Music Overload! Or: What I’m Currently Listening To…

All new relationships encounter bumps along the road to happiness... at the moment me and my camera are dealing with the bump known as 'focussing'...

All new relationships encounter bumps along the road to happiness… at the moment me and my camera are dealing with the bump known as ‘focussing’…

I’m one of those people who’s very good at delaying gratification, whilst this is a pretty desirable trait to have it can lead to some weird/frustrating situations… like being a music addict with a drawer full of albums.

For xmas I asked for some music, pretty standard for me as I can’t seem to do anything with a song blasting in my ears (currently enjoying ‘Run Boy Run’ by Woodkid as a I type this, see here) but as I broke out the first CD I realised that I already had a drawer full of music from LAST xmas and birthday… sitting unloved in my bedside cabinet.

So I decided to man-up and sit through the frustrating process that is uploading CDs into iTunes on a really temperamental laptop and stuck them all on my ipod.

Starting from the top, clockwise we have:

Faun – Licht: as you probably already know I’m a huge, huge OMNIA fan and so decided to branch out a little into other bands who have the same kind of feel. I’ve heard a few Faun songs before and liked them, whilst they’ll never replace OMNIA in my heart they give me the same wonderful soaring feeling. I had no idea which album to go for so I just picked one at random and am really enjoying it, they’re refreshing and deep and everything that I love with this kind of band. Go and listen to them!

Bastille – Bad Blood: this was really weird for me, it’s probably the first well known  album that I’ve ever bought (closest I can think of is Florence + The Machine) not because I’m trying to be strange and hipster (oh god, wordpress spelling thing actually recognises the word ‘hipster’… but apparently not the word ‘wordpress’ hmm, interesting) but because I genuinely don’t find mainstream music to be something that makes me feel… things (you know what I’m trying to say, right?) I first heard ‘Pompeii’ on an advert, did some Youtube-ing and fell in love. Absolutely, genuinely smitten (musically) over here.

Bellowhead – E.P. Onymous: Not really much of a surprise here, I love Bellowhead and am trying to build up my collection of their albums. I haven’t actually listened to this one yet and am really interested as I know this album is more about showcasing the different talents and styles of its individual members… but I love Bellowhead so it’s pretty safe to assume that I will also love this. If you’ve never heard of them they’re a massive folk ensemble who put their own spin on classic folk songs. They create an amazing, full and atmospheric sound- YouTube them NOW!

Bellowhead – Broadside: like I’ve just said above; this is another one of my efforts to expand my Bellowhead collection. This is their latest album (I hope, otherwise I’ve just made a tit of myself) and it’s brilliant… nothing else to add really! I find it hard to compare albums, personally I think that you can’t really as they’re different entities, so I’m not going to draw comparisons with Hedonism. My favourite songs on the album are: ‘The Wife of Usher’s Well’ and ‘Lillibulero’.

The Beatles – The Red Album 1962-66: I already have ‘The Blue Album’ which is a collection of their later songs, so this was something that I got to complete my collection. I know it’s boring and predictable but they are fantastic and I love them and was brought up listening to their music. It’s also got my favourites, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ which I’ve just realised makes me sound pretty depressing.

Spiers and Boden – The Works: I love Spiers and Boden… my love started out when I head a Jon Boden song from his ‘Songs from the Floodplain’ album and then progressed to Spiers and Boden and ultimately to Bellowhead, Spiers and Boden were also the first musicians that I saw live (and I’m going to see them again in May!) so they hold a special place in my heart. Amazingly this is the first one of their albums that I have. They’re the frontmen for Bellowhead and play the fiddle and the accordion and pretty much whatever else they can fit into their hands as well as singing at the same time. They’re an epic two-man folk band, what I love about them (and in fact Bellowhead too) is the amount of energy they put into all their music. Although these songs can be a hundred or so years old they sound fresh and new and full of life and emotion.

In The Middle:

Various Artists – The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: This is a crazy, passionate album with a broad range of musical styles and tastes. It includes everything you can think of. My favourites are ‘Over the Love of You’ Florence + The Machine, ‘Crazy in Love’ Emile Sande and ‘Into the Past’ Nero (though I love 90% of the album) can’t say anything apart from; whatever you’re taste in music, you’ll find something on here you love. It’s fresh and crazy and fabulous.

