How To… Join the Club

So, as an extra special surprise designed to add to all the tremendous political fun we’ve been having of late, we’re plunging right into the very first general election I’ll be voting in. During those halcyon days of 2010, I hadn’t yet crossed that exciting threshold of supposed adulthood and despite the very best of intentions (registering to vote) I didn’t quite manage it last time (my polling card didn’t turn up and as a lost little millennial relatively new to the area I didn’t know where to go) so the result was very slightly my fault.

We are, therefore, more than overdue for a hearty chucking in of my highly spangly two cents. Reflecting on the dazzling array of choices laid before us, it can sometimes be a little tricky to decide whom to back. By hook and by crook, UKIP have forced their way into becoming an outwardly seeming legitimate opposition party thanks to the bewildering void left by Labour. For a dyed in the wool frustrated left winger like myself it’s easy to feel like there’s no viable option out there to represent me.

Well, in spite of all that deliciously righteous indignation, I am in fact a card carrying (or I would be if I hadn’t lost my card practically straightaway. Also my purse is relegated to languishing amongst the general detritus at the bottom of my bag so it doesn’t really make that much difference what terribly interesting items of plastic are held within) member of a political party. Women’s equality, who wouldn’t be on board with that (please don’t tell me, I don’t want the internet to start screaming at me)?

Joining the club or party is a lot easier than you might have previously thought, especially if you’re willing to stump up a monthly direct debit. The more important matter at hand is voting. Even if you think it’s not going to make a blind bit of difference, especially if you resent the state of play, casting your ballot is the only way of earning the right to gripe about the situation going down. I voted Remain, so you’re obligated to hear me whine.

Join the club – Lucy Spraggan

How To… Be the One

Being the sort of person who so very often finds themselves shunted to the edge of the limelight isn’t particularly easy. The shoes owned by the likes of the Samwise Gamgees or the Ronald Weasleys of the world can be remarkably difficult. Naturally, there’s some element of danger by association but you’ll also have to reconcile yourself to the fact that attention and intrigue simply isn’t going to fall into your lap by way of plot coincidence.

Some will be content to bumble along, offering up snippets of incidental wisdom, the odd instance of general aid but never quite sharing in the glory and praise that come to them as standard at the end of whatever quest they’ve most recently undertaken. Others will unfortunately stew in the juices of their own jealousy to the point that they might to something nefarious or even insane in an attempt to direct the attention their way.

We’ve all been there. However, it’s important to dislodge the protagonist from their position at the top of things in just the right way. Otherwise you might find yourself branded a villain as opposed to the one that folk turn to in times of crisis. You can’t just hit them with a hammer until they’re rendered senseless and then try futilely to convince people that not only did you not do it but also that you’re just the hero type they’ve been looking for.

Wait for your optimum moment, you may have to capitalise on downfall caused by their own hubris and your failure to bring them up on it but that’s as maybe. Sure, you could be waiting for a very long time but being the one isn’t about embracing the antihero, you can’t be a master manipulator for this sort of thing. It has to be earned by the sweat of your brow. Or something. Maybe crack open a bag of crisps while you wait.

Be the one – Dua Lipa

How To… Research Me Obsessively

It’s getting a little frustrating isn’t it? Those tiny nuggets of information I’ve been in the habit of dropping have become that much fewer and farther between. How on earth are you going to have any chance of unwrapping the enigma if you can’t get your grubby mitts on more facts? How can you even be sure that the snippets I’ve apparently been so careless as to let slip even correspond with reality? I’ve outed myself as a liar before after all.

Then again, even though it may have come to seem so during the last months and even years (those especially loyal readers know that all manner of rewards await them down the line. Have a flick back and see if you can also unlock those particular secrets), this piece of internet literature is hardly the font of all knowledge. What I’m saying in a thoroughly roundabout way is that there are other resources out there in cyberspace.

Why bother hunting your way through this thing for obscure titbits regarding my terribly rich inner life when you have social media feeds to stalk? You could launch yourself with rabidly hearty interest on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (I don’t actually have an Instagram account, it’s difficult for me to deal in anything really other than words – and even then I’m hardly eloquent – but it’s fun to imagine you researching in an increasingly frustrated manner. I’m not remotely sadistic) and even Tumblr (the account I set up has had very little exercise and I’m not sure I even sure I remember what it is.

The information is all technically public so you’re definitely not indulging in anything wrong or unhealthy. And you get to learn that much more about a richly fascinating woman that is myself. What a fun and informing time you’ll be having. Lucky you.

Research me obsessively – Brittany Snow

How To… Face the Night

We’ve built little synthetic bubbles for ourselves as human race. If we chose so then we would never have to step out into the open air let alone ever be wreathed in natural darkness. That being said, you would run the risk of being labelled as something of an eccentric if you began drawing up plans with the express goal of remaining forevermore indoors. Therefore, until the environment shuts absolutely everything down and we have to flee underground for our own safety, I think you may still have to deign to go outside.

The day is unlikely to strike any particular level of terror in you (that is, unless you subscribe to vampiric trends or have an overwhelming fear of bees or other non nocturnal beasts). So the only time period you might have to steel yourself against would be the hours between dusk and dawn. When it’s so much harder to see everything and the bad people have an unfortunate propensity to leap out at you and demand things like money.

