Wednesday, 27 February 2013

D.I.Y. - Trimmed Shirt

Hi guys! Here is a really simple DIY to liven up a plain shirt for dirt cheap! I did this with an ox-blood (maroon) and blue for a very specific reason but monochrome is really popular at the moment and I think this make would look super effective in white and black such these shirts from River Island and Forever 21:

You will need:
  • a plain shirt (opaque or semi-transparent)
  • plain ribbon / binding
  • thread the same colour as the ribbon / binding
  • a tape measure to work out how much ribbon / binding you will need
  • a thin sewing needle and pins / a sewing machine
1) Measure the areas of your shirt you want to line to work out how much ribbon you will need (always allow for extra just in case you make a mistake). I used a 1cm wide ribbon for the front of the shirt and collar and a 3cm wide for around the bottom. Whatever width you choose remember that you will only see half of it as the other half will have been folded round the hem of the shirt.
2) Make sure that your ribbon / binding comes as one long piece rather than in short lengths as it will look ugly where you join them. That means that if you are lining the collar and front like I did it will all be ONE piece of ribbon / binding.
3) Decide if you are going to use ribbon or binding. I used ribbon because binding didn't come in the colour I wanted. There are pros and cons to both:
  • Ribbon comes in more colours and thicknesses than binding
  • You do not need to hem ribbon
  • Ribbon can be cheaper than binding
  • Ribbon is made of stiff, artificial materials so can be awkward to sew, especially with a sewing machine
  • Binding is purposely designed to hem / line garments and can easily be applied using a sewing machine
  • Binding is not hemmed but is folded so that when you sew it you hem it at the same time
  • You can make your own binding from any cloth but it will not be hemmed and will not be folded - only do this if you are a confident sewer!
  • If you do buy ribbon make sure NOT to buy gift wrap ribbon. It is more expensive and is usually very plasticy / lined with metal so will be hell to sew with and make your garment rigid!
4) Trim your shirt! I hand sewed it because I don't trust myself on a sewing machine and used ribbon. I folded a small length of the ribbon around the hem so that it was equal on both sides of the shirt and pinned it. I then sewed it using a simple but neat back stitch:
I pinned it a little at a time instead of all in one go so that I didn't sew any bubbles and ruffles into the ribbon or shirt (which can happen if the materials aren't exactly lined up properly when you pin them).
When lining the collar remember the 'back' of your sewing (eg the messy side) will become the front (the neat side) which is why I say keep your sewing neat!
5) Hemming the ends of your ribbon / binding is the only really tricky bit. Fold the end of the ribbon in on itself so that your ribbon just meets the edge of your hem) and then sew it like the rest of your ribbon. It took me a few attempts to fold the ribbon to the right length. I then used some very tiny stitches to hold the end of the ribbon into place so that it didn't unfold itself whilst I focused on keeping the rest of it folded over the hem of the shirt.

And there you have one trimmed shirt!
CLICK HERE for how to turn your maroon and blue shirt into the shirt Poison Ivy wears in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

No Rest - Dry the River - All Saints Basement Session

I used to be a king alone
Like Solomon or Rehoboam
And in this, corvée day
Did jealous keep my picture frames
And everything did oxidate in place

But then it came a single sound
With astral nights and calcite
And algebra and symmetry
And none of this was lost on me
And I could see how still I'd been before

If I don't eat, I don't sleep at all.
Like limbs in procession,
Like so many birds,
Stampeding like oxen,
Our hearts are a herd,

I loved you in the best,
I loved you in the best way possible,
I loved you in the best,

Did you see the light in my heart?
Did you see the sweat on my brow?
Did you see the fear in my heart?
Did you see me bleeding out?

