Thursday, 31 October 2013

HOW I LIVE NOW directed by Kevin MacDonald

Friday 4th October 2013. The morning of my birthday and the day when one of the films I have most looked forward to hits the cinema screens.

HOW I LIVE NOW.

It's a film adaptation of a novel written by English author Meg Rosoff, which became international bestseller. And FILM 4 had the greatest idea of all to make it into a movie.

So Friday afternoon I am sat in the cinema waiting for it to start. Now, you all might thin, what a lame thing to do on your birthday, but it's a kind of a tradition for me. Every birthday I go and see a book turned into a movie. Last year it was the wonderful portray of Stephen Chbosky's THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. This year HOW I LIVE NOW has the privilege.






Now, I have a confession to make. I haven't read the book. YET! I actually didn't know that it is a novel until I read more into this film. The trailer itself did the trick to make me wanna go and se the film for myself. It looked exciting!


Directed by Kevin MacDonald - the same guy who put his magic touch on critics' acclaimed THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND - this film has a promise of darkness and maybe a little linger on the subject which we don't normally talk about. And it will keep it real.

I must say this film managed to surprise me. Big time. I was expecting a chick flick. Some other version of Twilight or other ever-lasting love story. But this piece of cinematography was just opposite of that. For those who haven't read the book like me, here is a quick synopsis without revealing any details. Or too much details.


We are meeting Daisy (Sioarse Ronan) an American teenage girl, who was sent to England by her father to stay with her cousins. Basically Daisy became too problematic for her father to deal with so he shipped her away to her family. Here she meets her relatives she never even spoken to before - cousins and an aunt. At the beginning, as you can imagine, Daisy isn't very impressed with the English countryside but at the initial bad impression, she becomes a part of the family. A she falls in love with Edmund - one of her cousins (yeah I know a bit gross!) but then a war comes to England. Terrorist take over. The family tried to ignore and hide at first but then is found by the british army and divided. And that's when this extraordinary story takes massive turns. It becomes a story of survival, courage, love and hope to get back home to the one you love.


What a story line! And what a thrilling adaption of a book. I have found this film dark, mind-blowing, absolutely fantastic. The story itself was through to the core. I found most surprising how descriptive and real this film was.  There were disturbing moments which would normally put me off, but this time it suited to the theme and the story. All the reactions of the characters, all the things we have seen the bad guys do, this is how it would be when a war would come. It was terrifying but amazing at the same time. 


The actors were a bunch of professionals who put everything they've got into the roles they played. Special mention needs to go to George MacKay who played the part of Edmond. The way he express the feelings and portrayed a man wounded by the war was dark, but wonderful. Saoirse Ronan was great as always.
And the rest of the cast were fantastic as her cousins.







The soundtrack complimented the film very well. We heard the sounds and music by Jon Hopkins, Crystal Fighters, Daughter, Natasha Khan & Amanda Palmer. What a musical masterpiece! 


In my opinion, Kevin MacDonald created a wonderful movie which isn't another teenage movie. It's petrifying. It's terrifying. It's true to the core, but beautiful at the same time. You won't believe that this is an adaptation of a book directed towards young audience. But this movie is a movie which will leave a mark on you. 




Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Anton Gill : CITY OF GOLD

CITY OF GOLD is adventurous novel written by Anton Gill  and published by Penguin Books earlier this year. I have bought it on one of my random trips to Asda, when I had a quick look at the summary of the book on the back cover. It caught my attention.



The story touches up on the mythological City of Gold - Eldorado and our constant attempts to find it throughout history. We are meeting historical figures mixed with modern day secret service agents. We are finding out about secret societies trying to find this myth for their own greedy purposes. And of course, what would a good story be without heroes - the good guys, the members of other societies, spies - the men who's job is to protect the world and this treasure hidden in the depths of the Amazonian Rainforest. 



I have truly enjoyed this story. It caught me straight from the start. It reminds me the works of Dan Brown a lot. The main character Jack Marlow is a spy working for INTERSEC. He is kind of mix between Robert Langdon, James Bond and MacGyver. Do you remember the show from the 80s? I grew up on it and all the way while reading this book, I couldn't help but to think about the show. It might be the fact that Marlow always finds a way from dangerous situations and MacGyver could make a bicycle from a chewing gum when needed. It might the fact that we are after a long lost treasure of City of Gold and we are in a constant wondering if the City truly exists and where we could find it. And there were loads of episodes of this kind on mentioned TV show where MacGyver was after the lost treasures and legends. I clearly remember a full TV film about The Atlantis. So this story is very close to my heart because since childhood I've been obsessed with lost legends and myths like this one. 





The story is fast paced. Entertaining. Adventurous. Clever. Tense. Intelligent. Exciting. Energetic.  Palpitating. I love how the author went through different timelines from late 1500 to modern day 2013. We read about a theory that William Shakespeare wasn't really the person who we thought to be. We found out more about Sir Walter Raleigh. We're meeting with persons of great names like Alexander Von Humboldt and even having a glimpse at Nazi occupied Germany and its politics. And then we get to see Paris, New York, Berlin, Rio De Janeiro.. This hair-raising adventure takes you all over the world. 

I think anyone can find something they will like about this book. I found it most entertaining. The story grabbed me and wouldn't let go. And through very clever writing I wasn't able to put the book down. Not once I thought about it as boring, right the opposite. It was exciting. I really enjoyed that we followed the journey of the map through history and the reasons why people became obsessed with the idea of discovering The City of Gold. 

Mr Gill wrote a great adventure. A journey of extraordinary discovery. A journey of a Map to Eldorado, a city made whole from gold which opens its gates one day for couple of minutes once a year. And who discovers it, will become insanely rich. 


