The Addams Family Musical

I am currently lying in my bed, trying not to feel guilty about it because it’s Sunday, still suffering from Friday night when I went to see The Addams Family Musical (followed by a big night out) as my birthday present from one of my friends.

Since then I have been hungover singing the songs, thinking about the performance and what it must be like to perform in a professional touring show like that.

The opening number of the show “The Addams Family Theme” was an amazing number and the choreography was awesome. I immediately thought that the casting of Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia was spot on. I’ve linked to a video of the opening number with the current cast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jum02Ku4ylU

I loved the story that was chosen for this musical, Wednesday’s sort of coming of age story which I don’t think has really been told before. Songs like “Crazier Than You” and “Pulled” are absolute classics and Carrie Fletcher’s (who played Wednesday and who I’ve watched on youtube since about 2012) voice was so strong and clear. It was amazing to be sat in the audience watching.

Going to see things at the theatre is not something I do often. I went to see Wicked in London a couple of years ago and going to see The Addams Family in Glasgow is the only thing I’ve seen since, however, I’ve decided I definitely want to go to more shows like this. The rush it gave me was amazing. I spend a fair bit of money on going to music concerts and the feeling I had when leaving the show on Friday night was the same feeling I have when I leave a particularly good concert (such as Lorde who I saw recently, but that’s for another time).

Actually seeing this show live took me back to when I used to take drama classes. I tried to imagine what it must be like to have thousands watching you every single night. I can’t even imagine the nerves of standing in the wings waiting to begin a show, I’m not sure if I could cope with that. I did a few shows with my drama group but only to an audience of friends and family. I remember one time I had a costume change where I had to put a shirt on and button it up in the space of like one minute and I didn’t quite get it done so you could still see my red t-shirt underneath when I went on stage. I don’t think anyone really noticed or cared but it was enough to nearly send me into full on panic. I also remember one time I was doing a short performance from a section of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with a few other young girls and we got on stage, the lights went up and one of the girls (who was to start the whole piece off) muttered under her breath “I can’t remember my lines”. Luckily after a few seconds of sheer panic she remembered them and began, but what if that were to happen on stage at an actual theatre?! Obviously these actors/actresses are professionals and have done it hundreds of times but there’s nothing preventing somebody from just having a mind blank one day.

Anyway enough of my rambling because none of that happened, the show went flawlessly and I left feeling exhilarated and wishing I could go again the next night (until I woke up with my hangover).

Until next time,

J x

Film Review: Dunkirk

A couple of weeks ago, after my 21st birthday, my cousin Ellie and I decided to get our asses out of our beds for once and go to the cinema. We’d both been dying to see Dunkirk because we’re both quite interested in history and I love going to see films. I had high expectations for this film which, to be honest, often leads to disappointment.

I am in awe of this film. From the moment Fionn Whitehead came onto the screen walking around the city of Dunkirk, looking in abandoned shop windows and drinking water from a hose pipe, I was on edge. There was a sense of foreboding. Next thing I know gun shots are going off, very very loud gunshots. I think one of my favourite things about the film was the level of noise. It was almost like they’d amped the volume up to increase the realism and shock factor.

Dunkirk

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When the planes flew overhead, about to drop bombs, and there was literally nothing the soldiers could do and nowhere to hide so they all just fell to the floor and hoped for the best. It really made me think about what is must’ve been like to be there. It must have been terrifying. I can’t imagine anything scarier than that moment when you hear the plane coming and realise your life could be over within a minute if you’re in an unlucky spot. The British and French were cornered into a tiny space by the German army and that area was being routinely bombed.

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Christopher Nolan’s direction was really the thing that made the film for me. His clever use of chronology in order to tell three stories within one 2 hour film was incredible (and slightly reminiscent of one of his other films Inception). He also managed to convey some of the difficulty the pilots faced, trying to tackle the enemy from the air, by filming from their perspective. It was clever, loud and apparently mostly filmed on location (and that means that poor Harry Styles probably really was suffering in the picture below). I don’t think anybody else could’ve done a better job.

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Speaking of Harry Styles, casting him was a massive risk for Nolan to take. It could’ve completely taken the focus away from the massive historical point of the film. Also, if done badly, it could’ve made a bit of a mockery of the whole film. I was VERY pleasantly surprised though. Styles seemed to take the role really seriously and actually pulled it off very well. He wasn’t a scene stealer, but I think for the first feature film role of his career post One Direction that’s the way it should’ve been. The only moment I found a little bit comical (for the wrong reasons) was when he was accusing Gibson of being a German spy and said something along the lines of “he’ll have an accent thicker than sauerkraut sauce”. To be fair to the guy though, that’s just not a very good line.

