I just had to...

post this paragraph from the Guardian. you can find the original article here.

"What was interesting about Paglia's article was its implication that, in order to be a star Рand particularly a female star Рyou have to be sexually appealing. This was underlined by her list of female singers she does admire. "Among the magnetic presences in music today," she wrote, "are tigresses of charismatic sensuality or gamines of buoyant charm РBeyoncé, Shakira, Rihanna, Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado." All of which apparently ignored the fact that, for her fans, one of Gaga's key attractions is precisely her dismissal of traditional, feminine sex appeal, of the need to be charming, of the values and aesthetic of other female singers: the ripe, pert bodies, the pretty, familiar costumes."

VIVA LA GAGA.

Chris T-T in Manchester


It’s taken a few days for me to write this particular review, as my initial attempts resulted in the written version of a frustrated howl. Chris T-T is a superb musician. Lyrically, his songs are thoughtfully written, conveying the struggle of being young in a country where the politics are fucked, the environment is fucked and there are no jobs. Musically, T-T’s talents shine brighter than anything you’ll see Cowell & Co drivelling about on a Saturday night. (This image isn't mine)

It is a disgusting sign of the times that I know a student, a member of the group of people supposedly the most educated in the country, who told me that she did not vote in the General Election, but watched every episode of the X Factor, and cried at the results. Despair prevails.

So when I was given my first chance to go and see Chris T-T perform his brand of quietly rebellious folk music for a fiver, I leapt at the chance. Chris T-T was performing a last minute show at Sound Control, a popular and modern venue on Manchester’s Oxford Road. The gig was part of the well-publicised TUC conference taking place in the city earlier this week.

Manchester is often described as England’s “second city” for its outstanding musical history. In recent years, Manchester has been accused of resting on its laurels musically, relying on the fame of previous musicians and recycling a sound that is now tired and strained. This is a fair point, and one that is easily explained. The three universities are attracting students that are increasingly from further afield. These are students who are in Manchester for a short time, and have no loyalty to the city. They are not forming bands or investing their time and money in going to see local acts, but rather throwing their money at tired establishments like Jilly’s, 5th Ave and 42nd Street.

They are not taking the time to explore the city, but all seem to want to be stereotypical indie darlings. Only the newest bands fed to them from the pages of NME will do. Their loss, I say. There were far too few people who managed to make it to Sound Control on Tuesday, to see an artist who deserves to sell out Academy One.

Chris T-T took to the stage around 10.30pm, with a handful of curious TUC members, me and Chris (of Nice Try Radio) for company. Luckily for Chris T-T, NTR Chris and I are a rather noisy audience, and knew most of the words. Luckily for us, Chris T-T didn’t let the small audience faze him, and went on to play a brilliant show.

The best parts were T-T’s slowed down version of “Elephant in the Room” and “A Box to Hide In” – the latter of which usually has me in tears, but which took on a new, more positive angle when T-T sang it from on high. Also great was Chris T-T’s “M1 Song” – an accapella masterpiece that reverberated around the room with truth and beauty. “English Earth”, which I hadn’t heard before, simultaneously broke and healed my heart.

Though I was part of a crowd that could have been, at most, 35 people strong, I left Sound Control on Tuesday feeling nourished. I believe that music truly is the food of love. It would seem that the inhabitants of Manchester are happy to consume junk.

Blog Challenge - Day 12!

"How you found blogger and why you have one"

I found blogger when my journalism lecturer encouraged us to find a way of writing regularly. He said that blogging was the best way, and I've found the whole experience really enjoyable, and decided to carry on when my course ended. As I want to be a journalist, it's also a really good way for me to get my work out there.

I also love reading other people's blogs, particularly cookery and fashion ones. Here's some of my favourites(in no particular order!).

iliketweet

wolf whistle


Emma's ladder in my tights


Messy Carla

Buttons, Bows and Brogues

French For Cupcake (who posted a recipe for the best sponge cake I have ever tasted!)

Blog Challenge - Day 11 & competition entry!

"another picture of you and your friends"



Me and Niamh on our slightly disastrous, but incredibly fun trip to Ireland a few years ago. We're at Giant's Causeway here, hungover and soggy from the horrible weather. It was a crazy few weeks, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

My competition entry for Buttons, Bows & Brogues:

Blog Challenge - Day 10 & The Trestles Review @ Zanzibar

Ok, so I've made it 10 days!

