Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I attended a private screening of Obvious Child in Covent Garden Hotel, courtesy of Emerald Street. Its been a minute since my last review, so I was more than happy to enrich my cultural capital (and yours too) by indulging in a Sundance Festival acclaimed indie flick before its release this Friday, 29th Aug. Not much of an indie stan myself, but I'm over all-star casts after the flops that were NYE and Valentine's Day. So, in typical BLEURGH fashion, I will endeavour to abstain from any spoilers, but hone in on a few topical issues/themes I picked up throughout the movie, and hopefully you can share your opinion down below.
Knitted Cape & Boots : Primark | Shirt : Ali & Kris | Skater Skirt : River Island
The movie is centred around the life of Donna Stern, an aspiring 20-something comedian whose stand-up act is an unfiltered regurgitation of the intimate details of her life. Yes, she is brazenly blunt for a protagonist and I see the underlying point being made by the directors, etc...but I found myself cringing one too many times at the vulgarity of her speech or lack of decorum in her conduct. I found myself questioning the root of humourous material doled out by the greats such as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Kat Williams, etc. Yes, I understand there is truth in it, but it is so ludicrously entertaining that one cannot help but rule it out as far-fetched. Yet, the protagonist lives out the truth of her material on a daily basis, and it forces me to reassess whether the anonymity of comedy truly is the key ingredient in securing those lol's (please refer to #JadaPose).
The older generation watching Obvious Child, may be perplexed at the prospect of a woman in her late twenties still languishing in a dingy apartment, traipsing between her parent's abodes where there's guaranteed warmth, shelter and good food...but this is the present day reality for many graduates. Gone are the days of a good degree equating to job security or a straight path to self-actualisation. Au contraire, what us 20-somethings are faced with is an extended 'childhood'; kidulthood if you will. Studying sociology, I engaged in many a debate about the likelihood that the early noughties' 'childhood' (ranging from birth-16) was nothing more than a social construction. I'm afraid the age of worldwide legality starting at 21 could be under question too, as far too many individuals over that age bracket are still very much dependents (in the legal sense) of their parents'. This issue was cinematically conveyed to perfection when the protagonist strips to the bare minimum, plunging into the open arms of her mother to bawl about her current issues and be consoled by the scribblings of her adolescence.
Hat : ASOS (c/o Lolli) | Watch : Michael Kors | Necklace (not pictured) : c/o Twenty8Twelve
Lastly, was the issue at the heart of the movie; abortion. It hit home why this was ruled 'indie' once this issue arose. America is divided on this issue, and many political debates have centred around the Pro-Choice Vs Pro-Life argument. Obvious Child not only sheds light on the history of the legality of abortions in America, but also examines the woman's psyche before, during and after undergoing the procedure. Never before has the decision to abort a child been so romaticised in cinema. Think Juno (or any other teen movie); the pregnant party always gives it up for adoption into a happy home, or keeps the baby to raise with the love of her life. Yet, here is a paradigm shift where a woman takes ownership of her body and makes a choice in light of her circumstances. Thats a brave move for a movie, and worthy of my commendation. Be assured that the flick isn't as heavily ridden with underlying life lessons as I have discussed in this post, but if you've got a penny to spare and time to kill, I'd push you towards the cinema door to watch this.
"Creative energy sometimes comes from the lowest point in your life" Obvious Child

Obvious Child

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Following on from my previous post, I wanted to continue this 'Back to School' Series by discussing the much shrugged issue of finances. This isn't much of a worry for the teens - but I don't think I have many readers in that demographic - so into the coin pit I delve.
Blazer : H&M | Dashiki : Lagos, Nigeria (seen here)
A friend too many confided in me about their dire financial state recently, and it's genuinely puzzled me. This was even more so in University, where young adults were entrusted with large chunks of money in the form of grants, loans and Bank of Parent hand-outs for the first time. I love the finer luxuries in life, but I'm smart enough now to cut my coat according to my size & live within my means. That's not to say I have never been strapped for cash, but my ignorance was my saviour as having never signed up for a student account, I never relied on the safety net of an overdraft. That meant whenever my balance was tipping towards the 0, I bactracked my plans and sat my butt at home.
Plate hanging on adjacent side of Bank of England Museum entrance

