driv·el - noun: silly nonsense: "don't talk such drivel!"

Monday, 20 September 2010

I have been dabbling in the deliciously sparkling waters of Photoshop of late, and in doing so have discovered a fantastic odyssey of magical arty goodness. (I have also not blogged in a while and wanted to pop my head up with rather a pretentious wordy flourish. Did it.)

So, Photoshop. It's wonderful. I'm not an expert by any means and I learn new techniques every time I start a new project. My work at the moment is not incredible, but I think that with practice and patience I can acomplish some good stuff. The magazine the team are working on is coming on a treat, although it's difficult to stick to deadlines because of the hours and hours I sit and perfect each page, and then kick myself when it goes to print when I notice a typo that I missed due to my stupidly acute attention to detail in the design. I have gained an awful lot of respect for the people who design stuff like Little White Lies and Live & Love York, publications which look simple and polished but which contain some creatively beautiful ideas.

Here are a couple of handy websites that I've been dipping into recently for inspiration:


That's all I wanted to say really, unless you wanted to add anything? No? OK then.


What's up darlin'?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Crikey. It's been a while. I've almost forgotten how to blog. I'm doing some fairly noteworthy things in the next few weeks so thought I'd pop my head back into the blogosphere for a while and let you know what's going down.

Firstly, it's the only day of the working year that my mum is allowed to legitimately have off from work; my graduation. This Friday. It's an odd one really, as it's kind of important on the scale of things to do going from: a regular Saturday morning watching cartoons and picking a scab on your knee to: your Wedding Day. I'd say it's about an 8 on that scale. However, despite all the giddy anticipation that surrounds the day, it's one of the things that I feel the least prepared for. I mean, what's the right thing to wear underneath the gown? How do you have your hair under the silly square contraption? Is it OK to not want to hang out with your doting parents for the entire day? Can you act about and pretend to be batman while you wear the cape? There are no rules. This is unsettling.

Secondly, I'm going to Uganda. Next week. On one hand I'm completely and utterly over the moon at this prospect; I went to the same place in the country last year and made some great friends and had a really lovely time. However, I think the nostalgia setting in my brain has gone a little bit crazy and has blocked out the hard bits from last year in place for beautiful sunsets and sitting around with gorgeous Ugandan children singing songs and making friendship bracelets. The truth is, it's going to be hard. There's no running water; we have to wash out of a bucket. There's very little access to electricity; we'll have hardly any contact with friends and family back home. We'll be living in cramped conditions as a team and working on a building site every day with heavy lifting and potential for injury.

These things are all really hard to cope with, and last year I remember almost breaking down after the first week through sheer emotional and physical exhaustion. But this year, I want to approach it from a different angle, to be more outward looking and to consider the people who live in these conditions all the time. Not to be so selfish and instead, try and learn from these people's generosity and kindness. I think if I see it as a challenge not to be introspective and hard done by, and instead embrace the chance to learn from a different culture and make some lasting friendships then I will have a far more rewarding time.

Finally, here is a great track by Florence and the Machine from the new Twilight film, Eclipse. It's mega. Enjoy.


Blue Roses

Monday, 26 April 2010


Digression is the best medicine.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The trouble with researching for a dissertation about the arts, is that you end up going off on enormously fun, yet ridiculously unproductive tangents all over the place, and end up with 300 words on paper, and nothing else to show for it.

That's going to change right now, as I share but a few of the tangenty type treats I have found this week.


Slash's debut solo album is out this week. Read a [fairly biased] review here. I am very excited about this, he proves his star pulling power by collaborating with artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Adam Levine and of course, old pal Duff McKagen. Thanks, Slash. You're great.


Renegade street artist Banky's first ever film is soon to be released, check out the trailer, and enjoy the 'subtle' snubs to major film companies:


Rediscover Nouvelle Vague and also, this quirky little animation - a teary narrative, but really well made short.


Home, sweet home.

