Welcome to the second in My Girls on Film Series and today I am talking to the lovely Becky Manion, an intellectual soul with real sass and wit. We discuss subjects including education and blogging and a lot in-between.
BP: Welcome to Grils on Film Becky !! Let's dive straight into it. What degree did you choose, where and why
BM: I did English Literature at the University of York. I picked it when I was about, I knew I wanted to do it when I was about 13. I cannot remember a time where I didn't love reading. I guess my parents particularly my mum wanted me to do something slightly more vocational like law but I was (...)
BP: Mums always want something don't they
BM: Oh yeah absolutely, I decided to do something a little more self-indulgent. I thought if I'm going to spend £27,000 on something it better be something I enjoy doing and I did enjoy it.
BP: Leaving university, because you graduated this summer - you looked incredible by the way-
BM: Thank you !!
BP: So what are your plans, any idea?
BM: I am doing a Masters in Film and literature, I want to carry on studying the literature of course but I am quite lucky that for my literature BA I was able to do a couple of film modules and they turned out to be the best essays I ever wrote, so that helps. I also thought that I wasn't ready to give up on film just yet, I wanted to learn more about styles of storytelling. I decided to do a Masters because I don't know, it's a bit of a nerdy answer but I love Learning and have always loved being in education. It's really the most important thing to me. I don't feel quite ready to give it up.
BP: That makes sense, and I really feel that going into my third year of uni. I'm scared because it's going to end, it's like clinging onto something that is my security.
BM: (...) But at the same time "I can't be bothered"
BP: Yeah I'm ready to be done, I don't want anymore education.
BM: Not this year at least ??
BP: Yes not this year !! So film is a big part of your life, are you a regular cinema goer or are you a LoveFilm/Netflix kind of person?
BM: I enjoy trips to the cinema more, I just enjoy it, it feels like more of an occasion.
BP: Do you ever go alone, I always love people who do that
BM: I do go on my own- quite regularly
BP: Is there other things that you do solo, like going for dinner ??
BM: No, just the cinema. I'll go shopping on my own
BP: People feel the need to do things with other people, especially the cinema. If you go on your own I guess some people think you must be lonely, or you must be sad.
BM: No I'm just too intellectual for other people !!!! I do like going with other people but if there is a film that I what to see and no one else does I will go on my own
BP: You're comfortable enough to go on your own. That is genuinely empowering.
BP: So because I can, I’m going to change the subject !! I am a big fan of shopping, do you like a shop?
BM: I do, like one particular shop or do I like the process of shopping?
BP: Do you know what, you can answer both ways! So, first of all, do you like the process of shopping?
BM: I love the process of shopping
BP: In real-life or online
BM: In real life, online is dangerous, the items aren’t there and the money isn’t there
BP: It’s all a lie!
BM: Nothing is tangible online, it’s just easier to spend money
BP: So in a store is safer?
BM: Yeah, also I enjoy it more
BP: the experience of shopping
BM: Yeah, it’s a day out isn’t it. A day out of the house something to look forward too
BP: I suppose that makes sense, so the second part of the ambiguous question is- favourite shop?
BM: Favourite shop…
BP: You could have 2, one where you spend money and one where you like to look but never spend (...)
BM: I’m not really picky with shops, I’ve got a lot from M&S. My mum and Nan will just buy it for me
BP: There is nothing wrong with that!
BM: Nanas and Mums love Marks and Spencer so if I see something in there they will buy it for me. So I’m really not fussy, I don’t have any prejudices to any shops
BP: Any shops you hate?
BM: Oh there must be some. I hate things like Jack Wills, ugh or like Hollister!
BP: Hollister, does Hollister still exist?
BM: I tell you where I do love to look at never shop: Whistles,
BM: Hello Boys !! But yeah places like Hollister and Jack Wills, like those sporty-posh kid clothes
BP: The shops that are dark inside, so you can’t see the poor quality versus the prices !! Talking of shopping; what is your most recent purchase?
BM: The entire outfit I am wearing today ahah!!
BP: Incredible !! Talk us through it
BM: So two-thirds of this outfit is M&S, the top full price should have been £19.50 ended up getting it for £3 in the sale. The culottes were £20 from New Look, actually, I got them for £18 because I had student discount HELLLLO
BP: I love that they do Student Discount on sale, they are very generous people over at New Look
BM: The Clog / Sandal things are also M&S and were £18 instead of like £30 odd
BP: I love them because they remind me of Sweedish Hasbeens which are way more expensive. SO it’s get the look for less with Ms. Manion
BM: Ms. Manion… It’s nice to know I look expensive, when in fact I’m really cheap !!!
BP: So we have talked about what you do in life, your attitude to online shopping but, let's talk about your attitude in general. You hit the big 2-1 this year, how do you feel about ageing- obviously you are not old!!
BM: I feel like at 21 I can’t make any valid assertions on ageing because I am yet to age properly as in the traditional sense of ageing. I feel like in recent times, I feel like there is an emergence of an older woman looking really cool. So if I’ve still got a bob and dark lipstick on at 62 I will be happy I think!
BP: That's the thing, that at the minute so many things are changing that age is really just a number, a construct if you will.
BM: So true, just like gender (...)
BP: So you are someone who rocks a statement haircut, how long have you had a bob?
BM: I had a bob at 6 or 7 against my will and I looked like Ringo Star it was cute !! I grew it out when I started High School, it's really sad but I thought I had to be feminine to fit in. Then when I was 15 I cut it all off into a bob. I remember I took a picture of Jessie J into the hairdressers when she was edgy and no one had heard of her (...)
