Wednesday, 7 November 2012

You Are What You Own?

'This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time....'

As you may know, I am a Media Student at Teesside Uni. Some people consider a Media degree to be easy, a cop out, something students do when they aren't intelligent or motivated enough to do a 'real' degree. What these people don't realise is that the Media is something that all of us consume every day, so in my opinion, studying it is one of the most relevant things in our culture to gain a degree in. 

I want to work in the why wouldn't I study a degree in it? Yeah, astrophysics might push me more academically, but whats the point if it has nothing to do with the career I want?

Anyways, rant over

My point was that studying Media involves studying aspects such as philosophy, sociology and psychology as part of media theory. One part of media theory we have been studying lately that has particularly interested me is postmodernism.

I'll try and sum this up, because defining postmodernism could take a long time. The main points are that we live in a postmodern society; nothing is original, nothing has substance, and nothing is real. 

In our lecture, we recently watched David Fincher's brilliant Fight Club, and discussed how it is a postmodern text. 

'You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're the all-singing, all dancing, crap of the world.'

The Narrator, played by Edward Norton, is an insomniac. He is also obsessed with Ikea, and meticulously scrolls through the catalogue 'as if it were pornography'. He attends self help groups because they are the one place he can let go, cry, and finally get some sleep. Before he discovers Fight Club, that is.

Fight Club is an incredible film, making a dramatic social comment on our consumerism-filled lives. Until he meets Tyler Durden, the Narrator compulsively collects furniture, belongings, wondering 'what kind of dining set defines me as a person?'. Some postmodernists believe that today, we have no actual personality because we define ourselves through our possessions, much as the Narrator does with his yin-yang coffee table. Tyler offers the Narrator the option of a life without materialism or authority, without being held down by a house or a job. He is the alternative voice, one that says we do not need to own things to be 'complete' (if we can ever be 'complete' at all).

'I am Jack's 
    wasted life
broken heart
           complete lack of surprise
  inflamed sense of rejection
     smirking revenge.'

The presumption that we as people have no substance because we are too busy being mindless, excessive consumers might seem....offensive, belittling or infuriating. After all, it would be pretty difficult to live in the Western world as we do and not give in to materialistic pressures. We are richer than we used to be, so it makes sense that we would buy more things.

Tyler Durden: 'Reject the basic assumptions of basic civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.'

I know I'm being a little deep here, but I found myself really interested in this issue and wanted to share it.

I can't help but agree that these days, we do define ourselves by what we own. I do, anyway; I love fashion, and what is fashion if not a way of showing who you are by wearing clothes, shoes, the latest trend?

However, I don't think this is as bad a thing as it sounds. I think the stuff we own, wear, listen to, watch.... it's a form of self-expression that we just couldn't afford years ago. I'm sure we could all do with getting back to basics a little, but that doesn't mean that by being active consumers we are nothing but style rather than substance.

Apologies for the wordy/theoretical post, but this is what I'm studying so this is what I'm thinking/blogging about!
Hope this gave you some food for thought, and do please comment if you have any opinions!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 29 October 2012

Rule No. 4: 'Fasten your seat belts...

.....this is going to be a bumpy ride.'

Apologies for it having been so long since a new post; I've been busy starting my second year at uni, and wanted to work on redesigning the layout of my blog (though it is still a working progress), so I hope you like it!

I've seen a lot of great films recently, so wanted to write a few reviews. First up is:


Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Zombieland is the tale of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a slightly awkward sociopath with a phobia of everything who is one of the few humans left in a zombie-infested world due to a list of rules for survival. He begins a journey to discover the fate of his parents and comes across a lively gang along the way, consisting of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and sister act Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

Rule No. 18: Limber Up

For starters, the acting is simply brilliant. There is no weak link in the foursome; each is witty and excellent, and they gel together perfectly considering their only other co stars (with the exception of Bill Murray) are blood-crazed zombies. 

Rule No. 17: Don't Be A Hero

Jesse Eisenberg is one of my favourite actors; his subtle yet remarkable performances in films like The Social Network and Adventureland are full of smartly spoken dialogue and dripping with sarcasm. He does well at making Columbus nervous and lonely, but incredibly likeable.

