Jessica Baggaley

Jessica Baggaley

I make the incoherent coherent through punctuation, adjectives and irony.

If you haven’t heard of the Spice Girls then you’re either under the age of ten or you lived under a rock for the duration of the 1990’s. The all-girl band took the world by storm with their ‘girl power’ inspired lyrics, their very individual identities and their high-profile romances. This week, tickets have been released into the ether for Viva Forever; the new Spice Girls west-end musical extravaganza. Creator, writer and all-round inspirational woman Jennifer Saunders has confirmed that the show will focus on friendship, ambition and female empowerment: exactly what the Spice Girls stood for. But how far did the Spice Girls truly inspire us girls to become who we are today? Were they just a successful girl band, or did they really influence a whole generation of nineties kids to be who they ‘wannabe’?

The north-south divide represents the folded crease in our country. Imagine England as a sheet of crisp white paper; at the top printed in large letters is ‘rain, Greggs and Emmerdale’, and at the bottom ‘Eastenders, sushi and sun’. Then, someone comes along and folds the top half downwards, pressing hard to ensure a deep defined line. Across that crease everything appears to change. Prices of food, houses and alcohol elevate by stepping over the border into the south, and accents vary from the Queen’s English through to the broad twang of the Geordies. The question is: should we all erase the line and unite hand-in-hand, or should we stand at the barricades of our region to defend pride, identity and individuality within our own small island?

It’s taken over our TV’s, our newspapers and ultimately our social lives. Euro 2012 has arrived and whether a fan of football or not, we’re faced with three weeks of tackles, penalties and goals. For the ultimate ‘lad’ this will probably sound like a dream come true. For me, and I’m sure for the majority of the female sex out there it’s less a dream and more a nightmare.

My imagination tends to go a bit overboard when I imagine a die-hard music fan. In fact, it practically boils splutters and overflows with scenes of said die-hard music fan lying prostrate on a bed, barely visible through thick clouds of smoke nodding his head in time to the crackling vinyl rotating away in the corner. The vinyl of course would have been searched for, hunted down and finally discovered in the deep, dark aisles of a back-street record shop; making that the best purchase of die-hard music fan’s life and completing a much-loved and cherished collection. A bit idealised I hear you say? Well, you’re possibly right. A person’s music collection, whether you are a die-hard music fan (and I do know one or two) or just a dabbler and appreciator of good music, has developed and progressed from a physical stack of records, cassettes and C.D’s, to just a long list of text on your nearest digital screen. But is this a ‘STEP’ in the right ‘DIRECTION’? Sorry, terrible pop references there...

 

1952. A year which is a part of Britain’s not-so-historic history and yet a year which seems a complete life-time away from 2012. And in some ways it is. Since 1952 we as a country have seen wars, a recession and some very worrying music periods (take the Cheeky Girls, Aqua and S Club Juniors for example). This first weekend in June we celebrate six decades since the 25 year old Queen was crowned. And while we all party on in true aristocratic style with regal cucumber sandwiches and tacky Union Jack bunting I believe we should sit back content and full of British pride.

- by Jessica Baggaley

As exams come to an end and the sun is shining down on us all (miraculously – Hallelujah!) students begin to flock en masse from their dark, dingy, revision-associated bedrooms and out into the full glare of the day. Beer gardens come to resemble drug-fuelled hallucinations as we in Leeds take the opportunity to spend long hours dressed up in various outlandish costumes staggering our way through the Otley Run. Finally forgetting all memories of deadlines, exams (and the first pub) we don’t care what we’re wearing, what we look like or in my case, what we’re saying. My own thrown-together fancy dress concoction resembled an outfit which no one in their right mind would wear but worryingly is available for all in a shop near you... That’s Primark for you ladies and gents. Our freedom to sunbathe means Woodhouse Park is absolutely crammed all day every day and you can almost hear the tuts of the locals as BBQ’s, loud music and lots of laughter mingles into the Leeds evening atmosphere.

I would like to try a little magic trick – bear with me. I’m going to admit to three non-groundbreaking things and then I’m going to predict what you are all thinking of me. Ok, ready? Here goes...

1.  My all-time favourite bands are, with no hesitation Coldplay and Mumford & Sons. 

2.  I’d rather wear flats on a night out than heels. 

3.  I actually don’t mind a Friday night in watching Graham Norton and Alan Carr.

Now, here’s the magic part.

You are all thinking one thing: Jess is boring.

Am I right?

- by Jessica Baggaley

As the end of my second year at Leeds approaches I am experiencing what can only be described as a mid-student-life crisis. Lying awake at night, staring blankly up at my crumbling ceiling (oh the joys of student housing) I think back to September. Although it only feels like a few weeks ago my diary, my work file and unfortunately my bank account is basically hitting me around the head, screaming “September was eight months ago you fool!” And as I start to relay what’s happened in those eventful eight months I realise that university life is far too fleeting to appreciate as you’re living it.

It probably doesn’t feel like it now, what with the constant barrage of essay deadlines and the increasing panic of last-minute revision for those terribly enjoyable exams, but “they” (don’t ask me who “they” are – “they’re” just incredibly wise people) do say that university are the best years of your life. So to cheer you all up during this depressing month for students nationwide, I’m going to attempt to remind you why back at the tender age of seventeen we all decided university would be a good idea.

 

Masked Leeds University student hereafter known as “Man” has become a nationwide internet phenomenon since he filmed himself competing against the natural limits of alcohol. His challenges have so far included downing five pints of Guiness in 90 seconds, drinking a whole bottle of vodka from a pint glass and the pinnacle challenge of glugging an entire bottle of Jager. I have to admit I have watched these videos and have laughed along with everyone else (part in humour, part in awe and shock) – and his comedic introductions and his now infamous catchphrase “I’ve just broken the seal” are all ingredients in a recipe for brilliant university banter.

- by Jessica Baggaley

 

If you’ve ever held a student house party then I’m sure you will resonate very strongly with those lyrics - although a part of me does kind of hope you didn’t play that song to the crowd of Dub-Stepaholics: YouTube it and you’ll understand my reservations. Lesley Gore, whoever she is, doesn’t exactly scream “Party in t’House” (excuse the Northern accent, remember we’re in Leeds) but it does sum up the sinking feeling you experience when you’ve woken up from the night before...

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