Emily Rowan

BA Photography student. University of West London

Blog and personal conundrums

Living’s just a gamble baby, loving’s much the same - III

Going home doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement, but it doesn’t fill me with dread either. I have been quite dramatic over the last week/month/calendar year and I think now enough is enough. Life is what you make of it etc etc and sometimes we get carried away. Maybe I like the drama. I got consumed in a single person, the wrong person, and put myself in a bad situation recently, and I overwhelmed myself. Hopefully I can go back to London starting a fresh.

The aspects of Glaswegian life that I’ve always enjoyed most are the sense of community and the spirit. These are what’s kept me coming back and forth over the last five years, why I never see myself stopping and why the city feels like a second home to me. London lacks these essential qualities. London is cool and sexy and extremely cosmopolitan but London is too big, trying to be too many things and doesn’t know what it is anymore. London feels forced, a lot of people are there because it sounds good to be or are tourists on a flying visit, clogging up the place. London may be a city of opportunity but I don’t think it could ever be my home.

Chris is a good friend, the best kind, and I thank him dearly for everything he has brought into my life over the last seven years. It is nice to see him with Megan, who clearly makes him happy and is definitely good for him. It’s comforting to see two people together who are so…together. They live their lives together, they plan together, they drink tea together; it’s what I want. In my life I have been in four relationships, each one very complicated in its own way. I know nothing in life is simple and relationships especially take work, but it would be nice to have one that on paper, at least, looks like it could work.

Three months is nothing in the course of a lifetime but when you’re living those three months in the moment, it is a long enough period to change your path and your outlook for a while. When you’re getting to know someone who has spent the first three quarters of his life growing up in a country on the other side of the world, immersed in a culture and religion completely different from your own, someone who has never heard of Elton John, that’s a lot of extra…stuff to try and work into your life, as well as finding time and space for a new relationship.

I am one of those people who proclaims to be “all or nothing” and as someone who perhaps already had obsessive tendencies, I allowed this relationship to consume me without a second’s thought. I put so much into it that in the end I gave too much. There are things I want but don’t have and moping around constantly going over the confusion and uncertainty of the last few months isn’t going to help me find them.

I want someone who will make me tea in the mornings, who will go on these trips with me. I want some company in the evenings. It seems impossible sometimes but I see other people who have it, friends of mine, and I realise maybe it’s not so strange. Maybe these relationships don’t just happen in the movies. Maybe they could happen for me to.

I do spend a lot of time on my own but that’s just how it is. That’s what my circumstance lends itself to right now. I have to live the life I have. Get used to it or else change it because there’s nothing in between. 

Things are okay. I think I can deal with going back to London and going back to work and seeing A and getting on with my life. I have lots of people to see and things to plan and it is okay to be a little sad and confused for a while. We can’t be perfect versions of ourselves all the time. That’s just life. 

Give the time some time

I am on a train, en-route to Edinburgh and then Glasgow. Scotland will be good for me, I need some time out of my London head space. There are too many questions in my head that are going to remain unanswered, and I need to keep my mind distracted. 

Other than continuously getting hung up on the wrong things, I am feeling okay. In terms of me getting back to me, I coped well over the first few days because I was creating and doing things that made me feel good. Although I was mostly by myself in the darkroom this week (my D-room buddy James is away), I kept myself busy at uni, getting on with making final prints for my exhibition next week and prepping for the looming May deadlines. My uni was shut on Friday because of Good Friday and I found myself with not a lot to do. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a bad cold so slept in, but didn’t have any plans until the evening so time on my hands and being alone in the house proved to be a lethal combination. I’d allowed my mood to plummet to the point where I wasn’t sure why I was sad anymore.

By the time I met my best bud Alyssa at 6pm I wasn’t in the mood for anything. She had been drinking since 3pm and her usual care-free, ray of sunshine personality was magnified, and just not what I needed at that moment in time. I’m sure I was miserable company the whole night.

I felt so down on the way home that I couldn’t stop a tear or two on the tube as I approached my station, and the same again last night on the way back from work. I’m finding myself so tired by the end of each day, not just physically but emotionally to. Yesterday at work was hard. I did a twelve hour shift which knackered me out anyway but seeing A was confusing. We’d had a difficult conversation on whatsapp the night before, and then he was different again when I saw him at work. We all have our ways of dealing, I know, I just need to wait it out and keep going until certain things don’t affect me as easily anymore. Give the time some time, as A would say.

This trip will be good for me. A couple of days somewhere else will be enough to freshen my perspective, lift my mood and give me strength, I am sure of it. I am very good at sitting by myself and getting stuck in my head and convincing myself this is what I need. It is not. I need to keep going and keep moving, and try to stop myself from getting stuck.

Living is a gamble baby, loving’s much the same - II

A has told me a number of times not to worry about the things I cannot change. “There are things that will happen that you have no control over. They don’t directly affect your life, so try not to stress about them”. This is easier said than done. I’ll worry until the cows come home. I’ve tried to change my way of thinking but after twenty-three years, I have chosen to accept I can’t. This is the way I am. S, the wise one, tells me we all have a destiny and once we accept that it is up to us as individuals to change how we feel about things, only then will we able to be truly happy .

