My Crazy Life, The Culture Tag

“This one time, at band camp..”

Not quite band camp, but it just seemed like quite a fitting title.


I’M OFF TO AMERICA GUYS!

On my own. I’ve never flown before. I’ve never even been away from home for more than two weeks. I’ve already got a nervous tummy and I still need to squeeze a power nap in before we leave for the airport!

SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT!

In The Culture Tag, I’ve been exploring different ideas about travelling, acquiring knowledge and becoming more worldly. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’d applied for Camp America but don’t think I went into great detail about it – this experience will be the concluding chapter to my lil project and may just be my biggest adventure yet.

I’m all packed and will be setting off imminently for Heathrow. I’m dressed in my activewear (obvs) and have packed PLENTY of anti-diarrhoeal tablets. I think I’m prepared for every eventuality lol.

My suitcase is nearly the size of me and my hand luggage is probably on the larger side too (stuffed too many self help books in it to read on the plane). I’ve never been a light traveller so there’s no point in starting now.

I’m rambling.

On another note, I’ve been so active recently on my blog and I think it’s really paid off. I just wanted to take this time to say how thankful I am for the people who follow my blog and listen to me witter on endlessly. Just know I haven’t abandoned you all! I shall just be living frugally in the middle of nowhere on a Girl Scout camp instead. No phones. Limited internet. NO BOYS. It’ll be a change, but a good one, I think. I get called a princess a lot at home so hopefully it’ll knock me down a peg or two.

As much as I’m super, super scared, I’m so excited about this new chapter in my life. I’ve left my job at boots to do this over the summer after four whole years. It was the last thing holding me back and was a large part of my life to let go of – but I promised my ex colleague (still feels weird saying that) that I won’t look back.

I’m so glad that so far in 2017, I’ve tried my hardest to keep to my New Years resolution to do adventurous and exciting things more often. I don’t think you can get more daring than abandoning your entire way of life for nearly three months.

So I guess that’s all I really have to say! I’ll see you all when I get back (and after a few pit stops in NY and Disney World) 😝

Ta ta for now,

Tilly Turnip xo

The Culture Tag

What does ‘being cultured’ even mean?

It dawned on me this morning that I haven’t actually explored what “cultured” means.

So, I’m going to try and explain what it means to me – now that I’ve tried to encompass my own definition of the word.

To me, cultured is educating yourself on the world and its components; past and present. So yes, this means understanding politics, or at least trying to engage with it (still working progress). It’s watching the news and keeping up with current affairs. It’s learning about history – not just the good bits that you were taught at GCSE. It’s understanding that there’s a bigger world; right on your doorstep waiting to be explored. It’s appreciating the beauty of the daffodils in my garden and the way that my Mum smiles when I come home for the weekend.

It’s reading – not just the classics – all types of books. It doesn’t matter what book you pick up; it’s bound to teach you something. Take Bridget Jones’ Diary for example; vital for teaching us all to avoid the Daniel Cleavers of this world (as hard as that concept is). It’s being able to talk about all of these things with clarity and confidence.

Cultured is NOT making someone feel small because they haven’t read Romeo and Juliet. Nor is it self-deprecating because you didn’t manage to go to the Louvre when you visited France because you’d rather spend the day in Disneyland.

It’s accepting that people are different and don’t want the same things from life that you do. It’s understanding that not everyone knows how to pronounce ‘quinoa’ or do crosswords – and probably don’t want to either. Our society wouldn’t be as diverse and interesting if everybody wanted to do the same thing.

It’s knowing that I can get excited to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians every Sunday and not beat myself up about it because ‘it’s not a cultured thing to do’. It’s knowing that some days I’ll want to write creatively and others I’ll want to stay in bed and watch Parks and Recreation all day. It’s balance.

It’s a cycle of sharing and acquiring knowledge frequently and often. It’s respecting others, being polite and most importantly, being willing to try new things. It’s certainly not elitist and cannot be earned by simply learning how to use chopsticks or watching Question Time.

It’s opening your eyes.

SOURCE: http://quotesgram.com/img/walt-whitman-quotes-about-love/1082103/

 

Tilly Turnip xo

The Culture Tag

Is culture a class thing?

SOURCE: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/no-thing-british-class-system-1811962

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really think that this ‘culture gap’ between me and some of my uni friends may be a class thing. Or at least have something to do with where I’ve grown up in relation to them.

