Friday, 28 December 2012

Kathleen Hanna on Beyonce on Haters

The Riddler Song got its first YouTube hater today. As a delicate writer I feel the urge to take it overly personally (whilst also being astonished I survived this long without haters). Luckily there is an inspiring quotation for every occasion and here is one about haters by musician and artist Kathleen Hanna:
“Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht and having a mimosa. She’s not reading shitty comments about herself on the Internet, and we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer and then talk back to that voice and say, Fuck you. I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, fuck off. Being criticized is part of the job, but seeking it out isn’t. That’s our piece to let go.”
Like most haters, my hater didn't even have a basic grasp of grammar (if they put as much effort into learning grammar as they did hating they could all get Masters in English Language I'm sure) so I take much comfort in the fact that if by some kink in space and time they did ever fall foul of Eddie they wouldn't last five minutes.

If you ever fall prey to haters remember this: they hate on you because you are better than them and they know it. You have more talent in your little finger than they do in their entire body and they know it. It's easier for them to try and bring you down than it is for them to try and reach your level and they know it. Just going out there and baring your soul makes you stronger than them so don't ever forget it.

Friday Feature 2012 Round-Up

Friday Feature Round-Up 2012 from rachel.yelding on 8tracks Radio.
1) Silver Zephyrs - Haley Bonar
2) Been Better - Kyla La Grange
3) Muddy Hands - Chutes
4) Echo - The Hush Sound
5) Cold Shoulders - Gold Motel
6) Things You Do To Me - Stamps
7) Static Waves (featuring Katie Herzig) - Andrew Belle
8) Marsh King's Daughter - Eisley
9) Cameras - Matt & Kim
10) That's the Trouble with Love - Frank Gorshin
11) Now a Quick Haunt - The King Left
12) Sleeping Limbs - ohnomoon
13) Angelo - EMA
14) Blue Light - Mazzy Star
Unfortunately I couldn't include every artist / band who has appeared as a Friday Feature this year as 8tracks doesn't support .wav or .m4a files (boo to them). Please enjoy anyway, check out all the other Friday Features and support these guys! If you don't buy their music they can't make it and I can't feature it for you.
See you in 2013 for more Friday Features!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Alternative Gingerbread Men

Somehow my Christmas turned alternative this year...possibly down to the construction of the Sasssquatch Wreath. As part of this alternative Christmas (please feel free to replace Christmas with whatever holiday it is you celebrate this time of the year) please allow me to introduce you to my alternative gingerbread men (plus the sacrificial gingerbread man made to stop mum's boyfriend eating the others during the night......):

Let's play a game! I'll show a picture of each gingerbread man before I show who it is supposed to be and you can see if you guessed right!

Hulk Hogan, brother!

A crime scene chalk outline

Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor Who (something weird happened to his trousers between icing him and taking his photo...I think he went back to the 80s and got them stonewashed!)

Robert Englund as a very happy Freddy Krueger (possibly went back in time with the Doctor...maybe time for Freddy v Doctor Who film?)

An Oompa Loompa

Pyramid Head from Silent Hill

Arkham City Riddler <3 <3 <3

Two Face

This was lots of fun! I'd definitely like to make more! Maybe you guys have someone you'd like to see immortalised in gingerbread? I'd love to see your suggestions! I must say I'm quite tempted to do a whole batch of Batman gingerbread men. Let me know what you think!
Oh - and I'll leave you with a riddle from Gingerbread Riddler...

Friday, 21 December 2012

Little Cyan Wreath

I made another, smaller wreath for my mum's boyfriend (yes she has one and I don't...I'm taking applications though *hint hint wink wink nudge nudge*). If you would like to make your own wreath here is the original post.

Friday Feature - Mazzy Star

For this week's Friday Feature we're celebrating Mazzy Star, an alternative dream rock band from Santa Monica, USA who have been creating bewitching music for nearly three decades. Their music is iconic for two reasons a) Hope Sandoval's dreamy, lilting, crooning, melancholic, comforting vocals and b) their use of almost completely acoustic instrumentals (with the odd electric guitar). David Roback writes nearly all of Mazzy Star's songs and it is due to this and his decision to steer away from hopping on musical trend band waggons that their music is as enjoyable and timeless today as it was twenty years ago. If I was to be flippant I'd say it is music to get high to (in particular their first 1990 album She Hangs Brightly) however it is also music to dream to, music to drink cocoa whilst watching rain run down the window to, music to comfort a friend to and music to enjoy insomnia to.