Today I have to blog about:
"songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad"

Happy: Usually something poppy, like Lady Gaga, who I adore, or Katy Perry, whose new album is brilliant.



Sad: If I'm indulging my sadness, Jonah Matranga or Peter Katz always do the trick. if I'm in the mood to be cheered up, old 70s and 80s rock, and the new punk goes classic rock album!

Bored: I'll usually go with an album I know really well, so I can read or write whilst it's on. Cue Frank Turner, Reuben, Bruce Springsteen and Liam Frost.

Hyper: songs from my teenage years: blink 182, sum 41, the rocket summer and bowling for soup to name a few. I also like the Glee music!

Mad: stuff that fuels my anger. Anything loud! The Blackout, The Dropkick Murphys, Reuben (again) and Million Dead.

Now seems a good time for a review:

The Trestles at Zanzibar
My favourite Scouse band opened their set with "A Shot of Wonder", which is, in my humble opinion, a brilliant one to start with. The guitar hook that begins the song gets you interested straight away. This tune got the crowd moving, but the vocals lacked the band's characteristic heart. They got into their stride with “Thirty”, where the band’s musical ability came together with O’Hare’s soul, to make music that resonated with the mixed crowd.

The Trestles got the well-oiled crowd into the swing, and soon there was cheering, dancing and singing along. The Civilised, a personal favourite, showcased the best of the band, and kept energy levels bouncing back and forth with the crowd. It must be said at this point that the new lineup is working brilliant, with the boys pulling together to form a more organised-sounding performance and being visually united, standing closer together and moving with the music, rather than remaining static, as they have in the past.

Sing On, the band’s most recent single, is interesting, but has technical hiccups and should have been far louder, particularly the vocals. The closing song, A Drink of Water, is superb, and underscores how much longer they deserve onstage.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Go see them. No review or recording can capture this band doing what they excel at – an energetic, vibrant and intriguing live set.

Blog Challenge - Day 09!

"something youre proud of in the past few days"

I'm proud of myself for getting a job I really wanted.
I know my family and friends are really proud of me too, and I'm so grateful to them for telling me I could do it.

I'm so proud I might have to treat myself to these bad boys:

Polly Grey Spot Platform Shoe (Miss Selfridge, £40)

plus, they go with the dress from my previous post!
later today, I'll post my review of The Trestle's gig I went to on Monday!

Blog Challenge - Day 08!

"your short term goals for this month and why"

Well, I'm changing jobs, so it's probably to do the best I can.

I want to finish at Hope without too much fuss, and to then enjoy my birthday with all my favourite people. A week off, then a new start as a copywriter/proofreader in Skipton.

I'd like to make sure I spend a lot of time with my mister and my sister, because a new job in a faraway town will probably make it more difficult. I'd also like to feel a bit healthier, and get the guts to buy/wear this:


that's pretty much it!

Blog Challenge Day 07

"a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you"

there's a few someones:

My mister (obviously, not actually him)

fiona & sped

niamh & greaves

my boys. I miss living with them.

my gorgeous sister.

as for things
bakerella's cake pops




the work of toby keller


candid street photography (these are by Noah Bucher)





That's it!

Blog Challenge - Day 06!


My favourite superhero & why.


oh golly, you know I've been waiting for this one. We'll kick it off with some brilliant illustrations by Mark Grambau:










Just awesome. It's much easier for me to pick a favourite super-villain: venom. He's exactly what Spider-man could so nearly have become, and for that he wins brownie points in my book, because I've always found spider-man to be a bit self-righteous (especially in the films!)

As for superheroes, I'm going to have to pick two. In comic-book form, it's The Punisher because he's so not what people think a superhero should be - he has no amazing powers, and he has a very twisted view of morality. He's out for revenge, but I think more than that, he enjoys killing, and a in the comics is an interesting examination of why he's the good guy. I was introduced to "the war journals" comic by Jack, and it's one of the darkest reads you'll find.


Non-comic wise, it's definitely Faith of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. I know she's not technically a hero all the way through, but again, that's what I love about her. She's not what she's supposed to be, and she's the darker side of the slayer image. She's also a lot cooler than Buffy, who I often got quite frustrated with, because she's so self centred. Joss Whedon is an amazing writer though, (I've mentioned this before)and only he could write such flawed, yet strong, women. I liked Faith in the comic book of Season 8 as well, as she really comes into her own as a leader.



