Newsletter 011 – Remember, remember

It’s newsletter time, yo and as I sit down to think about what’s been happening, I fear I don’t have much to say. My life is all about my dog and watching horror films, with the occasional meal out, and sometimes a deep and meaningful conversation.

With that in mind I’ll break this into work, life, play segments to keep it coherent.

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Positive Menty Attitude

I thought I’d be a bit more serious today, because why the fuck not? Sometimes you’ve got to admit things are less than good and take a moment to ponder the next step.Things haven’t been great for anyone over the last couple of years and it’s taken me longer than I thought it would to get back into life. I just haven’t been myself for a long time and I’m kind of done with it.

Work have an avenue you can explore which gives you eight sessions with a therapist and I start next week. I’m kind of terrified about what I’ll learn about myself but I’m ready to do the work. I had a couple of sessions with someone years and years ago but I think I’ve blocked most of that experience out of my mind. I think I’m probably mature enough now to articulate better so I hope it will be helpful and healthy.

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Hair

The lockdown was pretty alright for a recluse like me but one of the highlights was being able to experiment with all sorts of hair colours in the comfort of my own home. If it went wrong or didn’t suit it didn’t matter because what would my husband or cat care? I went from red to blonde to bright pink to Cookie Monster blue and every shade in between – and I smugly commended my follicles for hanging in there, not falling out or bowing down to the pressure I wrought down upon them. Until, they did.

After two years of rocking an extreme rainbow, my tresses have finally said: “No more” and turned into spaghetti. It was the last bleach bath that did it and I knew, just knew I was pushing my luck. And now I’ve been to the hairdressers and had it cut short to weather the storm sensibly. No more box dye, bleach or heat – trims every six weeks – and I’m going back to my natural colour. BOO!

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September

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”

~ Henry Rollins

After two and a half years, the Bass household (and the Martins) have finally welcomed Miss ‘Rona. She kicked her way in nearly a week ago and here we all are: achey, tired and disgusting. Although it’s not as bad as I thought, it is rotten – like a bad flu-like illness. We’ve just bedded in all weekend and it’s been perfect actually. I’ve almost completed my Stranger Things rewatch, played hours of Animal Crossing and had all our meals delivered. It will be a cruel twist to return to work tomorrow but it has to happen sometime I suppose.

It does feel great that it’s already September. I can’t wait for Autumn to arrive properly, it’s always my most creative and comfortable time – and I’m happy to start leaning into all things basic and cosy. I won’t lie, the last few months have been really tough and everything’s felt just a little more bleak than usual (I won’t go into detail but FUCK THE TORIES).

I’m actually going to reach out for some talking therapy to deal with the last few years and general life, which is something I’ve been thinking about doing for over a year and been putting off at every opportunity. It’s almost as if I’m scared of what I might unleash. Joking aside, I do think it’ll be great to learn some new skills to hush the negative voice. I’ll keep you posted on any major breakthroughs.

It isn’t all doom and gloom up in here actually – I’ve joined a Dungeons & Dragons group at work and I am officially obsessed. Our Dungeon Master is going easy on us as the majority of us are beginners just seeing what the craic is but my god, it’s so much fun. And all we use is a die and our sweet, sweet imaginations!

If you’re wondering, I’m an Elvish sorcerer who can shoot fire from her fingertips. I can’t tell you class or level yet as it’s all still very new but I am really looking forward to our next session. I actually ordered my own D20s (20-sided dice) in case I have to play from home next week and they’re just so beautiful!

Apart from that we’re just sick little pigs wallowing in our own filth with the dog and Mittens for company. I’m dreading work tomorrow but looking forward to the day I feel better and can breath the soon-to-be-Autumn air as Jesus intended: through the steam of an extra-hot, extra-wet soya Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Happy September all 🎃 🍂

Getting to know me

It’s been a long, long time since I posted anything that wasn’t film themed. I can honestly say it’s because I’ve been completely uninspired for the best part of the year with no sign of my creative mojo returning. However, I do want to be better so I thought I’d work on my About me to see if that stirred anything up.

We’ll see about that but I thought I’d give you a little bio and take inspiration from five questions, the answers to which you’ve no doubt always wanted to know. Here goes:

Gypsy

I’m a forty-something, chunky tattooed woman who lives for horror movies and all things pitch black, emphasis on the supernatural and true crime (I know, groundbreaking). I live just outside Brighton in a tiny, messy house with my husband, our dog Gypsy (the love of my life) and our cat Mittens. I’m also a step mum to an 18-year-old and aunt to a beautiful nephew called Max. We also have a new niece or nephew in the oven, which I’m so excited about. I can’t wait to meet them.

