Charlie’s Angels, they ain’t that Independent.

“Question; tell me how you feel about this

Try to control me boy, you get dismissed

Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills

Always 50/50 in relationships”

 

I am fairly sure the first time I ever watched the film Charlie’s Angels I was 9 or 10 years old. At the time I thought these women were kick-ass, modern and women I could aspire to be! They “Don’t need no men!”. Now at the age of 24 I can see this ain’t no feminist film! The 3 ladies are controlled by Charlie and will do whatever he says, even if it is putting themselves in danger. Did I mention this is a man they have never met?

Now lets put Charlie’s Angels to the side….. I am in my early 20’s, I have moved out of my parents’ home, I work and am trying to move up the career ladder. I am also single. I don’t desire the life of marriage and children. Now, I believe film and television characters should be people you can relate to. So do tell me, after the list I have made, who I can relate to? After seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I had a conversation with a co-worker about loving the film and the main thing I enjoyed was that it had a strong female lead, the character Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones. His response was “You shouldn’t have to say that! It should just be a good female character”. My point is that we have to continue to use the phrase “Strong female lead” until it is the norm and more mainstream films create these kick-ass independent characters. Of course, Star Wars has a history of creating this type of character, the late Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia and Daisy Ridley who plays Rey.

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Something I have noticed recently is period dramas have stronger and more relatable female characters. My all time favourite period drama, Downton Abbey, tries to modernise the younger female characters. My favourite is none other than Lady Sybil. She is well educated and incredibly political and wants to be part of the Suffragette movement, and wants to work as a nurse during the war. Even Lady Mary, who at the start is very much dependent on her farther and then husband, fights to be in control of the house while making her own choices. Another period drama who has a strong female lead was ITV drama Victoria. Yes this is factual based but you see the importance of her wanting to learn and do things her way. So why is it a period drama and a film based in the future have the most relatable female characters?

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The television series Sex and the City claims to be somewhat feminist. Using men in ways women had been used in shows for years. But no, it is not feminist whatsoever! They come across as needy and desperate.

Perhaps it is because I am in my early 20s that I need strong female role models as lead characters, and maybe not even in just ‘lead’ roles. Perhaps there are more out there and I’m just not aware of them.

But come on, it is 2017 and it is about time that female characters weren’t all just sitting at home looking after the kids and waiting for their husbands to come home.

Rant over!

 

They don’t make em like they used to?

We all do it…… we sit and watch an old time Hollywood classic film and mutter to ourselves as the big ‘over the top’ music kicks in and the credits begin to roll “they don’t make them like they used to.” One film kicks this notion into touch with its pure nostalgia, passion and referencing to a byegone era. And that my friends is Lala Land.

In a nutshell the film is set in the present day and follows an aspiring Jazz musician and an actress who meet, fall in love in LA and are doing the tough adult thing of following their dreams. The lesson of the film being FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, even if this means letting Ryan Gosling go!! The film is over-the-top, ridiculous at times but magical. It heavily references films like Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, An American in Paris and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The whole last sequence is basically Broadway Melody from Singing in the rain. As someone who grew up watching all of those it was rather epic to watch a modern film given the same treatment. I would never have imagined watching an ‘old school’ tap scene only to be interrupted by an I-Phone ring-tone. Both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters dress in what I would describe as 1940’s-50’s style clothing. Due to the sets, clothing and music you begin to forget that you are watching a film set in modern day, but then you see a Toyota Prius and remember just what year it is. As I said it is pure nostalgia. It’s funny, powerful and emotional. The ending? The emotional audition scene? Have your tissues ready for these scenes.

Now for a bit more of the nitty gritty stuff. Now I can sort of see why people questioned the choice of Emma Stone. True she doesn’t have the strongest Beyoncé-type singing voice, or the typical looks of Audrey Hepburn. Yes, the majority of us see her as more of a comedy actor. But man that girl did good! I personally think it worked and she was a fabulous choice. I like that she is an unusual beauty, funny and quirky and I felt like I was watching a friend and someone I could relate too. Yes I too have had to let go of Ryan Gosling. I would say that if you are not a fan of a reprise song then you are not going to like it. Yes, the piano melody and City of Stars song do get repeated a fair bit and I felt it worked as it goes with character realization, memory and character growth. But yes, I can see that is something that people may get annoyed with. However, how can you even fault or challenge the Cinematography? It just stands out! I can’t even put into words how amazing it is. I really believe that this is the first film I have seen in a very long time that I cannot actually fault. How can you question 14 Oscar nominations?

For me Lala Land was exactly what I needed. I escaped for two hours and was taken to a ridiculously over-the-top, over-indulgent and nostalgic world. It really was LalaLand…….

