Aside

Oliver! 1968

Once or twice a year I re-enter my Oliver! admiration/misery rut. It is my favourite musical of all time and one of my favourite films. There are so many reasons why so I thought I’d talk about today to try and get some of my emo Oliver! feelings out of my system.

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Stranger Things

I think it’s time I wrote a blog post about Stranger Things. I know you’ve probably seen a million but I think it’s taken the place of my favourite TV show (a space that was left empty by Doctor Who many years ago when Steven Moffat took the wheel and the writing took a nosedive).

Firstly, the concept for the show is interesting and multifaceted. We have the ongoing story of Will, the story of Eleven and her origins, Nancy and Steve, Hopper’s history and much more to keep us interested whilst also figuring out all the mysteries of the upside down. The only episode that I’ve ever felt let down by was episode season 2 episode 7 (I think a lot of people felt the same way) in which eleven went looking for her ‘sisters’ from the lab. Every single other episode has blown me away. I absolutely love the show.

The acting, particularly from the young actors/actresses in the show are outstanding. I have to give Noah Schnapp a particular mention here because his performance being possessed by the shadow monster was just incredibly for a thirteen year old. There’s not been a moment during the entire series where I’ve been left not quite believing any of the performances, they have all been authentic and compelling (at least in my opinion). Of course, Winona Ryder and David Harbour’s performances are also excellent. Not to mention Millie Bobby Brown, who we’ve just come to expect amazing performances from but shouldn’t be forgotten.

The 80’s setting of this show gives it a distinctly nostalgic vibe (even for somebody who wasn’t alive then) and somewhat leaves me longing for a time before the internet. When kids had to travel to an arcade to play games and the telephones were attached to the wall. Obviously, things aren’t simple for the characters of this show, having another dimension to cope with, but it leaves you thinking about what it must have been (or was) like before all the mad technological advances of recent years.

The music! The music is one of the defining elements of the show. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash is potentially the anthem of the show but there are so many amazing tunes to listen out for along the way.

The characters are compelling. Nancy is independent, Steve is a brilliantly complex character (probably the best character arc of the series so far), Dustin interjects some light relief whenever necessary, Hopper is probably the best policeman ever and Joyce (god love her) has some impressive, resilient vocal chords.

I think the main reason this show stands above other brilliant shows that are out at the moment is the compelling characters. Even if the upside down situation was completely resolved I would still watch the show because I just want to see what’s going on with Dustin, Eleven, Hopper, Mike and Nancy etc. If you haven’t seen the show already I highly recommend devoting your Christmas break to it, you won’t regret it!

Until next time,

J x

Blogmas?

It’s the first of December and the main word that I’ve been hearing for the past few days has been vlogmas/blogmas. It’s my first Christmas blogging and I have 2 big essays due in a few days so it doesn’t quite seem like the ideal time to be taking on something like this, however, once those essays are out of the way I actually have quite a few exciting things planned this month 🙂 So I’m going to make an effort to put at least a little Christmassy post up every day until Christmas eve!

So it’s the first of December and kind of aptly (I think) I had a dream about polar bears last night! So when I woke up today I decided to put on a documentary about polar bears which included a LOT of cute baby polar bears (if you haven’t seen one google them now they’re adorable).

I didn’t have much planned for today because of my deadlines but I did have an appointment at SK:N where I’m getting laser hair removal done. I’m currently having my underarms lasered. My main reason is because my skin doesn’t take to shaving very well, I get ingrown hairs and eczema in the area and also it pretty much just grows back by 2 days later. I’m so excited to not have underarm hair anymore! If anyone’s interested I can write a separate post on the whole process of laser hair removal.

Afterwards I headed to Tesco because I’ve had a real craving for cereal the past few days. I was pretty disappointed by the selection (no honey wheetabix minis and no clusters) so came away with tesco brand crunchy nut cornflakes. Anyway enough cereal talk.

In terms of Christmas shopping I’m actually quite prepared for this early on. I’ve already bought some of my mum’s presents, my grandma’s and my friends’ (luckily we do secret santa which makes it affordable). The only present I really have left to buy is one for my step-dad, a few bits and pieces to top off my secret santa and my mum’s presents. I’m not going to list the things I’ve bought here because someone might read it and figure out their present (hi ellie).

