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A couple of weeks ago we went to see a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights with live score performed by the Sheffield Rep Orchestra. It was such an amazing evening. I hadn’t seen the film before and had never seen a Chaplin film on the big screen, not to mention with a live orchestra! It felt like being part of a snippet of the past and the cinema was packed out with an audience laughing and enjoying themselves. Chaplin’s work is so timeless and the age range of the audience was vast, with children and much older people getting the same enjoyment from the film.
I loved City Lights so much, it was hilarious and silly, whilst being sentimental and sad. The last scene in particular (no spoilers!) is so sad and made me tear up.
Seeing the film in the cinema really brought out the beautiful cinematography and the gorgeous style of the late 20’s/ early 30’s (the film was released in 1931). The cars, the sets and the clothes were just gorgeous; as was the leading lady Virginia Cherrill. She was bloody stunning, with eyes that pierce your soul. I can see why she was picked to play the blind flower girl, her eyes and face are just so expressive and have incredible depth.
The Sheffield Rep Orchestra were flawless too, at times it was easy to forget they were even there, the score was so in sync and so perfect. The players were giggling at certain silly scenes as they were playing, it was rather sweet!
I highly recommend City Lights and any other Chaplin work, he was such a genius and his films really are timeless, despite most of them being silent and in black and white. You can see the entirety of City Lights here, though I do recommend seeing it as it was meant to be viewed, on the big screen.
Today is the start of a new series on my blog. Every week or so, I’m going to post about a TV series or documentary with realistic, interesting or challenging portrayals of women. I want to show that although many TV programmes focus on male characters or have one-dimensional female characters; there are many television portrayals of women which divert from that trend.
One series which does just that is Six Feet Under. I’ve been a fan of Six Feet Under for years and have watched the complete series many times over. (I’m a geek, but it’s so good!). Last year Ian and I watched it together, as he was fed up of me referencing things from it, without knowing what I was on about. He loved it and I think that if you’ve not seen it yet, you will love it too.
The main female characters are Ruth, Claire and Brenda. Each is multi faceted; likeable and dislikeable at the same time. All of them fuck things up and all of them get things right. Ruth, the matriarch in the series, is probably the most well drawn on screen mother that there has ever been. Despite her life experiences and her intentions, she is, like the rest of us, terribly flawed. She is forever trying in vain to keep things the same within her family and to her children she is at first seen as ridiculous, old fashioned and stuck in the mud. Throughout the development of the show we watch Ruth experiment with her own life; after decades of marriage she begins to date again, she gains new employment, makes new friends and even follows weird self-help programmes. Ruth struggles through her 50’s and 60’s with the same naivety, the same cluelessness and experiences the same pitfalls as her teenage daughter does in her adolescence. Ruth doesn’t grow or change immensely, and through her portrayal we are told that we don’t ever really change fundamentally, we don’t gain wisdom with age, and we realise that our parent’s and grandparents are just the same as we are – people fumbling in the dark trying to make sense of the unexplainable and find some meaning in their lives.
When I first watched SFU I was in love with Claire, Ruth’s teenage daughter. In the first season she is kind of the archetypal teenager – stubborn and rebellious. I was a little younger than the character when the show came out and thought she was amazing, her teen angst was my teen angst, her woes about the world were my woes. Her whole – life is hard and no one understands thing – was exactly how I felt. Now, watching the series back as a more mature (ahem) adult, I find Claire’s development through the show really interesting. Like life for the rest of the characters, nothing gets easier and it is still that same blind journey, but Claire does change somewhat. She moves from childhood to womanhood and discovers that her wants and beliefs as a teenager are not hers any more. The life she thought she would have doesn’t magically appear and those she looks up to and idolises are never going to live up to her expectations. She struggles to cope with the reality of being a grown up, something which I think is true for most us in this world.
Finally, there is Brenda, a sex obsessed woman who never want to get emotionally too close. Sound familiar? That description could easily describe dozens of male film and television characters and even when a female character fits that type, they are often badly drawn caricatures. Brenda never comes across like that, mainly due to Rachel Griffiths’ excellent acting. Brenda and her brother Billy are creations of their strange childhoods and genetic propensity towards mental illness. Brought up without any boundaries whatsoever, Billy and Brenda’s relationship with each other is as all consuming as a romantic relationship and at times almost crosses over into one. The effects this has on all the relationships in her life is examined and so is how Brenda has to give up so much of her true self to maintain any kind of relationship with a man – whether that be with a boyfriend or her brother. Her story arch is like a Freudian theory come to life on screen. And her inner battles, though they are extreme, represent the tensions between what we want to do, who we really are and the parts of ourselves we show to the world. In truth, Brenda’s lack of a real childhood has left her a perpetual child and I believe our inner petulant child rears it’s head in us all from time to time to question the identities we have constructed for ourselves.
