Tag Archives: anecdotes

The Death Tag

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Happy Hallowe’en, dear reader!  Have you got enough Haribo in for the trick or treaters?

Flying in the face of my Catholic upbringing (just for a change), it turns out that I quite like Hallowe’en.  It was inevitable, if I’m honest: the combination of dressing up, sweets and silliness is a drama graduate’s DREAM.  I also quite like introspection and morbid scheming, so I have decided to use today’s post as an opportunity to do “the death tag”, which my dear friend Ash alerted me to (and covered in this vlog).

1) How do you want to die?
I suppose most people want to die in their sleep, surrounded by loved ones, when they’re old and ready for death etc.  I would like that, but if I’m completely honest I would prefer a more dramatic departure, like the end of Thelma and Louise or Moulin Rouge.  (It’s the drama graduate thing again.)  What I would like more than anything is to die in a really stupid and/or amusing way, so that my demise would make a good story.  E.g. I want my last words to be “Oh look, a tiger.  Here, kitty kitty!”

2) What will happen to your WordPress?
It will serve as a reference point for my friends when they argue about what I would have said/wanted in a certain situation.  For example: “Vicki would NEVER wear pink shoes.”  “Uh, I refer you to blog #347, where she states in paragraph 12 that she would absolutely love some cerise flip flops.  BOOM.”  (FYI I would absolutely love a pair of cerise flip flops, so that solves that one.)

3) Who will you leave your money to?
If I may answer your question with a question: what the hell is ‘money’?!

Seriously though, if this question is about what you want to happen to your most valuable assets, then the items in question will be my books.   Their combined value is probably hovering somewhere near the 37p mark, but they are my favourite possessions.  They will go to my lovely friend Louise, who is the only person I’ve ever met who is as obsessive about books as I am.  If Louise pre-deceases me (horrendous thought), then I give my brother permission to turn my books into a fort.

4) What will happen to your body?
This Friends clip sums up EXACTLY how I feel about this question.

5) What do you want your funeral to be like?
A day at the seaside.  Probably Brighton.  Rounders on the beach and arcade games on the pier will be compulsory.

6) What will you miss the most that will exist after your death?
Well, I hate to be pernickety, but being dead will sort of preclude me from missing anything at all, won’t it?  But ok, I get the point of the question.  I think that teleporting will probably be a thing one day (my ignorance of the science behind it notwithstanding), and I would hate to miss out on that.  Can you imagine?  “Tuscany’s supposed to be lovely at this time of year.”  “Oh, really?  Shall we go?”  “Why not?  Let me just grab my sunglasses.”  ZAP.  Fantastic.

7) How will you want to be remembered?
This is the big one, isn’t it?  How we are remembered seems much more important than where, when or how gently we go into that good night, I suppose because it’s the factor that we can most easily affect while we’re alive.
I want what we all want: to be thought of with love by people who knew us and respect by people who didn’t.  I want my loved ones to grieve but eventually move on, and I want an obituary that makes me sound like a saint.  I also (slightly less realistically) want the world to say that my death heralds a great loss for the theatrical world.  I want my tombstone to say something heartfelt and meaningful, like a quotation from The IT Crowd.
Most of all I want people to tell anecdotes about the dumbass things I did while I was alive, because Lord knows there are plenty of those.  I want my friends to say things like “oh God, do you remember when Vicki locked herself in the porch?” and laugh about it.  I might not leave much money or fame behind, but I can at least leave a mildly ludicrous legacy.

Have a suitably spooky Friday!

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A Bath is Not A Photo Booth

Good morning!  How the devil are you?

It’s been – crikey, a whole week!  Whoops – since I last wrote a blog post.  Sorry about that.  I moved house this week, which has taken up a fair amount of time.  The upshot is that I am writing to you now from the kitchen of my lovely new flat.  Isn’t the garden pretty?  Ignore the boxes of books and saucepans.  I’ll finish unpacking later.