So if we take Simon for example. He grew up very near to London, went to private school and is a bike ride away from Windsor Castle. He’s visited museums and galleries in the capital; as they are easily accessible amenities. He listens to classical music while he’s studying. He goes home in between semesters and listens to his friends’ stories from their travels around the world, eats at expensive restaurants because he simply can and talks politics, art and philosophy over a beer at the pub.

Simon is, by definition, cultured. He is indeed “characterized by refined taste and manners and good education” as Google suggests.

I come from a lower class background; but do not feel in any way underprivileged because I wasn’t taken on expensive holidays to faraway places for cultural enlightenment – Sun holidays and Mr Whippys did just fine! My parents didn’t have much, but we always seemed to get what we wanted – I’m sure if I said I wanted to go see a theatre production rather than get the whole set of Bratz dolls and a Furby for my birthday, my parents would’ve made it happen.

I would say that I had access to a good education and my parents always pushed me to do well at school. I do however believe the emphasis, at least at the school I went to, was on learning enough to pass exams rather than learning for life.

But isn’t this something that you have to do for yourself anyway?

I haven’t visited an art gallery. Nor have I seen a Shakespearean play. I don’t listen to classical music on the daily and I haven’t the greatest understanding of philosophical concepts. But who is to say that you are more informed in 2017 if you know all of this stuff anyway? A google definition?

Whenever my dad is going on about politics, I always ask him who his sources are because a lot of the time, it sounds like hes making it up. Why? He’s not well read and certainly does not have good taste (couldn’t resist from including this massive fashion faux-pas here – the, “it’s a little bit sunny so I’m going to mow the lawn” outfit – don’t ask about the gnome 🙈)

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He also dropped out of college, watches the occasional documentary and thinks he is an expert in the field and when he was 19, moved 20 miles down the road to a new town to ‘find himself’; swiftly returning three months later begging my Mum to take him back.

He replies, “the University of Life”. NOTHING RILES ME UP MORE. however when you stop and think about it, surely basing your opinion on policies that have had an adverse effect on you or things you have seen implemented badly makes sense? (he tends to be very negative when it comes to government issues). You don’t need to study the entire history of the British government to understand what is going on in the here and now. A vote for Brexit does not determine someone racist, as much as the remain campaign like to propgate – if a choice is made on an informed basis and said person genuinely believed that their vote for ‘leave’ was the best option for our country, surely it was an educated decision.

But yet, understanding politics is considered cultured, right?

By being ‘cultured by definition’, Simon is well spoken, knows his stuff on current affairs and can hold good conversation on most subjects. There’s no denying that it sets him apart from many people our age who make no effort with global politics apart from sharing the occasional Trump meme over social media. However, continuing to learn and accepting the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around you is the important part of being cultured in 2017. Wanting to go to a Shakespearean play knowing you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and being confident enough to engage in political debate because you know your opinion is as worthy as anyone elses is the first step towards this. As much as I’ve poked fun at my dad here, I love him dearly and listen to him regardless of whether the world sees him as cultured or not. (maybe not his fashion advice though 😜)

Do you think class and culture are linked? I’d love to hear your opinion! Tweet me at @tillyy22 or comment below 🤓

Tilly Turnip xox

The Culture Tag

Seeing the world through the eyes of THEGREATAMBINI

I don’t know why I keep going back to Elite Daily, but for some reason, me and that pesky American entertainment and lifestyle website gravitate towards each other. Maybe because it was the first website that came up when I googled ‘how to be more cultured’.

I stumbled across an article appropriately named, ‘5 Ways You Can Become More Cultured Without Splurging On Travel‘. Now, there’s a few points I’d like to make about this headline before we even start:

  1. It implies that being cultured is something everybody wants to be.
  2. It carries the connotation that is traditionally favoured and as I’ve found out, very untrue – culture and high disposable income go hand in hand.
  3. It leads the reader to believe that by following a list that some unknown journalist has thought up, probably very last minute, you will instantly become this God-like figure who knows everything about the Earth and it’s inhabitants.

With all of these problems aside, and once you get into the nitty gritty of the article – Mary Bolling Blackiston turns it around for herself and offers a great viewpoint on the whole concept of becoming more worldly;

you can never leave the country and still be more cultured than that globetrotting friend of yours, who spent a year traveling. To me, “cultured” is both an attitude and a way of thinking.