Hustle & bustle of the City (Bank Station)
University is a big melting pot of individuals from all walks of life; truly a priceless experience. Some have been taught the value of money, and others haven't. In order to have a great time, it's better to be in the former category but you must learn that it isn't all dependent on you but also your social circle. The same is evident in the real world. The gold-diggers, leeches and a thirsty broads aren't sectioned to just young adulthood. Thus, it is incumbent on you to surround yourself with like-minded folk or smarter ones even, so as to properly economise and maximise your coin's capacity.
Watch : Guess | Bag : ZARA
In light of that, here are a few folk I advise you to steer clear from in University (and life):
1) Blow-Money-Fasters: These are the folks you see making champagne rain in the clubs on the weekend, yet soak nothing but garri through the week (no shade). Be careful of these people 'cos they are frivolous and fickle, and their value system is based on aesthetics and materialism.
2) Never-Ever-Reimbursers: You know them by their wandering eyes and dodgy behaviour when it comes to cab-money-collection, pizza-payments or payback-card-qualms. Beware of these folk because they are just as shady with their trust, as they are tight with their purse.
3) Treat-Tramps: These rats lurch in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to throw you in the frontline to pay on their behalf. Your purse is already open so it makes perfect sense...or so they say. Be wary of tramps that base your friendship on your ability to treat them. I call them sappers, cos they will sap your coin, confidence and connections. Don't say I didn't warn you!
One's coin capacity is dependent on the ability to limit the need to lavish it on luxuries. BLEURGH

Cash au Coin

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A few weeks ago, I turned up (banner et al) at Hyde Park to support my sister, who ran 5k  Race for Life to fundraise for breast cancer research. It was on the sidelines of this race that I drew the analogy that marathons like that, are akin to life, and here's why. 
Top : M&S | Joni Jeans : Topshop
I lived a lot of my earlier life comparing the speed at which I ran my race, with peers and friends alike. However, watching runners pace through pain, cramps and heat inspired me to look at life from a different perspective. There were women of all shapes and sizes sprinting, jogging and walking to the finish line. What was most interesting was not being able to tally the size or look of a woman with her record time once she crossed the finish line. Peering at someone else’s journey will do nothing but distract yours. So pining after someone else’s fruits will gain you nothing but a jealous spirit, cause you anguish over the lack in your life, and push you to act uncharacteristically in order to fit their mould. Remember "direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast". So harken to the words of satnavs at speed camera sightings and "WATCH YOUR SPEED"...and yours alone.
A very profound friend of mine spewed this nugget of wisdom: "some are meant to have more interesting starts than others, but it serves 2 purposes; to make you strong/resilient & encourage others with your story". I have shared snippets of my faults, failures and fall-backs, as testimony to you all that you don't have to be a stellar student or candidate to reach the point on the pyramid you aspire to climb. Please believe that with hardwork, perseverance and faith, you can conquer all. I am writing this for all those anxiously biting nails as they overthink their lifeplans, exam results and job application forms. Know that it may not pan out as you wished it, but the end result will be far better than your wildest dreams.
Many started in groups but few dropped off due to lack of training or sped up as a result of a fitter physique. A story my sister shared struck me; 2 girls decided to sprint earlier on in the race, leaving behind their fellow team mates but soon one girl's sluggish body slowed down her partner and the other team mates soon caught up and over took them. This is no fable. In life, it is important not to be siamesed to others as our lanes are designated to us at birth and it is our purpose to fulfil our races at our best speed, and not another's. Stay in your lane because trying to run in another's will only serve to amputate you.
Run your race at your pace because your only competition is yourself. BLEURGH