Moving house is incredibly stressful, but it also has a lot of perks.  Here are a few that I’ve experienced over the past few days:

  • Rediscovery – Ash and I packed up our possessions and vacated Bag End almost a month ago.  Getting my stuff back out of storage was quite good fun, because I’d half-forgotten about some of the nice things we have, including an owl cushion called Archimedes:
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    Hands down the most important thing I’ve unpacked so far.
  • Wonderland – I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this area of London before, but now that I live here I am finding out all sorts of things about what the area has to offer.  My favourite pub in the entire city is a ten minute walk away, the coffee shops look amazing and there are charity book shops all over the place.  It’s opposite a massive park AND an indoor climbing centre.  Bring on the adventures.
  • Team Work – my lovely, kind and wonderful friends are a very helpful bunch, and moving house has been a lot easier because of them.  It has also been a lot funnier because of them.  Spending time putting furniture together has given us the chance to reminisce, with some surprising stories – “Have I not told you this story before?!” – and a lot of nostalgia.
  • Bizarre Rules – my friends and I have also decided that the first time someone visits my new house, they have to sit in the bathtub (not filled, obviously) and have their photo taken.  That sound weird, doesn’t it?  I know.  I have no defence, except that the bathtub is weirdly small and we all found it hilarious.  I’m not explaining this very well…
  • Bear Grylls Complex – when you’ve only had time to unpack a fraction of your possessions, you have to sort of make do with whatever comes to hand.  It might just be me, but the whole experience makes me feel like a scavenger living on the fringes of society.  For example, when we left Bag End Ash and I threw the kettle away, because it was a bit old and scummy.  I forgot about this when I moved in to the new flat.  I assumed the kettle was hiding in a box somewhere.  I have coffee, sugar, milk and teabags, but no kettle.  If you’ve ever met me, you will know that this is a Very Bad Situation.  We dispatched someone to buy a kettle yesterday afternoon, with no success.  This morning’s coffee has therefore come from water boiled in a saucepan.  I feel so primitive.  I feel like I’ve EARNED my coffee.
  • Building Blocks – last but not least, a new house means a new start.  Distributing your books and belongings around a new space is a very exciting thing to do, and it’s how we build somewhere up from being a house/flat into a home/hobbit hole.  There is, as Dorothy Gale would tell you if she weren’t fictional, no place like home.

Have a glorious Monday.  I’m going to go and buy a kettle.

Sweet Little Lies?

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Hello there, reader!  How’s your week been?

Last night I got to see The Crucible at the Old Vic, which was excellent in many ways (Richard Armitage as John Proctor being the main one), and exhausting in others (the play finished at 11pm, and in the short time since I got home from Edinburgh Fringe I’ve lost the knack of staying out quite so late).  Arthur Miller’s retelling of the Salem Witch Trials is a fascinating story which, in its essence, examines what can happen when a lie gets spectacularly away from you.

We lie all the time, don’t we?  I’m not suggesting that we make stuff up from dawn ’til dusk every day, of course, but no one can say that they are completely truthful one hundred percent of the time.  Most of our lies are innocuous.  We exaggerate occurrences to add a bit more drama, or we tweak anecdotes to make them funnier.  Moving slightly further along the white-to-black scale of lies, we might hide certain things from loved ones because we don’t want to hurt them, or elect not to get involved with a dispute between friends when we know what actually happened.

There are two things to consider about this: first of all, when we lie in the smallest ways we are editing ourselves, and our lives warp incrementally because of this.  If we can convince ourselves and others that the funnier version of an anecdote actually happened, for example, then we are leading ourselves to believe that our lives are more artfully contrived than they actually are.  We adapt our identities in minuscule ways in order to format our experiences; we are fulfilling a role.  (I wrote an article for Miro Magazine that relates to this – give it a read and let me know what you think.)

The second thing is that we have no way of knowing what effect our lies will have.  If we choose to tell a white lie to protect someone, or hide information that we think would be upsetting, we are depriving other people of the opportunity to respond to the truth.  However good our intentions may be, if we love and respect someone we need to give them the chance to deal with the reality of a situation, even if we don’t think it will be pretty.  We would want the same thing if we were in their shoes, wouldn’t we?

