Hey Reader! So you want to get to know Gypsy Dreams? Well, here’s a big chunk to get you started:
What is Gypsy Dreams?
The Gypsy Dreams blog and the Gypsy Dreams shop are run by me, Nicola Semple: a Social Media Marketing Manager by day, a blogger/creator by night. I have been blogging for a good 10 years now, off and on, under numerous pseudonyms like ‘Chills, Thrills & Spills’ (a little nod to any Squeeze fans out there) and Ma Bicyclette, which was a group blog about art, travel and creative careers. I used the name Gypsy Dreams solely for my Tumblr for a long time, I think mainly because the rest of my blogs were me projecting what I thought would work and not what I actually wanted to do. The Tumblr was the most accurate in representing my interests and obsessions at the time. So, naturally, it all built from there. I had been umming and ahhing about shaking up my Chills, Thrills & Spills blog for a while and my friend, Emma, showed me a logo idea for Gypsy Dreams which instantly set it in stone for me.
Gypsy Dreams is, in a way, a contradiction. Gypsy – ‘a nomadic or free-spirited person’ and Dreams – ‘a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind’, you could say have opposite outcomes. A gypsy would explore the world freely, while a dreamer would only dream about or imagine doing so. Exploration isn’t necessarily tied to the number of steps your feet have taken, but also the books you’ve read, the music you’ve loved and the films that got you through. That’s what this blog is all about – exploration in every form.
Notes on Music
This blog has followed me through both obsessions and trends over the past 10 years, but I plan to cut down on the trends in the future. I come from a musical family, so music is incredibly important to me. Notes on Music is a series of album reviews, with a difference – I only ever talk about the music I love. Music is a personal thing so if I don’t like something, it’s most likely because I don’t understand what to take or ‘get’ from it. In an interview with Jian Ghomeshi, Joni Mitchell once said “if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it’ll probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself, and now you’re getting something out of it.” In Notes on Music I talk about the albums that have, in a way, given something to me.
As well as Notes on Music, I do something called GD Playlist. I want music to spark a feeling, thought or idea in my mind. If it doesn’t, it is almost always because of two things: you’ve heard something better and/or you’re not in the right setting/frame of mind. Most of the time, that’s why people hold on to favourite albums and bands – because they’ll do you right, right? They’re your favourite because, in your opinion, there’s nothing better. And you rarely obsess over new music because you don’t like what’s played on the radio at work, or what the DJ plays at the bar. For many, the search ends there. But according to Album of the Year’s website, there were 786 albums released, just in January! So we could, realistically, just live off new music. I am not saying that we should, but I am saying we should be more open to the idea that new is (sometimes) good. So every month, I trawl through as much as I can bear from said new releases, and I make a short and sweet playlist of my favourites. And by short and sweet, I mean between half an hour and an hour long. (This will depend on how many releases there actually were that month). You can listen to them on your journey to work, or when you’re washing the dishes and at the end of it all you can say you gave ‘new’ a chance, and who knows? You may find something you love.*
It’s not just music that I expect to spark something inside my mind, but also films. When I heard Maximo Park’s ‘Our Velocity’, I couldn’t get over the line “I watch a film to change my feelings, strong enough to bear a burden”. If you’re the same, you’ll love our Film Club series. I’ve always had an obsessive interest in films but It all really ‘kicked in’ in 2001, when I’d had a fairly lonely summer and a rocky start to Year 8. In November, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released as a film. I’d grown up reading the books so I’m sure you can understand how this will have taken over my life at the time.
But one day, I was going on about how great the film was, when my uncle said ‘Harry Potter is rubbish, you should come and watch Lord of the Rings when it comes out’. I spent the afternoon rolling my eyes and saying to my mum that I couldn’t think of anything worse (classic INTJ, assuming every social event is going to ruin my life). My mum posed the logical argument that ‘if you haven’t seen it, how do you know it’ll be rubbish?’ and so I went. Lord of the Rings Blew. My. Mind. Never before had my eyes been so transfixed to a cinema screen. I laughed, smiled, gasped, cried and gripped the arm rest. Everything a really great film should do right? But that was just the beginning.
This obsession snowballed into studying Film Studies and Media Studies at college, and then as my major at Uclan. Since then I have worked in the broad world of ‘Media’ but my love always stays with film. So expect to see top 5 lists like Witches in Modern Film & TV, and individual reviews on films that have affected me, like Wish I Was Here.
Life & Mental Health
My time at college and uni is a strange time to look back on. I identify as an INTJ which is a Myers Briggs type (we’ll go into that later), and soaking up information is one of my favourite past times. I love learning. But, I have had depression and anxiety for a long time so learning and studying is an inconsistent skill of mine. When someone has depression, motivation, concentration and focus are incredibly hard to come by. I have phases in my life where I honestly do not see the point in anything. I become uncomfortably existential, seemingly in a way that is out of my control. During those phases, sitting in a classroom or lecture hall seemed so bizarre to me. I experienced dissociation during this time, as I felt so distant from everything that was happening around me. So when I look back at any time before today, those phases are like bubbles in my memory, surrounded by a thin layer that holds me back from experiencing it fully. That’s because I didn’t experience it fully when it actually happened.
The same can be said for my learning. The two things that carried through all of my ups and downs were music and film. So changing my course in second year at Uni to Film and Media Studies and Creative Writing, was the best decision I have ever made – for my degree and for my mental health. I suddenly found a bunch load of energy hidden away when I had to consider my dissertation topic and realised I could choose a topic I was increasingly intrigued by at the time.** So that brings us back round to the idea of learning.
One of the most important things to learn about is yourself. In the long climb back up from a pit of depression one of the things I really clung on to was Myers Briggs. I first took a Myers Briggs test at college for my Sociology course and got the result INTJ. I became obsessed with it, as it was the first form of ‘type-ing’ that actually made any sense to me. Stereotypes in general do-my-nut-in, most likely because I seem to sway between having both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits and interests, so it doesn’t make sense to me to say all women are the same and all men are the same.
I forgot about Myers Briggs for a few years until I was at Uni studying a combined honours course of Sociology, Journalism and Creative Writing. I got INTJ again. This time it stuck. Myers Briggs doesn’t take into account your gender, race or class (the three key focal points for issues in society). It instead focuses on how people perceive the world around them and make decisions. That’s it. So you can understand why someone who is depressed may want to understand how and why they perceive, judge and make decisions, the way that they do. For me, there’s a tremendous insight and strength gained from knowing your Myers Briggs type. Identifying as an INTJ allows me to give myself a lot of alone time, without feeling any guilt. When you give your brain what it needs, what it gives back will surprise you.
So there we have it, a little bit about me and what I will be writing about on this here blog! If you want to know something that I haven’t mentioned here, then please do leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer 🙂 For now, why not use the search bar to find a category you’re interested in?
* I listen to Folk, Folk Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Punk, Indie Pop, Pop Rock, Ambient, Post-Punk, Psychedelic, Singer-Songwriter, Americana, Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Alt-Country, Dream Pop, Electronic, Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative R&B (all genres as listed on Albums of the Year).
** My dissertation topic was ‘The Aesthetics of Crime Drama’