When I’m not at work I enjoy reading, movies, listening to podcasts and hanging out. I’m happiest when I can nap in the afternoon and I love local graffiti. I’m a total homebody, which has been exacerbated by the lockdown but was true before that. Honestly, it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.

To the question portion! Lifted from the internet.

What is my purpose in life?

Beats me, though the film Soul made me feel like not having a defined purpose but just living is enough. I want people to remember me as being funny and kind (if not devilishly good-looking and whip smart), so I guess I strive to be an okay person. Decent but not a boring goody two-shoes.

Weirdly enough I’ve always felt like something substantial would reveal itself to be the meaning of my existence, but I’m still waiting. As a very anxious person, I find it hard to envisage what my future holds but I remain hopeful that there’ll be a sign when it’s time.

Midsommar (2019)

Would I rather watch: action, romance, fantasy, or horror?

Surprising absolutely nobody – horror all the way. The nastier the better. Actually, there are sub-genres I’d rather avoid (torture porn) but I’m partial to schlocky B-movies – if it features a shark, even better – and I love found footage, home invasion and anything supernatural.

Some of my all-time favourites are Candyman (1992), Midsommar, Hellraiser, Suspiria (2018) and the Paranormal Activity franchise. And Lake Mungo is one of the legit scariest films I’ve ever seen.

If I could change anything about myself, what would it be?

I need to fight the urge to list “everything”. I won’t because I’m trying to work on not pulling myself apart. I think I’ll go for wishing I was more sure of myself. I apologise and take responsibility for things I shouldn’t and it’s so boring. I hate to see this quality on other people, but it’s definitely one of mine too.

Okay, maybe I wish my hair was in better condition but since I’ve fried it with hair colour changes every two weeks I guess I need to do the work to repair it.

PSH & Divine

Who inspires me?

Pretty much every one of the women I know inspires me. My mum is the greatest person I know – she’s very wise, funny and so interesting, having lived a very cool life in several different countries. And, I continue to love and admire the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Divine. Both would be my dream dinner party guests.

How do I view my own personal history?

I think about this a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have lots of regrets, but given the chance I wouldn’t change them. Even the worst ones. They’ve lead me to exactly where I need to be and because of them my life is so much better. I know what I don’t want to put up with anymore. I also know my worth, or perhaps more accurately, I’m most of the way there.

I’ve also had an interesting life, I’ve travelled and I’ve made many friends across the world – I feel so lucky for those opportunities. The only thing I lament is some of the friendships that have faltered – this hasn’t happened often thankfully, and I wouldn’t necessarily go back and fix them, but I do miss those people.

I’ve also been incredibly brave in my life, for finally getting out of a mentally abusive relationship. I also lived alone in a new city and followed my heart when it was time. That makes me a badass in my own eyes.

Photo by me, Brighton (2022)

And finally, a list of the things I love the most in this world:

  • Tattoos
  • Horror movies/books
  • Stephen King
  • Naps
  • Getting my nails done
  • Freshly washed hair
  • Personal space
  • Animal Crossing New Horizons
  • The Cure
  • Sarcastic people
  • My nephew
  • Gypsy the dog
  • Ru Paul’s Drag Race
  • Shark movies and shark paraphernalia
  • Twin Peaks
  • Podcasts
  • Autumn
  • The Pink Panther Snipes Again
  • Melanie Lynsky (and Yellowjackets)

How are you?

Springbreakers – March newsletter

Here we are nearing the last few days in March and things are both awful and pretty okay in equal measure. The world is a cesspit with real life war raging on in Europe and honestly, things are almost too horrible to comprehend. While I stand with the Ukraine and will do my small part to help, I know my head in the sand approach to the news is a luxury many just don’t have, and I recognise it.

Throw in the cost of living crisis, which is terrifying, and it sometimes feels like there’s no good left – which is the perfect time to take stock I suppose. What I want to know though is where are the roaring twenty twenties we were promised? I’ve been hanging out for Gatsby-fication of the world post-COVID for a while now.

In the meantime, here’s what I’m grateful for, thinking about, doing and loving this month.

Max’s 1st birthday and thank god for family

My nephew turned 1 last weekend and it was lovely to be part of his big day. Obviously babies don’t give a fuck about the meaning of the day, so it’s more a celebration for the parents. As a (fucking delighted) non-parent, I can’t imagine how it must feel to have created life and kept it happy and healthy for twelve whole months. It’s definitely worth shouting about.

