Category Archives: Cat’s life

Fish and chips with a side of brass and grime

On a recent Thursday, I made a trip to Wackers fish and chip shop on Gillygate in York. I wasn’t there just to get my hands on some delicious fish and chips but to see a musical. Random right? Well that’s exactly why I went. I love experiencing theatre in random places: in shops, on the street, anywhere.

Showing up at 8pm, we were seated and served yummy fish and chips and a drink. The two negatives so far were you could only be seated in groups up to four so you are split up if your group is bigger and you only have the option of fish and chips (my mate was hankering for a sausage) and a tea or a coffee. But I was alone (although bumped into some friends) and it was a lovely option to have food and a drink included in the ticket price so neither of these things bothered my enjoyment.

The tables were covered in mucky brown tablecloths and there were old, stained signs advertising food offers dotted around. At first I didn’t actually realise that these “props” were part of the show but it did add a nice authenticity to create a crummy, old, fish and chip shop.

#ChipShopTheMusical has a cast of two: the shop manager, Gram and his new employee, Ayla. Gram a brass loving, stuck in his ways, rigid, unhappy man and Ayla, a wannabe grime artist with an attitude and unhappy home life. Chalk and cheese, ying and yang, polar opposites… or are they?

The hour long show follows Ayla being hired as Gram drowns trying to keep up with the shop’s demands and they’re inevitable falling outs. But they learn, through music, that they both just want to be happy and themselves and that working together they can find that happiness.

The actor playing Gram is a good singer but some of the songs did sound similar. It was when Gram tried rapping that his character really came alive. The actress playing Ayla is a talented rapper and she shines most when she has the chance to let loose with her rhymes. However, the end song was a bit too cloying for me, although I still can’t get it out of my head.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. It is definitely worth seeing. I have even started listening to grime music as it piqued my interest. The same didn’t happen for brass music though I’m afraid. So if you’re trawling to see a show, go along, eat some yummy food and see an interesting piece of theatre.

#ChipShoptheMusical, Emma Hill, Writes/Freedom Studios/Octagon Theatre, Bolton, Yorkshire Festival. Image: http://www.thestage.co.uk.

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What do you get if you cross Barbies and balls?

Rugby. What do you associate with rugby? An oval-shaped ball, big men, Twickenham Stadium, Guinness…? I associate it with my boyfriend. And his dad. I, am a football girl.

Sport, I believe, is like religion, politics, accent – the things you pick up from your close family and friends. I grew up with a dad who spent every Saturday watching the football, Final Score and then MOTD while I played with my Barbie dolls (oh, how I loved my Barbie dolls!). As a child, I couldn’t understand why you’d watch the “same programme” three times in one day! As I started to grow up, my dad shared with me that the city we lived in had its own football team and that’s who he was following every Saturday. This team was Sunderland (SAFC).

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(Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunderland_A.F.C.)

As I got a bit older, I started following SAFC as well. My dad was so into them, yelling at the TV in glee and despair (unfortunately, as most SAFC fans know, it was mostly in despair), that it was infectious to me. At my primary school, I got the chance to play in a school football tournament at Roker Park before it was torn down. This was a privilege I was not to fully understand for a good few years.

When the new stadium, the Stadium of Light, was built part of my dad’s job involved attending the matches so he bought tickets for my sister and I (my brother wasn’t interested in football – now he supports Everton!). Now, to anyone who is not a football fan, I have to say that you should experience a live football game at least once in your life. The charged atmosphere, the chanting, the singing, the open air, , the smell of Bovril… surrounded by fellow fans wanting the same outcome – to WIN – not only tightens your chest and makes you feel happy and sick simultaneously, it also makes you feel, well, it makes you feel like you’re home.

Cat SAFC scarf

Now I am also part of a family for which football is a dirty word. Rugby is the only sport for them. I have now been to rugby matches at Twickenham and, man, it’s a totally different experience! Fans intermingle, you can drink alcohol at your seat, the physical display is incredibly impressive and the stadium itself is unbelievable. Regardless of who wins, there is a camaraderie. No one chants malicious songs and starts fights. No one pulls a knife or throws a punch. It is friendly, together and united.

I am not saying that all football matches end in violence but it too often occurs. It is said that rugby is a gentleman’s sport and I believe this is true (minus university rugby societies as I have heard many horror stories about their socials!). I am a football girl; always have been and always will be. Football is my husband. Rugby is my mistress.

And a damn good mistress at that!