For one thing, it’s significantly easier to face the night and the corresponding darkness with a bit of illumination on your side. Stay close to the street lamps or equip yourself with a nightlight or torch, be it a small electric one or the flaming variety that’s proved to be so popular on quests.

Once you have your light bearing object in hand you should then look to your reasoning¬†with regards to facing the night. When you emerge into the clasp of darkness you certainly ought to arm yourself with purpose. Ensure that you know precisely where you’re headed, possibly having previously mapped out the route and don’t head out for any longer than you had planned. Gird your loins, you’re going out into the night and I’m sure you’ll have all sorts of fun.

Face the night – Hardline

How To… Jump in the Pool

Where hath that glorious sunshine disappeared to? For the last week it could have almost been summer but now the skies have clouded over. The temperature has dropped to a point where you could almost swear that we’ve hurtled back to spring into a decidedly greyer stretch of weather. It’s disappointing really.

Clearly, we’re going to have to find some way to cling to the sunnier holiday feel. Now that we’ve had a slim chance to experience that nourishing sunlight on our faces (I got in the habit of keeping sunglasses in my car, I looked so very fly in my sweet new ride. It very nearly almost but didn’t actually make me wish that I’d gone ahead and opted for a convertible) we need to find an alternative route to summer.

What’s the first thing you think about when someone mentions July or possibly even August? That’s right, it’s not fattening crops (unless you’re a farmer. Are you a farmer? It seems like an unlikely occupation for you to have but who am I to judge? Farm on and prosper with your golden fields of wheat) or even sunny days. It’s the opportunity to go and take a dip in the pool. Sure, you could go for a swim in the depths of autumn or even winter if the water’s sufficiently heated but you could easily draw some loaded expressions.

Whereas, everyone’s raring to get into their bathing togs come summer. Therefore, if you go and find a pool to jump in then it’s definitely still summer no matter what the thermometer says. You may even start a trend because wouldn’t that be undeniably fabulous? So go and locate a nearby body of water, slip yourself into a preferably not too worn example of lycra (or whatever swimming cozzies are made out of) and cannonball away!

Jump in the pool – Friendly Fires

How To… Play that Funky Music

The fact that you’re naturally a very considerate person just doesn’t get enough press. With all these bullying braggarts running about as if they own the place (and sadly mostly because they do thanks to the fact that they’ve been put there by impressionable sorts but we won’t go into all of that right now) it’s easy for the slightly more humble and self effacing little guy to feel ever so slightly diminished.

With all that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that you don’t particularly like invading other people’s auditory ear spaces. Sure, you enjoy indulging in and listening to all sorts of music but you can’t help but clam up almost entirely if someone so much as curiously inquires regarding your tastes. That’s not something you share. These are the reasons why you insist on walking around as if those headphones were essentially glued to your ears.

But you know what, once in a while you’ve earned the absolute right to let loose. Claim your space and stop worrying about invasions or the paltry concerns of the thoughts and feelings of others. Of course, you’re going to have to do a fair amount of preparation prior to letting rip in the fashion to which you’re not yet accustomed. Set the scene by installing the most incredibly bitchin’ sound system the world has ever seen. Then slave for hours on end in building the gloriously inventive playlist you know you have inside.

After all that, at long last, the moment of truth will have arrived. You can click that play button and allow the music to stream forth. Once that switch has been flipped, there’s simply no going back. It doesn’t matter if folk scream or wail at you to cease that infernal noise. Even if their ears begin to bleed and they can’t help but sob about torture, nothing and no one is going to stop you from playing that funky music.

Play that funky music – Wild Cherry

How To… Wait for Sleep

Face it, the drowsy fairy won’t be paying you a visit tonight. First you were too hot, so you energetically kicked aside the snuggly duvet eliciting anguished sleepy moans from your significant other. Then the chill set in and the shivery quivers running through your body were hardly conducive to the act of slumber. You frustratedly burrowed your face into the pillow in the hope that you might accidentally smother yourself to the point of unconsciousness but certainly not any further.

Flocks, clusters and finally hordes of sheep have been counted as they shuffle their boring way past mental gateposts. Maybe the reason you can’t sleep is because you’ve got too much stuff on your mind. Perhaps you ought to spend an intensive late night session thoughtfully sorting through all those niggling issues you’re currently facing in day to day existence. Or you could just be worried about myriad factors of modern life that are far beyond your control and it definitely wouldn’t be constructive to devote a whole lot of headspace to it.

You could leave the bed and curl yourself in front of the telly to watch a film that’s on during the early hours that you’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Or there are always all those terribly compelling TV shows you’ve been promising yourself to catch up on. How about a book? When was the last time you found yourself with enough time on yours hands to kick back and read?

But you really need to doze off soon. There are important matters that truly deserve your unblinkered attention in the morning. Just wait, it’ll totally absolutely happen. Wait as the sky turns from darkening to pitch black to a heart sinking lightening informing you that you’ve missed the boat on a decent night of kip. Maybe a nap then, perk you up for the unstoppable morning. Wait, it’ll come. Promise.

Wait for sleep – Dream Theater