The author also made me realise how economically weak the world is. He help me to understand politics and financial problems which I even wasn't aware of.  As said in the book: "Our whole world is built on sand." It's not stable. There is more going on in the financial and political world which we, normal people, wouldn't even dream off. And this book made me realise that I should learn more about this stuff, because once the sand will become lose, we can lose everything. 

So thank you Mr Gill for teaching me about this issues in such a clever and thrilling way. Who would say that a simple story about a long lost map would make me think about today's world problems?

The book has a very clever ending. It doesn't say if this is the only book and there won't be a sequel but it also leaves a space for it. So the author is keeping us guessing what will happen next. 

City of Gold was a sensational adventure through the time and history and legends. I would recommend to read this book to anybody who is fan of Dan Brown or MacGyver. You are in for a treat.  



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

2BAD2BEARABLE

Can you believe it!

The two songs I really liked last week are now number 1 and 2 in the charts!
Maybe it's a sign.
Maybe pop/mainstream music is heading for a change. Maybe the influx of new artists who dare to go against convention will slowly overtake the mindless auto-tuned drones of record labels everywhere.

Maybe I am now the all seeing, all knowing pop oracle of the ages?

Maybe you can call me Al?


I'm so pumped right now! Ok bring it on. What's in store for me this week hmm?








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ah feck






Avril Lavigne - Rock N Roll
 
 

Oh Avril...

I remember back in the early 2000's when your punky rock style and cutting teen angst lyrics actually sounded fresh and exciting. Didn't last very long though did it?

Seriously ever since she released that goddawful song Boyfriend I've just had no time for Miss Lavigne nee Mrs Kroger anymore. Kind of makes sense that they would get together; Two of the most un-rock yet trying so hard to be rock musicians were destined to marry and produce a lot of plastic pop/limp cock rock kids. The world truly rejoices with this news, so long as they never get within vomit distance of a record contract, or me for that matter.

This song comes across as desperate as another song that's on my list this week (more on that later)And the fact it uses the riff from I love Rock N Roll by Joan Jett only adds to the problem. I don't know who she;s trying harder to convince that this is a rock song, us or herself, the vocal is too pop punk for it work with that riff and as such it sounds very out of place. Almost insultingly so if like me you have an appreciation for the Joan Jett classic.

April dearest; you are not rock and roll and I hate to be the one to tell you this but you haven't been for a very long time. In fact it is debatable whether you were at all. You're punk at a push and pop rock at one so forceful and energetic it would spew forth a 'hadoken'.

Can I please ask you to at least believe in what you are singing about too? Is it really that hard? You say you don't care about your make up in the first line, yet you always have very stylised 'smoky' eyes with the aid of make up rather than the rock way of drug use and alcoholism, in almost every.single.picture.I've.seen.of.you. The ones you don't have any on only make you look eerily like Sarah Michelle Gellar. Seriously, they should have cast her in Ringer and saved Gellar the stress of trying to be convincing when talking to herself.

Oh and the video is not funny. Not in the slightest.
You're not funny Lavigne so stop trying. Thought you'd ought to know .


Chris Maloney - My Heart Belongs To You
 
 

What is this? X Factor reunion month? Maloney wasn't even that popular to begin with, in fact a lot of people really couldn't stand him. I'm not sure it was on the level of Wagner death threats but there was a lot of passionate disapproval of him being there. I have to admit though I did think he had a pretty good voice but for gods sake not enough to warrant a record deal! On stage perhaps in a musical, possibly The Birdcage or Pricilla Queen of the Desert, a cruise ship, Haven. Anywhere as long it's far from a recording studio and far from the possibility of a CD titled 'Songs For Me Nan' including such inspired hits as 'The Wind Beneath My Wings and 'Every Loser Wins'.

He won't make it. It's kind of embarrassing too. Not that he can't sing or doesn't have talent, he's just out of his depth and ill-suited to the task. It's like James Corden being chosen to be the star in a revamp of 'Best of The Best'. Without it being a parody.

There's nothing wrong with the song but there's also unsurprisingly nothing right with it. The piano work is nice, his vice is fine but nothing that stands out, in fact he kind of sounds like Gary Barlow at times. If this was going to work in anyway he had to take a risk and he didn't. He was known for doing nothing but oversentimental, fake as hell cheesy ballads during the show and his first single happens to be another overly sentimental, fake as hell cheesy ballad. It sounds like a song rejected by Westlife for being too pedestrian.

And the video... oh dear god the video... I want to believe that is work of genius director of satire and Maloney is in full understanding of the concept... but I don't think it is. Which makes it so cringy and laugh my balls off hilarious.

His like/dislikes on Youtube have been disabled too. Which I'm sorry, not only comes across as being in a certain Egyptian river but also makes it even funnier.





Fatboy Slim FT Riva Starr, Beardyman - Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (Calvin Harris Mix)
 
 

From the man who brought you such killer tracks like Rockerfella Skank, Weapon of Choice. Gangster Trippin' and Right Here Right Now, Fat Boy Slim is back!

With a sample of someone droning on about living to rave and back ground music so dull and unoriginal that it in a modern DJ set with as much impact as toy hammer hitting a battleship. The only thing this 'song' reminds me of is Baz Luhrman's Everyone's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) but with faster background beat that's less pleasing to the ears and words that are as inspiring as 2 Unlimited's 'There's No Limit'

If I may make a suggestion Mr Cook; whoever Riva Starr and Beardyman are, please stop inviting them round to your studio and keep your demo tapes far away from Calvin Harris.

