Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Team Meyer!

I wrote of recent events leading to unexpected discoveries about myself and my interests. An avid love for reading is a certain contender in this.

It is bizarrely usual for me to read more in the Summer months of the year, but as seasonally inevitable that it may be, this year has seen a reinvention of this ethos into something which brings me to categorise reading as a hobby.

My recent fiction-addiction wilfully became the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. A writer who is immersed in undoubted talent and an extraordinary imagination, which easily rivals J.K Rowling and her Harry Potter series.

The four book saga; Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (my personal favourite, although to choose is a task in itself) is a brilliant encapsulation of what real raw talent and sheer genius is.

One review announces the saga to be hypnotic, dreamy prose, which captures perfectly the teenage feeling of sexual tension and alienation. My agreement on this is assured.

Meyer creates a world of supernatural happenings surrounded by a new twist on the teenage vampire saga, laid upon an inspiring story of true love. A formula destined for success as proved by the best-selling series and one which immersed me and many others from beginning to end.

Rest assured, once you start reading these books, it becomes a temporary way of life, a definite challenge to put them down. A daily fix of the fabulously written prose, which readers can really relate to, is utterly necessary. This, to me is a sure-fire sign of novel-genius.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Selfish Contemplation: What happened to living for the now?

Recent weeks have been of little interest or significant to my big picture. The big picture being the outcome as my life how I hope it to be. I have been on leave from university for just two weeks now and already I am completely overcome with boredom and self dis-satisfaction. A tirade that it is really beginning to exasperate me.

As a Virgo, it is in my nature to worry, to over-analyse and over-think things, a recent addition to this trio, is an aversion to doubt. Self doubt to be more clear. Thus, self dis-satisfaction has becomes the epicentre of my summer 2009 so far.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of things to look forward to in the coming months, but these exciting prospects are being slowly and carefully over ridden by emotions heavily induced by the feeling of being bored. I have ticked off plenty of things off my to-do list (another Virgo trait) and made plans to fill some of the coming days. The question is however, what happened to living for the now? Plans are all fair and good, but once all the plans for the near future are made, I am inevitably still left to ponder on the activities of the present day.

The last fortnight has led me to discover much about myself. I have learned that I am, quite surprisingly, fond of classical music, that I love to read more than my ‘few books a year’ self cared to recognise and that, as the cliché goes, you only really miss something once it is gone.

As a writer, a hopeful, budding journalist, I love words, their power and their meanings and how words can have such resounding effects on any one person. Each person would no doubt favour some over others, just like most things, but the power of words is something which never fails to amaze me. I personally love the quotes found at the beginning of a book, even the words before the preface. A favourite of mine is also the prologue of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Words, which are centuries old, but still astound many who read them. I think it fair to say that I am a regular customer of the Amazon book store. (The best place to buy books if you’re wondering). One day I would even like to write a book of my own.

I believe that the future holds much in the way of the unexpected. As much as my planning self would like to know what the future holds, good or bad, I know that hope is probably my only option. That and more scrupulous planning of course. I would like to think that I believe in myself, my hopes and my words that much. Enough to abolish the feelings of dis-satisfaction in myself.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Reliving the boy band era.

As music goes, I like some of everything.
Last night I went to a boyzone concert. I relived my 1990s days when boy bands with matching cargo pants and pristine dance moves topped the charts. How music has changed since then.

I enjoyed it. The singing was good, the songs were nostalgic and the performances were satisfactory. Amongst the crowd favourites there was a Queen medley, which had the crowd singing along to the cheesy renditions of the rock classics, solo performances and a nerve bending performance of Beyonce's single ladies by Steven Gately. This particular part of the show focused my attention on the dancers rather than Steven himself, who incidentally looked like he might pass out at the pace.

Despite this not so successful cover of a chart-topper, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the individuals of the group can sing. They all have very good voices and I'm sure would deliver successful solos (unlike some bands who rely on the lead to carry them to success). The boys of boyzone have, surprisingly, real talent.

Although the Metro Radio Arena was not sold out, the crowd's energy was fully intact. One lucky member of the audience even got the chance to meet and greet the boys on stage. The five boys delivered an enjoyable performance complete with stunts and a visually pleasing stage set, even if the cheese factor was a bit high at some points.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I'm not a feminist, promise.

There are few categorical things that get me annoyed. Or more specifically, frustrated. The usual suspects, ignorance, arrogance and plain right rudeness are the universal culprits, but recent events have me to find a new hate. Men.

Hate is a strong word. In this context, maybe too strong. I have yet to meet a woman who truly means it when she says she hates a man, myself included, but there are times in a girl’s life when men just cause way too many problems. The aftermaths of occurrences with the opposite sex for women everywhere leaves me pondering whether the excitement of the odd fling is really worth it. Should women simply condemn themselves as celibate just to prevent themselves from getting hurt? I think not. That is a bit too extreme, even for me at my current stage of male frustration.

