Classroom Clashes

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

When I left school at 16, I didn't do it with the bold teenage-angst that I'd love to recall. I was petrified.
It wasn't necessarily fear of waving good bye to the comfort of structure, but instead waving in a working world in which I'd had zero preparation for in the decade I'd spent studying in the lead up.
That alone, speaks volumes.

Formal education for a great deal of people is brilliant, it's an experience that is laden with life lessons that you don't tend to appreciate until it's all a vague memory.

I mean, I thank school for my tolerance of idiots and my brief knowledge on the world war but that's where it stops.

I really loathed school, I hated the starched uniforms and the 60's classrooms, the lack of enthusiasm for a career in anything higher than hairdressing. It all holds quite ironic considering I left school in 2011, not 1973. I spent the majority of my time balanced on a makeshift pedestal where I felt anything I was doing with a teacher that might further my future, I could do alone and actually enjoy it.

There is a multitude of issues with the current education system that none of us have time to recite nor read, but some are seriously so simple to mend it leaves me at a total loss as to why so many things are overlooked.

Creativity is overlooked, a sweet and quaint gimmick that might be rewarded with a portrait spot in the headmasters office, but any other physical accolades can be forgotten.
We must be academic, we must be mathematical, well versed and scientifically profound.
Put down your camera and pick up your calculator, creativity wont get you a job. Or at least not one that will benefit the government of which writes our syllabus and our scholastic structure, the on that begs in vain, university, of which they profit unimaginable sums, is the only direction.

There is no room for 'passes'.
Underachievers skip lessons for incentive days to theme parks for trying hard and overachievers pulled from their timetables to be glossed in gifted and talented meetings.
Those in between? Left in a half filled classroom feeling less than average for scoring just above the national average.
How is this encouraging a generation to reach their potential? How is this nurturing young minds? How is this any remote reflection of the real world in which we are all soon to be turfed into?
-Sure, a raise might be on its way if you do well, but you can forget a trip to Thorpe Park if you're struggling.

If teachers spent as much time speculating real attributes and commending qualities as they did ridiculing loose ties and too short skirts, would we feel more inclined to stop being so wound up with the importance of appearance and the dull lack of individuality that's encouraged and instead care to crave what strengths our personalities held?
Why don't you teach young boys the vulgarity of staring at my arse in school hours instead of shunning my pencil skirt?

My art teacher had an innate talent of making 15 girls cry simultaneously in one lesson. If I'd been given a pound for every time she told me my passion and skill had no match for the fashion industry and that I'd never get my foot in the door, I could probably have paid for my celebration dinner that followed after I landed my first styling job at Burberry, aged 16, fresh out of school, art coursework shoved firmly up -
the back of the painting shelf.

Being free and artistic still has many intellectual attributes - you're not compromising how academic you are by being creative.
One thing I've learnt since my school hiatus, in the creative industry, people value people not institutions.
They value drive and creative capabilities, forward thinking out of the box individuals.
You'll have to work your arse off to prove it, but I'd rather spend my teen years pushing myself as a person than bowing down to the governments ideals.

A Day with Orin

Friday, 18 April 2014


A while ago the internet lead me to Orin.
From the get go, I thought,
-Hey! I like this Orin kid! He seems to have his head switched on.
So I did what any self respecting human being would do and politely asked him to come and visit me in London for a chat over a beer.
I learnt a lot: passionate drumming habits, close friends, university ambitions, he let me delve into his perfectly coiffed hair and have a stroll through his brain.
I could spark this with witty anecdotes and illustrative paragraphs on how he held himself and what he was wearing, what he chose to eat and the names he dropped as inspirations and heroes, but I don't want to. Blast me selfish, hinder me secretive, suggest this whole thing pointless.
Do whatever you like, but make sure you keep an eye out for him.
Effervescent with charm and gestures, a coy smile that dropped from his face only but once- and that was only when he realised how awful he was at making daisy chains, I liked real life Orin even more than I liked YouTube Orin and I feel as though I want to keep that bit for me, I didn't meet someone I wanted to interview and question, I met someone I decided instantly I wanted to make my friend.
His online ethics are intelligent, keen to utilise YouTube not as platform for short-lived internet fame, but simply to marry his hobbies together and make something interesting and creative. I didn't need to hear him say it, you can see it at first glance on his channel.
He rubs his eyes embarrassed at the thought he felt succumbed to do a tag video early on in his already premature YouTube career, but he knows now what is 'him' and what definitely isn't.
I've got a feeling about Orin Willis, at first I didn't know what it was, but I thought you should know about him even if I was yet to find out.
I did though and I want you to, too.
Go on your own Orin adventure and please click with fever and excitement over the links below. Subscribe, like, comment, share and all that cliché vlogger crap. Do it, he deserves it.
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-All photographs taken on a Canon AE-1 with Kodak Film, by Charly Cox-

Don't Call Me Baby

Sunday, 13 April 2014


I don't get it, it just doesn't make sense.
My head weaves through the city smog, busying myself with whatever comes next.
Throwing myself into another book, another newspaper, another bucket of wine.