I loved you in the best,
I loved you in the best way possible,
I loved you in the best way possible,
I loved you in the best way possible,
I loved you in the best way possible,
I loved you in the best.
All Saints Basement Sessions are the best! I hope they make a CD of them!
P.S. as long as nothing mad happens I'm putting a D.I.Y online tomorrow - so get your scissors sharpened!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Here Be Impossible Spaces

I'm very pleased to announce that my short story, 'I'd Lock it with a Zipper' will be appearing in Hic Dragones' anthology 'Impossible Spaces'. I'll keep you all updated on how it goes and where you can get a copy via this blog and also my website (check it out if you haven't ever yet - it has lots of fun stuff on it too).

For the time being here is the list of featured writers for you to be curious / excited about.

And for something equally impossible...

Here is the moment Pyramid Head makes his appearance in Silent Hill: Homecoming:

And here is animator LambentFox's hilarious re-imagining of it!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Friday Feature - Graphic Novels for Female Readers 3: Wet Moon

This week is my last (for now) graphic novel for female readers, Wet Moon by Ross Campbell. Wet Moon is a series of graphic novels set around the eponymous college town featuring the trials and tribulations of the young adults (mostly female, mostly into alternative cultures) who live there.

Though Wet Moon features an ever widening ensemble cast much of the action rotates around eighteen year old Cleo Lovedrop. Cleo is still getting over ex-boyfriend (and ultra broody love of her life) Vincent when she bumps into screamo chick Myrtle. They quickly become attracted to each other and Cleo must work out if she is gay, bi or just going through a phase whilst still trying to get over Vincent. Things start to get complicated when Cleo's sister falls pregnant by someone very familiar, Myrtle turns possessive and Cleo realises she'd much rather have a relationship with childhood best friend Mara. Then there are the 'Cleo Eats It' posters posted all over town, the mysterious almost magical Fern, the FBI guy with the monkey, a mysterious slasher, a masked vigilante and the weird stain on Cleo's bedroom floor.

Wet Moon's a little like a sub-culture soap opera. Every character has a story, no matter how grand or small, and whatever happens ends up being everyone else's business. My friend compared it to a load of gothic girls being bitchy about each other...and it kind of is...but then that's what teenage girls do. What she means is Wet Moon is as much about creating characters and an atmosphere as it is telling a story - its focus is much more on dialogue and the everyday life of the town than it is fast moving storylines. It will appeal much more to young women already into or accepting of sub-cultures than someone who isn't as to be 'normal' is to be the odd one out in Wet Moon.

The best thing about Wet Moon for me is that Ross Campbell never exploits his characters. It would be so easy for a graphic novel about gothic girls to be aimed squarely at over-sexed male readers looking for a quick you-know-what but instead he rises above it and creates a world anyone open to it can enjoy. His cast is all encompassing - characters come from all races, all sexual orientations and all body shapes. Some are inherently cool, some are geeks and some are complete mysteries. Campbell doesn't take the obvious root of making his gay characters' storylines about being gay - refreshingly (apart from Cleo) the majority of the gay characters' storylines are those anyone could go through with being gay being as incidental as the colour of their hair. Ditto for body shape. Characters such as Fern and Zia are disabled but Wet Moon never becomes a freak show and they are depicted as so much more than their missing limbs. The same goes for curvy Audrey - she could easily become 'the fat girl' - but is instead a radiant, gentle, blabbermouth and moral compass. Indeed it is because Wet Moon is a town where unique is the norm that so many of the characters' beauty is so easily accessible. I am especially fond of main character Cleo. She is by no means perfect - she can be two-faced and flaky - but we share the same body shape (short and curvy) which I can promise you is not what your average comic book heroine looks like!

Of course we would not know what Cleo and here friends looked like without the art. Campbell's style finds a wonderful balance between detail and decay, embracing the grayscale of the indie graphic novel medium. All his characters are gorgeous without being gratuitous. I'm not going to lie - I find his style one of the most unique and beautiful I have encountered - I truly find it a feast for the eyes. I really hope one day I'll be lucky enough to write for him!

