Politics makes me angry.

Talking about politics always makes me angry. Not in a rowdy-activisty-shouting way, but in a shit-the-world-is-probably-fucked way. Always. Without fail I feel more alone than I thought possible when talking about politics. Largely because I genuinely don’t understand how it is physically possible for one group of people to not only rule over, and decide what is and is not allowed (surely that’s just another form of slavery), but also that they play with people’s lives. And I know there is usually a hell of a lot going on behind the scenes, a bigger picture if you will, that we the lowly-individuals are not (and will never be) privy to, lest our inadequate brains melt with the complicated politics of it all, but I don’t understand how anyone can actively ensure another’s suffering. I tend, therefore, to avoid these conversations. To laugh them off with disinterest or lack of political understanding. And then I get find myself increasingly angrier with myself, in not wishing to get angry in response to other’s idiotic comments and opinions, I belittle myself. I dumb myself down. I remain silent, having fought for so long to have my own voice. And then I get angry with myself on behalf of all of the women who physically fought for the right to a voice, the right to a vote, who battles hardships to ensure that I could also have a say. And here I am actively refusing to do exactly that.

Politics makes me angry.

A new chapter.

nb. This isn’t necessarily the happiest of posts. However, sometimes not everything is happy. And sometimes the way to move on from the unhappy is to write it off.

There are many reasons to write, or not to write. When you’re happy, sad, angry, empty, tired, passionate, hopeful, disappointed. It’s often harder to share that writing with someone, however. I’ve done a lot of the writing this year. Very little that I’ve shared, or even looked at again once pen had left paper. But to burst that bubble, as it were. A few excerpt-glances into the stream of consciousness that is my life.

December.
It is a necessity sometimes to get lost, so that you can get found. Or rather, so that you can find yourself. You are never going to be able to please everyone. It is simply an impossible task. And in trying to do so, you end up only ensuring your own misery, confusion, emptiness. No longer knowing your own mind because so long has been spent appeasing the minds of others.

January.
The truth is rarely pure, and never simple -Oscar Wilde. Can’t breathe. Won’t breathe. Don’t know how to breathe. An inability to correctly operate the organs more commonly known as lungs…Written out of a story I didn’t realise I’d been writing.

Remembering. Nostalgia. Memory. A shiver of recognition that this is what I should be doing. What I’m meant to be doing. Why I am doing what I’m doing. Why the stress, the blind panic, the passion, and the tears. The constant belief of inadequacy and inability to succeed. To create. To direct and aesthetically visualise. Sleepless nights that give way to dream worlds of playful darkness.

February.
Empty.
There is no etiquette…Feel all of the feels. They exist for a reason.
Small talk, the worst kind. Mundanities covering emotional profanities. An inability to express, to confess.

March.
(I had an operation in March. Very little was written about, except the taste of blood. I’ll spare you the taste of blood.)

April.
Destruction of the first passionate, inspired feeling in months. Destruction in seconds. A breath of hope, the first in far too long. Pick your battles. Not all are worth fighting. It is your story – write well, edit viciously. Bloodshed does not always a good novel make. Find your happy. Your dreams, do those.

April is difficult. Season changed, clocks changed. April is about finding, building, sanity. April is not going well. April is insane; self-inflicted alienation.

May.
(May was equally quiet. Maybe I just didn’t spend a lot of May thinking. Maybe I spent too much of May on things outside of my head. Probably for the best, considering how the beginning of the year shaped up inside my head.)

June is so far significantly better. If you were wondering. Less of the writing, more of the living. More of the planning. More of the good kinds of being in my head. July is the new chapter. The chapter that takes me on adventures. Not necessarily swash-buckling, or dragon-slaying. But adventures that have been brewing for a while, all the same.

‘Let The Right One In’ happened. And now my theatre brain is in overdrive.

