FEATURE: Thirty Things I Learnt This Year…

As soon as the bells chimed midnight (and yes they did chime because I was near a church in France) on the 31st last year I cried. That is not being dramatic, I literally burst out crying. It was such a silly thing to do but I realised that in 2019 I turned thirty and it terrified the hell out of me. What was I doing with my life? Where was the bf? What have I achieved? What am i doing???????????????

OK, very dramatic I know but everyone really makes such a huge deal about turning thirty and that really scared the hell out of me when I thought about all those questions had reasonable answers and hey thirty really is only a number – sometimes as a girl you feel the pressure to reach certain ‘goals’ by certain ages but that is not what this sort of article is about it is more about something much more fun.

This year has been a fun one and along the way I have learnt a lot of silly life lessons and things in general that I thought would be a fun way to end the year so – enjoy!



1) Interviewing acts is fascinating

I started this website as a hobby and I didn’t realise that a few years later I would be able to have the opportunity to interview so many acts and people! I have been able to interview so many wonderful people and I am so excited that I get to do it all again next year! I feel I learn something new everytime i send questions to someone and also even if it is acts I have spoken to before I still learn something new.



2) Live comedy is the best

I have always believed this but this year I have been able to embrace this even more then normal. I have been really lucky that a lot of my favourite comedians have gone on tour or done work in progress shows meaning that I have been able to go and watch them all. I love the vibe of live comedy and it is something I love embracing.



3) Interviewing One of Your Music heroes is terrifying

Screenshot_20190815_030115There is one thing that I have been able to do this year that I never ever thought would happen and that was that I was able to interview one of my music heroes. It was the weirdest sensation waiting to pick up a skype call and I felt physically sick. It was a very weird position to be put in as well as also being really surreal. I actually kept a diary of the run up to the said interview as I thought it would be interesting to look back at a later date the emotions running through my head. I have kept all the spelling mistakes on this deliberately as I feel that is really highlights my nerves.

It was a really great interview and it was nice to talk to someone who i listen to on a daily basis and that they ended up being so interesting.


4) Meeting One Music Hero Can Lead To Creating Another 

blink

October the 18th will always go down in my books as the most surreal day of my life. I got asked last minute to work a night shift and my favourite band Blink-182 were on the show – this seemed insane and the first thing I did was ask if I could meet them. Whilst many of you who read this site for years will know that Tom Delonge is my hero and whilst he may not be part of the band anymore, Mark Hoppus is also a huge inspiration on my life and has lead to me wanting to learn instruments and I have been listening to him since I was a kid. I like a lot of Matt Skiba’s solo work and have listened to Alkaline Trio time to time but meeting them both was very very surreal.

I told them I was going to their gig that night, I have no idea how but I managed to end up at the front of the barrier. The gig was amazing but the thing that made it surreal was at the end of their set Matt looked directly at me and asked me if I wanted the plectrum he had used to play the whole set. I guess he may of remembered me but it was completely surreal and I couldn’t believe that he did. The one act of kindness has and friendliness by Matt has meant that I have now got such huge respect for him and he has jumped up to the top of my list of heroes. It was such a surreal day I still cannot believe it happened.

 



5) Fellow Improvisers that you know can inspire – 
I love doing this as a hobby because it means I get to talk to so many people and when I look back at the interviews I find some wonderful comments that are inspirational and maybe allow me to look at a different topic at a completely different angle. The improv world is every growing and some of the people that regularly join are really interesting.



6) Everyone needs a timeout now and again – 
I write this website as a hobby and ever so often I feel I need a bit of time out from writing, so every year I take a bit of time out at Christmas and the end of the summer by reducing the amount of articles that I write. The run up to summer with the festivals is really intense and I love Christmas so I always use these times to chill out and take a bit more time to focus on me. It is really important you do this in whatever you do.



7)  Performing At Festivals is so much fun – 
In 2018, I got the opportunity to perform at a show at Camden Fringe but this year that has trebled and I have had the chance to perform at three different ones. I loved every second, it was so fun and I hope to do more in the future. They may be a lot of work but they are really worth it.

ciity impro
Photo credit: Dougie Boyall

 

8) Sometimes you need to show your heart to the world –I am not the biggest fan of putting a lot of my personal feelings and emotions online but sometimes you have to take the leap and do something that makes you nervous or scared. In 2018 I put some of my teenage diary on here and this year I took the leap again and put some of my poetry on here. Whilst it is not a lot that I have written about people, it still for me was a big leap to take and got some wonderful feedback.