At points the plight of the characters felt entirely hopeless, as I’m sure things must have felt for the soldiers at the time. Despite minimal dialogue (another choice that worked brilliantly and built tension) I became very attached to most of the characters. When they boarded another boat hoping to finally get home only to be bombed again it was incredibly distressing. Sometimes, however, the film was heart warming. Mainly in Mark Rylance’s scenes where his character Dawson showed the real courage of civilians who headed straight into a war zone to try and save their men. At the end of the film, when Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead are on the train and begin to read Churchill’s famous “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech while locals run alongside the train passing them cider through the window to welcome them home, It was just so uplifting and I found it quite emotional.

When I came out of this film I was pretty much speechless and it’s been on my mind since. I’ve seen it once again and would probably go see it again given the chance (and if it didn’t cost like £9 at my local cinema). Although I think it’s a little early to say, I feel like this may be one of my all time favourite films.

I would give this film 5/5 stars. I hope you all get a chance to see it.

 

Until next time,

J x

 

Film Review: The Shawshank Redemption

Spoilers ahead.

I struggle to know where to begin when trying to write a review of this film. The 1994 Frank Darabont film has gone down in history as a classic, despite initially not making as much money as some other films of the same year (Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump etc). This film is now wildly popular and I can COMPLETELY see why, it’s one of my favourites.

I love this film for so many reasons, one of which being my slightly strange morbid curiosity about prisons. It’s directed effectively, the narrative is strong and progresses the plot nicely, the casting is brilliant and, let’s not forget, the film is based on an incredible and gripping story by Stephen King.

I’ll start by saying if you have not seen this film and are interested in movies or the history of film at all GO WATCH THIS NOW (it’s on Netflix so you have no excuse). Seriously, I wish I’d seen it sooner. I feel like it’s the kind of film I could put right back to the start as soon as the credits start rolling and watch all over again.

Frank Darabont’s direction is excellent, he really captures what the microcosmic society of a prison is like and what day to day life can be like for inmates with different positions within the system. Not only this but Darabont forces viewers to empathise with protagonist Andy Dufresne in his most harrowing moments, whether they want to or not. An example of this is the tunnel scene towards the end of the film.

Andy Dufresne crawling through the sewers in The Shawshank Redemption

The camera is positioned inside of the tunnel opposite Dufresne. This really emphasizes the claustrophobia, desperation and panic of the situation and, personally, made me feel super on edge!

Another triumph of this film is the casting of Morgan Freeman as ‘Red’. Red narrates the film allowing the plot to progress just at the right speed. The fact that the story is told from a perspective other than Dufresne himself is effective in many ways but most of all because it protects the climax of the film which is, consequently, pretty shocking and exhilarating to watch as a viewer. Obviously, a large portion of credit for this goes to Stephen King, but Morgan Freeman’s performance achieves, in my opinion, a very difficult thing. It manages to be down to earth yet poignant and affecting at the same time. I can’t imagine anybody else being able to strike this balance so well.

I’ve heard people argue over whether the final scene of the film needed to be included or not. Whether is was effective or unnecessary. For me personally I found that final scene incredibly gratifying, and if it wasn’t shown I would definitely feel like I was missing out. So it’s just another positive really!

For me what elevates this film above the norm is its nuance. It hits the mark for me emotionally at every turn. It’s heart warming and devastating and awe inspiring all at once and isn’t that really what films are all about? Plus there’s just nothing like a great story of friendship 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this little review!

Until next time,

J x

 

My Dilemma about the 2017 General Election

As voting day is pretty much upon us now I thought I’d write a little post about my dilemma/frustration about this particular election.

Firstly, I’d like to quickly mention that the featured image for this post (also below) was conceived and expertly drawn by a friend from my hometown – Calum A.B. McMillan. He’s been drawing for years and I particularly like this political piece. I know some very talented people 🙂

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For me this election has been the one with the most urgency and also the one that (from my experience) my generation has been the most involved in yet. Everywhere I turn people are being urged to vote and take part in political discussions (which is great!) and I’ve personally done more research in the run up to this election than any other.

There is one thing, however, that greatly disheartens me and leads me to believe that all of this research and discussion will ultimately be useless. In my opinion, and particularly in the past few years, there is no point in voting for anyone other than the SNP in Scotland. Every other party is so dramatically behind the SNP in all of the polls and also in previous elections. If you’re passionate about Labour regaining power or the policies of the Liberal Democrats you have to make the decision between voting for the party whose policies you’re passionate about and, therefore, essentially wasting your vote or going with the masses and voting SNP.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually agree with the majority of the SNP’s policies. I read most of them through the other day. I particularly agree with their proposition to halt UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia immediately, BUT I think that their rhetoric is often preoccupied with referendum talks. I would, personally, be far more impressed with them if they focused on politics first and foremost whilst making plans for a second independence referendum on the back burner.