+ Downloaded from iTunes:

Soley – We Sink: fabulous, fabulous, almost ethereal album from Icelandic singer/pianist/songwriter Soley. I can’t say ebough about her, but annoyingly her voice is very hard to describe… ‘I’ll Drown’ makes me cry every time. Her songs are almost bittersweet, very raw and honest but with an incredible, soaring imagination to them. Just listen to her.

Advertisements

Beating the January Blues

January’s a difficult month, the come-down after the holiday season means a lack of festive spirit, lack of money and lack of free time. The whole world seems to be watching crap telly and eating far too much chocolate, and when you have or are prone to depression all this can seem even worse.

January’s so far been bittersweet for me- I had a lovely birthday and have had some time off work (annual holiday), however I’ve had several drama school rejections and have just been dropped from an incredible play that we were going to be taking to the Edinburgh Fringe, it was going to be my highlight of 2014 but apparently the part they have just isn’t suitable for me… I’ll go into more detail some other time but I’m feeling pretty tender at the moment.

If you’re feeling blue at the moment, try this:

REMEMBER TO BE GENTLE TO YOURSELF.

TAKE PLEASURE IN THE LITTLE THINGS: have a long shower, an early night, bake a cake, paint your nails, watch crap telly, eat shitloads of chocolate.

MAKE A LIST: if you’re feeling overwhelmed try making a list of things to do- I know I’m a list addict and it helps me to get my mind in order.

PLAN A HOLIDAY: give yourself something concrete to look forward to in the future, this can help if you’re feeling seriously depressed or even suicidal by giving you something to stay alive for.

OR, PLAN THE WEEK: plan your days of the week, maybe plan in little outings, shopping trips or drinks with friends. If you’re really struggling just take things slowly.

INDULGE YOURSELF: find the thing that calms you down and do it; I like watching make-up tutorials on YouTube, for some reason I find it really calms me down.

SMALL GOALS; BIG REWARDS: set yourself little challenges, things that you know are do-able, once you’ve accomplished them you’ll feel a sense of achievement which should help to lift your spirits a little.

BE SENSIBLE: if you’re feelings seriously depressed and nothing is helping then think seriously about it; GO AND SEE YOUR DOCTOR; it doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re time wasting- you’re not. You need to be sensible, up front and honest about this.

THINK ABOUT LOVE: make a list of the people in your life who’ve stuck by you, loved you and made you feel special- if you can’t or don’t want to do this try making a list of all the times and places in your life that you felt happy or loved.

REACH OUT: talk to your friends- if you don’t have any, make some! If you struggle to make friends then see that as a challenge. Being bad at something is good, because it means that you can only get better at it.

READ THIS BLOG! I’ve got a lot of ideas for January/February so stick around for a random mix of mentalism, Paganism, acting and life… and feel free to leave me a comment!

’til next time,

Wren x

My Current Altar Set-Up

This is the current set up of my altar area, I’ve had this particular set up since Samhain and will be changing it in a couple of weeks for Imbolc:

Forgive the strange lighting and slight blurriness, I’ve recently acquired a new camera which whilst being amazing is taking me a little while to get the hang of- being stuck in the eternal darkness that is the North of England in winter isn’t helping either.

The display I have on the wall stays the same throughout the year, staring from the top and working around clockwise we have: Dagda, Danu, Brighid, Rhiannon, the three aspects of the Goddess, The Green Man, Herne the Hunter and Lugh. In the middle from top to bottom are: Celtic artwork, a pentacle with ‘I am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars’ (a quote from the Wiccan Rede) and finally a Celtic/Pagan wheel of the year.

This display was pretty simple to make, all it involved was some Google-imaging, printing, cutting out and sticking to the wall… free if you don’t include the price of paper, ink or internet and actually a very therapeutic way to spend the afternoon. These pictures have lasted for about four years and through three moves… who knows where I’ll take them next!