The Crucible is a very extreme example of why lying is bad – people lose their dignity, reputations, property and lives because of a fiction invented by some highly-strung girls.  (It’s also not exactly a context that we can relate to: the story hinges on the fact that some girls were seen dancing in the forest, and dancing was most definitely Not Allowed in Massachussetts circa 1690.  The idea of anyone trying to stop my friends dancing circa 2014 is beyond laughable.)  Having said that, lies can have extreme consequences.  They might not result in death and defamation, but they can certainly cause long-lasting damage.

Also, don’t edit yourself when you’re telling a story.  You are wonderful just as you are, and someone who really loves you will find you hilarious, even if the anecdote isn’t actually all that.

Have a gorgeous weekend.  Make sure you get a decent lie-in at some point.

Brighton Rocks

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Well, hello there!  You’re looking very well, if I may say so.  

This morning I am off on a road trip with two of my favourite friends, and in honour of this I would like to list a few reasons why road trips are an excellent way to spend your day. 

1) They can come from unlikely situations – I have to go to Brighton today for a meeting, which is exciting but a bit nerve-racking at the same time.  I absolutely love my friends for showing their support by accompanying me, and for turning this experience into something that is now definitely more exciting than scary.  

2) They are real eye-openers – the last time I went on a road trip (which was also to Brighton, now that I think about it), we decided to take the scenic route from Canterbury down to Sussex, which turned out to be a very good call.  We got to drive through some very cute little villages and see more of the countryside than we would have done on the boring old motorway.  We may have had to give my friend Mario a fashion magazine to keep him quiet for the trip, but it was worth it for the views.

3) They are a chance to reconnect – all of us have friends whom we adore but don’t get to see often enough, and a road trip is a brilliant way to get some quality friend time in.  This is particularly true when you’re going on the road trip to visit someone far away (which I guess happens more often when you’re at uni, but actually it turns out that not all of my friends ended up settling in London.  Weird, right?)  Whether they’re in the car with you or waiting at your destination, road trips are all about the people you spend them with.  

4) They are great escapes – I’m moving house right now, and I don’t like it.  I don’t like change, I detest goodbyes and I loathe having to put my books into storage.  I think this is the perfect time to forget about my London-based concerns and escape down to the seaside, even if it’s just for a day.  Whatever we’re worried about, a fun day out can be just the boost we need.  There’s no shame in escaping your own life for a day, especially when there are bumper cars and beaches involved.  

5) They make for the best anecdotes – in case the picture at the top of this post has confused you, those are two of the guys I went to Brighton with on our last road trip.  I’ll tell you the story behind that picture sometime (although to be honest it’s fairly self-explanatory)… Anyway, great days make for great stories, and everyone loves an anecdote.

6) They are a great excuse to make a mixed CD – that’s just common sense.  What’s a road trip without a rocking soundtrack?

Wherever you are, have a brilliant day.

Anecdotally Speaking

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Hello, dear reader!  How are you?

After four and a half very giggly/sleepy/coffee-y hours on a train, yesterday afternoon found myself and most of the Empty Photo lot staggering into the Edinburgh sunshine.  Yesterday evening found us at Parlour Tricks, which was wonderful, and yesterday night found us drinking at the Three Sisters.  

This morning (which will surprise absolutely no one, I’m sure) finds me feeling a little worse for wear and vaguely ashamed of myself for having become a bit weepy whilst under the influence.  (Having said that, Harry just had to lean his head on the counter top while he emptied out the cafetière, so things could definitely be worse.)  

Having been at the Fringe for a mere twenty-two hours at this stage, we have already racked up a fairly respectable number of anecdotes and amusing incidents (which I’m sure Ash will be delighted to hear when she joins us tomorrow), and doubtless more will follow.  Anecdotes are a bit of a weird one, because a lot of them fall under the heading “you had to be there”, but the ones that are universally funny can bring a lot of joy.