There are of course other expertly created characters in Six Feet Under, both male and female. The reason I love the series so much is because although the setting of the show is so unique, the emotional experiences are so common to everyone. Nothing is ever tidied up, nobody is happy ever after. Literal and metaphorical death looms over every single episode and the same philosophical questions hang in the air too. Six Feet Under shows the paradoxical nature of people, and as a woman used to seeing depthless versions of women on TV, it was, and still remains, a breath of fresh air to watch.
Some new items have hit the shop this week. I’ve selected some of my favourites, all have beautiful texture or colour:
From top to bottom:
A kitsch floral biscuit tin, a 1930’s copper etched industrial printing block, this sweet children’s tea set, an Art Deco printing block and finally a large Portmeirion Totem kitchen storage jar. All available in the Grey Day Vintage store.
This Saturday (14th of May) we will once again be at Mary’s Marvellous Vintage & Crafts Market. Maybe we will see you there? 10am – 4pm at St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane, Sheffield. If not, have a great weekend!
Last week we went away to the seaside for a few days. We stayed in a caravan (aren’t we classy?!) in Skipsea, which is near Bridlington, on the East Coast of Yorkshire. We had such a lovely time, despite only being there for a few days. We visited the nearby towns, played with our dog on the beach, ate lots of fried foods and went on nice long walks.
Here are a handful of photos from our time away, different to the ones I put on Instagram!
I’ve made an Etsy treasury list inspired by our trip away, click the image below to take a look at it.
There’s definitely nothing quite like a day at the British seaside and every few months I get a calling for the fish and chips, the arcades, the sunny showers and the sand in my sandwiches. I can’t wait to get away to the seaside again!
I know, I know…it’s been a while again. What can I say? We had to go to visit Ian’s family and straight after that we went away to the seaside. I’ll update with some photos from our little trip away soon.
Before that I thought I’d show you some of my favourite handmade items on Etsy. There are so many talented people in the world who create beautiful and enduring things. I’m constantly spotting new stuff whilst I’m tending to my Etsy shop. Today I thought I’d focus on the theme of enduring items and show you some of my favourites which are guaranteed to last years and years; some proper old fashioned craftsmanship.
4. Thou Shalt Make The Tea banner would look great in your kitchen for years to come. Definitely a quirky focal point. Made by The Little Peach Print Co. Check out their baby plates, they are amazing!
5. I bought Ian one of these UK made pick/plectrum cases for his birthday and he loves it. It’s worn really well and is very handy for musicians. Quirk Wood Leather have lots of little pouches which are perfect for a man’s back pocket.
I hope you enjoyed looking at these lovely things. If you fancy anything vintage, don’t forget to head over to the shop – Grey Day Vintage. I’m not keen on trying to make people consume and buy for the sake of it, but hopefully, by purchasing the things we do need (whether they be beautiful or practical) from real people, small businesses, doers and makers – we can strive for quality over quantity. There is an alternative!
Last weekend we had a stall at Mary’s Marvellous Vintage & Craft Market. We’ve not sold there before so it was a new experience and we had a lovely time. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and used my phone to take pictures – and now my phone has died. I have photos from Instagram which I will share, but I apologise for the insta filters! We didn’t sell the type of items we thought we would but had a roaring trade in books and vinyl. If we sell at the fair again (I’ve applied for the next one!) I think I’ll try a slightly different range of stuff.
Anyway..here are some photos of our set up at the market and again, they aren’t the best quality!
There were lots of great stalls at the fair, with some great craft sellers and vintage items. My favourite Galabeer & The Dog were there and my eye was caught by the beautiful handmade jewellery from Melodies Jewellery. I adore the modern and striking way the pieces use vinyl and musical equipment like drumsticks and reeds. My musician fiancée loved them too, I can definitely recommend their quality and hopefully I’ll be adding a piece to my jewellery collection soon.
I’ll soon learn whether I’ve got a place at the next Mary’s market on the 17th of May, I’m hoping to take lots more records, book and vintage craft items. In the meantime, we are going away for a few days to the East Coast of Yorkshire. I’m so ridiculously overly excited. Seaside ahoy!