Musical Me: Lizz’s top 5 musicals

Hi! Hello! Greetings! Salutations!

Since we last spoke, or rather since I last tapped the keys of my laptop in attempt to converse with anyone who is reading, I’ve become more than slightly obsessed with musical theatre. Yes that’s right, I felt the thrilling call of Broadway and now I feel like I’m a brand new person, with so many more songs that are apt for everyday occurrences. Anyway, in this post I intend to share my favourites that I have listened to so far!

5) Dear Evan Hansen

If you haven’t heard of Dear Evan Hansen/ if you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, then I guess the best thing for me to do would be to urge you to have a listen. The plot follows a teenage boy, the eponymous Evan Hansen, who suffers with severe social anxiety and how on one fateful day, following instructions from his therapist to write letters to himself, a letter gets into the wrong hands (the hands of a boy named Connor, who becomes an integral part of Evan’s narrative).
I won’t say much more because I do not wish to spoil such an audible delight that this musical is, but what I will say is that if you plan on listening to this incredible piece of theatre for its entirety then my advice is to lend it your most emotionally brave ear, because there will be times where tears will fall and you will not be able to stop them from doing so.
Favourite song(s) from Dear Evan Hansen: Either ‘Good for You’ or ‘Waving Through a Window’ -both make me feel many feelings!

4) Sunny Afternoon

A jukebox musical following the rise to fame of the Muzzwell Hillbillys many know of us as ‘The Kinks’. The Kinks are a big part of my life, especially so during my formative teenage years, and so it felt only right that this musical solely featuring songs by Sir Ray Davies should make it into my top five. The tracks don’t particularly articulate a plot as such, but rather they show the progression of the Kinks as a band as the musical itself progresses. Of the five musicals that I talk about in this post, this is the only one that I have actually been lucky enough to see live onstage when, on its tour, it stopped for a three day stint in my hometown of York*.
Favourite song(s) from Sunny Afternoon: coincidentally my favourite song by The Kinks, ‘Waterloo Sunset’

3) Come From Away

A musical of interwoven truths surrounding the events that shook the world on September 11th 2001 and how Gander airport in Newfoundland saved many souls on that awful day. This piece of theatre broke me to the core and then, bit by bit, made me whole again through recurring motifs, a magnificent Celtic score and of course, Jenn Colella.
Favourite song(s) from Come From Away: ‘Me and the Sky’ and ‘Phoning Home’

2) Hamilton

Okay. Wow. I really thought that this one would make it to number one for me as this will always be my true love and quite probably my first intense love of musical theatre. If you haven’t heard of Hamilton, or the great lord and saviour Lin-Manuel Miranda then I do have to automatically assume that you only just came out of the womb, in which case, congratulations! Anywho… this lyrical masterpiece has been awarded its many accolades such as Tony award for best musical, Pulitzer Prize for drama to name a few due its insane and innate  brilliance. The story centres around one of America’s founding fathers (Alexander Hamilton) and how he ‘wrote his way out’ of the poverty he was born into in the Caribbean after his father left and his mother died, and how he rose to power as George Washington’s ‘right hand man’** to then go onto founding America’s financial system.  With a few embellishments of historical inaccuracy, this musical really does educate those (like me) who haven’t much of a clue about American history and how it shaped the America of today (not that I’d know too much about present day USA, seeing as I’m a Brit…)
Favourite song(s) from Hamilton: This is EXTREMELY difficult because I feel that I love them ALL! However, I’ll pick 3: ‘Satisfied’, ‘My Shot’ and ‘Washington on Your Side’

1) Falsettos

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Original Playbill from the original run in 1992!

