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My mantra for 2012

5 Jan

Thanks to a friend of mine who had the good sense to link me to this image, I have a new Mantra for 2012:

success and nothing less mantra for 2012 inspiration cool hunter gemma critchley

Success and nothing less indeed. Bring it, 2012.

2011 in review

1 Jan

Well, the #oneaday year has passed. Granted, I haven’t blogged every day, but I’ve blogged as and when I could and ended up with 220 posts.

I’ve really enjoyed the project and have met some amazing bloggers through it. Whilst I know it’s not going to carry on with the same momentum, I hope people keep blogging, especially Ian (moaner. Funny moaner), Pete (one a day poppa), Nick (one sentence film reviews) and Ben (awesome, awesome drawings); all of whom keep awesome blogs in very different ways.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I don’t really go in for resolutions, but I definitely resolve to write more for pleasure this year. Will you carry on blogging in 2012?

Unicorns exist

30 Oct

Unicorns exist.

unicorn horse cornet ice cream the cool hunter coolhunter facebook visual statements

That is all.

Photo courtesy of The Cool Hunter

A story for #sharethelove

28 Oct

This is a story inspired by #sharethelove, a movement on Twitter that encourages people to show a bit of human kindness and to help those reaching out to them, and that encourages people who feel like they need help to be able to ask for it.

It can be something as serious as feeling depressed and needing someone to talk to or something as simple as wanting to make people smile. I fall into the latter category and so, here’s a story, specifically requested by Ralph Razor, which is designed to make people feel a bit better about the world.

lovely books pretty ribbons gemma critchley story writing #sharethelove twitter share the love Ralph Razor razor stiletto beatifnik


Holding tightly onto the rail, I inch a step closer to the edge.

Rather than have my eyes squeezed shut against the ugly, dark wall of fear that rears up, black and brazen, building itself in front of me, I have them snapped wide open. It’s as if they’re held wide with stitches or hooks or some other medieval way of making me act against my instincts.

But this isn’t force. Oh no, this is all self-inflicted.

Well, I say self inflicted. It wasn’t as if I had planned to end up in this position. It had started as a normal day, wake up, hit snooze on the alarm clock, sleep for another twenty minutes, wake up late, dunk self in shower, scramble around the flat for the outfit that at least remotely resembles office attire. Get on bus, snooze on bus, get off bus, sleepwalk to office.

But that’s where the normal day ended.

As I walked from the bus stop to the office, I passed the same closed down cafe, the same run down post office and the same falling down church. I looped around a corner and then towards the path that takes me along the river to my office.

Now, I make this trip five days per week at roughly the same time (give or take five minutes depending on how much I struggled with the whole ‘waking up’ debacle) and never once have I ever noticed the delicate-looking wrought iron foot bridge that gracefully – and curiously – arced across the water. It rose from the footpath at the side of the river and branched out across the water just before I reached work. It is entirely possible that in my headphone-muted bubble of morning haze, I had simply failed to take in my surroundings. Many people do it, very few would be found ‘not guilty’ on a charge of moving too fast to stop and appreciate what’s around them. But something about the bridge told me that this simply wasn’t a case of Commutus Oblivious. For a start, the bridge was humming at me. That’s right. Humming.

I don’t mean the bridge was happily going about its business, humming a merry little tune. The bridge itself seemed to be vibrating so quickly that it was filling the air about it with the gentle buzz of its movement. The longer I looked at the bridge (and I’m fairly sure I had been standing and staring open-mouthed at it for a good five minutes by this point), the louder the hum got, until it was almost making a high pitched ringing noise, like the sound you get when you run your finger around the edge of a crystal wine glass.

As the sound swelled, the bridge itself seemed to glow – a warm, golden pulse that could easily have been a reflection of sunlight on water – only it wasn’t sunny in the slightest. It was grey and damp and cold all around me, not a chink of ethereal light coming from anywhere else. In front of me the bridge glowed, beckoning me onto it, giving it the old mermaid siren song and I, of course, was a sailor in my answer to its call. Like a pin to a magnet, I couldn’t help myself. Casting a short, sidelong glance toward the dull tower of concrete I had been sentenced to spend the next eight hours in, I felt a pull inside my stomach, tugging me towards the golden light and warm hum of the alternative route that had somehow presented itself to me. The other aspect of this bridge that grabbed me was that it didn’t reach the other side, or at least I couldn’t see it. Despite it only being a few feet away, the end of the bridge seemed to tail off into the unknown.

It feels ludicrous to think of what I must have looked like as my colleagues and fellow commuters pushed past me. Their collars high against the wind, their eyes fixed on the ground, not one person seemed to be seeing what I was seeing. I got the odd dirty look and one person even tutted as he pushed past but I hardly noticed. It must have looked like I was staring out into the churning steel of the river below, when in fact the bridge in front of me was not only tangible, but it was also inviting me to take its path.

