Thoughts about Game of Thrones, Season 6: Episode 9 that I can’t share on Twitter because spoilers

Spoilers, obviously.

And I wrote this at 5am in the morning on 0 hours sleep, so don’t judge. I’m tired. But also opinionated. So this is more a stream of consciousness before I can sleep than a review or anything.

Continue reading “Thoughts about Game of Thrones, Season 6: Episode 9 that I can’t share on Twitter because spoilers”

Reflecting on 2015

2015 has actually been a pretty amazing year for me. Mad, hectic, weirdly star-struck… I’ve had a lot of things happen in the past 12 months. And since everyone else is getting all sentimental about the year ending, here are a few personal highlights:

  1. I finally got the power I craved, and became News Editor of The Edge

Screenshot 2015-12-31 at 18.52.26In May, I was elected as the News Editor for my University’s entertainment magazine, The Edge. And still, six months in, and despite the crazy amount of time I seem to spend on news websites, I’m loving it. I’ve learnt a lot of stuff. My name and face has been emblazoned on the inner pages of about four magazine issues now. My name also seems to have travelled to sections of the SUSU website I didn’t really know existed. And I got a hoodie with my name and position on – just so I feel extra important as I go about my day.

Being an Edgeling is probably my favourite part of being at uni. The work on my degree can be cool/vaguely interesting sometimes sure, but oddly, doing all these Editor-y things is what keeps me sane during the stressful moments. Even if I write a less than favourable essay, I can take solace in the fact that, yes, I am rather a good News Editor actually. I have found my calling.

2. I sat mere metres away from Tom Hiddleston in Row C of an exclusive Q&A at the Nuffield.

Yep. I have witnessed the beauty of Tom Hiddleston up close. He sat on a stage mere metres away from me for an hour and half in February 2015. He had come to the Nuffield Theatre, of which he is an associate actor, to talk about his career in an exclusive “members only” Q and A. It set me back about £100 of my student loan to actually become a member, but it was totally worth it. My Mum managed to get us seats in the second row from the stage, so when Tom came on stage (in a gorgeously fitted three-piece suit, the jacket of which he shrugged off to the applause of all of us there), I could really see him. He talked about so many things, all so candidly and beautifully. I wrote a summary of what I’d heard for The Edge (you can find it here). Unfortunately, my questions weren’t picked but just being there in the same room of one of my favourite actors was still so amazing. And did I mention? He’s really fucking beautiful.

3. I met and had my photo taken with Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott and Mark Gatiss.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 at 18.52.37I went to Sherlocked in April, and while my experience of the convention as a whole is sort of mixed, I can’t deny the surreal incredulity I feel when I look at the photos that prove, that for at least 7 seconds, Benedict Cumberbatch had his hand on my shoulder. The picture I had with the ‘Batch is okay – by the time my number came up, you could tell he was beginning to get tired. I was still churlishly excited and scared as I walked up to meet him. He greeted me with a tired-sounding “alright?” while I desperately tried to simultaneously smile, be cool, and not touch him inappropriately (That’s not meant to sound perverted by the way. I was just really hesitant to touch the small of his back as other people had for fear of getting ambushed by the security.) The resulting picture pretty much sums up the moment; me, desperately trying to contain all my feelings together, and him looking understandably exasperated by the sea of other girls he would have to get through before ending the day.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 at 18.52.47In comparison, my photo with Andrew Scott is a lot cheerier – I look at that one most fondly. Andrew Scott, for those of you who aren’t aware, is a total sweetheart. He greeted me with an enthusiastic “Hello Darling” which immediately had me grinning before I’d even got to the bit where I’m supposed to smile. He was just very, very lovely. I also met Mark Gatiss, which was slightly scarier, because not only is he formidably tall, but he also seemed just as tired as Benedict. Again though, he was perfectly polite and thanked me for coming, after he posed – mustachioed – alongside me. In addition to all that, Steven Moffat also walked past me in a cold breeze that I still to this day, think he mustered on purpose.

This is probably also my cue to re-thank my friend Megan for wearily zipping between Southampton and London with me for those three days – Don’t worry I’ve learnt my lesson and I promise that in 2016 and beyond, we are never getting on a fucking coach again.

4. I interviewed Louise Brealey for The Edge

I do slightly cringe at this one, but hey, it was my first ever interview and it took a long time to get right. Louise Brealey was very busy on the day I was meant to interview her about her play, Constellations (which I also saw at the Nuffield – it was very good). This meant that more often that not, I interacted with her voicemail more than her. However, on the few moments where I could get a question in (it took one or two sessions), Louise seemed very lovely and very patient with me. You can read my interview with her here. I still have the audio clips, but out of embarrassment (on my stuttery nervous part) I haven’t listened back to them.

