Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Teenage Years: A bit Rubbish

Ah, the teenage years of your life... so fun, exciting, full of partying and good times with your best friends, wasting your life away without a care in the world... 

Or just utter c***.

The older generation seem to think the teenage years are the best years of your life. My fellow teens and I thoroughly disagree with that. Because, after all, your teenage years are really just a mess of expectations, hormones, puberty, other teens being bitchy and mean, annoying parents, 'love' and rejection, a lack of independence, trying to find an identity and being hated on by the media. 

We get told to grow up one minute and act like adults then when we do we are told to act our age and enjoy being young. The teenage years are just this void of your life where you are stuck in the middle of being a kid and an adult... you don't know who you are anymore or what it is you should do with your life which stretches out in front of you like a strange and desolate road. You are just there, like floating particles in a galaxy of moving planets and stars. 

Yeah, we have to deal with those completely mental things called hormones as well which doesn't help the whole teenage crisis. And there's always going to be a load of ridiculous drama when you are a teen. You only need to watch an episode of 'Skins' to realize that being a teenager is a horrible, horrible time of heartbreak, bitchiness, fallouts, unrequited love, love which goes wrong, dodgy parties, dodgy alcohol and dodgy drugs. Ok, maybe Skins is a bit of an exaggeration of the normal teen's life. I for one have never been to a club and got completely off my face on drugs and alcohol. But the parties are alright, and that's one of the good things about being a teen. It's a time of (limited) freedom, a time when you can let loose and enjoy being young.

A lot of bad things happen on the teen drama show 'Skins'...
this show does not make teen life look good.
But the teen years are a time where everyone is a bit mean to each other, a lot of judging goes on and there's a lot of 'putting people into boxes'. You're either cool or uncool and popular or unpopular, you can't just be a bit of both and say you're 'a bit cool and a bit popular'. You're either In or you're Out, a bit like the EU referendum where you couldn't say 'yeah I'm just a bit out of the EU'. And in these teenage years you are just discovering the magical and slightly crazy thing called love. Yes, love, when you desperately want to sleep with that boy or girl you saw at school, when people start to get boyfriends or girlfriends and fall in love, make decisions about who they love or just get into a load of sticky heartbreak and rejection. 

And you'd think your parents would have some understanding of all this and perhaps try and be a bit nicer to you and help you out... because after all, these are the worst years of your life, but actually they have no clue what the bloody hell you are going through and even manage to make things a lot harder than they already are as things were apparently 'easier' in their day, 'none of this technology or important exams'. They tell you that you should help more around the house, do the washing up etc but they also want you to study for your exams, get good grades and get out there and get a job. And all this time you're also trying to work out who you are, what career path you should go down and what it is you want to do with your life after you leave school. 

This picture is fake. School is not a happy time. There is a lot 
of boring revision and pressure to get good exam grades. 
You are expected and told to get good grades and go to university or you'll be working in the greasy pits of McDonalds when in reality grades aren't the be all end all and you should really just do what makes you happy. Then you are constantly being told not to do this, not to do that, don't swear or you'll go to your room etc. And when you do stay in your room your parents will ask 'why do you just stay in your room? Why don't you come downstairs and talk to us?'. So you go downstairs and try and join in with the rest of the family but your heads just too messed up, going through too much and you find it boring when they're just sat there watching the chase and you'd rather just be in your room listening to your music and doing whatever it is you want to do, not sat on the sofa watching tv next to your family. 

Then when you go on your phone they will ask what you are doing on it, why you're always on the bloody thing. You're on it because it's an escape from the tedious routine and reality of life and because it allows you to talk to people you actually want to talk to! Not your parents who just want to talk about the bloody price of a joint of beef or what we should have for dinner or when your going to get a job or what you did at school which you try and leave at school and not bring home to the place you can just relax (or try to). It's all a bit rubbish when you're a teen but adults don't seem to understand this.
We are not all underage drinkers and we don't all do drugs.

Then you have the media, bombarding society with images such as a load of angry looking teens outside a corner shop carrying knives and a bottle of vodka and headliners like 'hoodies attack elderly again'. The media demonizes us, calls us 'hoodies', 'louts', 'scum' and make us all out to be thugs and dirty drug dealing, stealing criminals who don't respect their elders. When in fact, I know many teens who help out at charity shops and care homes therefore actually helping society and contributing to it. But we get told we are the messed up, disordered generation only concerned with social media and selfies when half of us hate social media and are just as fed up with technology as our elders are. 

Oh yeah... and lets not forget the moody, stereotypical character 'Kevin the teenager' from the Harry Enfield comedy sketch show my parents take great delight in watching and saying that I act like that when I don't. Not all teenagers are moody, lazy, grumpy and horrible to their parents and not all teenagers are criminals. 

The stereotypical Kevin the teenager
I spoke to a 20 something year old the other day who said "Make the most of your school years... after school it gets a lot harder... I wish I was still a teenager". And this makes me think 'if my teen years are bloody horrible then what is my adult life going to be like?!' Is life just a downward slope from the moment you are born? No of course not, let's try and be optimistic here... I think the teenage years are perhaps the worst years to some extent however I suppose you can either see your teenage years as a horrible, difficult time of mess or as a long road of exploration and self discovery.