Above all else, it’s about being open-minded and aware.

Being open-minded and aware. Probably the best definition I’ve come across whilst pursuing this project of mine. I think the more I read, the more I research and the more I see different people offer alternative ways of getting to be ‘cultured’, ‘enlightened’ and ‘educated’; the more I see that there is no one word answer or magical potion for this status. I am however more willing to try new things because of what I am finding out and more inclined to give something a go, even if it is just the one time – not because a list has told me to – but because I WANT to understand more. So am I becoming more cultured already?

One of the tips Bolling Blackiston, (fabulous Surname by the way) offered was to read travel blogs, diaries and books of those who have been around the globe and are in a position to offer a valid and truthful account of what is actually out there in the big, wide world.

I knew an old school friend had a travel blog as I’d occasionally see on my Facebook feed that she’d posted something new but never really had any inclinations to look at it – mainly because I knew I’d feel really jel that she was living it up in Morocco while I was at home in not-so-sunny Herefordshire with a truck load of assignments to complete.

Trusting Bolling Blackingston wholeheartedly, (still getting over that Surname) I tracked Amber’s WordPress profile down and gave this whole travel blog malarkey a shot.

..And I was pleasantly surprised! Amber’s online pseudonym, The Great Ambini, takes us to some great places, including Tanzania, where she dislocated her shoulder and various places in Europe – where Amber features some gorgeous photos of the best scenery and architecture that each country has to offer.

Another reason why I love Amber’s blog and will be continuing to read The Great Ambini is because she too is a uni student who often travels cheaply and wants to share her top tips on how to do so if you want to go globetrotting just like her! I love that she is trashing that stereotype that travelling is reserved for rich kiddies on their ‘gap yah’ and helping people like me learn about the world.

amber.png

Amber has also posted on her top 10 free things to do in London – something I wish I saw before I went! It’s worth a read, so check it out!

All in all, I think I’ll try to read more travel blogs in future as not only are they enlightening in the fact that you learn about new cultures – if you are planning a visit to any of the places mentioned, they’re great resources for tracking down the best places to go and the cheapest ways on going about it! Don’t get me wrong, in six months time, I doubt you’ll be seeing an expansive Bill Bryson collection on my bookshelf, however a bit of light reading here and there can’t hurt, can it?

If you want to see why I’m raving about The Great Ambini, go have a look for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.

https://thegreatambini.wordpress.com/

Tilly Turnip xox

The Culture Tag

One More Step Along The World I Go.. TO LONDON!

Last week, me and my brother Alfie got on the train at approximately 9.40am at Worcester Forgate Street and arrived in London three hours later; stuffed with Cadbury’s mini eggs and large big mac meals from McDonalds. I needed to go to the US Embassy to apply for my visa as I’d applied for Camp America  – as everything is with me, I’d left it until the last minute.

It just so happens that this somewhat sporadic trip to the Capital ties in very nicely with my ongoing project – The Culture Tag.

So how does me eating a glorious maccy d’s and going to a massive building with an huge eagle on it have anything to do with becoming cultured, I hear you ask?

I’ll tell you.

We went down to London the day before my interview and the original plan was to get some decent shots on Alfie’s camera for his Photography A Level coursework – I was just going for the jolly really and to look at all of the landmarks London has to offer.

“travelling is one of the easiest (and most fun) ways to amplify this awareness and soak up other cultures. In an ideal world, we would all be able to travel as much as we wanted without having to spend a dime. Unfortunately, however, international travel is expensive and is often reserved for the privileged”

According to Elite Daily, exploring the globe is a super way to become more cultured! It makes sense doesn’t it? Naturally, by putting yourself in a new environment, you adjust to your surroundings and begin to understand why things work and how people think within a certain society. It’s basic human nature.

My travel experience here is clearly on a a smaller scale as finances as a student can get pretty tight. Elite Daily also point out that this past-time is costly and not everyone has the resources to jet off to the Caribbean for a month (See my post on class and culture if you wanna hear me talk about that!).

Nevertheless, London operates in a completely different manner to what I’m used to and is greatest binary opposite I could find (within my means) to match my small village on the Welsh border; populated by pensioners with only a chapel and pub for recreational release.

I work in a very small Boots store and know regular customers by name. You are aware of most people as your mum’s are friends, distant reminders of school days or a cousin’s boyfriend’s dad helped fix your boiler once. And when some big gossip hits the town, don’t you know about it. It’s a very small community with little going on.

London couldn’t be more different. We arrived just after lunchtime and after getting lost, working out how to use the tube and checking into the hotel, we spent the rest of the day exploring London on foot! Here are a few snaps from the trip:

For two country bumpkins like us, we found it hard to adjust to just how busy London was. It was also insightful to see how transactional everything was; from getting place to place to buying something in a shop. People know where they are going, what they need to do and don’t really have time for people that, quite simply, are in the city to take selfies with big wheels and Palaces.

..And that’s ok! The way of life is different and to be honest, it wasn’t long before we could be mistaken for resident Londoners (minus the backpacks and professional camera). I must admit though, it was a relief to go home, work my weekend shift at the shop and make sure my regulars got their diabetic chocolate wafers.

Know of good places to go exploring? Tweet me at @tillyy22 and fill me in!

Tilly Turnip xox

 

 

books, The Culture Tag

The Big Book Debate

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SOURCE: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/444097213238215768/

The whole reason why people choose to read is because they ENJOY READING. Bit of a silly point to make, but it’s true. You tend to pick books up in Waterstones or buy on Amazon through recommendation from friends and family, because the plot summary featured on the blurb looks interesting or, now more than ever, BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS SO HYPED ABOUT IT. In the past few years, I’ve heard people chatting on the bus on the way to work about how far they’ve got through Girl on the Train and seen plenty of Instagram posts featuring sausage-leg-selfie-taking girls and their copies of Me Before You on ‘holibobs’.

At the end of the day, who WOULD read something that didn’t appeal to them for whatever purpose? There is no logic in that surely?

When I was little, my Mum without fail used to make me and my two brothers sign up for the reading challenge at the library. We had an EXTENSIVE book collection at home because if we wanted a book, we were always bought it. We were always praised for our reading abilities because Dad always used to find the time to hear about Harry, Ron and Hermione taking on a three headed dog or Alex Ryder’s newest spy mission.

Yet, now that we’re older, none of us are avid readers! Not even me, and I’m doing an English Literature degree. Its bad.

I don’t know if it’s because people would ‘rather watch the film’ these days or if the task of reading a hard copy book just seems like something that people in the 60’s did because they didn’t have computers to keep them entertained. Maybe it’s just a hobby to get into when you’re a bit older and your diary is less hectic – I’m not sure. Reading, I personally think, is seen widely now as boring and outdated.

But I also think that this is because people have forgotten what reading is all about. It causes you to think; in a way a film never could. Educate you on things such as mental health and personal situations by putting you in the shoes of the struggling protagonist. Use your imagination to envision settings and people’s clothes and facial features. Transport you to different parts of the world, near and far, to experience different cultures and ways of life that you may never get to see otherwise.

It’s sad people lose sight of that. It’s sad that I’ve lost sight of that.

So, I’m making a change.

To fit in with my new project, The Culture Tag, I’ll be reading a book that I found on Amazon which has received a high rating online called The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. It’s a book that if I saw in a shop, I’d probably pick up because the front cover looks pretty (I know, so trivial) but most importantly, a book that would not be seen as ‘literary’ on first glance.

I’ll be comparing this with another text, or should I say, script, that would be considered very culturally valuable indeed – Romeo and Juliet. You can’t get more literary than Shakespeare, surely!

Through research, I think I’ve also found a book that is somewhat ‘middle ground’ – it’s called Mad Girl and is written by Bryony Gordon- a Telegraph columnist. This book also received a fab reception on publication and “no. 1 bestseller” are printed boldy on the top of my copy to let you know just how many people loved it before you even turn to the first page. It’s clearly part of today’s popular culture in raising awareness of mental health issues, from what I can tell with a quick glance at the blurb, it’s classed as a non-fiction text and written from a very honest viewpoint of the Author herself – exploiting the truths of her experiences with eating disorders and OCD.

It’s important to note that I’ll be seeing how enjoyable they are to read in 2017 and what I’ve gained from them as a person, if anything.

Keep an eye out for my follow-up post once I’ve read the books!

Tilly Turnip xox

The Culture Tag

THE CULTURE TAG – A Project

SOURCE: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/37999190586433740/

Do people these days even care about it? Is it something that you ultimately learn? Or something you inherently are? Does it make you a better person?

Cultured. Something that I would LOVE to be – but have always felt that I don’t quite fit the bill.