Where will I have heard them before?

If you're American you're probably most familiar with their single 'Fade Into You' (from 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See) which has been in a billion films and TV shows from Batman Forever to End of Watch. UK visitors are more likely to recognise 'Into Dust' (also from So Tonight That I Might See) an album song which made it into the UK singles charts twice! First in 2009 for a Virgin Media advert and then again in 2011 after featuring in this Gears of War 3 advert.

During Mazzy Star's 1997-2009 hiatus both Hope and David explored solo careers. Along with her own music Hope performed on tracks for The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Chemical Brothers, Air, Death in Vegas and Massive Attack. Meanwhile David performed in and wrote three songs for 2004 film Clean.

Featured Song: Flowers in December

Where can I hear more?

Mazzy Star has released three albums to date (a new one coming soon apparently) and two special singles 'Common Burn' and 'Lay Myself Down' (2011) all of which are easily available to download - the cheapest place being Amazon where She Hangs Brightly (1990) and So Tonight That I Might See (1993) are only £2.49 each! DEAL! Among My Swan (1996) is a little more expensive but is actually my favourite and in my opinion the most accessible (with She Hangs Brightly being the least) however when the other two are so cheap and with So Tonight That I Might See containing their most famous songs why not get all three in one go? You'd be mad not to.

What is their website?

Next week: I'll do some sort of end of year round up...I'm still thinking on it!

P.S. Don't forget to suggest your own favourite singers and bands!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Fall in love far too hard...

...with all the wrong people.

Summertime is nice and hot,
And my life is sweet like vanilla is.
Gold and silver line my heart
But burned into my brain are these stolen images,
Stolen images, baby, stolen images.
Can you picture it,
Babe, the life we could've lived?

Hello? Hello?
C-can you hear me?
I can be your china doll
If you like to see me fall.
Boy, you're so dope,
Your love is deadly.
Tell me life is beautiful,
They all think I have it all.
I've nothing without you.
All my dreams and all the lights mean
Nothing without you.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Friday Feature - EMA

This week's Friday Feature is super cool tough girl EMA aka Erika M. Anderson, a noise rocker from South Dakota, USA. She is probably the closest a singer song writer can get to recreating the sound of an entire industrial band. She is musical Marmite. A fact she is completely unapologetic about. She is noise. She is extreme distortion. She is heavy, heavy pulsing beats. She screams and you think you get what she is about but then suddenly all the noise will drop to reveal she also has the most beautiful, husky, gentle singing voice. Mixed into all this contradiction are incredibly catchy tunes.

Where will I have heard her before?

EMA's previous bands include Amps for Christ and Gowns. She is very popular with Spin and appeared on their tribute to Nirvana's Nevermind album singing 'Endless, Nameless'. 'The Grey Ship' was used on an episode of Adult Swim's Off the Air.

Featured Song: Grey Ship

Where can I hear more?

EMA's free music usually comes courtesy of SPIN. Check out her two albums Little Sketches on Tape (2010) and Past Life Martyred Saints (2011).

What is her website?

Next week: We'll enjoy flowers in December with Mazzy Star

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Undefeated - Planning and Writing

Hi guys! I've decided to get an extra early start with my Comica / Cape / Vintage Short Graphic Story entry so that I have no excuse for any mistakes. I also thought I'd share my process with you (seeing as I am supposed to be a writer after all!) All posts about my entry will be headed and tagged with Undefeated.

Writing program, inspiration picture and mood music - the holy trinity! (chocolate is also good)

Don't hate me - I know you don't want to hear it - but the backbone to any good story be it a novel, a film or a comic is good planning (and YES even a four page comic is capable of having a story with a beginning, middle and end). On a practical level it just makes everything easier when you come to writing / drawing. I think the worst thing to happen once you get your creative juices flowing is to have your flow ruined because you've realised an epic hole in your story.

