cool, popular beauty who parties with jocks (referred to by Quentin as a “miracle”) into an even more elusive, fantasy-like, euphoric being, with her disappearances creating an even larger air of mystery that leaves us easily imagining Quentin, pining for her long after her sudden exit.

The film is overloaded with extremely cliched character quirks, what with Margo’s fissiparous like for conventional captilization making it a classic example of trying too hard to be unique, which in itself is making you “unique, just like everyone else”. With the addition of Radar’s never-ending collection of black Santas and and Ben’s addiction to calling grown women “honeybunnies”. It’s a neatly packaged film on solid, middle class middle ground, with the rough edges rubbed out. Quentin conveniently has a black best friend to present the “total diversity” and nothing controversial is ever said with the small fight between Quentin and his friends being resolved within moments. 

This film never succeeds in becoming a ‘real’ teenage love story because it acted out by a bunch of squeaky clean teenagers turning the whole thing borderline mundane.

p.s. I liked the book.

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Taking Stock.

Taking Stock.

Making: Green Tea. 

Cooking: Microwave Rice. I know, I’m basically Gordon Ramsay.Reading: (Re-reading) Starter For Ten by David Nicholls, the funny bits are so realistic and unfortunately similar to my own life it makes me cringe.

Wanting: To actually find some pretty flowers to press. Sorry flowers, I’m sure you’re all beautiful inside.

Looking: At my tiny little iPhone 4S’ screen and thinking about the damage I’m doing to my already below-average eyes.

Playing: Without – Years &Years on this wonderful little app called Deezer with which I can listen to music offline during the ’15 day free trial’ because I’m too broke for Spotify premium.

Deciding: Whether I’ve got enough energy to cut real tomatoes to go with my microwave rice or if I’ll be lazy and use tomato salsa instead.

Wishing: I had lots of money so I could hire a chef to make yummy vegan meals for me which somehow all include avocado.

Enjoying: My earphones with one broken earbud. No, not really.

Wanting: The summer holidays to be about a month longer. 

Liking: The weather lately. I have a lowkey fear of going outside not wearing a jacket and as this is England, I can go outside in the summer and it be a pleasant temperature but still look normal in a denim jacket.

Wondering: Why I lose all my socks. Is there a vacuum that just sucks them all up? Is there a secret black market that only sells left socks? 

Loving: Deezer, again. Music really is a necessity when you spend most of your time at home with no internet and very, very bad phone signal.

Pondering: Whether if I dye my hair pink then maybe I might not be allowed back into school. That’d be a sure fire way of securing that extra month of holiday.

Watching: 500 Days Of Summer. Again. The soundtrack to that movie is one of the best feats of film making I’ve ever encountered and it should be celebrated. 

Hoping: They stop putting gelatine in most sweets because a) iI’s gross. Stop it. b) I really want some Haribos. 

Marvelling: That there is a possibility that at some point in my life I might create another human being and house it in my belly for the first nine months of its existence.

Smelling: The green tea I just made. If I’m honest, it doesn’t smell that great.

Wearing: Pyjamas. (A Tom & Jerry too and shorts) It’s only 16:00. Duhh.

Thinking: I really want to go back to that Chinese All You Can Eat Buffet. I’m really craving some corn balls.

Admiring: Everyone who’s not wearing Pyjamas right now.

Sorting: Probably should be sorting my stuff out to go back to school but we’ve already established I’m lazy.

Getting: A new backpack. This one will be the third.. I lose a lot of stuff.

Disliking: Spinach. My mum seems to understand “I hate spinach.” as “Please find new, incentive ways to hide spinach in all my meals.”

Giggling: At Nothing. I don’t have pathetic emotions like happiness. Eurgh, I’m disgusted you even suggested it.

Wishing: That I could cut out the whole buffet thing and just get some Corn Balls. They taste really good.

Helping: Myself to some soda water. Eh, I’m self-involved and I love it.

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War

But you say there is equality.

When I was little, I wanted to be white.
That’s the colour the sweet, popular girl at school was. That’s the colour the beautiful, breath-taking supermodels on the billboards. And that was the colour all the characters in my favourite tv series were. Which role models looked like me? Beyoncé is now the third woman (behind Naomi Campbell & Halle Berry) to grace the cover of Vogue in the magazine’s 123 years of publication, and people are raving as if this is iconic. That’s not iconic. That’s ridiculous. The third in 123 years. But you say there is equality.
My mother moved from France to England because she didn’t believe she, a young black woman, could get a respectable teaching job where we were. My mum forced me to read English story books, meant for an age much younger than I was yet it was still extremely difficult. She made me read every single day and I hated every minute of it. I see know that she did this so I could speak English perfectly by the time it mattered, by the time people started to assume I was illiterate, uneducated and ignorant from the colour of my skin. And even though my mum spent hours teaching me the English I am able to speak so fluently now, due to her patience and encouragement, you can still tell English is her second language. She asks me how to say certain British expressions to fit in, She asks me to proofread emails for her, out of embarrassment that she feels her English isn’t sufficient enough to be taken seriously, it sickens me that while their mastery of the English language is more than proficient, it doesn’t matter, because the rest of the world doesn’t care. But you say there is equality.