The problem, it seems, with me and with many other women, is that we expect too much from our male friends. Not a bad thing I may add.
Personally, I rarely favour the ‘no strings attached’ proposal, as I believe that it is a concept which entirely contradicts itself. No matter how distant you try to make yourself from whoever you “have fun” with, there is always something attached. There is always some afterthought and often a few “what-ifs”.

I have yet to realise if men understand this concept. Some do and some don’t. It may be possible that they all understand it, but some choose not to practise it and instead choose to pass themselves around like a treat at Christmas. This being when the ‘ego’ problem arises. A man with a big ego leaves a lot to be desired. This type, in my experience, see ladies as bait. A gender that irresistibly throws themselves towards the egocentric creatures and mostly get nothing in return on a long-term scale. (Unless you count 10pm till 8am long-term).

This is the core of the problem between different gender expectations. Men, stereotypically at the adolescent stage, fear commitment, preferring to lure out their prey in night-time activity and spit them out come sunrise, whereas women often fear this as disrespect and rejection, opting instead for the hope of a possible exclusivity.

Sex is not a game. A term that may cause further confrontations amongst men and women, but fundamentally, sex is a strings attached sport, carrying with it hopes of commitment, emotional connection and an adverse vulnerability towards the partner as solid team players.

I repeat, to women, sex is most definitely not a one-off game played for the thrill of scoring as many points as possible. Notches on the bedpost are not an enticement, much the opposite. A man that considers his notches, may indeed need some careful consideration himself.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Now is not the time for the old fashioned

People-watching is a popular pass-time. Sitting in a public place watching the world go by is both lucidly interesting and satisfying. Spying on people going about their day-to-day lives in ways which are so different to your own is alluring. But how different are people from one another, really? Do people really know what others are truly thinking, what social ideals other individuals have and how far they would go to prove them. The world is indeed an interesting place.

In 1865, the first organisation of the Ku Klux Klan originated. An organisation, which first resided in the Southern states of the US and gradually became a national terrorist group. Most of the stories of the KKK are not frequently heard today, mostly because the group's activity is much reduced since its post-war peak in the 1920s.

In the 1930s till the end of the second world war in 1945, Hitler was a major influential dictator in Germany, across Europe and a large span of the globe. His "cleansing" ideas were on a similar tangent of the KKK. White supremacy. Ideas, which aimed to alienate and intimidate black people, Jews, Roman Catholics and many other social and racial minorities.

Western society, today, is deemed to be free from oppression and open to equal rights. White supremacy is something which is graced with little attention in this day and age. Mainly, probably, because it is something which our equal society is past considering.

With this in mind, it came as a surprise to find that from Southern America in the 1800s and Nazi reign in the early 20th century, that a white supremacist has been found operating near my home in Newcastle. It seems like such an unusual, old-fashioned, yet very serious crime to be committed for.

Ironic that something like this happens so close to the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, where Hitler's plans to dictate the world came to a steady and abrupt close.
White supremacy is intolerable. History shows this and the present day echoes the past satisfactorily, I would like to think that the policy of equality for all is a successful one, but many would argue, myself included. The policy is a much needed one and in the future I hope it to be successful in its entirety. The journey to this milestone most likely faces many hurdles, maybe even, but not hopefully, a few more white supremacists. Those who still practice out-of-date ideals.

I see the idea of supremacy and nationalism of any ethnicity as despicable. It would be nice to think that this type of warfare will soon become obsolete. The recent election of a BNP member to the council in Burnley may wish to take this into consideration. Times change. They have changed and will continue to do so. Equality is the new supremacy. Here's hoping.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Waiting for a songbird yesterday

Oasis played their first hometown gig in four years to a disastrous kick-off in Manchester Heaton Park last night.

The 70,000 strong crowd were left waiting when the sound generator failed and caused the performance to be delayed for almost an hour.

Sound teams apologised for the delay and fixed the problem quickly, but the crowd continued to chant in waiting for the band to return to the stage.

The band returned to the stage apologising to the audience and offered refunds to all ticket holders.

Despite the delay, Oasis delivered an incredible performance, performing songs from their recent album ‘Dig out your soul’ as well as crowd favourites; ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Songbird’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’. The Gallagher brothers played past the sound curfew of 11pm promising the audience that they would finish their planned set list.

Once underway, the gig was well worth the wait and the singing crowds seemed to definitely agree. The atmosphere was electric and no one was left disappointed.

The overall show also included performances from Twisted Wheel, Reverend and the Makers and Kasabian, which warmed up the crowds for the main attraction impeccably.

Members of the audience can apply for their ticket refund online through the Oasis website.