Yesterday I asked A how he is going to feel when he gets engaged. As a concept I’ve always been aware of but one that has never affected me directly until now, it is something I’m struggling to come to terms with and I feel like I need to know he’s going to be okay in order for me to move on fully. Normally after a break-up you find solace in knowing you simply weren’t meant to be together but will both move on and eventually find someone who makes you happier. All that lays ahead now for A is an arranged marriage that he does not want so no, I’m not sure there is any solace to be found in this particular situation.

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Living is a gamble baby, loving’s much the same - I

When a relationship ends a dream inside of you dies. With everything you embark on throughout life, you create hopes for the way it may turn out. The things you try don’t always work and even though you learn to accept it and know you’d do better without that person playing such a big part in your life, the most difficult thing is accepting the dream is over.

That is made harder then when you know that part of the reason your relationship could never work long term is out of your control, because of the huge religious and cultural differences that other people would put in your way. When you’re with someone and it becomes apparent that his parents will be forcing him into an arranged marriage far sooner than either of you was expecting, that is harsh reality to get your head around. It is not my culture or my tradition, and I cannot understand it.

It’s been five days since I ended things with A and although I miss him and am trying to get on with things, instead of focusing on lifting myself out of this and getting back to me and moving on, which is what I feel like I should be doing, a larger part of me is worrying about him and what the next part of his life holds in store. 

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It’s been almost a year and a half but it’s comforting to come back here and see everyone I used to follow back in the day is still posting and writing, just like before.

I always enjoyed blogging because it gave me a sense of purpose. Writing down anything and everything from my daily life seemed to make it all okay, and more important, and that’s why I’m back I guess. Once more, I need a place to digest and make sense of my decisions and all of life’s happenings.

I have this thing that whatever happens on the night of New Years Eve is symbolic of how the rest of my year will turn out. My 2014 began with…

erectile dysfunction.

And my theory has proved, thus far, to be correct. January to April has been testing and complicated and confusing and I lost my way for a second there. It’s time to get shit back on track and continue trying to be the best person I can be.

Blogging world, I need you and have missed you

The Grand Tour, Part I

To begin my month off tour (in which i’ll probably end up going not that many places at all as if I thought I was skint BEFORE I moved to London, I was wrong) I am going back to Bishops Stortford for the day to see my parents, pick up some more stuff, and to see my good friend Nick before he goes back to uni tomorrow.

I am on a bus because after having spent the last eight years travelling in and out of London/Cambridge regularly, I’ve still not grasped that travelling on a Sunday is never a good idea. That the tube is always shit isn’t the half of it. There are no trains between London and Cambridge today, so the twenty minute journey to Bishops Stortford is now taking an hour and a half, on a bus.

I actually quite enjoy the bus. Despite having to drive through the not so heady heights of Broxbourne, Hoddesdon and Harlow, my brain has been conditioned into thinking i’m going to a festival any time I board anything vaguely coach like.

I do miss Bishops Stortford. Not in the way that I’ll want to move back at any point in my life, but in the way that I always look forward to visiting and coming back isn’t a chore. This is the fourth time i’ve been ‘home’ since I left at the end of September but before it’s always been only for the evening as I seem incapable of organising my time at all these days so it’ll be nice to be there for a whole day this time.

I miss my parents. I ring them most Friday nights on the half hour walk home from work, and they tell,me they look forward to it, but it’s not the same as seeing them. I feel like I can look them in the eye more now that i’m (sort of) finally getting my shit together with a flat/boyfriend/something to do with my time (ignoring my rent is being paid with a loan). They’re still my parents obviously, but seeing them now feels like seeing old friends as our hot topics are no longer when i’m going to clear my stuff off the chest of drawers in the front room, do my washing up or take my shoes upstairs, but what i’ve been up to, if things with my flatmates have improved and when i’m next seeing Dan. They’re more interested now in how my life is going rather than the little things that interfere in theirs, and I appreciate more that they’re there rather than wanting to get away from them. It’s nice.

I am content, relaxed and feel like I have direction for probably the first time ever which means I don’t have to tread on egg shells around them anymore, always with a slight air of shame that at 21 I haven’t begun to find what it is yet that i’m supposed to be doing yet. I guess what i’m trying to say is that I am comfortable with who I am and what I am doing around my parents for the first time in my life, and it feels good.

It’s still shit that the bus goes past my house on the way to the station though.

In the Meantime

So I picked a great moment to return to tumblr, two weeks before the deadline of the first three modules of my Photography degree. All the work is in now though and I have a whole month off. Bliss.

My by reckoning my last proper post was my review of Latitude 2012, so here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime.


I attended my sixth Reading Festival, and the fourth with fellow veteran Chris, and yet again had one of the best weekends of my life. Reading gets a lot of stick, this year I gave it a lot of stick, but it’s still the most fun I have all year, even more than at other festivals with better line-ups and more to do.


