Sunday, 17 July 2011

All was well

The Harry Potter era has ended. Truly ended. All that is and all that has been and will be is over. No more books, or films. It feels weird. Future generations will be told by my generation - the 'Harry Potter' generation - of how great it was. We'll tell them about how we reserved the books months and months in advance, waited eagerly for the post man on release day, or cycled down to the nearest book shop for the moment it opened to get the book we'd all anticipated, theorised and dreamt over. In my life time I doubt that there will be another such phenomenon.

I didn't start reading Harry Potter until quite late in the cycle. The first book was published in 1997, it was when I started school at the age of 4. My primary school was a Church of England school and so banned the books and unlike other schools who read them as class texts we were highly discouraged not to read them at home either. My headteacher was very strong with the point that the books taught nothing my witchcraft and therefore were not suitable for a Christian upbringing. Subsequently she was featured on the BBC news and I am lead to believe that there is a deatheater called 'Rookwood' - apparently not a completely fictitious name. Yet, looking back on these strong opinions, I cannot think that Harry Potter is about witchcraft at all. Instead it is about love, friendship and overpowering evil rather than capturing dark magic and the supernatural.

Despite the banning of books I remember that in year 2 a lot of my friends reading 'The Chamber of Secrets'. Of course many copies got confiscated from my friends, but Harry Potter lived on. I was never a massive reader when I was younger, sure I read some Enid Blyton books, and Jacqueline Wilson books as every other 8 year old girl, but Harry Potter never featured heavily due to the banning in primary school. I'd seen the films, but I was a wimp and found them scary beyond belief. I remember watching the second film and having to sit on my mother's lap because I was so jumpy.

It was when book 4 came out that I really started to show an interest. I read it. I enjoyed it. And so my love began. I started from the beginning and became enthralled in the world that JK Rowling had created. I discussed with my mum what we thought would happen next and how Voldemort would affect the wizarding world this time.

In secondary school I found other people who shared my love for the books and I would go and see the films with them and have massive detailed discussions with them about our theories for the next books. I started to ask for Harry Potter cakes and wands for my birthday and even went to the premier for the Half Blood Prince despite the torrential rain. We made new friends and had an amazing time. I have so many memories of making up songs to do with Harry Potter and having Harry Potter birthday parties, making Weasely jumpers, Luna Lovegood earrings, writing to Warner Brothers to become and extra and surviving a whole spoiler free day of school after Deathly Hallows came out and not having read the ending due to untimely family outings!

The first book was published in 1997 and the last film is out in 2011. The Harry Potter phenomenon has spanned my whole childhood. In some ways it marks the end, in some ways it will never end. It will always be loved and the stories will always be read, but no one aside from a small selection of people born at exactly the right time can say that they have lived with Harry Potter for the whole of their childhoods.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Musicians unite

First of all. I got my IB results. Freaking FORTY-TWO! I'm very very happy though I didn't have much time to dwell over them because this all happened around one hour afterwards:

I go to a music centre on a Saturday morning with loads of my friends and we were invited to go and play with the Royal Engineer's Military band in one of their summer concerts. It was all very exciting. So we got on the coach up to Twickenham to their music school headquarters where they have an outside concert venue. Now for anyone in England, you'll know that last week the weather was a bit temperamental, so we were crossing our fingers for no rain. No rain came, instead gusts of wind were in the air, which makes an outside concert that little bit more exciting. We played first to load applause and then the RE band followed. It was a truly amazing concert complete with fireworks and flags and horn players. Beautiful.

The next day life got even more musical. Every year Kent Music take over Benenden school, which is an independent boarding school in the middle of no where with no signal. It's so much fun! You walk in and you feel inspired to go that extra mile with your playing. In KYWO I'm constantly surrounded by amazing players and we work hard in our sections and as a whole band to create an amazing concert on the final day. This year we had an African theme but then we also branched out to other countries like America and Spain, but which had an overall effect of journeying. Our conductor had composed the finale piece himself, which much to our surprise became everyone's favourite piece and included singing and swaying - which is not as easy as it sounds.

