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Marry The Night vs. Ciao! Manhattan

Posted by emmalee on December 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Let me first set the record straight, I am not a big fan of Lady GaGa, never have been and never will be. There are many reasons why I dislike her but first and foremost is the fact that she has completely ripped off scenes from Ciao! Manhattan in her new music video for Marry The Night. I can understand she is influenced by Andy and Edie but for the young 'uns that watch her music videos, I doubt they will understand - or even have any idea that this is not GaGa's own idea and she is doing something that has been done before. You may think, because I love Edie Sedgwick, that I should be very pleased with GaGa's efforts. Truth be told, I would be if she had put some goddamn credits at the beginning or end of the video that say that she was inspired by Edie Sedgwick or that parts of the video were in homage to her. But otherwise, Lady GaGa, you are a pile of dog shite.

Edie, I will forever love you.



Becoming a Lunatic

Posted by emmalee on December 3, 2011 at 12:10 PM

I am getting my hair cut. Exciting, I hear you say with sarcasm. Well I am going to go for a drastic change, I am sick of the straight haired - often curly - side parted, voluminous haired me. My natural hair resembles that of Sky Ferreira's, although mine is a dark shade of brown. 

So I am getting my hair cut and going all the way into town to get it cut, something I would otherwise never do except I have resorted to this as my last hairdresser made me cry. A word of advice, do not go to Roisin in Peter Mark's in Dun Laoghaire! Her hairstyles are old fashioned - and not in a chelsea mod style way!

The hairdresser's I have chosen for my next hair cut is the Lunatic Fringe chop shop. Now I had two options - Lunatic Fringe on Grafton Street or the chop shop. And I chose the chop shop, mainly because the prices are better and the interior of the hair salon simply blew me away. Pulp Fiction and John Lennon posters, anyone?



Look what I got in Lucy's...

Posted by emmalee on November 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM


French Dog Blues

Posted by emmalee on November 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM


A drawing of Peter Doherty a did awhile ago now. Submitted this to a Libertines fanzine that is yet to be created, hopefully when they do remember to make it this could be first to be featured! Would you buy a Libertines fanzine? I would, just as I would still buy a Sex Pistols fanzine if they re-made them. I love reading my sisters old Sex Pistols zine. I am always willing to give full support to zine makers, I realise how hard it is to keep them up. My fashion fanzine was a complete flop, only because I never actually printed off any copies and only got to Issue 2. Which didn't exactly guarantee me a place working for The Gloss magazine!


Help me!

Posted by emmalee on November 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM


It's Monday and my dislike for Mondays should be evident to you all by now. I would like to share with you all the progress of my novel...yeah, my novel. Don't you know? I have been writing it for months now and I am stuck with writer's block, it's so appalling. If you are one of the lucky people who has never experienced writer's block, oh let me tell you it's excruciating. I have left you with a picture of all the work I have done on this and as you can see it's a right mess. If only I had everything in one place, instead of half of it on the computer and the other half in a copybook!


Stings by Sylvia Plath

Posted by emmalee on November 26, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Tortured Poets

Posted by emmalee on November 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I found an interesting article on obit-mag.com saying how poets apparently die younger than the average population. Here is the article, if you're interested.

Why do poets die young? They do, you know – younger than most other people, and significantly younger than other writers (novelists, playwrights, journalists). The current film Bright Star brings this to mind. It tells the story of the last years of John Keats, one of the iconic dead poets of the English-speaking world (others would be Shelley, Byron, and Plath). Keats died at age 25, and according to filmmaker Jane Campion, his last years mostly involved his infatuation with a seductive seamstress, with all that writing of immortal lyrics incidental to the romance.

Contemporary psychologists have unearthed strong associations between poetry and introspection, between introspection and depression, and between depression and self-destructiveness. Not all poets are depressives, but there is a statistical connection. If that child of yours is writing a poem at this moment, go into his bedroom right now and stop him! Go on, don’t fool around! He’ll thank you for it later. Talk up the advantages of biochemistry, or the law. Steer him toward the light.

This year marks the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, a tortured poet if ever there was one. Biographers know a great deal about almost every aspect of his life, but no one knows what he was up to in the days just before he died.On Oct. 3, 1849, Poe turned up at a tavern in Baltimore wearing cheap clothes that were not his own. He was in “great distress,” according to a local man who recognized him; “rather the worse for wear” he was, which probably means at the end of a tremendous bender. Oct. 3 was election day in Baltimore, and the grog-shop where Poe appeared was a polling place; it was common for men to be paid, often with strong drink, for voting more than once, and some changed their clothes so as not to be recognized.

He was a binge drinker, was Edgar Allan. He knew that drinking was killing him, and for months he might cling to the wagon, but then a situation would arise – usually, friends wanting to buy him a few – and the volume and savagery of the ensuing taking-on of a load were stunning. He drank to erase himself, to obliterate all consciousness. And he drank that way more and more. Taken to a hospital on that fateful election day, he developed a tremor of the extremities and subsided into “a busy, but not violent or active delirium,” according to the attending physician. It was suggested to Poe that he would soon be visited by his many Baltimore friends. He replied that the best thing his best friend could do would be to blow out his brains with a pistol.

Blow out his teeming, productive brains: These were the same brains that had produced “The Bells,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” and “The Conqueror Worm,” among other famous poems. That had composed The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-tale Heart, The Purloined Letter, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue – the last two the first examples in our literature of that inexhaustible genre, the detective story. Incidentally, Poe invented modern literary criticism as well, arguing in his reviews for an aesthetic rather than a moral reading of literature, anticipating the New Critics and others in asserting the autonomy of the text, independent of whatever “lessons” it might be said to offer.

