Reviews

Time Capsule: A Decade in Review

It’s the end of the first decade of a new millennium.  At the end of the year, bloggers usually write some sort of reflection on the year that was.  But I feel like I’ve kind of been doing that continually all year long, so instead of rehashing 2009, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the year (and indeed, the decade) by reflecting on my world of the last decade.  I’ll try and be brief – but here’s my take on the noughties.

2000: This was a big year for me.  Looking back at old picture-stuffed, handwritten diaries, I see my departure from the country I call home.  I see paperbound notebooks, scrawled with messages between friends wishing me luck with boys, with Canada, and with an entirely new life.  I see wonky teeth gone forever and braces finally removed.  I see nervousness, and excitement as I left my life behind and started fresh on an entirely new continent, initial feelings of anxiety quickly surpassed by those of enthusiasm, as I was thrown into high school, and everybody wanted to know the new kid in town.  It seems a million years ago, but we were all still using Napster, Britney Spears was the freshest thing since sliced bread, and Madonna was getting ready to take over the world all over again.

2001: My first proper year in high school.  I started a rigorous advanced program and made two friends I stuck around with for the rest of my high school years, one of which I’m still good friends with today.  I discovered my love of literature and the English language, and decided I wanted to be a teacher.  My first long-term relationship began, with a dark haired Rodrigo Santoro look-alike recently landed from the Ukraine.  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were still together, the world was taken by a storm of fantasy as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings hit the screens, and elsewhere in the world, three thousand people lost their lives as planes crashed into the twin towers. The world was in mourning.

2002: I discovered I could sing, met some guys in a punk band and got up in front of the school and sang Offspring and No Use for a Name covers. I had my first proper breakup after a year and a half, and started learning about my relationship behaviour, an unfortunate pattern I’d soon become very hurt by, and wouldn’t truly realise for another six years.  I got my first job as a “Language Services Facilitator”, very scared of the working world and grown-up responsibility, but very grateful to not be working at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart like most of my fellow classmates.  The music world mourned the deaths of TLC’s Lisa Lopes, The Who’s John Entwistle, and the legendary Joe Strummer.  My new city of Winnipeg is put on the map as My Big Fat Greek Wedding becomes the most successful independent film ever.

2003: I finished high school and headed to university with every intention of becoming an English teacher.  I took English literature, medieval history, psychology and the history of art, and it was through friends I met here that I met Sweet for the first time. We dated for a month (before he unceremoniously dumped me right before Christmas!), and I also first met my best friend. Myspace and Facebook were launched, and changed the face of communication forever.

2004: At nineteen years old, I decided I was ready to move out.  I left home against all common sense, moved in with my then-boyfriend, an internationally travelling showman, juggler and contortionist, and realised how rubbish I was at being left behind.  I worked part time at the post office, and went to university part time, ultimately dropping out due to lack of money, lack of time, and our eventual breakup.  This year, I worked as a postal clerk!  X Factor mania began its reign of television supremacy, and a tsunami took the lives of hundreds of thousands.  This was the year I discovered the magic of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival , found my love of theatre, and have been back religiously every summer since.

2005: The BBC relaunched Doctor Who, my favourite and, according to the Guinness Book of Records, “longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the most successful science fiction series of all time.”  I was hooked for life.  I temporarily moved back into my parents’ house, living out of boxes on a sofa in the basement for a few weeks until I found my first apartment, into which I moved with my very first flatmate.  I discovered the horrors of joint cohabitation, but couldn’t afford to live alone, and so began my string of exasperating roomies.  2005 was also the year I got fired for the first and only time in my life, and I decided to go off to another province to work in a holiday resort for the entire summer.  I soon realised what a relentless homebody I was, and came back after about three weeks.  I took the first job I could find, and began my brief stint in the world of retail.  Elsewhere in the world, the first video is uploaded to YouTube, and within six months, the site was hitting 100 million views per day.

2006: I quit working in retail, and got my  soul back! I landed a job as a graphic designer (and soon after, office manager) at a print shop and though I stopped feeling bad about never finishing my English degree, I still longed to be learning again.  I pursued graphic design, learning on my own and getting better and better, and stayed there for three years.    This was the year I got my beautiful little cat, too, but it was also the year my parents split up.  An extremely close relationship with my dad began, but my relationship with my mother went in the opposite direction.  In 2006 I really got into British music in a big way, and discovered my love of bands like Muse, Kasabian, Keane and the Arctic Monkeys.  Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy takes the world by storm and becomes quite possibly the biggest song of the decade.  Twitter is launched – and it takes another three years before I eventually hop on the bandwagon.

2007: was the beginning of the worst year ever.  I (stupidly) got engaged to someone who started off great, but ultimately wound up lying, stealing money, doing drugs, and becoming abusive.  I lost a lot of my self-confidence  and started questioning the person I was.  I learned a lot of valuable lessons, and I wish I could go back to my 2007 self and give her a slap in the face and tell her to stop being so naive.  But 2007 had lots of good moments too – I visited England, France,  went to the best concert of my life and saw my favourite band of all time.  I had my tonsils out over Christmas of this year – THE most painful experience of my life, and found myself alone, in pain, and completely detached from the real world.  Luckily I reconnected with Kyla, resurrecting a wonderful friendship after years of absence.