By voting SNP Scottish people are clearly expressing their wish to have people who are primarily concerned with Scottish issues in the House of Commons. I don’t disagree with that, but it does remove a massive chunk of what used to be, majoritively, a Labour stronghold (worth noting that SNP oppositions do seem to be changing a little). What does this do? It increases the likelihood of the Conservatives achieving a majority. We have had a Conservative government for roughly seven years now and, personally, I look forward to the day they fall from power. Unfortunately, despite the abomination that has been Theresa May’s campaign, that doesn’t look to be any time soon and I feel relatively powerless to stop it.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here because I think it should be mentioned, the massive success of the SNP in Scotland does also block the Conservatives from gaining many seats in Scotland, so in that interpretation it makes the possibility of the Tories winning a majority a bit less likely.

To be honest, I’m confused, and it has taken me a long while to decide who I want to vote for. My main point is that in Scotland it is relatively certain that the SNP will win most seats. My advice to anyone in England who wants to see the Tories out is to put their personal views with regards to which specific progressive party they prefer to one side and vote for the Tories’ main, progressive opposition. Blocking them from seats is the only way to deny them a majority. Basically, everyone needs to USE THEIR VOTE!

This was more thoughtful than usual and I’m aware that this post could open me up to some criticism. So I’ll end by saying I completely respect everyone’s individual views, these are just my own. I’m not in any way trying to tell anybody who to vote for. Just stating what will probably be the most effective choice for those who are similarly minded to me!

Also if any of my politics is like straight up incorrect please let me know as I’m no expert but trying to learn!

Until next time,

J x

this road is red alison irvine review

Books about Glasgow: Past and Present

The title of this post is probably a slight misrepresentation of what I’m going to talk about today. I’ve recently read 2 different, unrelated books about/set in Glasgow. One was written in 1992, Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (Click here!), and one in 2011, This Road is Red by Alison Irvine (Click here!). So when I say “past and present” I really mean “not really written that far apart in the grand scheme of things” but let’s just brush over that.

Poor Things – Alasdair Gray

poor things alasdair gray review

I recently read Poor Things for one of my English courses and then wrote on it in my exam (let’s not ponder that too much). Despite it having been published in 1992 the bulk of the book is set around the late 19th – early 20th century. It is the memoirs of Archibald McCandless and his experience with an old friend and his wife Bella Baxter. Without spoiling too much he describes how his friend and physician (Godwin, cleverly named I imagine) found a pregnant woman after a suicide attempt and salvaged her body and the brain of the fetus and created, essentially, a new human being from the two. Archibald then met and fell in love with this woman, Bella, despite her having the mind of a child. After McCandless finishes telling his story and we find, has died, Bella is left with the manuscript and adds her version of events on to the end.

The book won both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1992 and has been acclaimed for its intertextuality (frequently compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and full of Gothicism). Personally, I found it an engaging read and whether you’re from Glasgow or not I would recommend it. If you are from Glasgow though, you’ll recognise many of the landmarks referenced throughout the book, such as Park Circus and Charing Cross.

This Road is Red – Alison Irvine

this road is red alison irvine review

This book, in my mind, is decidedly more modern than Poor Things. It is set from the 1960’s to the late 2000’s, the majority of the lifespan of Glasgow’s Red Road flats. The flats garnered a lot of attention over the years, being the highest residential blocks in Europe when they went up and becoming an infamous slum in their later years. It’s no surprise that now, after they’ve been demolished, they remain culturally and historically significant.

I enjoyed this book so much. It contains so many different, interwoven, stories (almost in the style of Love Actually). Each of the stories is full, well rounded and interesting which makes each chapter of the book refreshing and exciting to read. Again I’d recommend this book wherever you are from. Simply as a work of fiction I rate it quite highly, but knowing that it is grounded in reality makes it all the more captivating. The book was also shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year award at the Saltire Society Awards in 2011.

I hope you enjoyed this little book post 🙂 if you’ve read either of these books or have any other suggestions please comment below!

Until next time,

J x

The Blue Sky Tag

Unfortunately finding a blue sky can be quite hard in Scotland but I looked back through my pictures and found this one from the other day. There’s a bit of blue sky!

I was recently tagged by Mew (click here to visit her blog!) to do the Blue Sky Tag. After reading her post I was excited to answer the questions she set so thanks for tagging me Mew!