The Trestles single review & Blog Challenge Day 05!

The new single by The Trestles opens with beautiful chords being picked out delicately and quietly. It is vaguely familiar, and instantly stuck in your head for the rest of the day. It is when Al O Hare’s distinctive vocals kick in that “Sing On” becomes really special, though. The flat northern accent, with its gently tuneful qualities is a brilliant complement to the thoughtful lyrics.



The opening line, ‘let me tell you a little tale…” takes me straight to drinking a pint in a dingy pub (Pogue Mahones, if you must know). The words echo how O’Hare speaks, and there is no farce here. This is the kind of song writing that I search for, in its honesty and poetry. It’s no conventional love song, but rather speaks of that moment when you look up, and the person you’ve been waiting for arrives.

“Sing On” is the song for those nights when you’re staying up all night talking, the kind of night where you drink and smoke too much, without even noticing. It’s a brilliant representation of what The Trestles do best: create the songs you can’t wait to share. Led by the lyrics and the vocals, the song is kept strong all the way through by the sheer catchy force of what’s going on in the background – insistent drums, a really beautiful riff and a carefully crafted build up and breakdown.



The positivity of “Sing On” is neatly juxtaposed with The Trestle’s cover of “I’m on Fire” (originally Bruce Springsteen). There’s a lot that’s very good here – it’s reminiscent of the original, it’s nicely sung, and it reminded me of something I’ve written about these guys before; that they can take your emotions on a bit of a rollercoaster. I’m not as enamoured as I am with “Sing On”, but that’s because I’ve seen this performed as a solo by O’Hare, and there was a lot more to it. It’s definitely worth a listen though.

More importantly, I can’t wait to hear the guys live (30th August, Zanzibar!), because that’s where they really shine. I’ll take some photos, do a live review and I’ll get some questions with Al for here.

See how nice I am to y’all!

Oh, and here's the pictures to go with today's blog challenge:





Me and my sister on our massively chavvy holiday in Ibiza. It was really "brits abroad", but amazing for it - lots of sun, partying and relaxing! my sister is brilliant fun, and we're hoping to again this year.

Blog Challenge - Day 04!

"a habit you wish you didn't have"

To be honest, this is a difficult one for me. I'm quite strong willed, so if I don't want to do something, I just won't. As you'll see though, it's not always the case the other way around - I'll sometimes let people hold me back from doing things I do want to do.

My bad habits include:
I've been an on/off smoker for years (a side effect of having a group of best friends who nearly all smoke), but I've never been addicted. I can just pick it up or stop it whenever I like, so I don't really feel it's a habit. I stopped for good for about a year with no trouble, and now I'll have one when I'm drinking or in an environment where it seems social, but I'd never really smoke as a regular thing.

Other fairly bad habits that I don't want to give up is dying my hair unnatural colours, getting tattoos (five and counting!) and eating food that's bad for me. I refuse to give up something I enjoy because someone I've never met decided that what's beautiful is tall, slim, tanned women with unblemished skin and wheat-blonde hair. It's just not for me. I'm short, roundy, bosomed, pale, tattooed and freckly. I dye my hair a different colour every month (like Ramona from Scott Pilgrim!)and currently have hair that's the colour of ginger autumn leaves. I love it.

I was recently asked "Do you not wish you were thinner, so you can wear more fashionable clothes?" My answer was a resounding no. I wish I could go running with my friend Fiona, I wish I could sit on my boyfriend's knee without fearing I'll give him a dead leg and I wish I could wear haute couture. But none of these things make me feel like less of a fashionable or attractive person - because I know size 10 girls that can't do those things either.

I'm currently wearing a maxi skirt, chunky knee-high boots and a loose fitting top. All these things magazines would probably tell most girls my size and shape to steer clear of, but there you go. I feel like my ourfit is edgy, comfortable and looks good on me.

Clothes shouldn't be about how tall or thin you are, or how big your chest is. Clothes should be about making the person wearing them feel like they're great. A brilliant example is Christina at Musings of a Fatshionista. She wears amazing clothes that challenge what people believe about how bigger girls should dress. Check her out.