“AND STILL THE BASTARD DIVORCED ME!” … If that’s not a line to make you instantaneously fall in love with the lyrics of William Finn then I worry for your heart and soul. I received a copy of the 2016 Broadway cast revival of Falsettos in the post last week that my dad had kindly purchased for me and within the space of about 9 days I have cried, laughed and danced a significantly large amount of times. I think it is safe to say that without doing any statistical analysis on the correlation between the amount of times I have listened to Falsettos and the amount of emotional fluctuations I have had, there is a strong positive correlation between the two variables. This story follows Marvin who has recently left his wife and child for his male lover, Whizzer, however they all try to make it work as Marvin wants a ‘tight-knit family’ so they all live together. It’s a story of love, acceptance, finding yourself and your family in hard times,   and understanding what love is. And to make all that even more emotionally straining, it is set between 1979 and the early 80s… that’s right, the brink of the AIDS crisis. Aaaand, not only that, but it also includes some wholesome ‘Lesbians from Next Door’, to cheer you up when you get to the emotionally distressing parts. Not quite convinced yet? Okay, I guess I should probably mention that the first track in the musical is titled ‘Four Jews In A Room Bitching.’ Sold? Awesome.
Favourite song(s) from Falsettos: ‘Four Jews In A Room Bitching’, ‘The Baseball Game’, ‘Everyone Hates His Parents’ and finally ‘Unlikely Lovers’

*-There will be a post about the experience of seeing Sunny Afternoon live on the blog very soon!
**-This is where I tried to squeeze a handful of Hamilton references in without it seeming too obsessive- I hope I succeeded!


Okely dokely, hopefully that will have given you a rough idea as to why I have been absent for about 3 months… MUSICAL THEATRE HAS LITERALLY CONSUMED ME!!!!
I feel some honourable mentions in regards to good musicals should be stated and so here are some others that I believe are definitely worth checking out:

  • The Book Of Mormon
  • Groundhog Day: The Musical
  • 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • A New Brain
  • Amelie
  • Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
  • Blondel

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I shall post for y’all again soon!

Lizz

 

The Hair Diaries. Volume 3

Hi! Hello! Greetings! Salutations!

It occurred me as I pandiculated this morning, that I had not updated the Hair Diaries blog series and it’s been over a week since I had my head shaved! Shave on me! (Not my best pun, however hopefully this will partially make up for the laziness on my part…)

It happened. The whole shebang was completed at 12:30pm on March 31st 2017 in the sunny outside quarters of my sixth form. Allow me to set the scene: My good friend Lee-Anne began to bobble up my hair whilst a crowd gathered (including my mum and LC (the illustrator of my icon)) and I shuffled nervously in my seat. The whole event was livestreamed on my facebook account, so watching it back a few times has been a joy and in some ways a surprise; I didn’t stop smiling for the whole 23 minute recording! Although it had been planned that the head teacher of my school would be making the first cut and shave of my then-luscious locks, he unfortunately was away on the day and so the task was delegated to my friend Eva, much to her own extreme excitement. Once the hair was all bobbled-up, we began a countdown from ten and then… HAIRCUT ACTIVATED! I’m not gonna lie, the cutting aspect of the hair hurt a wee bit however my heavily pulled-on scalp was quick to recover and soon I had a pretty… um… funky hairdo, as you can expect mid-cut.

 

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A funky do. (featuring Eva the prime-mover of the shave, and Lee-Anne the chief shave supervisor)

Once that part was over and the donation boxes were being shaken and passed around by my two helping buddies, Lizzie and Jesi, the shaving began. Now, having never experienced an electric shaver on my scalp before, and also having never experienced a head massage before, it does seem slightly incorrect that I should liken it to one, however I have been told I have pretty good imagination and, upon that statement, it was basically THE BEST HEAD MASSAGE EVER. Eva did the first one, straight down the middle of my head and then Lee-Anne took over, changing the razor attachment to a shorter one each time until finally we reached ‘1’. I was wearing a bin bag for the 25 minute duration and I personally think I could pull off the look, although my mum disagreed, but it did do a good job of catching all the stray clumps of hair that didn’t make it into the ‘hair-bag’ I was holding. Then, just like that, I was (practically) bald!

 

after

The after effect! (ft. Lee-Anne’s hand)

 

I couldn’t have done it without the continued support of my friends, family and teachers. It was truly an honour to do this for Macmillan and raise over £1000.

