Tag Archives: Blogging

Everything I Did When I Wasn’t Here

28 Apr

IMG_0723

  1. Applied to do a postgraduate degree
  2. Became a venue press officer during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  3. Had eyes opened
  4. Worried constantly about postgraduate degree application
  5. Got accepted onto chosen postgraduate course
  6. Freelanced for a charity
  7. Started going to university
  8. Felt really fucking old
  9. Freelanced for an online marketing company
  10. Slept
  11. Didn’t sleep enough
  12. Stayed up too late
  13. Went to bed too early
  14. Drank too much
  15. Felt out of place
  16. Felt normal again
  17. Realised my priorities were different to those of my new university chums
  18. Got through the first semester
  19. Staggered through the second semester
  20. Thought of a dissertation topic
  21. Neglected my house
  22. Neglected my partner
  23. Arsed about on Twitter
  24. Saw some theatre
  25. Saw some more theatre
  26. Stressed about essays
  27. Wrote essays anyway
  28. Designed a book
  29. Started walking more
  30. Lost 14 lbs
  31. Wondered what life would be like if everything were different
  32. Doubted my abilities as a mother
  33. Worried I was failing my child somehow
  34. Continued to doubt my abilities as a mother
  35. Withdrew, isolated myself
  36. Lost track of time
  37. Procrastinated
  38. Cried
  39. Cried
  40. Cried
  41. Learned little about my chosen course, and more about the people on it
  42. Became theatre editor at The Skinny
  43. Danced
  44. Went to London
  45. Went to London again
  46. Found myself in Yorkshire
  47. Wondered where the time went
  48. Thought about blogging
  49. Worried that I had nothing to blog about
  50. Ate some pizza
  51. Danced
  52. Lived in my head
  53. Didn’t get out my pyjamas
  54. Thought about eating pizza
  55. Drank too much coffee
  56. Got annoyed when they put a Starbucks on campus with no warning
  57. Got introduced to Indesign
  58. Immediately hated Indesign
  59. Accepted that Indesign exists
  60. Danced
  61. Interviewed great people
  62. Wrote more features
  63. Remembered who I was
  64. And I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Not a damn thing.
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Trash Goes to the UK Blog Awards!

29 Apr
UK Blog Awards 2014 Finalist

UK Blog Awards 2014 Finalist

A few months ago, I announced that The Taylor Trash had been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards 2014. Back then, I was still reeling from the announcement and dealt with my shock by drinking copious amounts of tea and not thinking about the Awards Ceremony that was taking place on the 25th of April.

When I emerged from my tea-induced funk, I had a packed suitcase, an outfit for the ceremony, my ticket in my sweaty hands and I was boarding a train to London. This is not, as you might assume, the antics of a normal Friday in Trashland, but it was great to be nominated, it had been two years since I last visited London and I was going to get to see some good friends while I was down there.

The UK Blog Awards 2014 Invite, featuring my thumb

The UK Blog Awards 2014 Invite, featuring my thumb

On Saturday, I pulled on my dress, got as dolled up as I could (although I have accepted that I will never dress as well as the fashion bloggers that were there on the night) and headed to the Grange St Paul’s hotel, which as the name suggests, can be found in the shadow of the great cathedral itself.

Drinks and Canapes, the first of many

Drinks and canapés, the first of many

I ate free canapés, I drank free drinks, I networked, networked networked, I swapped business cards and met some wonderful people, including Rachel and Lorna from Tea With Me and Friends and My Foodee Blog’s  fellow angry Scot, Colin McQuistan, who wrote a very amusing piece about the UKBA goody bag, which, was, uh, pretty eclectic. But the toilets were very nice, and had posh folded loo roll.

Posh Loo Roll

Posh Loo Roll

In short, I had a lot of fun, and while I didn’t win the Arts and Culture Individual blog category, that honour went to Skyliner, with The Secret Victorianist and Urban Kultur Blog awarded the ‘Highly Commended’ category, I didn’t mind. In fact, my defeat has made me think more about the direction I want The Taylor Trash to go in and what I want to achieve in the next 12 months.

So, what’s next for me and my blog? Time will tell, but big thanks to Becki and Gemma, the founders and organisers of the UK Blog Awards, for a great evening, and the chance to meet some fantastic people. See you all in 2015!

Somehow, I managed to resist the temptation to draw penises all over the #ThisisLuna Board

I resisted the temptation to draw penises all over the @ThisisLuma Board

Trash Gets Shortlisted For a UK Blog Award!