Race of Life

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

NOTICE: I thought long and hard about this, but have decided to shut down my YOUTUBE Channel. I found lots of Youtubers had heeded to my wise words of creating engaging content that met the needs of their audience, far beyond the fickle realm of fashion & beauty. Thus, I saw no real need to endeavour to penetrate the already saturated market of online gurus. I hope you will respect my decision and see that the purpose is fulfilled by others. I will continue to voice my concerns & share my views on the Blogger platform & thank you all for your continued support. Also, please let me know your thoughts on the new layout & design of BLEURGH! 
Top : BANK | Shorts : Primark
Back to the regularly scheduled program: You may all be aware that I struggled with toxic friends and trust in the past. Well, this prompted a friendship detox, and I have no regrets. Having received another wedding invitation from a good friend, it prompted me to think about who I'd invite to mine in the future, now that I've whittled down my circle to the bare minimum. My mother always advised growing up that "one should be able to count their good friends on one hand", and past my rebellious teens, I have now seen the light in my twenties.  However, that's no shade on the reality that a bigger social circle is being compromised by trust, which isn't a bad thing, but not necessarily the best in light of future social events.
The term 'frenemy' was birthed in the early noughties, when popular culture was still obsessed with the IT Girls' social circles a la Paris Hilton and Alexa Chung. The dictionary definition states that frenemies are people "with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry". This week saw the dramatic exit of a frenemy in my life. We had ended things on bad terms nearly a year ago, yet her presence was still evident on my social media accounts (i.e. Facebook) and there were still awkard tip-toe-tactics being adopted during social gatherings to ensure our paths never crossed. That's a lot of effort to make on another's behalf, and quite frankly, she was right for cutting the umbilical cord of anguish that was our friendship (no shade).
I found the whole scenario quite intriguing; why had I chosen to leave her in my life in light of all the warning signs? What benefit did a ghost of a friend serve in a social circle? Do all friends have to be good friends, or is it still healthy to have friends with benefits? Well, it prompted me to draft (fans of How I Met Your Mother will be familiar with this) a pros & cons list:
  1. Subject to constant negativity - serves no purpose other than to deplete one's esteems, confidence and dreams. 
  2. Shifted blame culture - improperly place fault, thus creating a culture where you constantly question yourself, values and foundation. Remember, if you "stand for nothing, [you] fall for everything"
  3. Lose Yourself - unsure of who to turn to and thus, you develop trust issues
Headband : Debenhams | Necklace : NEXT (Thrifted) | Bag : Longchamp
  1. Creates awareness - churn their negativity to positivity and cultivate it into means of self-development
  2. Inspiration for aspiration - sometimes God places people in our lives that are blessed with our prayer requests. It is not to deter us from our dreams but to motivate us to aspire to greater heights and observe where they have failed, in order to better steer our lives to the path of success
  3. Develops B*tch Bank - Ricocheting shade and reads is no small feet. Thus, frenemies encourage you to develop your vocabulary and witty diction, and better manage your anger. 
Christian Nestell Bovee - "False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade."


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I was outraged when I read about Jada, a 16-year-old girl from Houston, Texas who blew up on social media overnight after pictures of her - drunk, unconscious, and splayed out on the floor - went viral. As the story goes, she attended a house party with friends, but unbeknownst to her, sipped from a spiked drink from the her teenage male host. Her appearance on the meme was not her doing, as she was stripped naked and allegedly raped assaulted. Other teens began mimicking her pose under the hashtag #jadapose, followed by vulgar captions such as 'hit that'.
Blazer : H&M | Ankara Bustier : Tailor-Made (Enugu) | Skirt : ZARA
Can you imagine waking up and seeing your face being mocked as an anonymous caricature on social media? People have dehumanised you in order to displace responsibility and erase any guilt loaded on their conscience when made aware of the gravity of their conduct. I have seen this happen to acquaintances; older and younger women, and I have seen first hand, the effects it has on their confidence. These memes might be comical to the naked eye, but the people behind them are scarred for life. We are, in essence, engaging in the berating of a young girl, with no care as to who she is or her wellbeing.
Speaking to an assembly of secondary school girls in Kuje, Nigeria
Grounds of the Secondary School in Kuje, Nigeria
As a mentor, I was faced with much the same dilemma, when a mentee stated she wouldn't attend school for the final week as a result of bullying, I had to tread the fine line between feeding her inspirational quotes or scolding her to see the realities of life like her mother probably would. I chose neither, instead adopting my usual skill to serve reality as I've learned to see it, while also urging her to live the sort of life that'll allow her the opportunity to view it for herself but from a far more victorious seat that I was unfortunate to be ushered to in my teens. Working with young girls, almost the same age as Jada, I saw how impressionable they were and how the words and actions of others moulded them into the women they would become. More so now, than ever before, it is important to consciously aid the healthy development of young girls to enlighten them as to what is morally acceptable and unacceptable.
Watch : Michael Kors | Peeptoe Heels : Dorothy Perkins
Jada? She's one of the young girl, who I'm sure, have the support of good parents and mentors because not only has she churned a positive from a negative, but she has created awareness among the millenials of rape culture and gender bias. As an expression of solidarity, people have been posting pictures on social media of a raised fist or holding signs with a new hashtag; #IAmJada. Empowering captions demanding a change in rape culture and social education ensue. This shows, yet again, that the power of social media cannot be streamlined to negate social values alone, but can be adopted to strengthen moral etiquette and charges Millenials to take ownership of their content and post things to empower and not tear down their readership.
It's time we stood together to educate the young as to the value of the female body. It is no body is entitled to it, but the owner alone, and rape / sexual assault cannot be taken lightly. BLEURGH


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