Campbell starts the first few volumes of Wet Moon in a more realistic style then between volumes three and five become more cartoon-like (Cleo's eyes in particular become very large) and in volume six he returns to his original style. Despite the change in style neither to me is better than the other. As a Batman reader I'm used to characters being drawn in multiple styles and though I must admit I prefer Campbell's more realistic work I completely appreciate the effort and love put into his more cartoonish style.

Wet Moon is the perfect place to go if you're searching for someone to relate to as there really is someone there for everyone. I only ever read Wet Moon in the bath. Bath time is my escape from the stresses of the real world. Likewise Wet Moon is the place I go when I want a relaxing escape. I can spend hours exploring its strange streets and breathing its originality in...well until the bath water goes cold and it's time to face the real world again.

You can find out more about Ross Campbell, Wet Moon and his other works here.

Everyone in Wet Moon likes Bella Morte so here is a song by them!

Next week: We return to music with La Sera!

P.S. - did you enjoy this series? Would you like to see more recommendations? Are there any graphic novels in particular you would like to see featured?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Liebster Award

Lovely Blythe from Blue Roses has very kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award. Which is very nice seeing as my blog is super geeky rather than super cool XD

So anyway here's the low-down:
  1. List 11 facts about yourself
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger that nominated you
  3. Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate, and then let them know they've been picked
  4. Write 11 new questions for them to answer
  5. Leave a link back to the blogger that nominated you.
Eleven Facts About Me:
  1. I love lavender! I bath in it, use it to help me sleep, use it when I have an infection, sometimes wear it as a scent and even cook with it!
  2. My favourite character from Daria is Trent (quickly followed by Up Chuck)...but I hate Tom.
  3. ...I love to watch professional wrestling...
  4. One of my biggest style icons is Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
  5. I have a rocking chair and I sit in it every day!
  6. My laptop is blue.
  7. I once got to hug John Hurt!
  8. I've hand sewn my own dress and will probably do it again!
  9. Some of my fictional crushes include Edward Nygma, Jonathan Crane and Vincent a lamb to the slaughter! Abe Sapien is also cute though!
  10. I usually only drink really diluted down cranberry and raspberry juice.
  11. My most played song on my iTunes is the Editor's cover of Lullaby by the Cure. I've played it 182 times.
 My answers to Blythe's questions:
  1. Where’s somewhere you would like to travel to? Gotham City...though seeing as that might be a bit difficult I would love to got to Seattle and Singapore.
  2. What’s your favorite color? Red, though green and purple as a combination are also a big favourite at the moment!
  3. Are you more likely to be behind the lens or in front of the lens of a camera? I'm supposed to be a screenwriter so behind the lens. I would love to be in a real photo shoot though - just to see if I could look pretty in a photo!
  4. What’s your favorite animal? Ugh! I love lots! I'm always writing about foxes (they are very mystical) so today I will say foxes (but I also adore birds).
  5. What’s the last movie you saw? Carnival of Souls
  6. Flat shoes or tall shoes? Flat. My mum lived in high heels when she was young and her feet now are horrific...seriously deformed...I may look less glamorous in flats but at least I'll be able to walk when I'm sixty.
  7. What’s your favorite fruit? I love red fruits such as strawberries, cherries and blood oranges.
  8. What's something you enjoy about blogging? Getting to read other people's blogs!
  9. Have you ever dyed your hair an unnatural color? Yes - blue - but it went green. I'd love to try again but this time get a professional to do it. I'm afraid of roots though.
  10. What’s the last good book you read? Ghost World
  11. Do you play any instruments? Yes. I used to take violin and recorder lessons. I can kind of play piano and guitar. I also sing.
My questions are:
  1. What is your favourite TV programme?
  2. Who's better: John Lennon, John Malkovich or John Candy?
  3. What are your five most played songs and does the list surprise you?
  4. What are the best and worst stage plays / musicals you have been to?
  5. Is it hip to be a square?
  6. Can zombies fall in love?
  7. What colour is your bedroom?
  8. Rammstein: epic or awful?
  9. Who is your style icon? (that goes for fashion or general behaviour, which ever is more you)
  10. What is the worst joke anyone has ever played on you?
  11. Tea and cake or tea and biscuits?
Now next I'm supposed to nominate eleven other blogs but I don't follow eleven under-loved blogs yet so I figure every time I encounter one I like I will nominate them! ((maybe you guys can suggest some cool blogs to follow!))
  1. Jessthetics
  2. Miss Jojangles
  3. Sasssquatch
  4. Going round the mulberry bush
  5. More to come...!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday Feature - Graphic Novels for Female Readers 2: Minx

