Earlier this week Olympic diver Tom Daley came out as bisexual and admitted that he’d in a relationship with a man.
I wasn’t massively shocked by the news, because aside from doing the games I find it hard to be that interested in Daley’s life. That’s not a dis, it’s just he doesn’t really factor much in my everyday thought process and I hadn’t devoted much time to thinking about his sex life.
Anyway, Daley’s revelation grabbed plenty of column inches, and while there were some dickheads who gave him grief he seems to have gotten a fair amount of support from the public.
I’m only writing about it today because of two funny little things that have been connected to it.
Firstly, one of my flatmates, Emma, revealed that one of their friends had taken a picture with Daley when they happened to bump into him while out and about. This picture was then grabbed online and the lad found himself appearing on Twitter and elsewhere being identified as Daley’s fella, which is kinda funny although probably a little bit awkward for the lad in question.
The second relates to another flatmate of mine, Phil.
Phil hates Tom Daley.
Not because he’s gay, the hatred was around before this week. It basically came from having seen Daley around the place down in Plymouth and thinking he was a bit of a bellend.
Anyway, as I got Phil in our secret Santa (okay, maybe it’s not that much of a secret), I decided to get him a gag present and target his hatred for Daley.
On Amazon they had plenty of Daley stuff, calendars, a book, posters and a keyring that had “The Future Mrs Tom Daley” on, I thought this would be a pretty funny gift, but what really made me laugh was the price.
89p down from £4.99.
I can only assume the price drop has something to do with his revelation. If it is, it’s a bit of an extreme drop and slightly dopey. As it’ll probably still have novelty value at least.
And also, it kinda proves that people don’t really understand what bisexuality is about. He’s stated he still fancies girls, but everyone seems to be talking about how he’s gay, which is a bit ignorant. Ah, well, that’s a rant for another time.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I’ve been single for a pretty long time now, and one of the many things I miss is the closeness you have with someone else.
Cwtching up on the sofa watching a movie, holding hands, snuggling up in the cold or just sharing a bed with someone.
Call me soppy, but I do. Especially as it gets colder in winter.
However, there is a limit to how close I think a couple should get. And way over the line is an invention I heard of today:
Seriously, this may be the moment when our society jumps the shark.
Twinsies (I’ve only written it twice and I loathe the word already) are the evolution from the onesie, the adult sized babygrow which came out of nowhere a few years back and has now become entrenched as part of everyday life.
I don’t own a onesie.
I don’t see this as being a massive disadvantage. I’m sure they’re comfortable, but they just look like they’d be awkward for when you need the toilet and I’m perfectly happy in pajamas or my woobs. Plus, they just seem a little infantile.
But onesie’s look like the height of common sense and fashion when compared to their bastard brother.
I know lots of couples, and all of them love each other a lot, and spend lots of time together, but I can’t see any of them putting one of these on.
Why in the gods’ names would you want to share a trouser leg with someone? It’s going to be awkward and frustrating, potentially even dangerous. If you’ve ever seen a three legged race you’ll know it’s a bad idea.
I imagine the only ones sold will be bought as well intended, if daft gifts. Although, personally, if someone bought me and my hypothetical girlfriend, let’s call her Gaga, one I’d forget their address before the next Christmas.
I can’t remember the last time I saw such a waste of money.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
In our university flat we spend a lot of time just dossing about the place, and spend a lot of time watching DVDs and playing games. Because that’s just the kind of crazy, rock ‘n’ roll people we are.
One of the games we play a lot is Scrabble.
I had an advantage over my flatmates having played it more than them (at least two were Scrabble virgins), and apparently being ten years older than them also gives me an edge.
My previous Scrabble experience mainly consists of having my ass handed to me by my Mum, who is a Scrabble machine. It’s like she’s absorbed a dictionary and a thesaurus, Data style.
Anyway, because of this I took a commanding early lead and won seven games on the bounce. I was kinda proud of this, even though I felt slightly bad about beating someone who’d only just learned the rules and feared the others would grow to hate me.
In our eighth game I was almost screwed over as they ganged up on me but still managed to sneak a win.
It was this game that made me realize that I’m more competitive than I thought. I really liked being a consistent winner and was rather proud of my streak, envisaging it being my legacy and going on to rival the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania record (the Deadman is 21-0).
But then at the weekend I fell. I knew I was about to lose with a few moves to go and did briefly consider flipping the board or refusing to take my go, leaving the game unfinished for all time so the streak would survive.