7 Feb
THAT UK Blog Awards Shortlist Announcement

THAT UK Blog Awards Shortlist Announcement

I’ve never been one for self-promotion; I find it awkward, and I tend to assume that people aren’t really that interested in what I have to say.

However, in the spirit of raising my profile and facing my fears, last year I decided to nominate The Taylor Trash for the UK Blog Awards 2014, which are designed to cater for all types of blogging in the UK, rather than focusing on a select discipline, such as fashion or lifestyle or parenting. So, after writing a guest blog for their website, I entered the awards, after all, I had nothing to lose.

Once my nomination was official, I had to put aside my fears and ask people to vote for me. I asked them on Facebook, Twitter and, as some eagle-eyed readers may have noticed, by using a badge on this blog, knowing that, after voting closed on the 26th of January, there was little I could do until the shortlist announcement at midnight on the 3rd of February.

When the day of the shortlist announcement arrived, I expected nothing more than a with: “Thanks, but no thanks, Trash” or, an apologetic, “Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants…” email. However, after midnight, I got an email informing me that, despite all my doubts, The Taylor Trash had been shortlisted in the Individual/Freelance Arts and Culture category in the UK Blog Awards.

After I picked myself off the floor, and more or less inhaled a cup of tea to calm myself down, I learned that my blog would now be appraised by the judging panel, with the winners due to be announced at the official awards ceremony in Central London on Friday, the 25th of April.

I’ve bought my ticket to the awards ceremony, so, all I can do until the night of the awards is work on my blog, book my accommodation for the big day, and thank everyone who voted for me over the past few weeks.

So, to everyone who voted for me, thank you, so much, you’ve made a tired, jaded arts hack very happy! I’ll be tweeting from the awards, I’ll do a write-up of the evening, and I’m really looking forward to meeting all my fellow nominees – see you in April!

Look, a badge and everything!

Look, a badge and everything!

The Scaredy Cat’s Guide to Blogging

9 May
Photo by owenwbrown, used under a Creative Commons License

Photo by owenwbrown, used under a Creative Commons License

My Ultimate List of Fears [UPDATED]:

1. Heights

2. Bigger Heights

3. Flying Through Turbulence

4. Blogging

It took me three years longer than it should have to start blogging.

Let me explain; when I was at university, and training in arts journalism, the internet was still seen by many in the journalism industry as less of a standalone publisher, but more of a support to traditional printed journalism. By the time I graduated, it was becoming clear to many in the industry that online journalism had taken on a new dimension, and was seriously threatening traditional print journalism.

Back in those heady days of higher education, graduation and working in a job with no prospects and a weekly pay packet that paid just-above-minimum-wage-but-not-quite-enough-to-live-on, a lot of people I knew started to say things like, “You should have a blog. People like blogs.” I understood their reasoning; blogs would make my work more visible, a blog would give me an online presence, where I could write and hone my craft, and it might even get me noticed by some big time publisher/editor who’d send me an email starting with “Hey Kid, I like your style, here’s a writing job and a comfortable wage.” As if.

But for all the benefits of blogging; networking, work, the unreachable goals, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thought of blogging led to questions, big, horrifying questions that I couldn’t answer. Every time I thought about blogging, a little voice in my head would raise all sorts of questions. What would I blog about? What if nobody read my blog? Which platform should I use? How would I design it? What will I say? What if everyone thinks I’m an idiot when they read my blog posts? What if I am an idiot? What if I’m a terrible, terrible writer?

These questions went on and on, terrifying me, putting me off blogging, and so, the little voice would fall silent, until I started thinking about blogging again. After all, who was I? I was a theatre critic, just another underpaid and undervalued arts journalist. Why would anybody take me seriously? Why would anybody want to read what I have to say? Why should I bother blogging when I can’t get regular and paid writing work anyway? Sometimes, I would be brave, I would make vague commitments to creating a blog, like the time I registered a domain that I ignored until it expired. I set up various Tumblr accounts and even a lonely Posterous account that I promptly forgot about. Then, last year, I decided the fear was holding me back; it was time to have a blog, at least to showcase my work, and use in job applications.