Minx was an imprint of DC Comics for teenage girls but sadly only ran between 2007-2008. It was aimed at intelligent and creative young women who enjoyed manga and indie graphic novels but felt too intimidated to read more mainstream American graphic novels such as Batman or Wonder Woman. Unfortunately due to factors such as mainstream booksellers placing Minx graphic novels with the 'boys comics', manga readers often shunning manga-style comics and the majority of Minx's creators being male the whole 'alternative graphic novels for young women' idea was considered not worth the trouble and Minx was cancelled.

To begin with each Minx graphic novel was a one-shot (single issue comic) though sequels were planned. The protagonists were always female (high school - college age) with their stories often being slice of life (though some had fantasy elements) sometimes featuring romance and always featuring personal growth. Though aimed at teenage girls the stories were never sugarcoated with the aforementioned life lessons often coming the hard way.

Due to the desire to attract readers of manga and indie graphic novels each book was A5 in size with a colour cover and greyscale pages. At the back of each book were samples of other Minx titles and three pages of blank panels to draw your own comic.

The Minx graphic novels were:
  • The P.L.A.I.N. Janes and Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg - the artistic exploits of a group of high school misfits all called Jane.
  • Re-Gifters by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel - a young martial artist learns that there is much more emotion involved in the art of giving than just passing an object from one person to another.
  • Clubbing by Andi Watson and Josh Howard - a city goth discovers a sleepy village's creepy secret.
  • Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm - a girl encounters three different versions of herself.
  • Confessions of a Blabbermouth by Mike Carey, Louise Carey and Aaron Alexovich - a young blogger learns you shouldn't write up every thought that pops into your head unedited.
  • Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich - a 23rd century girl investigates the suicide of a friend she has only met on the internet. 
  • Burnout by Rebecca Donner and Inaki Miranda - a young girl literally plays with fire when she starts dating a new boy.
  • Water Baby by Ross Campbell - a surfer girl who lost her leg goes on an ill-fated road trip.
  • The New York Four by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly - explores both the glamour and loneliness of moving to the famous city that is New York
  • Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston - a sheepish girl creates a new persona for herself during the summer holidays as a performance artist but learns glamour is subjective.
  • Token by Alisa Kwitney and Joelle Jones - when a single father starts to date his secretary his already awkward daughter vents her feelings of rejection and frustration by taking shoplifting lessons from a handsome stranger.
Unfortunately all the graphic novels only had single print runs and you probably won't be able to get them in a book or comic book shop anymore (I pretty much looted Forbidden Planet London...sorry guys) however you can still get them for reasonable prices from places like the Amazon Market Place and eBay.

I plan on reviewing each of the titles separately but if I had to pick one favourite it would be Emiko Superstar which features an extremely shy Japanese-American girl getting drawn to the surface glamour of an underground alternative performance art scene. Desperate to be cool for a summer she finds a way to join in but realises all that glitters isn't gold and that to maintain her fame she will have to compromise her morals...and I will leave the rest of that for its review!

I think it's a terrible shame that Minx didn't succeed. The reason more young women (or females in general) don't read graphic novels is because they don't feel many are aimed at them. This in turn creates a feeling that if a female IS interested in graphic novels she is being fake and doing it because that is what is cool with menfolk (which of course well all know is a load of guff). I sincerely hope that at some point DC does try Minx again...and when they do I want to be there writing for them.