If I may add, if I may add, if I may add, if I may add

Repetitive much?



Here we go. Real slim pickings for BEARABLE this week let me tell you. I guess the brilliance that was last week must be counteracted to achieve some semblance of balance.

Starting with the BAD  (lots of competition for these though strangely)

First up...


The Wanted - Show Me Love (America)
 
 

Oh this is pitiful

I mentioned earlier that there was another somewhat desperate display of wanting to send a message? I lied, this is not desperate. Imagine running for a train and everyone at the platform watching you miss it and not being able to stop your own momentum until all your clothes bursting off you when you finally stop and realise you are wearing nothing but a pink strap-on. That is how embarrassing this song is

'Oh love us America, we've written a song especially for you. No one cares about us anymore. You are our only hope to stay quasi-famous. Pleeeasseeee America! Show us the loooovvveee!!!!'

The song is crap too. As far as I can tell it's about a very possible break up and The Wanted feeling regret that they didn't show her America. It very much sounds like the song was written without the America reference first and then was haphazardly thrown it at the hilarious attempt of killing 2 birds with one very optimistic stone. What they have ended up with is 2 very much alive birds and the thrown stone boomeranged right up their nostril. 

 
One Direction – Story Of My Life
 
 

Well One Direction, here we are at last. I believe I have mentioned you ... a couple of times in my other reviews but we've never faced each other off. I will say this though; Best Song Ever was a somewhat overly ambitious title.

Now that's out of the way I can conduct an informative, critically fair and non biased review of your new song.

Well it sounds like they are channeling the sound of David Gray; which is, and let me be quite candid about this, bold as a brass statue's ball sack. They are seriously going down the 'Babylon' route with a song about a imaginary break up; that is not only as fake and emotionally void as a Barbie dressed up like Nikki Manaj but they are doing so with such pretence and ego they actually think they can get away with it? No, sorry guys. I was never a fan but I had to admit that as pop act you tick all the boxes. This however is beyond you. Never try to write seriously again, even pretend serious. You tell your songwriters that. They haven't got the ability, the instinct and intuition to create this kind of music and you guys certainly don't have the chops to be singing it. These kind of chops would eat you alive for breakfast and still have enough room for a wannabe emotionally deeper pop-tart. You cannot compare this:

Well looking back through time
You know it's clear that I've been blind
I've been a fool
To ever open up my heart
To all that jealousy, that bitterness, that ridicule


To this:

She told me in the morning she don't feel the same about us in her bones
It seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone



They keep this heartfelt, lovelorn, bunch of bullshit right up until the chorus; where they change tact to more familiar territory and go for the full, hands in the air, obnoxious shouting whilst pretending to sing. As they always do. Screw this overblown bunch of processed posers that are so manufactured they should be stamped with a expiry date and a barcode on their face.


First BEARABLE is (and I mean that quite literally in the first case)


Eminem FT Rihanna - The Monster
 
 

I can't help compare this song to the tour de force of personality and two artist at the very top of their game which is Love The Way You Lie. This however is incredibly dull. Shady not only sounds bored but also really whiney, not a good trait for him to have. His lyrical wordplay is much better suited to dissing than self pitying remenising. As I mentioned in my Berzerk review, it's possible he's running on empty.

Rihanna's hook in the chorus fares little better; the melody falls somewhere between 'that's lame' and 'where have I heard this tune before...?'

You probably haven't but it sounds so copy and paste that you'll think you have done. Maybe you have indeed, but I've not been able to ... oh hang on minute.... yep, call me crazy but I think it sounds like a very emotionally watered down, sped up tempo version of the chorus in 'Empire State Of Mind' Yeah, I know that's a stretch even for me

 
Franz Ferdinand - Evil Eye 
 
 

I've heard this track a few time on adverts and what not, never did I even think that this was Franz Ferdinand. The singer just doesn't sound right though in this track. When they came out with their first album every single track was unique, great to dance to and some truly creative guitar riffs.

The song is good though, it's catchy and will do very well at a Halloween party (which is obviously what they were going for, right down to the ever present Ghost Train riff and dark lyrics, not to mention insanely creepy video. I very much doubt however this song will still be danced to by people dressed in fake blood and binbags in 10 years time though. At least they'll still be able to stick Take Me Out for some crowd recognition



I really hope last week wasn't a fluke

I've got my prophet robe, crystal ball and everything. I should have the beard ready by 2019

If I'm going for a goatee


Later all, thanks for reading



Monday, 28 October 2013

#MusicMonday

Hello there lovelies, 

How was your weekend? We here at Secret Reading Garden had a fantastic weekend. We blew off the steam with Dark Russians and dancing to Jazz music in one of the best bars in Leeds

Unfortunately, the weekend has passed and now it's time to go back to work. And on the first morning, it decided to rain, what a "lovely" weather it is!!! Anyways, no gigs for me this week so I have decided to share with you couple of tracks I am obsessing about at the moment. 

So here it goes, our #MusicMonday is here, I hope you will enjoy it :-)


ROYALS by Lorde


The newest talent on the music scene. Perfect lyrics. Great tune. This girl has the whole world down at her feet. UK's newest number 1 single. I have pre-ordered her debut album PURE HEROINE came out today 28th October 2013. I predict a wonderful future for this young talent. 



SEE IF I CARE by Tom Odell


Literally obsessed with this track since hearing it live. Tom sung and played this song on his recent tour. And when he did it, he came across as the cheeky guy who girls wants to fall in love with. A heart-breaker has been born. 