Your voice would make me wince.
Spiders legs crawling to the pinch of my eyes as you'd call me baby.
Who was I, Sophie Ellis Bextor? I hated when you'd call me baby.
I'd rip you to shreds in front of my friends, laugh at the little things you'd do with grand servings of vain.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know?
I don't want to wake up and see your name flash with fever across my phone in the morning, I want to taste it.
I want to taste each vowel like it were my last meal and I'd never get to taste anything like it ever again.

But then you stopped.
8AM's left blank and unanswered, no baby, no kissing, no cringing eyelids.
You think you don't want something but you do.
(You tell all your friends you don't want something because you really, more than anything, do.)

I denied myself of emotion, I didn't want to make those same school girl mistakes again.
Vulnerability was for half knotted ties and rolled up uniform skirts, not for office court shoes and Chanel Rouge Allure.
But I was.
Vulnerable.

The dinners I'd taken for granted haunt my conversations and leave me vacant and a little nervous.
For all those times I'd wondered what to do or how to call it off, I'd wondered if I really felt that way or if I was just terrified you might get there before me.
I'm an idiot and suddenly I can feel it.

I can feel it in my needy text messages, role reversal so bitter and unexpected that I taste acid in my mouth before I press send.
I'd insisted I couldn't see the next six months with him but suddenly I shiver and icy coldness at the thought of without.
Maybe this time I'll learn, but my selfishness always seems to circulate back in a vicious circle of inevitability.

I'm an idiot and I can feel it.

Lobster red as I scratch my eyes, lashes swimming down my cheeks as I scratch at them with impatience and fury -
                                         why am I crying?
I didn't even want you

                                      did I?

April Inspiration

April Inspiration








What I'm Wearing

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Dress//Topshop - Boots//Topshop - Nails//Wah
Photography - Dunja Opalko

Fashion is like an organised religion and style is like atheism

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Alexa Chung, apple of my eye, queen to my heart.
All hail.
I plodded down in uncomfortable shoes and a metallic snake skin skirt (I wish I'd listened to my mum, it looked ridiculous) to the Vogue Festival last weekend to check out Alexa Chung, Amanda Harlech and Lucinda Chambers verse their holy knowledge on personal style.
A paragraph of praise would simply do no justice and would gleam as utter teen-fashion-girl spiel so I'll save it for my skinny-mocha-it-bag days.
Alexa suddenly uttered the above profound wisdom. I thought I'd share.    

The Lost Boy


Some pics of the ever charming Jamie Laing we did together on a photoshoot just recently.
Total babe.
Photographed by me, styled be him.

Who even are you? -Anonymous hate

Monday, 7 April 2014

When you ask
who even are you?
behind your screen
I wonder the same behind mine.

Stop being controversial
You're so stuck up and stupid
You're only read because of your connections
it floods
                 it floods 
                                      it floods.

You're safe
behind your muted name
and your blanked photo
an ip address not worth tracking
your existence apparently
so much more relevant than mine
yet you can't leave an identity?

I scrawl out thoughts that
have plagued and tested
my judgement and my sanity
you know me for my friends
judge me for my honesty
and berate me because
who even are you?
Stop being controversial
You're so stuck up and stupid.
I don't usually care
thick skin buttoned to the top
but when it floods
                               it floods
                                              it floods 
                    it floods
until who even am I?
am I controversial?
Is my middle class upbringing
and my relationships
making me wrong?


'The biologic of our bodies is apparently gross.'

Friday, 4 April 2014


"People are perfectly happy to see women as sex objects, but the actual biologic of our bodies is apparently gross and unmentionable."
Our Bodies, Ourselves.

The School of YouTube: Growing Up Online

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Sat outside Central St.Giles, home of Google HQ at half past midnight a few days ago, I poured myself and two others a polystyrene cup of wine and sat giddy on the bench outside.
I love London, its architecture and art, but when the street lights flicker and the suited business men stroll home, its night life holds nothing but false promise and closed shutters.
We had to be inventive if we wanted to race for the last train home softly numb and muddled with the conceited confidence that often followed.