Despite the dubious (and possibly imaginary) grounds for my decision, I stepped off the bank of the river with a conviction that I have never felt before in anything I’ve ever done. I don’t think I could have stopped myself, even if I wanted to. There was a moment when my head pulsed and I felt sick with the adrenaline that surged through me. My body screamed that I was possibly doing something incredibly stupid, but that was simply the physical reflex reaction to an completely emotional action. I had to walk along the bridge. I was born to do it. I had half expected to be tossed down the 20 foot drop onto the rocks and swirling grey water below, but the bridge held me. I kept on walking, half terrified, half serene, walking further and further towards the place where bridge became air and solid ground became certain death.

And here I am. The warm iron of the railing against my palms. The low hum of vibrating metal all around. The choice, to walk or to stop, all mine to make.

My eyes are still wide open, and excitement is hammering out an elaborate drum solo in my heart. My feet failing to fail me. I move forwards, onwards and upwards. My head is high, my fear is as real as the bridge I’m walking on.

I keep walking.

I keep walking.

I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel

18 Aug

I spend quite a bit of time rattling round this big old flat by myself in the week when el chappo is away with work and I’m not working/gymming/swanning around the town being fabulous.

I had quite a bit of practice at keeping myself occupied when I had my own flat and became a master of spending time wisely (although not always productively). I am a firm believer in the phrase ‘If you’re bored then you must be boring too’ (courtesy of the lovely Piebald) and I honestly think I’ve never got to a point where I’ve really been bored. There’s always something to do!

Anyway, I thought I’d compile my list of essentials for keeping oneself sane when living alone.

A good book or two (currently re-reading All my best friends are superheroes):

all my friends are superheroes andy kaufman a good book literary fiction

Awesome records (currently playing The Wedding Present):

the wedding present i'm from further north than you record cover art

Cups of tea (and sometimes, just sometimes, coffee. I’m not at work now):

helvetica coffee cup hipster designer mug tea

Something to write stories in (It’s coming along nicely):

moleskine notebook hipster write stories gemma critchley

Lots of internet (all the sixes, clickety click):

you have reached the end of the internet go back exploding dog web cartoon

A Labbit for company (rrrrrraow):

plush white stache labbit kozik kidrobot

Nice things to think about:

david shrigley photograph sunday adventure club lo fi indie photo

That’s about all you need.

We made a den

12 Aug

We made a den in the living room tonight, using all the covers and matress and pillows out of the spare room.

built a fort out of sheets den living room

It’s my new favourite thing.

All we need round here is positive people

9 Aug

I saw this on Twitter today, Chapeltown’s response to the London riots. It makes me proud to be from Leeds!

Chapeltown Leeds positive action London Riots peace vigil August 2011 Yorkshire

I think Latterman’s lyrics to ‘My bedroom is like for artists’ are needed here, everyone should listen to this song and think about what they can do to positively improve their community rather than destroying it:

Latterman – My bedroom is like for artists

Streets gentrified like it’s no problem
Boys in bands still singing about killing their girlfriends
People leave communities while their still struggling
Come on everybody sing along we’re to blame
Punks start dealing with their own white privilege
We tell all the boys to stop being so aggressive
Actually giving a shit about the place we live in
Come on everybody sing along let’s fix this

I see life alive in many people’s eyes…

What to do with a derelict high street

2 Aug

Digital is brilliant, but the mass online exodus towards the virtual aisles of formerly high-street shops have left many town centres looking forlorn and run-down. So:

Q. What do you do with a derelict high street?

A. Ask the people who live nearby and use the space around it what they’d do with it, of course!

That’s exactly what ‘I wish this was’ did.

i wish this was civil project town building derelict shops

Imagination, interactivity, straw poll, market research, civil involvement, dream-sharing… Call it what you will, it’s a beautifully simple idea, brilliantly executed. What would you turn the empty buildings in your town into?

It’s been a while…

31 Jul

… But I’m still here!

I haven’t just stopped blogging. I’m still writing, you just don’t see all of it on here. I’ve spent the last week getting serious about writing my book. I’m five chapters in and I’ve been plugging away at it. Last week, I went to an amazing event run by Marie Claire, as part of their ‘Inspire & Mentor’ series. The title of the event was ‘How to get published’ and was absolutely inspiring, perhaps the most inspiring night I’ve experienced.

marie claire how to get published 2011 tour lindsey kelk

I got to meet and chat with an amazing literary agent, Rowan Lawton from Peters Fraser Dunlop. I even got to meet and ask questions of Sarah Ritherdon, the publishing director at Harper Collins. But the best bit had to be meeting Lindsey Kelk, author of The Single Girl’s To Do List and the I heart series. She was not only absolutely lovely but she was inspiring in her story of how she got published.

So, that’s basically why I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front. I’m still reading the other one a day posts and I’ll keep writing in here. This project has been great in getting me into the habit of writing every day, and I intend to continue with that.

If you’re looking for a sign, this is it

21 Jul

Sometimes, even the most sensible and rational of us (note: I am in no way including myself in said ‘us’) need a sign that they should do something.

Sometimes, the glory just isn’t enough to warrant the guts.

Sometimes you need a push, a nod, a reassuring ‘go on’. So, in the spirit of encouraging people to go that bit further to make themselves happy:

if you're looking for a sign, this is it - positive inspiration

I spied something similar to this over someone’s shoulder once and it made my day. I hope it helps to make someone else’s day, too.

Go on. Make yourself happy.

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