STAY by Rihanna & Mikky Echo 


My favourite song from Rihanna. A wonderful ballad which gets to you straight away. Beautiful. Tragic. Heart-breaking. Well done Ri-Ri. 



WICKED GAME by Chris Isaak


What a classic! This track is one of the most powerful ballads in history. There were so many version of this tune, but the original still remains the best. 



HIGHER LOVE by James Vincent McMorrow


James Vincent McMorrow has such a beautiful voice. His whole album is melancholic, romantic and heart-breaking. It gets deep into your heart and touches your soul. Beautiful sweet sound which gets you and you have no chance to run away from it


Hope you enjoy this week's playlist. Have a wonderful week. Let's hope the weather will get better. 
Happy listening xXx

Sunday, 27 October 2013

50 Shades of (D)read: Chapter 3 - Holy Crap!


We left Ana with the completely unexpected revelation that she may actually like Mr Grey in a purely non-platonic way. Despite that fact that he's been all she ever thinks and dreams about since they first met, but hey we can't be too on the nose about these things.

Kate is very pleased about the idea of a photo shoot with Mr Grey, she's actually more than pleased; she's ecstatic. I'm not exaggerating, it's the opening line of the chapter.

"Kate is ecstatic."

 See

Also Kate tried to drill it in some more that Grey may actually like Ana too, based on descriptions of every single interaction she has had with the man. Ana shrugs off the idea that he may have come to the exact hardware store that she works in as just coincidence. Hmm... the same coincidence/plot contrivance that makes the photographer they choose for this honour being none other than Jose 'things would be much different if I was rich' Rodriguez: Ana's best friend and favourite cock to tease.

So Ms James, he just happens to be a photographer does he? Of course. There would be no reason for him to meet Mr Grey otherwise and they have to meet to start this whole love triangle properly (which is as much a triangle as a trapezium is an actual trapeze) They couldn't have possibly have met at the store that she works at because that's where he met the other 'no chance of even a Christmas Card' suitor, who at this moment hasn't even progressed to clichĂ© geometric metaphors. So obviously James had to shoe-horn a way of getting Jose so hence he's a photographer. My mind is turning no-hands cartwheels at this unparalleled creativity. Jose, predictably (gasp) is a little uncertain:

"I do places, Ana. Not people"

Fear not Joe, the man is so egotistically vast that he probably needs planning permission whenever he goes to the barbers, I'm sure you'll be fine. You'll want to punch him but you'll be fine.

Ana takes out the Sacred Business Card of Grey and before Indiana Jones swoops in a claims such a priceless artefact should belong in a museum and calls the number. To which presumably this one use only card self destructs like a Mission:Impossible cassette tape.

Mr Greystoke: Lord of the Consensual Rapes agrees on tomorrow for the photoshoot so all in all the call goes better than expected, considering that Ana during the brief conversation, doesn't recognise her own voice and has to remind herself to breathe. She seems to be doing this a lot and it actually makes me wonder if Ana either has a problem with long-term memory or some undisclosed genetic defect which would require surgery to install an internal respirator. All she seems to do is flush, blush and forget that her lungs are not just a fashion accessory. Imagination and creativity James? Bah who needs it when you've got repetition and trite expressions on how much a person can 'take your breath away' At least you actually described Christiano Greynaldo as having smoky eyes instead of bright. Round of a freaking applause for that U-turn.

*clap clap*

So tomorrow swings by in the next paragraph, the photo-shoot is on and Richie Bitch turns up wearing a white shirt and grey (OF COURSE!) pants. To which Ana responds in her mind (I flipping hope so) with:

"Holy Crap!"

I knowww, the shock of horror of him wearing a different shade of clothing other than grey and said white shirt unbuttoned at the top must be too much for your poor, virginal mind to handle. Aww didums.

And now the drooling really can begin. She's so overwhelmed by his very boringly described appearance I'm surprised she doesn't faint on the spot in the hope of mouth to tongue resuscitation

Anyway to cut a long and boring story short. I'll break it down into 4 key parts (which was a task in itself in this snooze fest

  • The photo shoot goes fine, Grey is introduced to Black (sorry, Jose) and he seems cold towards him because he suspects they maybe an item. Ana and Jose that is
  • Grey invites Ana for coffee, which after some fiddling with transport arrangements she agrees to do (shock) even though she doesn't like coffee (double shock)
  • They go for coffee and talk about very little of interest, Grey comes across a quite cold and not very charming which gives Ana cause for concern (for about 2 mins)
  • Grey saves Ana from being hit by a Bradley Wiggins trainee, she ends up in Grey's arms and in her own mind projected words:

"For the first time in twenty one years, I want to be kissed. I want to feel his mouth on mine"

So she's a virgin then?




Codswallop  
















  







Saturday, 26 October 2013

X FACTOR - WTF will they sing?



As we all know; X Factor is on tonight at 8pm. As some of you know, I've started to write about it on this very blog (there's at least 17 of you) As most of you will not know however tonight I will be unable to put my live commentary on tonight's episode due a to a blogger meeting and the possibility of getting so rat-arsed I'd be able to count the contours on the unfortunate rodent's colon. But what kind of a person would I be to use that as an excuse to not do any kind of blogging today? Apart from a perfectly normal person who's smart enough that no one gives a crap.

So instead here are my predictions (with no prior knowledge other than what the contestants sound like and what their Judge's taste in films are) of what they will sing in....


X FACTOR - movie magic week



I'm going to put my predictions as to which film sound track song they will sing in alphabetical order of the contestant, for no other reason than I have some time to kill before I'm so full of Sambuca, one little spark and I could be used as a stunt double for the Human Torch





Abi Alton

She's geeky and she's kooky but hardly mysterious or spooky so with that in mind I would definitely say that 'Love Song For A Vampire' (Dracula) is out.

