Tag Archives: exciting!

It’s The Great 2014 Round-Up!

Photo copyright of Gunnar Guðjónsson

Photo copyright of Gunnar Guðjónsson

This year has been an extraordinary one. A corker. There have been some ups and downs, some round-a-bouts, a see-saw, one of those wheel-of-death jobbies with the motorbikes. I may be getting carried away with myself a bit here, but trust me, it’s been that kind of year.

I’ve traveled more in 2014 than I think I have done in all the years leading up to it – Normandy and Iceland and Paris and New York – with friends where I could, alone if not, in love where possible.

I saw the northern lights with a group of strangers outside a porter-cabin hotel in the Icelandic highlands, and spent an hour under the dancing lights, smiling until the wind had chilled my teeth to a painful hum. The aurora borealis is the sort of thing that makes you want to hug the person next to you or tell someone you love them, and to see it alone was a bittersweet thing, but perhaps it was right. Was it eerie, my friends asked when I came home – was it weird? Gunnar, our guide, had explained earlier that day that the aurora, just like the volcanoes that loomed on every horizon, was a sign that the earth was healthy and alive. A planet without tectonics is a planet that is dead.

But even so, there was nothing remotely eerie about the lights. They were beautiful, and magnetic – they pulled us from our beds to stand in the frozen midnight air, miles from home. It felt….significant. It felt like a sign. Good things, dancing there in front of me. Good things, pole-to-pole. Maybe I’m naive, and hopeful, with a leaning towards sweeping spiritual statements, but I don’t think that matters. Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe the act of hoping is as good as getting what you’re hoping for. Maybe.

2014 was also significant – for you all I’m sure – as my thirtieth year on this planet. I know, I know, my youthful face and collection of Doctor Who toys make me seem much younger. But it’s true: thirty bloody years old. I suppose I can concede that I feel more like an adult now than I ever have before, but, that’s not really saying that much, is it?

This year I dabbled in the mucky world of Tinder, briefly. Dating often made me feel like a lone lost astronaut in an alien world, where I understood neither the rules nor the reason for them (“So…okay…you might reply to my text messages – three days later, yep, okay – but we mustn’t speak on the phone? We can have sex with each other….but we mustn’t be facebook friends? O…okay….”). The whole thing ended not with a bang but with a whimper, like a sad little fart in a next-door room. But out from my slightly pathetic foray into the world of internet dating came the desire to keep the momentum going, after years of professional dust-gathering on the shelf. I’d been hammered into shape by this point: I understood that love was about feeling constantly afraid and unsure and unattractive, it was about compromise and hiding, little bits of yourself shoved down the back of the sofa and under the carpet, control underwear and pretence and omission.

Most of all, it was the finger-wagging voice in your ear telling you you can’t have everything, you know.

Until, of course it wasn’t.

This year I’ve learned that love can still be terrifying, but instead of the lost, confused wandering of before, it’s a joyfully overwhelming thing. It’s free-wheeling headlong down a hill on a bike, someone with you, sat on your handlebars – you hurtle along, neither of you ever really knowing how high this hill is or if you’ll crash horribly at the bottom or land safely in a life you’ve built together along the way. And that’s it, isn’t it? You can never really know, no one can, but it’s the trying, that’s the thing. That’s all any of us want, surely? Someone to say they’ll try with us.

And now I’m with someone I would never have expected. Who knows what will happen, and it’s not perfect (living 3000 miles apart is a little inconvenient) and neither are we, but sometimes I look at him and marvel, because it seems as though someone stuck a pipette in my ear and sucked him right out of my brain when I wasn’t looking, three-piece suit and fedora and all.

And of course I haven’t really learned anything about love, because this is the first time I’ve known it, and it comes in many guises, and I’m only thirty. Perhaps when I’m old and grey and eighty I’ll know, or perhaps I won’t.

A week or two before I went on the first date with him, and began the slow, tentative process of falling in love, I wrote a piece about what I wanted in a man and published it on this blog. If I was going to be picky I had a long list of qualities, ending in his looking exactly like the actor Kit Harrington. But I wasn’t being picky, I didn’t want to be picky. I just wanted someone kind. Well, I think I’ve found that. And as he recently told me after coming back with our drinks in a soho pub. “I just stood next to him at the bar. That guy from Game of Thrones. You know, your boyfriend. And I’m taller than him.”

So, suck it, Kit Harrington. I’m off the market.

FUCKING FINALLY.

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Remember the old, ring in the new.

Bloody hell – 2013 eh? A year so fantastically futuristic sounding that if we don’t get a move on and invent hover-boards, jetpacks and brain implanted wifi for all (incidentally, my political manifesto) by the end of the year I think the Scientists will need to sit down and have a long, hard think about their behaviour.

But I want to look back at 2012 now, which in itself has been a pretty incredible year. It feels to me as though it’s sped by, but I think that’s just because I’ve packed it full of adventures, new people, and 7-day working weeks. Not that I’m complaining at all: this year I had the unutterably joy of walking in to a bookshop and picking up a book with my illustrations in it. Of course this was then followed by a titanic inner-struggle against the overwhelming desire to shout at the poor till-worker that those there are my drawings! Mine! I know, right?! People have started paying me for that! SO COOL!