Next week: We explore another of Ross Campbell's works further as the last (for now) of my graphic novels for female readers series!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Creepily Beautiful: Carnival of Souls

I Can't Remember - Mowgai
Carnival of Souls (1962, directed by Herk Harvey, written by John Clifford) wasn't thought of as much more than a B-movie when it was released however it is now considered a horror movie classic influencing the works of zombie king George A. Romero and master of the weird David Lynch.
The film is about Mary Henry who, after surviving nearly being drowned, moves to a small town near an abandoned carnival to become their new church organist. Mary is independent, feisty and most definitely not religious but finds her modern views being tested when she begins to suffer from strange visions of a terrifying man and feelings of not being part of this world anymore. She is certain that all her answers lie in the abandoned carnival but will she like what she finds?
Due to the film's shoestring budget Carnival of Souls relies on atmosphere much more than it does on special effects (though being black and white instantly creates a certain eerie atmosphere). Because of this you most definitely do not need to be a typical horror fan to appreciate it - it is dreamlike and haunting rather than full of jump-scares and gore. The character of Mary and her sleazy creep neighbour John are straight out of a Hitchcock film. The ghouls hark back to the sinister torment of a German Expressionist film. The Gene Moore score shows off the beauty of the organ (very hard to do for a modern audience) and perhaps aided by the slightly distorted sound quality of the old film rounds off the haunted feel.
Carnival of Souls is now in the public domain meaning you can download it for free here or can watch it for free online (though if you do watch it online you will need a good pair of speakers to enhance the sound).
Then you can have a good old LOL watching the trailer for the 1998 Wes Craven remake:

Sunday, 10 February 2013

My Favourite Rammstein Videos

Yes - this will come as a shock to a lot of you - but sweet, adorable, little me loves Rammstein. Blame it on the ex. I find so much about them incredible and as the Neue Deutsche Härte (New German Hard / German Industrial Rock) band has matured so too has the complexity of their music and lyrics.

Beyond music Till (the singer) and Flake (the keyboard player) are role models to me. I can be terribly shy so to know that amazingly powerful Till can also be introverted and suffer from nerves gives me a lot of confidence. Whenever I'm nervous or someone tries to put me down one of the first people I think "What would xxx do?" is Till. With Flake it's all about glasses. I still get hassled over my choice to wear glasses over contact lenses so to have someone as famous as Flake choose glasses me feel much less of a weirdo.

So! I would like to share with you my favourite Rammstein videos to prove that they are so much more than angry Germans.

Note: The majority of these videos contain mature content. If you're not sure if you'll be offended or not I've ordered them from not scary to down right wrong so that you can choose when to stop.


Ohne Dich (Without You)

My first choice should hopefully dispel any misgivings you have about the band. No violence. No angry shouting. Most definitely no Neo-Nazism. Just a beautiful ballad and a beautiful video about a group of friends on a mountain climbing expedition. You could show this to your grandma.

Ich Will (I Want)

This video is all about celebrity and how anyone can be rewarded with it - including criminals with a complete disrespect for human life.

Amerika (America)

Rammstein's early encounters with America didn't go well to say the least (they were arrested for simulating gay sex, called Nazis and patronised for singing in German). From these experiences came this song. It is nearly ten years old now and yet parts of it are as strangely relevant today as they were back then thanks to No Doubt's video for 'Looking Hot' featuring Gwen Stefani as a sexy Native American. No Doubt's video raised the issue of appropriation, aka one culture (usually white) taking aspects from another (usually not white) and using them out of context or with no respect for the original culture. This is a big issue in America where racial / cultural origins are an important part of many Americans' sense of identity. So where does Rammstein's 'Amerika' come in? Well this song is all about the influence (culturally, economically and politically) America has on nearly every other country in the world and that to survive in an America dominated world other countries must sacrifice their own cultures to become like America. The irony is obvious. I would love to read your opinions on this. I would also be interested to see if you believe the use of Native American clothing in this video is also appropriation.