After meeting him at Reading 2010 through quite literally a friend of a friend of a friend and thinking he was possibly the funniest guy I’d ever met, then again at Glastonbury 2011 where we barely spoke at all, then again for the third time at Reading this year, in the most unexpected and brilliant way possible, I fell for a guy who spent the entire weekend dressed in a cookie monster costume. Enter into my life the brilliant Daniel Millar.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed so hard in such a short space of time as in his company.


I found myself a not too shabby flat in Fulham and finally finally made the move from Bishops Stortford to London.

All CDs made it intact bar one (but it was a recent Oasis so not too big a casualty).


I embarked on a Photography degree at university! Something I was sure for a long time would never happen to me.

In November we went on a trip to Paris to see a HUGE exhibition at the Grand Palais, ParisPhoto.


I spent Christmas with Dan and his family.


We got New Years off to a bang at a house party in Glasgow, spending time with good friends and catching up with old ones.


My time since New Year has been spent locked up in my bedroom, manically, trying to get all my uni work done for the deadline yesterday. It’s all been submitted now, thank God, and I can concentrate on me again!

I live in London, I have a month free now to spend however I wish, and I am very very happy with a brilliant guy who cares for me deeply. Life is good.



If Kristen Stewart can lose her job, risk losing her entire career, fanbase, and respect over cheating on her boyfriend, the fact that Chris Brown is still acknowledged and celebrated is a fucking crime. If you want a prime example of women’s inequality in the media, there it is. 

(via lovesugartits)

Trying to settle an argument.

Did Foals ever fall into the “New Rave” genre?

taking his own soundtrack


I’ve often thought about how I enjoy far more the thrill of listening to music that isn’t shit. I am sure most people think about this, in between their sad, depressing phases of thump thump basslines and those ‘calvin harris’ breakdowns that all clock in approximately sixty seconds before the torture ends. They were designed, as some hypothesised, as a way to signal - through vibrations - to those with ears clasped below hands that the pain is almost over; that everything is going to be okay.

Why then, do we not take our own music with us to clubs? People love silent discos. Those young whippersnappers at Reading absolutely love them, late into the night, screaming the words to Use Somebody at the top of their lungs outside of a portaloo full of overdosed acid addicts thinking they’re in fucking ‘Nam.

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Moving Further Away

My Latitude 2012

The aspect I’ve always admired most about Latitude and the reason it’s one of my favourite festivals is the diversity of the line-up and seeming intent the organisers have of booking someone different and steering clear of the usual bands that play every festival. There’s always something new to be found and surprises to be had here and there’s something very magical about stumbling upon your new favourite band that way, especially in a setting as idyllic as that of Suffolk’s Henham Park.

I found myself approaching the line-up with zero tolerance - no time wasters here please! I went in with the aim of seeing as many new names as possible, consciously choosing acts who don’t play too often over constantly touring names as that is what Latitude is about after all - the highest quality in both the new and obscure, you just have to know where to look.

Making this a read more as it gets quite lengthy (and after all the festival was a couple of weeks ago now) so here’s a list of who I saw with the best acts in bold and capitalised if you don’t fancy reading the long analysis. I haven’t mentioned every band but go into detail about why I loved the ones I did, why I found certain acts to be very overrated and why I in the end came to question some of my musical choices

Ice Age, Givers, Kindness, TWIN SHADOW, The Antlers, Janelle Monae, Lana Del Rey, Yeasayer, Bon Iver 

Sharon Van Etten, Sunless ‘97, Deap Vally, Sam Airey, Baxter Dury, Josh T. Pearson, Wooden Shjips, Michael Kiwanuka, I Break Horses, Richard Hawley, TOY, Zola Jesus, THE HORRORS

Rufus Wainwright, Gabriel Bruce, Alabama Shakes, Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, St Vincent, BATTLES, M83, Ben Howard, Perfume Genius, WILD BEASTS

Special thanks to Dermot O’Leary and his Thursday night indie disco. Dermot, you rock.

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For the last week and a half I’ve had endlessly aching eyeballs.

Looking from side to side has been fine but whenever I look up or down, too far to either side or turn my gaze too quickly I feel a throbbing ache in the back and on the top. I had headaches for a few days but they have gone now, replaced with light-headedness and extreme tiredness.

I’ve spent less time on my laptop in the last few days and the pain has eased a little, so here’s hoping I might have temporary eye strain and don’t need glasses. It’s worse at work under the fluorescent lighting and with my face so close to the screen and a few consecutive days off would do me good. Shame I’m working full-time odd hours right now.

Thinking about it if I’m often close to a screen at work, on my laptop if I’m at home and on my phone and ipod in between, it’s a no brainer really. 

I’ve spent the last few evenings watching the Olympics actually and have found myself getting sucked in which I didn’t want or expect to happen. The last few months I’ve moaned about it more than anything else, but being in London at the weekend with eight out of ten customers talking about it and you can’t even get on the tube without someone in Olympic uniform sitting in your carriage, well there’s definitely a ‘buzz’ and it makes me want to be a part of it. 

Until I found this yesterday http://www.protestlondon2012.com/ and I realised it’s easy to forget the bad stuff when the sport starts and you’re cheering for a gold medal all of a sudden