 

Soaps?

I used to be a religious Soap watcher. I believe I started watching Eastenders when I was 8 or 9. It was around the time of the “Who shot Phil?” storyline. More importantly it was around the time Little Mo was being beaten by her husband and then later on raped by him. I don’t really remember if I properly understood what was happening but I was aware that it was something bad and it shouldn’t be happening.

I would say I stopped watching Soaps about a year ago. It was mostly to do with not having time and it was just the same old thing…. Now what I want to address in this post is the more serious subjects which Soaps so often feature. I understand why Soaps so often bring up sexual, physical and mental abuse storylines in order to raise awareness and make more people come forward. My argument is because these storylines are broadcast so regularly, have we become immune to their impact?

As Soap watchers we have a sense of predicting things and seeing signs and yelling at the TV “Why don’t you just leave him/her?” It becomes a form of entertainment rather than a sense of reality, which means we are now less affected by what we are witnessing. The more we see it the more savy we become about the subject and it becomes the norm. We no longer experience the shock factor!

My question is, without the “shock factor” is it affecting us in the way it should?

Another note to make, we so often hear that Violence is encouraged from the gaming industry. The more they play the more it becomes normal. Is this not the same case for Soaps?

The point of this post is that maybe it is time for Soaps to step aside and abandon these subjects. I do believe these subjects need to be dealt with so that more men and women who are affected come forward. However, will this happen if the behaviour becomes normalised?

In other new Trump is now the US President so I guess sexual, physical and mental abuse used in Soaps is the least of our worries.

 

Good luck World.

Iris

I recently watched a 2015 documentary called Iris.  This is all about Iris Apfel, a 95 year old Businesswoman, Interior Designer and Fashion Icon. The documentary itself is fairly simple, nothing fancy or over the top, no dramatic music.  Simply a mix of action shots and interviews. Upon watching it you completely understand why it doesn’t need to be overly dramatic.  The woman herself is so special and unique that her character takes over the screen, fills it with crazy furniture, her wonderful clothes and her beautiful personality.

She truly is an inspiration, not just for her fashion sense but because she does not make concessions about her age.  It’s all about her hard work ethic, the fact that her age hasn’t stopped her and she still keeps going. Another thing that occurred to  me was her honesty about not wanting or having children. She breaks every boundary and stereotype that a women has to confront.   And she does it while looking amazing.

If I ever talk about fashion it tends to be that I saw someone wearing something  in her latest Youtube video, or on her Instagram, or I saw a picture in a magazine. It was while watching Iris I began to think about 4 women in particular who have actually shaped and inspired the way I dress, and when I say dress I am mainly referring to jewellery.

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My Grandma had a massive thing about wearing big clip on earrings because she was forever paranoid that she had big ears and wanted to hide them. She would wear the most beautiful earrings. I particularly remember a bright orange and black beaded pair. She always wore the most beautiful pearl necklace and earrings, and I guess seeing as her name was Pearl it was only fitting.

Earrings weren’t just my Grandma’s thing. For as long as I can remember my Mum has always rocked long and brightly coloured earrings. I even remember on one occasion I was going shopping with her and she realised she had none on.  We had to quickly rush to a shop and buy some. Maybe I don’t agree with some of the things she wears but I will say one thing, the woman has a killer earring collection.

My Aunty passed away when I was fairly young and I have very few memories of her. One thing I do remember is the beautiful clothes and necklaces she would wear and how elegant she would always look. One thing I will always remember is being at her’s and my Uncle’s house and going upstairs to where use the bathroom.  I walked into their bedroom to play with the necklaces she would hang on her wardrobe door.  I began to hear footsteps and put them back.  It was my aunty and she came into the room and put the necklaces on me. They made me feel so special and beautiful. And as lame as that sounds, dressing up can give us that power.

The last person I want to discuss is my older cousin Aliza. Any dress phase she has had I have always somehow copied. I was always in awe when I was younger about how much she would experiment with what she wore, rocking alphabet tights with a brightly coloured top. She has always worn what she wanted and how she wants to wear it.

I like to think how all 4 women have reflected and inspired the things I wear. Yes, fashion isn’t the be all or end all, but watching Iris just made me remember how personal it is and how it’s yours and no one else’s.

The Hills are Alive…..

It’s been a while since I have blogged and while I was on a 2 week holiday in Austria I was blown away by its beauty and it inspired me to write about one thing in particular. I have mentioned previously on this blog my love for musicals and one of my all time favourites is The Sound of Music. When my brother told me a year ago he was planning a trip to Austria I jumped at the chance of going! This was my dream come true!