When I'm not living in Preston, I like to come home to York. Here is what I did this afternoon :)

I am also the proud owner of an amazing red spotty suitcase. Good day all round!


Confessions of a film snob.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Last night, I did something bad. Really bad. And the odd thing is, I really enjoyed it. I had been resisting it for a long time, I had been avoiding the temptation, with a resolute ignorance, despite many of my friends persuading me that I would like it. I was ashamed at first, but then flung myself into the moment with intrigue and excitement.

That's right kids. I watched New Moon. And I liked it.

I have always considered anything that is surrounded by as much hype and screaming teenage girls as the Twilight saga as... oh, what's the word... Lame. And I was more than ready to have my expectations met as my friends and I sat down to watch the second installment of the 'saga', and the film opened with the image of a large and intimidating moon accompanied by some crashing orchestral score that would sent shivers down any respectable human's spine. I raised the characteristic eye brow and scoffed into the cuff of my hooded jumper, curling my toes in anticipation of a massive let down, but going along with it for the sake of my lesser knowledgeable peers (a short-lived moment of arrogance - sorry girls).

Oh how wrong I was. Yes, the glittery-faced effect that Edward prances around with is a little bit rubbish, and yes the bronzed and buff Jacob is a little too bronzed and buff to be believed, but if you look past these, it really is a good film! The soundtrack is outstanding, with tracks from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Lykke Li and OK Go that as standalone pieces are just incredible and as part of the film, work, with magnificence.

Some of the shots are sublime, and really capture the indie film look, especially those of Bella looking lost and forlorn in the forest, and the lighting and camera angles lend themselves to an aesthetic similar to the fantastical element of indie successes such as Where the Wild Things Are.

So, this is a challenge to all you fellow film snobs out there. Watch New Moon. Give it a chance. Even if you do it in secret without telling anyone; it really is worth it.

And if you were wondering... it's Team Jacob all the way. Knowing wink.

This is a Death Cab for Cutie song from the soundtrack, not the best song from the film, but that's kind of on purpose. Go forth and Spotify!


The carefully crafted media representation of Matt Smith

Friday, 2 April 2010

I have been quietly observing the media coverage surrounding the next Doctor Who actor, Matt Smith and have been amused at the overt way in which he has been marketed, especially by the BBC.

There is no doubt that Doctor Who has been one of the most successful investments for the beeb in recent years, and I don't blame them for plugging the life out of the new series, but they seem to be putting an awful lot of emphasis on poor old Matt Smith.

For instance, his appearance on the One Show on Thursday of this week was so carefully put together, even down to the smallest details of changing the title music and graphics to place the smug presenters in front of a whirling Tardis in the opening credits. Then in he bounded with a new hairstyle one could only compare to R-Pattz' sweeping mop, and a silly wide faced grin that has probably already melted a fair few housewives' hearts. The interview was confusing and vague, and left him looking a little bit dim; Christine Bleakley was all over him, joking that she wanted to be the new assistant alongside Smith.

Then there was the appearance on the Chris Moyles show this morning, where Zane Lowe took over and Matt Smith popped in for a 'Verses' competition where the pair had to compete to see who could choose the best music for a certain category for an hour. Anyone who listens to Zane Lowe regularly will be aware that he takes no prisoners when it comes to his opinion on music, but he let the Doctor walk all over him and only read out texts from adoring fans who were 'in awe' of Matt Smith's coolness and incredible knowledge of music.

I just think that the BBC have made a bit of a mockery of the whole lark in confusing the person who is Matt Smith with the character of Doctor Who, and by making so much effort in creating this persona around him in the week leading up to the show, rather than waiting for the new Doctor's characteristics to unfold through the narrative of the drama on Saturday. There must be a small part of the marketing team who are terrified of the undoubted comparisons to the perfect-for-the-roll David Tennant, who was just cool, without having to be paraded around and for him to tell us he's cool.

