Author Archives: louramsay

Why we adore, yet hate, the terrible failures of life and can't seem stop posting about it.

We all do it. We dress up our failures, claim to make a mess of our lives every weekend, despair at the situations we get ourselves into. We treat our failure the same as a level of success; if we are to fail, it must be magnificent. Glorious. Brag-worthy.

We create stories from our defeats - failure has become a delicious concoction of moments which we can reel off to strangers at parties, acquaintances at work events, drink in hand and laughing. It's a currency we can use to elevate ourselves in social standing. Earnestly explaining how we managed to fuck up and god, doesn't that make us human?

But exactly how deeply have we sunk into catastrophe? Is it as painful as we have detailed, or are we creating a certain level of admiration for failure, in order to wear it proudly on our sleeves like we once did with our hearts?

We call ourselves out before anyone else can, because even if we might be dealing with a level of failure, we still totally know best. Right?

 

Let's be honest; we're all guilty of exaggerating our failures into successes. We will shriek in horror over drunken mistakes or cringe realising we've sent an email to the wrong person. We'll live-tweet wearing the wrong shoes to work, one black and one brown. The sort of failure only the morning can create, because c'mon, no one is a morning person are they? Running our mouths a bit too much or jumping too quickly onto a band wagon. Attempting to launch a business thinking there's an audience, when really it's a few favourites on a tweet. It doesn't work. But that's fine. We own our failures. They are OURS.

We call ourselves out before anyone else can, because even if we might be dealing with a level of failure, we still totally know best. Right? We know ourselves inside and out. We've read the self help books on the art of creative living like Big Magic and understood how many fuck-ups it will take to become a #GIRLBOSS. Individually been taught to own those screw-ups we've made, because they make us imperfect and human and totally relatable. When we own those failures, describe them in detail or allude to them with a nonchalant wave of a hand, we are spilling secrets our audience wants to hear. They want the red faced moments, so the story swirls from horror to glamour. A rite of passage so cliche, it's disappearing as a moment of shame.

We own our failures. They are OURS.

Failure has become a new buzzword in our millennial-pinked-landscape. Our embrace of all things failure as a generation has helped us to understand the steps to success and fame. Those steps can be more like a good few flights of stairs, but we know that now. However, we have started to make a mockery out of failure. We've turned failure from a roughened, tight lipped figure into something that looks a bit like victim-hood and a lot like a hot mess. Its somewhere in between, because recent failures has become the new go-to party tricks. It's not as if we fear failure, but are we actually learning from it? Or simply claiming to do so on social media?

We're guilty of selling our failures like they're successes, ensuring everyone knows the rumour of an 'overnight success' is a fable people tell when they refuse to look at the work behind the triumph.

Fear; A rite of passage so cliche, it's disappearing as a moment of shame. Becoming it's own banal phrase than a thing to build up from.

 

But here's the thing about dressing failure up like you're going out for a night on the town. You don't escape failure, the same you can't roll out of bed and avoid the fear when hungover. Failure is an inevitable part of life. The tales of failure to success, a modern day rags to riches, is a tale well told. Richard Brandon at Virgin, J. K. Rowling and her countless rejection letters, or even Samuel L. Jackson finding fame in Hollywood at age 43. The list goes on but the message is clear. You can be successful no matter how many times you fail.

However, there are some things about making the pillars of Failure and Success so close in stature, we run the risk of losing the bit in the middle. The gritty bit. The bit that matters, because not only does it humble us when we find success, but it gives us the confidence to trust the process. You may wear the defeat of a Bad Idea or a Wrongly-Timed-Decision like armour, but you can forget that you can't skip out on the lessons hidden in the screw-ups. The bit that turns us from minnows to a #GIRLBOSS (Netflix series up for debate).

It's only through trusting the process do we grow. Let go of the glamorization of failure and see it for what it is; a moment of defeat. And a moment to rebuild on what you have misjudged or lost.

Yes, failure can be funny when it's You've Been Framed style videos of people falling, but don't fall into the trap of missing out on the uncomfortable lesson failure is trying to teach you. It's meant to hurt, be more than a red face.

You really think J K Rowling made those millions on a red faced moment?

 

Lou x


Slow Sundays are...

The creak of bedsprings. The hiss of the coffee percolator. The feeling of arms around your waist, duvets wrapped around your waist, jammies tangled up to your waist. Sluggish subway journeys; faces telling of late nights, great nights, date nights. Speckled around the carriage are faces hungover, pale and chugging fizzy juice. Faces made up with slicked back hair for an early morning shift. Faces bare and faces smiling. Couples with hands locked together, a gentle brush of a thumb across the back of a hand. That is a slow Sunday.