I set up my blog in April, but didn’t write my first post for a month. I was so overwhelmed in the beginning; I didn’t know what to say, and that little voice kept telling me I had no place blogging was sometimes unbearably loud. After that, I used my blog to republish my reviews from other websites. It wasn’t an impressive blog, so I fannied around with free WordPress themes to make it look better, and added new widgets, categories and tabs. But, I still felt like my blog wasn’t working, it didn’t inspire me and I knew I wanted to write about more than theatre. So, I did. I wrote about the government, I wrote about abortion, I wrote about libel, I wrote about pseudonyms, I discussed disappointment, I lamented the lack of money in journalism and rejection in the industry. As I wrote, I grew more confident and that little voice that liked to tell me that I had no right to publish my work online grew weaker.

It’s been just over a year since I started this blog, while it has been difficult at times, and I’ll admit that the little voice of doubt hasn’t gone completely, I’m glad I started blogging, I only wish I’d started earlier. I wish I’d known that blogging doesn’t have to be so scary, I wish I’d known that the only way to be comfortable blogging is to blog regularly.

If you’re thinking about blogging; don’t think about it, do it. The more you blog, the more you will find your voice, your angle and an audience. Listen to feedback – if you get it – but don’t be afraid to share your opinion, to keep writing, researching and finding stories that you want to write about. Your blog is your space, where you can express yourself freely, and conquer your little negative voice. My blog definitely helped me get over my fear of blogging, next up; I will conquer my fear of flying through turbulence. Maybe.

Trash Interviews James Isherwood

12 Nov
Until last week, I hadn’t heard of the food blogger, James Isherwood. But after he published an average review of Claude Bosi’s restaurant Hibiscus, he fell foul of a number of chefs on Twitter. Bosi, and some other leading chefs disagreed with the review, and tweeted their anger at James’ star rating and wording . These tweets were verbally abusive and highly critical of James and his blog, Dining With James, which led him to deactivate his Twitter account for a short time.
After he returned to Twitter, and following my own experience of dealing with a rather disgruntled theatre company, I asked James if he’d like to do an email interview about the situation. He agreed, and here is the interview, republished in full.
Tell me a little bit about yourself – your background, why you decided to start writing about your restaurant experiences, and what kind of criticism you like to read (if any).

It was after I had a fairly poor meal in a London restaurant. I’d started to write the review in my mind and just had to get it all out when I got home.

Why did you begin writing your blog, Dining With James?

I wanted somewhere I could tweet my reviews, I post on Trip Advisor too. I know it’s not really popular, but my own personal blog felt more intimate. It’s also where I could do short interviews with a few chefs.

Your recent review of Hibiscus caused some extreme reactions from well-known chefs – what did you make of their reactions?

It’s odd! So I didn’t like the starter? I gave the rest of the meal a glowing report. The main problem was saying I had enjoyed it to Claude Bosi, but then writing a slightly negative review. How many of us say yes I loved it at the time? Then, of course, all the other chefs joined in. Which has done nothing for their reputation. A lot of people have gone off these chefs. Rightly so. If I had slated the restaurant and called his granny a whore, then I could understand it!

The fallout from the review caused you to leave Twitter very briefly, why did you decide to leave and then reactivate your account?

On day one it [was] just people against me…constantly. I had no support and I was being bad mouthed, so thought I don’t need it and closed my account. Then someone left me a comment saying I should come back and that’s when I started to get some support.

Aside from the chefs’ reactions, what’s been the most memorable reaction you’ve had to the review?

Findus crispy pancakes is something I don’t think I’ll ever escape from!

What do you think Claude Bosi’s problem with the review was? Was it the star rating? Or was it your description of the starter as average?
Probably saying it was average. Don’t get me wrong, if I cook and someone doesn’t like it, I feel bad. 3/5 is not too bad. There have been plenty of other reviewers who have slated the whole restaurant, but because the chef knows me on Twitter he could find me.
Are you going to continue blogging? Has this experience made you wary of restaurant criticism?

It’s certainly made me think about writing a better blog, I just type what I feel at the time, but no, people have to be truthful about how they feel about restaurants.

What advice would you have to any young, or up-and-coming food critics?

Speak the truth! Don’t let loud mouthed, bully boy chefs intimidate you into giving a good review.

Have you had an apology from Bosi or any other chefs who harassed you? Would you want or accept an apology from them?

No not one single apology, If they did give me an apology I’d gladly accept.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Some people are saying I called Tom kerridge a fat ****. But that was directed to someone else who called me an equally unpleasant name. I think after being called every name under the sun, I was allowed to reply back. It just got to me after a while. Others are RT’ing when I said my date and myself had a lovely time at Hibiscus. That was me being polite, the fact I didn’t like my starter had never entered my head when I said that!

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