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Posted in advice, education, Film and TV, People, People and Lives

Murdered for Being Different.

I have failed to post for three months now. This post, however, is too important not to write.

Tonight, I finally sat down, amongst my abundance of moving boxes and cleaning supplies, to watch Paul Andrew Williams’ Murdered for Being Different and I am in awe.

To say that I am in awe seems almost thoughtless. That something of this measure could be considered wonderful and incredible seems unjust. Yet, those are just a handful of words that I could use to describe this BBC drama.

Telling the harrowing story of the murder of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, Murdered for Being Different is a tale of love and hate. With almost 70,000 reported Hate Crimes in Great Britain alone last year, the importance of telling this story is so astonishingly clear.

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Image courtesy of BBC.

Nick Leather’s script delivers this story so well, recording such an unfair and one-sided crime that was unprovoked and so plainly unnecessary. It begs the question: why not choose love? Why are we each not celebrated for our differences, rather than our similarities? Humans were not created to fit a mold. We have our own minds, our own opinions and our own beliefs. That is what is so beautiful about humankind and to pretend otherwise is to provide a disservice to ourselves as well as those around us.

I am keen not to go into too much detail of this tale, though many of you will remember this story from ten years ago when Sophie died due to the injuries that she sustained when she and her boyfriend, Rob, were assaulted purely because of their gothic looks. I do not want to go into these details because I am of the firm belief that everybody should watch this story themselves. Never would I want to write a post that makes you feel that you have already seen it because never could I deliver such an important tale so eloquently.

It feels wrong to call Murdered for Being Different a ‘story’ or a ‘drama’ because it is true. It has happened. Sophie was murdered and this cannot be denied. Yet, this is what it is: a true story that is yours to watch, to learn from and to hold in your heart.

Based on this tragic tale alone, Murdered for Being Different is extraordinary yet the added wonder of Paul Andrew Williams’ direction, Vanessa Whyte’s cinematography and a phenomenal use of music make this drama a cinematic masterpiece. From the very first second, when we are reintroduced to the “world of pure imagination” that transports us straight back to our childhoods, we are hooked on the tale that is about to unfold. We are drawn into a love story of two young adults who had their entire lives ahead of them, but mostly, we are drawn to Sophie, who never had the chance to see how her life would turn out or even to see the movie world of Harry Potter come to its end.

Murdered for Being Different is haunting and beautiful, harrowing and chilling, heart-wrenching and imperative. My heart stayed in my throat throughout but the last fifteen minutes will make you rethink everything you have ever thought of the world. I have never felt such heartache when watching television and I mean that in the most wonderful way.

Film and television is such a powerful medium for storytelling and this is no exception. Murdered for Being Different is, quite possibly, Williams’ best work. A must-see.

 

(I have linked every reference to Murdered for Being Different in this post to BBC iPlayer so that you, Reader, have no excuse not to watch it. Thank you.)

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Posted in About Me, music, People, People and Lives

“I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams”: Taylor Swift reborn.

A return to the blog is almost mandatory on such a special day. After three long years, Taylor Swift has returned to the World of Music with a vengeance. Releasing her new single Look What You Made Do early this morning (25th August 2017), Queen Taylor has been resurrected.

This post is rushed, an automatic response to a terrific song. Stick around for further analysis but, for now, I just want some thoughts out there.

It has been an eventful three years for Taylor, though she has been out of the media spotlight for the last year. Following the end of the 1989 World Tour, Taylor seemed to attract bad press after bad press, with everybody from Calvin to Kimye sharing stories that appeared to paint Taylor in a negative light. There are many sides to every story and I am not here to discuss these but it is important to note that these few years have not been the easiest for Taylor.

Now she returns to the world with a single that shuts down all of these stories: nobody controls Taylor’s image but Taylor, and yet this media attention did do something to Taylor. It killed her.

reputation is setting itself up to be Taylor’s rebirth. The snake imagery is recognised by many to symbolise the shedding of her skin. Taylor has been revived. She is back, and better than ever.

The introduction for this song is very dark fairytale-esque. My jaw dropped when the song began because I realised then that this really is goodbye to ‘Old Taylor’. Once named the Princess of Country/Pop, Taylor has reemerged darker and harder. Still a princess, Taylor is Cinderella circa Grimm Tales. This is no happy ending. There will be no sunshine and rainbows. Instead of “shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town”, Taylor is on fire, burning from the ground and she’s taking you with her.

The production of this song cannot be overlooked. Teamed with Taylor’s extraordinary ability to tell a story through song, the imagery created through Look What You Made Me Do is like nothing else. I can picture multiple music videos in my head, one in which Taylor is a doll in a music box, spinning endlessly, controlled by the media until she breaks free. In the next, similarly, she is a puppet, and those who have wronged her hold her strings (for a while at least). Another image that comes to mind is New Taylor attending the funeral for Old Taylor, blaming these enemies for forcing New T to kill Old T (look what you made her do!). The video could have a fairtytale-theme; I’m seeing Blank Space‘s Taylor but darker. She is misbehaving, perhaps torturing her enemies, and has been caught out (biting her lip and with a shrug of her shoulders, she says, “Oops, look what you made me do!”). There are so many possibilities and I cannot wait to see what Joseph Kahn comes up with, and how the snake is woven into this narrative.