BP: Oh that was a severe hair cut
BM: Ever since I have had the same hair cut, but A: it's what works for me, I cannot imagine having it any other way and I don’t think I could get away with anything else. It would be like who am I?
BP: I’m totally the same I've had the same haircut since I was 17, so 6 years and I don’t see myself changing
BM: We are lucky that we have found the haircut, there are loads of people who are always changing their hair so many times throughout their life because they are never happy.
BP: We have cracked the code
BM: In our adolescence
BP: I’m so proud of us
BM: Me too, because we have got good taste !!
BP: We have !!! Talking of good taste do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to TV. Are you a streamer or a standard TV person
BM: All of the above !! I watch too much television !!
BP: So do you have any recommendations that people would love and any guilty, more crappy things to watch?
BM: Cheesy/Guilty is easy- Outlander. It features time travel which is ridiculous
BP: Technically impossible !!
BM: Yes, she time travels back to Scotland in the 1700s and the main guy is this impossibly hunky, tall ginger guy who loves her with every fibre of his being. It’s pure FANTASY. I have no taste when it comes to TV
BP: That's okay, I expect we all have bad taste !!
BM: I do appreciate a good quality TV show
BM: Mad Men which is great, the Handmaiden’s Tale
BP: Oh I read the book and I hated it,
BM: It was an upsetting book but there is something about visualising something like that (...)
BP: I imagine it could be beautiful or striking maybe
BM: Yeah it is very striking, I don’t know if beautiful is the right way to describe it, it's ugly more than anything, but it serves a purpose. There is something about those ugly visuals on top of that narrative that just makes it so much more effective.
BP: There must be something wrong with Margaret Atwood, or do you just watch the world around you. I think maybe why it is so unsettling because the way the world is going, perhaps not as dystopian as that, but these things could happen.
BM: Then we might be able to conclude that it is the world around us that maybe inspires Atwood. Maybe she is just very perceptive.
BP: So when you are not watching TV, you Blog. You have recently started a blog I love to ask this question, but WHY, why did you start !!
BM: I did a bit of writing for my Uni’s fashion magazine when I was in my second year. I enjoyed it but I found that it was always constrained by a theme, which I understand is the premise of magazine writing. I gave up on extracurricular activities in my 3rd year to focus on my dissertation. Since I’ve graduated I want to get back into writing I think it's a good outlet, also it allows me to have something that functions as a portfolio. I have something behind me that I can present to people in the creative industries. It demonstrates to them my commitment to creative pursuits in general. This is why I like to write about cultural things and people.
BP: What is so interesting about your blog versus what is already in existence is that you are offering something that is so unique. One thing that you sell so well is your perspective, whereas other people write with a money mindset, copying and pasting content that will market well !!
BM: Ahh, no I’m not whoring out my blog (...)
BP: That is so refreshing, and gives it so much scope. Other blogs are just here for the ride but with you, it is more than that (...)
BM: I think I am also able communicate better through written words rather than verbal. The best media to voice my opinion is the written word. I can’t stand there and tell people, it's easier to write.
BP: It's safer as well, because you can go back and edit things too
BM: I’m too much of a coward to step in front of the keyboard
BP: Like 20 minutes after an argument you come up with the best ripostes
BM: Yeah !!
BP: The whole point of a blog though is that you aren’t joining the conversation, you are starting the conversation. Have you had any feedback, any keyboard warriors?
BM: I wouldn’t necessarily call them Keyboard warriors because I see them as cowardly in their anonymity. However, I have had some comments suggesting that the language I use is a bit tricky, but then other people have said that they don’t think that's the case. Maybe my writing style is a bit divisive but I welcome criticism. if you are going to write something, they have to be able to read it.
BP: I think as well when it comes to comments you have to consider some things. I was listening to the at Home with Podcast, Lilly and Anna were interviewing Zoe Sugg of Zoella, and she had found loads of diaries from when she was younger. She had written loads of nasty things about people she went to school with. She explained that she never thought about them ever reading it, and that it was so unattached to those people.
Commenters are the same they aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves. They are so unattached. So whenever I get a negative comment or email, I step back and think wow you are not thinking about me, it gives it a new perspective. It is not really negative comment, it's more just how they feel- because they have been given the opportunity.
BM: If you have put something out there, you have got to be invested in it mentally and hopefully emotionally.
BP: If you didn’t, it would mean nothing
BM: When people read it you forget that they will at best look at it objectively, but they will be sceptical and be cynical. Sometimes I even find it funny.
BP: I try and recycle things into positivity, if something is picked apart, I will try and work out how I can use it to make things better (...)
BM: Oh me too for sure, when I was editing my post it was the case of changing a few words, I know the essence of my post isn’t wrong, and as I said I love writing so the editing process isn’t necessarily a bad thing
BP: Well let's hope that it grows and continues and becomes the success that I know it will be
BM: Thanks, Ben !!
BP: I’ve got a nose for these things
BM: Bless you child !!
BP: Well thank you so much for joining me on Girls on Film !!
Becky kicks out her leg in an exuberant manner
BP: Was that a kick to finish
BM: You can say it was a death drop, no one can ever quibble that it wasn’t a death drop because you were the only one who saw it (...)
BP: ahahaha, well thank you so much, darling!
BM: You are so welcome!
Catch Becky in York or on her blog missreddsite.wordpress.com.
Photographed in Zatchels York and in the Shambles, August 2016.