I think finding an idea that works is the hardest part! There are so many one-line ideas that sound cool that when you actually think them out suddenly become a lot harder to make sense of, are too long or too short for what you want them for...if you can think of an idea at all! There are some days when they just won't come and the more you force them the worse they get. At film school we had to generate ideas all the time. Somehow this usually involved picking words out of tobacco tins - the more random the words the better (coat hanger sandwich anyone?). Random pictures (paintings, photos) are also good. I really recommend going for walks. It is amazing the things you notice when you have no predetermined destination. Like my old tutor Brian used to say, you can't be a writer sat in your ivory tower, you have to live life to write life.

Okay so you think you have an idea! WRITE IT DOWN! Tony Grisoni says it's not an idea if it's not written down. And it's so true. You can't see the flaws if it's not written down. You also can't see what you like about it and that's just as important. Write it out then leave it - a day, a week, a month, however long it takes for you to forget bits - then come back to it and see if it still makes sense and that you still like it. If it does then you can write out the script!

Take as long as it takes - you want your script to be as perfect as it can be so that you don't have to worry about correcting mistakes when you're drawing - when you're drawing all you want to be worrying about are artistic choices, not whether your character motivations are wrong...though if it's been a year and you still haven't produced four pages you're in trouble. I use Final Draft for writing my graphic novel scripts however 2000AD and Dark Horse both have example scripts for you to study the format of if you don't have a script program. I recommend not writing more than seven panels per page unless it is an indie comic, in which case the world is your oyster (though I wouldn't go over twelve). Basically the more panels per page the less space there is for picture detail and dialogue. Look at the kind of graphic novels you want yours to be like and see how many panels they use per page and how they vary this number for conversations / action / heart felt moments.

Things that stop you writing:
- TV
- The Internet
- Talking to people
- Cats

Take yourself to somewhere solitary and comfortable (though not so comfortable that you're falling asleep) and either write in silence or to music (some people find even music too distracting). Joss Whedon says not to write to music with lyrics but I actually find music with lyrics very inspiring - do what's best for you - Joss recommends film soundtracks...the running joke is if you need a rousing soundtrack pick The Dark Knight. I make playlists for every project I write and play them on repeat. When I'm stressed I play calming music. I'm kind of stressed at the moment hence why in the picture the music playing is Belle and Sebastian.

If you're visually motivated make mood and character boards that you can look at when you need an inspiration kick. In fact just the act of selecting pictures and assembling them will help focus what it is you want to write. Below are two boards I made - one for The Automated Heart and one for Paradise.

Once you've got a good script you can sketch out your page layouts. This can be as rough or as tidy as you like - it's purely for you and is so you can see if what you've written will actually fit / look like how you imagined it would when you were writing it. Think of it as the graphic story equivalent of a storyboard. If you have an indefinite amount of pages this stage doesn't matter so much however if, like me, you only have four pages it's essential! What could be worse than putting all that effort into drawing three of your four pages only to discover you have too much to fit on the last page? Below is mine for another idea I had. Even though it's only on the back of a piece of scrap paper it helped me realise that some of the panels that looked cool in my head wouldn't work so well on a piece of paper with the other panels around it.

Well done! You've officially finished the planning and writing stage!

See you next time for the character design stage!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday Feature - ohnomoon

This week's Friday Feature is ohnomoon, a shoegaze / indie rock group from New York, USA. Their music is incredibly dreamy yet also substantial (unlike a lot of dream pop which can be so ethereal it feels empty)...a bit like listening to a Cardigans XX collaboration. This sound is created by distorted, hazy electrical guitars and beautiful, slightly husky vocals courtesy of Katherine Lee. Listening to their music is like succumbing to sleeping gas - it is deceptive - its airiness disguises something much stronger and intoxicating.

Where will I have heard them before?

ohnomoon contains Corey and Graham from The King Left. They are still very new but they have featured at Deli shows and have performed at many other New York venues. They are probably best known for the cover of David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes.

Featured Song: In the Mouth a Desert (originally by Pavement)

Where can I hear more?

You can get all of ohnomoon's music on their bandcamp page!

What is their website?

