Articles - 20th May 2019

Reasons to be cheerful

Words by Elinor Potts
Illustration by Oscar Price

This week, I’d like to open with the sage words of The GlamLifeGuru, Mrs.Tati Westbrook, who used her recent video ‘Why I Did It …’ (which by the way, gives me seriously misplaced reminders of O.J. Simpson’s confessional memoir (If) I did It ?) to gently remind her disciples that, “Storms are storms temporarily- they pass. They help us to appreciate when we’re not experiencing a storm”.

There is a certain schadenfreude to watching Westbrook emotionally death-drop; her chiselled, unmoving face producing a hot dribble of tears laced with the excess vitamins of her ‘Halo’ health pill. Asides from Westbrook’s infamous James-Charlesian feud, we’ve had more than our fair share of stormy news in the past week – the sad passing of Grumpy Cat and the announcement of the David Cameron autobiography which nobody asked for, For the Record (Harper Collins). Whilst we’re on the topic, you know what else isn’t funny? The ugly return of the nation’s least favourite angry uncle Islamophobe and clownish Indie sad-boy, Morrissey, whose twelfth studio album, California Son, will drop on the 24th May like a lead balloon.

Indeed, darker clouds gathered over Alabama with the introduction of punitive abortion laws, chronicled on social media with a downpour of slogan squares, glittery uteri and clenched fists. Despite the gloomy conditions in Alabama and, lest we forget,  Northern Ireland, the proliferation of personal experiences around abortion propelled by the hashtag #youknowme is encouraging; facilitating an open discourse on the historically tabooed topic despite tempestuous oppression. Here’s to silver linings, optimism and humour.

Solemnities aside, If you’re in need of a thigh-slapping coming of age rom-com, look no further than Booksmart. The trailer oozes all the pubescent FOMO of Spring Breakers and social anxiety of SuperBad, minus a few bikinis and shoot-ups, with the welcomed additions of a lesbian protagonist and Lisa Kudrow. The story follows schoolmates Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever); two bookish high schoolers desperately carpe-dieming their final weeks before flying the nest to college, in actress Olivia Wilde’s debut film as a director. Either dial up some pals for a night at the cinema, or wait until it releases on DVD and throw yourself a ‘00s slumber party, pringles and all.  

You can also paddle your dinghy down to Greenwich and rest your anchor for an evening of stand-up at the borough’s historic comedy venue Up The Creek. If you’re free on Tuesday and happen to saunter in around 7 pm, you’ll set eyes upon Tom Ward, Joe Jacobs, John Kearns, Lucy Pearman, Desiree Burch and headliner Harry Hill. It’s a true gem of a venue, dedicated to hosting belly-aching humour for professional comedians and newbie standupers alike. For twice of the price of an exercise class you’ll achieve a perfectly toned abdomen from a night of intense guffawing, plus, the venue’s close proximity to Greenwich’s finest Wetherspoons is pleasantly comforting. 

One of my favourite internet pastimes is optimistically confirming my attendance at Facebook events I have absolutely zero intention of attending. From rooftop film screenings to an event titled ‘London Vampires at Nunhead Cemetery’ these overzealous declarations of attendance systematically curate a virtually cultural alter-ego to guilt IRL Elinor into keeping up. One particular example of this cultural optimism was last Thursday. I’d lazily booked myself a ticket for the poetry collective Outspoken’s monthly night as part of their year-long residency at the Southbank centre, forgetting to pencil in a reminder to myself before I realised with a start, scrolling past a sponsored post on Instagram, that the evening had arrived. I pegged it to the Southbank for a blissed-out concoction of spoken word and live music; jazz-fusion, contemporary classical and ultra-sweet Pop, lovingly brought together by the inimitable host and astounding performer that is Joelle Taylor. The evening was the perfect tonic to a stressed-out week of illness and fatigue, with performances from Rebecca Tamás, Raymond Antrobus, Inua Ellams and 2019 SLAMbassador champion Mukahang Limbu. I left feeling profoundly lighter and deeply inspired by the high calibre of artistry.

As James Charles reminds us, “You can do anything you want because, at the end of the day, it washes right off.” Launder your pessimism and slip on a clean shirt. Whatever your poison is. if you’re in need of heart-swelling cultural affairs, I implore you to book yourself an unexpected ticket as a gift to your future self –  the indefatigably ultra-cultured person of tomorrow. Because God knows, we all need some optimism. 

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