Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Hunger Games (No Spoilers)


If you're sick to the back teeth of Edward Cullen and you've read the Harry Potter books fifty times over (each) only to realise that they will never ever have anything new to offer, you'll LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy. I've just finished the last book in the series and I felt compelled to post this up as soon as possible. This isn't a review, more of a 'you NEED to read these books!' post.

The first book is set in post apocalyptic times, in a country called Panem and is told from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen. She is young, cold and calculating but also compassionate and very likable - a proper heroine, AT long LAST! (cough, Bella Swan). She lives in a time of hardship and want; her people are oppressed by the government based in Capitol and are worked like slaves.

There are 13 Districts in the country and each are forced to contribute to the upkeep of the Capitol in terms of food, fuel and servants. As a result, the people of the Capitol live in luxury and ignorance while people of the Districts live and die like cattle.

The Districts also provide the Capitol with entertainment in the form of the annual Hunger Games. Two children are picked by lottery from each District and are put in an arena until one survives and is crowned the victor. Participation is mandatory and no child is exempt. The best way I can describe the Games is like a Big Brother seires set in a booby-trapped environment where all the contestants are young children who must fight to the death. The Producers have no morals and the audience celebrate every death, with no remorse or reflection on the loss of lives. Districts are forced to gather to watch their children get slaughtered while they cheer on. Protests, dissent and calls for change doesn't get your friends and family killed - it gets your entire District annihilated.

Seriously, seriously give these a read. Its really ones of those books that will keep you hooked until the very last word. Every page has a surprise and every chapter reveals a twist that no-one, NO ONE, can predict. Stephen King said of the book 'Constant suspense... I couldn't stop reading.' The social commentary in these books are staggering and thought provoking. Its touches on greed, consumption, entertainment, celebrity and power.

If you're not convinced you can read Chapters 1 and 2 for free here.

If you want to buy the book you can do so here (Amazon).

Sunday, 20 February 2011

10 Reasons Why Twilight Annoys the Hell Out of Me

I used to be a crazy obsessed Twilight fan. Fair enough, not as mad as those who tattoo themselves with Pattinson's face, sleep between Twilight bed sheets and actually believe that sparkly vampires exist. And they're just the mums.

So why have I gone from Cullen obsessed fan girl to someone who'd rather lose both her legs than read one of those books again?

1. I. GREW. UP.

2. Edward Cullen is so annoyingly boring and obsessive. Initially, I thought he was unbelievably romantic, thoughtful and devoted... Now I think if I was Bella, I'd sit Edward down and introduce him to something called "boundaries"! No climbing in through my window at night to watch me sleep, no breaking MY car, no telling me who I can and can't see, no force feeding and no asking me stupid questions!

3. Bella is so irritating. Why does she put up with all the above? She's not likable in the least, a bit of a perv and seems to have no ambition other than to give up her soul just so she can feel as pretty as her glittery vampire boyfriend.

4. Edward left Bella in New Moon. She's left heartbroken, hurting and a bit mentally unwell but she goes to save Edward's non-life towards the end of the book. I'm fine with that. What I'm NOT ok with is when she TAKES HIM BACK no questions asked. Dude, he left you? I don't care if it drove him to near suicide HE LEFT YOU then had the CHEEK to get all jealous when you decide you actually kinda like Jacob.

5. Bella needs to grow a pair. See above. What would have been great is if Bella got with Jacob as Edward watched on, pining from the side lines.

6. Bella is self obsessed and patronising. She thinks everyone at school is beneath her and OH she is prepared to give up her PARENTS for a walking talking corpse she has barely known for a few months.

7. Is Edward hungry for ALL her blood? Like, is he banned from her house at certain times of the month? Gross. I bet it makes his mouth water. He's a vampire, so I don't think he cares which orifice it comes out of. EW.

8. The fight that never was in Breaking Dawn. That was the biggest, most disappointing anti-climax I have ever had the misfortune to read.

9. It’s not the best piece of literature I have read. Sorry, but there really should have been someone to proof read the thing at least.

10. Some people claim that author Stephenie Meyer based the character Bella on herself. I don't know if this is true or not but it’s in my head and I can't help it. It’s quite disconcerting to think that she thanks her husband and kids in the book, and then hurries off to her room to write more about a sexually frustrated vampire who falls in love with a character who looks remarkably like herself...


Monday, 14 February 2011

Why Do People Boo Jedward?

I thought I'd post this up quick, while everyone is still in the mood for hugging pink bunnies and blowing kisses to strangers.