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Christianne F. Wir Kinder Vom Bahnof Zoo

Posted by emmalee on November 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM

 

I don't usually watch foreign films, although I am slowly getting into them, but I have recently finished watching Wir Kinder Vom Bahnof Zoo - a dark German film about a young girl who becomes a heroin addict after being introduced to drugs at teenage discos, she ends up with a boyfriend that becomes a male prostitute and the whole saga goes on... I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it.

 

Although not quite as hard hitting as The Basketball Diaries or as light-hearted as Trainspotting, this movie is quite powerful and depressing but seems to lack that edge that shows how truly devastating heroin addiction is. Although if you ask a native German speaker, they may say it does as I am relying on subtitles to convey emotion. It's hard to know how good the acting is when you don't speak the language!

 

What interested me about this movie was the soundtrack - all David Bowie. This can get a bit repetitive and it seems now everytime I hear the song 'Heroes' played in my dad's car I immediately think of Christianne F which can't be good for my mental state of mind! What I really like about this film though is the actress they used to play Christianne. You may or may not know this, but the movie is based on the factual book about a woman who was a teenage heroin addict and prostitute in Berlin in the 70's. I have not read the book - will be too engrossed in Jim Carroll's 'The Basketball Diaries' this Christmas - but from what I have heard it is very good and many people recommend it so it may be my next read - it is apparently even better than the movie. Anyway, back to the film. Overall, this is a good film and the fact that I love Bowie and have an unhealthy infatuation with drugs does help. The main message this film conveys is easily 'kids, don't try heroin'. I think young adolescents would benefit greatly if this film was shown in their German class at school. Not only would they be more interested in the German language but gain an insight into the life of a young heroin addict as well as become interested in the music of Bowie, perhaps? If you want to watch the film with subtitles, the YouTube link for the first part is below.

 

Watch on YouTube (English subs)


Note: Video contains spoilers!

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Lucy's Lounge

Posted by emmalee on November 26, 2011 at 12:35 PM

My review on Lucy's Lounge is now up on Yelp.ie. 


Lucy's Lounge is a treasure trove and is bursting at the seams with truly beautiful vintage finds. Not only is the stuff in great condition, but it also boasts a pretty nifty price tag with most things under thirty euro which is a definite plus for anyone on a budget. Whilst young hipsters may be tempted to shop in Urban Outfitters, trust me on this one guys, you can get better and cheaper stuff at Lucy's. The owner obviously knows fashion and doesn't just sell any old stuff that is vintage - it has to look good and wear good. It's like a designer Oxfam - this place is amazing. I seriously cannot praise it enough. The owner is friendly and is always willing to help and ask if you're interested in anything. I always find a helpful shop assistant makes for a better shopping experience and she is just that without being in any way pushy. There's nothing worse than a hard sell! Although when you step through the doors of Lucy's, you may feel a little claustrophobic as you are attacked by clothes rails full of pretty dresses and cute vintage jackets and t-shirts, once you relax a bit and take a look around, you won't want to leave.

The Ha'penny Flea

Posted by emmalee on November 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM

LBD Nightmares

Posted by emmalee on November 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Whilst sorting out clothes in my wardrobe, I came across my LBD (with belt attached in this picture). I have only worn it once and it cost me the guts of about sixty quid which is pretty shocking. I have matching heels to go with it aswell. I will never forget the night that I wore this. I was at some really awful under 18's disco (aren't all under 18's discos awful?) and the highlights of that night included nearly getting my sister's coat robbed - I had borrowed it - having a girl throw up on my shoe PLUS pushing this big fat bastard out the door and getting shouted at by one of the bouncers. Honestly the bouncers are proper narky. 

I'm hoping to wear this dress out to dinner soon to try and forget its past. 


1960's Mod Makeup

Posted by emmalee on November 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I tried practicing my makeup awhile ago because I was planning on dressing up as Edie Sedgwick for Halloween, however that plan quickly went out the window when I realised I wouldn't be able to get into the Halloween Ball because of, let's just say legal reasons. 


Room Tidying

Posted by emmalee on November 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Well hello guys I haven't really been updating much (for good reason). I have been on and off cleaning my room for the past week - and to be honest it would have never gotten completely clean if it wasn't for Megan coming over on Halloween night.

First to sort our were my shelves. They were really messy beforehand and I finally managed to fix everything and put it in the right order. I have no idea how long they will last like this. Hopefully Moz (the new guardian of my shelf) will keep things in order.

For the bigger books, I always have to stack them. My collection of Vogue magazines is coming along well and the book by Georgina Howell that I have there usually costs around sixty pounds but I got it for free!

Friday

Posted by emmalee on November 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM


Not so much of a proper blog post but my pupils have never gotten this big before (they stayed like this for hours).

Emma's Special Cupcakes (My take on classic cupcakes)

Posted by emmalee on April 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I feel like sharing a recipe with you guys. This is an amazing cupcake recipe that I always use and I always bake these for special occassions or if I'm in the mood for just something tasty. 

Ingredients (for cake mixture)

100g caster sugar

100g butter at room temp

2 eggs

150g self-raising flour

Vanilla essence

(Optional) Food colouring to colour the cake mixture

Ingredients (for buttercream frosting)

6oz butter

12oz icing sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Any food colouring of your choice

(Optional) 2 tbsp milk

(Optional) Sprinkles

Equipment (for cake mixture)

Bun tin, bowl, fork, 12 paper cases, electric beater, teaspoon, small bowl, 2 dessert spoons, wire tray. 

Equipment (for frosting)

Electric beater, bowls, spoons, piping bag.

Steps

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5-6.

1. Put paper cases into the bun tin. 

2. Add butter, sugar, egg, flour and beat. Add vanilla essence. 

3. Using 2 dessert spoons, fill two thirds of each paper case, using a spatula to scrape out the bowl well.

4. Bake on the middle or top shelf for 15 minutes until golden.

5. Remove cakes and cool on a wire tray.

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6. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting by adding the butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and food colouring. Milk is optional.

