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!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

FAQ About Time Travel - The Land of Make Believe

Before writing a treatment for The Automated Heart I'd never heard of Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel which I thought was weird as it was made in 2009 by BBC Film and HBO of all people. Then, like all good coincidences, BBC2 showed it this weekend. I was a little suspicious as I really did have no knowledge of the film's existence (maybe I had gone back in time and erased any memory of it) however it was the kind of film I thought I would like so I watched it and did. The critics were really divided by it and it only had a small release - hence why I had no knowledge of it - so I thought I'd try and be a little more balanced with my review.

The plot in a sentence: three British guys (two nerds aka 'Imagineers' and one guy trying desperately to not get sucked into the Imagineer void) go to the pub to set the world to rights only to discover a leak in the time space continuity in the men's toilets.

I'd say right here and now if any aspect of that plot (British comedy, three guys in a pub, nerds, sci-fi) doesn't interested you then don't bother - you won't enjoy the film and you won't get it - but if you are a little more open-minded then I definitely recommend giving it a go.

FAQ About Time Travel is in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead but I think it would be unfair to compare the films too closely. FAQATT is made on a much smaller budget, which for a high concept film can be very limiting - 95% of the film is set inside a pub - but I think that makes the film endearing and shows how much can actually be achieved on such a small budget and with a lot of imagination (so many times I get told it is impossible to make a high concept film on a small budget but this is proof to the otherwise).

The comedy is very British. The first ten minutes are just the three leads talking, trying to prove the film is going to be funny, which feels a little forced (and very BBC sitcom) but once the story kicks in and the comedy comes from the plot and character interaction everything settles down and becomes more natural. The comedy is really helped by its delivery from the three leads, in particular Ray (Chris O'Dowd).

With three male leads, a pub setting and a emphasis on geek culture FAQATT is definitely a lads' film. This is no clearer than with the female characters - in particular Cassie (Anna Faris). She really is character lite and little more than a plot device, only popping up to divulge the next plot twist and to get Ray all loved up. Maybe she jars so much being very American in a very British environment. Maybe she jars because the writer is more comfortable writing males. It's hard to tell when she gets such little screen time. I'm glad she's there but I wish she had more to her.

The film's only big, proper weakness is the ending. The film in general is so high on ideas and good intentions that it deserves a super whizz-bang ending but instead it sort of fizzles out. I don't want to give the ending away but blink and you'll miss it. It's a real shame as up to that point FAQATT had managed to produce some actually quite genius moments. Toby (Marc Wootton) singing his heart out to Total Eclipse of the Heart in the men's toilet only to walk out to discover his dead future self is both hilarious and unexpected. My favourite scene of the whole film is when Ray and Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly) walk into a pub beer garden full of people dressed as them, dancing to the film's leitmotif The Land of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz. Surreal!

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel may not be the most polished film in the world but it is charming and fun. It is a quirky little British genre comedy and as a British genre writer I really hope you give it a watch. If we don't support British films that dare to be different then producers will stop funding them...which would be a great loss to British cinema that no amount of time travelling would be able to undo.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Here is my entry to the 2012 Cape / Observer / Comica Short Graphic Story Prize. I'm already looking forward to entering next year now I know what it's all about :-)

Click on the sample image to go to the full comic.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Friday Feature - The 1960s Garage Girl Group Sound

For this week's Friday Feature we're going back in time to discover what girls did in their garages in the 1960s. This was the era of original garage rock and is often considered to be 'protopunk' due to its raw, DIY rock nature.
As the name suggests, 1960s garage rock was not elitist, all you needed was a garage, a guitar and Bob's your uncle. Teenagers and young adults from all walks of life formed garage rock bands. This is most apparent in garage girl groups where the quality to performances ranged from raw, distorted crooning to super polished close pop harmonies. Garage girl groups took musical influences from everywhere including rock, jazz, doo-wop, early R&B, pop and Beatlemania. Song topics were mostly about teen traumas. Though some songs were superficial, because the groups were all female, many were a source of early feminism with urges of rebellion, individuality and independence. Many songs were about crushes and relationships with bad boys and the girls wanting their own bad sides released. Some songs were warnings of what happens when you give your heart to guy who doesn't respect you. Often with garage girl groups the music is sweet, young and feminine whilst the lyrics express a yearning for the edgy, wild and free.
My favourite lyrics have to come from the spoken bits from 'Give Him a Great Big Kiss' by the Shangri-Las. I usually hate spoken bits in songs but these are so iconic:
When I say I'm in love you best believe I'm in love L-U-V!
Well what color are his eyes?
I don't know he's always wearing shades...
Is he tall?
Well, I've got to look up...
Yeah? Well I hear he's bad!
Mmm, he's good bad, but he's not evil.
Is he a good dancer?
What do ya mean is he a good dancer?
Well how does he dance?
Close, very, very close...
Here are some of my favourites:
Give Him a Great Big Kiss - The Shangri-Las

The Hurtin' Kind - The Bittersweets
Only Seventeen - The Beatle-Ettes (Beattle-Ettes)
Quite a Reputation - The Chymes
Bend Me Shape Me - The Models
Baby I Dig Love - The What Four
Big Bad Wolf - The Sham-Ettes (I LOVE this song!)
Next week: I thought I'd continue the 1960s theme with the music of Frank Gorshin
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