(If it makes anyone feel better one of the items shown as bad are trainers but Puma and Adidas are both German).

Du Hast (You Have)

Probably the most famous Rammstein song thanks to the film The Matrix. Our young man has been done up good a proper by his girlfriend who has sent him off to defend her honour against a group of pyromaniac gangsters. It is certain doom but he faces it like a man only to find out that they are actually his old friends! Still...they need to burn something...

The art in this song is the word play in the lyrics. One example is the title. The phrase 'du hast' means 'you have' but aurally it is nearly impossible to tell from the phrase 'du hasst' / 'you hate'. It is only as the words build: 'du hast - du hast mich - du hast mich gefragt' that we learn she doesn't hate him but that she has asked him something - wedding vows (which later also involve a play on words) though paired with the video it is not hard to wonder if she does also hate him...even if just a little! Such play on words is frequent in Rammstein lyrics.

This video along with 'Ich Will' totally inspired me to buy a pair of leather braces lol (I should do a fashion post about them! They are total style icons!)

Mein Herz Brennt (My Heart Burns)

Mein Herz Brennt may be Rammstein's newest set of videos however the song was written as part of the album Mutter in 2000! It is about the monsters that come only for children...and Till's very bad case of heart burn! The first video features both metaphorical and literal monsters coming for the children. In the second video the instrumentals are stripped down to just a piano and so Till has been stripped of his horror too. Though he smiles at the line 'mein Herz brennt' it is the smile of someone fighting back tears and we realise that he is just as tormented as the children he visits but whereas they grow up and move on he is kept in perpetual torment.

Part I - to fear him...
Part II - to pity him...

Mein Teil (My Part)

Inspired by the German cannibal Armin Meiwes this song is meant to incite fear, disgust but also morbid curiosity - the kind the world had for the original story. The music is haunting. The lyrics are deranged, clever, humorous, dirty and poetic. The video is a dark nightmare but it's message is clear: you are what you eat and you know what it is...!

If you like this song also check out the live version where Till takes on the role of the Master Butcher but has some trouble keeping his food in his pot!


Whether you love or hate Rammstein one thing is clear: they force you to think. That for me is enough to respect them in an industry where filling a dance floor or providing a pretty face are preferable to challenging concepts and artistry. I hope that through my song and video choices you have also seen that along with being shameless troublemakers they are also showmen, artists, hopeless romantics and masters of the smutty double entendre (they are six lads after all).

These are just a handful of Rammstein's songs and videos. If you liked them you can check out all of Rammstein's videos here. Once you have watched all their videos you must definitely watch Haifisch (it suddenly makes so much more sense if you do - honest - you won't be disappointed!)

If I was to recommend just one album apart from their Greatest Hits (the lazy option lol) it would be Reise Reise. It is utterly dramatic and utterly poetic. It contains 'Ohne Dich', 'Amerika' and 'Mein Teil' as well as the epic song poem that is 'Dalai Lama'.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Friday Feature - Graphic Novels for Female Readers 1: Ghost World

Maybe I've spent too much time with guys but it always makes me laugh when Rookie references Steve Buscemi and all the comments shout SEYMOUR! rather than MR PINK!

Who is Seymour? Seymour is a character from the 2001 film Ghost World starring Thora Birch and a young Scarlett Johansson as two bored teens floating around a completely average American town in that hinterland between high school and college. My friend Gina recommended the movie saying it was just like me. I watched it and was like, "You think I'm like Seymour?!" and she was like, "No...I thought you were like Enid...!" at which I blushed.

Ghost World the film is equal parts humorous equal parts snarky but with a bittersweet ending. It is essential viewing for any young woman uncertain about her future. Not because it will give her all the answers but because it will help her know she's not alone.

