Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday Feature - Lucy Spraggan

This week's Friday feature is Lucy Spraggan, a girl with a guitar from Buxton, England. Lucy may only be in her early twenties however her music is honest and witty. By usually relying solely on a guitar accompaniment the quality of her lyrics are really given the space to shine with no topic too strange ranging from relationships to Jeremy Kyle! Along with sharp lyrics Lucy's delivery is very cheeky and her melodies bounce along making her the full package.

Where will I have heard her before?

Well if you live in the Midlands probably a pub near you though more likely watching her on youtube performing in a pub near you! Lucy is also doing the festival circuit.

Featured Song: '91'

Where can I hear more?

Lucy has loads of videos on youtube such as the Facebook and Jeremy Kyle songs and you can also sample part of her first album Top Room at the Zoo on soundcloud - then - when you decide you like that you can buy the rest of it on iTunes or Amazon!

What is her website?

Next week: The music videos of Corin Hardy

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday Feature - Chutes

This week's Friday feature is Chutes, a five piece (four guys one girl) indie band from my favourite patch of the Kent coast, Folkestone. Their music might not break any indie boundaries however it is playful and easy to listen to. Perfect for a summer night with friends! I predict big things for these guys!

Where will I have heard them before?

BBC Introducing has really supported Chutes so it's more than likely you will have heard them if you listen to BBC Radio Kent Introducing or attended 2012's T in the Park where they performed on Radio 1's BBC Introducing stage.

Featured Song: Chutes at T in the Park

Where can I hear more?

You can name your price for Chutes' first EP I pulled the cord but we're still falling on bandcamp and if you like that also get your hands on the rest of their music there!

What is their website?

Next week: Lucy Spraggan

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Shoreham Lavender Festival & Kent Chilli Farm

Last Sunday I went to the Lavender Festival at The Hop Shop, Castle Farm, Shoreham, Kent, UK (phew long address). It is only a small festival but it is one of my favourites! You can buy hundreds of lavender products from scents to ice cream but also buy other local products including cherries, strawberries, meat, preserves and cheeses. I also really recommend the smoked garlic butter from the man who comes from the Isle of Wight! There are tours of the lavender fields as well as lavender massages. The festival is free to attend but parking is £2.00 and tours and massages are extra.

The festival is over for this year but the good news is that all the products sold at the festival are available from The Hop Shop.

Even better is that the farm is right next to Lullingstone Country Park so after you have pigged out on lavender flavoured food you can go for a walk around glorious Kent! There is a 1.5 mile discovery walk especially for children, a 4 mile loop walk around Lullingstone (river and castle) and Eynsford and even a trail especially for horses. Once you're done and are hungry again you can pop into the visitor centre and have a cup of tea and cake!

The Hop Shop
Lullingstone Country Park
The Garlic Farm

In the afternoon I visited the Dartford Festival where I meet our local chilli farmer (the farm is literally just a few roads away). Not only does he sell chillies but he makes sauces from them as well as sells plants and seeds so that you can grown your own. He's quite new but it's obviously a labour of love for him and his family so check him out!

Kent Chilli Farm

And finally this Sunday I will be visiting the Whitstable Oyster Festival! The festival will last the whole week (21st - 27th July 2012) however the utterly epic food festival will only be on the 21st and 22nd. Maybe I'll see you there!

Whitstable Oyster Festival

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Harley Quinnfestation

See what I did there? Infestation / Quinnfestation...bah, never mind.

I'm double Harley Quinn-ing with this Bat Freak so if you don't like brash blonde broads you better click away now!

Harley Quinn Freak #1

Hands up who was gutted that Converse offered their Riddler designs in men's and boys' shoes only? *hands up* Well I'm still gutted but it looks like female fans are finally getting their own back with these beauties:

Also available for female DC fans are Catwoman and Joker (exclusive to Schuh) and Wonder Woman. Blokes get their pick from Batman, Joker and Superman. The pretty cool thing about both Joker Converses is that instead of the trademark black line a line of HA HA HAs runs round the sole.

If you're more a fan of Jamie Hewlett you'll be pleased to know there is also a range of Gorillaz inspired Converses available from all Converse stockists.

Edit: I noticed a lot of American visitors for this post. All shoes featured are already available to buy in the UK however American readers will have to wait till September.

Harley Quinn Freak #2

The other recently released Harley Quinn product to brighten my week has been Arkham City's first story based DLC Harley Quinn's Revenge.

For those of you who are new to Internet enabled console gaming DLC stands for 'downloadable content' and are game add-ons such as extra quests, stories, characters or costumes. Often a game will come with a code for a free DLC unique to the shop you bought it from or the console you use to play - later it will become available (usually at a price) for everyone.

Physical copies of Arkham City came with a variety of DLCs however all were for the challenge maps (either to play as Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing instead of Batman or extra challenge maps themselves), which, if you don't like beating people up purely to get on a leader board, are pointless. A further DLC was a costume pack for Batman. This was exciting and new when Rocksteady did it for Arkham Asylum however with everyone now supplementing their games with DLCs and the challenge rooms only appealing to a certain kind of gamer, the Arkham City DLCs, to be frank, were a bit of a let down. Rocksteady had seemed to have forgotten that not only would 'gamers' be buying Arkham City but Batman fans...and Batman fans want story.

So thank you thank you thank you for Harley Quinn's Revenge!

Harley Quinn's Revenge happens two weeks after the events of Arkham City and features Robin going into AC to rescue Batman from the grieving, angry Harley. It offers players the chance to play as both Batman and Robin (including his own set of gadgets and moves), a new area to explore and a whole new bunch of special Harley Quinn thugs to battle.

