Month: April 2019

A Shop is Born – 5 Reasons Why I Set Up My Own LGBTQ+ Inclusive Business

At the end of last year I set up my own LGBTQ+ Inclusive Greetings Cards business Memeow Gifts, Here are 5 reasons why I decided to start my own business!

1.My Partner

I was unemployed and looking for work after finishing a temporary job. As any job seeker knows you can spend hours upon hours on applications to receive little to no responses! (#Rude) I was relaying my job seeking frustrations to my partner who asked if I had thought about setting up my own business perhaps with the help of The Prince’s Trust. I had considered running my own business previously but I wasn’t completely familiar with The Prince’s Trust. My partner also inspired my main goal with Memeow Gifts, LGBTQ+ Inclusivity. We had both previously struggled to find appropriate cards for each other for birthdays, anniversaries, valentine’s etc. As mainstream shops rarely cater to the LGBTQ+ market this seemed to be a gap in the market worth exploring.

2.The Prince’s Trust

I followed up my partners’ suggestion and reached out to The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Trust is a UK Charity that helps young people (11-30 year olds) with getting jobs, training or starting their own business. The Trust responded to my application swiftly and I began their Business Enterprise programme within a few weeks. Through out my Prince’s Trust journey (so far) I have found the staff extremely helpful and supportive every step of the way, from the 5-day initial business course, to helping with my business plan. Since I have now passed all of the stages of The Trust’s Business course I have been assigned a business mentor for 2 years. I meet with my mentor once a month to discuss how the business is developing and to address any business related queries/concerns I might have. I find these sessions with my mentor incredibly useful as my mentor is very supportive and helps me to progress with my business.

https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/

3.Art

Being an Artist who had studied Animation and Design, I wanted a creative outlet/job that allowed me to put my skills to good use. As many artists/creatives know, attempting to break into the creative industries can be a near impossible feat with the incredible amount of competition out there. So setting up my own business has allowed me to further explore and follow my creative passions.

4.Be My Own Boss

Having previously worked various temporary jobs, I liked the idea of running my own business to have another source of income to fall back on. I’m a big believer in a having a few iron’s in the fire, where possible. It’s true being your own boss has risks, but don’t all jobs? There are quite a few benefits to working for yourself, for example being able to work from home, flexibility of your working hours and freedom to make decisions.

5.Represent the community

Lastly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself I feel very proud to create products that represent and cater to the community. I do hope to keep adding to the collection of LGBTQ+ designs as the business grows, as I strongly believe there is just not enough LGBTQ+ representation out there currently, especially in mainstream outlets, representation is gradually improving but its still not quite there yet. My hope with Memeow Gifts is that I can make some impact on changing this!

Thanks for reading, You can check out Memeow Gifts at memeowgifts.com!

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Well Rebecca, you’ve done it now! – A Love Letter to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

*Contains some Spoilers for the series*

Since the musical comedy/drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend concluded last week, I felt I had to write a love letter to this lovely, quirky, awesome, amazing show.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Rachel Bloom (co-creator of the show with Aline Brosh McKenna) as lawyer ‘Rebecca Bunch’ unhappy with her life in New York decides after a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend ‘Josh Chan’ (Vincent Rodriquez III) to move to West Covina, California. “It happens to be where Josh lives but thats not why she’s here!” to quote the season 1 theme song, As soon as Rebecca arrives in West Covina appropriately with the first song of the series ‘West Covina’, her world instantly looks a lot brighter compared to the dull, muted colours of New York! Long story short Rebecca quickly finds a new job at West Covina law firm ‘Whitefeather Associates’ ran by the loveable but awkward ‘Darryl Whitefeather’ (Pete Gardener) , it is here she also meets her future frenemy/bestie Paula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin). Without giving too much away for people who have not yet seen the show, much of the first season is about Rebecca trying to win back the affections of her ex, while denying that he was the real reason she moved to West Covina!