Being cultured has been defined by the Daily Mail, (I know right – getting off to a fabulous start by using such a reputable source) as possessing characteristics as insignificant as “owning a library card, watching sub-titled films and being skilled in the use of chopsticks”. They go on to give the reader, (who’s feeling a tad inadequate at this point) a definitive list of what makes a person cultured – watching Question Time, hosting dinner parties and knowing your cheeses make the cut.

Since starting University a year and a half ago, it’s become crystal clear that my entire life and way of thinking previous to uni can only be described as a bubble. A safe haven in the deep, dark depths of the countryside where kids like me are wrapped in cotton wool, going to a major city for a shopping trip would be deemed a special outing and watching anything other than TOWIE or reading Fifty Shades or anything remotely away from the norm was.. weird.

With the power of hindsight, I don’t think I was encouraged enough to read widely or often – just the bare minimum of George ‘tending the rabbits’ in Of Mice and Men was just about enough to get by with a decent mark in the Literature GCSE exam. None of my friends continued reading after becoming ‘free readers’ and the days of learning about Biff, Chip and Kipper’s escapades with the Magic Key were over. Can you blame them though? The library was NEVER open and it seems that the pittance of government funding we actually get in tiny Herefordshire seems to go towards filling in potholes rather than funding creative outlets which CAN I REMIND YOU THERESA MAY – ENRICH PEOPLE’S LIVES???????? I mean, my 70 year old neighbours love nothing more than campaigning about these local ‘issues’ – they even made the local newspaper because they took selfies with as many badly tarmacked roads as HUMANELY POSSIBLE and actually got a huge reception because of it.

Equally, train tickets from the middle of nowhere cost a BOMB and it’s not even worth mentioning the other forms of dire public transport. How are we supposed to go and explore and learn if it cost outweighs the appeal? How can I POSSIBLY go and admire art kept in faraway cities and watch Shakespearean theatre productions when my friends would rather spend their money on a night out in Hereford every weekend – going to the SAME club with SAME bloody 2013 playlist blasting over the speakers?

Honestly, until uni I thought I was happy plodding along in my very content dream world. I was quite happy spending my Friday nights gossiping in the pub about who was getting with who, Keeping up with the Kardashians (quite literally) on every social media platform going – because, of course, not knowing would be missing out. I’d avoided the 7’o’clock news like the plague because it ‘didn’t concern me’ and ‘made me depressed’ – the only news I’d ever been interested in up to this point was twitter updates on One Direction members’ whereabouts and whether or not Justin Bieber was going to be releasing an album anytime soon.


My very limited knowledge of the world and reliance on Popular Culture couldn’t be more obvious when I moved into a flat with 7 people from all across the country who were, quite simply, a lot more worldly than me and did not fully appreciate my extensive Kardashian knowledge. Conversations of Made in Chelsea storylines had changed to Brexit debates and lying about what books I have read became a regular thing because it would look super bad on a Literature student to have not read Romeo and Juliet, right?

It was a massive shock to the system.

But can I really blame it on where I come from and who I used to hang around with at school? Yes, I grew up in a small village, and in the grand scheme of things, was surrounded by people who had a ‘small-minded’ way of thinking – however I could’ve made more effort to look things up on the internet if I really, really wanted to (even if it took DAYS to load on my ancient computer and below satisfactory BT internet connection).

My journey (if you will) to become more of a cultured person has been a gradual process. I’m trying to watch more critically acclaimed films with my housemate who constantly reminds me how shit my taste is and how “uncultured” I am. I’ve recently got into vintage music and don’t feel ashamed about blasting a little bit of Etta James on the speaker when I’m tidying up the house after a big night out. I even went on a very spur of the moment jolly to Paris in January with my Friend Libby and went exploring the French capital for a few days (when I should’ve been doing uni assignments, #YOLO).

Is it a truly big deal if I still don’t watch the news because I’d rather just block out how messed up the world truly is? and more importantly, IS IT BAD THAT I STILL WATCH THE KARDASHIANS?

What does being cultured even mean in 2017? Because I’ve clearly got a lot to learn.

I shall be embarking on this passion project of mine over the coming weeks to answer the overarching question we all want to know – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ‘CULTURED’?

I’m going to make it my duty to educate myself a bit more and soak up a whole lotta culture – so if you wanna see how I get on, stay tuned!

Tilly Turnip xox