I know I’m completely biased but my nephew is a sweet angel prince and I adore him.

It actually sucks we live so far away from my brother and his wife. I’d give anything to be able to pop round for a cup of tea after work with Maddy – and of course be there to see my nephew grow all the time. But then I guess the way it is now makes family time even more special and anyway, they lived in Hove a few years back and we still saw them the same amount, guess it’s called having our own lives.

As I get older I do fantasise about moving away from Brighton. I don’t know where I’d go and I’d want to stay on the coast. Maybe Hastings Old Town? I can see myself trotting around that area looking bomb AF. I doubt this will ever happen but sometimes I think it would be nice to start over – and be closer to the fam.

Office space

Work are trying to get us back into the office in a hybrid capacity after exactly two years (for me) of working at home in my underwear. I’m coming round to the idea of returning to the working world – and I know it will be good for my mental health – but it’s still a lot to adjust to. Two years of being out of the rat race (sort of) would have been unfathomable before all this happened but it’s funny how quickly you can get used to something. And now I’ll have to get used to two days a week in the office.

I know I’m incredibly lucky to be in this position so there will be no moaning coming from me. Well, until the most minor of inconveniences on my part. In general work news, I’ve said before how I feel more comfortable when I’m flying under the radar. I’m not one for pushing myself too hard but apparently I’m doing something right at the moment and that freaks me out! My first instinct is always panic and doubt in my abilities. I can’t imagine being someone who doesn’t have imposter syndrome, imagine being like “Yeah I can easily do this, no sweat”. Mind-boggling.

Out and about

It does feel good to be going out to dinner with friends and seeing films again. Dressing up to go out is important to me and makes me feel good – so I’m enjoying myself. Equally, I enjoy the down time afterwards and will still always see the bright side when someone cancels our plans.

It’s also nice to actually be doing little things for myself again like going for regular trims and getting my nails done – something I will have to pack up very soon when I stop being able to afford the non-essentials. Talking of essentials (LOL), I have a tattoo consultation in place tomorrow with my regular tattooist to start our next project and an appointment for the 9 April for some work from a new artist. Which is just exciting – and what I spend my well-earned annual bonus on. Irresponsible with money, me? Never.

Also, how nice is it when the weather’s pretty? I can’t stand the heat but I do like a warm day and having a garden is pretty sweet, even though it need a lot of work.

In other news, here are my entertainment highlights of March:

TV/Film/Book of the Month

Book: Gerald’s Game

Frankly I have no choice but to nominate this one as it’s the only book I’ve read over the last two months. I reviewed it in full here. Tonight the We Three Kings book club are watching the film version. I’m not sure I’m ready for the trauma again tbh but at least once we’re done I can put this to bed forever.

Not sure what our next Stephen King will be but I’ve currently got Revival and The Institute queued on my Kindle – and I also got Later on my physical pile. Which reminds me I also have the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novel which would make a good companion piece to Later.

I’m looking forward to getting back into reading this year.

TV: Love is Blind – Season 2

While not nearly as spicy as the Australian Married at First Sight (which was scandalous), I recently fell into this and quite enjoyed myself. The premise is unbelievable really – 14 or 15 single men and women talk to each other through a wall and fall in love the old-fashioned way, without seeing each other. When they eventually ‘fall’ they have to propose to their chosen ‘one’. If that person agrees they get to see each other for the first time and then live together for a month before getting properly married or… not. With mixed results.

Of course not all of them stick and they’re the most fun ones – who doesn’t love the drama? It is cute when it works out though.

Film: The Batman and Ti West’s X

I couldn’t choose between these two so I nominate them both. The Batman is a stonker of a movie, both in terms of enjoyment and in reference to its mammoth runtime. No film should be almost three hours long honestly, even superhero movies and Robert Pattison’s bat odyssey is no exception. That said I really liked the return to a more detective-style Noir Batman who enjoys a great working relationship with Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and rocks a more EMO aesthetic.

Zoë Kravitz‘s Selina Kyle (by day) and The Penguin (Colin Farrell) are, respectively, so much fun but I think we can safely say the main antagonist, The Riddler (Paul Dano) steals the show. I’ll let you process this one for yourselves but I had a blast and remain excited about the evolution of this iteration of Gotham City and it’s fucked up inhabitants. The teased new version of The Joker is pant-wettingly exciting too.