Regret is a word I associate with the current

Have you ever asked yourself what makes you happy? A lot of you may say family, friends, long walks on the beach, chocolate cake… I really wanna be a writer – I have spoken about this before – I really wanna write but never have any good ideas, am too lazy, blah blah blah. Today I asked myself. Totally spare of the moment; no idea why. A recorded ‘RnB and dance hits of 2014: The official sales’ was playing on TV, I was shaking my thang, just about to walk my boyfriend’s dogs and I randomly asked myself. And it’s dancing. Dancing makes me happy. Now you can argue that dancing is a form of exercise and exercise releases endorphins i.e. feel-good hormones and that’s why it makes me happy. But you’re wrong. Well, I mean scientifically you’re right but that’s just a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

Exercise equals happiness(Image: http://indulgy.com/post/4ZgdQf9tT2/warning-exercise-has-been-known-to-cause-healt)

Since I was about three I wanted to be an actress. No idea why. Didn’t know what it involved and never took any steps towards accomplishing my dream. No one else I knew was involved in the performing arts and my parents never pushed me or guided me. Many years later, I gained a place at The Performance Academy at Newcastle College where (too late) I learned ballet, jazz, tap and choreography. It took me a year of not trying very hard and a bollocking from my teacher that I should give up and let someone deserving take my place to actually realise that dancing is was my call in my life.

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(Image: http://www.capitalfm.com/northeast/win/newcastle-college-technology/)

I got a job with an entertainment company while at university, for which I was paid to flyer, hand out shots, promote clubs/bars and, most importantly, dance. It was podium dancing, which I had enviously wanted to do since seeing dancers in cages while bartending at a rather abysmal nightclub in my hometown. Now, it may sound a bit sordid to those that assume I mean pole dancing. Well, I didn’t and FYI pole dancing is a difficult, beautiful and very expressive dance form. One which I hope to master try someday.

I haven’t been paid to dance for about 8 years. I haven’t danced properly in about 8 years. I haven’t trained in about 8 years.

It is said that you regret the things that you don’t do in life and I have a big one. If I could go back, I would dance. I would dance my little socks off. I might not be very good, I might injure myself (I have crap knees, which is one of the reasons I don’t dance now but it would be too easy to blame genetics) and I might fail. But at least I’d have tried. Now I write (sometimes) and have a good job and a fantastic boyfriend and my own house. And I don’t wanna not have any of those things. But you wonder don’t you? Don’t you?

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(Image: http://wallpaper-kid.com/i-love-dance-wallpapers.htm)

See you on the dance floor.

The Devil in I is a little harder to find

Sitting in front of me on my little computer desk are two tickets to the Slipknot and Korn gig at the Motorpoint Arena this Friday. Running around and around in my head is The Devil In I, the second single from their new album .5: The Gray Chapter. I’m a big Slipknot fan. I’m a rock/metal/pop rock fan. I also like RnB, rap, hip hop and classical. But I always come back to the best. I list Alexisonfire, Nirvana, Greenday (pre-American Idiot) and Hollywood Undead among my favourite bands of all time. My favourite festival is Download, although Bloodstock is pretty rad and I’m yet to get to Sonisphere. I have 15 piercings, 4 tattoos (soon to be 5) and my favourite clothing brand (at the moment) is Metal Mulisha.

SLipknot DownloadLogo

(Images: http://rtk12.deviantart.com/favourites/39005348/SlipKnoT & http://www.festicket.com/festival/download-festival-2015/)

Why am I telling you this? Well, if you popped by to see me in my office during a typical workday, you would be confused and ask me where Cat is. I would then look confused and reply that it is me you are looking for. You see, I’m not your typical alternative girl i.e. long black hair extensions, dramatic eye makeup, facial piercings, all black outfit and tattooed sleeves (just one example). I would probably be wearing a smart outfit, minimal makeup, hair in a ponytail and have no piercings/tattoos on show. I like to think there are several versions of me: work me, alternative me, casual me, really casual me, dressy me, etc. I think anyone has the right to look and dress how they want and I am envious of tattooed sleeves, lip piercings and voluminous, black hair. I don’t look like that and probably never will. But that does not make me any less “rock and roll”.

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I know some fans of metal music who would rather cut their ears off than listen to Taylor Swift. And I know some people who live for the latest chart music that think metal fans also love the devil and sacrifice lambs on the weekend. Both sets of people are idiots. Anyone can like anything and everything. But, just like when it comes to politics or religion, you can believe in and enjoy all sorts of things without having to plant yourself in a certain “type”: emo, punk, chav, trendy, alternative, goth.

Some of you may not know what I’m talking about, some of you may be nodding and some of you may think I‘ve got it all wrong. That’s the beauty of the opinion. This is me. All of me. Every version of me. I love horror, metal and have some books on my shelf that psychiatrists would have a field day with. I also love animals and rainbows and when Santa sent me a letter at Christmas, I nearly cried with joy! But isn’t that the beauty of humanity? We still have the ability to surprise. Right now, I am retiring to the couch to to watch Interview with the Vampire… and I’m wearing a pink bathrobe and pink slipper socks. Go figure.