Current hair stats are…

Hair length: 1.5cm (it’s been a week since the shave when it was just under 1cm)
Happiness with hair: 10/10
Hair that got donated: Sadly none, and this part is on my laziness: I have owned a broken hair dryer for 3 years (aka since it broke) and because of this, every time I dried my hair the heat setting was stuck on VERY HIGH and there was no way to fix it. Now, me being me, just assumed “hey it dries my hair which is the purpose of it. Guess it’s fine”… No, Lizz. No. Heat damage is a thing that exists and unfortunately my hair was very damaged because of it. The positive side of this is that I have now learned from my mistake and gotten rid of the broken appliance! Huzzah!
Even though my hair could not be donated, I still managed to raise over £1000 which I’m really proud of. Thank you so, so, so , so much to everyone who donated and supported!

Stay well dudes,

Elizabeth (Lizz)

 

 

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Me, a Brave Shaver. ❤

 

The Hair Diaries. Volume 2

Hi! Hey! Hello! Greetings! Salutations!

It is now 12 days until I will be having my head shaved in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support charity and I am beyond excited, after days and weeks of ticking off days on my calendar, waiting for March 31st.

Since my last post, I have procured an electric razor, so I can now say with dizzying enthusiasm that I am ready for the day to arrive. My friends who have also had their heads shaved have warned me that my head for the first few weeks will get very cold, so hats are an essential. My growing collection of beanies finally has a more substantial purpose than just being there so that I can occasionally adorn my head with a barely-on-beanie, so as to appear like the wannabe-hipster that I can honestly say I am.

Hair is currently 12 inches (approx)

Stay well dudes,

Elizabeth (Lizz)

P.S I am happy to note that my friends have assured and promised me that there will not be any phallic symbols being shaved into my head; Yippee!

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I tried to pose in a cute way with the razor but I have discovered it is extremely difficult to do so, so I apologize for my demonic-looking expression.

The Hair Diaries. Volume 1

Hi! Hey! Hello! Greetings! Salutations!

Welcome to the Hair Diaries, where I’m gonna be talking hair…. obviously. On the 22nd January 2017 I finally bucked up the courage to set a date for me to shave my head. But this isn’t any old head shave, this is in fact one that I’m doing to raise funds for the cancer charity of Macmillan Cancer Support. It’s an incredible charity (which I am aware can be said about all charities because supporting causes is something that unites us as people) and incredibly worthy of donations and support.

The countdown of days has now gotten to 24 days, and while I am a little nervous that my friend who is shaving might shave a phallic symbol into my scalp (even though she is very trustworthy, I worry the temptation will become too much), I am very excited for this new fresh start with my hair and also I’m excited by the act of doing something for charity. I have partaken in bake sales before to aid a charity very close to my heart, CLAPA (the Cleft Lip And Palate Association) and the reward is just really nice. The phrase ‘really nice’ doesn’t really do that feeling justice, but I think you get the essence of what I’m saying.
**side note: this isn’t a post where I’m bragging about charity work. I just think it’s an important thing**

So yeah, beside a possible penis-shape on my scalp which is highly unlikely, I’m really looking forward to 31st March 2017. I will be updating this with along my hair journey. I’ve been so super overwhelmed by the amount of support and donations I have received for this, not to mention extremely thankful for it.

The link for my BraveTheShave profile is linked here.

Thank you for reading,

Elizabeth (Lizz)

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Why We Need Fiction.

Since man learnt to write, we have been devouring bits of writing and entering new worlds, creating new words and worlds using our voices and any writing implements that are available to us. Fiction, at it’s core, allows us to communicate with each other and even with strangers. It opens doors to telling our own stories through characters and lets us peep into the lives of strangers who we then learn to love as we turn page after page.

We need fiction because we need escapism and information. We need it because we need a reassurance that we’re going to be okay.


