Falling in Love with East London - Film Photographs

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Where an old city meets the sky it caresses a new London and in between the cobbled streets with two friends I fell in love.
All shot on a Canon AE-1 with Kodak 400 film. 

Tom Thum and Jamie MacDowell

Monday, 8 September 2014

It's a Sunday night and I'm drunk on red wine, by myself.
I say this with no declaration of pride, but instead enveloped by nostalgia.
Two weeks ago I was sat in Edinburgh by myself, on the front row of a show, with a bottle of red wine hidden under my seat.
A year prior, I was in a very similar position, yet that time with company and with fewer expectations.
"I know you love music, so I've sorted out tickets to see this show tonight,"  Jack beamed.
Lost dense in the scenes of a comedy festival, I fizzed with excitement- at last, something I'd understand and would be able to form a real critical review on.
"One of them's a beatboxer."
My heart sunk.
After 15 months of bonding, late night chats, texting and heart to hearts, clearly my best friend didn't know me at all.
"No, give this a chance... you'll love it."
I sat down amidst a roaring crowd, sceptical and a bit peeved. 
I left goose bump ridden and speechless, questioning every ounce of what I knew to be in creativity and artistry. 
A year later, without him, I bought a ticket and watched it again. 

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum epitomise the talent epidemic that this generation often finds itself on the cusp of, effervescent with passion and untapped skill -  they're still only performing to 200+ with the personal capacity to sell out arenas.
The show rounded to an end and I found myself emotional, a pranging pride and happiness smacked its way at my heart, I was unbearably excited to know this shit still existed, that I could still sit in an intimate venue and walk away with my own personal souvenir, an anecdote that the preponderance of the general public wouldn't have and perhaps a piece of inspired writing that no one else could conjure.

Jamie and Tom are a complete one of a kind, with an anarchic fluency that should make every brotherhood fearful, witty and smart; it's with the most oxymoronic childlike behaviour they pull off one of the more sophisticated and sharp shows I've ever had the pleasure of seeing, three times.
Jamie's wistful words, songwriting so smooth and slick meshed and sifted through Tom's outrageously dexterous demeanour and beatboxing, it all proves flawless. 

Tom and Jamie make me proud as a crowd member, as an acquaintance and as a friend.
I've seen a lot of live music, a lot of live comedy and a lot of live life and none of it quite equates to the experience these guys give. If it's not their inherent, uncontrolled stage presence as friends, it's the showcase of contradictory pieces they throw together in some sort of portfolio patchwork quilt that proves whatever you thought of the music industry and the comedy circuit was so far off the chart.
It's duo's like these that are not only commodities to an industry, but also as people.

Whilst I've written a few, there are no words worthy of these gentleman,
Thank you Jamie and Tom for giving me my spark back.
Fosters are on me next time.

Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Six months ago I decided it was beyond ridiculous that I didn't read enough,
so I took on a challenge.
Now, 24 weeks later, I've read just over 27 books.
'Down and Out in Paris and London' is hands down one of the best I've read in a long time.
I am an Orwellian virgin.
Never have I lifted the cover of 'Animal Farm' or perused the pages of '1984', so it's been an absolute pleasure to be introduced to the absolute genius that is George Orwell in one of his most compelling and honest novels.
Semi-autobiographical, it's with a relatively relaxed optimism that George Orwell accounts his life through the twenties.
Roaming through the impoverished Parisian streets, you're thrown in unarmed to bug-ridden bedrooms fit for no more than one despite the six vagrants he usually shares with. 
It's poignant and still incredibly pertinent to the 21st Century, giving an untainted buoyancy despite living very much below the poverty line, Orwell seizes every working opportunity no matter how mundane and every friend no matter how filthy- a rose-coloured introspection on the world he lives in which is often lost in our modern one. It's this insight that helps merge him between being a spectator and participant of the down-and-out ventures as a part-time tramp, constantly pulling you between empathy for his penniless perils and applause for his optimistic omniscience on getting the most from his life despite the minute monetary worth it holds.

A Conscious 'Whats in My Makeup Bag'

Monday, 1 September 2014

"A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears" - Anne Raiphe

Hello my name's Charly Cox and I have two massive issues.
1. I am skeptical about the morals and ethics behind beauty blogging.
2. I can't stop buying into it.
I'm scared.

I've grown up furiously taking notes watching beauty vlogs, spending my hard earned cash (and probably my mum's too) on expensive make up that I thought had been kindly explained to me in a multitude of ukelele backed videos.
I like so many others found a safety and solace in knowing these dewy skinned ladies had tried, tested and loved what their sultry soft toned voices were reviewing and I wanted to keep up with them all.
One day I felt a deep pang in my stomach when La Roche Posay Effeclar Duo was out of stock in Boots. 
There's some serious shit going on in the world and I'm curled up in the foetal position down the aisle of a cosmetics store because I can't fight the non existent wrinkles on my face.
That's when I realised I'd been whored out by hauls and needed to rethink. 
Due to the nature of my job and the involvement I've had in the online industry in the last year or so, I've learnt a relatively disgusting amount about the truth behind the products that are being put in the videos we're all quite guilty of religiously transcribing down as though it's a biblical following.
I write this wincing, scared of who I might offend, but in truth this is something that desperately needs to be addressed. 
Most of the products you see are paid placements, some are deals that are signed with brands that can be in excess of £15,000 for a month of agreeing to feature a mascara in each of your posts or videos.
That's serious money.
That's serious money to recommend a product you don't necessarily love, to an increasingly young and self conscious audience.

