Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: Ghost the Musical

Image is my own
Last weekend I took to the West End for some musical therapy, and ended up going to the Picadilly Theatre to see Ghost: The Musical. 

I went in with mixed expectations, given the London production is closing this October, and will be replaced with Viva Forever at the beginning of November. The show's original cast, Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman, have since joined the Broadway production of the musical. They were then replaced with Siobhan Dillon and Mark Evans, whose performances are mastered and believable. It was a conscious choice to see the show of a movie I've not seen since a young age, although faithful fans of the original won't be left disappointed at the story's revival.

The effects are superbly executed, and cast members are forbidden from sharing the secrets of the visual illusions which take place in the show. Sceptics may be wary as to how, without cinematic effect, the audience can be forced to believe that Sam Wheat is a ghost, but not once did it cross my mind that he wasn't. Although the show is closing this Autumn, it would be a pity if the London production wasn't filmed and put out on DVD, I'd quite enjoy not having to trek to New York each time I want to have an emotional breakdown.

Suspend My Disbelief/I Had a Life leaves the audience pining for more at the intermission. Audiences know the story, we've all had a good old cry at Patrick Swayze, but there's something fresh about the stage version which marks the audience with a raw sense of loss. We know Sam Wheat is dead- we even saw him die, but at the end of the show we have to accept his fate just as his lover has had to. The vicarious feeling of grief travels through the audience, and we're left clutching at the final moments in which Sam hovered between life and death. I'll admit, I bought the CD after the show finished just so I could clutch onto Sam's last earthly moments even more.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Pot of Gold: Graduate, F, Seeking Success and a Vodka.

Image by Will Folsom
In the current state of the economy, a degree doesn't give you a golden ticket straight into employment or an express route into a coveted internship. Graduates are expected to earn a salary of less than £20,000 a year, according to a survey at The results demonstrated that a third of graduates are still looking for employment after six months. At the end of 2011, figures showed that 18.9% of recent graduates remained unemployed, meaning that one in every five graduates had become a statistic for the broken promise of education.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Harlots and Satin Dresses: The Allure of Marilyn Monroe

Image courtesy of Flickr - quicheisinsane
Most women seem have to this need to inhabit a Norma Jean essence and a pinch of Old Hollywood classic glamour, an era which seems frivolous but in reality threw its own judgements and confinements of gender roles - in an era which regarded sex as shameful, Marilyn was a revolutionary image of sex in female form, with the conventions of a harlot in a beautiful blonde whirlwind suitable for family brunch. Monroe had her share of risque relationships and often endured the negative associations of her sexuality. She endured what could be considered as the 1950s version of slut shaming, as focus shifted to her private life. As we all experience our own little version of slut shaming in the age of social media where everything from the public and private sphere is shared with others, Marilyn becomes a poster girl for dealing with social misfortune.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

November 6th: Four for You President Obama, You Go President Oba...

Image courtesy of White House flickr stream

Barack Obama did something awesome, which means a new post at my 2012 Election blog :) Enjoy, gentle readers.

November 6th: Four for You President Obama, You Go President Obama

Four for You President Obama, You Go President Obama: Changing Immigration for the Youth of America

Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream
"Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life—studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class—only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak." - President Barack Obama, June 15th 2012.

President Obama issued an executive order to the Department of Homeland Security that will secure his place with the Hispanic demographic. In a struggling election year where Mitt Romney has recently outraised Obama for the first time in the race, it's a bold move for the President. The Romney campaign recently raised a total of $76.8m compared to Obama's $60m in May. The DREAM Act was initially part of President's 2008 campaign, and one of the promises he made before taking office. Since then, the United States has seen the deportation of over one million immigrants.

The President assured reporters that the move does not give an easy route to US citizenship and is by no means an easy way out, but does offer temporary security to children of illegal immigrants. It means that those who have been in the US for over five years, been educated by the American education system, serve in the military, or were brought to the country before they turned 16 are safe from deportation. The other criteria these people must face is that they must hold no criminal record. The act essentially provides peace of mind to those who were raised on American soil, without the daily fear of deportation. It means that the country will not deport those that are in the country through no fault of their own, as long as they meet the specified criteria. The order is a bold move on the President's part, but could quickly crumble under new leadership should Mr Obama lose the election.

This directive would allow the eligible to obtain work legally. However, the act will only be in effect for the next two years, and so will have to be passed by the next President. Clever move Team Obama, as Mitt Romney declined to comment when asked if he would support the act if he successfully takes election victory this November. Supporting the move and ticking the box to continue the act would not reflect well on Romney with his current supporters, given his reputation of a ideological flip flopper. Those pesky Republicans. This would persuade Hispanic voters- a demographic needed by Obama, to vote for the President's re-elect and would also show positive progress on immigration reform, an issue which has not had much growth during Obama's time in office.

