Monday, 7 March 2011

It's Just a Little Crush...... Part 1

The world is currently an often disheartening place and there are many miserable and frightening new developments daily. For a young freelance, sporadically employed writer with a penchant for questioning life and its meaning, this can become overwhelming. Creative people write books, produce art, sing songs and interpret in so many other ways in order to make sense of the world we live in; and today the ever increasing power of technology and online communication bears down on us. Whether positive or negative in your eyes, it is daily reminder of how quickly things change.

So, taking this sombre thought and disregarding it. I have decided to- for this post at least- ignore our spiralling debt, unrest in the middle east, sexism, racism, the dissolving of community and an out-of-control celebrity class and write about something altogether more pleasant; the crush.

The word “crush” used to mean a brief infatuation, often allied with adolescence/ puppy love or, as the online Cambridge dictionary defines it, a strong but temporary feeling of liking someone had its first recorded usage in 1884. Yet purveyors of intellectual publications and English Language academics and fusspots would probably still deem it modern slang which drifted to our merry island through Americanisation; a process that began with Jazz and Coca Cola and now is so instant we would barely notice it.

I myself have found it a very useful word. From the agony and yearning of the adolescent crush, to the blindness and awe of the intellectual crush and the all-over-glow of the comedic crush; its rapid one-syllable thud and onomatopoeic quality suits perfectly that moment, when, with one look, you are gone.

When I try to remember my first crush as a young child, not one stands out. Sure, there were boys I knew, older ones often who I used to stare up at idly as a four-year-old and my friends and I have often talked about which Disney characters we “fancied” as children (Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty, Eric from the Little Mermaid, Aladdin and oddly – the Robin fox and grown-up Simba in the Lion King were favourites, but NOT the Prince in Beauty and the Beast who was a very ugly cartoon indeed.); but really it wasn’t till slightly older and boy bands started to appear on the pages of my magazines that I really experienced my first crush.

In the space of 4 months at around age 9-10, the walls of my room which had previously housed my collection of “Pet-on-the-Back” posters and endless horses and puppies and kittens and anything fluffy became shrines to Boyzone; particularly Ronan “blonde and angelic and therefore not too threatening “ Keating, The Spice Girls (my first girl crushes) and Peter Andre (no idea).

Since then I have been a Crush-slut if that is possible, acquiring new ones weekly – though there are a few long termers- with a variety and span of age, looks, talent and sex that seems to suggest I have no guidelines. This is however, false – there are very definite categories which I will outline in part two. In the mean time can I advise you to have as many crushes as possible on as many people as possible. It keeps the romantic and emotional adolescent inside us all alive and kicking in our occasionally humdrum, well-behaved grown-up lives....

Thursday, 3 March 2011

A Poem for Today

We Must

Unrest in the world prevails and desperate soliloquies
On power, On people, on poverty, on a “higher cause”
Permeate our media portholes.
Our solvency is questionable as our caffeine addiction costs more.

Meanwhile we’re told, or were taught, to dream.
A frivolous and cringing word that has lost its roots of eccentric revelry
And become the buzz word of reality TV.
And rash, young Jos and Joannas are indignant
When notoriety and wealth doesn’t come-a-calling.

Choice and Education, Education, Education –
We were promised would better us
Yet parents and mentors who had neither
Still house us in their life’s earnings.

Some work for free in prestigious places
Or crush their hopes and buckle down.
Politicans court us.
They forget they put WWI propaganda campaigns
On the national curriculum.

Look back, look forward.
Work for your country but look after yourself.
The fashion industry is reviled.
“Women can be any shape.”
Except an obesity statistic.

The list of rules grows longer.
Individual responsibility grows less.
Just call the NHS.

Cavemen still dwell inside us all.
We expect so much and yet give little.
A generation doomed, or a turning point.
The old freeze, the young complain about fees.

Opinion changes every day and confusion is prevalent.
Clich├ęs have tarnished the terms of life.
A precious gift, seize the day, live it to the full.
Yet we must.

By Jessica Meins