My grandmother hates the phrase passed away. One weekend, a couple of years ago, I remember her saying to me: ‘Death is death Sam – you can’t sugarcoat it. People do not pass away, they die.’
Not a normal conversation with the matriarch. Strictly Come Dancing is more her port of call but there we were discussing death and it struck me. Aged 81, my granny is not one to be argued with – she has seen far more of her loved ones die than I can imagine, and yet, the word die has always seemed inadequate to me. Yes people die. Our bodies physically stop. But we pass away too. Our memories live on and we continue to affect those we leave behind.
On the 28th of May this year, Maya Angelou passed away. In death, the poet and key member of the civil rights movement, left behind a legacy which affects and will continue to affect many of us today. Before the 28th of May I could not tell you who Maya Angelou was. And yet throughout my life I have ignorantly been influenced by her words and actions. And one saying of hers, in particular, marked me.
‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.’Maya Angelou
Change seems to be something embedded into western culture. Architecture changes. Fashion trends change. The Obama campaign was all about change.
In fact culture in all of its various forms directly addresses change and the prospect of it. Noah – the idea that we need to change the way in which we treat our planet or global warming will destroy it. The Hunger Games – living in a dystopian society in which children are put up for slaughter is a bit shit so we should probably change that. Orange Is The New Black – wouldn’t the U.S. prison system be a bit better with a few changes?
The new Mapei single deals with this whole ‘change’ thing quite nicely too.
People are waiting for things to get better – to change – and, as Maya Angelou said, we need to act and change these things ourselves. There is no use complaining.
As a person I find it notoriously difficult to change. Having moved house more times than my own age – I think I’ve been put off of it. I like my things the way they are. I have my routine and I stick to it. And yet recently, I’ve begun to appreciate the beauty of change. Aged just 21 it’s a bit silly to avoid it. Ignoring change boxes us in. Embracing change liberates us. It leads us to new prospects. It’s exciting. It’s important. People bang on about tradition but change is necessary – without it things will not improve.
As those of you who have read Prancing Through LIFE before will hopefully have noticed, PTL has undergone some changes since we left you in April. The format has changed: articles now have a longer shelf-life, the logo is now an amalgamation of all PTL’s Editors various interests and we have a Sport section too. In fact we now have a new video feature, The Edit, as well, via which we will be releasing videos of our contributors every so often.
The work is thanks to our brilliant FILM, THEATRE & TELEVISION Editor, Hannah Oliver, who suggested that we could do with some video content on the site, and our lovely Cinematographer, Melanie Christie.
Below is my sample of: ‘The Edit’. Apologies for the pretension that follows.
The interesting thing about video content is that, unlike an article, what you say and wear in a video cannot be changed – (I generalise a lot and I should not be wearing a snood or a hat in that video – ALAS). This week PTL will be releasing a ‘The Edit’ video each day to introduce you to some of our editors. In the words of Hannah and Melanie:
The Edit is Prancing Through LIFE’s first video feature. Brainchild of directing duo Hannah Oliver and Melanie Christie, respective Editors of FILM, THEATRE & TELEVISION, and VIDEO, these courts métrages are not so much interviews as the editing of LIFE’s little anecdotes, in an effort to reveal, in part, the personalities lying behind the screen of Prancing Through LIFE.
We filmed the videos back in March and watching them back has been an interesting experience. Watching a video of yourself is so much worse than looking in a mirror. You analyse everything about yourself that you previously left unnoticed and it makes you terribly self-conscious. You notice whether you fidget, whether what you actually say makes any sense and you are forced to face the reality that you are not as comfortable in front of a camera as J-Law.
In spite of this – the girls have done a great a job, as you will see. Figgy, Ella, Hannah, Nolwenn – you are brave, brave souls. Thank you.
Over the course of the next few months and further into the future – there will me video content on Prancing Through LIFE. Thanks to Hannah and Mel the site is not just changing but evolving. Likewise with the articles, you will hopefully start to see a gradual change and uniformity developing within the posts. A PTL mantra which we will be implementing into the work of the site from now onwards is not for people to just express their opinions within articles but to reflect on them by relating to personal experience. Why is it we like things? What do we associate them with? How do our lives shape our tastes?
In the video above I say that ‘Prancing Through LIFE’ is starting to show a broader aspect of humanity. And whilst it’s true that the content is starting to become more varied – we still have a long way to go. The articles on the site are still predominantly written by students. And, as many of us as there are – we are still a small subsection of society. As time passes, you will hopefully see a change in this. We want to dip into the lives not just of students but of midwives, teachers, musicians – you name it.
Whoever you are, whatever you may do – come prance with us.
Now I’m off to listen to some new Lana and watch the Game of Thrones season finale – no spoilers please – but there will be plenty more content on prancingthroughlife.com in days to come – both written and video from both students and others.
The change is just beginning.
Love and Lana,
Sam Prance is the Editor-in-Chief & Founder of Prancing Through LIFE. He studies French and Italian at the University of Edinburgh. His favourite novel is Cloud Atlas and he has Madonna marathons on a regular basis. He is currently writing this auto-bio in the third person. He will now stop writing this third person auto-bio in order to save himself some embarrassment.
If you’re interested in getting involved with PTL – drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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