The main reason Gina recommended Ghost World to me was because it was based on an indie comic of the same name written by Daniel Clowes in 1997.

If you found the humour of Ghost World the film too dry and the characters of Enid and Rebecca too hard to empathise with then you will not like Ghost World the graphic novel as it is completely unfiltered. Though humour is there the tone is much darker, coming from the girls' sardonic view of the world and playing on cringy situations you know you shouldn't really laugh at. Think Happiness.
When together Enid and Rebecca have a tendency to be cruel, extremely potty mouthed, bitchy, judgemental and melodramatic. Separated they manage to be deceitful whilst displaying a vulnerability you cannot ignore or not understand even if only on a basic level. Sorry to ruin it for you boys but they are real teenage girls, warts and all.
Just like in the film Enid is playful and over the top, acting out to both get attention from 'normal' Rebecca (who she sees as her superior) whilst also trying to steal all attention away from her. It is an almost poisonous relationship as the more the girls stay together the more they realise it cannot last and that it won't be the end of the world when it doesn't. They judge each other as much as they judge those around them. They betray and lie as much as they support and defend. They begin to notice each other's flaws and as they grow into two different women they realise that they are flaws they are not willing to live with. As with their personalities it is a depiction of a relationship warts and all.
One of the differences between the film and the graphic novel some Rookie fans will shed a tear at is that there is no Seymour. By that I mean there is no single character called Seymour but there are various male characters who if put together make Seymour (mostly Bob Skeetes and Bearded Windbreaker). The story structure as a whole is much more episodic than in the film. It is a series of events, mostly unrelated, that when put together tell the story of two young women struggling and on the most part failing to find meaning and hope in their small town lives. Yet these events are not without charm or pathos. In one chapter Enid spends two pages telling Rebecca how great Daniel Clowes is (extremely surreal to say the least) only to meet him and find he is a weedy perv (perfect 4th wall joke).
Despite the episodic nature of the storytelling the girls' often mean jokes are not without consequence. The results of a prank call to Bob Skeetes make Enid feel incredibly guilty and are the begin of her realisation that she does not like the woman she is becoming if her world doesn't change. It are such bouts of conscience that make Enid the more likable of the two girls.
The artwork is simple and unfussy without looking lazy or ugly. No one is glamorous in Ghost World. Like everything else they are warts (in some cases giant tumours) and all. It is silly but one of the biggest pleasures I got from the artwork was the use of mint green.

In summary Ghost World is a story that finds its beauty in unflinching honesty and the recreation of the everyday. It is as brutal as it is wistful but has both in equal measure. There are no magic powers or happy ending. Only the future and what you make of it.

Next week: We continue exploring graphic novels I think all young female comic book fans should read by looking at the short lived DC imprint Minx.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Recipe: Cherry Frangipane Tart

This year I want to do more makes on Enchanted Blogging so please enjoy my first recipe for you to try: Cherry Frangipane Tart (aka a cherry almond pie).


250g sweet pastry (I used shop bought but here is a recipe if you want to make your own)
50g butter / butter substitute
50g golden caster sugar
1 large beaten egg
65g ground almonds
almond / vanilla extract
1 tbsp cherry / red fruit jam
around 250g pitted cherries