On my altar itself we have: (top row, left to right) tarot cards (I use the Mythic tarot but really want the classic Rider-Waite), a pot containing nothing that was given to me by my best friend,  a pouch of scent, pinecones and conkers collected from the local woods, two pillar candles to represent the God and Goddess, a flower/petal tea light holder which was a gift from my parents and a pile of stones and quartz collected from about five different beaches in Scotland- I have loads of this stuff, blame it on six years of holidaying up there.

(Bottom row, left to right): ex-jewellery box containing rune stones, a small tea-light holder, a shell collected from a beach in Northumbria, candle from my best friend, a feather and a stick.

At the moment the cloth that I’m using for my alter is red for Samhain and Yule- when it comes time for Imbolc I’ll change the cloth to while and remove seasonal items such as the pinecones. Other than that my alter set up stays roughly the same, I’d love to get a skull or some bones for the darker times of the year and I’m thinking about getting some blubs in a plant pot for spring.

My altar itself is just a storage unit, underneath is has six compartments where I keep random rubbish that I seem to think that I need- one compartment it used to store all my Pagan stuff like ritual clothes, spare candles, wax, string and potential items to be used in spells.

Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend, check back again soon!

Blessings, Wren x

Plans for 2014

I know I’m late to the party but I don’t like resolutions- I always seem to mess them up or just rebel against them… so here are my ‘plans’ for 2014.

  1. Paint my nails more: I know this is a random one but I love wearing nail polish and I’ve collected so much of it in the last year thanks to Aunties and Uncles that it really seems a shame not to wear it all… just have to get over my epic laziness of applying it.
  2. Read books: I have a pile of books that I’ve been meaning to read for the last three years, for someone who was once a massive reader this is pretty bad. I’m planning to spend this year working my way through them all.
  3. Do more rituals: we have eight festivals in the year, for 2014 I’m going to celebrate each one with a private ritual. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of myself in return for a peaceful state of mind and closer connection to my Gods.
  4. Edit my latest novel: it’s sitting lonely and forlorn on my laptop, I just need to give it a serious edit and slight reworking and then I can maybe start to think about publication and exciting things.
  5. Plan my next novel: I want to keep writing, I’ve been taking a break for the past few years to try and focus on my acting but I really, really want to get back into the writing groove again.
  6. Say ‘no’: this is just one for my personal life, I very rarely say no to anything or anyone- but in terms of men I need to learn when to trust my instincts and say ‘no’ to someone. I’ll always try out a relationship with someone but I need to stop being afraid of hurting people’s feelings and know when to turn someone down or end something.

There we go… nice and painless! What are your plans/resolutions for 2014?

‘til next time,

Wren x

Why ‘The Druid Bird’?

This Friday I thought we’d have a little look into the name of this blog, amazingly some thought actually went into it and I wanted to share the random bird/mythology related process with you.

And what will you do, said Milder to Moulder
For we may not tell you, said Festel to Fose
We´ll shoot the cutty wren, said John the Red Nose
We´ll shoot the cutty wren, said John the Red Nose

When I was younger I spent a lot of time being brought up by my Grandma who used to call me ‘Wren’, as I’ve probably said here several times before that’s not my real name, it’s a play on my actual name, but one that several people in (real) life use.

As well as this ‘The Cutty Wren’ is one of my favourite folk songs; there was a custom in the United Kingdom to hunt and kill a Wren on St Stephen’s day, the Wren was known as ‘The King of the Birds’ and the killing of the Wren was seen as a sacrifice so that the rest of the community could continue living in peace.

In Celtic mythology the Wren represents knowledge and being underestimated- the Wren is a tiny bird that is capable of around thirty different songs and over a hundred different noises. They can be ten times louder than a rooster- which is fairly impressive for a tiny little bird.

The Druid’s had a huge respect for the Wren and were the ones to dub it ‘The King of the Birds’, even the word ‘Wren’ translates to ‘The Druid Bird’… hence the name of this blog! (Well, it’s nice to see that I put SOME thought into it…)

If you want to know more about Wrens then have a look here, this’ll also tell you pretty much everything you want to know about me and my personality, which is handy if you care about that sort of thing.

Hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing you have a fabulous weekend and I’ll be back with my Mentalist post on Monday!

