Monday, March 31, 2014

Winding Down


This week has been pretty great and despite feeling like I don't have much to tell you, I'm sure I'll think of things as I'm writing this out.

Thursday was my last day of Film Theories and Creative Writing. We learned about Bollywood in Film Theories and read our "What Happens in Paris" themed scripts in Creative Writing. It was a good wrap-up for both courses and I honestly can't believe that they're already over! Modern America and Photographing London end tomorrow too so after that I'll have no more classes. I have a paper due on April 10th and one more due on April 30th. Not too shabby, huh? Although I will admit that I've been struggling to get research done for those papers. I have no motivation! Especially with the weather being so warm lately.

I finished my photo project this week and my idea was to photograph study abroad students holding signs that say where they're from and how much they're spending on coming to London for the semester. My volunteers were great and they all met up with me in various places around the city to take pictures. Most of them guessed at how much they'd be spending this semester and I can't blame them because I haven't totaled up my expenses either.

On Friday evening, Anna and I went to Riverside Studios in Hammersmith to see a live taping of "Sweat the Small Stuff," which is a comedy panel show broadcast on BBC Three, presented by Nick Grimshaw, featuring team captains Melvin O'Doom and Rochelle Humes (Wikipedia).

I signed up on Applause Store's website back in January after one of the Arcadia staff members mentioned how handy it is if you want free tickets to show recordings in London. I made sure that my name was on the reserves list for "Sweat the Small Stuff" because I love Nick Grimshaw. I first heard about him when I started liking One Direction because he often interviews them on his radio show and he is best friends with Harry Styles. I really enjoy watching and listening to his interviews with celebrities because he's really funny, down-to-earth and good at his job.

I received an e-mail a few weeks back saying that the show was booking and that two dates were available for ticket requests. I requested two tickets and the next morning I received another e-mail with the e-tickets attached! I was so excited and Anna said she'd come with me.

When we arrived at the studios the sun was starting to set and there was a pretty bridge over the water right near where we had to line up. Anna and I snapped a few pictures and then walked over to the line. We noticed there was a longer line and a shorter line, both formed in a little tunnel/back alley area of the studios. We approached a girl and her father and asked them which line was which. They were helpful but Anna wanted to make sure so she went to ask the guys in the front while I stayed and chatted with the girl we met. She told me she really liked my accent and I giggled because I never think about myself as having an accent. I know that sounds dumb but I have been complimented on my "accent" a few times since moving here and I'm always surprised to hear that people like the way I speak, ha!

When Anna came back she said that the shorter line was for people with general e-tickets (us) and the longer line was for priority ticket holders who were guaranteed entrance. We were kind of bummed but we moved to the other line and tried to figure out our chances of actually getting in. The other line was pretty long and they had all purchased tickets. We were technically back-up in case some of those ticket holders didn't show up. I had no idea that's what our tickets meant so I felt pretty stupid.

While we were weighing our options, the girl we had met in the longer line came up to us. She said that her and her dad realized that they had two extra tickets because her mom and sister couldn't make it. She asked us if we'd like to have them and join her in line. We were so shocked! I felt so lucky and grateful that we had met them so briefly because normally I don't talk to many people when I go out, and the first time I really did they were so kind and generous.

We walked back to her dad and thanked them both a lot. They introduced themselves as Olly and Beth and we got to know them a bit while we waited in line. They said that they're from the midlands and Beth loves Nick Grimshaw and One Direction so of course I was happy to chat with her. It didn't feel like we waited very long because we were inside the studio before I knew it.

The exterior of the building was very industrial and old. The building was made of brick and it definitely didn't jump out at me as I was approaching it with Anna. It was old and worn down and did not look like a modern studio. I liked that it was older and had character.

When we walked inside we made our way through the small lobby, past bathrooms and through a little bar/restaurant area. The door to the studio was open and as we entered we were handed laminated pictures of Nick Grimshaw that were to be used during one of the games. On one side he was smiling and blue and on the other he looked angry and was red. I could only imagine what we would have used them for since they never got to the game they were needed for.

The studio was pretty small and we sat in the front row of the main audience section. The cameras moved back and forth in front of us and a small group of audience members sat in front of those cameras, right up near the stage. I could see pretty well the whole time despite the camera movements in front of me. We were really close to the side entrance where the producers and show runners were standing.

The show was really funny and the guest panelists were all British comedians, actors and singers that I had never heard of (Khali Best, Gareth Malone, Tom Rosental and Roisin Conaty). They were all pretty hilarious though and I'm definitely going to look them all up and learn more about their work.

There was one skit where they showed videos of people they interviewed on the streets of London. They asked them which celebrity they think they look like and they'd pause the video right before they would answer. The panelists would have to guess who they're going to say and it was pretty hilarious to watch because none of the people really looked like anyone famous. The first guy said he looked like Harry Styles and I thought that Nick Grimshaw was going to fall right out of his chair. We were all laughing pretty hard. He definitely didn't look like Harry.

It was really interesting to see them record the show because Nick had an ear piece in and he would often pause and talk back to whoever was giving him instructions. It kind of looked like he was talking to himself, haha! He also had to re-do a few parts and one time he had to change "Louis Vuitton bag" to "designer bag." They recorded the audience portions of the show before the panelists came on and I honestly don't think you'll be able to see me but I'll share any link to the episode that I can find when it premieres this week.

At one point I was looking at the audience behind me during a break, and when I turned around both Beth and Anna said that Nick had just passed right by us to go get coffee. I was so mad that I missed it! He was so close!

It was such a cool experience to see a live taping of a show and I will never forget how kind Olly and Beth were to us by giving us their extra tickets. We had so much fun!

Other than that life has been pretty mediocre this weekend. I've been a little run down so I haven't done too much in the past few days. I was supposed to go to Oxford for Liz's birthday today but I don't feel well enough to make the trip there and back. I'll have to make it up to her before I leave in a month. At least I got to see her, her mom and her sister, Emma briefly on Saturday afternoon when we met up by Big Ben. I spent a couple of hours at the South Bank beforehand and it was so nice out. I got an ice cream cone, people watched and sat on a bench with a sweet elderly couple while we watched the buskers (street performers) and enjoyed the view of Big Ben, The Eye and the Houses of Parliament. We were right by the base of The Eye and as it slowly rotated the compartments would cover and uncover the sun. When it was exposed, the rays beat down on my legs and warmed me up from head to toe.

I listened to one busker named Charlotte Campbell who sang some of my favorite songs from "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran to "How Long Will I Love You" from the movie About Time. She was really talented and I really enjoyed her original song called "Streets of London." I'll embed the video for it so you can watch! She reminded me of Maggie a little bit. I can't wait to get home and listen to her play her guitar and sing again.

Can you believe that I'm leaving exactly one month from Friday? It's so bittersweet to think that I'll be leaving London and returning home to my family and friends. I'm so excited to see them and to start off my summer but it'll definitely be tough leaving the life I've become accustomed to here.

It's still too early to think about that though. I have my host visit this weekend and I'm really looking forward to that! I can't wait to see a different part of England and meet new people. It'll be a great experience.

After that I have a paper to work on and then my big trip to the South of France and Italy with Anna! We're going to Marseille, Nice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome for ten days. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing some water and enjoying the nice weather.

I better go get some work done but as always, I'll write soon.

xx Sheila

Cinque Terre, Italy is one of the places I'll be visiting in a few weeks! (Google Images)
Marseille, France is the first place we'll be going during our April trip. (Google Images)

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