7. Add the frosting mixture to a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

TIP: If you want two different colour icing, make the icing and split in half into two bowls and using different spoons mix in food colouring. 


Hard Candy

Posted by emmalee on March 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

This song brings back so many memories. When I was little, I used to sleep over at my sister's basement flat and she would always play this CD in the morning whilst we ate our chocolate croissants. We would get up early, make our way down into the village and buy croissants and always buy one extra to give to the homeless man that would sit on a bench outside and watch the pigeons. My sister's flat was so beautiful, just like a little country cottage. I remember her bathroom had all these lovely old blue bottles lined at the side of the bath. The whole house had the fresh scent of lavendar lingering in the air and I remember the communal garden stretched for miles and even had an apple orchard. You would never have known it was such a perfect place until you went inside and out into the back garden. Otherwise it just looked like a typical basement flat. 

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a teaser

Posted by emmalee on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

 

The sun was low in the sky, a mass of burning embers heating the town of Kingston and showing little remorse. Young boys played football in old fields, the scorched earth burning their feet. Clouds of dust filled the air and the vision of drivers on Hope Road was blurred as heat rose from the melting tarmacadam. Birds sat in treetops, gorging on fruits watching as young girls walked home from school in baby blue dresses.

Jamaica was sleepy during the hot weather, the sound of cars was masked by the muffled drone of children laughing, as cars were kept in garages and footprints were left on dusty paths.

Kai Gayle watched his feet as he walked up the street towards his house on Barbican Road, where his little sister was sitting in the front garden with her earphones plugged into her ears and a book on her lap, 'Our Lady Of The Assumption: Religious History' open on page seventy six and dog-eared. Her name was Nikkya. She was a small, slim child with a weak chest from stealing cigarettes off boys from the block. She wore her hair in braids and looked older than her age. She was very intelligent and outspoken - she wore rosary beads around her wrist and smelled sweetly of Jamaican rose apple. She'd drink iced tea from cheap plastic bottles. She was known all around the block as the untouchable girl - even at sixteen she had built up a fan base and reputation. She was the girl that all the girls wanted to know and all the boys wanted to 'dagger'. Kai found it hard to cope with the fact his younger sister - he was only one year her elder - was getting approached from all sorts of people. Older boys in Trench Town that promised her the best ganja around and then the guys from Beverley Hills that promised her fortune and wealth. She didn't have much, but she saved and saved up all her money to buy one thing - makeup. Her makeup collection was very large, all bought from Booker's Drug Store and displayed proudly on makeshift shelves in her bedroom. Today she was wearing dark brown eyeshadow with plum undertones. And mascara. Lots of mascara.

"Wa'ppun mi key?" she laughed, taking out her earphones and smiling at her brother who was squinting in the sun. Kai knew his little sister was taking the piss since she never used slang. Ever.

"What's up with you?" he asked, sitting down beside her on the sun scorched grass. She adjusted her bikini and giggled.

"I'm going to the dancehall tonight with Amarika. Smokey's gonna be there."

Kai winced. Smokey. Goddammitt...not Smokey Allen.

Smokey Allen was the eighteen year old son of Booker Allen, the man who owned the drugstore in Trench Town. Smokey was a no good hoodlum, a rude boy who had once referred to Nikkya as a 'sket' behind her back. This infuriated Kai, but he would not let Nikkya know about it. She loved Smokey. He didn't want to ruin things.

"Sounds fun," he said, showing little interest. He lay back on the grass and stared up at the sun, feeling his eyes burn. He closed them in contentment.

"Put on your darkers, boy. The sun is shining and it's very hot today!"

He sat up and saw his mother standing in the doorway of the house, looking down at him scornfully. Quanesha Gayle was a beautiful, voluptuous woman who everyone could appreciate. Kai often wondered why her husband left her for her less beautiful sister, Jalissa. Jalissa was a heartless cow who was five months pregnant with Quanesha's ex-husband's baby. When the village people had found out about the baby, they branded the whole family 'inbred'. Quanesha's embarrassment was certain, she hid in the house for days, making time only to sew beads to the lace curtain that hung in the door frame leading into the house to keep out the flies.

"Sorry, Mudda," Kai mumbled, getting up and making his way into the house to find his sunglasses. Their home on Barbican Road was a nice house - Quanesha's ex-husband Shandrel had bought it and it was the first house they moved into together. She was only a young girl, about seventeen when she married Shandrel, a dashingly handsome gentlemen she met at the dancehall one Friday night. He had asked her to dance with him to 'Reaction' by Bob Marley. She kindly obliged. She still remembers the day, way back when... she remembers the beautiful yellow dress she had saved up to buy, the expensive hair weave her own mother had let her have. The disco had been organised by the church priest - Father Delonn Green. Quanesha had put all her trust in Father Green, he taught her the meaning of religion. But he destroyed her and she would never forgive him.

After being together for six months, Shandrel popped the question and it wasn't long before him and Quanesha got married, settled down and had two sprogs - Kai first, then Nikkya. Quanesha says she could never decide which one was her favourite, but Nikkya always insisted it was her because they 'share the common bond of being female'. Kai scoffed, being a 'mummy's boy'.

Quanesha and Shandrel lived together for four years in their lovely home on Barbican Road when Shandrel got the promotion he always wanted and became head of the National Commercial Bank and was finally able to afford one of the Beverley Hills mansions that Quanesha had always dreamed of living in. Ever since she was a young girl she had always drawn pictures of big mansions with grand white gleaming pillars and red slate roofs, vowing she would 'marry a rich man' and get what she wanted.

Shandrel had raked up all his money from the NCB when things went pear shaped after he admitted to sleeping with Quanesha's sister. Then when Jalissa told Quanesha she was pregnant with Shandrel's baby, it was the end. The divorce was settled and Shandrel went off up into the hills and bought his beautiful mansion. Jalissa had nothing to do with him and stayed in Olympic Gardens. And Quanesha is still where she is in some smaller house on Barbican Road with her two teenage children.