Upon arriving in Austria the first thing I played on my phone was the Sound of Music soundtrack. Actually seeing the mountains I had only ever seen in the film, with the music playing, was possibly one of my greatest “Pinch me I am really here” moments. Every hill I came across I instantly ran up, spinning and enjoying every second! As well as every time someone left a room I began singing “Farewell”. A highlight was after a little sibling argument and me sulking in the back of a mini bus, while my brother was driving, he did the nest thing ever, he played climb every mountain. Best apology ever! Even if I hadn’t visited Salzburg the landscape and country of Austria were enough to keep me satisfied and play out the movie!

I often laugh a little inside when I see tourists in London going to various places in and acting out a film, or being in awe of platform 9 ¾. It’s something I see on a regular basis and is just there.   I don’t think about it. When arriving in Salzburg I guess I finally understood how those tourists felt. We visited various locations, and without saying the word, magical too much, that is exactly what it was.   MAGICAL. I even had to be dragged away from following a few nuns in the city centre.

I realise this isn’t my usual type of post but it’s got something to do with a film and I just wanted to share. I seriously recommend going, after all how many times in this life do you get to run up a hill in Austria and pretend you’re Julie Andrews?

 

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February Favourites

I introduce you to the monthly favourites blog post inspired by the many Youtubers I follow and love. It will have 4 sections to it, Television or Film, Album, YouTube and Podcast.

Television or Film: So I really haven’t watched that much, but something that did stand out was a documentary Jim Chapman did for BBC 3 on the subject of  YouTubers. I find it interesting how the world is changing and how YouTube content is the next big thing, as well as the people who create it! I have a massive respect for them as the majority are self taught, learning about filming and editing which can be very difficult.  Even though the documentary didn’t touch on this, it was interesting how people’s careers have started and even learning about the darker side. It was well constructed and made for easy and interesting watching.

Album: Since November I have been listening to Adele’s 25 on a loop. I can’t say there is a single song on it that I dislike. Being a similar age to her I always find myself relating to her music, which is why it is always so special when she comes out with such amazing music.

YouTube: I am obsessed with James Corden’s late late night show uploads. Especially the Carpools, which without fail always make me laugh.  I have to say the Adele and Coldplay ones have got to be the top 2. If you have not already watched these I highly recommend them.

Podcast: I would never really call myself a feminist and while I do believe in equal rights and always have respect for women of the past and what they have done for us, I would never feel the need myself to debate the subject. I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting when I downloaded Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast. However I was seriously impressed and engaged and found myself amazed by all these women’s stories and how personal it all was. It’s also not too intense and I came out learning all about different types of women. It’s seriously worth a listen.

Look up here I’m in Heaven

Watching Lady Gaga’s performance at the Grammy’s reminded me how many people have been inspired by David Bowie. A leader in individuality, passion and expression. It felt right that a month after his death I should write this post about him.

January 10th was the day we sadly lost David Bowie. On hearing the news before going to work, it didn’t occur to me to write a post about the great man who had passed. I walked into the kitchen where a group of 20-something year old runners were listening to the music of David Bowie. I went to various editor’s rooms and either his music or news on the event was playing. Various social media platforms were filled with their respect and love. I guess the one thing that stood out the most was camping that weekend with grumpy young teenagers, and while arguing about what music to play, one said ‘well David Bowie’. Not a single one of them disagreed and they sat, and listened and sang. My point is David Bowie has always been part of my life and everyone else’s, but what was clear was that while David Cameron said David Bowie was “His generation” that is not true. I learned that week just how many age groups loved and adored him – teenagers, young and older adults, just everyone. He was part of everyone’s life. And how lucky we all are to have his music.

My own personal memories and relationship with him was mainly to do with the film Labyrinth. Now one of my brother’s and my favourite films. The music and clothes were always so expressive and captivating. Now watching it as an adult I can see some of the poor editing skills and certainly it has aged but it will forever have a place in my heart and always be a classic and something I love.

I guess one of the ways you realise the greatness of someone is that they are always part of your life, there in the background. I am not sure the day I realised one of my favourite songs was sung by the man in Labyrinth and I’m not sure it matters. It was a very strange reason I love the song Space Oddity. I remember sharing the headphones with my brother and listening to it, and being amazed how we were both ‘getting’ different parts of the song. Now having a Masters degree in Audio I know why, however the 9 year old me had no idea and was just fascinated by it. I even remember when we first got Sky television in the early 2000’s I saw an advert for his album, and receiving David Bowie Greatest Hits for my birthday. He and his music were simply magic.

The world has truly lost a legend and now indeed the stars look very different today.