Here’s To The Ones Who Dream: A 17th Helpful Reminder for 2017

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SPOILER ALERT: La La Land is really rather lovely.

(Hope I haven’t ruined it for anyone who accidentally read that.)

To be fair, it was never exactly going to be a hard sell for me. I’m a jazz singer who loves MGM musicals, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. Put all these ingredients together and tease me with a poster that mimics the colour palette of Singin’ In The Rain? I am IN.

And the film is truly adorable. Charming, funny, unashamedly romantic… and I mean the latter in the widest sense. There may be a love story at its heart, but above all, La La Land is a film about pursuing your dreams. And there are few notions more romantic than that.

In January 2016, I wrote a piece for Standard Issue called ‘16 Helpful Reminders For 2016’. So naturally, what with it being January 2017, I’ve been thinking about a 17th reminder to add to the list. And after much head-scratching, soul-searching and, yes, watching La La Land, I’ve decided on one. It is… *big musical-style overture* …

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.

So said the American writer Richard Bach. And I’m glad he did.

It’s a quote that reminds me of another favourite of mine: Henry Ford’s famous line ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.’ Being the optimist I am, I’ve always taken Ford’s line as an affirmation that you can do something that you suspect, in your heart, you’re capable of. Just as Bach says.

And the reason I’ve chosen this quote as the reminder I’m going to print out, stick on my corkboard (not a euphemism) and stare at throughout 2017 is that this year, for me, is about pursuing the dreams of which Bach speaks. Dreams which I may have, secretly, been harbouring for years – some since I was a little girl; dreams which I similarly secretly, deep-down believed that I did, indeed, have the power to make come true. I started to head cautiously towards them in 2016 and now – as a result of those steps, and thanks to the help of so many people in my life – I’m starting to feel confident enough to properly pursue them.

Because that’s the beauty of taking steps in the direction of your dreams, no matter how small those steps are or how vague that direction might at first seem: when you start heading down the right road, that road becomes clearer. And Bach’s words ring ever truer.

That dream of yours? The reason you have it is because you have the ability to make it come true. Otherwise it wouldn’t be your dream.

Or as Oscar Hammerstein II put it in one of those aforementioned, glorious Technicolor, MGM musicals: You’ve got to have a dream, If you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?


Further reading:

16 Helpful Reminders For 2016

2013 draft screenplay of La La Land

Hey Ryan Gosling Tumblr

 

The Habit: An Unexpected Journey

AKA: The Two Daily (And One Weekly) Habits That Helped Me In 2016

img_2245It’s strange reaching the end of The Year So Awful It Became An Adjective knowing that on a personal level, it was possibly my happiest, most fulfilling year yet. It’s also strange to look back and realise that most of the lovely things which happened to me in 2016 were things I hadn’t seen coming in 2015: I got engaged, I got married and I went to Santorini (yes, these three things are connected); I got a place on a political mentoring scheme (with Jess Phillips MP as a kick-ass mentor); I performed an all-singing, all-dancing All That Jazz routine in front of an audience (although the less said about my rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ the better); I started using London’s bicycle hire scheme and now regularly zip around the capital on two wheels, grinning like a 10-year-old (although this could be because I’m high on traffic fumes).

Even if the only thing I’d done in 2016 was marry the kind, caring, supportive, loving, handsome man I did, I would call the year a success. Dammit, I’d call my life a success. And the fact that this year involved other happy achievements, too – plus the fact that I’m looking forward to 2017 as much as I am – is down to a few things, I think. Most notably: a shift in attitude to life, and most importantly, to myself. I’m going into next year feeling braver, more resilient, more confident, more me than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

And the reason for this post is to share three habits I adopted in 2016– and which I’m taking into 2017– that I think have helped me make that shift in thinking (and feeling). They’re habits which have had brilliant knock-on effects: they’ve helped me to achieve certain goals – not least because they’ve helped keep me on track throughout the year – and they’ve helped me to deal with life, and all its challenges, better.

In short, they’re habits which I’ve found hugely helpful – and I hope you’ll find helpful, too. And they are… *drumroll*… [Read more…]

R.I.P. George Michael. I think you’re amazing.

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A few huge posters adorned my bedroom wall as a schoolgirl – I mentioned one of them in a blog post just the other month, in fact – but I’m not sure I gazed adoringly at any of them as much as the one pictured above.

(Full disclosure: the photo above isn’t of the actual specific poster I owned, but that of an identical one which somebody is currently selling on eBay. I am now, of course, sorely tempted to bid on it, US postage costs be damned.)

Fantastic by Wham! – debut album titles don’t get much better than that, do they? – was one of the first Proper Pop Albums I ever owned, and throughout my childhood (I was 12 when Fantastic came out), I was most definitely a Whammy rather than a Durany. And who could blame me? What was not to love about these two beautiful men with their beautiful hair, beautiful grins, beautiful tans and beautiful day-glo fingerless gloves? Nothing. Especially when you’re an 12 year-old-girl.

[Read more…]

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun

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As a child, I was utterly terrified by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. So terrified that even putting that picture above these words now, at the age of 45, causes a slight shiver of anxiety. I was also confused: surely a ‘thriller’ was an exciting, dramatic film? I didn’t understand why Michael Jackson was singing about movies like that while dancing with zombies.  Surely he should have been calling it Video Nasty?

But I did appreciate the musical delights of Thriller – and also the tiger cub he was stroking when you opened the gatefold sleeve (my sister, older than I and therefore with more sophisticated tastes, bought the album. In 1982, I was all about Bucks Fizz and  The Kids From Fame. My sophistication would not come until 1986, when a month’s pocket money would pay for Janet Jackson’s Control).

[Read more…]