Another treat of today has been Taylor Swift finally releasing reputation on streaming services. I held out and didn’t buy the album because, well money, but I almost bought it yesterday morning before a train journey! Imagine if I’d done that only hours later for her to release it everywhere! I probably would’ve cried, but anyway all is well now and I’ve been listening to Delicate and Don’t Blame Me on repeat!

I don’t think I’ll have much time for festive reading this year because I have a few books I need to catch up on for my course (one of which is The Underground Railroad, definitely not festive). Also the books on my TBR shelf don’t really include any Christmassy ones 😦 but I am excited to see what everyone else in the blogging world will be reading over the holidays for future suggestions.

Well that’s been a bit of a mish mash of a post. I just thought it would be a nice way to kick off blogmas and later in the month my posts will probably get a bit better (when my essays are out of the way!)

Until next time,

J x

 

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

July Music Favourites!

Again this is slightly on the late side so sorry about that but this is a round up of what I’ve been listening to recently 🙂 I have to admit that over the past month I’ve been listening to slightly less music. I’m not really sure why that is but it might be to do with work and other commitments like trying to watch Game of Thrones right from the beginning 🙂

 

Ariana Grande – Sometimes

To be honest I’ve been listening to all the songs on Dangerous Woman. Ever since the Ariana’s massive charity concert in Manchester following the terror attack at her concert I’ve had a newfound respect for her as a person, and that seems to have affected me love of her music. She’s the queen of pop at the moment and every time she releases a single it’s a hit. Sometimes wasn’t released as a single but to me its one of the standout tracks on the album. Right from the get go with the “la la la” vocals (by an unknown person) I was interested to see where the track would go. It was something a little bit different, and more mellow, compared to the other big tracks on the album. Instead of being a cynical ballad about a failed love or a high paced hit chronicling flirtation and sexual tension, this song is unashamedly optimistic and is about a love that lasts. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to something like that 🙂

Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd

On a different note Wrong Crowd by Tom Odell is decidedly melancholic. It reflects on a turbulent childhood, failed relationship and essentially an inner turmoil that results in both a mentally and physically unhealthy lifestyle. The whistling and melody at the start of the song is what really captivated me (much like Sometimes) but Tom Odell’s effortless, understated vocals are what really carries the song and adds depth to his, already emotional, lyrics.

Twin Atlantic – No Sleep

I listened to Twin Atlantic a fair amount in July in the lead up to Belladrum Festival (which my last post is about, click here to read). They’re a Scottish rock band (with very noticeable accents) and are really pretty popular up here. I’m not sure of their success outside of Scotland but every time I’ve seen them here the venues have been packed out. No Sleep is my favourite song from their album GLA because of the roaring chorus. It feels quite epic, particularly when performed live. There is no getting away from the cringey lyric “I take pills and I drink alcohol”, I mean way to be subtle about it. Other than that though, I like this song very much.

Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger

Ever since I watched the documentary Supersonic about Oasis’ career and the… difficult relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher I’ve been listening to Oasis a lot more. This was heightened when I began following Liam on twitter, I think I followed Noel as well but let’s be real Liam’s twitter is far more entertaining. Liam’s nickname ‘Potato’ for Noel ‘because he looks like a potato’ is pretty much perfectly catered to my sense of humour and I’m trying hard not to laugh writing this. Other than making me laugh these two have created some classic hits over the years. Despite Wonderwall probably being their most referenced hit I’ve been listening to Don’t Look Back in Anger and Rock n Roll Star a lot recently. Liam’s rendition of Rock n Roll Star at Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert was the most exciting part of the evening for me and, as per usual, his percussionist skills were impeccable (tambourine AND maracas).