 

The feeling of the cold tiles on Kai's feet as he stepped inside was enough to shock him. He found his sunglasses and went back outside, the sun half blinding him, gleaming like Nikkya had been when she had found out Smokey was going to be at the dance hall.

It was one of those days where there was little to do. Kai could only think of two things - either take the bus to Downtown Kingston and wonder around the markets or make his way to Trench Town to meet his friend Shawnte who lived on the floor above Booker's Drug Store. He decided on the latter and hopped on his bike, rusting and stained from harsh desert weathers that came from the south.

"Where you heading off too, Kai?" his mother asked him. He turned to look at her. She lay on the grass beside her daughter, who was chewing on a hangnail and bopping her head to whatever beat she was listening to through her headphones.

"Oh, just to see Shawnte down at the drugstore," he replied, trying to swerve his bike out onto the road.

"What did I tell you, Kai? You're not meant to go down there." Her voice sounded stern and irritated. Kai knew his mother well, like the back of his hand, the lines on his palm. He knew she cared more about his safety than anything in the world. To her, Trench Town was where all the riff raff came from. To him, it was a place of opportunity. On Saturdays reggae music would fill the streets and he would ride his bike down to Booker's where he'd meet Shawnte. They'd sit on the curb in the sun, smoking clumsily constructed spliffs and eating chunky, sticky slices of ginger cake - a far cry from the dutty gal that Shawnte was used to.

Shawnte was a smart boy but not as smart as Kai. Kai met him at school, they both went to Ardenne High School together, and became good friends. They had so much in common - both wanting to be proper rastas some day. Shawnte's parents kicked him out after finding him with weed. He had nowhere else to go except a free room upstairs from Booker's Drug Store where his old friend Booker allowed him to stay. Booker used to teach Shawnte karate when he was younger, so he was happy to help him in his time of need. Sometimes Shawnte's little sister Amarika, Nikkya's close friend, would come and visit against her parents wishes.

Shawnte had seen Nikkya before, many times with his sister. He was smitten.

"You know dat gyal with da braids and dee nice eyes," Shawnte had said, before finding out that Nikkya was Kai's sister. "I'd dagga dagga dagga dat gyal. Smokey say she a bowcyat but she can have mi hose anytime."

Kai had asked him if he meant his sister Nikkya. Shawnte had felt himself shrink to the size of a ping pong ball. He hadn't mentioned anything about Nikkya since, except when he'd see her with Kai and try to talk to her, all the time she looked at him with the sultry eyes she didn't save for anyone special.

 

"So, mudda, you're not letting me see Shawnte? I need to go to the drug store anyway, buy some pills for back pain," Kai said to his mother, rubbing his back and faking an ache dramatically.

Nikkya watched him with laughing eyes.

"Oh right, bwoy. Go ahead. I can't be boddered with you if you're only going to be under my feet," Quanesha sighed, giving in.

Kai could have leapt for joy. Often, especially on days like this, he was glad that his father didn't live with him. He knew living in a house full of women meant that they were sick of the smell of testosterone. Well his mother was, but Nikkya on the other hand, maybe not so much. Friday night discos meant testosterone was as much of a lure to Nikkya as a fat juicy maggot to a confused fish.

 

The cycle trip from the Gayle household to Booker's was a long one. Kai would have to make a few stops, maybe at some corner shops where he could spot some hot girls licking ice pops and others on porn mag covers that flapped in the breeze as they hung from ceilings on stings. Kai had a collection of these magazines - he always got them from Shawnte who stole them from Booker, and kept them in an old box under his bed. Whenever he opened the box he got hit with the smell of what seemed like coffinwood, which would make him gag, then he'd see his prize - busty beauties and curvy naked torsos. It was strange seeing these rare white women, some with fake tanned skin and others as pale as milk bottles - like the glass ones delivered to the Gayle household during the week, corked with brown paper. They were so different to what he was used to; all the girls he knew had skin the colour of weathered bronze and the most perfect skin too. On these women in the magazines he could make out blemishes. Nikkya found Kai's stash one day and laughed but promised not to tell Quanesha. "Look at dem gyals!" she scoffed. "Batty gals! Ha!"

"Yah bambaclaat batty gal!" Kai yelled in reply. A flurry of swearwords, calling eachother 'gay'. Sometimes this was the worst swearword of all and hurt Nikkya the most. Being called gay by anybody made her crumble into herself. Because she knew she wasn't. That was for sure.

 

Kai was off on his travels, down the road towards Booker's to meet Shawnte. He hoped Smokey wouldn't be there, although he usually was. He'd be standing outside the drug store smoking a cigarette and eyeing up anybody that walked past him, wanting to start a fight with the shortest boy with the palest skin. Smokey was a scary guy and his father sensed an evil growing within him. It's one thing to have enemies, but when your parents are your real enemies, it's a totally different thing.

Kai had had many fights with Smokey over stupid things - girls, ganja, rusting bicycles. Often Kai found it difficult to remember what the last fight was about, but he knew that Smokey always held a grudge.

Smokey was, in fact again, standing outside the drug store waiting for opportunity. 'Touting', they called it. Often he could tell just by looking at people how likely they would be to get hooked on drugs - not the green stuff but the collections of white powders that he would hide up his sleeve, taped to his arm. Touting outside a drug store that sold drugs for medicinal purposes only was a bad idea - everyone knew that. But Smokey was so skilled that he could do it right under his father's nose...and there was nothing he could do about it.

The sun beat down on Smokey Allen and he batted away annoying flies that buzzed around him. Summer was the worst time for insects and anything from mosquito type flies to midges would make their way out to annoy residents, obviously taking some great pleasure in doing so.