Rule No. 8: Get A Kick-Ass Partner

The first companion Columbus acquires is the steely, hot-headed Tallahassee, a man who thoroughly enjoys ripping zombies to shreds and is unstoppable in his quest for his favourite snack, the illusive Twinkie. I love Woody Harrelson in just about everything; he's quirky, gritty, and an amazing presence on the screen. 

'When Tallahassee goes Hulk on a zombie, he sets the standard for 'not to be fucked with"

Columbus and Tallahassee set off on their travels, and everything goes well until they meet their match in sisters Wichita and Little Rock. Both Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are naturals and make for some of the best moments in the film, not least how they fool the two boys. Twice.

Rule No. 31: Check The Back Seat

Emma Stone, I believe, is one the best comic actresses in film at the moment. She has a way of bringing a script into reality, and has an ease in front of the camera that always makes her so enjoyable to watch (her performance in Easy A is outstanding).

'It's amazing how fast the world can go from bad to total shit storm.'

Zombieland is short (only around 80 minutes), snappy, and seriously smart. There are genuinely hilarious moments throughout, full of fantastic one liners delivered by a superb cast. The story is simple but well executed, and there is a comic book feel to it (especially in the theme park section) that really suits the genre and enhances the zombie-killing action. Eisenberg's deadpan narration really makes the film, as does the idea of the survival rules appearing on screen when relevant (again adding to the sense of the characters living in a comic book, or even a virtual game-world). The tentative relationship between Columbus and Wichita does seem almost like a generic required romantic element, but makes for some nice scenes and brings the group together.

It's a whole lot of funny with just the right amount of emotion, and will definitely become one of my favourites.

Rule No. 32: Enjoy The Little Things.

Verdict: The American equivalent of the excellent Shaun of the Dead.

Rating: 5/5

Watch this film!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Lips red as blood.
Hair black as night.
Bring me your heart,
my dear, dear,
Snow White...

Snow White and the Huntsman
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

I've just arrived home from a brilliant day out with the uni girls; there was shopping, eating, and seven dwarves involved.

My excitement for Snow White and the Huntsman has been building ever since the photo of Kristen Stewart decked out in a full suit of armour was released, and today I finally got to see it!

The film is a twist on the Snow White fairytale, but with a more gritty, dark, mystical feel to it.The fact it is from the same producers as Alice In Wonderland is clear; the whole thing has a dream-like quality to it, and the creatures they come across in the forest (fairies, trolls) are exquisite. Visually, the film looks beautiful, with amazing uses of both darkness and sunlight to create incredible imagery, as well as stunning effects and costumes, particularly to express the powers of Queen Ravenna.

Charlize Theron, who plays Ravenna, is one of the highlights of the film.

"I will give this wretched world
the Queen
it deserves...."

Her amazing presence on screen makes her a cold hearted queen who will do anything to remain immortally beautiful and to continue her despondant reign on a land that is dying because of her. Despite this, Theron plays it in such a way that you end up feeling pretty sorry for her, as she seems to have known nothing but evil in her life. Her erratic, manic behaviour and unbearable vanity seem to portray all the very worst parts of a personality in one form, and Charlize Theron does this brilliantly.

Another personal highlight for me was Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman.

I'll be honest: the fact Chris Hemsworth was in this film certainly increased my desire to see it. Between seeing him in Home and Away years and years ago, to being Captain Kirk's father in Star Trek, to watching him turn into demi-god Thor, I'm basically infatuated! He has surprised me in that his acting ability proves he is more than just a pretty face; his drunken, emotional speech to a still Snow White was, in my opinion, the most moving scene of the entire feature, and his tall, strong frame fills the screen in the exact demeanour you would expect to see in the Huntsman. He also manages to bring a bit of humour to proceedings, as well as pulling off a rather good Scottish accent! I believe that between this and his star performance in Avengers Assemble, he will definitely become a household name.

And not forgetting, Kristen Stewart as the beautiful Snow White.