Having said all that, I plan to plonk myself down in front of the telly box on Saturday and watch the new series, and will probably end up gushing about how cool and trendy Matt Smith is on my next blog... how fickle of me.


An experiment in rediscovery.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I have finally achieved the thing that I have been planning to try for a long time, something that on paper doesn't seem like too much of a challenge, but in practice, is ridiculously testing.

I have given up Facebook.

This makes me sound like a complete and utter loser, that I would want to blog about a seemingly small thing, but even after a day of not logging on and interacting with my peers, I have found other things to do! Perhaps I am in a minority when I admit that I'm in the bunch of nerds who sit at a computer for hours at a time, perusing through photo albums and lurking around my friend's profile pages, waiting for something interesting to happen, then I give up waiting and just curl up in a heap and dissolve into a pile of self loathing and envy (everyone else is having so much of a better life than me!)

This may seem like a slight exaggeration, but sadly, I believe that a lot of time spent on social networking sites can be fairly destructive, so have decided to give my emotions a break and take a few weeks out to rediscover my passions and interests. (And also, probably, do a bit of work).

So, the experiment starts here. I will be blogging about once a week to keep anyone who is interested updated in the task, wish me luck!

Here is a lovely cover by Cat Power of the stunning song Amazing Grace.


Magical Musical Mystery Tour

Thursday, 18 March 2010

I have been doing a fair amount of research into new music for the radio show that I co-present on a Tuesday afternoon, with my good friend Sam Lee, and have come across some absolute beauties.

Lovely little secrets I have come across include American trio, Au Revoir Simone, who really capture the current whimsical style that female artists are embracing and will be nice to have in the background while writing:

Lykke Li is a super cool Swedish chick who reminds me a little bit of Ellie Goulding, but rocks the indie-electro vibe with a bit more style:

And finally, just because I love how this video is shot, here's a blast from erm, 2007 in the form of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Have a jive to this:


Imogen Heap @ Manchester

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

There are three types of people at a gig. The first is the "Superfan", the one who has bought their ticket a year in advance, missed an important family engagement to attend, and bought at least three over priced objects from the souvenir stand at the back.

The second is the "Gig Virgin". The person who has no idea of gig etiquette, and gets a little over excited at the support act, taking as many photographs as their camera's memory card can cram in, and looking wide eyed around at all the 'cool' people who seem to know the unwritten rules of Gigging.

The third is the best. The one that the other two wish they were and someday may become. This is the "Old Timer". The person who has been to more gigs than they care to remember, know the ropes of how to get through the crowd, close enough to the stage without looking overly keen, and maintaining a certain level of decorum even at the most exhilarating parts in a set. They don't go too dressy, they buy beer and stand at the back during the support, and they nod along to the songs without looking too excited at anything.

These three types of people were competing against each other at the Imogen Heap gig I went to last night.

Anyone who has been to a Heap gig will empathize with me when I say that I fell in love with her. She came on before her support acts to introduce them and had a general chat to the audience, and then popped off backstage to work on her incredible hair do.

Her set was magical; her voice was angelic and her musical ability was unbelievable. She floated around the stage in her layered pink silk skirt and enchanted the audience with her beautiful collection of tracks from all of her previous albums. Technically, the show was awesome. The light show at the back of the stage with fluttering birds, dancing figures and falling leaves added depth to the spectacle and wowed the fans with each new flourish of animation.

Here's a video I stole from youtube... enjoy!


Faith, Hope, Love.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

I have not posted this video for tabloid-style sensationalism, or an attention-grabbing few moments, or to try and make myself look super holy, I have posted it so you can see that Haiti has hope, and their hope is found in Jesus. The image of the cross still standing though the rest of the building has collapsed amid the 7.0 earthquake is extremely iconic, and paints a picture of the attitude that many of the Haitians are taking at this awful time; even though their whole worlds have literally crumbled around them, their hope still remains in their creator God. The woman at the end of the clip who breaks out into song praising her Saviour is incredible; I truly admire her spiritual fervor, and her complete trust in Christ.