Sundays are for being slow, at least every once and a while. Sundays are for warm croissants, fresh coffee beans, the crinkle of newspapers and the feel of soft pyjamas. Sundays are for taking time to s i m p l y  b e.  To catch your breath after a long, hectic week. Sundays are for slow music, like Florence and the Machine, Banks or Bombay Bicycle Club, Sundays are for open mouth kisses, morning after kisses, brunch greeting kisses, in between laughing kisses.

It's a day of lie-ins and sleepy starts. Breakfast in bed, long hot showers, baths to read or catch up TV, bubbles soaking into skin, When it's sunny, Sundays are for long walks, take away iced coffee, sundresses with bare legs. Soul cleansing pilates classes, easy runs to clear your head. When it rains (and it pours in Scotland) Sundays are for pyjama runs to the corner shop for the papers, or sticking an old childhood movie on. Rainy Sundays are for comfy clothes, walks around local art galleries, museums or a trip to the cinema. They are for meeting friends, for hanging out alone, for warm home-cooked food or takeaway Chinese.

Sundays working on a bar means something a little different, however. It means take away coffee cups still, but the coffee hot to wake you up. It means choosing the music for the day, something slow like smooth jazz, Florence and the Machine, Banks. Even Harry Styles crooning Ever Since New York softly into the afternoon. It means alcohol can't be sold before half 12, by law, so the open goes luxuriously slow; cutting lemons and limes with satisfaction, each piece even and perfect for later gin and tonics, tangly and refreshing. Or cold, dripping Corona's gratefully received.

It means newspapers splayed across bar tops, singly loudly to yourself, dancing around as the lights go up. It means regular faces giving greeting before their regular order, soda generously poured, Love Island discussed and berated,. It means when hungover Kinder Buenos are tactically hidden, text messages to friends desperately sent, a 'God I really need crisps, fizzy juice or some sort of hippy green juice health hazard right now'. The smell of beer never any less musty, but instead of welcoming, it's repelling.   

When stressed, Sunday bar opens are the cure.

 

Everything slows gratefully down, the possibility of a rushed evening peaking round the corner. But the open is a pat on the back, or hair ruffled by a parent, making you feel shrunken down to a child in an Adult Costume. The sort of warmth created when parents are affectionate while you're at home; helping out with the dinner or doing the dishes. It's silent pride at completing small tasks and its discussing politics with colleagues. 

Sundays are for being alone, just for a little bit. It's relishing in the alone - quiet smugness and exaggerated prep, testing out draft coke and pulling the first foamy pint. Sundays are sometimes your Saturday or your Monday. They come in all shapes and sizes, different moods and different livelihoods.

Sundays make you think, make you stretch, make you ache. They can get you moving or hold you stand-still. They make you melancholy. They make you ecstatic. They can feel numb around 4pm; a sort of restlessness that nothing can fix, an itch, a demand for more but the more never known. Sundays demand the most from, you. They demand the least from you. They're your end-of-week, start-of-week, middle-of-the-week.  They're revered for their fondness of avocado toast and poached eggs, smug Insty brunch pics that lead to the inevitable FOMO. They're for wicked hangovers and the day-after dirty martinis.


DRESS LIKE A RAINBOW, DON’T GET TOO LOW

ƒ

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Certain behaviour can occur when one wears a lot of colour and embraces age. Now 21 might sound young to a lot (and old to a faithful few) but this girl has been getting mellow and dressing in more yellow. … Continue reading

I thought my level of uncomfortability over fake empowerment reached its height with Taylor Swift’s depiction of girl power in THAT Bad Blood music video. It turns out, Kendall Jenner can make something worse.

If you have yet to see the new Pepsi ad, encouraging people to ‘live for now moments’ is cringe inducing as one would expect from a soda company (it’s basically sugar and doesn’t taste all that, so they’ve got to make it shiny and new each time to attract our attention). But it’s problematic, for a number of reasons.

In the advert, Kendall Jenner is taking part in a photoshoot wearing a blonde wig and generally looking gorgeous and looking like a model she arguably is. She notices a protest outside but hangs back, posing some more. Then an attractive male cellist player comes along and they make eyes at each other. This is A Moment. He nods encouraging toward the protest. Suddenly, Jenner realises she too can be a part of this protest now. With the approval and encouragement of a boy, she rips off her blonde wig and smears her lipstick, yet her brown locks are still perfectly undone and the lipstick wipes off flawlessly. The blonde wig? Why it’s thrown into a black woman’s arms as Kendall struts off to take part of The Cause. Yet this cause looks oddly similar to many Black Lives Matter protests, just more bubble gum and cutesy. So like, why is Kendall going and not the unnamed black woman?