Having spent the past five years making (and critiquing) theatre, I’ve found myself hardening to the standard forms and techniques of the craft. Be it textually, visually, or mentally, my brain autopilots on the dissection and analysis of a show, despite a production’s best efforts to capture my emotional response, often taking both inspiration and offense from a show, at least creatively. It is rare, therefore, that I find myself in this theatrical coma that is currently occupying my mind.

The last show to affect my brain in this way was early last year, at the Trafalgar Studios during their Trafalgar Transformed season. Jamie Lloyd has, for several years now, been high on my top Directors to aspire to list, and his dystopian staging of ‘Macbeth’ was easily the most breath-taking production of The Scottish play (or any Shakespeare for that matter) that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Taking it back several years, Michael Strassen’s production of ‘The Fix’ at The Union Theatre was equally awe-inspiring. With powerful imagery and slick physicality, Strassen’s shows consistently combine beautiful aesthetics with gut-wrenching vulnerability.

This week, I was lucky enough to experience something entirely new.

The Swedish cult classic, ‘Let The Right One In’ (adapted for stage by Jack Thorne), has been transformed into a compelling and exhilarating performance. Beautifully staged, with exhilarating physicality, Director John Tiffany transports his audience into an emotional limbo, unable to respond coherently to the brutal love story strewn, bloodstained, before us. With real trees stretching high into the lighting rig, and a heavy snow frosting covering the stage, even the air-conditioned atmosphere of the auditorium kept up appearances in this chilling performance.

My view. The cast crossed the stage pre-show to create a maze of footsteps through the snow.

My view. The cast crossed the stage pre-show to create a maze of footsteps through the snow.

Haunting. Breath-taking. A soul-crushing portrayal of adolescence and existential anxiety, complete with murder, paedophilia, and vampires.

The weightlessness of the cast’s physicality, accompanied by a heavy, echoing soundtrack creates a visceral image that questions everything you think you know about the human body and it’s limits. Rebecca Benson’s performance as ‘Eli’ is alone enough of a reason to see this show. Her haunting vocal work and exquisite physicality manage to bounce between horrifying and helpless; her staccato twitching screams and writhes like an exorcism gone painfully wrong, whilst her flawless fluidity creates a terrifying ability to glide across the stage and scale the trees without second thought. It is, however, the glint in her eye that was the most exceptional aspect of Benson’s performance, both menace and dead at the same time, she captures the true essence of the Eli’s vulnerability; trapped, a victim within the ruthless killing machine of her predatory nature. Equally, in his professional debut, Martin Quinn carries the only warmth of the show, just as ‘Oskar’ carries the weight of the world in his naïve shoulders, encompassing the ever-optimistic nature of a troubled child who just hopes to find the good in the world. And in the pool scene, well, I won’t spoil it, but I was equally as breathless.

Benson as 'Eli'.

Benson as ‘Eli’.

New to this story, I was unprepared for the brutality of truth behind every idea it poses. Of humanity, of childhood, of morality and trust. It, and in particular this production, manages to suck the life out of your every idea of love, and then rip out your soul for good measure, before offering the simplest and most beautiful of ideas: love doesn’t care. Raising questions of sexuality (“What if I’m not in love with a girl?”), gender (“Would you love me if I wasn’t a girl?”), and identity (“I’m [just] Eli.”), we find ourselves in a hopeful place as the final sequence ends. Although it proves difficult not to taste the bittersweet foreshadowing of the previous two hours, and only hope that life won’t simply repeat for Oskar and Eli.

The tranquillity of the set, the beauty of the movement, the innovative staging and stunning, horrifying death sequences. From hanging, to blood work, to drowning, to free falling, with each scene I found myself convinced that I had seen it all. And John Tiffany’s production just kept raising the level of theatre. I’d never sat unable to comprehend the beauty of the show I’d just seen; attempting to fight back the tears streaming down my face, as audience left around me; struggling to find the right way to express the feelings taking over my brain and limbs before seeing this show. It’s worked its way into my twisty brain and taken route amongst the theatre making cogs, taken on a whirlwind of words and images and mind twinges inside my head and gut. My own ramblings no longer make sense to my own brain, and no doubt don’t do the haunting of this show the justice it deserves. Do yourself a favour, and book a ticket now.

