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Sunday 29 May 2016

A Library Theatre Performance

You know how much I love libraries; but you may not know I also love theatre. I do love acting and performing, but even more-so there is little I find as thrilling and magical as watching a performance. When I was younger I remember my dad taking me to amateur theatre productions quite often (I believe it’s one of the main reasons I love Shakespeare as I was watching it long before I had to study it at school), and pretty much every performance inspired me and made me think about or reconsider something important to life.

I didn’t ever expect these two passions of mine to come together (though admittedly where I used to live, the only theatre was in in the upstairs of the library, but they were still separate); so when I saw a theatre company was visiting a library near me, I jumped at the chance (and it’s a testament to my family that a few of them wanted to come with me). I didn’t really know what to expect as didn’t really know anything about the company Librarian Theatre or anything about the performance ‘The Book’s The Thing’ beyond that it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’.

I was blown away. 

With a cast of just 3, this incredibly innovative company reminded me just how much I love theatre. As it was in a library, it was a very intimate performance, with the cast directly addressing members of the audience (and giving props and clothes to those unlucky enough to catch their eye), and taking inspiration from their surroundings. This created a very strange and unique experience but really made you feel like part of the performance. Personally I just loved everything about it (and my family seemed to, too). The cast are incredibly talented, so it was easy most of the time to differentiate between characters. And while most of the script keeps the Shakespearean language, it was reworked in such a way to easily follow the story-line without as much back story babble you usually have to sit through. In short, I loved it (in case you couldn’t tell!), and I came away feeling inspired and excited.

The fact it was performed in a library was really the icing on the cake. I love going to the library and browsing the books (and undoubtedly borrowing a few despite the never-ending TBR piles around my home), and hate that due to cuts libraries are becoming more and more likely to shut. As a future (fingers-crossed) librarian, I do worry by the time I’m able to work, there either won’t be anywhere to work, or the entire job will be done by one or two people and the rest by machines, so that this theatre company has chosen to support local libraries by performing in them, really speaks to me. Libraries should be places of community, safety, and inspiration, where everyone is welcome and anyone can find something, and I strongly believe it is through companies like Librarian Theatre that libraries can reach their potential in offering so much more than books (not that there’s anything wrong with books of course).

‘The Book’s The Thing’ is currently in London I believe, but regardless if you missed this play (it’s now coming to the end of it, unfortunately I didn’t know about it for most of the tour), If you are in the UK I strongly recommend keeping an eye out on this new and unusual company Librarian Theatre as I can only imagine what they will come up with next.

[I was not asked to review this performance and I paid full-price, just wanted to share my views on it.]

Tuesday 16 February 2016


Today I was in Oxfam looking for some gifts and somehow I got talking to the woman on the register about money/rent/benefits - I am currently having difficulties with all three. Anyway, as I was getting my stuff ready to pay she announced she was going to treat me to a couple of the books. I'm not in a position to argue over something like that right now, so gratefully accepted. However, as I left I couldn't help but wonder, am I that pathetic that an old woman who works in a charity shop feels that bad for me?

Usually I am on the giving end, or at least the offering end (if someone doesn't have the right change or a couple of quid short or needs a carrier bag, I almost always offer to help). Until now I’ve never understood why so many people refuse to accept my RAK (Random Act of Kindness); to me it’s always been a way to spread love and hope around. But it seems

So yes, I accepted the gesture, as I wish others would accept RAKs from me (whether they need it, or it is just a gesture of kindness), but it wasn’t without the nagging feeling that I shouldn’t have. Now I have a better idea of why others don’t want to accept it, as our society has made it so we treat every RAK with suspicion (especially if from a stranger), and when it involves money, even just a few pence, it mutates into creating shame and awkwardness. That won’t stop me from offering as I believe this world can always do with more kindness and love, and if I can do nothing else, at least I can spread a smile.

Have you ever RAK’d someone? What RAK will you give this week?

Sunday 14 February 2016

Babies are Cute ??!

The first baby I found cute - my baby brother (2008)

I have never been a fan of children. I think even when I was a kid I didn’t really like other kids - partially due to bullying, but most likely because I preferred the company of a book. The worst though are definitely babies and toddlers. To be honest, I don’t fully understand why anyone would want one - they make a lot of noise, can be really annoying, and in general just look deformed as their features are all out of proportion (in my mind anyway). So yeah, there are very few babies and toddlers I would classify as ‘cute’.

The other day, though, I was out eating lunch and there was a baby looking at me and he was cute (the dad was quite yummy as well), to the point that I waved at him (the baby) and he broke out in this incredible smile which in turn made me smile. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this has been happening more often recently - me finding babies cute! Okay, so they stop being cute the moment noise comes out of them, and they have to have hair to qualify, but it’s weird for me to imagine wanting to be near anyone that young for any amount of time (hence being a Scout Leader and not a Beaver or Cub Leader).

Perhaps it’s just a hormonal thing (which is easy for me to believe as my body has been doing weird things these past couple of weeks), or perhaps I’m just growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t want to have a baby, and I still find the majority of young children really irritating.

But finding the occasional baby ‘cute’ gives me hope that I’m not such a terrible person after all; and believe me, the looks I get when I say I don’t like children you would think that I’d just told them I was going to kill all babies (which is ridiculous as I have no idea how I’d go about that without them starting to scream and I don’t want to be near that).

Anyone else out there who don’t usually find babies and young children cute?

Monday 11 January 2016

Into a New Year

While I’m not making an official goals or resolutions this year, I am hoping to live with a little more intention while still focusing on improving my health.

I was lucky enough to stay with my parents over Christmas, and without doing so I doubt I would have realized just how far I’ve come over the past few years. While there, I was able to go out most days using only my walking stick. Of course I didn’t walk particularly far on any day, but it was simply that I was doing so much almost constantly that astounded me. I know I did way too much and am still dealing with a lot of the side effects, but a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have made it past a couple of days being so active without causing a severe crash.  

Since I’ve got home I’ve realized just how long a day can be when it is not filled with constant activity (whether that be going out or talking to someone). While at my parents I was so busy spending time with family and friends I barely had time to open my laptop, let alone find myself wasting days watching something on Netflix (and as they also don’t have television I never found myself flicking through channels), inspiring me to try harder to do that little bit more and slowly push myself into a more productive pattern so I don’t feel I am just wasting time.  The only question now is where I want to put my focus as there are still many things I enjoy doing (but I know I can’t improve my health if I try to be productive with all of them).

Have you made any resolutions this year? What inspired you to do so (or not)?