Which leaves with either something from (Juno) or something from (500 Days Of Summer)

Either way, it will be have a piano in it


Sam Bailey

Over 25, over the hill and may just sing 'Over The Rainbow' (Wizard of Oz) for good measure, because let's face it; no one has ever thought of attempting a heart felt but misguided cover of what I can only presume is supposed to be Eva Cassidy's version, have they? Saying that she may surprise us and go with something a little more original and only on every other X Factor series rather than every single year. With that in mind 'There You'll Be' (Pearl Harbour)

She or Sharon surely won't be as unimaginative and saccharine as to do 'My Heart Will Go On?' (Titanic) Will they?  


Hannah Barrett

Something by Whitney Houston, something by Beyoncé

Either way it will be a ballad. Either way it will be sung in the wrong key because she doesn't have the right voice and either way it will sound ok but too unusual to be really good.

Either way I will be bored.

 

Sam Callahan

Ok well this guy seems like he may enjoy a good film or so how about 'You Never Can Tell' (Pulp Fiction')

Nope?... ok how about 'Eye of The Tiger'? (Rocky III) You know to really stand out with a memorable performance by choosing an awesome song?

Ok... I guess that just leaves 'Everything I Do I Do It For You' (Robin Hood: Prince Of Theives) at which point I will cry for the death of imaginative thinking.

If he (or anyone) sings 'Iris' (City Of Angels) I will personally enlarge theirs using a bbq tongs. Their narrow minded view of the music must be enhanced in someway, hence their ears will be next.



Kingsland Road 

These guys could actually have so little imagination they may just choose any song featured in '1D This Is Us' If they do I really hope it shows the public how unworthy they are to get your votes. There's standing on the shoulders of giants, then there's standing on Harry Styles; and not wanting to do so on his face.

If they do pick an actual film song however, it's going to be from a teen film. With that in mind it has to be 'St Elmos Fire' (The Breakfast Club) Oh damn, sorry wrong decade and far too much taste. My mistake. I meant Carry You  'Kick Ass 2'


Luke Friend

Based on hair alone the only viable option for this dreadlocked bundle of mediocrity is 'Tutti Fruiti' (Predator) but in the end he'll probably make a fool of himself trying to sing something like 'The Blower's Daughter' (Closer) 



Nicholas McDonald

He's a little guy with a big voice and a lot of range so naturally the only song he should sing is 'It's A Man's Man's Man World' (A Bronx Tail) or 'When A Man Loves A Woman' (Er...)

He could do 'Flash' (Flash Gordon) but then it's already used in the 'Flash' vote section of the programme, so that would be weird.

When all is said and done however he'll probably just end up singing 'Circle Of Life' (Lion King) But then, what would he sing on Elton John week? He won't know any more of his songs.


Miss Dynamix

This is a tricky one as due them being given a pregnant pause brought on by a panic attack, I haven't heard them perform as of yet. True, I could check Youtube or ITV player for something earlier in the series but I'll be honest I just can't be arsed. Besides, judging by their appearance alone I reckon they will be RnB street style with a touch of hip-pop rather than sounding like Heart, or The Housemartins.

So with that in mind they are obviously going to perform 'Shy Guy' (Bad Boys) Or *shudders* Tina & Ike's 'Proud Mary' (What's Love Gotta Do With It)

 
 

Rough Copy

There are so many possibilities with this band and their choice. They could go completely insane and try 'Stuck In The Middle With You' (Reservoir Dogs), 'These Arms Of Mine' (Dirty Dancing) even 'Hip To Be Square' (American Psycho)

But overall I think they will do something a little 'out there' my mixing soul and hip-hop-pop

Maybe a bland version of a Righteous Brothers song; either 'You Lost That Loving Feeling (Top Gun) or Unchained Melody (Ghost)

One of Barlow's bands is definitely going sing 'Rule The World' (Stardust) however 



So there we go, will I be right? Will I bumble!

Have fun watching it tonight, I'll have fun not watching it and seeing the world going very blurry

With my glasses still on and empty ones in my hand

Laters



 







 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Kate Morton : THE SECRET KEEPER



THE SECRET KEEPER is a book written by best-selling author Kate Morton. Morton hit the fame's high when her first novel The House At Riverton became an international best-seller.

I have bought this novel some time ago and it has been resting on my shelf until two weeks ago, when I decided to give it a go. As you all know, I am not a big reader of Adult novels as they continuously failed to impress me. I usually stay within the genres I love - Young Adult Novels and Romance, but this book caught my eye. And of course, there is the fact that I am trying to widen my horizons.

Praised by various publications and media, I decided to give it a try and find out for myself, what is this book about. And who wouldn't want to read a book which impressed so many!


"A nuanced exploration of family secrets and betrayal, Morton's latest is captivating. " PEOPLE

" An evocative tale of wartime secrets... beguiling." MARIE CLAIRE GOOD BOOK CLUB

"A haunting story... packed with memorable characters and evocative settings. Cleverly constructed and beautifully written, this is the perfect summer read." CHOICE

Now, reading these reviews, you might think: "Wow, that does sound interesting. You are in for a treat.!" I want you to remember the last recommendation written by Choice. We will come back to in at the end.





Firstly, let me give you a quick summary of the story. We are meeting Laurel who lives a happy family life with 3 sisters, parents and small brother in country sides. Some of us might find the life boring, but the Nicholsons family is a happy family. Until one hot summer day, when Laurel witnesses how her mother Dorothy kills a man. With a cake knife.