Next week: EMA

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Comment Settings

I've changed settings so that you don't have to log in or use word verification to leave a comment. I know some of you were having problems leaving comments - hopefully it should be easier now :)

If I end up getting super spammed I'll be changing it back though.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Riddler Trophy Replica

I should be writing or something but £$^*$%*!!!! I bought this instead:

It's a scale size Arkham City (I guess Arkham Asylum too then) Riddler Trophy! It's actually much bigger than I thought a Riddler Trophy would be at 19 x 4 x 5 inches / 49 x 10.5 x 13.25 cm (H x W x L). That's pretty damn tall! Heaven knows where Batman stored them all...or how Eddie managed to fit them in all the places he hid them!

You can also buy a pink / red Catwoman trophy too!

There will only be 440 green Batman trophies made (hehe in-joke) and 100 pink Catwoman trophies. I suppose since the pink ones will be rarer I should of got a pink one...but Edward Nygma's my fictional crush not Selina Kyle...and I wanted a green one XD

Before you go, "OMG Rachel - what a waste of money!" I never spend this much on myself (and was feeling down) so I figure when something comes along that you really really want and you know will make you really really happy be it a Chanel dress, a BMW car, a piece of Kobe beef or a Riddler trophy...get it!

Check out more details of how to get your own at Triforce's official website.

Hit or Sh*t

Not a zubox film I wrote but definitely my favourite so far...and it's interactive! Yay! Way forward I hope!

Share with all your peeps!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

2000 Hits?! Thank you!

Wow guys! That's another 1000 hits in less that three months! Thank you! I'm ill at the moment so seeing this really cheered me up. I'll try and continue to post content that you enjoy - please do leave a comment if there is something in particular you like - and when my writing becomes more in demand I'll be able to post more about that too.

As a thank you here is a preview of something I work on in between writing. Because I don't know when I'll finish it I'll share the 'work in progress''ll give you something to look forward to maybe lol

The song is 'Where is My Mind' (by the Pixies) covered by Placebo.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday Feature - The King Left

This week's Friday Feature is The King Left, a 'defunct' indie rock group from New York, USA. The King Left was one of those sad cases of a band that split up before it ever made it big however thanks to the power of the Internet their music lives on for anyone to listen to. Their music was brooding and at times down right angry but never in a shouting way - they never needed to lower themselves to that when they had the ability to make their instrumentals and vocals seethe and sneer - however just when you thought you knew their sound they'd throw in a gentle, melancholy ballad. Their music was like listening to a fierce argument between lovers who were wrong for each other everywhere but in the bedroom: the anger, the venom, the depression, the acceptance, the passionate make up, the promise to never get that bad again...only to end up doing it all over again the next day.

Where will I have heard them before?

I found them on Deli Magazine's Best of NYC Fest playlist via Music is Art so if none of that sounds even slightly familiar you probably won't have heard them HOWEVER Corey and Graham formed current band ohnomoon who maybe you might have encountered.

Featured Song: Storm in a Teacup

Where can I hear more?

Proving that though a band may split up its music never dies, you can download The King Left's EP 'Homemade Machines' and album 'Perfect Without People' for free via their website. There are another two EPs also available for download on iTunes (once you get the new iStore working - it keeps freezing my computer!)

What is their website?

Next week: ohnomoon

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Writer's Block

Every so often I read something about writing I just have to share with as many people in as many ways as possible as it rings so true to me I know it must ring true to someone else too. Today it is Rookie's guide to getting over writer's block. Rookie may be just an online magazine for teenage girls but I can promise you as a twenty-something wannabe screenwriter I found this article very helpful and reassuring!

Read it.

Read it now.

It has Joss Whedon in it!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sasssquatch's Kawaii Wreath

I had a go at making Sasssquatch's Kawaii Christmas Wreath D.I.Y (whilst watching Dawn of the Dead) and here are the results:

It was really easy and fun so I recommend it however here are some extra tips:
- Don't play with the pipe cleaners whilst wearing something that easily catches - the ends are sharp!
- Instead of wrapping each pipe cleaner around separately attach them to each other to create one long pipe cleaner - you can cover the bumps where the pipe cleaners connect (see below) with pompoms.
- Big things (such as the reindeer head) require super sticky glue. I used PVA for the pompoms and a combination of PVA and spray-tak for the head and flower. Careful! Spray-tak is super sticky! (See below).
- If your bigger things have a flat base, no matter how sticky the glue, you'll need something to hold them in place on the curved wreath whilst it dries. I tied the reindeer head in place using a spare pipe cleaner. I also hung the wreath when it was drying (instead of letting it dry on something flat) so that the head would dry in the right position.