Harley Quinn is also sporting a new design. There are lots of tributes to old school Harley (her thugs' designs, the redecoration of the industrial area) however Harley herself looks like something between her Arkham City costume and her Whorey Quinn New 52 design (great way to demean one of the only strong female villains you had DC!) with a whole lot of black. 'Mourning' Harley Quinn is probably the most removed Harley Quinn design to date nearly completely removing her red and black motif, adding fur and replacing her mask with gothic / emo make-up and a veil. It works as a sexy character design and in the world of the story (she is in mourning) however she most definitely looks nothing like a harlequin anymore. I'm all for revamping characters but I do worry that in general Harley Quinn is well on the way to being redesigned out of all recognition and becoming nothing more than a characterless wet dream...but like I said - in this instance it works:

Harley Quinn's Revenge contains about six hours worth of play with a production quality and attention to detail almost the same as the main game (however I did find a few bugs). The difficulty setting is about a medium / normal and you start the game with a different amount of HP than the one you may have built up as Batman in the main game (which I actually found quite frustrating). There is a side mission of bursting balloons however you must burst them all within the span of the story as the game resets on completion (also slightly frustrating).

As a Batman and Harley Quinn fan Harley Quinn's Revenge definitely has bigger appeal and replay value to me than the challenge rooms however including it as a coda to the main game rather than a side mission (such as the Zsasz and Riddler side missions) does lessen its replay appeal slightly. Despite this I whole heartedly recommend it and I hope Rocksteady will release more story based DLC to the Arkham City world!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday Feature - Kyla La Grange

This week's Friday feature is Kyla La Grange, an indie / alternative pop singer/songwriter from Watford, England. Her music is extremely dreamlike (often nightmarish), passionate and raw. It has a fire and determination that possesses you in a similar way that Florence + the Machine's music is both ethereal and gets inside of you.

I've been a fan of Kyla for a few years now, with her music often featuring on the soundtracks I listen to whilst writing. Walk Through Walls helped me write The Automated Heart and Vampire Smile will hopefully help me with two future projects.

Where will I have heard her before?

You are most likely to have heard of her if you are a fan of Stayloose on Soundcloud, who has offered some of her demos and singles for free download, otherwise you may have caught her touring underground venues and the smaller festivals.

Featured Song: 'Vampire Smile'

Where can I hear more?
Like I said, you can get some free samples from Stayloose but you can also find videos to all her singles on Youtube. If you like what you hear you'll be pleased to know that her first album, Ashes, will be released on 30th July.

What is her website?

Next week: Chutes (of Folkestone fame)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Holy Bat-Freak! Zellers Adverts

Another new feature! (Though this one will sporadically update rather than to a schedule.)

Today I'm Bat-Freaking about the Canadian department store Zellers' adverts from the late 1980s. The four 30 second adverts feature Batman and Robin saving families from being ripped off by some of Batman's greatest enemies. Despite the graphic novels of the 1980s becoming more serious the adverts are a homage to DC's Silver Age featuring classic costume designs and voice samples of the villains from the 1960s television show.

The featured foes are:



Riddler (looking super buff)


As you can see, though they were only 30 second adverts and before the invention of CGI the quality is fantastic, which is the real reason to Bat-Freak over them. They really bring the spirit of the graphic novels to life. I'd love to see a Batman animation in this style!

Though...the animation is not without its bloopers...

Introducing the 5th Zellers Advert!

In the Batcave Batman and Robin prepare to save another family from department store misery however Robin has a trauma of his own!

Batman is practising Buddhist Rubber Face technique (you never know when you might need to dislocate the whole of your face).

Batman and Robin rescue the family where Robin teaches the family the 'Law of Toyland'. Hmm that face is kind of creepy...

...It's also rather familiar...

AHHH! It's Riddler!

Discovering that Riddler has taken the place of Robin, Batman has no choice but to put his Buddhist Rubber Face techniques into action, dislocate his jaw and consume Riddler-Robin whole.

You can find all four Zellers adverts on YouTube.

Hmmm and where have I seen Batman's rubber face before?

Oh yes!

And finally...for my fellow Riddler more screencap of Eddie:

Oh Edward! Why must you have such a soft spot for blondes yet be 100% fictitious and therefore unable to leer over this blonde blogger! <3

Friday, 6 July 2012

Feature Friday - Haley Bonar

Welcome to Enchanted Blogging's first Feature Friday, where I share with you an up and coming / under exposed musician / band (and maybe sometimes other things).

Today is Haley Bonar, a rock / alt country songstress from South Dakota, USA. Her songs are light and playful but she sings with knowingness, longing and soul. Even in her most upbeat songs is a fragility which I think makes her very endearing.

Where will I have heard her before?

Well if you live in Minnesota you'll know that her album Lure the Fox won two Minnesota Music Awards and that she is very active in Minneapolis. Her songs have featured on the shows The United States of Tara and Teen Moms (an achievement I think...) and her collaboration with Andrew Bird 'Quiet Breathing' featured on the soundtrack to the film Sweet Land. More recently she performed at 2011's SXSW.

Featured Song: 'Anyway Rattlesnake'

Where can I hear more?

If you liked that then you're in for a treat! Click here for a free sampler of her album Golder (including a special non-album remix) and then if you like that go buy the rest of the album from iTunes where (for a change) you'll actually be making a £1.67 saving making it the cheapest place to buy the rest of the album!

What is her website?

Next week: Kyla la Grange!
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