A Modern Cinderella Story

It’s my first day off in a week, so I thought I’d have a nice lazy breakfast. I made scrambled eggs on a bagel, and had a little greek yoghurt, blackberries and honey. I was sat at my laptop, reading a variety of articles on the news, when I stumbled across a story about a seventeen year old boy who was talent spotted by a fashion scout, plucked from obscurity, and made the face of the infamous fashion house, Prada. I was astonished, frankly. You can read the story here

Alexander Beck (1)

A cinderella story that really, seems to have happened. I mean, the boy worked in his local fish and chip shop. And then found himself modelling haute couture. That’s really not something that happens everyday. In fact, it happens hardly anywhere. The whimsy of the whole situation is kind of amusing; he was found whilst out shopping one day, in Waterstones. That’s not just something that will happen to anyone; that’s the kind of things that makes you into kind of, a somebody. It must be an unbelievable shock; to go from dressing for school in ten minutes, to the make up and glitter, fittings and so on. The world he had known must have quite literally, exploded around him. But it must have been completely, and utterly, incredible.

I like hearing these stories, because they remind you that there is some hope; if it can happen to a guy who works in a chip shop, it could happen to the shy little girl in glasses, and it could happen to you, because well, why the hell not? I like the idea of looking like somebody, and just suddenly, being a major player in the model world. It would be any little girl’s dream. And there are thousands of models who spend years of their lives applying to agencies like FM, and are constantly told that they don’t have ‘the right look’. There’s no such thing as a ‘right look’, only a momentarily ‘right look’; but these girls and boys all live and die on what these agencies have to say about them. I suspect to have come so far, so fast, must be a dream come true, or just plain, blind, luck.

His shoots with Vogue Homme are supposed to be published in the spring, and I definitely cannot wait to see how he looks; Kate Moss was seventeen when she first broke out, too. Perhaps we’ve met our next Kate Moss. Fashion fans will know it’s kind of like a symbolic second coming of the Messiah; a sign of new blood, and a new way of looking at things.

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(1) http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrfeGHAb7yDrl6Ze2wU-8MJM0FP9uRqqXosmmMvOPfyp3gVO5Jdb9oyLpI

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Writers Are Always Naked

A woman who built a whole sub-culture underneath a dress (1)

Today I’m feeling completely awful, because I’ve got yet another cold. Probably an airport souvenir. But there we go. I got my September issue of Vogue yesterday, so at least there’s some consolation. I’ve decided that instead of actually moving this morning, I can carry on writing. My head doesn’t hurt as long as I keep looking forwards, and not to the side. I was enjoying reading the catwalk show stuff, and reading about upcoming winter trends. Winter gives everybody an excuse to buy leather boots. I went through a two-year phase of wearing heeled boots every single day, with jeans. As a result, I have calves of steel, and six pairs of boots. Some people (especially my dad), would six is too many. However, you can never have too many pairs of shoes.

Clothes are people’s way of hiding things that they don’t like, and creating personas of their choosing. Wearing a sharp suit makes somebody more confident. A track suit is comfortable, but jeans can be as sloppy or as sensible as one would like. It’s all up to you, like wearing a shield. Even cashmere is like a protective layer, and it stops people seeing the soft and squishy bits.

Anyway, back to the task in hand. My novel. It’s going fairly well. I have ten chapters. I even have a rough idea of what might happen next. Not many people can say that. I wish I had somebody whom I could rely on for critical reading and suggestions, but allowing my friends to read it seems somehow like walking down the street naked. Letting people read your work is like letting them see you naked. That’s why I don’t very often publish poetry online, and it is why I tend to be less open about my novel to the people who actually know me. Do you beautiful writers understand what I mean?

There is something distinctly intimate about literature, and about writing as a whole. Literature can be a window into somebody’s innermost thoughts, but it can also be deceptively shallow. The depth of meaning can only be known to the author, and the meaning of a text is not something that he will ever have to reveal to an audience. Postmodernism toys with the idea of depth and surfaces, and becomes very much like cubism, or impressionism. What is there, and what is there not? There is no way of telling. You could get into a huge debate about the author function, and whether a novel exists because of it’s author or vice-versa. But in this [articular arena, where almost all of us are aspiring to be writers, screen writers, poets, everything, it seems unfair. Saying an author only exists as a story seems to almost void our own ideas of ourselves.

But there we have it. I am enjoying my own metaphorical nakedness. I might even consider letting other people see it, one day.

(:

(1) http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/images/marilyn_monroe_white_dress.jpg

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It’s A Vogue Life

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Vogue has long been a large part of my life. Since 2008, I’ve had a renewing subscription, and every month I eagerly await the thump on the mat. A grey, matt plastic package with the glossy fashion magazine lands on the doorstep, and I feel content. I usually, at this point, go to eat my dinner, and read my magazine. I keep every single issue, and for a while, I went through a phase of cutting up front covers and all the ad campaigns from the major fashion houses, sticking all the cuttings onto about sixteen feet worth of old wallpaper backing. It took hours, and they all look fabulous, and I will keep them forever.