Years later, Laurel is Oscar winning actress (twice to be precise) and what has happened that summer afternoon is still on her mind. Her mother is dying and before she passes away, Laurel wants to find out why her mother did such an awful act against another human being.



It all sounds intriguing, doesn't it? I am expecting to not be able to put the book down. Maybe there will be spies for the german or USA. Adventure. Excitement.  A Mind-blowing story...

Instead I am stuck with family saga, which is wonderfully written, but pretty boring. I am sorry Ms Morton, but you don't need to write a full paragraph describing how a girl sit on a bed. This book is too descriptive. Too much detail - no room for imagination. And sometimes I just think that the author is just mumbling on. Just get to the point. Make it interesting! Please... I am begging you!

I've been struggling with this book for 2 whole weeks. 588 pages of lost time. I love reading, but through this story I found myself looking for other things to do than read the story. And that is not good. I was able to put it down too easily.

Yes, I can understand that this is an adult novel. And maybe the mumbling of the author is part of adult writing, but I could not relate to any of the main characters. Dolly is a spoilt brat. I caught myself wanting to slap her to realise that there is a war going on around her, people are losing families, homes..everything. And all she cares about is pretty things and that her friend didn't acknowledge her in front of the husband. So I know, I am going to hatch a plan to blackmail her because I think it's justified. NO NO NO!! Girl, wake up!!

Jimmy Metcalf. What a lovely man stuck in love with a pretty girl who actually rejects the proposal for marriage because he isn't rich and she is ashamed of him. And when she decides to come back to him, it's only to use him to full-fill her ill blackmail plan. Boy, seriously, get another girl! This one is not worth the effort!


Anyways, I did continue to read on, even when it has been forced so I can write an honest review about this novel. 350 pages in and I am still finding it boring, we are no closer to find out what has happened. I understand that this is only a part where the author is setting up the scene for a big revelation. But OH MY GOD, make it interesting!! But then it all changes in the third part of the book named VIVIEN. And I am finally meeting a character I am warming up to. I love Vivien. She is such a wonderful person and her story is the best one. I keep reading on and finally get to the big UNEXPECTED TWIST. THANK GOD. I am finally starting to enjoy this book 22 chapters in. That's a very long time.

So I finished the book this morning. I must say that the twist at the end saved the author. Finally I understood why she was telling the story through four different characters. But she could save me a lot of wasted time. I would write it a different way. I didn't like the idea of jumping to presence where Laurel is trying to find out what has happened all those years ago. I don't think it's good for the book. The author could save a lot more trees if the story would be written a slightly different way.

So back to what the CHOICE MAGAZINE said about this book. A haunting story? No, this is not a haunting story. It's actually a pretty boring story with a great twist at the end, but it's not haunting. When you finish the book, you do not sit for a while and think about it. You just put it back on the bookshelf and do not come back to it for a couple of years, if EVER. It's a story which doesn't leave a mark on you.

A book packed with memorable characters and evocative settings? There are two memorable characters. Jimmy and Vivien. Dorothy is just spoilt girl who needs a slap. Evocative settings ? Yes. I did enjoy the parts which took place in London bombed through the WWII.

Cleverly constructed and beautifully written? I can agree with that. Every single chapter which is written in 1941 ties together nicely at the end.  So yes, it's cleverly constructed and yes, it's beautifully written. A bit too much descriptive, but beautiful words were used.

A perfect summer read? Now, that depends on how you want to look at it. If you want something to kill the time while sunning on the beach, that yes. You can put the book down and then come back to it later couple days after and you won't miss a thing. But if you are looking for  a book which will capture  your attention and wouldn't let go.. then the answer is NO. Not for me at least.

So to summarise what I thought about The Secret Keeper. A Pretty boring book with a great unexpected ending and twist. I wish though, that the author would spend less time describing the settings and more time on the story itself.

I Read it. I Wrote the review. I Put it back on my book shelf and won't come back to it. Sorry Kate Morton. But I really didn't like the book for good 75% and wouldn't want to suffer through it again.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

2BAD2BEARABLE


Hello all, lots to do and very little time so no big intro today. Enjoy the vids 
 
 




Kate Nash - Fri-end?
 
 
 
Is it me or is this song auto-tuned? Whatever the answer her vocal sounds distorted enough to hide the annoying, completely flase inflections of her normally cheese grating voice but why does it have the auditory effect of a wall to wall neighbour singing in the shower? It sounds so distant, almost like she's holding the mic away from her for fear of it biting her nose off (should have gone to Specsavers) At times this almost sounds punk. I can actually imagine Johnny Rotten spitting out the words in his usual reserved manner. That's if the lyrics were less about having awkward sex with a friend and more about nice trips to Jersey and abortion.    
 
 
 
To Kill A King - Rays
 
 

Ok, it's been nearly 2 minutes now and what I've heard thus far is some distant voices, a few ducks and what sounds like someone making a smoothie. I know I'm obviously supposed to watch what is going on with the video rather than just, you know, listening to it: The way music is meant to be experienced by frigging default. I bet you anything, just on the soundtrack alone, the beginning visual accompaniment will not be worth watching. Let me test that.


Yup I was right, although the video overall is fairly good compared to most there is no reason why that intro lasted as long as it did. The video should have begun 2 seconds before the guy starts his out of body popping experience all over the front room.

The song? Oh yeah, sorry. Errr... the song isn't bad. The guy's got a very Neil Hannon vibe to his voice and the song sounds legitimately quirky by being a bit bonkers, rather than just singing in a funny voice or using stupid lyrical references. With such a slow, deliberate yet rich baritone vocal though, overall the song doesn't reach the excitement the fast paced guitar is working so hard to generate. So while catchy the song loses impact by having too much contrast between it's two main driving elements.