THE RULES

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Answer their 11 questions
3. Tag 11 people
4. Give them 11 questions to answer

What inspired you to start blogging?

I have started a few blogs in the past but for the most part I either didn’t take them seriously or they just documented my day to day life which, sorry to break it to you past self, no one really cared about. Recently, however, a few of my friends started up blogs so I decided if they could do it why couldn’t I? So here I am.

What are your top 3 favourite songs right now? 

Frank Ocean – Chanel Listen here!

Lorde – Green Light Listen here!

My Chemical Romance – Dead! (throwback) Listen here!

What is your favourite go to outfit? 

My favourite go to outfit, the one I wear when I can’t be bothered thinking through an outfit and just want to be comfortable, would be my black Y Rise Ivy Park Leggings (Topshop, £40). A vest top and my oversized checked shirt which was also from Topshop but a few years ago now. Unfortunately I don’t have a full picture of the outfit, but it is super casual!

What is the last thing you bought?

I recently bought a pair of Chelsea boots for £20 (Link here) and a pair of dungarees for £25 (Link here) from Boohoo.

casual dungrees outfit

Sorry you can’t see the boots very well!

If you had to dye your hair a crazy colour for the rest of your life what would that be?

I’ve thought about this before and if I had to dye my hair an out there colour I would dye it blue/black. Something along the lines of what Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix had a few years ago!

Do you have a favourite fashion designer, illustrator or artist?

Sadly I am not as into art as I would like to be. I like classic Chanel pieces although I could NEVER afford them. In terms of illustrations I was always a big fan of Beatrix Potter’s illustrations (particularly Peter Rabbit). I like some of Banksy’s work and one of my favourite art pieces is Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

What is your dream job?

At this point I’m not entirely sure but I know I want it to be something to do with writing. Whether that will be journalism or more creative writing I’m not sure at this point. I absolutely love blogging too but it is, of course, just a hobby.

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… Which season is your favourite? 

I feel like every time I new season comes along I love that season the most but if I had to pick a favourite it would definitely be autumn. Some of the most beautiful colours appear in autumn and usually the weather is still relatively warm and the evenings quite long. I love everything about autumn, and it’s the season of halloween!

Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?

Unfortunately no, but maybe some day I will come around to it!

Who is your favourite youtuber right now? 

Of the moment, Emma Blackery. I never used to watch her videos but I’ve just found myself clicking on a lot of them recently. I find that she makes videos about topics I’m really interested in at the moment.

Of all time, danisnotonfire. I have nothing more to say.

Have you been good to yourself this week? What did you do to treat yourself? 

I was on a weekend break to Yorkshire earlier this week with my cousin. We ate nice food and drank way too much (whether that’s me being good to myself or bad to myself is up to you).

There you have it! If you read this and would like to do the tag yourself please feel free to!

My eleven questions are:

  1. What are you reading at the moment?
  2. What are some blogs you’re loving at the moment?
  3. What is your favourite place you’ve ever visited?
  4. Do you like spicy food?
  5. What is your favourite album of the moment?
  6. Rate the Harambe meme of 2016 out of ten. Quality meme? Or a shit stain on the face of the internet?
  7. Where would you like to live one day?
  8. Could you recommend us a book?
  9. Subbed or dubbed?
  10. What’s your favourite meal?
  11. What’s your favourite type of weather?

I am going to tag:

Alt-G

IWantToBeAPaperBackWriter

LifeWithLilRed

AHandfulOfPassion

HannaAnanas

JessicaJadeBeauty

Notoriouslaylow

PainfullyFictional

BookDustMagic

WanderLustingDaisy

ImaginaryLea

Thank you for reading and please comment below if you like/want to do this tag.

Until next time,

J x

Found poetry in a classy Glasgow club toilet

I was just looking through all the pictures on my phone deleting all the screenshots and old, irrelevant crap when I came across a couple of pictures that caught my attention.

This post has no other point than to make you laugh (if you have a similar sense of humour to me).

I was pretty intoxicated when I took these pictures in a club called Flat 01 in Glasgow but I’m really glad I did!

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1

You know, I don’t really have much to say other than, to whoever wrote this, I like your message guys it’s a good one but I think you may have picked the wrong audience. Chances are most of the people reading it are off for a massive fuck off McDonalds at the end of the night. Not me. Genuinely.

I had a Subway instead.

Well that’s all I have to say this time, sorry it wasn’t very philosophical or intelligent in any way but I’m studying for exams at the moment (well really procrastination and sorting through all my old pictures) and can’t think of any elaborate ideas.

Until next time,

J x

P.s.

Have a good one Lozza

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1