To a less discerning reader, Vogue could be seen as just a showcase for the rich and famous; a showcase of wealth and high fashion, something that is unavailable to the general public, especially at this point of recession. But to me, it represents a want to do better; I want to wear Gautier and Stella McCartney, and I want to write about all of these sumptuous, fabulous clothes. I would love to be in the fashion business, but I’m not really sure what I’d like to do; I’m not masochistic enough to be a runway model, and I’m not insane enough to design the clothes. But I do think that I’d be able to do some really cool catwalk shows; I’d love to be the person who coordinates everything, you know; the one with the microphone and clipboard. And being this person means you get some cool freebies, and hopefully, Christian Louboutin shoes.

Another element to Vogue is the rather inspiring journalism; there’s a lot of focus on fashion and it’s relationship with current events, however there are always stories about women who have been, or will be inspiring. This represents an empowerment that isn’t a part of the fundamentalist feminist perception. Instead it is about being able to be a woman, and being able to look beautiful, and being able to indulge yourself with things that are almost beyond dreamlike. In the meantime though, the women of the magazine work, start companies, run charities. They all contribute to the world in some way, and that is what makes them incredibly inspiring.

Last month, an initiative was launched across the franchise to tackle the problems of anorexia, eating disorders, and promoting unrealistic expectations of body image. The major Vogue branches across the world have agreed that no model who appears to have an eating disorder will be used, and alongside this, models will not be allowed to work ridiculous hours, and they will be better protected on photo shoots, and castings. This initiative continues the idea of the empowered woman; they will be obligated to treat models better. Many models study whilst they work and use modelling as a financial bumper, and in the future, especially when their modelling careers are over, they fall back on the education they acquired whilst they were modelling to continue along different career paths.

And as I’m sat here writing this, I’m craving my next ‘hit’. It should be falling onto the doormat any day now.

(:

(1) http://www.designscene.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Lana-Del-Rey-Vogue-UK-March-2012-01.jpg

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To Read Or Not To Read; That Is the Question

I’ve often wondered about literary opinion, and how literary opinion differs between people. Everyone understands the world in a different way to somebody else, and so naturally, they will understand literature differently too. Literature, and one’s attitude and understanding towards it, depends on experiences. Experiences of education, literature, whether you enjoyed your lessons when you were in primary school, whether you have a natural love of reading. These are all key factors in understanding what literature is, and whether you enjoy it, or despise it.

I know people who have yet to finish an entire book, and I suspect there are people who go their whole lives barely reading books and magazines. This is of course, a life choice. Whether you want to read or not is entirely up to you; education demands a certain amount of reading. If you choose a literature, or essay based degree, you’ll find reading to be nonnegotiable. Arts courses tend to be much more vocational, and this choice depends very much on the style of learning one is accustomed to.

Philosophy of the Mind (1)

It’s difficult to know how you’ll feel about different kinds of literature, until you experience it. For example, I don’t like all kinds of literature. I really dislike mythical Greek and Roman texts, as well as finding James Joyce’s Ulysses utterly intolerable. Some regard it as an example of the greatest literary creation of all time. I think it is a grammatical abomination, and something that is so complicated that it begins to lose its point, because it’s completely inaccessible. Conversely however, I thoroughly enjoy T.S Eliot, who is well-known for regarding literature as an elite pursuit and past time.

Philosophy is something else that is considered highbrow, and rarely brought down to an accessible level. It is complicated because it involves thinking about the makings of the universe, and theorizing on that most illusive of characters, knowledge. However it’s less complex than some think; it’s a matter of having a good teacher and a simple reader, to introduce someone to the rudimentary elements of philosophy. There’s no need to over-complicate things, and dive straight into analysis on Plato’s dialogues.

I consider literature to be one of my greatest loves, and I consider almost everything to be literature. I think that the well-written blog can be considered literature of all sorts; some blogs can be understood as literotica, some can be understood as beautiful prose. New writing is the writing that will one day be considered classic, and will belong to the modern cannon, and so I think it’s important to look at new literature, read magazines, of all kinds; fashion, photography, literary; they’re all part of a modern culture that will, like all cultures before it, be revered by future generations.

It’s all about enjoyment, you see. Culture is formulated through the things that people enjoy; a city with a strong opera programme tends to become linked to the opera as a pursuit and therefore becomes a cultural construct. To this end, we create our own culture. I’d like to think we do, at least.

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(1) http://philosophy.uchicago.edu/workshops/_files/Philosophy-of-Mind-Workshop.jpg

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