‘Let The Right One In’ is the most breath-taking, awe-inspiring, gut-wrenching, soul-destroying piece of theatre I have ever seen. And I can’t wait to try and make a show anywhere near as beautiful.

 

Let The Right One In. The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London.

http://www.apollotheatrelondon.co.uk/let-the-right-one-in/

Beauty: A weapon to be used for power and protection

‘Your beauty is all that can save you […] your power and protection.’ – Apparently this is a quote from the slathered-in-media-attention film ‘Snow White and the Huntsmen’. I haven’t seen this film. I do not intend to ever see this film, on the basis that despite repeatedly being cast in roles that require a shred of talent, Kristen Stewart is as lacking in acting ability as a spoon. And has the charisma to match. That’s all I’ll say on that matter, I simply felt I should probably reference the quote. I believe that is the done thing.

Beauty: A weapon to be used for power and protection.

This is the message Hollywood advocates. It’s quite worrying actually, when you really think about it (or even if you don’t, the sentiment is still instantly clear), that this is the message put across to the younger generation of movie-goers. This idea that being beautiful is an important factor in the protection of women, is in fact the most vital factor. If that is true, it would also stand to reason that beauty results in power. Another terrifying thought. In a generation where young girls are possibly aware of the ongoing battle with gender discrimination and the public war on sexism, but are almost definitely aware of the availability of plastic surgery and body reconstruction, of the “coveted” size zero, alongside crash-dieting fads, and fashion snobbery. It is terrifying that they should be offered the suggestion that beauty and image is the way to not only protect yourself, but that it is the only way to gain respect and in turn power.

I am not the kind of girl who disregards makeup. In fact, I love it with every fibre of my being. When applied correctly, experimented with, and used to create, it is art. I often apply stage makeup for performers, more often than not this is used to create character, or accentuate features that will enhance a performance (and allow the audience to see performers’ faces). I view the use of makeup to be as creative and versatile as a painter is with a brush, or a chef is in the kitchen. For me, it is as much a hobby as it is a skill. I am the kind of girl who worries when seeing women hide behind makeup. A trait, I will admit, I am guilty of committing. I will also admit to wearing makeup virtually every day. A fact that sickens me to the core to say out loud. A fact that is, in part, due to a childhood of reading magazines, watching beauty adverts, and feeling that pang of inadequacy every time I gazed at my reflection and didn’t look the same as the models, as the celebrities, I fawned over. I quickly got over the celebrity phase. Having met many a “celeb” that was so incredibly human and down to earth in the flesh (sporting skin blemishes, frizzing hair, and terrible nail-biting, cigarette-smoking habits), it was clear the (let’s face it, airbrushed and manipulated) images I found myself conditioned to accept as real, were in fact anything but. I didn’t get over the inadequacy. I still struggle with it. But I am less reluctant to accept that I am a person, in my own right. And on good days I manage to leave the house without the daily face paint. This is something I’m having to deal with. It’s something that affects too many people. It is worrying.

It’s worrying because it suggests we are scared of ourselves. We are unable to admit that we look the way we do. Unable to accept the way we are. It is incredibly sad, and brutal. I’m a firm believer that we cannot rely too firmly on our reflection. Mine ensured that I spent over a decade terrified to be myself. To dress the way I desired, to wear my hair and makeup any differently to those I classed as friends, to smile at myself and be happy with the face that returned my gaze. Our reflection is never an honest representation. We are never allowed to see ourselves as others do, a both terrifying and humbling thought. You will never view your face in the way it is meant to be seen, it is often the reason behind a hatred of photographs of the self. You do not recognise you, because you do not see you. Therefore, it would stand to reason that you cannot trust your reflection. I don’t say this to scare you, but simply to suggest that you shouldn’t rely entirely on your reflection to feel good about yourself. Just look at Snow White’s (Step)Mother.* There is a level of trust required in accepting that you are not unattractive. That you are in fact as beautiful as the next person.