Channel 4's reportage is not bias and always aims to show an accurate picture of world situations in its broadcast, and this clip is no exception. The images of the dead being piled into mass graves is disturbing, but I think we need to be aware of the extent of this disaster in order to compel us to do something to help those people. I don't know about you, but I have been watching the news reports and hearing the stories about the disorganisation of the whole process of trying to get aid to the people in need, and have felt so helpless, and watching the report from Jon Snow yesterday on the news just reduced me to tears.

Charities have set up websites where people can donate money which will hopefully materialise into aid in order to help the survivors, and eventually re-stabalise a broken country, and I urge you to take a look and donate as much as you can.

- Save The Children
- Oxfam
- The Red Cross

And finally, to those of you who read this and who believe that Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins, and who believe that we have a God who is compassionate and merciful to His people, I ask you to pray for Haiti every day, and ask Him to bring glory in the midst of the disaster, to save lives and to provide hope.


Getting my head in the game

Monday, 11 January 2010

Armed with smoothies and boxes of green tea, I can't help but feeling a lot like Bridget Jones at this time of year, the bit where she turns over a new leaf post-Hugh Grant phase, and buys a gym membership and starts a diet of air and dust... well maybe I'm not taking the January detox quite that far, but I have noticed a definite air of 'new leaves' about the place. My plans for this year are much the same as past years; be more organised (I received not one but TWO diaries for Christmas); eat more healthily (the fridge is stocked with vegetables and the fruit bowl is full to the brim); be better with money (student loan has just gone in, and I'm not going to even walk past Topshop for fear of temptation). So far, so good. But only time will tell.

In head adornment news, the headband craze has caught my attention recently, and has made me very happy. Here are some reasons why...

There are pretty much no rules to this new trend: oversized flowers, gold ribbon, leather embossed leaves, plaited material... the list goes on. And of course, my favourite pop pixie, Natasha Kahn of Bat for Lashes almost lives in the things, so they must be good.


Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Token stereotypical cockney meat heads; a detailed grimy slow-mo fight scene; fast-paced, smooth edits; a definitively British sense of humour, minute attention to detail in the cinematography. All things one would expect from a Guy Ritchie movie; all things one is presented with in his latest offering: Sherlock Holmes.

If this is a sign of things to come in the film world in this fresh decade, then I will happily partake in its hearty consumption. I feel I often sway one way or another when reviewing films, they are either the very best thing since the common loaf was first sliced, or the lowest-of-the-low-never-to-be-seen-again type job. But this really is a good film. Robert Downey Jr. plays a delightfully flamboyant pipe-wielding Holmes, and gels incredibly naturally with his Watson, Jude Law. The crime fighting pair humour their audience with a quick wit and a constant charming sparkle in their eyes, one which maintains character interest right up until the adrenaline packed finale where one wills both men to succeed in their plight.

Rachel McAdams, of Mean Girls fame, steps back in time for another period drama role, and handles it surprisingly well; her devious femme fatal character proving to endear and captivate the majority of the male audience, and her glamorous Victorian wardrobe enthralling the female half.

The plot has enough twists and turns to remain true to Conan Doyle's cleverly intricate detective novels, and translates into the realm of film remarkably well, undoubtedly partly akin to Hans Zimmer's genius in creating yet another perfect score to create a beautifully authentic soundtrack for the time. My favourite scene, trying to avoid revealing anything vital to the plot, is when a large explosion occurs and two of the main characters are sent flailing through the air in slow motion with only the sound of a solitary violin moaning dramatically over the picture to accompany their disastrous state of affairs. I can usually pinpoint the part in most great films I see, where I think, yes, this is good. And that did it for me.

This movie has single-handedly restored my faith in British film-making, and reminded me that I would quite like to go and be a Victorian femme fatal, if only for the damn sexy dresses they get to wear. Bad ass.


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