Needless to say, not every beauty maven is a brand churning devil.
But when do you apply a basic level of social responsibility to not abuse your adoring audience by feeding into their insecurities and bank accounts?
You'd like to think always.

I have halted for so long to show you what's inside my make up bag because it fills me with this fiery discomfort that it might dice and stab a slippery slice of someones insecurity and encourage them to fork out money they could be spending on something much more worthwhile in hope that a side order of being beautiful is served with it.
Just because I put all of this sparkly, pretty shit on my face it's not what makes me beautiful.

You're beautiful without buying the things I've pictured.
But after a chunk of deliberation, a bucket load of requests and what seems like the largest sprinkling of irony I've ever seen- here's what I use to leave the house in the morning without wanting to burst into effervescent tears upon walking past a reflective surface.

Vivianna Does Makeup

Thursday, 28 August 2014

[photographs by Charly Cox]

As I shuffled to a corner to stand and stare aimlessly at my phone at a YouTube party I knew nobody at, Anna placed her hand on my shoulder.
"You look lonely! Come and join us...Oh my god! I follow you on Twitter."
Some say love at first sight, others know it's all about the carefully written social media before the real life sight bit. That's how you get the magic to happen.

Anna Gardner is an angelic beauty blogger/vlogger who shatters all the preconceptions we're all very guilty of making over those who natter Nars and chat Chantecaille with what looks like hardly a scrap of make up on her infuriatingly dewy soft skin and naturally shaped eyebrows.

Here's why I love Anna:

Firstly, she is actually a human being not a full time all breathing make up fanatic, (she most certainly does not stay up late at night writing fanfiction about Chanel Rouge Allure.) Although some could argue, isn't that what beauty blogging is with all the sensual language about application?
Secondly, she's a girl after my own heart.
Witty and wonderful with an incredible business accruement, it's not long until Selfridges start producing a mini-Anna to put in your pocket and spout good advice and blot your lipstick.

I'm sure you followed Anna's blog www.viviannadoesmakeup.com long before mine but if not, I urge and rush you repeatedly poking a Clinique chubby stick at your face to go and check it out.
It's golden just like her.

Woman crush Wednesday everyday now Anna is in my life.

A Single Girls Plea

Friday, 15 August 2014

I love a good "lads night out" because inadvertently and by complete accident I have become one of the boys.

Whilst I have nothing but complete love and adoration for my female friends, their intelligence and understanding, I am so fascinated by the male mind that I seem to have gravitated towards it in my choice of friends. 
But is being one of them, the first to crack out a 'that's what she said' and start an openly heated discussion about war, becoming more and more detrimental to my romantic life?

Sat with a girlfriend and two guys we'd met recently in a pub the other night, our conspiracy theories and dirty jokes were pulled to a hault when a bevy of beautiful girls walked in. They joined our table and flicked their hair, watching hawk eyed (albeit with lashings of Bobbi Brown mascara) as yet again the boys paid for the next round of drinks, it suddenly became painfully clear that there were two different nights about to fork out.
They were going to have sex and I wasn't. 

"Would you ever have sex with me?" I asked an attractive male friend of mine recently, we have brilliant banter and love nothing more than getting drunk together and being idiots, perhaps a little blasé to assume there was any physical attraction reciprocated, but I had watched night out after night out the sorts of girls he ended up taking home. 
"You can't say things like that!!" His ruddy cheeks burned.
"Why not? I want to know!"
"No Charly, I like and respect you too much."

Firstly, what the fuck? Secondly, what the ACTUAL fuck? 
There was little naive romantic me thinking that the reason why you slept with people was because you liked and respected them. 
I only posed the hypothetical question because I wanted to know what cast me so different to any other female he hangs out with- not because I viewed us as a potential item.
(I'm sure the answer would have taken a little more interested deliberation if it was someone drunk in a club.)

Announcing proudly the other night I had an impending date (this would turn out to be the 6th in 7 weeks that would be unsuccessful because despite potential soul mate connections - I was too lovely) my girlfriends cheered and ran over the usual "what are you going to wear?! Have you got matching underwear?!" Where as the boys grinned cautiously and demanded to see a Facebook profile to determine whether or not he was "one of the usual pricks you go for dinner with."

He was in fact, another one of the usual pricks. But why? When all my good looking, funny, clever and polite guy mates like me. Have I morphed into one of them? Have my boobs and bum and feminine demeanour dissolved into nothing more than a sarcastic sense of humour and a love of beer?
The last guy I dated (for a significant period) had a secret girlfriend of 18 months and the one before that after weeks of romantic gestures, nights in and dinner, suddenly stopped contacting me without a word only to add me on LinkedIn 3 months later.