And as Kevin the teenager would say... 'It's so unfair!' 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

My Top 5 Films

1) Trainspotting

I recently re-watched this film after seeing that the second Trainspotting (T2) had come out with an enormous amount of hype and praise. I realized that all the buzz around Trainspotting is well deserved when I watched it again as what a masterpiece of British cinema it is. The opening scene captures you straight away and brings you into the wonderful world of Renton, a heroin addict trying to get his life back on track. The story has an intricate plot involving serious matters of drugs, stealing, pub brawls and a briefcase of money... and the characters are certainly interesting, by the end you'll probably grow to dislike, feel sorry for or even be fond of them. Complimenting the film and it's serious themes is the great witty British humour along with some great dialogue: 'It's shite being Scottish!'. The end scene is also marvelously brilliant, especially when the music for the scene is 'Born Slippy' by NUX which flatters the film immensely. At the end we are left guessing what Renton will do next and this, I suppose, is where T2 comes into play. Overall, the witty dialogue, the brilliant cinematic scenes such as the hilariously vile 'worst toilet in Scotland', the intricate plot and characters really do make Trainspotting a worthwhile watch. 

2) A clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange, a well known cult classic, is one of those really stylish, arty films that will make you laugh and at the same time question what it is you just watched. The music in the film (consisting of some classical music and synth) and the hilarious and at times shockingly bizarre scenes of violence made this film rather enjoyable. This film follows the story of the childish yet brutal Alex, a juvenile delinquent who gets up to all sorts with his friends e.g. breaking into houses, beating people up and he goes through a strange journey of experimental treatment to try and cure him of his violence and anti- social behavior. This journey is rather amusing for the audience as we see the entertaining, comical dialogue and visual images of the film and it's characters. Possibly Stanley Kubrick's greatest film, A Clockwork Orange starts of with the well known scene of Alex and his 'droogs' (friends) sat in the Moloko milk bar drinking a nice glass of the old moloko plus (milk). Alex's unblinking gaze into the slow panning camera hooked me and I soon found myself submerged in the distopian England and the satire of the themes the film explored including behavioral conditioning, crime and punishment and the ridiculing of youth culture. This is a film you are unlikely to forget. 

3) A Fish named Wanda

Yes, another British film. These films really do make me proud to be British and 'A Fish Called Wanda' is an excellent display of the marvelous British sense of humour, wit and sarcasm. The 4 main characters, two Brits and two Americans all get involved in a plot involving a heist, Kevin Kline brings us an Oscar winning performance as Otto, the obnoxious American who hates the British. His character really is comic brilliance, especially when you contrast it with Cleese's stereotypical stuffy English behaviour and his awkwardly gangly movements. And most of the scenes are hilariously well done, including the scene where Otto gets run over by the cement roller and the scene where the character Ken can't stop stuttering. This film is not your usual double- cross jewel- thief escapade, this is a film of comedy genius, from the same people who wrote Monty Python, this will surely make you laugh. As a matter of fact, someone died because they were laughing at this film so much. 

4) A Shallow Grave

Yes, it's another Danny Boyle film but I must say this is his second best film (Trainspotting obviously being his best). 'A Shallow Grave' is a black comedy crime film which is really well shot and the dialogue is cleverly written and acted. We have a brilliant cast who completely portray the characters to near perfection, the plot is also clever with a few twists and turns here and there. This film is about three flat mates who get a fourth flat mate, settling on a man called Hugo which turns out to be a big mistake as he is soon found dead in his bedroom with a suitcase packed full with money under his bed. The trio decide to keep the money and from here we see them spiral into madness and abnormality. This film has the usual thriller cliches such as dark shadowy settings and suspicious detectives but it is not your typical tiring thriller film, it has a fast paced plot, no monotonous sub plotting or unnecessary character development and it has extremely realistic characters. The end of Shallow Grave is also brilliantly and shockingly done. It's a worth while watch. 

5) Inglourious Basterds

Lastly, a Tarantino film. I think 'Inglourious Basterds' is possibly his best film (shortly followed by Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill). Inglourious Basterds tells the story of a group of rebels fighting the nazis in France whilst a Jewish woman seeks revenge against the nazis who killed her family.  And yes, as you'd expect from a Tarantino film, it has a lot of violence in it but it's the sort of violence that brings you satisfaction, especially when you see Hitler get shot and an evil nazi general suffer as he gets a swastika carved into his head. In this film there are a lot of ingeniously tense, apprehensive scenes, for example, the bar scene which creates so much dramatic tension that you are on the edge of your seat viciously biting your nails as you know this scene probably won't end well and there will most likely be an all-out, exciting yet bloody Tarantino style shoot out. If you want a satisfyingly savage and shockingly powerful film then this is worth a watch. 

My Top 5 Films Part 2 coming soon. Hope you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment.