Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Beautiful

With the release of The Great Gatsby – which I am so excited about I could cry, I love that book and I love Leonardo DiCaprio so even if the film doesn’t do it justice, which is the curse of the book-to-film adaptations, I am sure it will still be an AMAZING movie. I’m watching it tomorrow. AHHH!

…Apologies, went off on a tangent there. My excitement clearly can’t be contained. As I was saying, with the release of The Great Gatsby I have been thinking about the word beautiful. I have been thinking a lot about beautiful and what it means and what it stands for, to me. I think Fitzgerald would agree with my very general conclusion that when I think of beautiful, the first split-second reaction is empty.

It sounds obvious because we all know that beauty – at least physical beauty, which is the one we all think about when first confronted with the word – is superficial. I spend a lot of my spare time staring at beautiful images, reading words that paint beautiful scenes and daydreaming of all the beautiful things I can do.

But, when I think of beauty and the word beautiful I don’t really feel anything at all. It doesn’t fill me with anything – not longing, not happiness, not sadness – nothing. It is just a void, an empty word because it doesn’t really mean anything at all.

I like to think that Fitzgerald thought the same thing. He appreciated beauty but his words and sentences and paragraphs and books, multi-layered as they are show, that beauty is empty. He writes in layers to hide the emptiness of the beauty and in doing so, makes beautiful seem hollow. That’s how the word feels to me.

Obviously I find beauty in things that fill me with joy but they are not necessarily beautiful. Or at least not the beautiful which we hold in such high regard in our capitalist society.

Beautiful is a little like a photograph that shows one tiny split second of a moment and nothing else. It is one dimensional and a peep-hole. It isn’t a feeling and nor does it evoke a long-standing one. You may say wow at something beautiful or be struck by a beautiful thing or person but that feeling is fleeting – it disappears and fades. It does not provoke anything for me.

There are many beautiful things in my life but they are more closely rooted with love, admiration, inspiration and hard work than they are with the actual word beautiful. And I think there’s some beauty in that.


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What is beautiful?

I was watching the new series of America’s Next Top Model yesterday. A show that focuses on the outer beauty of very skinny, young women but tries to dress itself (see what I did there?) as something a little more profound and deeper than the superficiality of modelling. A model is essentially a clothes hanger, a walking advert; it’s all about outer beauty.

Tyra Banks: you’re wonderful but you’re not kidding anyone.

Anyway, the episode I watched had a pretty touching segment where the girls were required to make a video with some children about what beauty and beautiful means to them.

It’s not a new question, in fact, it’s pretty old debate but it is one that will never die. Mainly because our ideals f beauty change as our society evolves. This essentially means we are always finding ways of ensuring that there’s another sense of ‘perfection,’ another ideal that is pretty damn hard to achieve.

In the Tudor era when King Henry VII was in charge of this little island, the fuller woman with pale skin was seen to be the most attractive type of female. This was because her full figure showed she was able to afford lots of food to eat and her pale skin meant she did not spend her time outside, working. It was all about wealth.

Wealth is still very much linked to beauty though the entertainment industry pretend that they are linking beauty to health. Which, frankly, is a little more than a white lie (especially when you consider than Beyonce who is consistently sold to us as the ‘bigger’ woman is a UK size 6/8).

Now for women anyway, beauty seems to be defined by a California tan, long hair (on your head), skinny waist, hairless like a Barbie and abs that could grate the cheese I like on my beans on toast. Again, it has nothing to do with health: you don’t need to have a six pack or a tan to be healthy. It is all to do with wealth. A tan shows you can afford a holiday, a good, toned physique shows you have time and money to join a gym and work out, the lack of hair on any other part of your body is not natural – you’ve had to pay for that.

The ideal will change again. It will either become so ridiculous that people would need to sign up to therapy if they believed that type of ‘beauty’ could be attained or will implode and people will go the opposite way as they realise that the majority of images shown to us in newspapers and magazines are edited and photoshopped to look cleaner, much like the articles they decorate.

The definition of beautiful in the dictionary is: having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about etc. This changes all the time just like the clothes you like, the things that you find interesting or what makes you happy. It is not a concrete look or object.

Beautiful right now to me is my bed, pyjamas and The Shadow in the Wind. A beautiful human at this current moment in time to me is completely different to what I thought beautiful was when I was a child. It will probably be different to me when I’m older.

The physical beauty quickly becomes obsolete once you learn more about a person. Although it is overused, I find those I know more or less beautiful depending on how they are behaving or talking to me in that moment of time.

Physical beauty is a wonderful thing that is different to different people. It also changes. But to answer the title question, beautiful is a feeling, a mood, a desire. It is more of a sentiment. A perfect, unblemished moment.


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Why I will always love Leonardo DiCaprio

The clocks went back on Saturday so although we gained an extra hour in bed which is always a positive thing, it also means it is dark by 5:30pm and it’ll only get darker, earlier. This is why I hate winter. Acting on purely selfish reasons, I have decided to cheer myself up by listing my top reasons as to why I will always love Leonardo DiCaprio. I feel bad because, technically speaking, this should include Ryan Gosling. Now I’m thinking about Ryan Gosling. Okay this now includes Ryan Gosling.

Also, if the lovely boyfriend is reading this, I am sorry for making these feelings public. It is in the hope that Leonardo DiCaprio/ Ryan Gosling will feel sorry for not reciprocating my love for him and maybe take us on holiday, or buy me a puppy. Either one. My love for you is not in question, obviously. But you never know with the internet so I thought I’d make it clear. I love you.

Okay, back to my reasons for loving Leonardo DiCaprio. And Ryan Gosling.

They are beautiful.

This is superficial but also fact which I feel, takes away from the superficiality. It is also a great excuse to put some images on here of their fine selves. Although I do not agree with the objectifying of men and women, it is pitch black at 6:30pm and very cold. This is justification.

I had to include this image. HAD TO.

They are amazingly talented.

If I were to chop off either Gosling or DiCaprio’s little finger it would be more talented than me. Easily (and not just because I have no talent). They are incredible actors. Leonardo DiCaprio should have won an Oscar by now. He plays every role extremely convincingly making all his movies watchable, relatable and completely intoxicating. Ryan Gosling has only recently been showing his acting credentials to a better, more varied degree. He is brilliant at being intense and you cannot help but be captured by his presence in most films (even if he keeps his clothes on) watch Blue Valentine and Drive and thank me later.

Leonardo DiCaprio is humanist, animal and planet lover.

I’m sure Ryan Gosling is too. But Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be an active campaigner and supporter of animal rights and protection as well as ways on continuing to protect this planet. A conscious celebrity makes him lose any sort of pretentiousness someone that earns millions for a film could be expected to have. It also makes me love him a little more. He is aware. Hollywood has not consumed him and he seems open minded to a bigger world than his beautiful face and epic facial hair.

Mr DiCaprio is currently putting his name to Vote4Stuff – a campaign to encourage people to register to vote and get voting. A pretty awesome thing. What an awesome guy.

So as not to leave Ryan Gosling out of this point, here is a picture of him with a dog. See, he’s a caring soul too.

I know the dog doesn’t look comfortable but he is apparently scared of escalators. That’s what you’re seeing in the dog’s face: fear from the escalator not discomfort at being carried.

Smooth and humble.

I tried to make this point as smooth and humble as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling. I’m pretty sure I failed. Oh well. I know they are media trained and obviously smart men but they come across so well in interviews that I have decided to fully accept and believe that they are as incredibly humble and smooth as they come across in interviews. Even when they’re awkward.

They’re beautiful

Have I mentioned that already? Damn it. Oh well, here’s more photos to prove my point.

I could continue but due to fears of being classed a stalker/insane/obsessed fan. I will stop. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling: if you’re reading this I am none of those things. I am just an admirer of your acting talents. I should mention you are also on my Christmas list. Just saying.


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SHOES!

When I feel good about myself for having achieved something (like finishing my penultimate essay – YES!) I like to accentuate the good feeling by doing something fun for me as a little reward. Obviously I’m inside, slightly smelly with unbrushed hair, not wearing a bra and what can only be described as ‘indoor clothes’ because they are, frankly, ugly so there are limitations to my reward. It could be anything from having a treat (which usually revolves around eating half a New York cheesecake) to watching something I love (like the latest episode of Desperate Housewives) or just browsing the internet for 10 minutes.

Today I finished my penultimate essay completely and have sent it off. Go me. After my own band in my head had sang me a song of congratulations I decided to reward myself as per usual. The fridge is empty so no cheesecake. I’m up to date on Desperate Housewives so no catching up on my favourite show. Internet it is. I have shoes on the mind at the minute as I need a new pair for my Summer Ball and graduation this summer so it seemed a logical choice. Now I am cursing my pathetic bank statements for not being able to buy £700 a pop shoes. Okay I wouldn’t spend that anyway unless I was rich enough to have bubble baths everyday but you get what I mean right?

Although I can’t buy these glorious shoes I can save them to a lovely folder on my computer aptly titled ‘Epic Shoes’ – creative I know. And because I’m feeling so proud of myself for completing the penultimate essay of my university life and a little smug at doing so so far ahead of the deadline, it makes me want to share my good feeling. Which I’ll be doing so today in the most materailsitic way I know how, because my brain is too tired to be profound, with a gallery of glorious shoes. Enjoy.