Beauty is natural. It is a scary thought that it can be faked and warped through the use of products and paints. Beauty is not protection. It only saves people in fairytales (also on my list of terrible role models). It cannot compensate for character or equality. Beauty is not power. It doesn’t advocate mutual respect. And it isn’t something you can, or should, hide behind. The idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is quite possibly the cheesiest and most offensive suggestion I’ve heard. The suggestion that ‘everyone is beautiful, really’ is condescending, and bitchy. Like a teacher telling you that those girls are really just jealous. That is unlikely to be true. There are varying ideas of beauty, sure. The elderly find the youthful beautiful. The youthful find the infants beautiful. High cheekbones. No cheekbones. Full lips. Petite lips. Skinny hips. Curvy hips. Each of these are beautiful. The conventions of beauty differ, radically, between cultures. Between historical eras. Bloody hell, between people. That makes it subjective. It makes everything exist within a realm of beauty. It does not make it exist within the fucking eye of the fucking beholder. Be honest. Be truthful. Accept that not every single person is attracted to every single other person. It is what makes us unique and individual and fucking human.

This hasn’t been my most coherently formed argument. It doesn’t necessarily offer any insightful methods to break this conditioning to conform to someone else’s presentation of beauty. And it hasn’t even slightly touched upon my views on airbrushing, the portrayal of beauty in the media, and endorsements by influential figures. But it has given my brain a chance to approach the scary, scary world of “beauty”. And that’s all I needed to do. Today at least.

*I include “Step” in brackets because history offers differing opinions on the relationship between the pair. It is however an insightful tale into how the desire for beauty (and the belief that it equals power) can be destructive. It also offers a fair reason to not trust your reflection. nb. The (Step)Mother is traditionally depicted as evil. Tainted by vanity, jealousy, and a hunger for complete power.

The perils of writing: When you are, in fact, not a writer.

I am forever finding articles, opinions, and endless lists of how to kick-start that dreaded bastard known as writer’s block. Methods to trick your brain into writing without thinking about it. Suggestions of writing, quite literally, without thinking or reading until you are entirely dry of words. Attempts to ignore that irritating little voice in the forefront of your mind telling you that actually the use of “stupid” is as stupid as you currently look (with your face scrunched into a concentrated frown, tip of tongue poking between your teeth, and last night’s dinner still staining your t-shirt), and encouraging a process of self-correction as you go. Something I personally struggle to escape from (even with a clean t-shirt).

Another option is to, quite simply, just write. Write anything. Write everything. Do whatever you can to allow those words the breath of life as they appear on the page before you. They don’t have to make the perfect of sense. They don’t have to form coherent sentences. They can simply be word after word of gibberish nonsense. As soon as they’re written, so they say, you will feel better.

I’m finding an interesting collaboration of these suggestions to be true. Whilst, yes, I am unlikely to ever shake that nagging voice of correction and on going editing, I am also finding that writing is, believe it or not, handy. It’s almost as if it is its own breed of ironic procrastination. In an attempt to hide from the pressures of an inability to write the words I need to write, I am instead finding solitude in the meaningless, the random, the unnecessary. Regardless of this fact, I have indeed managed to trick my bitchy little brain into simply writing for writing’s sake. With no deadline, no boundaries, no structure, format, or outline.

I am not a writer. I have never intended to be, nor have I ever pretended to be, a writer. And yet I frequently find myself assuming role of writer. Be it through personal or business matters, writing, it would appear, is a part of my life. Despite this, I am in a constant battle with both the need for inspiration and the challenge of having too many thoughts. It is becoming a challenge to grasp those floating thoughts and ideas and merge them with a kick-arse selection of words, that not only make sense, but make an interesting, occasionally witty, and always coherent argument/message/narrative. So instead, I just am writing. Anything. Everything. Without thought.

Just another me-against-the-world kind of Monday

Today has been one of those days where everything points to one very clear, very vivid, very ridiculous thought: It’d probably be much easier if I were someone else. Someone taller. Someone more popular. Someone with money. Someone in a better situation than I find myself. Someone in a worse situation than I find myself. Someone who just doesn’t give a shit. Someone who cares enough to do something about it. Someone, in other words, who isn’t me.

As I suggested, a ridiculous notion. But a very apparent, very real concern for a lot of people. A lot of the time. The arts industry is one that is constantly surrounded by horror stories of clashing egos, crushed souls, and bitch after demonic bitch of power-hungry “creative types” (I’m allowed to say that, I am frequently placed in the demonic psycho bitch category myself). There are forever stories being churned out about a small-town boy or girl that managed to defy the odds and make it in the larger world, but there are rarely stories pointing out the other tens of thousands of equally driven, equally ambitious, and equally talented individuals that are just looking to make their own successes. And who will, no doubt, be unlikely to make it out of that small town.

That sounds harsh. It sounds rude, and judgmental, and unsupported, and, I suppose you’d be right in suggesting, bitter. But I am one of those tens of thousands. I am one in a very large pool of twenty-somethings trying to claw their way into the terrifying depths of the industry known as The Arts. And not just any art, but Theatre. One so elite and prestigious and god-damn-difficult-to-break, that it’s (let’s be honest) the cause of many an anxiety attack, heavy medication prescription, and psychotic breakdown for many a person over many a year. Equally, one so promising, so full of opportunity, and, on occasion, such an incredible showcase for talent and passion and mind-blowing creativity.

It wasn’t my intent to attack the theatre. Without it I have absolutely no idea where the craziness on the other side of my skull would find it’s refuge. I simply wonder how it can be such an unrivaled location for creative brain explosions, whilst achieving a stifling and unwilling environment for non-veterans, non-names, non-financially-supported-individuals.

I am bitter, I’ll admit. I am also determined, ambitious, passionate, and (most of the time) driven. Today has simply been one of those days where my brain suggests that it could possibly all be simpler if I were someone else. However, as my clock states, it’s no longer today. Now it’s tomorrow. And tomorrow is a sort-your-shit-out kind of day. One that doesn’t accept resentment, self-deprecation, or any other form that fear decides to take. Tomorrow is a dragon slaying kind of day. And dragons shall indeed be slayed.

Painting Faces again.

Despite the stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, high-levels of caffeine, and inability to have a normal/successful social life, there is something about the arts that keeps us coming back. By ‘us’ I am of course referring to the addicts. The crazy few who spend days/weeks/months feeling restless and wander around completely numb, as though missing a limb when we should be relaxing and enjoying time away from the stress of the theatre. Those of us who drop everything at the click of a finger to fling ourselves headfirst into any opportunity to have even the slightest involvement in a production.

In my final year of studies I found myself directing the University’s musical. It was stressful. It was exhausting. It almost definitely had a negative affect on my final grade. It was probably the best thing I did in the entire three years I spent there.

This week I get to relive the thrill of a University musical. Having been eagerly awaiting Sussex University’s production of Spring Awakening for the past 5 months, I agreed last week to come on board as go-to hair and makeup lady. In the truly unconventional style that I approach pretty much everything in life with however, I cannot attend all 5 of the performances. Therefore, I got to spend yesterday giving tutorials on mid-1800 au naturale style stage makeup, teach college boys how to successfully apply eyeliner without looking emo, and create fail-safe plans to hold extreme hair styles in place under stage lights and through vigorous dance routines. This, my friends, is why I love theatre.

So, Autumn and Winter happened…

I’ve been offline for a while. And yes by “offline” I do in fact just mean “been-really-crap-at-blogging”, because actually all my other online selves have been pretty active.

So to sum up the past 4 and a half months:

– I spent a while without a house. You remember this, I was moaning about not having a house and having to spend all my time in starbucks so that I could steal their wifi in order to find a house. Well, improvement: I have a house.