GR_HIRES_MichaelCaineWEB

Michael Caine, for Andy Nyman’s book The Golden Rules of Acting.

Then there was the fulfillment of the last of two of my childhood fantasies (practical ones, I’ve realised that the chance of me actually becoming Indiana Jones at this late stage are minimal) when I got to be a bridesmaid to my best friend Bridget at her wedding. Now I just have ‘Be an angel in a nativity play’ to check off the list and I can put those ghosts to rest. But that won’t ever happen, because I was an unfortunate looking child, and am, despite trying, still not blonde, so don’t fit the requirements. (If you’re interested, I was the Narrator. Every. Fucking. Time).

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I also ended up at the Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2 European premiere, but that’s not really something to shout about. In fact, even though the tickets were free I still feel as though I should be due some kind of remuneration for this. I also did a bit of proper catwalk modeling (for the gorgeous Vivien of Holloway), which was terrifyingly fun, but for which I’m sure the entire audience are also now seeking remuneration.

Then there was the Jubilee, which I – being a ’50s obsessed Royalist sissy-girl with a penchant for bunting- enjoyed hugely.

And of course, 2012 was also the year that we all discovered we actually gave a shit about sport. Being a London resident I of course was fully of the view, prior to the event, that the Olympics were nothing but an excuse for the owners of multi-billion dollar companies to add yet more extensions on to their gold-plated money museums, because I read the Metro and spend a lot of time on twitter, which is often where optimism goes to die. In the run-up, London felt awfully like a grim place where brand-nazi Death Eaters would swoop down with a well-aimed avada kedavra if you even dared to mention, or think of the O-Word, or utter the name of Lord Seb ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ Coe.  But once the opening ceremony began I, streaming it slowly and pixellated on my phone whilst on the train to Cardiff, was besotted. After all, how could anyone not be utterly charmed by an army of Mary Poppins’ drifting down to battle the Child-Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Or the Queen parachuting into the stadium with James Bond? In your face, organised sport event haters!

I’m sure everyone has something to say about the Olympics, and something that will say it more eloquently than I ever could, but the opening ceremony itself seemed to sum it up so well: it’s great to finally feel that you can be patriotic without needing to be reminded of all the crap that the Empire, the government and our rulers have committed over the centuries. Danny Boyle’s ceremony showcased some of the pretty awesome stuff that people from Britain have done. And flying in the face of Mitt Romney’s “what have the British ever contributed to the world?” comment, we could stand up and say, hey, you misogynistic backwoods twat-face, ever heard of Shakespeare? Elgar? A little something called the Industrial Revolution? Votes for Wom….yeah actually it sounds as though you haven’t actually heard of that one.

And there followed seventeen days of drama, pride, victory and defeat, underdogs and Usain ‘It’s in the bag’ Bolt. People from all walks of life who’ve defied odds, trained, grafted and slaved towards their goals. Men and women with healthy bodies who achieved incredible feats after a life spent striving towards that moment. Which was why it was so disappointing to close the whole shebang with a closing ceremony showcasing the “best” of British. If you take “best” to mean a bunch of alien-thin supermodels famous for embodying the wholly disgusting term “heroin chic” and beating up employees, and the  Spice Girls, precariously balanced atop swerving mini-coopers. Back to reality, eh?

And with the closing of the phenomenal Paralympics it was like being suddenly dumped by all of the sports at once. London ceased to be a quiet, largely traffic-free sunny city with a kind of camaraderie and tender affection for tourists from across the globe, and went back to being the grumpy, bleak city that we all know and love. But, as my Grandmother affectionately barked at me after my ex and I broke up, “Get used to it Jemima, it won’t be the last time!”.

Thanks Grandma, and thanks Seb Coe. Better to have loved and lost the Olympics than to never have loved them at all. And unlike my previous relationship, I’m pretty sure this time the feeling was mutual.

So 2013, sitting there all new and shiny, fat with possibilities – you better step it up and bring those hoverboards if you’re going to even hope to compete.

Golden Rules

For a couple of months I’ve been beavering away at a very cool project that I’ve had the priviledge of being involved with, illustrating a new book by Andy Nyman. I’m literally all a-quiver with excitement to hold in my hand my first book – and for it to be such a cool one, by someone like Andy, is just…well it’s christmas.

The Golden Rules of Acting is a great little book that will be a real practical help for drama students or anyone getting started in the acting industry. More than that though, it’s a really helpful guide for anyone freelancing or working to achieve a dream.

Here’s a link to the publishers site, Nick Hern Books, where you can pre-order the book and read a little more about it: The Golden Rules of Acting – by Andy Nyman. Also check out Andy’s blog here with more details on the book and how to get a signed copy.

It was a perfect project for me to work on, illustrating quotes and snippets from famous actors, performers and writers, as I’ve been really getting into portraits and caricatures recently. You’ll have to buy the book the see all the images, but here are a couple to whet your appetite:

Michael Caine

Maggie Smith

Samuel L Jackson

And me!

Argh! So flipping excited! *runs around in circles*

xxx