 

Booker stepped outside and stood in the door frame, shocking Smokey who stood a few inches away with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, just under the sign that said '20% Off All Herbs".

"Enjoying the sunshine?" Booker asked, lighting up a cigarette of his own. Smokey smiled a feeble smile, not really interested. "You know you should really be thinking of getting a job soon, boy," Booker continued. "You've been standing outside this shop for the past three summers doing nothing but eye up attractive women. How would you like to make some money for a change?"

Smokey laughed to himself, if only his father knew that he was making hundreds, if not thousands every day.

"Well, boy?" Booker prompted him. Smokey shook his head and with a smirk on his face, said, "I have enough money."

Booker laughed, thinking that Smokey was extremely stupid. "Enough money? And where are you getting this 'enough money'?"

Smokey knew he could not tell his father. If he did, his heart would break. But that didn't bother Smokey, it was the fact that he knew he wouldn't be able to tout on the same block anymore, he'd have to round the corner where all the real rastas hung out and those real rastas didn't want anything to do with a tough looking teenager with a handful of powder.

"Sometimes I wonder about you," Booker sighed when his son did not answer. "You're so secretive, you know? You never tell me anything...I don't even know the real Smokey Allen."

He stubbed out his cigarette on the ground and went back inside, letting out a huge heaving sigh. Smokey wiped the sweat from his brow, relieved that his father did not find out about his past, present or future life. Being secretive was in his nature and if he wasn't secretive he knew he could die. He wasn't the only boy on the block with a glock pistol shoved deep down in his trouser pocket. Kai knew well about Smokey's secrets - Shawnte spilled them all to him. Although they didn't like to admit it, Shawnte and Smokey were close. A bit too close for Kai's liking.

"I don't understand what you see in him, Shawnte. He's a slinger."

Shawnte had said that he saw loneliness in Smokey's eyes, but Kai had snapped back that if there was loneliness in his eyes then how come he didn't reach out to his father?

"He's a bit like me," Shawnte had told Kai when they were sitting by the beach one evening, throwing stones that skipped over the water. "He never really had a good feel with his fadda." Not a good relationship with his father. Something the two boys had in common.

 

Kai arrived outside Booker's Drug Store, swerving on his bike and skidding, clouds of dust flying into the air. He noticed Smokey standing near the door straight away and he tried to avert his gaze.

"What you doin down ere again?" Smokey asked, his voice raspy. He had lit up another cigarette. A chain smoker, Kai had realised.

"Buying pills. For back pain," Kai said simply, pretending he was speaking to his mother again. He threw his bike against the wall and stepped inside the store before Smokey could tell him off.

The store was stuffy and dark, windows blackened out with fragile black paper that looked like spiderwebs. The floor was tiled black and white - or black and grey in this case since it looked like it hadn't been cleaned before. The counter was tall and had a makeshift rusting metal till sat precariously on top. A large array of liquids, pills and herbs sat in bottles on crooked shelves behind the counter. Booker sat by the desk on a chair, leaning back and reading The Jamaican Gleaner, his hair blowing from the wind of a noisy fan. Booker was a forty five year old former martial arts teacher. He decided to set up a drug store when his father, who was a much respected doctor in Kingston, passed away. Booker was a stocky man with arms that looked once musclely but were now starting to sag, skin slowly beginning to hang off bones. He had too many lines on his face for a forty five year old, Kai decided. Perhaps he had had a hard life. Or else it's from the stress Smokey gives him.

"Good to see you, boy," Booker said, lifting his eyes from his newspaper and acknowledging Kai. "You looking for Shawnte, I'm guessing?"

Kai nodded. "He in here somewhere?"

Booker gestured upstairs with a free hand. "Go on ahead."

Kai stepped towards a winding wooden staircase that looked as if it was slowly being reclaimed by woodworm. The first step was always the loudest. A loud creak that still gave Kai a fright to this day echoed through the room and made him shudder. Seven steps. Kai counted them each time.

When he had gotten to the top, he was in a hallway. Not a long winding corridor like the one he was used to when he visited his father's home in Beverley Hills but a hallway that seemed only a few metres in length. Three doors - one on one side, two on the other. One bathroom and two bedrooms. One shared by Smokey and Booker and one for Shawnte.

Kai remembered which room was Shawnte's. He knocked slowly and the door flew open. Shawnte smiled at his friend, "Wa'ppun mi key?" he laughed enthusiastically and grabbed Kai's hand in a boyish handshake. "Howayu mon? I came all the way from home to see you. And no, Nikkya isn't with me," Kai teased.

Shawnte blushed. "Didn't think she would be," he replied, trying to mask his feelings.

"I heard Smokey will be at the dancehall tonight?" Kai said, stepping inside Shawnte's bedroom, sitting down on the bed. It complained under his weight by groaning loudly. Shawnte's bedroom was darker than the main drugstore with blinds over the window, dim lines of light spilling onto the floor. Kai's face quickly became decorated with stripes of light. Boxes of pornographic magazines were stacked high to the ceiling in a corner. Kai guessed this was the storage room before Shawnte had moved in and was where Booker kept his collection.

"He is, yeah," Shawnte replied, sitting down beside Kai. He sounded deflated.

"He's ..." Kai had to try to stop himself from swearing.

"Not too bad," Shawnte finished his sentence. "Yeah, so I like Nikkya. You knew that already. But I'm not gonna kill Smokey if they end up..."

"Yeah," Kai cut off. "You'd be no match for him anyway. He's got a gun remember."

Shawnte nodded, slightly irritated. It annoyed him Kai didn't see Smokey for who he was.

"I want what's best for my sister," Kai sighed. "And being with Smokey Allen is a definite no."

This time Shawnte agreed with him, "For sure," he nodded. "I'm sure you'd rather me be with her than him."

To this, Kai shook his head. "No, she'd break your heart. You can't trust her."

He leaned back against the wall, fishing for something in his pocket. "You mind if I light up?"