I am wary of writing blog posts while I’m in Edinburgh, not because I won’t have very much free time, but because I don’t want to bore you, dear and gorgeous reader, with “oh my God the Fringe is so awesome look how much hilarious fun I’m having at an event which you either don’t care about or couldn’t make it to, depending on who is reading this” entries.  I don’t want to bore or alienate anyone, so I will do my best to keep these posts interesting and about all manner of topics.

I will also make sure to tell you all of the funniest anecdotes.  Coming soon: the time I thought I was going to be murdered and chopped up into tiny pieces at a review briefing.  (It is funny, I promise.)

Have an incredibly productive Thursday.

CV Essentials

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Hello, dear reader.  How are you?

Have you ever looked at your own CV and thought “who the hell is this?”  Our CV-selves are not us.  They are more smug, they exaggerate their importance in previous job roles, and they are way too hung up on when exactly they got their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

The problem is that CVs don’t say much about who we really are.  For instance, my GCSE in Photography does not indicate anything about my pathological fear of being late for things, and the latter of those two definitely informs more of my identity.

Even when we are allowed to reveal something about who we are, such as when we are asked to list our strengths and weaknesses, we are obliged to transform our real characteristics into meek-faced, employable ones.  For example: your actual weaknesses may be drinking milk out of the bottle and stalking your ex on Facebook.  In a job interview, you would demurely confide that you might sometimes be a bit too much of a perfectionist about work tasks.

So what should actually go on our CVs?  Which facts and figures can we use to truly represent who we are?  I have a few ideas of things that would say a lot about us as real people:

  • Stories from friends – what do your friends say about you?  When they bring you up in conversation, which anecdote would they tell first?  My friends would probably go for “the time Vicki locked herself in her own porch”, which I’m sure speaks volumes about my grasp on life.
  • Speciality dish – what’s your favourite thing to cook?  Is it a big dish that serves lots of people, or a snazzy starter that requires obscure spices?  Where did you learn how to make it?  Did your grandmother teach you?  Is it a recipe you picked up while travelling abroad?
  • Emergency – never mind that “tell us about a time you had to solve a problem at work” stuff – how do you actually respond to emergency situations?  That’s your instincts taking over, which say a heck of a lot about you.
  • Childhood character – who did you play in your primary school Nativity? No, seriously, think about it: everyone knows a pretty, popular girl who played Mary, a mild-mannered ex-Shepherd and a seriously disgruntled Third Guest at the Inn who feels overlooked in life.  (I was a Narrator.  That makes sense, right?  I do like to describe stuff.)
  • Conflict – again, not in a serious “how would you resolve a dispute with a colleague?” way, but in day-to-day life.  Are you prone to bickering with your partner?  Do you lose your temper when a friend tells you that you’re wrong?  Do you bury your head in the sand and refuse to confront an issue?
  • Strength and weakness – what are your actual, truthful, honest-to-goodness strengths and weaknesses?  Are you a Candy Crush addict?  Do your friends usually turn to you in a crisis?  Have you ever cheated on someone?  Do you tend to make newcomers feel welcome in social situations?  Are you one of those appalling people who doesn’t put their hand in front of their mouth when they cough?

Our CVs encourage us to present a modified version of who we are in order to be employable entities.  Of course we should present ourselves in the best possible light to the world, but I think that the real people are far more fun and interesting than their class of university degree.

Have a magical Friday.  If anyone finds Narnia, give me a shout.

People Love You (And You Don’t Have to Forward Them Anything)

Good morning, lovely reader!  How are you?

Aside from the funny videos  and viral memes that make the rounds on Facebook, there are also several people who make the effort to distribute positive, heart-warming material.  These can be adorable photos of small children and puppies, faith-in-humanity restoring tales of human heroics, or even a simple “I love my friends” status with said friends tagged and made aware of their awesomeness.

When I was a teenager and email messaging was starting to become popular among my social group, we also used to send each other chain emails: “You are a precious butterfly.  Send this email to 320 other people and you will get your wings in seven days”  You know the sort of thing.  I never did get my wings.  Bloody Royal Mail.  These emails were (and I suppose still are) sent by people who have the best intentions in the world, but they’re not very personal.