I don't need a boyfriend to define me, but it would be nice to have a subtle reminder that I don't actually have a penis.

Males of London! I am a great girl! I will wear a dress to dinner and play table football with your friends. Your mum will, indefinitely, love me. 

So, what are you doing next Saturday?

Let's Start A Conversation: Self-Harm

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

I almost feel a bit of a fraud opening up this blank text post and organising my thoughts to resemble some sort of conclusion and aid, but I'm going to go ahead anyway - so please bear with me.

At the weekend a really lovely girl who reads my blog struck up conversation with me, she radiated this enviable confidence and threw out her words powerfully, a real force and energy to be ever so politely confronted with. We stood for a while, discussing this weird internet world that I'm currently typing to and I thought 'Wow, this girl is just like me three years ago, but a million times better!' so we exchanged numbers with the intent of coffee and late night discussions and as my eyes flickered down to the table to look at my phone I noticed her arms.

I felt mortified with my reaction when I almost instantly looked away, closing my eyes in a half gasp and a wince that was, by complete accident, probably a little bit vicious. From the crease of her elbow down to her wrist were white embossed marks, scars that protruded in swift neat lines that painted painful patterns so deep and angry that most of it didn't look much like flesh anymore.
My heart made a bursting pang and goosebumps covered the backs of my legs and suddenly I felt really stuck.
I couldn't say anything, I couldn't function coherent sentences and worst of all I felt like I couldn't help.

Six years ago in a Biology lesson I failed a test, this was the first time I'd ever failed anything academically and it awoke a pressure and disappointment that I didn't know how to deal with.
Fumbling in my pencil case with glassy eyes I found a protractor and instinctively without any thought or conscience I pressed it into my arm under the table until I bit my lip and drew blood.
I don't know why I did it, I don't know where I'd learnt that that was something you could do but I do know how it made me feel and sadly I grew to find some solace in it.
Soon whenever I felt sad or angry or anxious, I would search for the kitchen scissors or a broken piece of ruler and battled my ugly thoughts with uglier actions.
During my GCSE's I felt so undeserving of doing well that I scored down my finger tips with a knife so it hurt to hold a pen.
A coping mechanism that very quickly in the wrong mindset became self sabotage.

As the girl tapped in her number on my phone I was so bewildered, I wanted to reach out and pick her up and tell her that for such a beautiful, articulate and confident young lady she had no reason or purpose to be treating herself like a wooden meat board. That no thought her intelligent head or scene her big blue eyes had seen were worth furthering with the pain she'd inflicted on herself.
That she was made of strong stuff and should let her emotions fuel something proactive and productive instead of such self demeaning destruction.
I didn't say anything at all and I regret it more so than I ever knew I could.
She really was just like me 3 years ago and suddenly I wasn't sure if I wanted to say all of those things to her or if I wished I was brave enough to have said them to my 16 year old self.

I'd stop for months and go cold at the thought of metal on my skin, when I wasn't driven to do it I saw no sense behind it at all, I was completely at a loss with my actions and could never justify them until I was in the moment.
It was something I never spoke about or addressed, I'd wear long sleeves on summer days and feel the sweat seal into the scratches making them red and uncomfortable and would hate myself for having done it.
When I went on a big holiday this year with all of my now best friends, I tightly wrapped a sarong around my waist to hide the marks on my inner thighs and it was the first practice that cleared my head.
I was cutting myself because it made me feel in control, it was a release of adrenaline and a reflection of what I thought of my body, but instead of doing any of those things, it was not only dangerous but it was stripping me of EVERYTHING I thought it would give me.
It was making me embarrassed, uncomfortable, sad and antisocial, which I thought I was erasing with each mark. Physical pain was never going to conquer my emotional suffering and it took me far too many years to learn that you can't tangle psychological issues with physical ones in hope they counter balance.

I've now told my friends about it and they keep an eye out to see if I've self harmed recently, sitting me down to talk about why I feel to do it as opposed to just watching it happen.
This by far has been the best thing anyone could have ever done for me.
Instead of ignoring it, wincing like I did at this poor girl, they'd take me aside, tell me I was worth more than my actions and get me to spell out play by play what it was that was making me feel that way.
I've now not made an attempt to hurt myself in 5 months and I feel as though for the first time I can live my life with an overwhelming sense of relief.

As I've said in previous posts, I want to start a serious and compassionate conversation about health and the way we look at ourselves from in the inside and out.
If you've seen someone at school or a friend or a family member who's scarred, be compassionate.
Don't tell them their actions are stupid or what they're doing is ridiculous, but do sit them down privately and ask if it's something they'd feel comfortable talking to you about and assure them you're on hand if they want to seek help.
If you yourself are self harming, please please know that seeking help is brave and admirable.
Taking your issue seriously and speaking openly and honestly to a friend or a professional is the best gift you could give yourself.

This is to you, Summer in The City girl,
To YOU reading this from the comfort of your sitting room
and to you, 14 year old Charly Cox.
You're all worth the self love you'd treat others with.


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