Meanwhile in 1979, we join a small crew of optimistic porno makers as they embark on a fresh new shoot called The Farmer’s Daughters. I guess they must not have heard any negative press about Texas because they head to an isolated guesthouse in the country to begin filming. Guests of elderly couple Howard and Pearl, who have no idea what their intentions are, they’re eager to keep a relatively low profile. Which doesn’t work out real well for them, unfortunately.

I loved X which stays true to traditional horror tropes while injecting some real freshness into the genre. This is movie is probably best described as bizarre and probably not in the way you’d expect. Mia Goth plays both sexy ingenue Maxine and the elderly Pearl – and honestly, this is one of the best performances she’s given to date (and she’s incredible in Suspiria (2108)). At the same time Scream’s Jenna Ortega and Brittany Snow bring their A-games and close up the holy trinity to perfection. One of the most exciting things about this film – besides the unexpected turns, genuinely funny dialog and gore – is that Ti West has already filmed the prequel, Pearl about the lady herself and it looks and sounds wonderful.

I really think the last few years have been very cool for horror and this is yet another hit for A24, the ‘thinking person’s horror producer’. Kidding, I hate the term ‘elevated horror’ but it is true that they’re the connoisseur of intelligent, visually stunning horror and horror adjacent goodness.

Anyway, that’s me for March. I’m looking forward to April – and slowly coming back to myself. It feels good because I’ve missed me. LOL.


What are you up to?

2/2/2022

Yesterday was a very important day, spiritually. According to numerologists, it was one of those once in a lifetime kind of days packed with psychic meaning – and a perfect opportunity to manifest change. I’m not going to pretend I have much grip on how it all works but I can accept that dates like this don’t come around all the time. And I could feel it was important, which is some freaky deaky shit.

You can read more here.

I’ve been feeling a change coming for a while. It’s mostly been the desire to draw a line under the last two years and say enough is enough. I want my fucking life back and I’m sure we’re all feeling the same way. So I’m taking it and if I have to buy into a spiritual landmark of a date to vow change then I damn well will.

The change isn’t even that dramatic – though I did go super blonde again which is definitely part of it. I’ve decided to stop selling myself short. I’m not really that bad of a person and although the super bitch inside my head likes to tell me I’ve wasted a lifetime, learnt nothing, achieved nothing and can offer nothing, I know she’s just bitter and twisted – and born of an abusive period in my life.

She’s a dick, basically. Here and now I vow to take away her power and believe in my own. I must be onto something in life because I have the most wonderful people around me and they have good taste, right? And that’s another thing, I’ve always relied on the validation of other people and although that’s natural, I have to be able to give myself the thumbs up too.

So here they are, the things I wish to change. From today I will:

  • Stop with the self-deprecation and accept that I am good at things and am a bountiful healthy woman
  • I will try not to get angry at other people – their ignorance or rudeness says things about them and not me
  • I will set time aside to work on my self-development (and complete my copywriting qualification)
  • I will not fill the void with stuff – and work on the clutter around me
  • I will see friends and family – nothing else matters

How about you?

A real hero

One of the symptoms of anxiety for me is the failure to commit to things. Not people so much – once I’m set on you, I’m all in – it’s more about starting a new project or, more likely, a fresh notebook. I hate making small mistakes on a blank page or reading back something I’ve written and not liking it. It immediately makes me want to start again.

Over the years this has also extended to blogs. I’ve had many guises online and although I believe I have stayed true to who I am, I definitely haven’t shared every aspect of what makes me me. I’m starting afresh again right here because WordPress isn’t working for me anymore but I’m reticent to make myself known publicly in case I can’t see this one through either.

I’ve blogged for almost 22 years and my motivations have changed many times too. I started a Blogger site in 2000 so I could piss around with my friend Paul in the call center we worked in. I then got into actual writing and continue to do that, usually about mental health and general thoughts about life and the world. I also review films and books because who doesn’t want to know my thoughts on those?

I love to do it and I do it at least once a week, when both my pal Jill and I review the same film. We’ve been doing this for years now and have covered hundreds of films. We initially started tackling awful films for the crack of it and it’s evolved since. Sort of. We still love terrible movies that get the snark flowing.

So here I am in a new space and I don’t think I’m going to change the formula too much. I’d like to be more honest about my feelings because I think it’s important not to always act like you have everything together. Truthfully I have no answers and often spiral into frightening territory with my thoughts. In between the film reviews it would be good to share these periods, even if it’s just me hollering into the void.

Let’s see how it goes. Until then, if you read this: Welcome.