 

9) Your opinion of online doesn’t change – I love writing online, I enjoy using social media but the whole concept of an online persona and the online world still terrifies me whilst also fascinating me at the same time. I have tried to be more open minded this year using things such as exploring more around the world of social media (this year I have spent a lot of time really learning the ins and outs of Instagram and I love it and think its a fantastic platform) but I still don’t always get on with it. For example I will never be that person who really dates from the online I am really more a people person. I applaud those who can.



10) Brexit is overused – 
I find that at the moment, or in general this year the cheap innuendo joke has been replaced by the joke about Brexit – they are predictable and you sit there waiting for them at every show to happen. I know that it is a huge topic but come on every show – EVERY SHOW? EVERY SHOW???



11) Quick Fire Questions are great – 
My favourite thing about doing interviews every week is the Quick Fire Questions Round, I love how people answer them and there has been so many interesting responses – my favourites have included answers to weirdest thing you have eaten, the names people would call their autobiography and who would play them in a film


12) Writing can be lonely – As much as I love writing and I adore nothing more then listening to some great music whilst I write, it can also be a very lonely place if you don’t allow yourself time to connect with others. I find the best way to write is in a coffee shop as you always have the atmosphere of others around you.


13) Don’t compare yourself to others – When you work in Television or write a website or part of a community such as improv it can be really difficult not to compare yourself to others. It is really difficult to not look at a social media site and see that someone has developed their career quicker or been able to get a bigger slot at a show and you start worrying what you have done wrong, why couldn’t that be you. This is not healthy and something you shouldn’t do.

I stopped doing this with my job about three years ago as I was starting to work in jobs I wanted to and focussed less on others. I don’t do this anymore with The Phoenix – I am so greatful for all my readers but if you write for the followers and not for the love then your writing is going to fail in quality. So this year I have learnt not to focus on the fact maybe a podcast or a website has more followers but to make sure the articles I am putting out there are of high quality so that you, the reader are enjoying the words painted before you.


14) Look at others for inspiration – Even though I do find others inspiring, this year I have allowed myself to really delve into the world of others to find this energy. There are so many people out there that have so many different talents that sometimes you need to take that leap to understand what that is. This year I have approached improv strangers to ask if I can write about them as I find them inspiring, and I have also gone on to research areas that I really enjoy.


15) Don’t be lazy with your audience – It doesn’t matter whether it is your first show or one of a hundred, the main thing I have learnt this year is you should not be lazy with audience members. There have been some shows that I have been to see that this year that have let me down due to this.


16) Take time to get to know your team – You meet, you perform, you rehearse, eat, sleep repeat. It can be hard to find an excuse to meet your team to be social but you should find time to have a time out and socialise and get to know the people that you play with. Whether this is by having a drink, a meal or karaoke (this is super fun with improvisers) find a time and a place away from your local improv environments to socialise.


17) Organisation is key – I didn’t need any training in this because I am super organised – I mean I can i write 1000 articles a year on top of a crazy job as well as read, do creative projects and socialise. This year someone came to me for advice about starting a new troupe and the one thing I told them that you have to stay organised. Talking to someone else about it made me realise that if you run an improv troupe you have to be organised. Remember to make it a teen effort don’t make it all one persons priority.


18) Reviewing is fun – This year I decided to open the doors to ask people if they wanted their shows reviewed and the response we got was amazing. I have been to a whole variety of shows this year and also I now have a bunch of reviewers! It is great to see what shows are out there and also to see the talents on both the improv and music community.


19) Be careful what you share on your social media platform – Whenever I write an article or inteview someone I make sure I check and treble check the facts and what I have read or even listened to on a dictaphone when I transcribe is correct. Not everyone does this.