President Obama announced the order during a speech made in the Rose Garden on Friday. The President was interrupted during his speech, and was asked why he would 'favour foreign workers over Americans?' President Obama told the reporter, 'This is the right thing to do for the American people.' And the right thing to do for the election campaign. Speaking of immigration, maybe Obama would like to give me teeny bit of help? I'd love a job in the White House - I could totally take Bo for a walk, I'm an excellent secret keeper.. I promise.

My reaction to this move can be summed in two words. Me gusta.


Friday, 15 June 2012

I'll Be Your Lady in Shining Whatever: Why Men Need 'Saving'

Image courtesy of flickr - AllisonKo
Women live in an age where we now have what we always wanted- a generation of men that have come to terms with strong women, and often fall victim to overpowering personalities or characteristics. Why is it that women see other women as a threat to the men in their life? The bond of sisterhood has crumbled and women no longer stand united against misogyny, but united against each other.

I have men in my life that I feel this need to protect, and I find a great sense of empowerment in that. That women don't need a knight to saddle up his steed to come to their rescue, but that they can come to the rescue of others- even in the most unromantic way. We've cleaned up the mess, seen the bloodshed (literally- don't underestimate the power of athletically built girls) and we've made the cups of tea or bought the jagerbombs, whatever the day calls for. Its a day where the possibility of needing men still exists, but their need for us is stronger.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Quick Comment: Birth Certificates, Reptiles and Obama, Oh My.

Image courtesy of White House Flickr Stream

You've heard them all before. Obama's not American. Obama's not human. Obama runs a secret balloon animal society with Bo. Okay, so I totally made that last one up, excuse the hyperbolic example but I think you're getting the point.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Kids in America: The Girl in Manhattan Complex

'If you only get one great love, then New York may just be mine, and I can't have nobody talking shit about my boyfriend.' - Sex and the City

Everyone has a degree these days, it matters less what kind of degree you have, as long as you have one. But it doesn't better your chances of getting a job. On a personal level, I got the grades I did for my degree purely for myself, I hold no misconceptions that better marks will land me a better job. I heard a theory that the first two years of a writer's life are the worst, unpaid and unappreciated.  I'll probably be working a bar job, so I have one question for you, ice or slice? No matter, I'll be in New York one day. So will a lot of other people.

Monday, 11 June 2012

In a Nutshell: What University Taught Me

A non journalistic post to kick it all off, my advice to anyone starting university this year.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Quick Comment: Birth Certificates, Reptiles and Obama, Oh My.

Courtesy of White House flickr stream
You've heard them all before. Obama's not American. Obama's not human. Obama runs a secret balloon animal society with Bo. Okay, so I totally made that last one up, excuse the hyperbolic example but I think you're getting the point.

The birther row is back. Election time is rife of rumours and speculation to provoke doubt in the voter's mind, and with Donald Trump endorsing Obama's rival, Mitt Romney, the birther row was bound to resurrect itself and strike the Obama campaign with Trump still questioning the true nationality of the President. The original obsession with Obama's heritage led the President to release his birth certificate, the rehashing of old questions surrounding the President's nationality can only hurt the Romney campaign. It may sit well with the unsettled Republicans, but for the Romney campaign to be associated with this type of negative strike will isolate swing voters through the assumption that they are uneducated enough to jump on the Birther Bandwagon, which in 2012, is old news.

The problem with conspiracy theories is not the speculation behind them, but the vision which clouds them. The information the alternative 'truth seekers' consume is just as biased as that of a media giant. If journalists are controlled by codes of conduct, employers and ideologies, then the alternative thinkers are controlled by the will to seek anti establishment theories, in such a way a child who refuses discipline rebels against it's overbearing parent. Journalists are getting a reputation in which they are seen as puppets to release information to the public, this assumes that audiences are stupid enough to consume every piece of bias that gets printed in contemporary media. The problem is the sourcing, journalists are required to find the best sources to make their stories plausible, conspiracy theorists rely on their own imagination and websites which conform to their own ideologies- if you're looking for some weird conspiracy drama to suit your agenda, chances are you'll find one. The internet is not a place where you can find unbiased information- everything has an agenda, and if there are bigger meanings or reasons behind particular people, events or terrorist attacks, then the public will never know. Take 9/11, George Bush has apparently been criticised for saying he saw the planes hit the towers on the television. Maybe he did know beforehand it would happen, or maybe he didn't. Bush continually walked into a minefield in which he would make mistakes and end up ridiculed, and this is the comment people choose to attack. Journalists get thrown to the wolves, accused of not serving their readers or serving their purpose to report the truth, journalists are not creating a smoke screen to distract from the control of the government, they are doing their jobs in responsible reporting- which in case you weren't aware, does not include speculation. I heard a theory that President Obama is actually a reptile, pretty suave looking lizard if you ask me.

The Atlantic Wire have a great article on the Obama conspiracies which I recommend, if you're like me and into that kind of thing.

Note: I'm all for freedom of information, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought and yes I am aware the internet is the place to catalogue this. Don't throw things at me, and if you do throw things at me, make sure it's something edible.