MySpace. MyMemories

I don’t think I’m alone if I say that MySpace was my first foray into social media. I remember everyone having pages set up and talking about how great the site was. I felt left out if I’m totally honest. It was like the time everyone was raving about a programme called South Park. I played along, buying a Kenny key ring although I had no idea who the big-eyed, orange hooded creature was staring back at me. I did eventually catch up and I still watch it to this day. (The same thing happened with Little Britain – love it!).

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(Images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_McCormick & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_McCormick)

Anyway, I eventually got onto MySpace and set up a page. Looking back I was on there every day. Not all day every day but… yeah, every day! That doesn’t seem like a big deal to all of us that use Facebook nowadays as a social crutch but back then I was out all the time. I had friends and parties and gigs to go to. And I still managed to fit it in. It replaced phone calls and texts and invitations. I was hooked.

I never “did” Bebo, haven’t bothered with Instagram and my phone doesn’t have Snapchat. I now have a Facebook page. Although I didn’t really have a choice. You see, apparently everyone decided Facebook was the next “big thing” and everyone left MySpace. It was just me and a few musicians (good and bad). So, like all the others, I turned to FB.

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MySpace still exists. As a music site more than anything so my forgotten password will stay forgotten. It is weird to think my page is out there, somewhere, in the big WWW. and it probably always will be. Yet, today, I had a very nice surprise. An email from MySpace with my photos. My photos from my page. Memories of years past and friends long since seen, of a previous job and previous boyfriends. Happy memories (I mean who puts up sad photos right?). It was a nice reminder of days gone past and a lovely start to a lovely day.

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The photos are now on Facebook. My new “Space”.

Water, water everywhere but too much TV to drink

As I have mentioned before I am a big procrastinator. I work much better on deadlines as I have no excuse not to get something done. For example, I have a friend coming to stay next weekend so rather than doing a usual house clean today (my only day off this week), I figure I’ll do it Thursday. Or Friday. It’ll be cleaner that way. And it also means I don’t have to do it today.

I’m not lazy per se but I am selfish with my own time when it comes to me. To clarify, if I am alone for the day, do I want to clean or watch TV? Do I want to write or watch TV? Do I want to do one of the many outstanding DIY projects on my new home or watch TV? Can you see the theme here? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit on the sofa all day long but TV fascinates me. Everything you watch on BBC 1, Channel 4, Sky, cable, Netflix, etc. somebody wrote. Somebody produced. Somebody picked the costumes. Somebody acted in it. These people are doing what I want to be involved in. Not that I do much about accomplishing that dream. I kid myself thinking that watching all this stuff is a way of being involved in what they’re doing. And it is, in a way, but not the way I want.

I’m afraid I have become a creature of habit. And that creature may, one day, be a total “couch potato”. Yes, one day I might. But now, today, I am a procrastinator so I still have the ability to change. I will probably always find an excuse not to. An excuse to postpone my inevitable conceived failures. But at least there are enough channels out there to find something worth watching while I wait.

Variety may be the spice of life but I like the personal touch

I was a little lazy today and searched for new blogs to follow using the Community Blogroll. I scrolled down and pounced on any name I thought was catchy, fun or unusual. Sifting through a lot of blogs (some too bright to read without inducing headaches, some where the links didn’t work – grr and some in different languages) I did find five that sparked my interest. The chosen are:

thoughtsofmymadlife
Straight off, I liked the layout. Then I read that K is a pre-med student… who also has time to write! Bugger, out go my excuses of being too busy/tired/blah blah blah. This woman may become my idol (K – don’t get scared. I’m not a Cat with claws).

homeiswherethegnomeis
…Do I really need to explain why I picked this one? Oh okay. She’s funny. I laughed out loud, which is a rarity for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not miserable but it was a nice, straight from the gut, unapologetic, gusto of a laugh. So thank you.

itsyouandeverything
First off, it’s pretty. A very pretty page. And the girl (deep, deep, down in my recesses) straight away though “Aw, that’s lovely”. Then I read it… Eliana not only writes but writes reviews. SOLD!

thinkingthoughtsithunk
When I first saw this title, I admit I read, re-read and re-read again. Another great layout made me linger long enough to get reading and there are blogs about Reading Festival. I did not go to Reading Festival. I sat on my sofa in my Pink Cookie bathrobe and fast forwarded bands I don’t like. But Jade actually went. Follow.

typicalteenagetragedy
I don’t know if I’m really allowed to read them considering my, ahem, age but I love the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series (yep, I have them ALL) so seeing this title immediately made me think of the hilarity and fantastic-ness (I make up words; you’ll get used to it) of Louise Rennison’s writing so I began to read. I was not disappointed. My teenage years are not that far behind me… kind of but I totally get where this guy is coming from on his Professional Procrastinator entry so on the Follow button I clicked.

Well I’m being pretty women heavy here but I read a lot of books by male authors so they can’t bitch. As for the variety of topics, these all seem pretty personal but isn’t all writing personal? I’ll leave you to ponder…