Television

The new Doctor Who is a woman…so what?

So, after much speculation and some definite doubt from myself, the BBC have only gone and done it. We finally have a female Doctor, and of course, the reaction is massive. There’s the happy, the sceptics, and the downright ignorant. Yet why is it even a big deal? Yes, we are seeing progression in one of the BBC’s most celebrated shows, and I am so excited to see Jodie Whittaker in action, but what I’m now wondering is how long it’s going to take for the dust to settle.

The reveal of a new Doctor Who is always a big deal, usually accompanied with a massive build up and an hour-long documentary, but this time the BBC did it in a different way, which I guess is only fitting for a completely different Doctor Who. As a somewhat more ambivalent Doctor Who fan- I definitely wouldn’t call myself a Whovian, that’s for sure- one thing that always fills me with excitement is the announcement of the new Doctor. This time, I didn’t really have much time to anticipate, or even really speculate. Yet, suddenly, when Roger Federer grabbed that Wimbledon title, I suddenly felt a rush- and that was when I was convinced it would be Kris Marshall (who I have loved since his My Family days).  So when a feminine figure was revealed, I had the same excitement that I would have had if it was the former, because really who the hell cares whether its a man or a woman, it’s someone new playing one of TV’s much loved characters.

Regardless of their gender, the beauty of the regeneration of the Doctor is that its someone new. A different actor to take on the role in their own way. Of course, there are the usual traits and quirks that Doctor Who will always possess, but I haven’t seen any rulebooks that specify that they’re only limited to males- have you?

Of course there are the sceptics and the bigots who ‘refuse to ever watch Doctor Who again’, but most of them probably stopped watching when Pearl Mackie was introduced as the Doctors first named LGBT assistant. Despite that, I guarantee that this Christmas episode will be one of the highest viewed episodes since the show returned in 2005- because we all have our curiosities on whats going to happen next. And whether people are watching for good or for bad, they’re still watching- and that’s only going to benefit the future of the show. Roll on December 25th.

Television

Help! Love Island has taken over my life

“Did you see what happened with Amber and Kem last night?”

“Who?”

“From Love Island…”

“Oh- I thought you were talking about people you actually knew.”

This has been a situation I’ve had to deal with a few too many times over the past few weeks, and I feel like it’s time to accept my fate. My name is Maria Loizou and I’m a Love Island addict. It’s been just under 3 weeks since the 6 episode a week series has started this year, and I’m ashamed (or maybe a little proud) to say that I’ve not yet missed an episode. That’s 17 whole hours I’ve spent watching people I don’t know engage in inauthentic relationships, and I say I never have any spare time?

It doesn’t seem to be just me either, if I was to check into Love Island rehab I could bring at least 10 people with me, in fact we could even book out a wing. There’s clearly something about the show that’s engaging people – but what actually is it? I’m definitely not saying it works on everyone either, in fact it seems to be one or the other- love  or hate, the marmite effect strikes again. Except I actually despise marmite, so why am I so invested in Love Island? I’ve thought of a couple of reasons why…

  1. It’s escapism. Although technically it is a reality show, it’s not like we all sit in bikinis by a pool, discussing what our type would be ‘on paper’ (what does that even mean?) In a frankly shit world right now, the chance to take an hour out of your evening and watch people who’s biggest issue is which (unnaturally attractive) person they can date is a refreshing break from all the horrible tragic news that’s going on in the world right now.
  2. It’s a social experiment. Like all shows of the type (and there are so many right now) I find it fascinating to put a group of people together and see what actually happens between them. What’s even more interesting about Love Island is that, whether they like it or not- they’re pretty much all THE SAME PERSON. So why do some get on and some clash? And how can one person coming in change dynamics so much? We all know that people are interested in people, and although it’s not exactly David Attenborough stuff, we’re still watching (technically) a species interact with other species here. Hey, I didn’t say my reasons were scientific…
  3. We love a show. No, I’m not being as literal as this may perhaps seem, but remember every Christmas as a kid? What would you most likely go and do? You’d see a pantomime. In the end, that’s what programmes like Love Island, Ex on the Beach and Big Brother are like, they’re pantomimes. We don’t switch the TV hoping that everyone will be sat around a table drinking a cup of tea, we want action, we want drama, frankly, we want to see someone ripping someone else’s hair out. There’s a reason why Come Dine With Me is so popular, not because of the meals people make, but because we love an argument. There’s no denying it. The proof is even in Love Island itself, when it came to a public vote of who should stay and who should go, the most harmonious couple was voted into the bottom- and they got split up. The next day it was all over the tabloids that one of the couple had gone straight out of the Love Island villa and slept with a fellow evictee- who was not her boyfriend. Did we feel sorry for either of them? No- we soaked it in, because we LOVE it.

