Friday, 26 September 2014

I had a crush on you in Secondary School (the sequel to I had a crush on you in Primary School).

The time has come to fess up to my secondary school crushes (that's high school for you Americans). For some reason even though I am 31 this seems a little more embarrassing - partly because I still occasionally speak to these people. But the point is we've all moved on and it will be a laugh to write about what once was so important to my teenage heart. It's been 13 years since I saw most of them, after all. So...

Luke Hanson (aka Luke Handsome)
Everyone fancied Luke in lower school. He was just so cool. Once, when I had my hair cut into a bob he stopped to tell me that I looked nice. I think even the soles of my feet blushed. Of course Luke is still lovely and my Facebook friend. Hi Luke - yes I kinda loved you.

Simon Lawton (aka my best friend Jen's bf)
This crush lasted quite a few years. It even survived the time when Simon was forced to sit by me in Maths and let out a large fart. I was much too shy to talk to Simon and in the whole time I was at school I don't think I managed one sentence. In about year 3 a girl called Beth decided to stand up in Health ed and announce to the whole class, "Aimee fancies Simon". Beth (if you're reading this) I still think you're a bitch. Yes this particular love story was not a happy one as Simon even went out with my best friend Jen. Pure torture.

Simon Lucus (aka Slime 'n' Mucus)
Simon was one of the only male friends I had in Secondary School. He wasn't cool, but neither was I. We were drama club kids and hung out as prefects. Simon had a very annoying habit of sitting on the floor moaning about how he couldn't get a girlfriend and that none fancied him. I lent on the wall opposite thinking about how I fancied him and how irritating he was at the same time. Us girls who fancied Simon (there were a couple) consoled ourselves with discussions about how he was probably gay. We were wrong it turned out. Simon's also my FB friend. Hi Simon :)

Dan don't know his surname (aka hot Dan)
I kissed Dan, a very hot guy in the year above, in Time and Envy nightclub on the dance floor. Telling my fried Mary the next day she exclaimed: "YOU? Kissed Dan? But he's so hot!?". A little insulting. Then I kissed him again the next weekend. At that point my "friend" Jen asked the DJ to congratulate Aimee and Dan on "their new arrival". You can always rely on friends to embarrass you. On the Monday in school I was informed that Dan already had a girlfriend in our year and she'd probably beat me up. She was little but she looked scrappy so I spent the next month hiding from her.

John Parfitt (aka John Perfect)
Ahhh my 6th form crush. I used to play The Sims on the computer and make John's character fall in love with my character. I even fancied John when he went through the dodgy blonde tipped hair do. Finally it came to the leaving do in Bentley's nightclub. Thinking that I was finally released from having to face school the next day (or ever again) I had a spurt of courage. I stormed up to John grabbed him and shouted over the music: "So are you gonna ask me to dance or what?". My charm worked. Either that or the black satin top with chains I lent from my sister for pulling purposes.

John if you're reading this - your kids are very cute.

And that was it. School had ended. I had a couple of boyfriends mixed in. I'm not counting them as crushes - they'd be a whole other blog post. Reading my old diaries I think I was open to crushes on a lot of people. Not my fault - blame it on the crazy teenage hormones. But these were the ones I really remember.

If you have a funny school crush story do share. I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Wangechi Mutu and her disturbing surreal collages.

The problem with any kind of artistic pursuit is that when you're feeling down you tend to block yourself creatively. Suddenly whatever artistic thing you are engaged in seems stupid and pointless because you feel stupid and pointless. Why paint pictures when other people are better artists than you? What's the point of writing a blog when there are people who are actually paid to write blogs and research their subject matter all day? 

This year I've struggled with these doubts. But I'm happy to say that the fog has lifted. I feel happier than I have done in years. I'm starting to feel creative again. And what better way to start thinking of new and interesting things than to look at a weird and wonderful artist. 

Wangechi Mutu is an african artist who works in New York. Whilst she also does sculpture and moving image, her most famous pieces are her collages. Her images often focus on a disturbed image of the female figure - sometimes with monstrous spikes, plant-like growths, mechanical cyborg elements and animal features. The result is of women who look grotesque and disturbing but yet still beautiful. It makes me think of the nature of women in the world today - told to embrace our sexual instincts, obsessed with technology which has become an extension of ourselves and constantly trying to refigure our own images - through surgery, Facebook selfies and makeup. 

The collages are built from magazine cut outs (images of female beauty cut out of context), from sculpted and painted surfaces and found materials. The collage helps to portray Mutu's idea that: "Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body."

Here are some of my favourite pieces of her art: 

For more on Wangechi Mutu check out this Guardian's article: