Joining an Orchestra and getting back into music

Joining an Orchestra and getting back into music

Not a lot of people know this but I am a brass player. That's right, a tiny person plays in the loudest part of an orchestra.

I have been playing the Cornet since I was in primary school, for those who don't know (like my boyfriend), it's pretty much the same thing as a Trumpet, just a bit smaller and slightly higher in pitch.

Cornelius - My beautiful Cornet

Playing in an orchestra has always been one of my favourite things. There's nothing better than being involved in something so spectacular as playing a John Williams collection and knowing you're the leading role (erm, Imperial March anyone?). My dad still has a CD of one of my first orchestral performances because it's just so damn good and my neighbours growing up used to come out and listen whenever I sat in the garden practicing.

Since I moved to London, I have fallen completely out of practice. Living in student halls followed by flats in converted houses is a nightmare for any musician, let alone a brass player. Having neighbours on the other side of a very thin wall makes playing a VERY loud instrument difficult. I'd hate to be inconsiderate and as a result I'm so out of practice that I'm not at the standard I used to be. I have been so paranoid about being awful despite numerous reassurances from my boyfriend.

Yesterday I had an email from someone I met at the East Finchley Christmas festival about a local orchestra so a sent an email about places and rehearsals expecting it to be full and being put on a waiting list. I was completely wrong, they were conveniently looking for a Cornet player and had the first rehearsal of term that night. I realised 'bugger, I have been completely put on the spot' and agreed to go.

My new orchestra: Image source

You know what, it was fantastic. I was extremely nervous and paranoid about being around so many great musicians that I felt like a child again but once I got into it I started to feel 'at home' again. Obviously I wasn't fantastic and I still have a lot of practice to do but it feels so good to be back.

Do you play any instruments?

Savage Beauty - The Alexander McQueen Exhibition at the V&A

Savage Beauty - The Alexander McQueen Exhibition at the V&A

Savage Beauty V&A

During my teenage years I wasn't interested in fashion and never believed I would be. Never wanting to fit into the 'mainstream' world and didn't want people telling me what I should wear. Over the years this has drastically changed. I follow a variety of fashion bloggers, I read Vogue and I look forward to seeing all the latest trends at Fashion Week every year. I also obviously have a bunch of high end 'classics' that I am constantly lusting over and once I can afford one I will see it as an achievement as well as an investment.

Alexander McQueen is one of the few designers that I am genuinely passionate about. I said to Charlie, Distracted that I sometimes wish I could turn back the clock to see some of his collections first time round. It was only in my second year of university that I started to pay attention and fell in love.

Savage Beauty is the exhibition and celebration of Alexander McQueen's greatest work from the potentially attainable to the absolutely mentally unattainable that you can only stare in complete wonder at. Whether you're a fashion buff or not I strongly believe it's something you should see. Alexander McQueen broke the boundaries of fashion in such a way that he created wearable art. He focused on more than just the dress, it was all about the dress as it moved, a water colour effect rippling through a variety of dimensions.

No. 13 dress Alexander McQueen

Through the exhibition you're also transported to feeling like you're seeing the show itself. From the spinning No. 13 dress created as a paint splatter on a blank canvass to the holographic Kate Moss dress... which we watched TWICE purely because it was so spectacular. Seriously, watch it.

In one room alone, we just sat there for about half an hour (no lie) because I for one was scared to miss anything. Afraid to skip over one of the tiniest details such as the hand painted feathers that made up the butterfly hat...

Alexander McQueen butterfly hat

My favourite part was seeing the Widows of Culloden collection where McQueen embraced his Scottish heritage showcasing the true beauty of Tartan and lace with the contrasting Girl who Lived in the Tree collection on the opposite side of the room which was pure fantasy and splendour.

Alexander McQueen Widows of Culloden

The girl who lived in the tree

I could go on and natter at you like a fan girl over the inspiration for a catwalk show being based on the chess scene in Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone and how it felt to see THAT feather dress in person but to be honest, I really can't do the exhibition justice. Alexander McQueen made fashion more than just an expectation and more than just something that will sell. Just go and see why.

All images have been ruthlessly stolen from Google Images as photography was not allowed.

Grimm Tales at the Oxo Tower

Grimm Tales at the Oxo Tower

Grimm Tales

When I was in year 7 I was first introduced to the works of Phillip Pullman with my first copy of Northern Lights and have been obsessed ever since.

I have been making more trips to the theatre over the past two years than I have since I moved to London eight years ago but I have never been to an immersive experience before so as cliche as it sounds, I didn't know what to expect. Being thrown into a play rather than sitting at the sidelines was incredible and appears to becoming a bit of a trend in the theatre scene.

Grimm Tales Oxo Tower

Grimm Tales Oxo Tower

Held in the Bargehouse just behind the Oxo Tower, Grimm Tales made me jump from the moment we walked in. A given really considering I don't like the dark or random loud noises. Wimp. You automatically feel transported into another world as a result, combined with a self playing piano and random constructions out of random pieces of furniture.

Grimm Tales Oxo Tower
From Charlie, Distracted 
From Charlie, Distracted

Charlie, Distracted and I joined the white group and were guided across different levels and rooms by the actors themselves, and spent the first part of the show arms linked and prepared to be scared.

We were told some tales we knew and some we didn't, we all know Hansel and Gretal but did you know about the Princess who's father wanted to marry her or the original version of the Princess and the Frog?

Following the performance we were told to explore and had so much fun doing so, with Charlie climbing into Hansel's cage announcing 'it's actually quite roomy, I don't know what he was complaining about', me finding a wardrobe leading to 'Narnia'... actually, that's a lie. It lead to a dark room that I was too scared to go into and then jumped out of my skin, a screaming wuss on the floor at a talking mirror THAT I KNEW WAS THERE, much to Charlie's amusement.

Completely unaware, the stories of the Brothers Grimm continued around us as we witnessed Snow White and her Prince running away from her glass coffin surrounded by candles and apples.

Grimm Tales Oxo Tower

Annoyingly I can't tell you to go and see it as it has now ended but I have just learnt from Charlie that it's rumoured to return in another London location so keep your eyes and ears open for any whispers.

Terry Pratchett mural in Shoreditch - A moving tribute

Terry Pratchett mural in Shoreditch - A moving tribute

Terry Pratchett Mural

I can't remember when I first started reading Terry Pratchett, I know it was because of my Aunty Anne-Marie who has all of the books and has had a massive picture of the Great A-Tuin bearing the weight of four elephants and the great Discworld gliding through space on her wall for as long as I can remember. When Terry Pratchett died we lost one of the greatest minds to ever grace literature and my heart skipped a beat, and obviously not in a happy way.

Courtesy of Twitter I found out that this wonderful mural of Sir Terry and some of his infamous characters had been created just off Brick Lane, I obviously had to run and see it that day even if I was a little behind on the times, luckily for me I could see it in progress (kinda) because the final touches were still being added by this very talented man.

Death has always been my favourite character in the Discworld novels, as strange as that may sound. My favourite quote from him demonstrates the very effect Terry Pratchett had on my life and other fellow fans, and what his death means to us:

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling Angel meets the rising Ape" - The Hogfather

Sir Terry Pratchett created this place in the most fabulous way and I'm a combination of sad and excited to read the final chapter when the last ever discworld novel is released in September.

Are you also a fan of Terry pratchett?