Shawnte shook his head, staring into space. Kai lit up a joint and plumes of smoke filled the bedroom.

"That's ganja. I told you! You can't smoke that in here!"

"I'm just flexin..something you need to do more often," Kai laughed, inhaling deeply. "Hey, why you always have them blinds closed? Weather's fine, why you up here on your own?"

Shawnte shook his head. "I was gonna go to the dancehall tonight. But not now."

Kai laughed. "Just cos Smokey's going? Come on, mon, there'll be some nice gyals there."

"Are you going?" Shawnte asked.

Kai shook his head. "Got homework to do."

"Damn dat! I'm not going if you're not." He stood up and stretched by the window.

"Yah bambaclaat," Kai laughed. He leaned forward and passed his joint to Shawnte who inhaled deeply. "Haven't had this in so long," he said, smiling. "It's good."

"Best in town," Kai grinned back. "Come on, mon, let's go outside and enjoy the sunshine."

Shawnte smiled at his friend before ripping the blind off the window and racing Kai down the stairs.

"Alrite boys!" Booker shouted to them as they ran past him and outside into the sunshine.

They ran past Smokey who gave Kai a death glare and down the street, past Bob Marley wall murals and to the end of the street where they sat on the curb and Kai rolled a new joint for Shawnte. "We better not get caught smoking this," Shawnte laughed, as high as a kite. Shawnte kept giggling but Kai did not seem happy. He realised he had crossed the corner into rasta territory. He knew these people were good people and wouldn't hurt him but he felt ill at ease. "Shawnte," he whispered. "We be in the centre of Trench Town right now."

Shawnte laughed. "Love dis place, mon."

Just then a young girl with beautiful long legs and dreadlocks walked past, a boombox in her hand playing Lady by Wayne Wade.

Kai's jaw nearly dropped when he saw her. "Oh mon she beautiful," he panted after her, meanwhile Shawnte continued to laugh and smile. "A propa rasta gyal."

She turned to look in their direction and walked over, her hair swaying in the breeze. Her short, tight shorts showed off her beautifully toned legs, her low cut matching white top showed off her ample breasts. She wore a shoulder bag in rasta colours. Her boombox was nearly as big as her head.

"Alrite, bwoys, what brings you round here?" she asked, a sweet smile on her face. Her eyes were tough but looked like they could explain any feeling. Kai wished he wasn't so high, for fear of embarassing himself.

"Just flexin," he said, pointing to Shawnte who had his eyes closed. "He's tired," Kai tried to explain.

The girl laughed. "Where you from then?"

"Barbican Road," Kai chirped.

"Oooh nice, hear dere's gonna be a disco on in a dancehall near dere tonight."

Kai nodded. "You going?"

She laughed, a laugh as sweet as honey. "Maybe, if mi bwoy is."

Kai's face dropped. She has a boyfriend. Well that sucks. "Same, if mi gyal is going," Kai lied.

"Oh well den I might see ya dere," she smiled, then turned on her heels and walked off, looking back and smiling again. Such a tease.

Meanwhile Shawnte's eyes were still closed. "Wake up," Kai pushed him.

"What happened?"

"Just saw the hottest gyal in Kingston."

"No you didn't? I was asleep for that? Dayum," Shawnte complained, throwing his spliff away. "What was she like?"

"A propa rasta," Kai told him, smiling. "She might be going to the dancehall tonight. She got a boyfriend...but I'll bet I can win her over."

"You could try," Shawnte laughed. "But if she's really the hottest gyal in Kingston it might be difficult."

"Why you say that?"

"Ah you know, she used to all them bwoys giving her attention. You gotta up your game."

"I will," Kai decided, standing up and brushing dirt off his jeans. "I'm going home, Shawnte, it's getting late."

"Ah but you just came?"

"I know," Kai looked at the ground. "But the sun's going down. I need to get home and get ready for the disco tonight. You coming?"

Shawnte nodded. "Yeah I'll probably see you up there. I just need to lie down...I feel sick!"

Kai laughed at his friend and walked back up the road where he grabbed his bicycle which still lay up against the wall. "Leaving so soon?"

He whisked around and saw Smokey standing in front of him, another cigarette in his hand.

"Move outta my way, Smokey."

"Oh, you bein all rude boy now? Come on, you know you're nothing but a sket's son."

"Don't talk about my mudda like that," Kai snapped, pushing past. Smokey said nothing, simply watched as Kai got on his bike and cycled home.

 

The sun was slowly setting over Kingston, an orange glowing ball that sank below treetops like a dying flame. Birds flew home to their nests, poor children returned to their houses to eat dutty gal whilst rich kids were fed the finest food off the finest china.

Nikkya was in her bedroom singing into her hairbrush in front of her mirror in her new dress for the disco. "Ooh baby baby it's a wild world!" she wailed, singing her own upbeat version of the original track.

"Knock knock?"

Nikkya jumped and threw her hairbrush on the bed. "Come in," she said, fixing her hair.

Amarika stepped inside, smiling. "Hey hon, you look so pretty. I'm so jealous. Smokey's gonna love ya."

"You think so?" Nikkya asked, although it was a rhetorical question. She stood by her mirror and twirled in her dress. "I really hope he's into me."

"Why wouldn't he be?" Amarika asked, sitting on the bed.

"He's so gorgeous, he must have so many girls queing up for a piece of him."

Amarika shook her head. "You're a perfect match for eachother."

Amarika watched Nikkya as she applied the finishing touches of makeup to her face. She looked so beautiful in the artificial light of her bedroom. She made a lip smacking sound and turned to face her best friend who sat on the bed with a smile on her face. "To the disco?" she asked.

