Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: thoughts

This Christmas I was very kindly given some tickets to see a new show in London called ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, a show about a sixteen year old who wants to be a drag queen. It is set in Sheffield and was actually first performed there at The Crucible before the big move to London. The only thing I knew about the show before hand was that Dan Gillespie Sells (of the band The Feeling) had written the music & that there would be drag queens. I’m going to break my thoughts down into sections because otherwise this will just be a mish mash of me gushing about how much i LOVED the show.

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photo from Everybody's Talking About Jamie Website

The story

It is based on a real person – Jamie Campbell, or Fifi La True when he’s in drag – and the documentary about him ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’. I won’t give too much away because I want you to all see it but the story itself is focused on a couple of themes. Being true to yourself, being brave enough to do that and the relationship between a mother & her son. It’s not a complex story line but it is one that definitely touched my heart.

There are definitely little references and nods to the drag world which I absolutely loved – particularly the shout out to Ru Paul. However, you don’t have to know about drag to enjoy the show. They created the perfect balance there.

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photo from Everybody's Talking About Jamie Website

The music

I will be honest, unless the music makes me want to listen to it on repeat for the next week, I will not be sold by a musical. Rest assured, that the music for Jamie was downloaded and listened to on the train ride back from London and hasn’t really been turned off since.

The opening number – “Don’t Even Know It” will be stuck in my head for the rest of time & I’m completely fine with that.

Both “Spotlight” & “It Means Beautiful” are my chosen belt out in the shower, car, wherever i am songs and the messages in both are very positive and life-affirming.

“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” was my favourite up beat scene, closely followed by “Limited Edition Prom Night Special” which features Jamie in a self-illuminating dress.

Oh and “My Man, Your Boy” made me ugly cry.

Honestly though I could say something positive about every song – WHICH IS RARE FOR ME.

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photo from Everybody's Talking About Jamie Website

Acting

John McCrea who plays Jamie commandeers that stage from the moment he steps on it. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He went from sassy & hilarious to vulnerable & self-conscious seamlessly and was just generally incredible. There is a particular scene where he has a fight with his mum and every time I think about it I get goosebumps and tear up. I didn’t just cry whilst watching it, I cry thinking about it! That’s when you know it’s good acting.

Josie Walker plays Margaret, Jamie’s mum and I spent the entire show wanting to give her a hug because she portrayed the emotions and struggles of being a single mum in such a powerful and moving way.

To be perfectly honest I could give a run down of every single actor in the show and compliment them, which again, does not happen often! However, neither of us have the time to write or read that so just go  and see the show and thank me later.

A special note on costumes purely because of this jacket.

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photo from Broadway World

Now go out and see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

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insta~love #5

It has been well over a year since I did one of these & so I thought it was about time I brought it back!

 

@elburgessx

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El is a twitter ‘mutual’ (oh god I hope I used that word correctly, i’m such a grandma!) that I ‘met’ through a common love of drag queens (are you starting to see a theme on my blog?). She is incredibly lovely & I’ve just been loving her feed recently.

 

 

@carackobama

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Cara has the feed of unicorn dreams! It makes me want to go to Disneyland everyday & only ever wear pink. She has also been speaking up about not living this beautiful instagram life all of the time so HUGE respect for her.

 

@colorplease

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I am on a quest this year to move my wardrobe away from literally just black clothing & use clothes as another way of self-expression. In order to help inspire this I have been following more people who live colourful lives and this is where colorplease comes in. JUST LOOK AT ALL THE PINK LOVELINESS THAT IS HER FEED!

 

And now a few of my favourite posts from my own instagram @completelyrambling because I am self indulgent. I have a weird yellowy,orangey,pinkey vibe going on right now but it’s whatever.

 

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it’s behind you!

 

You may have guessed by the title that I’m about to talk about pantomime, specifically the one I was in during the week leading up to Christmas.

I have been into theatre since I can remember but despite seeing a huge amount of it, I haven’t really pursued an active role in it apart from a few productions in school. A few months back I casually began looking around to see if there were any local theatre groups that focused on musical theatre. I emailed a few and didn’t get any responses apart from one that was filled with enthusiasm and encouragement. It is no surprise that when I went to one of their meetings I instantly knew I wanted to be involved as the people immediately welcomed and involved me.

I joined just as they were getting ready for their pantomime performance of Snow White in a local theatre (in fact, the one I saw Jinkx Monsoon in November) but luckily, they had the part of the magic mirror going spare! Getting ready for the show was so much fun! The rehearsals were stressful at times, yes, but on the whole it was an excellent escape from life for two hours every week.

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When the week of the show rolled around I was promoted to chorus captain, make up and hair stylist and mic coordinator (as we didn’t have enough mics for everyone to have their own for the whole show). This is not to say I am necessarily qualified to have these roles but more so that I happened to be there when our director realised these positions were not yet filled. However, we soon got into a routine in the dressing room and on the stage and by the end of our week long run we had mastered the art of getting everyone’s hair and makeup done within an hour!