Jedward. I adore them, I love them, they entertain and fascinate me. To me, they are living proof that dreams do come true. Although they have legions of jedicated fans, I am aware that many people don't like them - obvious by the vile and vitriol written about them and how people scoff when their names are mentioned. Oh and of course: the booing.

On Friday night, Jedward were announced the winners of Ireland's Eurosong on the Late Late Show - the contest which decides Ireland's act for the Eurovision song contest in May. I could not help but be affected by Jedward's jubilation. They jumped and shouted and hi-fived, as expected, but clearly not everyone was as thrilled.

Soon after the results, presenter Ryan Tubridy turned to the audience to ask those booing to 'show a little respect. They won fair and square. Give them their moment of happiness. You might not agree with the results but have respect for all those involved; their families, singers and song writers'.

It was at that moment I realised just how juvenile those people were. We didn't get to see them but they sounded like fully grown men.

What leads grown adults in to showing that level of hostility to two young kids? To go out of their way to publicly be malicious to two boys who have never been anything but sweet and respectful to their family, fans and even their critics. What crimes Jedward must have committed do deserve such ugly reactions.

The only thing Jedward are 'guilty' of is entering a talent competition because they believed in themselves. They had a dream, got off their backsides and did something about it. That's their 'crime'.

It was the judges and the public who voted to keep them in the X Factor. The public bought their single, their album and tickets to their sold outs tours. Anyone would chomp at the bit to have the opportunities that they are enjoying. Why would they, or should they stop doing what they love just because a few people don't like them?

I'm not asking anyone to love them or their work. If fans love and support them, then that's up to them. However if others dislike them then they are fully entitled to not buy their singles, to avert their eyes, switch off the radio/TV and to not read about them. There’s no need for booing or verbal abuse.

It’s so simple. It’s black and white.

I'm really very bewildered, aghast at what I heard on the show and disappointed - disappointed, because some people think its okay to be horrible to others because they're not to their taste. Really? Is this really who we've become?

They're human beings. They're people with hopes and aspirations, the same as the rest of us.

These harmless boys, and anyone else who is trying to follow their dreams, should be earning our encouragement and support. They had the guts to introduce themselves to the world at the risk of facing rejection. Most of us couldn't do that.

My advice: if you really must boo, save it for people who actually deserve them.

PS; Congratulations to Ireland on its selection process. It was open, fun and fair. They had judges, panels and a public vote. The UK, in stark contrast, had no voting, no panel and it was all done in private. The BBC decided we could do away with democracy and just appointed Blue for the job.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Reflections on the Dutty Wine


As a relatively sheltered Asian girl my idea of strenuous dancing was always the macarena. Until, that is, I discovered the Dutty Wine...

I felt like I was witnessing an exorcism.

Wikipedia describes it as a 'head dance' - this is so much of an understatement it is almost a LIE. It involves a specimen of the female sex rolling her body provocatively whilst very, very violently swinging her head in a circular motion. In the words of Tony Matterhorn (a Jamaican artist - I've done the research) they 'wheel the neck!'. Oh, and the dancers are usually clothed (?) in a string bikini and a cheese cutter denim cut offs. So: bum up, elbows out and head like a propeller, about to take off.

What intrigues me is that people have actually died from partaking in this leisurely activity - doctors have repeatedly issued warnings against 'throwing your body in extreme positions' and yet it remains ever popular. I don't understand why (and I don't think I ever will), but I do suspect that male attention plays a significant part in why women feel the need to move like feral chicken.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

My Little Secret.

Radio 4.

I tune in to the Today programme as I get dressed for work, get in to bed at night listening to the 'Book At Bedtime', the ever relaxing 'Sailing By' and then fall asleep listening to the Shipping Forecast.

There. I've said it.

And today I am in mourning for what is to come. I knew the day would eventually arrive - the day when the station is told to get young black northerners listening in.

Now, there's nothing wrong with inviting the young and the ethnic (oooh, me! Hello). I'm just worried they'll do something stupid like replace the pips with a 'beat' or something reprehensible like ditch the anthem because it is 'jingoistic'. My. Back. Side. I’m not overly patriotic but I don’t like change. Not when it comes to my beloved Radio 4.

My soul is still aching from when they stopped playing the UK Theme and that was all the way back in 2006. Actually, I'm being perfectly serious.