Now I know that there is much better TV out there, much MUCH better. But I don’t see half as many people tweeting about what’s just happened in more high-brow shows such as Poldark, and that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good… they just don’t strike up that sense of ‘OH MY GOD’ that trash TV often does. Perhaps I’m wrong, I’m not sure my social media bubble is the most accurate way to poll, but I think I’m onto something. Now I’m off to do a quiz on which islander I’m most like… I hope it’s Montana.

I told you- I’m hooked.

Lifestyle

How dating apps are making people forget that common courtesy exists

There’s a new word in the English Language. In fact, it’s not even a new word, it just has a new meaning. What is that word I hear you ask? Ghosting. When looking up the definition of ghosting on the ever so reliable Urban Dictionary, it says: ‘The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.’

Charming, eh? Although, there’s one slight error in this definition, it specifies that ghosting occurs whilst people are dating. That’s not quite accurate. In the ever increasing popularity of dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Grindr… (the list goes on), ghosting can occur at any point. In fact, it doesn’t even just occur from someone you may have met ‘cyberly’, someone you may occur face to face and have met in the old fashioned way, (by old fashioned I mean reality), can equally be guilty of the same thing. Then, if a girl or guy considers asking perhaps why they’re no longer in favour, it’s considered weird! How did this become a thing when general social conduct is now seen as a taboo, and acting in a way our parents told us was out of order at childhood is now the key to success?

I watched a documentary before about an American guy who consistently talks to, dates, beds, then ghosts girls. Any little thing can be the reason as to why, they may text the wrong thing, or he might just get bored. He seemed to think this kind of thing was OK to do, because thats what people on dating apps expect…?? When did it actually get to the point that social media became the dictator of how someone should or shouldn’t act, rather than real life conversation, with, yes, you guessed it… real. life. people. Mad right?

Whether in reality, in romance, or in friendship, I think we all need to take a step back and think. Yes, the majority of communications sadly seem to go through mobile phones, but the person at the other end of that phone shares something majorly in common with you. They are also a living, breathing, human being- who’d have thought?

Imagine if you were sat, talking to someone on a bench, and right in the middle of the conversation they just stood up and left with no explanation. You’d be confused as to why, and you’d probably want to know their reasonings! Although it’s not the exact same thing as when you’re on your phone it’s a similar concept, and it’s just damn rude. Call me an old lady but I believe that basic banners need to become fashionable again, and we should all just get a bit more respect for our fellow human beings.

Thoughts

Is this a masters or an existential crisis?

So, it happened again. I had another Bertha Mason wild woman in the attic freakout. All was well in my evening, I was just washing my hair, singing along to the shower, when I checked my phone. (Waterproof iPhone, I love you.) My friend was messaging me about a shorthand exam. I must tell you, that at the moment I have about a million different channels running through my head, so sometimes things slipped my mind. Unfortunately, today, the last chance of my Shorthand 100wpm (I will get this)- decided to slip my mind, and I had unintentionally double-booked myself.

I instantly thought of ways I could get around this, and they were all unrealistic and stuck even more unnecessary pressure upon myself. I didn’t want to miss either of these things I had going on, but the only real way would be to move my appointment. I couldn’t just not take my exam and waste the stupid-o-clock classes I’d been getting up for all year!

Whilst typing all this out right now, this all seems quite rational, and you’re probably thinking I’m a bit overdramatic… which I think most of my friends would vouch as true. Oops. As all these thoughts were going on, EVERYTHING I need to do between now and June 9th took over my mind, and then the floodgates opened. I felt sorry for my poor, unsuspecting parents whom I’d actually already said goodnight to, they weren’t expecting a Maria panic cry. They tried to comfort me, it didn’t help. They tried to just leave me, I begged for someone to speak. It. was. just. not. pretty.

