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General Wonderment

Room 101

Many moons ago, my GCSE English teacher made us write a persuasive ‘Room 101’ speech. At the time, I had few cares in the world thus I threw some completely frivolous things into the pit of eternal damnation: namely, seagulls, feet and… something so pointless I can’t even remember it.

Now, with a few more wise years under my belt, I realise that feet, whilst I still hate them, are pretty necessary. Similarly, seagulls aren’t really that much of a hinderance to my everyday life. So it’s probably time to re-evaluate my list.

Firstly: incompetent people. So it might be totally un-PC to not accept this subculture as part of the rich tapestry of our diverse society. But really, just think how superior our lives could be without those little niggles causes by people getting things wrong.

However, once again, the ‘grown-up lobe’ of my brain started tingling as I realised that perhaps “incompetent people” would be too far-reaching. After all, without the newly employed Uber driver going round in circles, or the library worker issuing a card for Crowther, first name ‘The’ second name ‘Crow’, my anecdotes would be severely lacking in comedy at other people’s expense!

Thus I felt the need to specify, simplify, to streamline my search. Namely to people who can’t seem the differentiate between “your” and “you’re”, or “there”, “their” and “they’re”. Especially when making a heated retort; especially when they air their dirty laundry on Facebook (how very Jeremy Kyle.) This is partially because my inner grammar-nazi twitches uncomfortably at the sight of these words in their incorrect setting, but also because I believe this simple spelling test could be a window to the soul. A textual Tinder, if you will. Misusing “your” for “you’re” could instantly suggest a lack of care which seeps through into all other aspects of life and renders said person totally incompetent. It may seem shallow, but I’m swiping left.

Secondly: nail files; emery boards; whatever name you give them, they are a tool of the Devil’s own invention. If you can bring yourself to overlook the fact that they are a tool which shaves off particles of bone, with no means of catching said particles, thus leaving them to float freely in the air around, and air passages within, you, they still don’t get any better. They are a miniature, portable version of ‘nails being dragged down a blackboard’. They somehow blur the line between a woman’s make up bag and a carpentry toolkit. One’s hands are not an old piece of furniture in need of some TLC and a new lease of life. If you catch your nail on something, get the scissors out (or clippers, I won’t judge!); your fingertip will be rid of its annoyance within a fraction of a second, without the need to subject yourself and those around you to the torturous feel and sound of the gradual erosion of one’s skeletal matter. You wouldn’t allow someone to sit and grind their teeth at you, so why is nail grinding so socially acceptable, or even glamorous?! It must be stopped.

Finally (because you’re only ever allowed three, according to the laws of Room 101): Commuters on scooters. Despite the charm of their rhyming title, I am not referring to any chic image of hot mods, in suits, on Vespas. (Believe me, I think, if anything, we need a LOT more of those.) No, I am referring to the newfound acceptability of fully grown adults, functioning members of society, rushing down pavements on micro-scooters. Maybe it seemed the next logical step in the downsizing from car to bicycle to scooter, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look ridiculous. Picture Mr Incredible, far outsized for his vehicle, but throw in a pinch of ‘desperately running for one’s life…on one leg’.

What’s more, a scooter isn’t a big enough to hold its own on the harsh roads of London town, thus it’s relegated to the pavement. Once there, the scooter (referring now to the person scooting) has a choice to make: a) to scoot dangerously fast down the pedestrian highway, or b) to slow to the pace of the normal, walking people, thus rendering the scooter entirely pointless. It’s never going to be a worthwhile method of transport, so quit whilst you still can; before Boris comes up with his next genius invention: Santander Scooters.

Setting the record straight

Who am I? According to the internet

Let’s face it, we all love to give ourselves a good google.

Let us hark back to 2001, a simpler time, of dial up tones and ‘please can I use the internet mum?’ ’no, I’m on the phone’; I was nearly 7. This is a landmark year, solely because it was when I first became, what I liked to think of as, ‘google famous’. For the first time, when I was googled, the links weren’t all just people who coincidentally shared my name; rather the first link was something I actually contributed to the world wide web.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/funny_old_game/1216217.stm

I drew a picture. Not a good picture, but a picture nonetheless.

And there I was, brandished on the internet for all eternity.

Since then, the internet has gained a far more common, daily (if not minutely) presence in my life. And, as such, I have further left my stamp on it.

But, if someone were to track me down online, what presentation would they have of me? Am I much more than an extension of a search for Sacha Baron Cohen?

Who am I, according to the internet?

First stop: Google.

‘Sacha Crowther’ gleans an altogether underwhelming 61,200 entries on the ubiquitous search engine (I’m even less popular on Bing, accruing just 16,000)

Naturally (as it is taking over the world) Twitter comes up first. Whilst I don’t have a Twitter account myself, I guess this is technically my profile.

Bored of being unable to bond, stalk and tag me via this medium, my flatmates during our first term at uni made me a profile. It has my name, a picture of me, and some uninspiring/ ridiculing tweets. The creator has since forgotten the password and the account sits stagnant, at a pathetic 6 tweets, 20 following and 12 followers.

The third link down offers some of my more academic musings, as featured on a university blog site. This is something I am happy for the world to see and to judge me by. Enjoy:

http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/sas/2015/01/03/sacha-crowther-writes-about-her-first-students-as-scholars-event/

http://arts.leeds.ac.uk/sas/2015/03/02/esther-and-sacha-discuss-the-two-hours-traffic-of-our-stage-time-for-shakespeare/

Something slightly more concerning (other than the mortifying Myspace photos of my youth on the google image search) is that I have an entry on 192.com.

Listed is my address (thankfully an outdated one) along with the full names and linked details of all my housemates and everyone else who has formerly lived there.

This is when the internet starts to get creepy; hence a shift in searching tactics:

Second stop: social media.

Apparently I do still have a Myspace account. However, in accordance with the newfangled upgrades to the site, the profile which I spent an obscene amount of time and HTML-writing on, is nowhere to be seen. The personalised background, welcome music and general pazazz of the page is gone. RIP.

Along with Myspace, my youthful revelling in newfound broadband created a plethora of freewebs and piczo sites. Each as intricately personalised as my Myspace account, all similarly dead and buried; six feet under in cyber space.

So, onto Facebook; a much more up to date and all-encompassing view of me as a person. As, after all, if something isn’t on Facebook, it didn’t happen.

At first glance, both my alias ‘Dirty Dingus McGee’ and cover photo suggest an all too deep knowledge of The Simpsons. Pretty accurate.

On further inspection, I apparently have five family members… This is somewhat less precise. My “sister” is not my sister, my “uncle” not officially my uncle. In fact, of the 30 odd family members I do have on Facebook, very few feature prominently in this section. (To clarify, I also don’t study ‘Studies in Top Banter’ at university.)

Aside from the most basic information, most of what features on my Facebook profile is comprised of jokes I, or someone near me, once considered funny and probably can’t remember why anymore.

In fact, my Facebook is mostly just a forum for sharing photos (4631 photos of myself to be precise, amongst thousands of other people too.) Edit, pinch and filter as I might, these albums are probably the most accurate presentation of my life. But sadly I’m pulling a silly face in most of them… so what does that really say about me?!

As far as I’m aware, my privacy settings are in order, but the ‘other’ inbox full of charming propositions (and the occasional dick pic) suggests that I’m not all that private after all.

So, if I’m destined to be part of the cyber-generation, I thought I should actively attempt to adjust my internet-self. Thus, here’s a blog; I hope it paints me in a better light than all that came before.

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