To be with all my music friends again was so lovely and to make more new friends every year is the best. They are all genuinely lovely people who have the same passions as you and won't laugh or judge in anyway (other than being awesome) for listening to classical or instrumental music for fun. I think after our concert I hugged just about everyone, everyone was on such a high from the whole week and the music which was a blast to play.

Life has been so good recently. I'm kind of at a loss to what to do today, though I'm going back to Benenden later today to watch Charlotte's concert. Really, I have exciting stuff to do all summer and I haven't been truly bored once in these epic two months. Life is good. I am happy and I'm sure that the annual Benenden Blues will soon be taken over with more exciting adventures.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The dilemma whilst watching Wimbledon

So Wimbledon is over for another year. It was the first time I felt that I had time to really engage with the championships, which I know sounds weird and you're probably wondering how you can get engaged and attached to sport, especially when you don't play it. But the thing with Wimbledon is that it's not just about the sport and who can win. It's about their journeys and experiences, placing them altogether, adding thousand of spectators each day and seeing what goes on, who comes out on top. This year especially players were under estimated. The favourites to win the women's singles title didn't even get into the quarter-finals. One player, named the best ever tennis player got knocked out in the quater-finals against a 12th seeded player. The final outcome was talked about, but the champion was not predicted by the majority. They're all good. There is no question about that, but I think it's the mentality of the players that puts them one step above the rest. Having no doubt in your mind that you can win against someone else is something that brings determination, agression and strength to the game. You can see that being in control creates winners.

So I'm happy about the result, all bar the 'best player' who went out in the quarter-finals, but whilst watching the matches I don't know who to support. See when you watch tennis, your favourite may be knocked out (as in my case) in the earlier rounds. Who does that leave you with? It's not like a team sport, where you watch only when the team you support is playing, you watch Wimbledon regardless of that. This is my dilemma whilst watching Wimbledon. One of the matches had a British player in it, but he was against my 'second favourite' player. What to do? Stay true to my country, be patriotic, or go with my favourite? I was in constant moral dilemma throughout the match and in the end I took to support the Brit, just because he was loosing. He lost in the end. But this became a thing.

The final. World number 1 against world number 2 - soon to be reversed. My second favourite (who had won Wimbledon before) against someone who I hadn't really thought about (this was his first Wimbledon final). Now simply with these two facts in the brackets, my dilemma began. 'Should I support my favourite? or should I support the other because it is his first time and he has played well this whole time'. Dilemma. I changed my mind throughout the game and in the end I cheered for the one who was losing.

I feel pity and I empathise. My mum, who is Danish, says that this is a typically British thing to do. Though I do have to add I was pleased with the result, even though my 'second favourite' player didn't win. Well deserved Djokovic.

Friday, 1 July 2011

On leaving school

When I finished year 11 I cried. I was coming back to the same school, with largely the same friends, the same teachers, everything the same. I was going to study the subjects I wanted, have my own 6th form block, my own locker and be allowed to carry round my bag for the whole day without leaving it in my locker. It was a sad day, there is no doubt about it.

But two years on I'm in almost the same position again. This time though, I've left forever. Most people I won't ever see again, or talk to. Some I may even forget I ever knew. It's an awful thought, but it's true. Some people just haven't impacted my life in such an immediate way, and they will be the people I will regrettably forget. There's no denying it. It sounds sad, heart breaking. But it's weird, I don't feel that way. I don't feel like a winner getting away from people who I haven't found interesting or inspiring, yet all these people have been a part of my 7 years at school. Yet I don't feel a twinge of guilt or sadness for letting some people go. I didn't cry today on my leaver's day. I didn't hug anyone goodbye. I waved bye to some people and wished them a good holiday and said I'd see them soon. They're the people I probably will see soon. The others just left, passing me like passing businessmen ghosts in London. Part of the crowd.

This time I think I feel ready to go. I've moved on from that part of my life, and to prolong it anymore wouldn't help. It's the end of an era, sure. But it's the start of an even better one. There are so many wonderful people who I love and I will cherish their company in my life forever I hope. I know the people I will talk to again because I want to. I don't want to lose contact and they always have a space in my mind.

I love my friends so much and I really don't want to ever forget them. I'm sure when the real goodbye comes and I won't see them each week I will feel like I've lost half of my livelihood.