33 Life Lessons from a 33-Year-Old!

So I haven’t written on here for a while, because, well, life-busy-excuses-blah-etc. So I thought, what better day to come back, than my Birthday?

In honour my return to weekly rambles, I thought I would treat you all to 33 of my top tips in life! Buckle up Buttercups, you is about to get schooled!

(Having written this out now, I feel like it is more of a health and safety PSA.)

  1. Teeth do not make good bottle openers. Just because you are high, does not mean you are the Hulk. I repeat – you do not have extra special drunk person powers! You will regret this 10 years later, when you have a chip in it, to remind you of this fact.
  2. Spoons cannot be microwaved. Check that it has not sunk into the porridge before you close the door. You WILL need a new microwave. But cool indoor lightning show… so…
  3. Do not try to placate an angry Goose. You are not Ace Ventura and stating that you want it to come to you and that it is your jungle friend will only make it madder. (They don’t come from the jungle – apparently, that’s racist.)
  4. When embarking on a juice cleanse, do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to leave the house, unless you have an adult nappy on. Also, don’t do juice cleanses, they are stupid!
  5. Read the warning signs on hairspray cans. Lighting a cigarette near your circa 1999, liberally coated fringe will cause a fire to blaze on your head. (Side note: Do not let your friend throw her Vodka drink at it, this is NOT advised.)
  6. Make sure you are prepared when taking a shower. Running naked across tiled flooring to get a clean towel out of the tumble dryer whilst wet is a hazard.
  7. NEVER leave a prawn sandwich in a hot car.
  8. When attending family weddings, please refrain from trying tequila for the first time. You will end up passed out in the toilets and have the entire wedding party looking for you. They will also never let you forget it.
  9. Know your limitations part 1 – If you attempt to push a king sized mattress up from the basement on your own, at midnight, you may get trapped behind it. If this happens, make sure you take your phone with you so you can call for help…
  10. Know your limitations part 2 – If you know you are afraid of heights, do not climb into the loft and then not be able to get down. Repeat instructions from No 9.
  11. Try to avoid hangovers. However, in the event of one occurring, pickled onion Monster Munch, strawberry Yahoo and bacon will work 99% of the time. The other 1% – you have alcohol poisoning and you fucked up… go lay down on the bathroom floor and wish you were dead.
  12. When calling your colleague to bitch about your boss, do the following: 1) Make sure you are not on speaker phone. 2) Make sure your boss is not in the room. I recommend signing on the next day in the event this happens.
  13. If house-sharing, be advised that if you continually use your housemate’s shampoo, they will put Hot Sauce in it and make you feel like No 5.
  14. When purchasing condoms, ensure you do not have something caught in your eye. Winking at the check-out BOY is inappropriate, creepy and may cause alarm.
  15. Frogs play dead when scared. Be certain it is dead before picking up with kitchen utensils.
  16. FROGS SCREAM when picked up with kitchen utensils!
  17. On flirting during your workout: A) Do not faint. B) Do not slide down the guy’s body when he is in downward facing dog, whilst fainting. C) Do not wake up and vomit beside workout Bae. In conclusion, don’t flirt during Bikram (hot) Yoga, you ridiculous red hot sweaty inadequate mess.
  18. DO pretend you know magic card tricks at a party. Everyone will think you are some sort of magical wizard, give you free drinks and you will become a legend. No one will know that you are just looking at their card because they will be too wasted to notice. You can now put this on your CV.
  19. When attending an acting job, refrain from binge eating Polos beforehand. (They have laxatives in them.)
  20. Never lick a steak knife.
  21. Check your surroundings. If you decide to pole dance around a lamp post on school property, ascertain whether there is CCTV in the area. If you don’t, you may be called in by the entire Senior Leadership Staff and made to watch it as they laugh at you, before putting you in detention.
  22. When unblocking a toilet, do not use marigolds. They are not long enough. Trust me on this.
  23. When auditioning for Chekhov’s The Seagull and asked if you have any special skills, I wouldn’t proceed to give them your best seagull impression. You are not what they are looking for. You will never be asked back to the most prestigious Theatre Company in the world again. This may have ruined your career. But you can be proud that you really do make a great seagull voice.
  24. If you jump on the back of an old Routemaster bus, make sure your bag does not swing around the pole. If this happens, do not attempt to alight the bus, as you will be dragged around Picadilly Circus until you have no skin left and need crutches.
  25. Do not tell your best friends of terrible experiences with buses. They will laugh at you, even when you are crying. This will traumatise you forevermore. Hateful, hateful people. You know who you are.
  26. Check that you have underwear on when Irish Dancing. Always. Those high kicks…
  27. Stop ordering small popcorn at the cinema. You are lying to yourself and everyone in that cinema knows it. JUST STOP! Live your true life.
  28. Don’t go swimming with Sharks whilst on your period. They get REEEAAAL friendly!
  29. Don’t steal and drink a bottle of Cointreau from your Dad’s drink’s cabinet and then go ice-skating. Things will not go well for you. You WILL be grounded.
  30. Don’t trust anyone who eats Jellied Eels. They are the food of Satan.
  31. Don’t let your sibling shave your eyebrows. You will look like Effie from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay… It will never grow back the same.
  32. When deciding to write a list of all the stupid shit you have done, make sure you drink wine to numb all the PTSD flashbacks.
  33. Laugh at yourself. Everyone does stupid shit, you are not alone. Embrace your cringe-worthy tragicomedy life. It’s all good!

