Wednesday, 11 January 2017

La La Land

"La, la, la, la", crackles a voice over the baby alarm. My daughter is awake and is performing for an audience of stuffed animals.

I look at the clock - ten past seven. Well, I can't complain at that alarm call. I steel myself to throw back the covers and roll out of bed, plod downstairs, make coffee and warm milk, before tackling the morning nappy.

On the radio a reporter is revealing the Bafta nominations. 11 for La La Land, which made the headlines the previous morning for winning big at the Golden Globes.

The musical about Hollywood from Whiplash's writer/director Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone piqued my interest when I first wrote about it being cast back in 2015. But that all seems a world away now.

For ten years I worked as an entertainment journalist. My life revolved around premieres, parties and opening nights. My calendar year was charted out in awards ceremonies and reality TV series launches. I saw at least three films a week, I watched TV shows weeks before they were broadcast and I could pick and choose which musicians I wanted to hear live and what West End shows I wanted to see open.

These days I'm lucky to catch up on an old Netflix show in my pyjamas after I have put my daughter to bed.

But after just over a year away from the red carpet, it still takes me by surprise to be reminded the carousel keeps on turning.

The day I found out I was pregnant I went to a pre-Bafta party. It was sponsored by a gin company and all the drinks on the bar were themed cocktails. I had to ask the barman if I could just have some elderflower cordial, without the gin.

I stood at the side of the room, twiddling an enormous goldfishbowl on a stem filled with ice and elderflower cordial, looking hungrily at the platters of food that went by, piled with seafood and rare meat and unpasteurised cheese.

Nobody knew my secret. But as I watched celebrities arrive and pose for pictures and partygoers take selfies, it was already starting to feel detached from reality.

Now I live in a new kind of La La Land.

I still have to make sure I've done my research, dress for the occasion, avoid certain taboo subjects and handle diva-like tantrums. But as a parent my priorities have changed dramatically.

And when an occasional flashbulb pulls me back from the shadows towards that world, it seems hollow.

I was always on the other side of the velvet rope. But now I am totally blocked off from it, peering over the heads of the crowd on the other side, wondering what all the commotion is about.

The escapism of celebrity gossip doesn't even amuse me. I have seen too much of  the smoke and mirrors from the side of stage to be taken in by it.

Even when I was part of the pack, the real interest for me was the challenge of seeing past the paint and polish, to try and find a glimpse of what truly lay beneath.

Now, in this age where journalism faces so many changes and challenges, where fake news is everywhere and political unrest threatens my child's future, I feel more drawn to writing about real life.

I don't want to escape reality anymore. I want to grab it and stare it in the face. To shine the spotlight on its problems and try to find a solution.

It's hard when you have done something for a decade of your life to stand up and admit, out loud, that you don't think it is important anymore.

But being responsible for another life really puts the hype around awards season into perspective.

That's not to say I am not interested in speaking to Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

I'd like to ask father Ryan about sharing parental duties, Emma about the gender pay gap and both of them about how it feels to live in a country that elected Donald Trump as leader.

I'm just not that interested in who they will be wearing to The Oscars this year.

While the spotlight continues to shine on the glitz and glamour that is showbusiness, I make animal noises and play peekaboo.

The show must go on.
One Messy Mama
The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
A Mum Track Mind


  1. I really enjoyed this post, actually I am off to see this film on Sunday, but I love how you talk about what really matters and how your thoughts have changed, and priorities too. We do live in our own La La Land But I for one LOVE it! Brilliant read! #stayclassmama

  2. This is a really interesting contemplative post comparing your life before and after children. I've very glad that you seem so happy with your new La La Land :-) #fortheloveofBLOG

  3. This is fascinating, I didn't know that about you! I know exactly what you mean, parenting changes everything and the things you once believed to be so important, just aren't somehow. I think parenthood has more of an effect on our life perspective then we ever realise. Thanks for being a fabulous part of the #bigpinklink

  4. Kids give you a different perspective on life. It shows you what is really important. #globalblogging

  5. It is amazing how our lives change. I don't think we fully understand the impact of it until we find ourselves in the middle of it! But yes, the most frustrating and rewarding adventure of our lives! Thanks for linking! #globalblogging

  6. This is just so pure. This piece of writing deserves a really amazing comment but I'm currently standing on a bus smooshed between grumpy London commuters with less than two hours sleep heading to a full 8 hour day of work so please ignore my "baby brain." The week after I found out I was pregnant I had a very similar experience, but replace the celebrities with advertising agency dickheads and hip hop musician Nas. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I continue to feel the same way every day since then, that this is just not important to me anymore (all the partying and being in the know and banter hoo hoo hoooo you're so funny, people kissing ass and all that). Over the last year my priorities have changed and I want something of my own that helps people, website coming soon! Haha This is definitely my favourite post of yours (I know I have said this before but this one is it!). Very thought provoking and well written. Thanks so much for sharing with #stayclassymama!

  7. I love this post. I stopped buying glossy mags since I had my son. When I had my daughter I was 22 and loved to know what was going on. Now, at 30 and a mother-of-two I have different things to occupy my time.


    (Mummy Saver, Money Maker) x