 

Quanesha Gayle was taking her daughter, son and Amarika to the dancehall. She waited downstairs for her daughter, sitting in silence across from her son. She fiddled with her false nails which she only wore for special occasions. Seemed like bringing her children to the dancehall was one of them. "I met Shandrel for the first time there," she suddenly blurted out. Kai lifted his head to look at her. "He was so handsome. He was my first love, and my last," she sighed. Kai said nothing. "You might meet your soulmate tonight."

"Please, mudda," Kai sighed. "I'm just going to watch out for Nikkya."

"You're a good son," she told him, her voice sounding hollow. "You'll be a good husband for a lucky girl."

Kai thought of the rasta girl he had met earlier and wondered if she would be at the dancehall tonight. And if he could win her over.

"I'm ready."

Kai and Quanesha looked up to see Nikkya standing in the doorway with Amarika beside her. They were stunned into silence by her beauty.

 

There was an awkward silence on the way in the car. Nikkya and Amarika were squashed in together in the backseat like tinned sardines whilst Kai sat in the front with Quanesha by his side.

Once they got there, Nikkya jumped out of the car and ran towards the front doors of the dancehall, Amarika following behind her, struggling to keep up the pace. Kai didn't move and neither did Quanesha. "Are you going?" she asked him. He shrugged. "Yes, bye mudda." He kissed her on the cheek and she found difficulty hiding a smile.

Once inside, the smell of sweat, cologne and beer hit them straight in the face. The music swelled - English music, garage, dubstep. There was no reggae here. Kai felt out of his comfort zone. All The Way Back To Kingston by Baby Bullet was bursting eardrums of drunk teenagers. Kai felt he could have been on the club scene in London.

He noticed Nikkya dancing provocatively and didn't like it - he saw Smokey from the corner of the room and narrowed his eyes.

If Kai had known the dancehall was going to be this busy, he wouldn't have come. He had told Quanesha that he was only going to keep an eye on Nikkya but secrety it was because he wanted to see the rasta girl he'd met near Booker's.

 

Little did he know but he had his eyes set on a musician - Kaylee White, an eighteen year old reggae artist who sang in her own band. Kaylee lived in Trench Town in one of the old squats with her band. Her life consisted of getting up in the morning, pulling on knee high silky cotton socks, grabbing her boombox off her bedside table whilst struggling with the rest of her outfit and heading out into the bright sunshine. She would come home at four in the morning after a string of gigs and other nighttime affairs such as going to dancehalls and drinking on curbsides. Kaylee had a brother who was an albino. Usually she would get teased because of her white brother, who was three years her elder. But she would always brush it off. He himself got called many names - chalky, doondoo. But he had never been given a real name since his mother, appalled at the sight of her pale and pallid son, had disowned him at birth. His father had died before he was born. He was kept in an orphanage for many years until Kaylee came along and asked him to live with her. But she made sure she was rarely seen out with him in public, unwilling to be subjected to torturous insults about her family and how her mother 'ain't a nigger'. Her brother had decided on the name Jon as his first name and so Jon he would be called. He had originally wanted to be called Thomas, after watching English children's programme Thomas The Tank Engine on freeview at the Little Theater. But he was persuaded to go with Jon instead, to avoid facing further humiliation.

 

If Kai had known about Kaylee being a musician and having an albino for a brother, he would have run a mile. But he didn't. And would never find out.

He watched as Nikkya and Amarika danced around, Amarika more clumsily than her friend. He noticed Kaylee in amongst the crowd wearing a black velvet dress. She had replaced her dreadlocks with a silky black wig and smiled at Kai when she saw him.

"I knew you'd be here!" he shouted over the crowd.

"How dat?" she asked, when she had made her way up to him. He shrugged.

"Your bwoy with you?"

She nodded and pointed to a tall man in the corner, middle aged with dark receding hair. He looked too old to be her boyfriend. "My daddy," Kaylee laughed. "I don't have a boy," she smiled a coy smile.

"Oh you don't?" Kai laughed. "Why lie?"

"Mi no lie," she teased, moving her hips in time to the music. "Mi daddy is mi boy. Mi a daddy's gyal ." Kai loved the way he teased her with her jamaican twang.

"If you're a daddy's girl then I guess you won't want anything to do with me..." he said seriously, pretending to sulk.

Kaylee laughed. "I like to tell boys my name before I kiss them," she smiled, letting her slang slip, "I'm Kaylee White."

"What you saying, gyal? I'm Kai Gayle."

She twisted around him, her fingers travelling down his t-shirt. "You with your friend tonight?" she asked. Kai shook his head.

"Naa, Shawnte was gonna be here but I think he's staying at home. Smoked too much ganja."

"Poor bwoy," Kaylee sympathised, her long nails caressing the bare skin on Kai's neck.

"You're a tease?" Kai asked, a rhetorical question.

She laughed and ignored his comment. "I see you giving that boy the evils." She slyly gestured to Smokey who was now dancing with Nikkya. Kai had tried his best not to pay attention to the pair but now he couldn't help but stare in horror. "That's my little sister," he snarled. "He better back off."

"Oh stop that, now," Kaylee whispered, talking to Kai as if he was a small child. "What age is she? Sixteen? You can't protect her forever."

Kai stared at Kaylee, perplexed. Her beautiful dark eyes stared into his. They glittered blue, red and green in the strobe. Her skin was perfect, flawless...so dark and pure. Kai felt himself melt in her gaze. "You don't know Smokey," he sighed.

"No," she admitted, "But I know you."

He shook his head. "No you don't. You only met me today."

"My opinions on people are based on observations, not first impressions," Kaylee told him, smiling sweetly. Kai shook his head again, confused. There was silence between them for a few seconds. "You're not going to kiss me?" Kaylee asked.

"I thought you were rasta," Kai laughed. "Where's your rastafarian slang?"

Kaylee laughed. "Kiss me, stupid."

Kai leaned in tentatively and planted a kiss on Kaylee's sweet lips, which tasted of cherry and coffee. He could feel her smiling under his lips. When he pulled away, she stared at him.