Oh and the sign’s all have the same tagline of ‘Join The Conversation’. On blue background signs. Because you can LOOK like you’re doing something hastag iconic, but don’t actually go out on a limb and make a stand over a political issue. That’s taking it too far. Stay #onbrand with marketing colours and keep your likability (read; markets) like both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner have done.

When Kendall waltzes through the crowd in impeccably double denim (also blue, hey Pepsi) it is a simple nod at the attractive cellist and she continues to surge to the front. People notice. They sense that Something Is Happening. Kendall breaks away from the crowd. She confidently and oh so bravely walks towards the line of police officers. A POC woman is looking on in awe, because when really making a difference, it’s only wealthy white women who can do it? Wearing her hijab, she eagerly lines her camera out to take a photo of this Iconic Moment. The cop takes a sip from the can and people cheer enthusiastically. This is it! Peace has been created!

And the moral of the ad? We should all be like Kendall Jenner; white, privileged, wealthy, slim, successful, young and most importantly, brave enough to take a stand. To be an ally to the movement. But wait.

Here’s why this ad is problematic; (if you haven’t picked up on my sarcasm yet, you’re in for a ride).

Firstly, Kendall Jenner is white. Yet she is the one that ‘saves’ the protest as she coolly and peacefully hands a cop a can of Pepsi. Forget peace talks! Share a Pepsi! Donald Trump worrying you because you feel like your very existence will be erased? Don’t sweat it, someone might give him a Pepsi! Brexit talks getting tense? They’ll pass round a six pack of Pepsi!

So to make a change, be white.

 

 

Secondly, why be an ally, when you could take over and end a protest conflict-free? As this tweet shows in a rose-tinted-window-smashing way, once you see that you can’t unsee it. Not only does Jenner end the protest, but she also manages to make it all about her. All POC should bow to her, for she is The Saviour. This is not how to be an ally and help POC – it’s undermining their fight by morphing it into a white issue, when it really isn’t a white issue.

 

Thirdly, the fact that the cop only then nods to his friends as if to say ‘hey, these protesters might be just like us!’ Because an attractive, commercialised white woman has handed them a soda, so like, why not think human beings might be the same? What a startling new discovery! Dare we say… Pepsi and Kendall Jenner… just ended racism in one single swoop?

 

It’s around here I’m meant to say ‘when will your fav EVER’ am I right?

 

By commercialising protests this ad, both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner are doing a disservice to all forms of demonstration. Through commercialisation, it loses its very nature of seriousness. The essence of consumerisation is something that takes away the human part of something else. The idea of protest is brought down to a mind-numbingly playful level. The idea of ‘why take part of a protest, when you can buy a can of Pepsi?’ is placed in the minds of the audience. The core fact that this is a reality for millions of people, protesting the right to live their lives they way they should be able to, without fear or intimidation.

Kendall Jenner fake-solving an issue with a can of soda is insulting, demeaning and frankly, far too fucking easy. It makes people think ‘why cause all this fuss?’ if things are so easy to solve. But spoiler; they are not easy to solve. At all. There are years of oppression to work through and understand, to be able to right across the board the state of equal rights. You cannot cutely solve racism. And you cannot make it into a mockery through a feel-good advert.

 

And you really can’t do it through a white owned soda company.

And as cringe-inducing as this ad is, it was also released at possibly the worst time ever - the anniversary of Martin Luther King's death. And all I can really think is - are you kidding me?

If Pepsi did indeed wish to make an advert to show their solidarity and support in a frightening political time, why pick a white wealthy model? Why not have someone who actually uses their platform to speak up on social issues. Because really...

 

When has Kendall Jenner ever spoke up about social issues?

 

Encouraging people to 'go vote' and leaving to speak up about supporting Hillary Clinton until the final days of the election, really isn't cutting it. Especially when you have a platform as big as Jenner does.

 

Let's not praise someone for doing the very least thing possible, call it groundbreaking and make everyone feel good about an ad that does nothing but sell sugar in a can. Let's not let this pass over, because there's a level of responsibility when you have a platform and do the whole 'show not tell' on important social and political issues. You don't get praised for noticing. 

 

People shouldn't be thankful you got a pay-check mimicking their fight for basic human rights.