5. I turned 20… and celebrated by finally visiting the cornerstone of my childhood.

I officially got old this year. I’ve been alive for 20 years now. It’s a little daunting being a full blown ‘proper’ adult without the luxurious excuses that come with your teenage years, but I’m just about managing… I think. And I said goodbye to my childhood in the best way by finally visiting the Harry Potter studios in London. It proved to be a great family day out and my god, everything in it was magical and beautiful and tear-jerking. AND THE SHOP IS HUGE. It was brilliant.

Obviously a lot of other things happened this year – some good, some bad – but upon reflection, 2015 has been a great year. And I have a few cool things chalked up for 2016 – I’ll be spending my 21st watching Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in a swanky London theatre, I’ll finally be seeing my favourite comedienne, Sarah Millican, live on tour and who knows? Maybe I’ll go for the big Editorial position and BECOME MORE POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY COMPREHEND. Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see.

For now, it’s time to face the more imminent and factual prospects of 2016, i.e: the four essays that I have to do in the next week. Happy New Year… right?

 

Ant Man: An ant-sized review

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Marvel’s latest outing introduces us to the smallest member of the MCU: Ant Man. Directed by Peyton Reed, the film follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) – a good-natured but desperate thief, who inadvertently finds himself taking on superheroic responsibilities when he discovers a suit that can shrink him down to microscopic size, while increasing his agility and strength.The suit’s creator, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) train Scott in the hopes that he will be able to steal back Pym’s microscopic formula from treacherous figures who want to use it as a weapon.

In the same way that Chris Pratt smashed it in Guardians of The Galaxy, Paul Rudd proves himself to be a more than worthy Marvel superhero; mixing humour, emotion and oddly chiselled hunkiness in equally great measure. Douglas and Lilly are also great as they skilfully navigate superheroics alongside an emotionally strained father-daughter relationship. Michael Peña’s supporting role as one of Scott’s criminal buddies is also brilliant – with his one-liners stealing several key scenes. Meanwhile Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket, is a competent antagonist in terms of threatening the hero – but he is nowhere near the masterful heights of past Marvel villains such as Loki and Ultron. Ultimately, though it isn’t as thoroughly entertaining and laugh-a-minute as Guardians or The Avengers, Ant-Man is a surprisingly fun heist movie, with a mostly brilliant cast and a lot of promise for the future of the MCU

Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Based on Mark Millar’s comic of the same name, Kingsman: The Secret Service is quite simply a delight.

Mixing the class and sophistication of the British Elite with a sense of badass violence and action, isn’t a totally original concept, granted. But in an era where James Bond – the ultimate gentleman spy – is getting all gritty and dark on us with outings like Skyfall and the upcoming Spectre, it’s really refreshing to see such an unashamedly fun take on the genre. Continue reading “Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service”

TV: To end or not to end?: The dilemma of Showrunners and Writers

Television, as a platform, is relentless. But while there is a need for shows to fill the schedules of the multitude of channels at our disposal, the question of how long to continue any one show is difficult. The balance between new and continuing programmes has to be kept at a level that will both please and stimulate audiences. Which has lead me to ponder whether some programmes currently being produced have outstayed their welcome in our television guides, or have for the sake of their dedicated fanbases continued to a point where they can no longer bow out gracefully. It’s certainly an interesting talking point – especially when you consider the choices that some writers make in order to make sure that their creative projects go out ‘with a bang’ or ‘on a high’. Continue reading “TV: To end or not to end?: The dilemma of Showrunners and Writers”

The struggles of essay-writing in the form of a poem:

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Putting off work for days on end,

Reassuring myself I’ll be fine, but it’s all pretend.

Of course, it’ll get it done – I know what I’m doing…

Crap, isn’t there research I should be persuing?

Research? Pah, I’ll get to it when I write it.

At the moment, I’m being lazy and I can’t be arsed to fight it.

Sure, I’m getting round to it, the deadline’s not for days,

Tomorrow I’ll start it and get it out the way.

I said that I’d do it but then I started reading this book,

No it’s not on the curriculum but I still thought I’d take a look.

As things stand, no it’s still not done,

There’s shit going down – Sherlock’s got a gun!

I know, I know – the deadline’s tomorrow,

Oh shit, I’m unprepared and in a bubble full of sorrow.

Not gonna get a good grade, but fuck it, it’s done.