I guess that's the habit I'd like to give up - going for the tame option in dressing, for fear of how people will judge me. Because although I like to write about what I believe, sometimes it's hard to fight against the tide of people telling me what I should look like. It's interesting that I was unafraid to tell my Catholic family that I had discovered Atheism, but still sneak out of my flat (it's in the cellar of my parents house) when I'm wearing something I know my family will ridicule or tell me I "look fat" in. I spent years wearing nothing but black, when I was much thinner than I am now, to avoid comment, so I could blend in. I didn't blend in. I looked like a ninja. I'm freer with colour and style now, but I still need to embrace myself, and to trust my ability to dress in a way that makes me happy.

Sorry about the word-heavy post! I'll do a nice music review for you tomorrow, as well as my blog challenge post!

Frank Turner extract from Sellout

Frank Turner Extract

the interview/review I did with Frank Turner and Crazy Arm earlier this year.

Blog Challenge - Day 03!



Today's challenge was to upload a photo of my friends and I. I had difficulty picking a favourite, so these are some of them. There are lovely people missing from here, but I doubt they'll be massively offended!

Today is all about New Found Glory and shivering - because it is so bloody cold in this office!

Blog Challenge - Day 02!

In case you haven't noticed this blog challenge is something I'm doing on a weekday basis. This is because what with a full time computer-based job, a daily commute and an evening spent doing creative stuff, I tend to reserve my weekends for errands, shopping and hanging out with my friends.

This leads me neatly to my day 2 challenge - the meaning behind my blog name. This is pretty obvious really - it's my name! The second part is to do with Sellout Magazine, a project I created for my degree. I still write under this name because I'd like to create another issue when my current housing/job situation calms down somewhat. I've attached below a copy of my magazine I uploaded to scribd.

sellout_revised


Simples!

Blog Challenge - Day 01!

The Blogger Challenge

I haven't been posting very often recently, so I thought I'd take up this blog challenge. I found out about it via the always brilliant Messy Carla, and thought I'd give it a go. Basically, this is what I have to do:

day 1- recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
day 2- the meaning behind you blog name
day 3- a picture of you and your friends
day 4- a habit that you wish you didn’t have
day 5- a picture of somewhere youve been to
day 6- favorite super hero and why
day 7- a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
day 8- short term goals for this month and why
day 9- something youre proud of in the past few days
day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad
day 11- another picture of you and your friends
day 12- how you found out about blogger and why you have one
day 13- a letter to someone who has hurt you recently
day 14- a picture of you and your family
day 15- put you ipod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play
day 16- another picture of yourself
day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
day 18- plans/dreams/goals you have
day 19- nicknames you have and why you have them
day 20- someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future
day 21- a picture of something that makes you happy
day 22- what makes you different from everyone else
day 23- something you crave for a lot
day 24- a letter to your parents
day 25- what I would find in your bag
day 26- what do you think about your friends
day 27- why are you doing this 30 day challenge
day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?
day 29- in this past month, what have you learned
day 30- you favorite song

I'll do another post today with day 1's challenge!

Tea Parties.

As regular readers will know, I'm a big fan of baking, and so I've decided to put together an image blog post of my favourite things for a tea party. It's quite strange, because my design aesthetic for my own home and pieces I create is really very minimal, so the odd bit of chintzy indulgence usually sends me into dreams of tea dresses and doilies!


This image is from a lovely blog written by Katie.

So, today I'm wearing my beloved floral jersey tea dress from Evans, and this, combined with the amazing cupcakes I made from Cook Yourself Thin, has led to dreams of refined tea parties. This is no alice in wonderland affair though. We're talking fancy ladies, grown up food and cocktails.


Tea party clothes:
OH. I don't post clothes I couldn't wear. I am plus size, therefore all clothes I mention are nessecarily also so, unless otherwise stated. I was recently disappointed after seeing a brilliant tshirt on a supposedly plus-size fashion blog, only to find the largest size the stupid online store stocked was a 14. Which is supposedly XL. Right.



Clothes! I like to combine something really soft and feminine with something tailored to create a sort of sexy librarian look √° la Rachel Weisz in the Mummy (obscure reference I know, but a very good example!)




The food I'd serve would be Nigella's Butterscotch Fruit Fondue, Nigella's Chocolate Cloud Cake, Delicious Magazine's turkey club sandwich, and Jamie Oliver's little "Fried Pizzas"





Cocktails are the Casablanca and the Gin Sling




So! who's coming?

NOTE! I don't own any of these images, they all came from the links with them.