But that would be unsporting and so I played on, and lost. Phil claimed the win and I found myself at 8-1. Which is still pretty damn good, but I quite liked being the undefeated champion.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I’ve always found it quite interesting to read a book after you’ve seen the film adaption and this is the case with this book, which provided the inspiration for the Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo, which is a magnificent story of obsession and it’s destructive power.
Similar to the movie it follows an ex-cop who’s resigned from the force after his aversion to heights caused problems, but the setting is different, with this taking place in Paris with World War II looming on the horizon. Flavieres has begun working as a lawyer when he is approached by an old friend, Gevigne. Gevigne tells him he fears for his wife, who has been acting strangely, going off in weird trances and wandering aimlessly. It all seems connected to a tragic ancestor who she is meant to be unaware of.
Reluctantly Flavieres begins following Gevigne’s wife, Madeline and rescues her after she almost kills herself by drowning. Flavieres falls head over heels for her and begins to spend lots of time with her, trying to keep her safe. Madeline speaks of memories of places she’s never visited and the feeling of having lived before.
One day they visit a town she has a memory of. Madeline rushes up the church tower, but Flavieres, crippled by his fear of heights is unable to follow and she throws herself from the tower.
After the war, Flavieres returns to Paris, having spent the war in Africa, drinking himself mad with the memory. At a cinema he sees a newsreel featuring a woman who looks a lot like Madeline, and ignoring his doctor’s advice travels to Marseilles to find her. There he finds Renee, and the two fall in together, with Flavieres insisting she is Madeline reborn and must remember her earlier life.
Has Madeline returned from the grave or is Flavieres just cracking up? How will Renee withstand his obsession and theories? And is there more going on than there seems?
I sort of liked this book, but found it incredibly draining at times. The story is fascinating and it keeps you hooked as you want to know how it’ll all pan out (I could only half remember the movie, and I kinda guessed the novel would be different). The twist when it comes is rather far fetched, but still worked for me.
The problem is that Flavieres is a hard protagonist to warm up to, he’s weak, flawed and rather cruel at times, meaning he’s extremely unlikable. His obsession with Madeline is hard to fathom and his actions towards Renee are unforgivably nasty at times.
That being said, it’s a magnificent portrayal of obsession and madness tearing an already fragile man apart and it’s written in an odd style that manages to be oddly poetic at times and brutally no-nonsense at others.
I really liked the early stages where the approaching war looms in the background, as it captures how despite what’s going on in the world people are always more caught up in their own lives and problems, with Flavieres barely registering all the news updates. It’s also a great narrative device in explaining the gap halves and the fragile, recovering France that the second half takes place in
It’s an interesting, twisted little story and well worth a read, but I’d hardly call it fun.
Verdict: Dark and messed up this is an engaging and well written book, but does leave something of a bad taste in the mouth. 7/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
There’s a song on Word Gets Around, the debut album of the Welsh band The Stereophonics called “Same Size Feet”. It’s far from my favourite on the album (that’s probably “More Life in a Tramp’s Vest”, “A Thousand Trees” or “Too Many Sandwiches”) but it has a line which I think is one of the lyrics I find truest in life. Well, aside from Queen’s “Fat bottomed girls you make the rocking world go round”.
The line is “it’s the not knowing that kills you”.
I find it quite appropriate in lots of different situations, sometimes knowing something is ten times worse than knowing. Even if the news is bad.
For example, I’ve been torturing myself with an unknown variable for the last couple of months.
Over the summer I bought myself a lottery ticket, because I am a dreamer and a fool who despite knowing the odds still hopes that one day my lucky numbers will come up (yes, I’m the kind of idiot who has lucky numbers, even though those lucky numbers have never been particularly lucky for me) and I’ll be posting my next blog entry from a tropical island while drinking a cocktail with an umbrella in it.
Anyway, I bought this ticket and did the lucky dip thing.
Somewhere on the walk back home from the shop the ticket fell out of my torn shorts pocket.
Because it was a lucky dip I don’t know my numbers and that’s the problem.
If they were my regular numbers I could have just checked the result and seen that I’d won or didn’t win. But alas I couldn’t, and that’s what’s been tormenting me since.
Seriously, I think it would be better if I knew my numbers because even if I had won millions I couldn’t claim at least I could get angry and curse the universe for continuing its streak of being a sadistic bastard with a cruel sense of humour.