Edit: check out my second 'Little Cyan' wreath here!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Rail at Newark

I'm fantastically honoured to announce that the short NFTS graduation animation I wrote for Jack Tilley, 'Rail' is currently screening at Virgin Atlantic's new Newark Clubhouse - check it out if you're flying through!

You can read more about the clubhouse experience here.

Friday Feature - Foxes

This week's Friday Feature is Foxes, aka pop princess Louisa Rose Allen from London, United Kingdom. She's pop for grown ups with serious, often heavily electrified instrumentals and a diva-style voice (much larger than he small frame) which fits her flowing vocals perfectly. The result is something like the power of a Leona Lewis ballad meets the instrumentals and topics of a Marina and the Diamonds song.

Where will I have heard her before?

Foxes released her first song 'Youth' for free download last year with Neon Gold. Since then she has been working on building her reputation and her repertoire, releasing EP 'Warrior' in May though you'll probably know her from her latest single 'Echo' which has received radio play and has just been released to buy this month.

Featured Song: Echo

Where can I hear more?

Unfortunately 'Youth' is no longer free to download from Neon Gold's soundcloud however Foxes does have her own soundcloud for you to explore and where you can download for free 'White Coats' and 'Let Go For Tonight'. Both 'Warriors' and 'Echo' and easily available for download.

What is her website?

Next week: The King Left

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Pictures from Paradise

The main personal project I've been working on this year is a script called 'Paradise' - a fantasy detective romantic comedy. My friend Gina is always telling me to write a graphic novel so here are some pictures I drew up of characters. I would love your views on the matter. Do you think I should have a go at drawing one of my scripts as a graphic story with the intention of getting it published? If I did try I'd need lots of encouragement not to give up...but then I'd try and share the process with you.

Anyway...some pictures (click on them for bigger versions):
Designs for main character Susan's outfits

Detective, spirit and love interest Everard Paradise
Everard's sweet lolita personal assistant Angelique

Fox spirit and cabaret singer Iris

Snake Twins
And here is a photo of the building that inspired the setting (The Grand on the Leas Cliff, Folkestone, Kent, England):

Sunday, 18 November 2012


I've finally worked out what Bloglovin is and have added a link to my blog blurb. Luckily someone already added me so I didn't mess up setting it up (thank you - feel free to say hello if you haven't).

Please do add me if you use Bloglovin.

Follow on Bloglovin

If you don't know what Bloglovin is, it is a website that collects all the blogs you follow into one place (like the Blogger Reading List or Google Reader). If you are someone who does read a lot of blogs you might want to check out using a blog reader. Reading all your favourite blog posts in one place really does make things much easier and more fun!

Also I think it's hilarious that Blogger's spell check doesn't think 'blog' is a real word XD

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The DJ Ricks Show

Recently an amazingly haunting song keeps popping up on my iTunes / iPod: From Every Sphere by Ed Harcourt.

Unbelievably, I first discovered From Every Sphere thanks to the radio that plays throughout the game Silent Hill: Downpour. To share it with those of you who have not heard it I have put together an 8 Tracks playlist featuring all the music played by DJ Ricks on WLMN FM. I think it's a truly haunting mix - give it a try!