 

Welcome back to my fort kids – it has presents, birthday candles and that song that you have to listen to people sing to you… awkwardly… for ages… every year… just sing me a show tune instead!

The Boy’s School Musical

I was going through my filing cabinets today and found my old scrapbook and photo 20170507_224006album of my school days and I came over all emotional. I hadn’t realised quite how much I had kept from back then but found every programme, ticket and poster, running orders, scripts and first night cards and letters.

Not gonna lie, had a bit of a cry… but a happy one!

1997

When I was in Year 8, I had gone with my friend Emily, down to the neighbouring boy school for an audition for the annual musical. She had not wanted to walk down by herself, so I was her wingman!

I was excited, not for the event, but the opportunity to see real life boys. They were coveted and rare during school hours, unless you snuck behind the sheds between the fields, or crossed the forbidden line in the PE department, that joined the two. #AllGirlsSchoolGoals.

I rolled up my navy skirt one more time, til the pleats had to be pulled out, so it didn’t show that I was still made to wear god-awful knee lengths, (my mum NEVER let me be cool), whipped out my Coffee Shimmer lipstick, scraped back my curly, frizzy, tangled hair and coated it with enough hairspray to kill a rainforest of spiders and flicked up my shirt collar, like I was Nicky f*cking Kenickie.

I had no intention of auditioning that day, and sat cooly in the auditorium of the main hall, as my friend proudly sang her heart out in front of a panel of Teachers and the other auditionees. I was excited for her and she looked so happy standing there. She looked like she was having so much fun, for what was ultimately a pretty terrifying thing to do.

As she finished and came down the stairs at the front of the stage, I got ready to leave and stood up. Just then, the Director, Mr Ansell, clocked me and asked if I wanted to be in the show too and would I like to have a go at reading some lines and singing a song? Everyone was leaving and I would be the last one so it would not be a big deal or anything…

Everything before that moment is slightly blurred. I never remember wanting to be anything else, other than an actor after that.

I do have a vague flashback of wanting to be Enya once, and creating contemporary interpretative dances to Kate Bush songs, but other than that, I had a one-track mind.

I was the kid who, when the school careers counsellor met with me, ripped up the comprehensive questionnaire and guidance form, with that defiant air of a cocky arsehole teenager, declaring that I didn’t need a backup plan, I was going to Drama School and going to be in the West End and that was the end of it.

I think I had to sign one of those disclosure forms for idiots like I was being discharged against medical advice. She looked at me despairingly… another dreamer that was gonna make her look shit at her job!

The first show was Blitz! And was the first of many. I officially became a Theatre Kid! I slowly drifted away from the ‘Trendy’ clique in my year group and would disappear off, every lunch time to the boy’s school, or the Drama studios to hang out and geek off with my own kind.

20170507_225148

I remember the thrill of the first day of rehearsals, sat with our scores around the piano, being yelled at By Miss Clandillon to ‘SING LOUDER’, and yelling at us to shut up periodically. That woman was terrifying and glorious and a force to be reckoned with. Going through Choreography in the School Reception and sticking my Rehearsal Schedule on top of my actual school timetable – PRIORITIES!

I recall painting sets at weekends and going to EVERY rehearsal even if I wasn’t needed. Jim used to call me his shadow and even let me Assistant Direct him once because I always annoyingly had something to say and would boss the other actors around. I even got the lead part once through this tactic. When Jasmine dropped out of Aladdin, I sat there smugly. I knew she wasn’t up for the job, I knew it was only a matter of time. I was like a patient vulture, knowing every line, scene, blocking move and note in her track. I walked on a week later as if the part had been mine the whole time.

Think Rachel Berry in Glee Club type of intense… that was me.

Then there were backstage antics, emotional last nights and crazy cast parties, with speeches, presents and sobbing hugs, like we were never going to see each other again – except for tomorrow when we all saw each other again… And even crazier ‘After Cast Parties’, which, for legal reasons, I am pretty sure I am not allowed to detail.

I had never really fit in anywhere before then. Sure I had friends, but I was always on the outskirts and never grounded or completely at ease. Suddenly I felt like I was home. I have never laughed so much and had such a good time as those heady days of being in the School Musicals.

20170507_225300One of the last shows I was in at School was Fame. The opening number, ‘Hard Work’ involved singing the lines ‘I Pray I make P.A’. The Choreographer, an awesome, young science teacher, Mr Betts, had us holding fake letters of acceptance, getting into the Performing Arts School. So when I actually got in that same week, I triumphantly, if not a little bit cheesy and dramatically, took my actual Drama School acceptance letter up onto that stage and punched it into the air with tears in my eyes. The same stage that started it all and I was saying goodbye to it in the best possible way.

Those were some of the best days of my life. It is where I started my emotional education, my life skills classes and made friendships like no other. We were a family and, although now, it is only through Facebook and the occasional sighting in a local pub or at an event, they were my family, my tribe, my people. We grew up together, worked together, dated each other (grossly incestuously in fact), lived in each other’s pockets and created some of the best memories I have.

To my School Theatre Family,

For all the laughter, shared experiences, joy, jokes and love! You taught me who I was and how to be me.

Thank You x

Welcome To My Fort Kids – It has show tunes, memories and love in it!