Anger, frustration and feeling wronged is one thing- that can pass. Or at least be released.
But the “what if?” hanging over me is a nightmare.
Nagging away is the thought that I may very well have been a millionaire by now. I know I probably didn’t win, hell, I’m almost positive I didn’t, but that tiny shred of doubt twists like a knife in my mind.
I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, cash wise. I could be living well at uni, knowing that come the holidays I could give great gifts to my family members and go abroad next year to de-stress during the uni breaks.
Instead, I’m probably going to have to work over the holidays next year, my gifts will be cheap and crappy, which will make me feel guilty. I can cope with it, but knowing I might have been able to live easy, live free, that sucks. The daydreams about visiting New York or relaxing in Thailand still lurk there, messing with me.
The universe sucks.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Disclaimer: Okay, this is the sequel to an earlier movie, so there will be spoilers of the first movie included in this.
I really dug the first movie in this series, and loved the books. One of the film’s major strengths was Jennifer Lawrence’s great performance as Katniss Everdeen, so I was looking forward to seeing her back in action again.
The movie kicks off shortly after the first, with Katniss having returned to District 12, where she and fellow victor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have moved into their fancy new houses, but with Peeta having realized that Katniss was pretending to love him in the Games a distance has grown between them. Katniss has also grown closer to old friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). They’re set to perform the victory tour, but President Snow (Donald Sutherland) isn’t happy. The way Katniss and Peeta beat the system has become regarded as an act of defiance, and unrest is growing, with Katniss as the symbol of the revolution.
Snow tells Katniss she needs to play up the love angle and toe the line, threatening those she cares about. Despite her best efforts on the tour, Snow is unconvinced and by playing puppet for the Capitol, Katniss feels guiltier than ever, as well as for having to mess with Peeta’s feelings.
Snow and new game master Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) have a plan to crack down hard to instill fear in the Districts, while also pushing Katniss’ forthcoming wedding to drive a gap between her and the rebellion. The crack down hits District 12 hard, and then the announcement of the 75th Hunger Games comes. As part of the anniversary Quarter Quell, the games have a new spin, and it is that the tributes must be chosen from existing victors. Katniss, as the only female is guaranteed to return, and hopes that her former mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) will join her, but Peeta volunteers.
Haymitch warns them that they will be facing popular, hardened killers this time and the Games will be harder than ever. Back in the Capitol they must try to form alliances with the eccentric and damaged former champions, none of whom Katniss trusts. All of the tributes are unhappy that the rules have changed and do their best to turn the crowd and stop the games, but they go ahead.
Can Katniss and Peeta beat the odds again? Who can they trust in the arena? And what does the new arena hold for them.
I freaking loved this movie.
As with the books it builds on the simple first part and expands the world around Katniss, there’s more intrigue and back ground machinations in the real world and an even greater sense of danger in the arena.
Lawrence is on fine form once again, capturing Katniss’ determination and grit, along with the scars she carries from the first games and guilt over what her actions have inspired. But best of all is that Lawrence never loses sight of the fact that at the heart of the character is a teenager out of their depth and forced into a horrible situation.
Lawrence also manages, in Katniss’ faltering awkwardness during the tour, to capture the unease at being a symbol and the growing awareness of life beyond her District and the decadence of the Capitol. Also while training for her return to the arena she must deal with how easily and comfortable she is as a fighter, while also seeing her potential future in the messed up former winners.
These are another of the film’s great strengths because while a few slip into the background, they are far more interesting than the first movie’s anonymous cannon fodder. From the two nervy drug addicts who have fried their head to the posturing, aggressive career tributes, all give credence to Haymitch’s claims that there are no “winners” in the Games.
Among the most interesting is the swaggering Finnick Odair played by Sam Claflin, who’s early appearances show him as a smooth talking cocky ladies man, but who reveals a softer, more compassionate side within the arena, and a great help to Katniss.
The others are interesting, reflecting the differences in their respective Districts and their different approaches to the games- the clever, the sneaky and the vicious.
Their approaches vary, but all are fighting for their survival, but is there more at stake, why are so many seeming to be committed to working with Katniss and Peeta?
My personal favourite was Jena Malone as the fiery Johanna Mason, a ball of anger and fury who Katniss dislikes almost instantly but who’s unpredictable, rebellious nature makes her extremely entertaining and she was one of my favourite characters in the books. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve got a bit of a crush on Malone.