In my opinion, people give Kristen Stewart a hard time. She seems to split her audience; people either love her, or find her incredibly annoying, and I'm not sure why...
Propelled to stardom with the infamous Twilight Saga, Stewart has used her popularity to choose more indie roles since, including the likes of Adventureland (one of my favourites), The Runaways and Welcome to the Riley's, so this big budget blockbuster seems a little conventional.
However, I think Kristen Stewart deserves more credit. I think it's the character of Bella that is really annoying, not Stewart herself, and I believe she has a certain quirky, understated charm on-screen. With Snow White, she manages to bring both innocence and steely strength to the role, and her stunning features fit perfectly with those of the character.

Snow White and the Huntsman is a great watch, particularly for fans of the fantasy genre, but for some reason, it didn't wow me as much as I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it looks amazing, is well acted, and very enjoyable (especially the brilliant seven dwarves, including Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and Nick Frost), but something wasn't quite right. It may be just because recently has been such a great time for big films, and it seemed that Snow White couldn't quite compete with the masterpieces of The Hunger Games or Avengers Assemble, but I think there were a few issues with the film itself. Despite playing their parts well, I didn't really feel much chemistry between Stewart and Hemsworth, and I also didnt find the idea of Kristen Stewart ruling an entire kingdom very believable (though she did give an uplifting speech). Another thing I was aware of was that although she was obviously facing formidable enemies, I never felt that Snow White was in any real danger; of course this may be the fault of the fairytale itself rather than this film.

Overall, I would definitely reccommend it; it's worth several watches, and does a great job on recreating such a well-known story.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Print a Rainbow

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
-Coco Chanel

If there is a season to wear print, this is it.

The digital print phenomenon has truly taken off, and here are some of the front runners:

Mary Katrantzou

The Greek designer and her extraordinarily intricate prints-upon-prints and beautiful tulip dresses have grown in popularity since the launch of her label in 2008.
She hit the high street this year with a collaboration with Topshop.

Peter Pilotto

This design duo use a combination of tribal prints, black-edged detailing and sleek, futuristic shapes with metallic eyes and slicked back hair to create a sporty collection that has inspired the high street.
I love the curved necklines and exposed shoulders on these dresses, and how refreshing and new the collection feels. One of my favourites this season!


A collection full of romance, with super-feminine fabrics, pleats and mirrored floral prints in a calming pallette of blues, yellows and white.

I am sometimes quite reluctant to wear particularly loud, bright prints, but the shops are so full of beautiful interpretations of them at the moment that it's pretty hard to resist.

Here are some of my favourite printed pieces at the moment:


Scarf Print Dress

The 'scarf print' was seen at Dolce and Gabbana and Versace, and is literally inescapable on the high street.
This dress from Next, modelled by Arizona Muse in their summer campaign, combines clashing scarf print and spots. I would dress it down with some clean white sandals and minimal jewellery.


Black Pattern Palm Mirage Pencil Skirt

This gorgeous Warehouse skirt would look great for evening with a black shirt and neon-bright stilettos.
Also available as a shift dress.


Tropical Print Bomber Jacket

Zara is one of my favourite stores on the high street for its classic, luxe designs, good sizings and extremely reasonable prices.
The bomber jacket appeared on the runways at Versace and Stella McCartney, and this offering from Zara is a beautiful example. Wear it casually with bright skinny jeans and white high-tops, or more grown-up with sophisticated courts and pencil skirt.


Co-ord Poppy Print Pyjama Jacket

Poppy Print Frill Pocket Shorts

It might seem like a print overload, but matching short suits are becoming increasingly popular thanks to being seen on those such as Caroline Flack and Alexa Chung.
I like this one at Topshop in particular because of its dreamy grey and white florals and lovely soft material. They're a great alternative to an evening dress; just wear with a crisp white shirt with an embellished collar, and sky-high nude heels.
Also available in matching jogger trousers.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Music Review: Alex Clare and The Civil Wars

I know I haven't done a blog post in quite a long time.... I'm not sure why, it just seems to keep slipping my mind! Either that or nothing has inspired me to write one. Until now.