New Years Resolutions and Me.

Lots of people are beginning to think up their New Years Resolutions at the moment. And while it’s admirable that people are trying to make a conscientious effort to change themselves as we ‘start afresh’ in 2015, it’s not something that I can fathom the energy to properly do. I simply can’t be arsed.

Don’t get me wrong, year after year, I have tried and failed at this whole resolutions thing. But at the age of 19, I am still no closer to cutting the habit of biting my nails when I’m stressed or bored; I am still utterly incapable of waking up at a sensible time if “there’s nothing really going on” in a day; My efforts to write a diary have always failed by around the 3rd of January every year I try; This whole procrastination lark of leaving work til the last minute in favour of doing basically nothing has just become an inbuilt part of my personality it would now seem; And let’s not even bother trying to dignify my “efforts” at doing actual exercise, like I said I would back in 2012.

I’m just not a person that embraces change well. I’ve never liked it – change makes me anxious. It’s not something you can ever really gear yourself up for – despite this bizarre annual tradition we have which encourages people to prepare themselves for such new alterations to their lives. I just don’t understand why we keep doing it. We’re gearing ourselves up to fail because we hold such high expectations for the person we’ll be in 2015 – even though the 2015 ‘us’ is only a few days from coming into being. And 2014 ‘us’ is still quite happy sitting lazily in the habits that the 2015 ‘us’ is so definitely going to stop. It’s just a weird thing.

I’m not making resolutions for myself as such. I don’t want to have to disappoint myself by the end of January with a list of my own self-invented failures. Because I know that I am inevitably going to argue with my brother at some point in the year – I doubt that he’ll have stopped being a dickhead in 2015. And I know that even though I’d like to be a bit slimmer, I’m never really going to wake up everyday at 6am to jog. Nor am I going to realistically be able to “get away from the computer more” – not if I want to be a proper writer anyway. I mean, it’s like 2013 me wasn’t even thinking this through.

I’d much rather appreciate what little things I did manage to do in this past year, than to lament obsessively over the mistakes I made in an effort to correct them in the new year. This need for perfectionism can’t be healthy. Yes, I’ve been an awful student this year – I’ve left things to the last minute, I’ve not read the books I was meant to properly, and I’ve not ‘engaged with people socially’ enough as the 2013 resolution-writing me had intended. But I did manage to brave my first day quite well – I’ve made a few friends, I got a half-decent grade on my first Film essay, and I can now successfully navigate my way around the campuses. So that’s good right?

And family’s tough too. Arguments are inevitable in a house that occupies a 19 year old student, a 15 year old in his emo stages, a 1 and a half year old infant in his just-about-to-talk stages and a 42 year old mum trying to keep it all together. But there is still some positivity to be gleamed from the year at home. I’ve gotten better with my baby brother – despite really not being a baby-person. He’s alright – we get on, and I’m teaching him well. (He can say ‘bugger’ – which probably isn’t a conventional first word, but I find it amusing) The other brother and me are never going to see eye to eye, but there have been a few rare moments where we’ve not been too bad – we worked together relatively harmoniously on our Halloween pumpkin, at least. And me and my Mum have been a pretty good team.

I’ve also stopped using tumblr as much – which was arguably a problem last year that I wanted to rectify. I do sometimes miss it. But, like Simon Pegg with twitter, it was becoming more of a chore than a hobby to me, and I’m glad that the obsession I had with it has finally died down. I can’t say I’m any more productive, but at least I’m not stressing over the exact order of reblogging posts anymore. That shit is not fun – it’s just neurotic. And I’m really getting a handle on this writing business. I mean, yeah I should probably start giving more attention to this blog in the new year – and without making it a resolution, I will try to –  but at least this is a start. And my work over at The Indiependent and The Edge is really beginning to develop too.

So this year hasn’t been a complete failure. And I’m sure next year won’t be either. We’re all human, we make mistakes – we cannot be perfect, no matter how much we might wish to be. I’m not going to make promises to myself that I know I can’t keep or control. I might still write a list – but it’s not going to be a long scroll of Do’s and Don’t’s. It’s probably going to be more like a bucket list for the year – comprised of my desire to do things that are not serious, but are still prevalent to me. Like properly watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies all in one go, in order. Or finally getting around to watching Breaking Bad and reading the Sherlock Holmes stories properly. Those are the sorts of resolutions I’d like to make to myself. Not ones that change my habits or try desperately to make me a different person to the one that I already am. But ones that expand on my interests and bring me a moment of joy rather than a year full of self-inflicted stress.