Track list
1) Ed Harcourt - From Every Sphere
2) Daniel Licht - Heaven Wont Hold It Against You
3) The Coals - I Wanted A Lover, I Needed A Friend
4) James Vincent McMorrow - If I Had A Boat
5) Louis Armstrong - Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
6) Anna Ternheim - Off the Road
7) Highwaymen - Silver Stallion
8) Stephen Yerkey - Where Cash Is King
9) Kris Kristofferson - Why Me Lord
10) Doves - Willow’s Song (Bury Version)
11) Anna Ternheim - Words of Love
Bonus track) Ed Harcourt - Here Be Monsters

The DJ Ricks Show on WLMN FM from rachel.yelding on 8tracks Radio.
I would not have been able to have compiled this playlist if it had not been for the fantastic information on Silent Hill Memories - check out this awesome Silent Hill website!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday Feature - Swim Deep

This week's Friday Feature comes via The White Moth and is Swim Deep, an indie grunge band from the West Midlands, United Kingdom. They are still really new and unbelievably grungy looking (and acting) but already it is obvious that they are the creators of anthems; strong rhythms, lilting instrumentals and crooning vocals that you can't help but sing along with, especially when they are lines like, "Don't just dream in your sleep, it's just lazy." 

Where will I have heard them before?

You either downloaded their single Honey or you are incredibly cool (aka much cooler than me) and go see all the latest bands when they tour your area.

Featured Song: Honey

Where can I hear more?

Check out their soundcloud page and then their two singles King City and Honey.

What is their website?

Next week: Foxes

If you would like to suggest a band / performer please let me know! I love finding new music and sharing it with you guys :-)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Color Color / Own the High Street / Riddler Chic

I don't normally blog about fashion on the basis that I don't really follow trends (I prefer to set myself themes such as lolita, industrial, Johnathan Crane, Riddler, etc) and could lead you all horribly astray however as a UK lolita I know how difficult it is to find reasonably priced lolita or lolita-ish clothing in the UK so wanted to share my find with you...Color Color at Westfield London (the Shepherd's Bush one).

*Disclaimer: I've only visited Color Color the once so if, in five months time, you go and find it nothing like I've describe I to go sooner rather than later so as to avoid disappointment*

Color Color sells two types of clothing; your more average high street fashion but also cardigans, blouses, jumpers (and knickerbocker style leggings) in black and pastel shades trimmed with fur, lace, bows, pearls, ribbons and flowers that would fit perfectly in any self-respecting classic lolita's wardrobe (but also good for casual, country and gothic lolitas).

When I went all items were half price (either the shop's shutting down, is having an uber sale or instantly marks items as sale items to get you to buy more) with each item averaging around £25 however I think even their non-sale prices of between £40-£50 are super cheap for lolita-ish clothing.

All items are one-size and I would say fit up to a UK size 14 (40-42). I'd say if you are a flat 16 (rather than a curvy 16) you might fit but I'd definitely recommend trying your chosen item on first to avoid disappointment later. I also recommend anyone with a bra size 36C or above to try on the button ups before buying you will already know if you are curvy up top...button ups can gape.

In retrospect I wish I'd taken some pictures of the clothing I saw to back up my theory that they are suitable for part of a lolita outfit however here is a picture of what I bought (the collar is lace-lined and is detachable so you can wear the cardigan / jacket in spring too. The bottom thing is a pink and purple fur wrap):

And below are some pictures of me wearing it as part of a lolita outfit. This outfit is comprised completely of high street items to show that it is possible to recreate an expensive / unique / subculture style even if you are on a limited budget / cannot sew (the other alternative) / aren't one of those girls who has a wardrobe crammed with Metamorphose, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Angelic Pretty, *name your favourite brand* clothing thanks to the bank of mum and dad. You just have to learn to be selective and diligent. I know how hard learning to be selective can be - it took me a long time to learn what I could and couldn't pass off as lolita and some lolitas who can afford wardrobes full of the real McCoy can be very cruel...especially with that pesky phrase 'ita' (horrible term - never use it - we were all new to the style once).