With music, I tend to go through phases of listening to it non stop, to not at all, and everything in between. Currently, I can't put down my iPod, and have added a load of new stuff to it including The Black Keys, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, Maverick Sabre, and the addictive Azealia Banks.

Two albums I came across recently are so good, I wanted to share them; The Civil Wars' 'Barton Hollow' and Alex Clare's 'The Lateness of the Hour'.

You may know Alex Clare from the new Internet Explorer advert, featuring his song 'Too Close'. I'd seen the advert and was seriously interested by the song, so put Google to use and discovered Alex Clare, then decided to go ahead and get the whole album.

"It feels like I am just too close to love you...
so I'll be on my way."

-Too Close

'The Lateness of the Hour' is an incredibly interesting album. It doesn't stick to one genre; there are elements of dubstep looming underneath the poetic melodies, hearty guitar riffs, piano ballads and soulful vocals. Think a mix between Bruce Springsteen and Nero and, odd as it sounds, you're almost there! There is a perfect balance of upbeat summery tunes and slower songs of heartbreak, even a cover of Prince's 'When Doves Cry'. I most definitely recommend the album, and can see it becoming one I'll listen to on repeat.

"Words are clever,
hands are better,
so let's put them together.

I like cashmere, I like your sweater,
but if you take it off we'll both feel better."

-Hands Are Clever

Treading Water
Too Close
Hands Are Clever
I Won't Let You Down

Rating: 4/5

Next, The Civil Wars' 'Barton Hollow'. I first heard this band on Fearne Cotton's Radio 1 show with their lead single of the album, also named 'Barton Hollow'. I instantly loved it.

"Your mouth is poison,
your mouth is wine,
you think your dreams are the same as mine.

I don't love you, but I always will."

-Poison and Wine

This album proves you don't need anything more than a guitar and beautiful voices to create stunning music. The two vocals are the best part of the album; the gorgeous harmonies seamlessly intertwine with each other over the intricate guitar and piano to provoke images of porch swings and sunsets. One I particularly liked was 'The Violet Hour', an instrumental that I can't wait to try and play myself.

After hearing the single 'Barton Hollow', full of punching guitar chords and soaring notes, I must say I was almost let down when the rest of the album took on a much slower pace. However, I would still recommend a listen, if only for its refreshing simplicity.

"Swan dive down eleven stories high,
hold your breath until you see the light.
You can sink to the bottom of the sea,
just don't go without me."

-C'est la Mort

I've Got This Friend
Barton Hollow
Poison and Wine
The Violet Hour

Rating 3/5



Monday, 5 March 2012

Music Review: Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

"Now my life is sweet like cinnamon,
  like a fucking dream I'm living in.

Baby love me cause I'm playing on the radio."


I was a bit slow to catch on to Lana Del Rey. I'd heard about the single 'Video Games', but never really listened to it until a few weeks ago. I listened to the album in full around 2 weeks ago, and I pretty much haven't listened to anything else since.

"Blue jeans,
  white shirt,
  walked into the room
  you know you made my eyes burn." 

-'Blue Jeans'

Because I'd heard such good things about the album, I went in to the first listen almost expecting to love it, and I did. It isn't the sort of thing I might normally listen to, but that's partly because it's not really like anything I've ever heard before. To put it in a genre is impossible; it's part hip-hop, part orchestral, part indie... to be honest, I'm not even sure how to describe it!

Lana's vocals seem to have a split personality; one side is a seductively low, melancholy drawl, and the other is a sugary falsetto, with plenty in between. The whole album has a very dark, ominous feel to it, almost uncomfortable at times, with the off-beat, poetic lyrics often adding a sense of irony or sarcasm. Listen, and you're automatically transported to downtown New York City, images of red lipstick and bright lights running through your head.

"Red, white, blues in the sky,
  summer's in the air and baby,
  heaven's in your eyes."