Niall Horan – Slow Hands – wasn’t a fan of other song

I didn’t really have high hopes for Niall Horan’s solo career, probably because he always faded into the background of One Direction somewhat (at least from my perspective). When he released his first single This Town I wasn’t blown away. I found it quite forgettable and didn’t really make much further effort to keep up with his music. Then I heard Slow Hands on the radio once and it got stuck in my head. The guitar riff is catchy and I found myself thinking I had an old rock ballad stuck in my head, only to remember it was actually little Niall. Despite thinking it was “Small Hands” for a few weeks which, in hindsight makes absolutely NO sense and is pretty hilarious, I not have the lyrics right and enjoy this easy listener.

Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times is just an AMAZING song. I couldn’t have imagined that Harry would release something like this. I firmly believe that he has the strongest career prospects of any of the One Direction leavers. Also after seeing Dunkirk for a second time last night I am massively impressed with not only his vocals and lyrics but has acting skills as well (who knew). I actually think Sign of the Times and Dunkirk have quite a few things in common. Mainly, they’re both understated and rely on the sheer quality of the content they’re based on (in Sign of the Times case, strong chorus lyrics and Harry’s vocals and in Dunkirk the raw, real story being told and the astounding direction). There’s no unnecessary eccentricities to either of these works and, in my opinion, that is the best thing about them.

London Grammar – Strong

I think I’ve spoken about London Grammar before on this blog but that’s because they are unique and brilliant. Hannah Reid’s clear vocals manage to make every song far more thought provoking and memorable than they perhaps would have been. Live, they are touching and a sight to behold. Hannah stands relatively still by her microphone throughout the performance and the boys (Dan and Dominic) do not move around much either. Their concert is a display of pure talent with no need for bells and whistles. I’ve been listening to every song on their album If You Wait but Strong (their most successful single) is the song I always find myself humming in my head and wanting to go back to the most.

I hope you enjoyed having a little peruse of what I’ve been listening to the past month. Please let me know what you’ve been enjoying as well, I’m always looking for recommendations!

Until next time,

J x

Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

Life Update – Belladrum Festival and Turning 21

The chances are, unless you’re from the Highlands of Scotland, you have no idea what Belladrum Festival is. Oh also unless you’re my cousin who travelled all the way from Cornwall for it.

The best way I can describe it is a local festival. There’s music, food, comedy, films, camping and…alcohol. When I was younger I knew Belladrum as a place where underage people go to get drunk for a few days in the summer. This year though my mum bought us tickets as the weekend fell over my 21st birthday. She spent a lot of money on tickets for the family, flights from Cornwall for my cousin and tents and shower passes for everyone. It really meant a lot to me that she organised all that for me, even if it did rain the whole weekend.

Camping in a four person tent in Scotland

Camping in Scotland in a four person tent

This was the tent situation. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the most outdoorsy person and I think after this weekend of camping my cousin Ellie and I both decided that camping isn’t really for us. We probably prefer a city break in a hotel (or more realistically a Holiday Inn Express). It was certainly an experience though!

On the first night the sun did actually come out for a while and we went and listened to some music. We saw some local bands and also some random men singing in Welsh in one of the pub/huts.

Belladrum Festival in Scotland

This was the entrance to the main venue from our camping area. I thought it looked quite cute, especially before the whole place turned to sludge.

Festival in Scotland

Some of the acts that played were Franz Ferdinand, Twin Atlantic, Sister Sledge, KT Tunstall and Birdy.

A blurry gif of local celebrities Twin Atlantic performing No Sleep No Sleep Spotify (if you do click this link be prepared for an intense scottish accent that everyone at the concert mimicked despite not actually sounding like that).

By day three the place looked less like a cute, sunny festival with fairy lights everywhere and more like… well this

Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

This was me on my way back from the portaloo toilets one morning. Trying to get up a hill that’s essentially a mud slide has its challenges.

After sharing a box of wine with Ellie, followed by not nearly enough food and some straight vodka just before I turned 21 it’s safe to say the following morning wasn’t much fun for me.

I tried and failed to keep a bacon roll down and wanted a proper bed more than I can even express.

To anyone who has never been to a festival in Scotland (I’m assuming most of you) here’s a little taster of what you can expect:

Mel Gibson, Braveheart at Belladrum Festival Scotland

Obviously that’s a bit of a joke but it is a legit picture from the festival.