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The performing itself was so much fun! Being on the stage again really reignited my love for it and it really is a fab feeling hearing audiences laugh at your jokes and clap when they are enjoying it. It also gave me a big confidence boost and helped me unlock a part of my personality I didn’t know I had – one that actually LOVES performing and trying new things! I thoroughly recommend giving your local am-dram group a go if you like theatre.

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Just quickly I want to say thanks to the cast & crew of Snow White for making me laugh through the tiredness & showing me how fun panto can be. Also a big thanks to those who came to see me perform and generally cheered me on.

 

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wishlist: january

Just a few of things I am currently lusting after and  may have to purchase before the month is through! All these items are from brands and shops outside of the Topshop, Asos, New Look tribe as I’m trying to branch out and not only wear more colourful and unique clothing but also try and find brands that have more of a moral compass.

 

What better way to make my wardrobe more colourful than with a pastel rainbow bag?find here

 

I recently stumbled upon spoiledbrat.co.uk – a very funky shop that sells vegan leather, takes strong stances on animal welfare, sells the CUTEST clothes from lots of different brands. I love these little stars from Crown & Glory, found here.

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Literary themed pins & clothes? Sign me up.

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Vegan & cute? I’ll have them in every colour please.

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Lazy Oaf make my favourite clothes, including these jeans.

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comfort in culture #2 : musicals

Quite a while back I wrote a post about finding comfort in culture, notably The Gilmore Girls which you can find here. 

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about musical theatre, looking specifically at a couple of shows that I  find particular comfort in.

CATS

A lot of people don’t ‘get’ CATS and I will admit that on the second time seeing it I did realise there isn’t much of a story line. However, that isn’t really the point of it, at least not for me anyway. It is more about the world that Lloyd Webber creates, ruled by cats, all with their own characters. This musical is particularly important to me because it was the first I ever saw when I was only about 4 or 5. My mum, my dad and I travelled up to London and met my mum’s friend who also happened to be working on the show so I got to have an exclusive look backstage. I watched the actors put on their make up, I tried on the costumes and even got to stand on the stage and see all the details of the set. We then went for dinner in Covent Garden and I drank so much orange juice and was so excitable that I spent a lot of the show getting up to go to the toilet. However, I still remember being amazed by the whole thing and my parents made the silly mistake of buying me the video of the show (YES THE VIDEO! AS IN A VHS!) and for the next year I watched it every morning and danced around and sung to it. I probably drove my family mad but it really was the start of a love affair for me so the show really does hold a special place in my heart.

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photo of the London Palladium 2014/2015 from here

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAM COAT

I’m pretty sure I watched the video of this show, the one with Jason Donovan as Joseph, before I saw it in the theatre. Myself and my friend, Emily, would watch it every time I was at her house and soon my parents realised they would probably have to take me to go and see it as I was ALWAYS singing the songs.

We saw one show at the Milton Keynes theatre where the Pharaoh came onto the stage on a motorbike and they had a real donkey – not sure why I remember these two random facts and nothing else about the show! A couple of years later, Andrew Lloyd Webber held a TV talent show to find his next Joseph, which ended up being Lee Mead. After being gripped by the show I begged my parents to take me to see his rendition of Close Every Door, my favourite song from the show. Lee Mead is also definitely on my list of weird childhood crushes I used to have, alongside Skandar Keynes who played Edmund in the Narnia Chronicles and Lloyd Daniels from the X Factor. (Side note: I had no idea Lloyd played Joseph in the 2014 UK Tour until I began my hunt for a picture to use for this post – WEIRD!)

This show features on my list because not only do I have wonderful memories attached to it that make it comforting but I also love the huge range of different genres the songs reflect. From disco to french laments, there’s a song for everyone.

 

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photo from the 2014 UK Tour from here

GREASE

Whilst writing this post I am beginning to realise that my favourite musicals were all introduced to me by friends. I first saw the movie of Grease at a friend’s house and quickly fell in love with the music, the characters and the story. I have since seen the show three times in the theatre and I still stand by my childhood wish to play Sandy one day. To me it perfectly encapsulates one of my favourite eras in American social history and no one can deny that Grease Lightning makes you want to dance!

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photo from the UK tour from here

I will restrain myself from writing anymore about musical theatre because honestly the list of musicals I love is longer than my arm. So maybe there will be a part two to this post. Nevertheless, I hope I managed to convey the point that to me, musicals are incredibly comforting. Their soundtracks have often accompanied a shower singalong, living room concert or long car journey. The films have often been watched curled up on a Sunday afternoon. The theatre will always be a safe space and a home for me and most importantly, they never fail to comfort me.

 

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Coming off my meds

In November 2016 I went on sertraline, a medication that helps to combat depression and anxiety. I won’t go into my history with these as I have written a fair few posts on them, but I will link them below if you want to catch up.

Accepting your bad days

A reminder

I am strong.

depression sucks but it’s cool cos i am badass.