– I have a house. A pretty nice one too. A really, pretty nice one in fact, with wooden floors and old fire places, and a garden, and such a massive improvement on the student house I resided in for the past 2 years, that in some ways the 4 months of sofa-surfing was totally worth the wait. In some ways. The back-pain and frequent tears were not.

– I have a job. Dude. I know, it’s almost like I’m getting control on life or something. Admittedly, it’s only part-time, but it’s keeping me busy, and keeping a roof over my head. So all in all, things are pretty good there too.

– I did another show. Remember last year when all I could talk about was Rent the musical and my degree show? Well, I did another one of the musical things. And this time it was all off my own back. Basically, I’m now one-third of the creative team behind the Brighton theatre company: Fight or Flight Productions. And we did a show. And it was pretty good. At some point I’ll probably go into more detail about how the 10 week process of a show was completely different to the several month process, but for now all you really need to know is that Company was fucking awesome. And that I won’t be stopping making theatre any time soon.

Okay, so that’s pretty much it. My life in four simple bullet points. I’ll be back soon with more bullet points, maybe.

The “fifteen minutes” obsession

We are currently living in a world that is entirely obsessed and dominated by celebrity culture. There is, for some god-known reason, a shared belief that everything will be okay if we can just get that fifteen minutes in the limelight. That will obviously fix all of our problems in life, love, money, health, etc etc. (And if we can’t be famous just yet, then we crave every inner detail about celebrities’ lives. As if we can somehow live that celebrity lifestyle through them.)

‘Celebrity’ has, it would appear, become less of an elitist word than in previous years. There is a trend, through the use of social media sites, for celebrities to present themselves just as normal, everyday people. Fair enough. They are just another human being, the same as you or I. However, unfortunately, that de-glitzes ‘Celebrity’. It takes away the mystique. In the past celebrities have had to work (hard) in order to get to their level of success. They’ve had to actually have some form of talent, and they’ve struggled to achieve fame and success. Many “celebrities” of the past didn’t even want the fame (or even in some cases the fortune), they simply wanted to do what they loved and were good at. In today’s culture it is the fame that people crave. In today’s culture fame is marketed and advertised. It is presented as something attainable. It is too easy.

Reality television offers the chance to be broadcast to the country. To be given fifteen minutes in the spotlight for the small fee of your dignity. As long as you don’t object to being publicly humiliated you can be famous too. It’s disgusting. We are constantly being presented with face after face after face of people who are famous for simply being famous. They have no desirable skill or talent. In fact, the majority of them appear to only be good at being orange. Or at having an incredibly irritating speaking voice. They can’t sing, act, play an instrument, dance, cook, sew, make a house, write a book, etc etc. And yet they are apparently our current role-models. It could be laughable if it wasn’t so terrifying.

We now have an entire generation of people who’s sole ambition in life is to be famous. To be famous for being famous. No ambition to be successful, or inspiring. Just to have fame and fortune. There are teenagers who, when in discussion with careers advisors, simply state that they’re going to be famous. Or rich. Or famous and rich. And when asked how they think they’ll manage that, their response is an off-hand shrug and: “Oh I just will be.” There is no sense of realism. No idea of talent or hard-work or skill. They simply believe that someone will hand fame to them on a plate. And the sad thing is, that for a lot of people that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

Yesterday I watched the X Factor.

I am not proud of that fact. Nor was I a part of the decision making that went on to determine what we should watch. Therefore, I was not responsible for my watching of the X Factor. I cannot be blamed.

I am however, in one way, quite pleased that I did see it. After an hour of padded story lines, humiliating families, bitchy judges, and sobbing individuals, I was able to walk away having confirmed what I’ve always known without even watching the program. And that is that it’s a load of bollocks. A commercialized, legalized form of public humiliation and bullying, with no real interest in musical talent.