"You must have guys wanting to kiss you all the time," he sighed.

She sighed too, a lonely sigh. "You're the only one I've ever really wanted to kiss. You're not forward," she told him, acting shy again.

"So all dem other guys just come up and kiss you?"

"That is the way," Kaylee sighed.

"I'm special then," he laughed.

Kaylee shook her head. "No one is special. You bwoys are all the same. I am leaving tonight, good luck with your friend."

She turned on her heels then and left with her father. Kai wondered what she had meant. Had she meant Shawnte?

Kai stood in the middle of the dancefloor, waiting. For what, he was unsure. He turned to look for another girl to dance with, to woo, to kiss...but none compared to Kaylee White. He felt out of place, standing alone whilst everyone around him danced wildly, flailing their arms. Young girls in tight dresses would shake their booties in time to the music, teenage boys would gawp at them. Kai remained uninterested in even the most attractive girls...he saw them as 'skets', sluts...they could not compare in any way to Kaylee. He wondered why he had let her go.

It was getting late and Kai was getting tired. He decided to head for the door as the slow set came on, keeping an eye out for his little sister who was no where to be seen. He had let his guard down...

 

"Nikkya!" he yelled once he got outside into the smoking area. "Nikkya!"

Little did he know, Nikkya was walking towards Trench Town, her arm interlinked with Smokey's. She walked clumsily, in her bare feet, watching out for shards of broken glass left over from Friday night punters. She could feel bites and the niggling pains of "no-see-ums".

"Damn insects," she mumbled under her breath.

"You okay? You should wear repellent, you know." Smokey told her, tightening his grasp on her arm.

"Where are we going?" she asked him, ignoring his question.

"Back to mine," he said simply.

"But-but," she stuttered, unable to believe that her wishes were finally coming true, "You live with Shawnte and Booker?"

He nodded. "Shawnte is sick. Smoked too much today, been throwing up everywhere so he is in bed. My old man is sleeping - suffering from his arthritis badly now."

Nikkya stopped walking and scratched her leg, her bites stinging. "My mudda always told me not to walk in the dark, she wanted to collect me and Kai together. To go home together. I think I'm being stupid..."

Smokey turned to face her, placing his hands on her hips. He leaned down towards her and kissed her lips softly. She felt as if she was spinning, this was what she had wanted. But now she was so nervous she was afraid she would throw up all over him.

"Don't be afraid," Smokey told her when she pulled away. "You know you like it."

"I like you, Smokey," she told him, trying to compose herself. "But this just feels strange."

"I wouldn't have thought so," he laughed, "I thought you would be used to doing this kind of thing."

"What the hell do you mean?" Nikkya snapped, turning away from him.

"You have a reputation."

She didn't listen to him. "Whatever you have heard, it's all lies. I've never done anything proper with a boy."

"No way!" Smokey laughed. "It don't bother me none anyways, I like you all shy like that."

Suddenly Nikkya felt at ease again. She reached out and held his hand. It was rough and firm, unlike hers which was soft and moisturised with coconut milk. They continued to walk then until they reached Trench Town. By then Nikkya's feet were burning and calloused, but Smokey picked her up in his arms and carried her inside Booker's. He put her down on the ground and the feeling of the cold tiles stung her feet. "I see a light on upstairs," Smokey whispered to her, sudden panic in his voice. "Someone's awake."

"Do you know who it is?" Nikkya asked.

He shook his head. Suddenly Nikkya felt all the muscles in her body go weak. She could hear the sound of footsteps, made loud by the creaking stairs which complained under their weight. Smokey could see now who it was as he moved down the stairs slowly and unsteadily, shining a cheap torch frantically in every direction.

"Smokey?" Shawnte asked the darkness.

Smokey came closer to the stairs, gesturing for Nikkya to hide behind the counter.

"Alright, Shawnte? Still feeling sick?"

"Wh-where were you?"

"The dancehall."

"Huh." Shawnte sighed, slowly swaying from side to side. "I'm such a lightweight. Any hot gyals?"

Smokey laughed. "Yeah, a few."

"Oh dayum I missed out. Was Nikkya there?"

Nikkya listened intently.

"Yeah," Smokey said simply, "Now can you get out of my way? I'm trying to get to bed."

"Sure thing," Shawnte said, stepping down from the stairs. Smokey walked past him and up the stairs.

Shawnte stepped over to the counter to see if he could find some medicine to help ease his sickness. "You know I can see you."

Nikkya jumped. "How? Wh-please don't tell Booker!"

Shawnte laughed. "It's cool. So you and Smokey, huh?"

"Shut up."

"Okay, okay. You wanna sleep on the couch tonight? I don't expect you to walk all the way home. Alone. In the dark."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

 

 

 

 

 



The week in review

Posted by emmalee on March 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM

This week , I got this piece of paper from Mark.  It was from the prayer room at school (I decided to write a prayer for the victims of the tsunami in Japan).

On St. Patrick's day, I got some fake eyelashes from Chloe. Here I am wearing my new falsies, as you can probably see they are actually falling off in this picture and i look goddamn awful because I'm waiting for my hair to dry.


 I also switched the fairy lights around in my bedroom. They were originally over my desk but are now over my bed. 


Feels like 3 years ago..

Posted by emmalee on March 20, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Here's a collection of recently edited photos I took in Marlay Park.


just like last summer

Posted by emmalee on March 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM

It's St Patricks Day today as I post this but instead of celebrating the event by posting something in anyway related, I'm doing the exact opposite. I spent the day at the seaside with five of my friends and we had ice cream and ate chips - and bumped into very drunk classmates.

I'm posting this picture because I love this new dress type top that i got from vintage store Lucy's Lounge. It was a bargain at eight euro. I  will be wearing this a lot during the summer, here's a pic of me showing it off...excuse the untidy room and dirty mirror!


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