Now, to my problem... While I do want the station to remain as it is - that is the English uncle I never had - I need it to reach new listeners. Because, to put it bluntly, most of their current listeners will be dead in a few years they're that old and where will that leave me?

So it is with a heavy heart I guess that I concede that I SUPPOSE Radio 4 must do what they must; pimp themselves out. Get themselves a wonderbra-esque lift of some sort. Perhaps they can get Tinie Tempah to do a few jingles or install Cheryl Cole as a new announcer... Oh I don't know. I won't pretend to understand the yoof these days - I listen to Radio 4.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

There Should Be Plays Written About This Couple.

I spent an hour of my working day yesterday watching an amazing documentary on BBC iPlayer called ‘Do We Really Need the Moon?’ It was on in the background and I was definitely, definitely working.

Anyway, I would like to share with you what I have learnt in the form of a modern day love story.*

It all began billions of years ago when our heroine, Earth, was just a lonely ball just hangin', waiting for her prince. One day a drunken planet slammed into her and sent some of her essence (liquid rock) into space. That hot stuff then twirled into a ball and went into orbit around our planet - and that is how the Moon was born! She was up the previous night crying and wishing on shooting stars and her dreams came true! Hundreds of millions of years later, she got a bit broody which made her habitable and that's when we were born!

Now, why do some people call Moon Earth's protector? It takes 29 days for Moon to turn once and it takes 29 days for Earth to turn once the opposite way therefore we only ever see one side of Moon. Apparently, the side we never see - the dark side - is covered with massive craters. Guess why? No, guess! Because he’s been hit by many asteroids which would have otherwise collided with Earth. Taking bullets for your loved one is so romantic! ♥ ♥

Not only is Moon Earth’s protector, he is also her anchor. Moon's gravity and Earth's gravity balance out so that she isn't spinning out of control. Basically Moon is the 'voice' of reason to Earth who is pulling off her rings, getting ready for a fight or when she is holding a razor to her veins and he pulls her back from the brink. Sadly, this is as physical as it gets between them.  

If Moon shuffles any closer the gravity imbalance will cause Earth to spin out of control, send the oceans flying and ice caps melting. Basically, a lot of people will DIE and Earth is our loyal mother and does not want this. But Moon says he is okay with this because he is not after the sex.

♥ ♥ If you are still fresh faced and young and believe in White Knights and Prince Charmings, then this is where the story ends for you. They have a big white wedding, the whole shebang and live happily ever after. ♥ ♥

However, if you are over the age of 12, read on.

--- But Moon says he is okay with this because he is not after the sex.


That's what he wants you to believe.

Right from the beginning, Moon has been moving steadily away from the Earth. He takes a 3.5cm step back every year so we are still quite a few billions years away from an inter galactic bust up but STILL. He can’t abandon Earth because he is a bit BORED or because he thinks he can do better. We all know Moon saw a vulnerable, overweight planet with a wobbly disposition and thought he'd take advantage! The little &*£!?$

One day there will be a big ol’ rough n tumble; Earth with her stale make up tears, vomiting down a black hole while Venus holds back her hair, Uranus all up in Moon’s face with his stench; Saturn with his guns and moon girls and Pluto the Non Planet looking on from the back, holding everyone's coats.

For now though Earth is still loved up and unaware; still burping when Moon isn't looking, still sucking in her hemispheres, so let's not break her heart. But we all know how this will end – Earth booty shakin’ to Independent Women and sworn off men… until another wastemoon comes along.

*My re-enactment may or may not be 100% scientifically accurate.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mr Ryan Giggs

I realise this is a football related post. I do. I am not going to pretend I am some sort of pundit and I really don’t know much about it at the moment. Sure, when I’m bored or there’s a big event on (namely the World Cup) I do read up on it and can usually out-swot the most avid of [usually male] fans – ha!

Anyway, a tribute to Ryan Giggs, who today was voted Manchester United’s greatest player by its fans. I’m a fan and I would have voted him too. (If only he had played for England).

Also, growing up I watched a lot of Paul Scholes and Peter Schmichael so I am very glad they made the top ten. I know, my nostalgia is not a premise for recognition but they made it to the top regardless.

Man Utd v Aston Villa tonight! We have been a bit shaky recently but I’m confident we’ll perform well. I do hope it isn’t a repeat of last November (!) but I’m sure it will be an interesting match nevertheless.

To balance out the testerone in this post, here's something pretty to look at:

Yes I am a Man U fan. Since I was 10, may I hasten to add, so don’t type the words ‘glory hunter’ because they do not apply.