In the hour that the show was on, we were shown contestant after contestant who couldn’t sing. Who had been put through that first round of auditions to appear in the live shows purely as a form of hideous entertainment. Purely for the audience to mock. To laugh at. To boo offstage. To boo the judges when they highlight how dreadful the individual is. To actually look affronted when they are told that they will never make it as a musician. For every awful humiliation we were shown a (less than) 5 second clip of a talented individual being put through to the next round. What happened to make us, the human race, crave the soul-crushing over the success? When did it become a national (pretty much international) hobby to watch as people are tortured before our eyes. That’s all I witnessed. One incredibly talented woman (who was, it has to be mentioned, mocked for her job as a pre-school leader) and a dozen acts who were laughed at, snarked at, and metaphorically pelted with rotten tomatoes from the audience.

Reality tv is like a modern day version of the stocks. We are no longer able, as society, to lock people up and throw things at them for public humiliation and entertainment. Instead we slap a few flashing lights around them and call it a music show.

“Brave”: Disney, Let’s have words.

*DISCLAIMER: This post includes spoilers for Disney/Pixar’s new movie Brave. Just letting you know.*

Dear Disney,

Firstly, let me commend you on successfully producing an animated film (possibly for the first time) that focuses on the Mother-Daughter relationship. Genuinely, props to you for that. It was hugely refreshing to not be subjected to the typical Daddy’s little girl storyline that centres on an angsty princess (The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocahontas, etc.), or the equally popular choice of a coming of age story that focuses on the becoming-a-man transition (The Lion King, Hercules, Finding Nemo, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Disney/Pixar film, but that relationship was a new one, and greatly appreciated.

Equally enjoyed was the sheer monstrosity that was your heroine’s hair. Finally, a children’s film that advocates having masses of unruly curls. As a fully-paid member of the massive-haired clan, I’m all for providing a role-model with non-salon-styled hair.

The idea of a Scottish animation was such a brilliant one. Animation (not to mention the majority of other mainstream children’s films) rarely ventures outside of generic as far as accents are concerned. In ‘Pocahontas’ John Smith, the explorer from London, has an American accent. ‘Mulan’, a film set in China, features a whole series of American accents. ‘Ratatouille’, set in a Parisian restaurant, again American accents are the preferred choice. I could go on. I appreciate that American/English is, in many cases, the easiest accent to understand through film, particularly for young children, but this is where Brave appeared to be breaking free of animated-tradition. The Scottish accent. Admittedly, it was a slow Scottish accent. The mainstream audience did have to understand the film after all. But it was such a brilliant idea.

This, however, is where my praises end.

The exploration of a massive-red-haired, mother/daughter relationship told through the voice of a Scot had the potential for such greatness. So, I really have to ask, what the hell happened to the storyline? Who actually sat down and thought “You know what, a touching story following the Mother-Daughter bond might not get through to a modern audience. Here’s an idea, let’s turn half the cast into bears!” WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Magic and witchcraft aside (we all know it’s not really a Disney film without that…), it seems an absolutely ludicrous idea for any story. Ever. Especially in this century where kids seem to adore (and want to be) The Saturdays and Justin Bieber and One Direction and Selena Gomez and other fresh-faced (read: TWELVE YEAR OLD) celebrities that take their clothes off and squeak about love. In other words, in this century where children can’t wait to be older than they are. Even the 6 year olds have boyfriends. How is a film about turning your mother into a bear because you don’t agree with her thoughts on marriage setting a good example? Sure, they resolve it in the end – through tears and a long hug and a lot of sewing – but really?! This is not going to prevent Mother-daughter problems.

Also. What happened to feminism? Come on Disney, it’s the 21st Century. Young girls SHOULD NOT GIVE IN AND ACCEPT TRADITION. They should say “Fuck it, I’m going to marry who I want to marry. In fact actually, I’m going to run off to the woods and get leaves in my hair and dance to crazy loud music because I’m still a child and do not need to be thinking about marriage yet!” Your protagonist almost managed. But instead, she went and got her mum turned into a bear. And then, in order to apologise for that fuck-up she goes and tries to give in to tradition and betrothal. Thank god for the mum/bear eh, who has a sudden change of heart and tells her to break tradition (through that well known bear language of hand-gesture).

Seriously Disney. What the fuck happened.