Another step up is the new arena, which is a collection of nightmarish obstacles and mutated animals, which are genuinely terrifying and ramp up the sense of peril. There’s also one which just shows how messed up the Capitol is and is a horrific example of psychological warfare which targets the already fragile victors.
The threat is amplified by giving us more of Donald Sutherland as the menacing Snow and the Capitol’s show of strength, which sees them try to stamp down any attempt of rebellion.
It also benefits from a change in director with Gary Ross replaced by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend), who seems more confident behind the camera, handling the action sequences while also showing a great knack for the more quiet, touching moments, including a couple of deaths in the arena.
There’s also an added depth to the characters from the Capitol, with the crowds showing genuine affection for the victors and best of all through Elizabeth Banks’ Effie, who shows more depth here and the beginning of disillusionment and doubt in the system. The scene where she draws the names and finds herself next to Katniss and Peeta again is awful, with the previously campy comedy character showing cracks and real pain at the chance of them having to compete again.
As mentioned, Lawrence shoots the action sequences well and best of all has abandoned Ross’ constant shaky cam, which was one of the few things I actively disliked in the original.
Like all the best sequels it builds and expands on the first movie and surpasses it. The ending lacks clout, but this is the second part of a trilogy and so that’s to be expected and does leave you eager for the next part.
Verdict: A step up from the original as the scope widens, and Lawrence continues to impress in the lead. Wonderfully executed and a great thriller, with a more interesting supporting cast and left me looking forward to the next movie and happy with how the books are translating to the screen. 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I woke bleary eyed today to the sounds of “We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan” by Lostprophets. I use it as my alarm song because it’s loud and kicks off well, and also because it’s a song that reminds me of my first stint at uni.
Whether I continue to use it, remains to be seen after today,
Today, the lead singer of the band, Ian Watkins, pleaded guilty to some truly horrible sex offence charges and is most likely to spend a considerable amount of time in prison. Which is exactly what he deserves.
The crimes listed are of a stomach churning level of vileness and I won’t link to them here.
In cases like this the first thought must go to the victims and I hope that they receive the help and support to put these horrific events behind them and that it does not leave lasting scars on them and their minds.
But the thing about a public figure like Watkins doing something like this is that it effects other people as well.
I must confess that I feel sympathy for Watkins’ former bandmates, who seem to have been completely unaware of what he was doing. They have faced abuse and vitriol online and, one can only assume, suspicion as well. While their ordeal pales in comparison with the victims, it can’t have been an easy time for them.
I picked up Classic Rock last week and read that the band had called it a day. I felt terrible for the other band members, who have had to quit a career they probably loved and had dreamed of since their youth, and now they will lose out because of the actions of one man.
Continuing without Watkins is out of the question, the name has been tarnished by association and I doubt they’d want it now anyway, but even re-forming as a new group will probably not be on the cards, because whatever they do the topic of conversation will always be Watkins. These guys find themselves washed up at a young age.
And then there’s the fans. In the greater scheme, they have it easy, but music is more than just sound, it’s part of our life. Like I said at the top, “We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan”, like many songs from the Start Something album is linked with my memories of university and my friends from that time. The ‘prophets were a band we played a lot, and so they soundtracked our lives, entwining with the places and events.
For a lot of people their enjoyment of these albums and the memories they had connected with them will be soured. “Last Train Home” and “Last Summer” will no longer be the songs you listened to on road trips or remind you of a festival, or party, or an epic night out. They’ll still be those, but lurking will be the shadow of what was going on and the guilt of having those songs playing.
From a personal perspective I have no idea what I’m going to do. Will I delete the albums from my iPod? Should I?
My initial instinct is no. Those songs mean something to me, something separate from Watkins. I mean, are the songs the men who perform them? Do the actions of the performers change their meanings or how you listen to them? Or are those songs mine now, and should I try and view them as separate from all this unpleasantness?
I can listen to “Thriller” without thinking of the Michael Jackson allegations, but “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)” has been consigned to the bin of history, forever tainted by Glitter’s actions.
I guess I’ll know next time it shuffles to one of the band’s songs. Will it trigger the memories of my youth or of what Watkins did? I’ll have to find out.
Sorry if this post was a little serious, but I found out about Watkins this evening and been going over it in my head. Apologies if I’ve caused upset for anyone.