’til next time,

Wren x

Update: Wren on Medication

Went back to the Doctor the other week and got some more medication, I started off on Citalopram 10mg per day for a week and then doubled the dose the next week. The Doctor said that I wouldn’t be feeling any positive benefit yet but should have noticed a little evening out in my mood.

I said that I had noticed it, at the moment I feel wonderfully neutral- neutral isn’t the goal with all of this, but seeing as I haven’t felt ‘neutral’ in about four years it’s a bloody fantastic feeling.

It’s not the same as I’ve ever felt either, if I ever felt neutral before it was an unstable kind of neutral (if that makes any kind of sense) that I knew wouldn’t last or I just felt dead… now I feel stable, and it’s so relaxing.

For the first time in years I’m content to just sit at home watching telly, if I end a night out in my own bed it’s not a letdown, for the first time ever I’ve ended a relationship and I feel okay- I can breathe again, I can relax and have fun and still maintain a sense of self respect and dignity. I actually care about myself, and I can enjoy my own company again.

My dosage will probably be raised, because as wonderful as neutral is it still isn’t where we want me to be… but for the moment I’m happy to be here in boring, plain neutral land.

’til next time,

Wren x

On Acting and Failure

Having a little break from scheduled programming this week, apologies for that, but this is something that’s been playing around in and on my mind recently.

As I’m sure most of you know I’m an actress, at the moment I’m on an intensive one-year actor/industry training course aiming to not only expand my acting skills but give me practical knowledge of the performing arts industry, how to fund myself, get an agent and so on.

I’ve just started my second attempt at getting into a drama school, I auditioned last year with no results and am now trying for the second time. I don’t expect to get in this year either- not because I’m not good, but because the ratio of applicants to places is completely insane.

I could write a whole article on how hellish my profession is, I could terrify you with statistics and numbers but I’m not going to- instead I’m going to tell you about the mentality of being an actor.

This has all come about as one of the guys on my course has just revealed that he lied about getting a recall in his drama school auditions last year, he’d said that he got a few recalls when he actually hadn’t gotten anything. He said that he lied because he felt ashamed and embarrassed. As well as this we’ve also recently been discussing the peer pressure to go to university.

I didn’t get a recall last year, from the five schools that I auditioned to I got nothing but polite rejections, I had some good chats with the audition panels, was told by RADA not to go to university but keep trying the drama school route, which was quite comforting.. I’ve never been anything other than plain and honest about my acting career I don’t feel ashamed about getting rejected.

The industry that I work in is horrible and brutal, I don’t try to dress up what I do, the stage has cost me a lot of things- namely relationships- but ultimately it’s my soulmate, and I’ll never walk away from it. It’s been weird going to auditions this year and hearing the people younger than me flinch at the amount of hours they’d be made to work if they got in or talk about how if they don’t get in they’ll just go to university- I’m not saying that this is a bad decision, honestly the last thing I want to do here is condemn that as it’s a choice I may make at the end of this academic year, but it highly makes me question their commitment.

If you’re going into this career path you need to be tough, tough as hell. You need to be able to stand on your own two feet and flip the birdie to the rest of the world. You have to be totally independent and know yourself inside and out. I’m not ashamed of any part of my past- there are things that I’ve done that I’m not proud of, there are things that I view as highly, highly personal and would never share with others… but I’m not ashamed of those things. However much of a mistake I think they were and however much I regret them I’m not ashamed of them.

Recently I’ve started to open up about my problems, I don’t talk about them at all- but I’ve started telling people that I’m mentally ill (obviously when I feel it’s relevant) and I’m finding it incredibly liberating. Acting has helped me so much to accept every little corner of myself, I have to accept my limitations and work with them, the experiences in my past give me invaluable life experience that make me a much better actress, they give me perspective and maturity.

If you want to be an actor then prepare to fail, prepare to get hurt and more hurt, prepare for serious and constant rejection. You have to want this more than air, more than anything you’ve ever wanted before- your whole body has to ache for this… or you can walk away now.

You can pretend to be someone else all you like, you can project an image that isn’t you and lie about your successes but at the end of the day you’re a fake. There’s no shame in failing, there’s no shame in falling down. Own your failures and your successes because they make you a better person.

’til next time,

Wren x