 Ms Dynamite and Shy FX - Cloud 9
 
 
 
You know it's been so long sing I heard a Ms Dynamite-tee heeee song I've almost forgotten what she sounded like. Well after hearing this 3 times I can honestly say I still can't remember what Ms Dynamite sounded like. Hang on a minute...
 
Right Ms Dynamite had a very distinctive sing-rap voice with some bossy no nonsense lyrics about life on the streets with some of the background music having a similar eerie ambience comparable to Portished. Ok I remember now, which the begs the question of who was that was singing Cloud 9? Sure as hell didn't sound like Ms Dynamite to me hee heeee
 
I don't feel much with this song, sounds quite Basment Jaxx at times, but not one of their better ones. Frantic percussion tries to keep the song interesting but it sounds far to tinny, almost like it's being performed by a hyperactive child on a Argos My First Drum Kit after too much Sunny D. I kind of got bored after hearing it the 2nd time and only just managed to keep awake long enough to get through the third before dropping off so ironically the only thing that would wake me up would be an explosion caused by some Dynamite-tee heeeeee. 
 
Ok I'll stop that now. 
 
 
Ms Mr - Fantasy
 

I've met you before haven't I? Didn't I say I liked you but seemed to lack a good hook to overall well written songs? That maybe you needed to work on making the chorus more memorable to turn what it is ordinary to very memorable track? Did you listen to me? Nope, apparently not.

The vocals are nice but sound a bit constricted. Not in terms of a bad performance, more they seem like that want to break out and do something more interesting but are confined by the limits of the song. As such they sound quite empty and a bit bored. Lana Del Ray suffers from the same problem on Summertime Sadness (especially the chorus in the remix)

I'm not saying this is bad (it would be further down the list if it was, you know the format is pretty set now) but after hearing it 3 times in a row I had no desire to hear it again. Good background music that's crying out something more. This song to me is chips. Chips are good, nothing wrong with chips (even if your a hardcore veggie) but... chips and mayonnaise? Yum to the tum tum. That's what this song needs; musical mayonnaise.
 


 
Reconnected - Time Of Our Lives
 
 

Apparently they were another bunch of losers on X Factor... I don't recall them at all. *checks Wikipedia* Oops my mistake, they were on Britain's Got Talent.... in 2010. Way to make the biggest impact when you're fresh in no one's mind, guys.

The song itself isn't bad but not great. I'm calling autotune on parts of it, especially the chorus where Draco Malfoy belts out notes with the all timbre and emotion of Skynet. Also, is it me or do they all look far too young for the girls that are so obviously being paid to be there? Especially the beautifully formed bundle of redheaded hotness in the frilly swimwear and tattoo on her hip.

I may have accidently watched the video of this more than once in retrospect. On mute of course
 
 
 

Parov Stelar FT Marvin Gaye - Keep On Dancing'
 
 



I went on bit of a musical history lesson with this song: Got To Give It Up is a song by Marvin Gaye and his vocals were sampled for 'Keep On Dancing', yes that 'float on a cloud' falsetto belongs to the soul man himself. What's interesting is that is that if you listen to the original by Gaye, you notice some very familiar WOOOO's and a fantastically catchy bassline. Care to explain Mr #Thicke?

Yeah it turns out pretty much everything that made Blurred Lines good (which wasn't a lot) is because of how much it sampled from this Marvin Gaye song. This is probably old news to most but I honestly had no idea. Damn you Pharrell, you used to have skills man.

Anyway back to this song; I actually think Gaye's sampled voice works really well with the electro beat super smooth production. When that Nile Rogers-esque guitar part comes in it creates a very nice sound indeed. Hell, it might be Rogers himself playing it for all I know, that man has got around more the last year or so than he has the entire nineties and noughties combined.



 
 
Selena Gomez - Slow Down
 

Hmm that guitar riff at the beginning seems quite familiar; can't imagine where from (see Pink 'Raise Your Glass & Jessie J 'It's My Party respectively)

Did Selena Gomez get famous for singing? If so why is she singing through a laptop rather than a microphone? I really can't stand these pointless pop records and this one seems to have no purpose other than to say 'Selena Gomez has released a new single, isn't she famous!'

There's nothing to this song because it's all a big bunch of nothing and processors that created it. The production sounds as fake as Gomez's voice and if your going to name-check Mr T and then have the audacity to quote him saying 'You're ready for inspection' you better damn well put a 'fool' at the end. Fool!



James Arthur - You’re Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You
 

Ah yes, the winner of X Factor... last year. I could be wrong but I think this is the first thing he has released since that X Factor winner induced Christmas number one, dub-step, re-hash, remix of a song of which the title completely escapes me at the moment. But now he's back with a new album and a new single, in which he is wisely following the steps of Sensei Spragg-on Sprag-off and chose not to release until the memory of him is so distant that not only is he a dot drowning deep in the horizon, he's about by dismembered by the passing propeller of the 'bad ship' HMS X Factor (season 10)

I'll be honest, the anticipation of this song was hardly setting my nipples alight


But wouldn't you just know it...


1st BEARABLE is indeed



 
 
 
 
 

This is song is more than BEARABLE, it's GOOD (as is my second BEARABLE too)

The only other song I know that makes we want to frantically air drum away like Animal from the Muppet's is Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden. This song had be dancing around my front room like a complete arsehole. Bravo Mr James, I doff my Burberry cap to you.

