Well, this one is big! A lot has changed since my last Behind the Scenes post, so let’s get into it.
Moved to Scotland
I arrived here the morning of September 6, so it’s been just about two months. Luckily the transition was pretty easy since I spent the third year of my undergrad in Glasgow. I live pretty close to where I was before, and I shop at the same Tesco and Superdrug. The biggest adjustment has been leaving all my friends and family behind. After I graduated I moved back home to Toronto and got to spend a year and a half seeing my friends and family all the time, and now I’m back to being separated from them. Luckily, FaceTime exists – I talk to my parents every week and my friends almost as often.
Started grad school
I’m about halfway through my first semester of grad school now. I really missed being in school and this is the goal I’ve worked towards for four years now! This semester I’m taking two classes: a core course which runs all year, and Advanced Topics in Film Studies. Next semester I’ll be taking Advanced Topics in Television Studies and a class on festivals alongside the core course. I’m really looking forward to that because I’m way more interested in TV than film, and the course is co-taught by one of the professors I had when I studied abroad who I loved. There are three different streams in my department, two practical and then the academic programme that I’m in, and it’s cool to mingle with the students who are making films and training for careers within the film industry instead of academia.
I thought transitioning back to school might be difficult, but it wasn’t – I feel so comfortable in an academic setting. It was a bit strange to go from working 40 hours a week on someone else’s schedule to being in charge of my own time minus my ~10 hours a week on campus. But the workload has been manageable and I’m not struggling with the content. Around half of the people in my programme studied something other than film in their undergrad, and I can see that sometimes they’re lost – so I’m grateful to my film/cultural studies background for giving me a leg up here!
I wouldn’t say the classes, assignments, or reading are significantly more difficult than what I was doing in the last year of my undergrad. My biggest struggle has been the pace of my core course – each week is taught by a different professor on a single topic, and the next week we move on to a totally different topic. It’s so different from the in-depth courses I took in fourth year. If there’s a topic I’m interested in and want to explore in an essay, I can’t rely primarily on the content presented in class – that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s a lot more independent research to do on my own time. It obviously makes sense that grad school would be more research-based, but that’s been the biggest transition for me.
Cut my hair
I mean, I literally cut my own hair. I’ve done it a few times before, and it always turns out far less terribly than you might think. I keep oscillating between wanting to maintain a short cut and grow it out to its eighteen-year-old glory:
However, my hair is far too damaged to be past my shoulders. I’m also attempting to stay strong now that I’m eight months bleach-free, and growing out the blonde paradoxically means cutting my hair to get rid of it. Anyway, it was time for a cut – the ends were fried and it was becoming shapeless. I’m sure it’s a total hack job if you look closely, but I’ve been living my life this way for the past three weeks and it’s been fine. I do really like it at this length, but now that my hair is back on the road to health I’m yearning for the ability to have it long again. (And I REALLY miss doing high ponytails!)
Went to a drag show
A classic Clem move is getting really into a TV show in the first few weeks of a semester. Past obsessions have included The OC and Scandal. This time, mainly inspired by the lack of selection on UK Netflix, it was RuPaul’s Drag Race. All my friends love the show so it was only a matter of time before I copied them. I will not tell you how quickly I watched all nine seasons plus the two All Stars seasons, but it was fast. And then I went to see some of the most popular RPDR queens (Sharon Needles, Alaska, Courtney Act, Willam, Jinkx Monsoon, and Trixie Mattel) when they came to town for a Halloween show. (Aquaria, Sharon’s drag daughter who is rumoured to be on season 10, was also there.) The show was the day after Trixie was officially announced as an All Stars 3 cast member, so when she came onstage the energy was incredible. She was very smiley and happy and the other queens were really supportive of her. Sharon Needles spent a long time complimenting her and calling her a genius, and later Trixie mentioned that in her season 7 promo she said that Sharon was her favourite RPDR queen, so everything came full circle. Jinkx also blew me away – I really liked her on season 5, but she fully won me over live. She was so funny and energetic, and she unexpectedly sang “Life On Mars?”, which, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you will know is one of my favourite songs of all time.
I was about four rows back and had a really good view of the stage, so here are some of my pictures:
Sharon is my favourite of these six queens but I barely got any good pictures of her because she would not stay still. She was the last queen onstage (since she’s the Queen of Halloween she was saved until the end!), and she came out of a coffin.
All in all, a great experience, and one that I’d totally repeat and recommend. I have a ticket for Trixie’s solo show in January, so that will be fun!
Went to southern England
Over the summer I stayed up until 5am to buy tickets to see Harry Styles in London, and the show was this past weekend. I stayed with Aisling in Brighton. I’ve been to Brighton twice before and the weather was terrible both times, so I was very excited that last weekend it was sunny and clear. On Sunday Aisling and I went to the adorable town of Lewes, where I had my first ever cream tea. (By the way, I tried both the Devonian and Cornish methods and I am 100% Team Devon. It’s a lot harder to spread clotted cream on top of jam than vice versa!)
On Monday I spent eight hours outside in the cold lining up to see Harry in London, which was inevitable. I’m an unashamed adult One Direction fan, and now that the band is unofficially dead Harry is the only one whose career I’m following closely. (He’s always been my absolute favourite.) He bought Pizza Hut and hot chocolate for the hundreds of fans who waited in line for him, which just makes me love him more. Sadly the GA audience was awful and basically treated a small show like a One Direction concert in a stadium, so the show itself wasn’t the best experience for me. But Harry was great and I’m excited to see him again in April.
November promises to be pretty busy what with the end of the semester (only three weeks left!), and in December I’ll be in Canada, so we’ll see what I have to report in my next update.
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