Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Musings: 21 Up New Generation

Today is Wednesday which means Blogday at Without the 'Ay' headquarters, aka my room. Today's post is going to be about something called 21 Up New Generation. I've been trying to get my head around how to write about this for exactly nine days and have come up with nada. Zilch. Naught. Diddly-squat. You get my drift. It's been a whole lot of nothingness each time I've reached towards my keyboard in an attempt to communicate my thoughts. So I'm just going to try and capture parts of what's going on in my head and hope that somehow you get it.

Here goes.


So 21 Up New Generation was on the other night. Exactly nine days ago. On BBC One. I was on it.
Not only was I on this one, but I was on the last one 7 years back. Oh and I was on the one before that. And I'm probably going to be on the next one 7 years from now. And so on. And so forth. For some reason I now have that guy from 'The King and I' in my head going "Etceteraaa Etcerteraaa". But I digress.

For some reason being a part of the show is completely natural and normal to me. What isn't normal to me is people knowing I'm on the show. Why is that so strange to me? Every time a new episode of the series airs, people that know me but don't know me always ask why I didn't tell them that I was on it before, I'm like why would I? I've been a part of this spectacular thing now for longer than I haven't. I see it as both a big deal and not a big deal at all. Every seven years a handful of people, some that I know and some that I dont, come and hang out with me for a couple of days. We joke around, we're serious, we talk about life, love, education, religion, successes, failures, expectations, disappointments, hopes dreams, realities, difficulties, and everything else that Julian can think of. And then they're gone. A year later the rest of the world/ anybody who tunes into BBC One when it airs, are provided a glimpse into those conversations and then six years later it all happens again.

But see the reason I don't wear my Up-ness on a t-shirt is because between each show, life happens. A whole lot of life happens. And while that life is happening, I don't sit around and ponder my Up-ness, I'm taking part in life. Every now and again, maybe once or twice a year i'll think about the series. I'll be walking down the street and randomly stop and marvel at the fact that there are these people that I am connected to. This makeshift, circumstantial family, with the 'Uppers' being the siblings and Mel and Julian (the producer and director respectively) being the parents. Then I continue walking down the street. And up till now, that was my experience being part of the show.

Something was different this time round though. Because this time round there was the internet. Sure, the internet was around when 14 Up aired, but not like this. It wasn't this living breathing intrinsic part of life that it is now. And that changed things for me a bit. This time round I was able to read people's reactions on Twitter. There were people who have watched all of the installments, people who are discovering the series for the first time. And I got to see it all. So it's like my experience changed from just me, the other 'Uppers' and the team that ties us all together, to us and well- the internet lol. See, logically, in previous shows I knew that people watched it, but this time it was more tangible, which made my participation in 21 Up feel more tangible as well.

 I don't know what else to say, I mean I have a whole bunch of thoughts but they're completely unintelligible, even to me. But I mean, despite being used to the Up Series. It's still a brilliant thing to be a part of. Well, it's a brilliant thing period.

So yeah, until next Blogday,

Rella x


  1. Great post! I found you tweeting about the show so have followed you... I'm obsessed with the series, both this and the original, and I'm excited to follow someone from them on twitter, it's like a nice behind-the-scenes sneak preview for 2021.

    Thought you came across really well on screen, and I love your outlook on life. It's a rare thing to be so determined, headstrong and well reasoned at 21, and you nail it.

    Up is, in mine and Roger Ebert's opinion, the most interesting and important documentary series of all time. I really hope the whole gang continue with it for the rest of their lives, though I can understand it could be stressful or pressurising or scary.

    I'm just rambling. Basically, congrats on the show and have a nice 7 years!

  2. I also watched you on the show and felt that, I really enjoyed the episode, as much as people always say such negative things about kids of the new generation. you definitely challenged the lazy stereotype normally associated with young adults. You were very articulate self aware and displayed tremendous strength of character. I also enjoyed the refreshing diversity that you brought to the show. Lastly I enjoyed your unashamed conviction of your morals and how they guide you through life. I can't wait to see what the next 7 years has in store for you!!!