I’m going to put it out there before I get to the good happy stuff: it’s been a really shitty week – in the news, and in general for me. I won’t bore you with the boring details of why I’m feeling sad again, but hearing about the atrocious terror attack on the Mosque in New Zealand was heartbreaking. And the news of Love Island’s Mike Thalassitis death is so sad and could be unpicked so much more (the instant-fame, but lack of support young reality stars get) but it doesn’t seem right to comment on that when still so few details have been revealed (his Nan and best friend passing away, as well as a public breakup): but the takeaway of it is that someone so young is now gone. It has been a really shit week.
Growing up and getting older is actually a bit shit. I’ve found myself looking at crying children thinking “oh my god what I would GIVE to be you right now. What you upset over? The fact you’re not having mashed potato for dinner? Jel” or looking at dogs and thinking wow, Bowow, you have a pretty care-free and kushty life and you don’t know how lucky you really are. But it isn’t always doom and gloom, and you have to literally grab joy by the balls when it appears. And this week for me I’ve grabbed joy by the balls – well, 10 balls, technically – via the fab five when Queer Eye season 3 dropped on Netflix.
If you are not acquainted with this show, please PLEASE familiarise yourself – you will not be disappointed. A spin-off of the original, the new remade series has 5 gay guys giving full life makeovers to people who need it. Imagine your favourite makeover shows thrown into one: Jonathan gives them a grooming/ beauty update, Tan does their wardrobes, Antoni looks beautiful and teaches them how to cook very easy dishes, Bobby does what 60-minute-makeover could never ever do to their apartments, and Keramo gives them a bit of life-coaching.
But it’s not your average superficial makeover show. It goes way deeper, and works at really rebuilding peoples confidence and changing their lives. A new pair of jeans won’t change your whole life, but to watch these peoples lives be transformed as they find new-found confidence, well, you can’t help but happy cry at it all. It’s the most joyful, feel-good thing on the TV, and they also help tackle real social issues of toxic masculinity, police brutality, religion, coming out as gay, being trans in todays world, the far right – so if you want something that is light-hearted but also full of substance, please watch it, and let it add some joy to your life. Making people feel better is such an amazing feeling.
For me it’s really hit home how importance confidence is, and how we shouldn’t discredit the small things that make us feel our best. Who fucking cares if hair extensions are fake? If they make you feel good then you do you hun. If painting your face green makes you your most confident you, then Shrek yourself up queen. In the third episode, they Tan says how we need to “Ask for help” and Antoni adds “You’re not invincible” – these words are so real and you can take them on so many levels. Emotionally and mentally you can struggle. But you can also struggle with the workload. You can struggle at the gym trying to lift a certain weight. You can struggle carrying your case up the stairs at a train station. From the small to the large, the emotional to the physical, it’s okay to ask for help.
Moving on from I am Pilgrim, and as the (kind of) antidote to my post-Bali blues, I’ve picked up Snowing In Bali, a real-life account of the drugs trade in the Indonesian island during the 90s-mid-00’s. It’s a follow on from Hotel K – another book I highly recommend if you’re in to real life and dirty prison details. You hear first-hand accounts from the most dangerous drug dealers of that time, about their orgies and drug runs and glamorous lifestyles. Finding a book that makes you excited to switch off and go to bed every night is key to my winding-down process at the end of each day, and once again this book works by transporting you to the tropical island. You’ll connect with it on a new level if you’ve travelled there, as it sheds light on the seedier side of things and what it was really like just a few years ago. But even if you haven’t been to Bali, don’t shy away as it’s still incredibly gripping.
I’ve been listening to LANY’s albums on repeat recently, especially after seeing them play at Brixton Academy on Tuesday. Think a LA-based, slightly more romantic take on the 1975.
Spring is SO close I can almost taste it through the ice cold rain that keeps drenching me every half an hour because it was sunny when I woke up and I forgot to pack my umbrella. And I just booked flights to LA, so I’m feeling hopeful of the sunshine starting to stick around for longer soon.
Essential spring bits (and a non-shrimps Shrimps bag which got me in trouble but I’ll save that story…) Shot by Fifi Newbury.