One email that you might also remember was basically a long list of nice facts that supposedly applied to everyone, and had been compiled in order to make anyone who read the email feel better about themselves: “someone loves you”, “someone is grateful for the help you’ve given them”, “someone thinks about you every day” and so on (and on and on and on).  These are all perfectly lovely things, and I do hope that they’re true for all of us.  But they are a bit too vague and a bit too grandiose, so I thought it was about time for an updated, more specific and slightly more down to earth version:

1) Someone always wants you on their team
Board games, pub quizzes, video games or even actual sports: you in particular are known for being good at something, and someone always thinks of you when they have to put a team together.  Your unique set of skills and knowledge make you invaluable to that team, whether you’re trying to win a round about anagrams or running around a field with a stick. (That’s how you play hockey, right?)

2) Someone brings up anecdotes about you at parties
Not in a mean way: in a fond way.  In the way that explains something central about your personality to the people at the party, or reminds the group of an absent friend who’s sorely missed. Cases in point: my house mate once commented that Wales were doing quite well in “the Four Seasons” when of course she meant the Six Nations tournament.  Another friend from university once re-enacted the Stations of the Cross using a Wetherspoons burger, chips and a lot of ketchup, and we bring that story up whenever we’re all together, because we haven’t seen him in yonks and we miss him.

3) Someone always thinks of you when a certain song plays
There are so many songs that make me think of specific people.  About ten of my favourite songs make me think of my friend Becca, who introduced me to lots of excellent music in our first year at university.  I can guarantee that certain songs will remind people of you, and you’d be surprised by how much good stuff comes out of seemingly inconsequential things like that.  For example, writing this one has made me realise how much I miss Becca.  I’m going to ring her when I’ve finished this post.

4) Someone enjoys how ridiculous your friendship is
Everyone has at least one friend with whom they act slightly strangely.  In-jokes, silly voices and strange traditions abound between old friends.  To be perfectly honest, I’m struggling to think of friends with whom I don’t have slightly odd habits: for example, one of my oldest friends and I like to make macaroni cheese together, and we have a song about it.  That’s right.  It’s called “We Love the Macaroni Cheese”.  There may or may not be a dance that goes with it.  ANYWAY, the point is that with true and loyal friends it’s ok to be a teensy bit insane, and the knowledge that we can’t behave that way in public makes us all the more appreciative of the people who allow us to be a bit weird.  Have you seen this?  This guy knows what I’m talking about:

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5) Someone walked past you today and thought you were fit
That’s just common sense.  Look at you; you’re gorgeous!

Have a brilliant day.  May your lunch be unusually delicious.

Now What?

Hello!  Welcome to my first blog post on SarcasTickled – a fairly silly name for what may well end up being a fairly silly blog.

As some of you may already know, I currently write blog posts for my theatre company Empty Photo, which I really enjoy, but I thought it was time for me to have a blogging platform just for me.  There are a few reasons for this:

1) I love theatre, but it’s not the only thing I want to write about.  It doesn’t seem right to carry on shoe-horning pocket philosophy, politics and other subjects into a blog about drama when I could just start my own blog and write anything.

2) My lovely house mate Aislinn has a wonderful blog which I know she really enjoys writing, and I think that it would be good for me to discipline myself to blog regularly, like she does.

3) I lost my job today, and even though I’m a bit upset, it’s really a very good thing that I hope will inspire me.

That last reason sounds a bit weird, but actually it’s true.  Since I graduated, I have tried to keep doing what I really love – writing  – as a hobby alongside earning enough money to live. So far so simple.

But earning money is all very well and good until you realise that the job you’re doing is making you unhappy, and although I really enjoyed my job, the office wasn’t for me.  The few people that I’ve spoken to since it happened (all of three hours ago) have all told me to pursue what I actually want to be doing.  What I actually want to be doing is writing.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I may end up in another day job or I might not, but I’m going to make a real effort to write more, starting with this blog.  Hopefully I will be able to write a whole mixture of stuff: reviews, anecdotes, top ten lists and so on.

This first post is not as erudite or intriguing as (I hope) the next ones will be, but it’s a start.  One down, lots to go.