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently, I’m currently off (having taken flexi time off work) recovering from the experience and I have a new found appreciation for my bed (as if I could love bed anymore).

Until next time,

J x

TRNSMT Festival

Hey! So in my last post I mentioned that I’d been to a festival recently. I was in Glasgow from the 7th-9th of July for TRNSMT festival with some of my friends! It was really exciting and we all had an amazing time so I thought I’d do a post about it talking about some of my highlights!

We arrived by bus on the first day and rushed back to my friends flat to get ready. When we finally set off for the festival which was at Glasgow Green we were all feeling quite tipsy. We arrived in time for an amazing performance by London Grammar. I think they were probably one of my favourite acts of the weekend. Hannah Reid’s voice is just amazing.

London Grammar amazing performance at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
So here’s a very far away picture of London Grammar if anybody is interested.

Later on that evening we saw the headline act for that day which was only RADIOHEAD! I was so excited to see them and their performance didn’t disappoint. They played a range of songs from their many many albums including 15 Step and Daydreaming (two of my favourites). They didn’t play Creep though which a lot of people seemed pissed about.

Radiohead vibrant and energetic set at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
The following day, I’ll admit, I was slightly hungover. Not too hungover to get up and start drinking again by 11am (feel a bit sick thinking about that). Day 2 was by FAR my favourite day. The weather was amazing and to me it had the best line up! We arrived at the park in time for Stormzy’s performance, which we had all been looking forward to. We managed to get right down the front for it and there were a few mosh pits so the energy was insane. Stormzy had great stage presence and just seemed genuinely thrilled to be there which always makes a performance 10x better.

Young people dancing and celebrating in the crowds at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Young people chanting and enjoying music at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Stormzy lively performance at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Saturday was just jam packed full of amazing acts and the next one we saw was The Kooks. I’ve loved The Kooks since I was a child but I never thought I’d see them live so this was a real treat. They played all the hits and one of my personal favourites Seaside. There was just good vibes al round when they were on stage, it was nostalgic in the best way.

After The Kooks George Ezra was on and as much as I like some of George Ezra’s songs we were all ravenous by this point so we made our way to the nearest burger van and got some food. I swear to god that burger I had was the best burger ever, the fact that I’d been drinking since morning definitely had nothing to do with it. A burger, cheesy chips and a pint of cider seemed like the perfect meal for that day…healthy too…

Later on one of my favourite bands ever Catfish and the Bottlemen came on stage. People were throwing blow up crocodiles around and it seemed like everybody there knew all the lyrics. It was amazing, every time they started playing the next song i was excited about what it was going to be! Unfortunately the BBC highlights show didn’t capture this, I tried to watch it when I got home and it cut out halfway through one of their songs? Rude.

Kasabian were the headliners for Saturday night and the whole crowd went mental. It was the perfect end to the night and Sergio Pizzorno was jumping off and on the stage and running along the front of the crowd, everyone loved it. If their hit songs weren’t enough to have the crowd going their stage presence definitely was.

blue smoke flares at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
On the final day it rained all day so it was out with the clear poncho things.

young people preparing for the rain with waterproof ponchos for TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
We all still had an amazing day though and because it was the last day everyone just went for it (and by that I mean drank way too much). It was my friend’s 21st birthday so we were all over excited.

We joked that Sunday was Scottish day because the headliners were Biffy Clyro and other acts included Twin Atlantic and Lewis Capaldi. The 1975 were a highlight for me that day, however, having never seen them live before I was kind of surprised by their image, I was expecting them to look more like a pop band than they did. We also enjoyed seeing Two Door Cinema Club and spent a bit of time at the Smirnoff House to listen to something a bit different.

There are a host of terrible pictures I could show you of everybody drenched and clutching bottles of echo falls but to preserve the dignity of myself and my friends I won’t. So here’s a nice one from before we went out instead.

young people at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
The drinks were expensive, the weather was unpredictable but the atmosphere was brilliant. That’s all I’d expect from a festival in Scotland!

Until next time,

J x