This is definitely not the first panic I’ve had this year. And over this next, horrifically deadline filled month, it won’t be the last. The worst part is when you question yourself, saying ‘why am I doing this masters?’ Even when I think it, I’m instantly responding in my head, ‘stop being stupid, you know it’s good for your future.’

I think about all the skills I’ve picked up, from I’ve gone from struggling to turn on a Macbook to being an (almost) indesign savvy user. I remember my first shorthand lesson, when I looked at the letters and thought they were hieroglyphics, to it now being a skill I use every day. I consider the work internships I’ve done, and how, when I’ve been in these buzzing magazine offices, watching people produce something that readers can consume and enjoy- and known that those are the places I want to forge a career in. Yet, still, in that split second, I still have that doubt, and those tears. I wouldn’t go as far as resentment, but I’m sure breakdown Maria would speak differently.

They say ‘nothing worth having is easy’, and although I wish this sincerely wasn’t true, I know it is. This experience has wisened me up to the idea of things that seem too good to be true- being just that, and as well as this, due to the personal tests I’ve had in my life over the past 8 months or so, (and trust me, they’ve been huge), I’ve learnt how strong I actually am. I know that I’ll look back on my MA year as an overall life-building time. It’s been filled with fantastic, amazing peers, managed to build my skills and confidence even further, and finally, made me realise that, although anything may not be possible, most things actually can be.

Thoughts

Why having a ‘boy break’ doesn’t mean I’m bitter

I’ve been single for over 2 years now. For quite a lot of people this would be a huge problem, and yeah, it’s has it’s ups and down, but ultimately, right now I don’t think I need anyone.

Having a ‘boy break’ may mean you don’t have someone who says ‘good morning’ to you everyday, or have that extra like on your pictures- (my girls have me covered for that one anyway), but it also means that I’m not sat phone in hand paranoid about when I’m going to get a text back.

Yeah, dates are fun. They’re also an investment of time, money, and frankly, calories. On top of that, they’re a risk, especially that first one. If it doesn’t go well from your side, you have to have that awkward confrontation, and if they aren’t feeling it you have to then be on the receiving end, or worse- you can be a victim of the dreaded concept of ghosting.

Maybe I’m being a cynic, because romance is the last thing on my mind right now. I’m keeping my priorities on number one, whether it’s thinking about my career prospects or spending time with my friends. I just don’t see the space for pursuing anything with anyone (unless they’re  Zac Efron of course).

I’m not even going to go into the dramas that relationships can hold, because fortunately, I’ve not had to deal with that sort of thing in a long time. I’m purely talking about my lack of interest in pursuing the initial part. As I roll my eyes at couples holding hands in the street, and cliche romantic moments on films, I know it’s just not where my heads at right now.

As much as I think this may be a permanent thing, sometimes I do doubt myself, and so do people close to me. ‘One day someones going to come along and change your perceptions on everything’ my parents tell me. That’s probably true! I don’t think I want to be alone for the rest of my life, I do have that dream of the big white wedding and even, (gasp) children some day. That may be an eventual dream, but it doesn’t mean it should monopolise everything in my mind, and I should constantly be on the hunt for a boyfriend. I’m just not bothered!

Is there really anything wrong with not wanting to have someone? Does it really make people abnormal? I don’t think so myself. At the age of 23, and as I finally finish Uni for good in September it feels as if true adulthood is upon me. Why not get to enjoy these last few months of the bubble I’m living in- alone?

Thoughts

Why some friendships have an expiration date

Forgive me for pretty much brain dumping here, but this is a topic that crosses my mind, and that I discuss with the one friend I know I’ll never lose, (my Mum), A-LOT. Friendships.

Now I’ve lived in 4 places for an extended period of time, mixing it up between the North West and the East Midlands, and I’ve been in 7 different educational establishments, from Reception to my Postgrad. That’s a lot of people in different places, coming and going.

Each move has been a new chapter (or 3) in my life, and as I sit and reflect on the current ones, I like to think back on all the people that I’ve come across and befriended over the years. Some are still close friends, some are those that I think of fondly and always want to chat to, although we may rarely meet up- (I’m saying years apart here), and others who have sadly just been passing ships in the night. People, who have at one point been those I couldn’t imagine a day without speaking to, to an almost stranger whose life I only keep up with now through Facebook posts. Do I look back on these friendships sadly and with resentment? No, because at one point they were who I needed, and I was the same for them.

