Ever since I was little I have been completely obsessed with Billy Elliot. I don’t know exactly how old I was when my obsession started but I reckon I must have been around 10 or 11 as it was when the musical very first hit the west end and they were doing promotions for it. I do however remember exactly what started it; I was watching the TV and they were doing various promotional items for it at the time, the one that I remember watching was Liam Mower dancing to electricity and I was in awe. From that moment I was hooked. At one point I wanted to be Billy Elliot, until I realised I was about as graceful as an elephant with four left feet, and then that dream ended pretty quickly. Eventually I saw the film, which was good, but I still wanted to see the musical. About a year or two ago they streamed the musical from the theatre to the cinema and I jumped at the chance to go see it. It was amazing and as soon as they released the streaming on DVD I bought that as well, however it was still a dream of mine to go see it live, however at the moment I knew I couldn’t afford to go down to London to see it at the West End. However this year was my lucky year, the show was going on tour and was stopping in my home time a little while before my 21st birthday, so with a little sweet talking to my mother I got two tickets to go see it as my 21st birthday present.
The show was amazing. It was so much better actually seeing it live on stage, there’s just something about being in the theatre that is amazing and magical. It’s incredible just how talented and hard working the performers in the play are, some of them are so young and yet they’re on the stage for the entire show for several performances a week. I used my second ticket to take my girlfriend with me and she’d seen it before as a 16 year old on a school trip to London from America with next to no knowledge of the background to the show. This time she was seeing it after spending almost a year living in the North East of England and with a much greater knowledge of the social and political issues underpinning the musical. For her the second time watching it was a much more moving and emotional experience and honestly seeing it live in the theatre made it so much more moving for me as well.
The week after going to see Billy Elliot I went to the summer ball at my university and it was pretty damn amazing. I was very definitely excited especially because I got to take my girlfriend, who looked absolutely stunning, to a formal event before she went back to America. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had great fun, I mean who doesn’t love a night with alcohol, good food, and even better friends, but what made it even better was that I could dress how I wanted and just be myself with no pressure or judgement form those who were there. I got to wear a suit with a bow tie and braces, which was great.
I can’t lie, and I’m sure any of my friends will tell you, I truly love any opportunity to wear a bow tie and braces with a good shirt. I’m not sure what exactly it is about such an outfit but it makes me happy, it makes me feel confident and comfortable in a way that’s kind of hard to describe. The first time I ever dressed like that was a slightly different story, I was slightly nervous and had to skype one of my friends to check that I looked okay. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to wear it, in fact I’d wanted to dress like that for years, and I was just worried about other people’s reactions. When I was a bit younger I had actually avoided dressing like that in case people thought I was gay (A. dressing a certain way does not determine your sexuality, and B. internalised homophobia is a bitch). Now however I love it, I rock the braces/bow tie combo with pride and I feel more comfortable with myself than ever before. One thing I’ve learnt is that you should dress how you want to and to make yourself happy, rather than to try fit in or to impress others.