I am always amazed by Taylor’s songwriting abilities but this song seems to have riled me up even more than usual. These lyrics are hard-hitting, heart-breaking and empowering. Upon first listening to this song, my heart ached for Taylor and the way that she has been treated. As the song progresses, I realised that this was not the point of this song. The point is: Taylor is over it, she is bigger than it, she is not interested in the drama that surrounds her. Taylor will do as Taylor does and, no matter how hard they try, nobody can stop her. The irony of this statement is, of course, the chorus and title of the song, “Look what you made me do.” You cannot stop Taylor from doing what she wants but she is still human, and she is still somewhat affected by these events even if only by growing stronger and bigger than any of the negative media coverage that has been aimed at her. Looks like their little plan didn’t work…

I will be analysing the lyrics fully in a separate post but I’m eager to get some thoughts up first…

Posted in About Me, People, People and Lives

I Quit Sugar: Days 2, 3 and 4.

I have not had sugar for four days. Honestly, I feel better than I thought I would.

Day Two was a good day. I had no cravings and felt fine physically. I did get a little hungry at work, especially when my colleagues were eating chocolate, but I held off from eating until I left work. I went straight to the supermarket after work to buy some fresh ingredients like meat and vegetables, and discovered Warburton Wholemeal Protein bread, which has no sugar in and tastes delicious. I bought the Warbuton Thins but will definitely buy a loaf next time because the bread was delicious. I ate this with some cooked chicken breast and some Pure sunflower spread: the perfect easy dinner after a long day.

What did I eat on Day 2?

Breakfast: Overnight oats (yoghurt and porridge oats) with mixed berries, mango and a dash on honey.

Lunch: Wholewheat pasta, tuna, kale and a sprinkling of soy sauce.

Dinner: A chicken sandwich with protein bread.

Day Three was where things started to get a little bit tricky. Continue reading “I Quit Sugar: Days 2, 3 and 4.”

Posted in About Me, People, People and Lives

I Quit Sugar: Day One.

I quit sugar.

Not all sugars, but refined sugar. I quit.

Today marks Ash Wednesday. This is just another Wednesday for some people but, for me, it marks my commitment to forty-six days of sacrifice. As Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days, I will give up something that tempts me for the next forty-six days (forty fasting days, plus Sundays which are typically non-fast days).

My decision to quit sugar did not come lightly. I have given up many things for Lent in the past: coffee, crisps, chocolate. I have always succeeded so it is not my doubt in myself that makes me question what I am choosing to go without. More than that, it is my want for sugar. Do I want to stop consuming sugar? My birthday is always during Lent. Do I really want to not get to eat my favourite birthday cake?

Last year, I gave up chocolate, as I believed it had the added benefit of not just being a sacrifice but also a great weight loss tool as I didn’t like cakes and biscuits that much. It turns out, however, that, when you can’t eat chocolate, you learn to love cake and biscuits and I gained weight instead! I knew that, this year, I had to work ten times harder and really sacrifice something that I, currently, cannot live without. The obvious choice was sugar.

Continue reading “I Quit Sugar: Day One.”

Posted in About Me, Film and TV, People, People and Lives

“Write what you know.”

It seems that this blog has become a distant memory in my mind. I do this a lot: pick up a hobby and drop it just as quickly. I have always been the kind of person who gets very bored very easily; it is an unfortunate trait passed down to me by my mother. I never set out to quit but it does seem to be an inevitable part of my life. This blog appears to have fallen into that category recently which is a shame because I do love an outlet.

It has been said by many, but mostly by me, that I spend far too much time on social media. I spend an awful lot of time tweeting or sending snaps. This is because I spend an awful lot of time alone. Since leaving university, where it felt like I had friends on tap at some points, I seem to spend most of my non-working hours sat on my bed with Netflix on and an intense game of Sudoku open on my phone. Occasionally a somewhat ‘interesting’ thought will spring into my head and I will feel that intense need to share it with somebody. But who? Who is interested? The correct answer is ‘nobody’ but, alas, once a thought is in my head, I must share it and so, there I go again, opening Twitter and sending a sprawl of nonsensical, random and completely-uninteresting-to-anybody-who-isn’t-me tweets.

Continue reading ““Write what you know.””

Posted in About Me, Film and TV, People, People and Lives

“We could be each other’s soul mates”: Friendship and feelings.

It is 2016 and everybody is afraid of their feelings. Why is it so normal to keep your thoughts bottled up inside? Why is it not our first instinct to tell that person that you really miss them? Why can’t I tell my friends that I love them? Why are we so afraid?

Continue reading ““We could be each other’s soul mates”: Friendship and feelings.”