I shared an article this year that was not written on here that if you read it, it stated clearly a fact about someone – it was an interview and the person who did the interview stated this was their answer – it turned out that it was actually false and the journalist did not transcribe the article correctly and we got approached and got told off by the comedian even though it was nothing to do with us.

From this experience, it has made me super careful about what I share across social media accounts for The Phoenix now. I very rarely share articles because they could provide the wrong information and I do not want to do this to my readers just because someone else gets something wrong. The thing that really upsets me is this was a huge known brand that should of known better, especially since it is part of their talent they were interviewing.


20) Embrace new music – I listen to a lotttttt of music and this year a wonderful thing has happened – record labels have started to approach me with offers to listen to music by their bands. This I find wonderful because it allows me to listen to musicians I never knew existed and find new music to listen to. I have come across so many new musicians this year because of this and it has been utterly fantastic.


21) Embrace new comedy – Being a comedy site this is more then likely common sense and I always like to try new comedy when I can – sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. That is why festivals are great but also websites like Next Up Comedy or the stand up specials on Netflix – you can come across some wonders. This year my favourite comedians I have seen live have been Ari Eldjarn and Tom Rosenthal, I adored Steve Martin and Martin Shorts comedy special and there is still so much to watch still on these platforms!


22) Handwriting is wonderful – Halfway through the year, I posted a photo on social saying that half of the articles I write are pretty much handwritten first – I got a lot of responses from this, most people shocked that I hand wrote articles. Well, firstly I really enjoy being away from a screen as there is then no distractions and also it is sort of like a meditation handwriting you can get lost in your words. Also, handwriting is becoming such a lost art form it is really sad.


23) Make everything collaborative – This year I have opened the doors and welcomed a lot of new writers into the world of The Phoenix Remix – whilst they do not write as much as myself they write really interesting articles and I am glad that I am a base for them to express themselves. Writing can be a hard thing to do or be motivated to do so I offer The Phoenic as a place for people who want to write but not always wanting to commit. This has meant we have had some fascinating articles on here this year and they couldn’t of been done without their knowledge and ideas.


24) Fall in love with your friends ….  (improvising) –  When you are doing scenes with your troupe make sure that they are not always ending in conflict – remember to love each other. It is such an easy thing to fall into doing but try and always remember to love where you can.


25)  Always have spare headphones on you – I am like a lot of people and live in my headphones and listen to so much music – headphones breaking is like the worst thing in the world – so its a predictable comment but always have spare headphones on you so you can always listen to music.


26) Edit on the go – I am a video editor and this year I have used my phone to edit on the go and I do not mean basic edits I mean real edits. It is amazing just how advanced you can get now with portable devices and it has taught me a lot this year. It is amazing how accessible and easy it is to edit now its wonderful!


yungblud

27) Live Music can make you fans of new musicians –  I do a lot of night shifts with my job and when I have a week of them I like doing something before I start at 10pm as it means my energy levels are a lot higher. This year I have started going to gigs when I can – there hasn’t been many but there has been a couple and one of those was YUNGBLUD. I liked a couple of his songs but wasn’t sure really what I thought of him. When I went and saw him live it changed my perspective on him completely and I ended up really liking his music as he had such an energy live that it is infectious.


28 )  Voting can go mental! – This year I decided to open up the Phoenix Remix Awards to the public vote and I was astounded as to how many people took the time to vote! The final round got over a thousand votes. Congratulations to everyone who made the shortlist and also thank you to all those who voted.


29) Thinking Bigger By The Day –   I still find it crazy the amount of people that I get reading this site (thank you!) this pushes me to think creatively about new content I want to channel out on the site. I have a list of ideas and article themes that I want to introduce but they have all come around because of being inspired to write for my readers.


30) The Phoenix Remix means A Lot To Me – I have always loved writing but this year I have realised that this site means a lot to me. It is so nice meeting people who read the website and also those who want to be interviewed. I always try and reach for the stars and make it the best it can be.


In Conclusion

I started off this year really worrying about life and you know what I have done so much this year that it has been actually fantastic. So much has happened and it I have done a complete 360 in how I felt at the beginning of the year. It is weird to think how I entered the year and the wonderful things that have happened. Whilst still of my original panics may still be true, it is fine, I have had some wonderful experiences that life really is about living in the moment.

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