Flora crown - Primark
Cardigan / jacket - Color Color
Blouse - Monsoon
Skirt - Joules Boutique (via John Lewis)
Tights - Accessorize (though you can get a variety of thick, coloured tights from most high street stores now - I really recommend Dorothy Perkins and Pretty Polly)
Mary Jane shoes - Rocket Dog

Of course once you learn how to take high street items out of context you can create any style you like, be it completely unique to you, inspired by your favourite subculture (steampunk would be fun to try to achieve), inspired by your favourite celebrity or even by your favourite character. I really recommend learning the basics of sewing too. You can then make basic alterations that can instantly transform a piece that everyone has into something that is completely yours. If you become really brave you can even try making a whole item from scratch - I made a dress inspired by the design of Scarecrow Year One. If not it's okay. Below are two nearly completely high street sourced looks inspired by my great fictional crush and role model Edward Nygma / Nigma aka Riddler:

Bow - Claire's
Glasses - Vogue (via Boots - I'm a speccy four eyes so need to wear them however I know you can get pretend glasses at the fraction of the price should you be so inclined)
Necklace - Etsy (great source of unique and themed fashion)
Shirt - H&M
Dress - Dorothy Perkins
(I also usually wear purple tights with this from DP and purple shoes from M&S)

Accessories are the key for this look (otherwise you just look like a girl wearing a tie lol). If I ever get braver I will add a few question marks to the jacket or a big one on the back!
Hat - Urban Outfitters
Tie - Primark
Jacket - H&M
Satchel - H! by Henry Holland (via Debenhams)
Gloves - Billy Bag London (via a devotee of Arkham City Riddler I nearly wet myself when I saw these beauties)
Of course to wear themed outfits you have to be confident - people will feel it is their right to tell you that you look weird / call you names / laugh at you / stalk you - but it is your right to wear whatever you like and you will also find that there will be people who think you look damn cool and wish they were as brave / stylish as you. At first I needed the confidence to wear these clothes in public but wearing them now makes me feel confident and happy to be me...because basically they are me. Fashion is out there to be worn. The high street is out there to be owned.
If all else fails you can be a super geek and take photos of yourself in your themed outfit in dumb poses in the mirror XD

P.S. if you liked this post and would like to see more please let me know. I don't really think I'm qualified to tell people how to dress but I do have a few homemade items (such as the scarecrow dress), lolita outfits and general confidence tips that I would be happy to share :-)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Friday Feature - Frank Gorshin

For this week's Friday Feature I thought outside the box and picked my favourite under loved entertainer Frank Gorshin: actor, comedian and singer. Frank is probably best known as an impressionist and the Riddler from the 1960s Batman series but before, during and after this role he also sang...and was damned good at it.
<geek moment> It would not be exaggerating to say if it wasn't for Frank Gorshin the Riddler (how we know him New 52 Riddler) would not exist. For instance he gave Riddler his trademark giggle (inspired by Tommy Udo). More importantly design-wise Frank saw in the character a dignity which could never be fully expressed when he pranced around in a green body stocking. Frank persuaded the producers to allow him to wear a suit and bowler hat to symbolise this dignity. Not only did this give subsequent writers a reason to write Riddler with an emphasis on charm, ego and self-respect but a sharp green suit and bowler hat became his iconic, signature costume. </geek moment>

Where will I have heard him before?

Frank has acted on screen over 137 times so I'm not going to list them all! He made multiple appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and Tonight Starring Steve Allen, was the black and white racist alien on Star Trek, appeared in many feature films and as well as being Riddler was also sometimes the voice of Professor Hugo Strange in animated Batman series! He performed on stage in plays and also musicals. He also appeared on EPs and albums including 'That's The Trouble with Love / You Went Right on Dancing', 'Never Let Her Go', 'Free', 'Turn Around, Look at Me', 'The Riddler' and George and Ira Gershwin's 'Girl Crazy' where he performs a version of But Not For Me.

Featured Song: That's The Trouble with Love

Where can I hear more?

There is only one CD / mp3 album easily available with Frank on - 'Girl Crazy' (1990 recording) where he appears as Gieber Goldfarb. If you're not into classic musicals go YouTube surfing and you'll find Frank performing everything from 1960s pop to jazz...'dialectic jazz' (such as this example of  pre-Riddler charm-fail from the film Where the Boys Are):

Basil: Like athletes however we sometimes become too finely trained and we need to re-establish social contact with our public. ((to Melanie)) Date me tonight Baby Ruth!

Melanie: Booked.

Basil: ((to Merritt)) Date me tonight Big Girl!

Merritt: I got a date.

((Basil turns to Angie but can't quite bring himself to ask her.))

Angie: ...Well let's not be insulting!

Basil: ...Date me tonight Short One.