Thanks for reading and Happy New Year (or Happy End of January),
Elizabeth

Autumn 

For those of you who know me, you’ll know Autumn is my favourite season and I practically eulogise about it. There are so many reasons I love this time of the year. 

The colours are beautiful, every nook and cranny of earth appears to be covered by a litter of orange, brown and red leaves making everywhere look aflame in glory. It happens so strangely, too. Languidly leaves begin to litter the ground and drop from the grasp of the fingers of the trees. A sea of green is created from a seemingly all green canopy. And then BAM! Dots of orange start to appear everywhere; in the trees, on the ground and all of a sudden Autumn has reared its beautiful face into view. Suddenly the reds and yellows start to appear too and then, before you know it, there are shades of a colour scheme that can only described to me as a Pumpkin-Spice-Palette. 

Autumn comes as summer fades and the leaves begin to fall. It happens strangely and yet so peacefully- slowly and all at once, like the beginnings of a thunderstorm; a low rumble rapidly tumbling into a full blown tempest. 

Hope you enjoyed that little Autumn appreciation post- I have been without wifi for numerous days now so I have really been enjoying the outside world and the wonderous beauty that autumn brings about the world. 

Stay well dudes, 

Elizabeth

Photo taken by me 🙂

Sunday Selection: Volume 1

It’s still Sunday where I am, so I thought I’d start a little sub-project for myself. This is the start of a little thing I’m gonna call ‘Sunday Selection’, where on Sundays (when I have the time) I’m going to talk about some stuff that I’ve been liking recently, so that I can look back on it in the future. And also be reminded about how awesome certain things are.

‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman

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‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. The book feat. my hand.

I read this book just over 2 years ago now and now after recently rereading it still remains one of my favourite books. It truly encapsulates the bizarre and instantly draws you into this strange little world within the 235 page novel. Gaiman’s work draws you in on the first page and explores memory, childhood and the additional twisted, weird dark forces that came from a land that would have probably been best left undisturbed. Okay, I know that only two of those literary explorations are personally relatable to most people, but who doesn’t love a little bit of nostalgia, looking back into childhood? Eh?
The way it is written reminded me slightly of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’; a dark sci-fi/fantasy, mutant-worm infested ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, where the Boo Radley character is actually a 7 year-old girl with the wisdom of a 105 year-old. The prose is written in first person, this person being a 7-year-old boy, who is a moderately unhappy child. Because of his age the story comes with an honesty that is not usually found in most novels. The voice of a child, I have found,  is one of the most universally unfiltered qualities that human beings have ever possessed. Opinions fly out with amazing honesty and truth. It’s one of the reasons I love this book so much. That, and Lettie Hempstock (AKA the coolest enigma of a character. Ever.)

Favourite quote from this book: “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” (Page 17)

Hot chocolate

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Photograph by me. It looks so hispter! #beverageart

I think this is just a fact that humanity has come to accept: Hot chocolate is the solution to all troubles. It is the cure to all irritation. It’s just so lovely.
For me, there is nothing nicer than sitting down, wrapped up in a blanket bundle, with a book and a creamy hot chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. In fact it’s so delicious that I think my brain is all out f superlatives- that what it does to me; it renders me incompetent of description because I am too baffled by its beauty.
Side note: I’m sorry if for health reasons you can’t have a hot chocolate, or if for some reason you have never had the opportunity to try one because if that is the case then I’m hoping that changes for you soon.

Brooklyn 99

Possibly the most inoffensive sit-com ever to grace TV screens containing in-depth characters, character development throughout multiple series and just a helluva a lot of laughs. Plus if you’re a fan of either the Lonely Island comedy group or Terry Crews (because I’m not gonna lie, Elizabeth loves Terry like Terry loves Yoghurt), then this is definitely the show for you. Super easily binge-able. Trust me; I have binged TV shows before so therefore I’m obviously a trained professional who knows what they’re doing…


Thanks for reading! I hope hot chocolate finds you soon and that you enjoyed this post because I really enjoyed writing it; fully reinforced my love for those three things.