-'National Anthem'

I love this album. It's interesting, beautiful, emotional. I can see why it might not be everyone's thing, but it's definitely mine. Some of the songs in the middle of the track list do start to sound a bit same-y and are weaker than the rest, but they all add to the story and dynamic of the album.

"Choose your last words,
  this is the last time.
  Cause you and I...

  we were born to die."

-'Born To Die'

'Off to the Races'
'Blue Jeans'
'Summertime Sadness'

Rating: 4/5



Saturday, 25 February 2012

Wish List - Checks, Grunge and Rock & Roll

'I need to remember...sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.'
-American Beauty

It was Pancake Day this week, or Shrove Tuesday, and traditionally we give up something, be it food or drink, for the duration of Lent, until Easter.

This year, instead of giving up a certain food, I have decided to give up buying clothes.

Now, to anyone that knows me, they will understand that I buy a LOT of clothes, so this is going to be seriously difficult, but I wanted to do it for two reasons; mainly because I need to reduce my spending and start saving, but also because I want to cut down on buying fast fashion that is easily disposable and doesn't mean anything to me.

So, as a way of tackling my shopping withdrawal symptoms, I thought I would do a Wish List every week or so, with high street pieces I've found and love, whether I would wear them or not.

This week, it's an American theme, a style that never really goes out of fashion whether it be cowboys, denim, checks or varsity jackets. Topshop, my main place of worship, has a gorgeous collection centred around this (90's Grunge), but there are great pieces elsewhere on the high street too.

Moodboard Images (from, Vogue UK, Topshop):

The Civil Wars - 'Barton Hollow'
Nirvana - 'The Man Who Sold The World'
Avenged Sevenfold - 'Dear God'

Here are some of my ideas on this trend:

Glory Dress by Rebel Republic, £28,

I LOVE this dress. Its midi length, authentic logo and slubby jersey material scream Americana; I would team it with bare legs, black ankle boots and a vintage denim jacket.

MOTO Bleach Flag Print Hotpant, £34,

MOTO Acid Denim Hotpants, £32,

Okay, I know the Stars and Stripes shorts were a bit of an obvious choice, but you get the point. The worn-in look of both these pairs of shorts add to the weathered feel of this style, and the acid pink ones provide a pop of colour to avoid a denim overload.

Fleetwood Mac Vest By And Finally, £20,

Sleeveless Grunge Check Shirt, £26,[209729|208524]&noOfRefinements=1

Black Ruched Waist Maxi Skirt, £30,
PARAGON Zip Front High Sandals, £90,

I love these four as separates, but I also think they would look great as an outfit. The understated cool of the 'Rumours' vest (one of my all time favourite albums!) works well with the classic checked shirt, with the maxi skirt and edgy zip detail heels giving them an edge. You could even dress it down by replacing the heels with some quirky Converse hi tops or Dr. Martens, other signatures of American style.

I realise this post is very Topshop-centred, but that's just where I found some inspiration! I promise to show more of a variety in posts to come!



Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Film Review: 'The Woman in Black'

So today me and my uni friends plucked up the courage to go and see 'The Woman in Black'; directed by James Watkins, it is an adaptation of the novel by Susan Hill. I had heard about the play, and how terrifying it was with the woman in black actually wandering around the audience, so despite being apprehensive, I've read great reviews of it so decided to man up and give it a go!

'The Woman in Black' is the story of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer who is sent to a Northern rural village to sort the paperwork of its recently deceased resident, to discover the house is not quite empty. I'll be honest, a good portion of this film I watched through my scarf! It wasn't particularly bloody or gory, but I really felt caught up in the tension that the film created, and just knowing the woman in black was present was enough to scare me!

The physical look of the film adds a lot to the atmosphere; the stony grey houses, misty horizon and overgrown landscape seem to lack any sense of warmth or sunshine, and that's without mentioning the black marshland that surrounds the ominous Eel Marsh House. The woman in black herself is pretty menacing, but I personally thought the creepy toys around the house were frightening enough!