Angie: ((forgets she's angry)) What time?!

Next week: We will resume usual service with Swim Deep.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Holy Musical B@man!

Just when you think it's safe to check your updates another Bat Freak comes flying at ya! I've known about this one for a few weeks now but I've been trying not to spam you with more than one post a day.

To be honest though, you're probably more aware of this musical if you're a Harry Potter fan (which I shall henceforth be calling Potheads) than a Batman fan. Holy Musical B@man was created by Team Starkid, a musical theatre company best known for their Harry Potter musicals. You just have to take a look at the comments for the B@man vids to see them spammed by Potheads. You do not, however, have to be a Pothead to enjoy B@man (thank goodness) - in fact the more of a bat / DC geek you are, like me, the more you will get out of it.

Holy Musical B@man embraces the fun of the 1960s Batman series, the style and wit of the 1990s animation and pokes a hell of a lot of fun out of the overly-serious Christopher Nolan trilogy (and Nolan fans). If you only like Nolanverse Batman then this musical really isn't for you. Though...if you only like the Nolanverse then probably no musical is for you.

Despite the bright colours and smiley singing HMB is also not for little kids. One of the running jokes is Batman saying, "F*CK YOUUUUUU" in the style of Christian Bale Batman every time he fires Alfred.

The story: Incredibly selfish (this guy really is an ass) billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne / Batman develops an instant bond with fellow orphan Dick Grayson. Grayson becomes Robin and together they fight crime however Gotham is not impressed that their gritty hero is being camped up with such feelings as loyalty and friendship. A new villain in town, Sweet Tooth, sets into motion a plan to get rid of Batman for good and poison Gotham's water supply. He kidnaps Robin and Batman is forced to choose to save Gotham or his new, only friend. What will he do? Who will he choose? Will he ever learn to not be a selfish ass?

I'm not going to lie - it starts a little slow. There is singing and dancing and stuff happens and Batman's frenemy Superman is introduced but it is only until well over halfway through the first act that the villains make an appearance and the actual plot kicks in. After that though all systems are go! Everyone can act, everyone can sing, everyone can dance. The songs are pop and very catchy (one line in To Be a Man is STILL stuck in my head and I haven't listened to it in DAYS). But, despite the slow to kick in plot, what really shines is the script. It is genuinely hilarious. As a big Batman fan I can say right here and now I haven't seen a better parody. It's hard for me to give an example of a good joke, they all are. Fair enough half the time you have to like puns and be able to laugh at jokes that are so bad they're good but...considering Batman's greatest villain relies on bad jokes all Batman fans should be used to that by now! The script is obviously written by a DC fan for DC fans (all of DC's greatest heroes make an appearance). I'm afraid I can't say how funny it is to people who are new to Batman but I think it is probably a good place to start if you are interested in getting into it. The only thing that I wasn't so hot on was the portrayal of Commissioner Gordon. I'm so used to him being noble and ethical (his own set of ethics, not necessarily the right set of ethics) that seeing him as a doddery, helpless old man didn't quite fit.

What I found very refreshing about HMB but may be the biggest disappointment for other Batman fans: the lack of Joker. Never fear though Joker fans, super punster Sweet Tooth and his bicoloured queen of chaos, Candy (not at all anything like Joker and Harley Quinn.......) should fill your Joker void. They are epic in design (what I would give to own a Candy costume or even just her boots or hair). I think they could easily become part of the rogues' gallery...and probably will in some fans' hearts. I've already seen one Candy cosplay.

You can watch the entire show on Team Starkid's website as well as see photos, download music and watch their other productions (including those Potter ones). Just a tip though - if you do like the songs and do want to buy them but not the whole album That's What I Call Starkid Volume 2 (it's £9.99 / $9.99 for the cast recordings but also instrumentals and demos of the same songs which means in some cases the same song three times) then you can buy the songs separately on iTunes for £5.53.


A more family friendly Batman stage show is Batman Live which is like Cirque de Soleil meets Batman.

If you're a more diehard Batman fan then please, also glut yourself on the Batman musical that never was - Jim Steinman's Batman: The Musical (yeah just contemplate that combination).

See you soon for another Bat Freak!
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