Stay well dudes,

Elizabeth

Anxiety and I

Anxiety and I go back a while, I guess you could even consider us old friends. But more probably, old foes. We were never extremely close when I was small, but it was always there, in the back of my mind.

It made me question myself. Question my morals, my work, my effort. When I tried my hardest at something and gave it my all, that was when it came a little closer; inching towards me like a predator does its prey until it does a quick swipe and the prey enters fight or flight mode.

I guess you could kind of say that I didn’t quite enter that mind-set. Suddenly, as it made its swipe, I was stunned, like a rabbit in headlights and I wasn’t sure what to do. What was that? The voice of reason? Whatever it was, I listened. It convinced me that I wasn’t good enough. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. Soon enough, that idea was being carved into my brain repeatedly, each carving cut deeper than the last.

Okay. I know I sound dramatic but I’m trying to illustrate how anxiety can influence people’s thought processes and how it has influenced mine in the past. Anxiety and I became closer as I got older. When I was 11 I was convinced that practically everything I did was wrong; I lost a few friends, thinking I had upset them and that I was annoying so I kept my distance. I had a few family issues at that time in my life, and I partly blamed myself for them. Anxiety had become synonymous with reason. I’m a bad person. I am to blame. They don’t like me. I annoy and upset my friends. These are just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head, flashing in the forefront of my mind. It felt as though these overwhelming notions were pinning me down, bruising me and forcing me to question myself. I’d like to point out though that my parents and teachers were very supportive of the things I did, and were (and still are) absolutely lovely. But it was as if their words we like a whisper, and anxiety’s a shout through a megaphone.

It is only now that I’m a bit older that I can see that this isn’t healthy for me. That doesn’t mean that I never listen to my anxieties because that would be a very big lie, but I do try to let the thoughts go when they’re all running and breaking apart in to millions of sub-thoughts like sparks from a firework. I let them die out and try not to allow myself fan the sparks into a flame because honestly, it’s not worth it.

If you too suffer from the aches and pains that anxiety hoist upon us then I really hope it gets better for you soon. I recently was told that self-compassion is an important thing to practice and so that’s what I’m trying to work on. I’ll try not to punish myself if I make mistakes because making them is how I am going to learn; making them is how I am going to grow as a person. I am enough. You are enough. Anxiety sucks. But I am not my anxiety and nor are you yours. We are humans and we’re pretty damn awesome, even if we don’t feel it sometimes.

Stay well dudes,

Elizabeth

 

 

Pipe Cleaner Days

I used to sit at my desk,
With sugar paper plans,
Free of all life’s stress,
With a pencil in my hand.

I was spontaneous, didn’t plan ahead,
Creativity at my finger tips,
Splodges of paint, pink and red,
PVA glue peeling from my lips.

I wrote with zeal and with zest,
Stories of orange eating monsters,
Plots that truly outshone the rest,
Plots that were really quite bonkers.

O how I miss those pipe cleaner days,
How I miss feeling 10 feet tall,
It isn’t as fun writing up essays.
Life was great when I was small.

© Elizabeth G. Lee


Thank you for reading that! I wrote this today in my break at work. Some colleagues and I were discussing primary school and primary school teachers and I felt inspired to write a little piece. When we’re living the fun moments, we don’t tend appreciate them until they’re over or until we are experiencing a less-fun time in our lives. I miss the freedom of reception class where we could draw pictures and make collages of scrunched up tissue paper, pipe cleaners and an obscene amount of PVA glue. But life is still fun now; even though I have to write essays, they’re not terrible to write. Some essays are fun, and also I still get to do what I love; creatively write and ponder.

Side note: When I was 7 I actually did pen a little story called, ‘The Orange Eating Monster’. Sadly, it appears to have been lost to the ravages of time and growing up (AKA the ruthlessness of the bedroom clear out.)

Stay well dudes,

Elizabeth

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My own creation. ‘Paradise’ by Elizabeth G. Lee, aged 10.