I grew up, watching the world’s understanding of my cultural heritage being reduced to the “black best friend”, being portrayed as domestic help, sassy and thugs. I grew up being asked “but, where are you really from?” as a reply to when I told them I was born in France. I grew up, being told I had to be the servant when I played families with my white friends, when I held in me the fact that when slavery was finally abolished, slaves received no apology and the slave-owners often received a minimum of £50 per slave in compensation. The slave-owners received paid compensation. But you say there is equality.
I live in a country that when a well-known television presenter says the racist n-slur, on air, he keeps his job .I live in the 21st century, where the only understanding I can get about the story behind my heritage comes from my own parents, where the only times I can see people who look like me on screen and aren’t portrayed in a degrading, racially comic, stereotypical way is on YouTube. The caricatures on television teaches us that we are brash, aggressive deficient at English and poor. But you say there is equality.
Who would want to black? In the few instances coloured people made an appearance on my television, they were always the criminals, the delinquents, the poor or had a funny accent everyone could laugh at. Obviously no way someone who wasn’t white could be educated, wealthy or even just a generally good person.

But still, you love your jazz music, your fried chicken. Please, enjoy your holidays to the Caribbean, your corn rows and Morgan Freeman.

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Emergencies.

Emergencies are a funny thing. A few days ago, I was out with a couple of “friends” (this in quotation marks because a) I didn’t really know all of them and b) they are no longer my friends) and we came across an elderly lady lying face down in an alleyway. I automatically assumed there was a problem seeing as this woman was quite old and she had an overturned shopping bag on the floor next to her. We all rushed over and asked her what had happened. She replied “I was just walking down this road and I fainted. I have a knee problem so I can’t get up.” Then she started to become a bit aggressive, saying things like “get away from me!” And “I don’t know you!” Now apparently, one of the people I was with had seen her around, he told me that her name was Lorna and she did this all the time. I didn’t really think this made the situation any less serious so I tried to call an ambulance. In the meantime, two of my “friends” were trying to convince this old lady, who was obviously not in the best state, that they were brother and sister and that she was famous.

Anyway, after frantically trying to remember what the UK emergency number was, I finally got hold of someone who could help. I answered all the basic questions (How old is the victim? Is she breathing? What is her name? Does she have any abdominal pain? Is she able to talk? What is your address?), I was told “According to your analysis of the situation, you do not need an ambulance. For further assistance, please call the NHS number.)

I was shocked. Completely shocked. There was an old lady lying on the floor (by this time she was no longer responding to us) and “according to my emergency, I did not NEED an ambulance.” Thanks, British health service.

It took another two calls on separate phones to finally get an ambulance, of which I was even more shocked by the attitude of the health worker. He was blasé, coming up to us and audibly stating “Yep, I know you,” and continuing to tell us a story about how once she had ended up in New Cross (a town about 30 minutes from where we were). Then he half-heartedly got her address then told us we could go. 

Was I really that wrong and optimistic to assume we would get adequate help the FIRST time we called an ambulance?

Was I really that wrong and optimistic for being disgusted when my friends were laughing and filming this poor old woman? 

And was I really that wrong and optimistic for expecting that the health worker assigned to help the situation would actually be HELPFUL? 

If so, then I really don’t feel safe.

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That one thing you did to me that one time.

That one thing you did to me, that one time. Do you remember? I do. I don’t think I’ll forget about it soon. I didn’t tell you about it because I didn’t want to seem petty and childish. But, that one thing you did to me, that one time? I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, I never really let it go. When you tell a joke, I’ll laugh. If you compliment me, I’ll smile and thank you. It’s just, that one thing you did to me, that one time? It’s the only thing on my mind. Because, as it turns out, it wasn’t only that one thing, that one time. You’ve done so many little things, and they gnaw at me at night. I don’t tell you because I don’t get hurt. I’m not sensitive. I have a thick skin. Well I’m meant to anyway. And if, all of a sudden, that’s not true… Maybe you won’t like me anymore. So, that’s why. That’s why I never told you about that thing you did to me, that one time. Because it was just a joke, not to be taken seriously.

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