I also did a mini-series where people shared their stories with the blog to show just how many people suffer & just how many different ways mental health manifests itself. You can find them all here

In April of 2017 I met with my doctor to discuss my plans going forward. I knew I wanted to come off my medication but also knew that I was just hitting the point in my degree when things would get stressful. My dissertation was due in, I had final exams, I was looking for a graduate job and desperately hunting for somewhere to rent. However, I had also been on the medication for a long time and I felt ready to start to the process of coming off them. Since starting that medication I had been to therapy as well as working on my mental health personally. With all that in mind I decided that once those exams were done, I wanted to stop.

 

Naively  I thought it was as easy as waking up one morning and not taking the tiny white tablet I had been taking for well over a year. That’s actually not quite how it works. To deprive my body so suddenly of the thing that is keeping my chemical imbalances in check is actually the worst thing you can do. So it’s more of a gradual decrease. A few weeks taking half a tablet, a few weeks taking half a tablet every two days and then eventually not taking them at all. I am lucky to have a very lovely doctor who called me regularly to monitor how I felt with these lower doses and who emphasised that if I suddenly did start to feel worse that this was not a defeat, because recovery isn’t linear.

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I cried after my last phone call with my doctor. I cried with such an overwhelming happiness because for me, coming off medication is such a huge step in the right direction. It’s another star on the chart that shows me ‘hey, you got this’ and that I’m in a much better place than I was a couple of years ago.

However, as I said earlier. Recovery is not linear. Those meds helped reduce my anxiety and now that it knows it doesn’t have those restraints anymore there are definitely moments it really flares up. Now, I am more equipped to deal with these moments, I have more in my arsenal than my anxiety does. It doesn’t make it easy but it makes it easier than it once was.

With all this said,  I don’t want anyone reading this who is on medication to feel lesser. I had friends start and come off medication way faster than me and that is because everything is so reliant on what works for YOU. It doesn’t matter how it works for anyone else, it is what works for you. Without the medication, I wouldn’t have made it here today. It was the crutch I needed to help me learn to walk again (or some other silly metaphor like that).

So all this to say, I’m off my meds & feeling great. It’s not without its challenges but I am excited to be welcoming 2018 as a whole new chapter of my mental health journey.

 

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the rest is drag

One of the best things about life is that there are always new things to discover and new things to fall in love with. Recently, I have discovered a new found appreciation & love for the art form of drag.

Like many young, straight women I began watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race about a year ago because it kept showing up on my Netflix recommendations & it looked like another trash reality show I could get hooked on. I was right in one respect – I got completely hooked. However, it wasn’t trash at all. Yes, it is still a reality TV show to an extent and there are mountain out of molehill moments BUT what really hooked me wasn’t the drama but the ART of drag. Take a second to look at a drag queen’s make up and tell me that isn’t art. Take a minute to watch a drag queen perform and tell me that isn’t art. Look at the outfits, the wigs, the persona and TELL ME THAT ISN’T ART.

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photo from Jinkx’s instagram account

As a musical theatre kid, a makeup enthusiast, fan of comedy and lover of things that challenge society’s rules I can honestly say that never before has something been more my cup of tea than drag.

Now at first, I watched the show, followed the queens online and then went about my life as I always had. Then one day I saw a poster for Jinkx Monsoon’s show in my local theatre and I booked a ticket almost immediately because she was one of my favourite queens from the show. As it would be my first drag show and I would be going alone I began Youtubing videos of Jinkx’s performances to try and get a taste of what I was going to be seeing and this led me into the YouTube hole that is World of Wonder’s channel. From here I discovered UNHhhh, the web series hosted by Trixie Mattel & Katya. This is where it went from a moderate interest to a full blown love of drag. Trixie & Katya showed me how drag can be comedy, music, beauty, fashion & a whole lot of silliness in the space of a 10 minute video. I dare you to watch one episode of UNHhhh and not be in tears of laughter by the end. I hit peak obsession just as the All Stars 3 cast was announced so I picked a great time to get into the drag world.

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photo from Trixie’s instagram account

If you have made it through all the gushing in this post then CONGRATULATIONS you have waded through the waffle to the good bit … How drag has totally changed my way of thinking. Jinkx Monsoon inspired me to get back into theatre and performing and I just finished a week long run in a pantomime. Trixie Mattel inspired me to get back to practicing guitar and writing songs, something I haven’t done in years. She also turned me onto Dolly Parton (I’m very late to the party don’t @ me). Katya inspired me to be myself more and not worry if people think I’m weird because they’re probably not the people I want to hang out with anyway. The confidence and creativity drag queens have has inspired me to be more experimental with my makeup and my clothes – I’m finally starting to wear what I have always wanted to wear but not had the confidence to. One of my best friends came to be in my life partly through drag as we sparked up a conversation about Ru Paul one time that has led to endless meme sending, drunken requests for Britney Spears to play in a club so we can dance like Derrick Barry and even led to discovering a local queen (Jade Justine if you wanted to know) by heading to a bar ** spontaneously on a Sunday night.

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photo from Jade Justine’s instagram account

It may sound a little far fetched to say that a TV show sparked a whole new chapter in my life but … It kind of did! Moral of the story: find something that inspires you and let it do just that!

 

** on a side note, if you want to help us save this amazing local bar please sign the petition linked here

 

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