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so I was worried that I would be unable to watch Daniel Radcliffe without thinking we were in Hogwarts, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Because his opposing lead character is essentially a ghost, he has quite a tough job of having to move the film along by himself, and wander around the house a lot without too much dialogue to rely on. I think he does a really good job with it; the only downside that we found was that he was a little unbelievable as a father and a husband, although I think that may be more down to us being used to seeing him as a school boy, rather than his peformance.

Horror films can often be a bit of a grey area: what doesn't bother one person in the slightest could absolutely terrify someone else. I think 'The Woman in Black' might be one of these films. I've seen some people's opinions that they didn't find it scary at all, but my friend Tarany ( and I were practically jumping out of our seat! I personally find the idea of ghosts really disturbing anyway, and I thought that the way this film portrays the woman in black, as well as the devastating effects of her curse, made for quite a chilling mix, so much so that it was hard to understand why Arthur didn't leave immediately! The ending is equally sad and satsifying, and the feeling of relief when you leave the cinema is a sign of the atmosphere it creates.

Quote of the Film:
Mr Daily: 'I believe even the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.'

Rating: 3/5
Definitely worth a watch, but maybes in the daytime!



Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Film Review: 'Attack the Block'

I know I'm a little behind on getting round to watching this film, but I've heard a lot of great things about it and it didn't disappoint.

'Attack the Block', directed by Joe Cornish, is part comedy, part sci-fi, part horror, about a gang of youths defending their South London tower block from a vicious alien race. 

The aliens themselves are pretty scary! Darkest black with only glow-in-the-dark jaws to warn of their presence, there are plenty of seriously jumpy moments! Cleverly, we barely really see the details of the monsters, making them even more ominous. The use of fireworks to defeat them, creating a mass of colourful smoke, makes for a beautiful contrast with the steely setting of the tower block.

The youths are also pretty threatening, but I think this film does a great job of turning hoodies into heroes. The leader of the pack, Moses (played by John Boyega), has the saddest story; he lives pretty much alone, and the block and his gang are all he has. Despite their obvious menace and questionable morals, the teens provide an insight into gang culture that is rarely ever seen; from their point of view.

I really enjoyed this film; the simple story and use of almost unknown actors and their fluent slang (which takes a while to understand!) definitely gives it a more realistic feel, with the perfect balance of scares and laughs.

Rating: 4/5
I would definitely recommend it!

Quote of the Film:
Sam: 'We should call the police.'
Pest: 'You'd be better off calling the Ghostbusters love.'



Monday, 20 February 2012

Burberry Prorsum AW 12 - Tweetwalk!

Today was the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2012 show at London Fashion Week. Burberry, lead by creative director Christopher Bailey, is definitely one of my favourite designer brands and always delivers stunning collections that combine traditional British style whilst nailing current trends. It is a life ambition for me to own a signature Burberry trench coat!

It seems odd to be talking about Autumn/Winter collections in the middle of February but such is the way of fashion! I followed the pictures Burberry was tweeting live from the runway (the Tweetwalk!) and was instantly impressed, so much so I almost want it to be autumn again just to be wearing these styles.

After putting a tribal twist on the Spring Summer collection, Burberry well and truly returned to it's British heritage for autumn.

The coat, of course, was key, and came in corduroy, belted around the waist to maximise the impact of the hourglass silhouette, as well as cropped puffas and panelled trenches. There was definitely a 40's 'land-girl' feel to the collection with peplum midi skirts, quilted accessories, and an earthy palette of browns and greens, along with tweed and houndstooth print. There was a modern element of fun with owl motif tee shirts and stripes, as well as edgy studded leather gloves and crisp white shirts, with velvet being the texture for eveningwear.

Those present included Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Eddie Redmayne, with Cara Delevingne, Arizona Muse and Jourdan Dunn walking in the show.

The link for their twitter profile is!/Burberry for more pictures, descriptions and information.
Here are some pictures from their feed @burberry:

For the finale, Burberry embraced the renowned British weather by putting on a display of rain and thunder, hence the umbrellas!

Here's the final image, with Christopher Bailey.

The Burberry show is sure to feature heavily in the magazines come the September issue, and I can't wait to see how the high street interprets it!