  1. Preheat the oven to 190oC / Fan 170oC / Gas mark 5.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface (I use a floppy mat - also remember to lightly flour your rolling pin too) and when you have it nice and thin transfer it to your pie tin. Desert pastry can sometimes be quite short and by using a floppy mat I can flop the whole thing over (like when you flop an omelet out of the pan onto your plate) but if you are clever you can lift your pastry into the tin using the rolling pin.
  3. Line the pastry with baking parchment or tin foil then fill with baking beads / dried beans / rice (you cannot eat the beans or rice if you use them to blind bake). Blind bake for no more than 10 minutes so that the wall of the tart case is just cooked. Spoon out the beads and remove the lining. If the bottom of the tart case is still very raw prick with a fork then put back into the oven for another five minutes.
  4. For the frangipane (almond paste) beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light a fluffy. Beat in the egg then stir in the ground almonds and extract. I find almond extract is almond overkill so I use vanilla.
  5. Spread a cherry / red fruit jam across the base of the tart so that if lightly covers it. If you want something a bit tangier I really recommend pomegranate molasses.
  6. Next put in a generous layer of cherries. It is okay to use tinned / jarred cherries if cherries are out of season in your area as long as they have been preserved in water (not syrup) and are completely drained (never use defrosted frozen fruit - it retains too much water and makes everything soggy). Of course fresh cherries are best but I really must stress only use them if they are in season. Though it is easy to get fresh cherries all year round cherries that have come from halfway around the world are usually very disappointing in flavour.
  7. Complete the tart by adding the frangipane. It's more than okay if the cherries peek through like in a clafoutis that's perfectly fine!
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the frangipane is golden and firm. Leave to cool.
Blackberry and pear are other traditional fillings for frangipane tarts. You could also try strawberry or even chocolate ganache (a mixture of melted chocolate and cream)!

Saturday, 2 February 2013


As you all know I'm female...and a geek. So it made me very sad when I saw this article by self proclaimed 'real' geek Tara Brown about how some females don't deserve to be called 'geek' because they haven't suffered enough / don't know as much as her / just do it to look cute (way to go on the elitism and girl hate). Though of course, what really made me both furious and highly amused was this piece acclaimed graphic novel artist Tony Harris:

I could take this rant apart line by line mocking the misogyny and general idiocy (let's face it - it basically insults everyone INCLUDING the male geeks he wishes to represent) however loads of people have done that already so I instead decided to take the more ironic root and draw my response in the form of a comic (aaaaah the paradox!!!!)

I'm not that proud of the art - definitely not my best - but it gets the point across. (If you can't quite read the text you can right click on each picture and select 'open in new tab / window' to full view it)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Friday Feature - The Kills

This week's Friday Feature is The Kills, an indie rock duo from the UK and USA. Listening to The Kills is like listening to a masterclass in creating the perfect grungy sound. Vocalist Alison Mosshart (aka VV) growls menacing lyrics without ever overstepping into the realm of plain ol' screaming. Guitarist and sometimes also vocalist Jamie Hince (aka Hotel) rides the distortion pedal like he invented, playing snarly, grumbly, bluesy chord after snarly, grumbly, bluesy chord without it ever sounding tired. It's moody music. It's that brooding stranger drinking alone in the corner of the bar who you know you SHOULD leave alone...but probably won't.
Where will I have heard them before?

Alison was previously in American punk band Discount and Jamie was in the British rock bands Fiji, Scarfo and Blyth Power. The Kills have made four albums; Keep on Your Mean Side, No Wow, Midnight Boom and Blood Pressures.

"Monkey 23" was used in Jacques Audiard's film De battre mon cœur s'est arrêté. "Wait" was used in Children of Men. "Cat Claw" and "Wait" were both used in Criminal Minds episode "Doubt".

"Sour Cherry" in both the trailers for Gossip Girl and Footloose. "Cheap and Cheerful" was used in House, on the NHL 09 soundtrack and in the advert for perfume Fan di Fendi. "U.R.A. Fever" has appeared in the movies The Losers, Welcome to the Rileys, Catch .44 and Detention. "Night Train" appeared in the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th.

"Black Balloon" has featured on The Good Wife whilst "Future Starts Slow" has appeared on True Blood, Contraband, The Vampire Diaries and Political Animals.

Featured Song: Satellite

Where can I hear more?

No free songs at the moment however they usually share a few each time they release a new album.

What is their website?

Next week: I thought we'd spend the rest of February's Friday Features exploring three indie comics I think all female graphic novel fans should give a try!
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