2008: I had my first year of really being single and living without a flatmate.  I learned that I didn’t have to take every offer that came my way and just say no and be by myself for a while, and let my heart heal.  I went out dancing every week and threw myself into the indie music scene, staying up until 2:00 on weeknights.  In late spring, Sweet came back into my life after about 5 years not being in it, shortly before another trip back to the UK.  I visited old friends, fell in love with Ireland, and discovered I missed Sweet more than anything, and came back into his arms, where we officially decided to give it another go.  My best friend got married in a beautifully intimate ceremony, and I experienced my first moments of real, true love.  I had to give up my second cat, Chloe, and wept for days.  Heath Ledger passed away and the world was in shock.  I was encouraged to leave my comfy job at the print shop and go for something more, so I took a chance, quit, and spent the end of the year in California.

And now I’m wrapping up the decade with what’s been, so far, the best year of my life.  I started with a goal of escaping the shell of a person I was, taking risks and ending up exactly where I want to be.  I moved in to my first house, had an amazing year with good friends, growing closer with my dad, got a job I absolutely love, got engaged, developed my faith, and met my all-time favourite author in the flesh, a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.  I enjoyed a bunch of amazing music, programmes and movies.  I’m in the final of a national blogging contest and I’ve just started writing for an online music magazine – I’m doing what I love, and being given more and more opportunities to do it.  2009 has been an incredible, life-changing year, and I’m starting the new decade with a spirit of excitement, determination, and gratitude.  Next year already holds a lot of anticipation.  My first trip to the Caribbean, to the biggest city in Canada, to England and to wrap it all up in December, our winter wedding.  I can’t even imagine what I’ll be writing over the next ten years, but I know I can’t wait to share it all with you. 🙂

Happy New Year!!

The bad news: time flies. The good news: you’re the pilot.

I just watched the perfect movie. Cashback was something I’d downloaded on a whim a few months back, and finally got around to watching tonight after a couple of failed episodes of The Mighty Boosh, and it left me wishing I’d written the entire thing down, just so I could take a piece of beautiful dialogue with me, or taken screen shots of the entire movie to hang on my walls, to remind myself that beauty can be found in the most modest and unassuming places.

It’s filmed mostly in the stark, fluorescent simplicity of a supermarket in the middle of winter in England; hardly the most picturesque of settings, yet the cinematography is so fluid, effortlessly seaming from one location to another. Watch solely for the astounding effect of Ben going from standing in a doorway to lying in his bed, without appearing to move at all. Oh, and Ben has the ability to stop time and examine the world around him – one standout scene, ironically the most graphic and likely to turn me off, was probably one of the most beautiful and strikingly memorable:

“I read once about a woman whose secret fantasy was to have an affair with an artist. She thought he would really see her. He would see every curve, every line, every indentation, and love them all because they were part of the beauty that made her unique.”

This definitely made me want to meet an artist of my own 🙂

I can’t get over the beauty of this film. Its starting point revolves around something we’ve all experienced: insomnia, break-ups, dead-end jobs entirely devoid of significance. I adore how these commonplace nothings are used to explore something personal; internal monologues, a mind’s inability to remain at rest, and living in frozen seconds to explore the beauty of everyday life. I could watch this time and time again and never tire of the magical blend of fantasy, art, amazing photography and heartfelt emotion tied into an everyday life we can all relate to.

“Once upon a time, I wanted to know what love was. Love is there if you want it to be. You just have to see that it’s wrapped in beauty and hidden away in between the seconds of your life. If you don’t stop for a minute, you might miss it.”

Huge recommendation.

Children of Men

Last night I finally went to see Children of Men; haven’t been to the cinema in a while, but this was one I’d wanted to see ever since I heard the premise, I didn’t even need to see a trailer. It was pretty intense, and it feels slightly wrong to say “I loved it” about a movie about the end of the world, but it was fantastic. One of the things about really good stories concerning alternate realities, futures, worlds or whatever, is the believability factor. That’s why I love shows like Torchwood so much – the writing and the stories just bring a disturbing sense of “this could actually happen”, on a level that doesn’t need monsters and aliens to be frightening; the mere idea of the very real possibility that it all could happen is scary enough on its own.

The most disturbing part, I found, was the fact that yes, it was the end of the world, but unlike say, War of the Worlds, it wasn’t an invasion or some global disaster that threatened to end humanity without too much delay. Everyday life was a long, slow walk towards the end of the world, consumed by the knowledge that existence no longer had any meaning. In fifty or sixty years, the human race would be extinct, and life was merely the resulting insanity that was complete and utter destruction and chaos in the streets.

It was very different. You just don’t see movies like this. Movies usually require a willing suspension of disbelief in order to be entertained; this needed no such thing. I don’t even think “entertained” would be the right word to describe it. It was just shocking to fathom a reality that could very well happen, who knows, obviously not in the near future but who’s to say in a couple of hundred years something like that is impossible? What happens to humanity when it’s told that life no longer has any purpose; for surely our ultimate goal is to carry on the species. An incredibly insightful and frighteningly real depiction of what happens when purpose is taken away. Go see it.