“I’ve never seen a pretzel this big! 🥨”

The first thing I love about this show is that it subverts a lot of tropes, the main one being the title of the show, Rebecca does suffer with mental health issues but she is a 3-dimensional character who is not just lazily written off as being ‘Crazy’. The show approaches the topic of mental illness extremely well not just passing it off as some silly joke like other show’s might, they handle the topic with the delicacy it deserves. I’ve often found with a lot of films/TV shows which portray characters suffering from mental illness the characters often ‘cure’ their depression etc by the end of the story, where as Crazy Ex follows the more realistic approach, that mental health is something that you need to work at, there is no magical ‘I’m cured!’ moment. The fact that Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna consulted a panel of doctors to make sure they wrote an accurate diagnosis for Rebecca reveals how much love and care is put into the show.

To cope with the stress in her life Rebecca has developed an interesting coping mechanism, she imagines certain moments in her life as musical numbers. The musical numbers are all original songs written for show and encompass a vast array of musical genres from Broadway,EDM,Pop,Hip-Hop and more! (I honestly think there is something for almost everyone’s musical taste) ‘You Stupid Bitch’, ‘Dream Ghost’ and We’ll Never Have Problems Again’ being some of my favourite songs from the series (I’ll have to do a top 10 post at some point!)

“We’ll Never Have Problems Again!”

Another think I really like about the show is it’s diverse cast, there are characters of various ethnicities and members of the LGBTQ community within the main cast. its refreshing to see ‘Josh Chan’ an Asian-American as the lead ‘heartthrob’ who Rebecca moves across the country for. Darryl’s story arc, where he discovers his bisexuality is another example of something often not seen on TV. Shows are often criticised for writing characters that don’t want to identify as bisexual, with Darryl this is completely subverted, there is even a song, ‘Gettin’ Bi’ which perfectly deconstructs the popular misconceptions of bisexuality to an 80’s inspired tune.

Heather played by Vella Lovell is another stand out character for me, her snarky, sarcastic delivery is always on point. I especially love Heather’s Anti-High School Musical-esque number “The Moment is Me” which she sings after graduating college, which is an example of classic Heather at her best!

I love the quotability of the show, “that was super rando!” is now very much part of my vocabulary! My partner and I often find ourselves quoting ‘We’ll Never Have Problems Again” when we encounter couples in the honeymoon phase and my best friend and I often end up singing “I Have Friends”. The way that all of these songs and quotable moments have stuck with me, convey what a special show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was/is and I look forward to re-visiting the show many times in future!

(The whole series of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available on Netflix)

PS I have recently booked tickets for Rachel Bloom’s London show (IM SO EXCITED!!)

PPS since this is a Memeow Blog post after all…

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Review- Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? – The Rocky Horror Picture Show – New Theatre Oxford

Last Saturday I went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the New Theatre Oxford, as part of their 2019 world tour.

The stage show is based on the cult 1975 film of the same name, created by Richard O’Brien. The film was quite groundbreaking for the time especially for its portrayal of sexuality and gender identity. 

This was my first time seeing the show live. Previously I had scene the original film and a live show streamed at the cinema in 2015. The live stream was very good, but I knew it would not be as fun as attending an ACTUAL live screening! 

As soon as we got off the bus in Oxford we were surrounded by people dressed in obvious rocky horror attire, maids, people wearing clothing emblazoned with rocky horror quotes and of course fishnets!

The show did not disappoint. The cast included Joanne Clifton (Janet), Ben Adams (Brad), Philip Francis (Narrator) and Duncan James (from ‘Blue’) in the iconic role of Frank N Furter. The cast did a great job with Duncan James and Philip Francis being the standouts  for me. I also enjoyed Laura Harrison’s (Usherette) renditions of “Science Fiction, Double Feature” which book end the show.

Duncan James portrayed the iconic role of Frank N Furter

The best part of the show had to be the audience participation, which is a major part of the Rocky Horror experience! Audience Participation originally started in certain showings of the movie, this then moved on to the stage show and has become an integral part ever since! Most of the participation comes in the form of shout out  responses to The Narrator eg whenever he says “Brad” the audience responds with “A**SEHOLE!”. The audience responses often change from show to show and often reflect current pop culture, this makes every show unique in its own way!

The audience in our show was very on form for this particular showing, with the members of the front row never missing their cue!
It was fun experience overall and I have to say I slightly regret not dressing up…There’s always next time though!

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