The irony gleamed stronger and darker as we took in our surroundings, there we were three middle class 20-nothings, drinking cheap wine and discussing how to determine what the hell it is we're supposed to be doing with our future and who the hell knows how to harness happiness, outside the corporation that for the time being, had made us.
One of us a viral video magician, the other a million subscriber strong YouTuber and me, a hapless 18 year old who fell into the clutches of Google by chance.
We'd bypassed University, spitting criticism feverishly over formal education, when really we were nothing more but three kids ourselves sat outside our campus swigging drinks.
Suddenly, stripped of After Effects and Final Cut Pro, we were no different to that of an insurgent student.

8 months ago I knew nothing about YouTube. Not really, not like I have to now.
My naivety lead me down an offensive path that suggested it was all just as simple as sticking a camera in the most attractive corner of your bedroom, eye-sexing your audience nonchalantly and washing it all back to complete innocence with the dulcet tones of a ukelele.
I was an idiot.
Never did I understand that when my internet-famed friends cancelled on me last minute because they were 'caught up' with work, or took days to reply to my emails, they genuinely were inundated with actual work.
"Stop pretending you're working late in the office, you're a kid with a camera, get over yourself."
I'd ignorantly splutter, wishing they were sat opposite me in one of our favourite over priced restaurants.
I'd slap myself now if I could, because now, thrown in the midst of a world where CMS and SEO and VIDCON is all native, I realise how incredibly demanding and ambitious the world of YouTube is.

I curtsey to the daily vloggers, the short film makers, the intelligent and inspiring young creatives that have now become my peers in this odd world where YouTube is almost our education.
I've never understood how at 16 the formal education system expects you to be able to accurately pin point the direction in which you want to choose for the rest of your life, how at 18 it's all supposed to be scrawled down on official documents and followed neatly like some kind of fickle religion.
It wrecked with my judgement so much so I couldn't hack it and left.
YouTube was an escape from that, a haven where you could forget for 5 minutes the anxiety of the awkward teenage years that followed, whether you're the consumer or the creator, so why suddenly does it bare so many similarities we all dared to avoid?

What started as a hobby is now a career, if people enjoy your content, monetizing your work eventually, is easier and more fulfilling than your first weekend part time job in TopMan.
But with that also comes brand deals and sponsored content.
Like selling your soul to the popular group at school, wearing a band t-shirt on non-uniform day whose songs you pretend to bare vague interest in, this is all quite similar.
So you might not be pretending to love the new Rimmel sheer gloss lipstick for hope of popularity but instead a healthy cash injection, but when does morality step in? When are you selling yourself out?
More importantly, how on earth have you gone from a kid in a bedroom with a camera to a business man generating deals with the sudden loom of social and personal moral responsibilities? Weren't you trying to avoid the real world by casual filmmaking? How much thought did you put in when you wore that band tshirt? Were you concerned you weren't selling the real you, that you were a false advertisement? Probably not, but suddenly you should.

One thing you can praise YouTube for is its abundant community, the union of viewers and creators from more countries around the world you could confidently pick out on a map.
It's a revolutionary social platform that allows likeminded people to come together and comment or discuss their favourite video, or collaborate with other users on their content.
In its humble beginnings this was fantastic, where would my lovely friend Jack be if he'd not joined forces with Bertie Gilbert one afternoon? It was never a competition, people used each other as polite stepping stones in hope that their filmmaking skills would progress.
Just like school, in comes the hierarchy.
Fans have now been divided into the avid follower and the super-fanatic, YouTube creators cast into cliques.
Collaborations taking place simply in the hope of more views and subscribers with total disregard to the actual physical content they're making.
Don't even get me started on the total monstrosity that is this newfound idea that talking about One Direction and covering your face in household/kitchen products is apparently creative, exciting and inspiring visual content for your audience?

Before I lose myself in the thought of a marshmallow challenge, I'd like to tie this back to the beginning.
Very few of us know what it is we want to do at 18, some not even at 25 and 50, we grow, we develop we throw ourselves in as many different directions as possible to learn who we are and where our purpose in the universe sits. Nobody scrutinises this, it's healthy.
But with YouTube?
It twists and turns my insides watching viewers form hysterical criticism that because you're no longer creating the content that you once started out with, you've changed, it's bad, be ashamed.
There is suddenly this overwhelming pressure, a pelting force that has grown from nowhere, that suggests creators are no longer at the hands of just being creative and fun, learning about themselves, helping the world out in due course.
Much like school, much like the teachers we've all tried to shun with their desperation to form a solid foreshadowing of the rest of your life, you're suddenly expected to know exactly who you are as a creative at 18 and it's discouraged to change up your content.

My night under the stars and the glowing Google signs made me realise an awful lot about how much I appreciate the people I get to see everyday and meet at events, how talented and hard working, crazily intelligent and witty these individuals are and how selfless it's forgotten they're being with their lives- openly learning about themselves in front of a large audience and tirelessly editing into the early hours.

How did an evening away from homework turn into a whole new assignment?








 

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