Over the last few years I’ve probably gone through the amount of milestones that most  people experience over 10 years or more, and I’d definitely say that they’ve changed me. I guess its up to what people think, whether it’s for better or for worse, but for me, when I think of myself right now, as I sit here typing away, I proud of the person currently I am. The sad and difficult situations I have been through have guided me to being a driven, more confident woman. I’m excited for what’s next- and hey, maybe I am looking too much into the future, but trust me, after the last 3 years that I’ve had, it’s much more exciting than what has been!

In these last 3 or 5 years I’ve lost quite a few friends, and there are some that I never expected to lose, but in some situations they haven’t been there for me the way I imagined, and maybe they feel the same. Either way, big life experiences change you, and, (excuse the analogy), we aren’t Pokemon, we don’t all evolve.

I don’t like to use the word ‘friend’ lightly, I think with the increase of social media outlets we feel we know each other more, but a friendship is about the emotional connection you feel with someone, not how many pictures they may post online a day, meaning you think you know them. If I was to count how many people I truly call my friends, I think I’d cap the number at 15, because how many people can you really give your whole and emotional self to? I like to give complete dedication to my friends as I think it’s important that they know you’re there as emotional support on ANYTHING, whether it’s picking an outfit or dealing with a huge personal trauma.

Some of these people have been around for years, others only since September. Yet, what I know about true friendships is that time isn’t a factor, I believe it’s all about that click. It may come straight away, or it may take a week or so. Either way, it’s either there or it’s not, and I’m grateful for all those I’ve clicked with, past and present.

Lifestyle

Why it doesn’t make me wrong to love D-List (or maybe Z-List) celebrity culture

When people ask me what TV shows I watch regularly, I always pause for a second, and my mind starts ticking. Do I A) Say the current ‘in’ show, which I’ve seen, but don’t quite ‘get?’ B) Admit defeat, and profess that Coronation Street is probably the only show I’ve consistently watched over the last 23 years? C) Or C? Go for an old favourite, a series I’ve watched a million times and probably made myself a little bit sick of by now? (Gossip Girl and Peep Show, I’m looking at you.)

When people ask you what you enjoy, in regard of ‘pop culture’ and taste, it’s more than a simple ‘I like this person/show/song’ answer, you actually become a victim to your response, from one simple answer, often, your whole persona is shaped from that, as with most things, you become judged on your tastes.

Now I have a guilty secret, actually, secret is the wrong word, as I’m not afraid to share it. I have a guilty pleasure. As a Journalism student, I’m sure some people may look down on me for this, but I’m partial to a particular sidebar of shame. BUT WAIT! Please, before you shut down your browser with a look of disgust on your face, let me just explain! I enjoy reading celebrity ‘gossip’ on a variety of different platforms for one simple reason- it provides a sense of escapism.

Just like I enjoy watching Coronation Street- whilst it’s not entirely realistic, its entertaining, I also appreciate lowbrow celebrity culture. Why? Because these things don’t take much energy to watch or read, its a chance to turn your brain off for a while and just immerse yourself into some crap. For a bit, you get to forget about all the little problems that life has brought forward and instead, put yourself into a new world, where you find out who’s pregnant, (seemingly everyone at the moment), and who the newest couples are, and whilst you read this you have complete and utter apathy. Is there anything wrong with that? No. As a self confessed drama queen its nice to gain information without, to be frank, caring.

Is it so wrong for me to be more interested in the latest Taylor Swift break up than (yet another) Dickens novel sometimes? Do I have to alwaaaays do things that include ‘bettering’ myself? Personally, I don’t appreciate this social hierarchy that exists purely on some specific tastes, and that goes across the board. I’m the type of girl who will wear a designer handbag, worth far too much money, with a £2 top I found in a charity shop, simply because I don’t care. If I want something, materialistic, or physical, regardless of whether it ‘matters’ I’ll do it.

Although this sounds petty, I think if we promoted this to a grander scheme, and put it into a bigger perspective, it speaks a lot about society in general. Of course, some things do matter, but other things don’t, and maybe if we had less scales which controlled what’s right and wrong, and more of going with what we feel, things would be a lot better.