The style of this song reminds of, quite appropriately, Paul Weller's post-Jam venture The Style Council. A great mix of soul, saxophone, rock and kick-ass muthertrucking drums. Despite some pretty 'too much informational metaphor' overload in the lyrics of the chorus, this is up there with one of the best songs I've heard all year this far. It's up there with Rizzle Kicks 'Lost Generation' Daft Punk 'Get Lucky' and Will.I.AM 'Bang Bang' (or at least 70% of that song) Arthur does a great vocal too and the whole song is wonderfully visceral. You can tell it's by real musicians, as opposed to software packages.

A delightful surprise was that this week I also added another song on my rapidly growing 'best of' list, but for wonderfully different reasons....


Lorde - Royals
 
 
 
 
I've heard this song before in the background when I've had the music channel on and it's never grabbed my attention but when I sat down and properly listened to it, and then did so again with the lyrics I was amazed at what I was reading and hearing. I was reading them to make sure I wasn't imagining them sounding better than they were. I wasn't
 
 
 
This song is stripped down to the very marrow. There's hardly anything to it other then faint bass rumblings hand claps. It's one Flying Picket away from being acapella. There's nothing you can do but really listen to the words.
 
Even though this song is emphatically not a rap song seeing as Lorde's has a very nice singing voice indeed it almost feels like one. Better than that, it feels like big old FU to the superficial world that hip-hop and RnB have become a part of. I admire that a lot. 
 
Apart from some slightly disconnected parts the lyrics of this song are very very good. Even the end part of the chorus where the words blend so much it sounds like it was taken from the 'Werewolves of London' is very cute. Then take into account that this girl is 16 years old and it becomes not only a good, but a revelation. If a 16 year old girl can create music and write such wonderfully observant and intelligently written lyrics it makes 'kidult' stars such as Cyrus and Bieber seem as inspirational and relevant to modern music as The Cheeky Girls.
 
I've been waiting for a song like this to come around for a very long time. A song shunning the lime-lit world of celebrity, overblinging lifestyle and going back to the basic yet pure sense of enjoying music for what it is. That's the code Lorde means. Like her friends we should try and crack it



Just like the film, what follows the 'Good' is inevitably


the BAD


Showtek FT We Are Loud and Sonny Wilson - Booyah
 
 
 
 


Just the name alone is enough for me to have concerns about this song. Are hip-hop/dance performers sticking religiously to the tactic of strength in numbers? Is that what they're trying to do? Invade and conquer our ear canals in some twisted war of attrition? Haven't these guys ever heard of the phrase 'too many cooks spoil the broth?' or how about the other phrase 'Quit serving us overly spoiled broth when we asked for a goddamn steak?'

Well I've heard this song three times and can't for the life of me think who it's for. You can't dance to it, you can't listen to it properly without your ears wanting to retreat into your brain stem and you can't sing along to it because that would require a melody. As a result I'm stumped and starting to wonder if this is indeed a song at all. Whatever it is, it's still BAD


Union J - Beautiful Life
 
 

As a song this is passable at best. Something you could have on in the background to keep Freddie Kruger away and will help you ignore that some devious apparitions have possessed all the mirrors in your house to make your reflection seem chillingly off every time you take a second glance... (or it will do now, muh ha ha ha hahaaaa)

But then again if you were in that situation you'd probably just play a song you actually like.

One thing which got me riled enough to make this a BAD song of the week is the lyrics; they are pitiful. I mean that, I pity the person that wrote them so much I want to give them a hug and reassurance before I bite their fingers off. It's bad enough that they describe the dark as something that you park your backside on but then they come up with this corker

Everybody’s gone and lost their mind
It’s just the days we live in
Most of the time


Ladies and gents: That is lyric writing sitting on the fence so hard it's got splinters in it's sphincter.

What's the point in saying that? Imagine if Bon Jovi's crowd participation opus was dillydallyfied like this:

We gotta hold onnn to what we got
We possibly might make it but then possibly not
We have each other and that's all right with us
Now off to the shops


Such weak lyric writing. You want to make a point? Fine, then damn well stick with it, don't go sucking it off at the same time. You'll look a right plonker with it impaled in your fecking throat.




Monday, 21 October 2013

#MusicMonday

And Monday is here again. We are all tired and fed up with the reality - Weekend is over and we have 5 working days ahead of us. No way we can survive until friday!

And this is where I come in and try to make the beginning of the week a little bit more bearable for you. #MusicMonday post is here and this time we are taking on a London band which hit the fame this year. We all love them. We all get lost in their music and melancholic tunes. 

Yes this week's #MusicMonday features BASTILLE - one of the best band in current charts! Oh how much we love Bastille in our house. And i have to take the credit for introducing my housemates to the wonderful voice of Dan Smith. Their album BAD BLOOD took over the UK charts and you can hear their Pompeii everywhere. 

And lucky me, and as a perk of being a blogger, I am off to see them with Claire Bear tonight!!! Yes, I am that LUCKY!! And smart enough to purchase the tickets on the first day of sale. 

Anyways, to get you in the mood for the gig ( and make your jealous cries a little bit softer), let me share with you my favourite tracks from BAD BLOOD!

BASTILLE


Oblivion



Flaws


Pompeii


Weight of Living Part I


Icarus


I have chosen a various versions of the studio songs. I think Bastille is a band which is absolutely fantastic live and I cannot wait to see it for myself. I've been blown away by Tom Odell last week, so Bastille has a big shoes to fill. But somehow, I am not worried. 

Bastille has their unique sounds which captured my interest a long time ago, so I am positive that their gig tonight will be incredible. Don't worry I am taking my camera with me so you will all hear about it in the post soon. 


Happy listening lovelies!