The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik


Thursday, October 25, 2012

So, November will be with us in one week, which means National Novel Writing Month. And Movember if you're a male (or a very dedicated and unselfconscious female). Last year, I won Nanowrimo for the first time after trying since around 2006. I basked in smugness for months, and I mean MONTHS, afterwards. So much so I couldn't wait for this year's challenge. I thought I was slick, I had an idea stewing away during the summer and made vague plans in my head. However, when it came to writing it down for my outline, I realised I didn't love the idea anymore. I got stuck. So, I tried to make the best of it and merged parts of that plot with some rejected plots from years gone by. But, it's just not working. It feels like a fail already. I'm not passionate about the story. As a result, I have no outline- just a page of rambling. HELP!

I am suffering from severe writer's block. So much so, I can't even write coherently on this here blog of mine. Ridiculous. Also, this year is the most busy November I've had and I'm just not sure I have the time to baby a plot. 

I need some inspiration. Should I try and force this story or work to come up with another?

Ruby Sparks and Celeste + Jesse Forever

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This week, I have managed to squeeze in two trips to the cinema. First of all, I watched Ruby Sparks, which I was pleasantly surprised to find showing at my local Odeon. Usually, for these types of films I would have to go to London.

Ruby Sparks is about Calvin who is suffering from a bit of writer's block. His therapist provides him with an activity to help alleviate the problem (along with many of his others) and as a result he ends up bringing to life his dream girl. 

I really enjoyed this film. It was the right length, had enough humour to keep me entertained, and most importantly had a strong supporting cast (Elliot Gould, Annette Bening, Chris Messina) . I think Paul Dano did a great job because on paper his character is not the most likeable (especially towards the end of the film) however he still managed to make Calvin seem human. Zoe Kazan out manic pixie girl'd all those who had gone before her (at least in the last couple of years anyway). 

However, one of my favourite things about this film was the score. The opening chords that accompanied the first scene reminded me of 500 Days of Summer (a score that I loved- wasn't so keen on the film) and then this motif returned each time Calvin sat down at his typewriter (an image that became more and more sinister). It reminded me a little of Philip Glass' Symphony No.4. 

Anyway, I really liked this film and I will be purchasing the soundtrack once I find it. 

I was lucky enough to see this yesterday at the BFI London Film Festival. I'd been hearing about this film throughout the summer and I'm a big fan of Rashida Jones, so I was looking forward to watching this. I was definitely not disappointed- I loved it! 

Celeste and Jesse are best friends. Who are married. But are separated. Much to the bemusement of their friends. However, the balance is eventually tipped as a few more people are added to their friendquation and the two have to confront their issues despite the pain. 

This film was bittersweet- something that is quite difficult to achieve. It was obvious that there was a lot of truth to the story (and this was backed up by the director, Lee Toland Krieger, in a Q&A at the end), which will always make a more authentic end product. Celeste was a very human character, especially after watching Ruby the day before, and we were shown a lot of her 'flaws' yet she still demanded sympathy from her audience. This was mostly due to the supporting cast and the relationships she had with them (Emma Roberts was good in her small role; Chris Messina popped up again too) - obviously, mostly with Jesse. Andy Samberg could've played Jesse as the man/child character that seems to be in every film these days, however he portrayed a character who would probably resound with more than a few thirty-somethings who are in the creative sector during this bad economy. 

Once again, music was very important to this film too. The songs fit the mood of the film perfectly. They weren't trying to force the latest indie artist down your throat and most importantly, the music wasn't too loud! So often nowadays the songs are so overwhelmingly loud! 

Overall, I really enjoyed Celeste + Jesse Forever and I hope it does very well at the box office over here when it comes out. 

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not every song that makes me nostalgic is from my childhood. For example:

First Breath After A Coma- Explosions In The Sky

I think this is one of my favourite pieces of music in the world. During my first year of university, I finally listened to my friend and bought the first season box set of Friday Night Lights. I was hooked after the first episode, shocked at the rawness that radiated from this little show that hardly anyone (over here anyway) was talking about. I couldn't understand why it wasn't on British television. One of the strenghts of the show was definitely the music, particulalry the theme tune (which used to be my alarm clock tone but I had to delete it after the series finale because it hurt to much to hear it). This piece of music by Explosions in the Sky describes perfectly how I felt watching Friday Night Lights.

Devil Town by Tony Lucca

Similar feelings towards this song. I can't really say anything else except if you've never seen Friday Night Lights- go and buy the first season!

Also, here's an article on the music of Friday Night Lights.

And I Know That It's True, I Can Tell By The Look In Your Eyes

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Continuing with my little music project, today I am remembering three tunes that I associate with childhood summers in Essex.

Lady (Hear Me Tonight) by Modjo

This laid back track just oozes summer vibes and reminds me of when it was actually hot during the summer months- as opposed to this Indian summer thing that's going on these days.

Another Chance by Roger Sanchez

I don't actually know if this was released during the summer (feel free to correct me) but it reminds me again of lazy days. More than anything, I remember the video. I was quite young when I saw it but it made me sad. Then it was played on Top of the Pops and I remember my uncle telling me about Roger Sanchez and then the story of house music.

Groovejet- If This Ain't Love- Spiller


 This song will always, always, always remind me of the first season of Big Brother. That summer- the year 2000, the new millennium- was brilliant. I was only 11 but completely enthralled by Big Brother- it was groundbreaking television.

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

If I had read this book during the summer, I probably would have been raving about it for days. However, as the cold is starting to settle in and I am missing the Florida sun, I was not really in the mood for a summer novel (although the clue was in the title- I should have known better!). 

Whitley is a wild child intent on enjoying her summer break in between graduating from high school and starting college. Better still, Whitley is looking forward to doing all of this with her dad who is like her long lost BFF. Just before embarking on her summer stay with dad, Whitley ends up getting very drunk and has (what she believes to be) a one night stand. Her dad picks her up and suddenly the bombshells begin to drop, the main one being that he is remarrying and, oh yes, her fancyman is also her step-brother-to-be. Over the course of the summer, Whitley deals with cyber bullying, a physically present but emotionally absent father, a persistent almost step-mother, a too-cute little sister and a kind of brother she just can't get out of her head. 

I think the main thing I wasn't so sure about was the premise. I mean, I know we've been there and done the step-sibling love thing on Clueless but it just felt a little more creepy here- particularly as Whitley seemed to care for her new family (as far as I can remember, we never met Josh's side of the family in Clueless). I must say, I preferred The DUFF. Bianca was such a different and fresh voice whereas Whitley felt more like a regular YA good girl turned bad turned good again. 

I was going to discuss the name choices- particularly Whitley- but then I thought better of it. To each their own. Live and let live. I love the site Nameberry and there are some far more interesting name combinations on there than Whitley. Some people would probably hate the names I have chosen for my various projects. 

Anyway, overall I think A Midsummer's Nightmare would have made for a great summer read but ended up as just an average Autumn one. 

A little Midsummer music: 

Music Makes The People Come Together Yeah

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Every time I visit The Guardian website I see a link to the Six Songs of Me Project. So, this evening I decided to check it out and ended up completing the survey. The results are here: Six Songs of Me.
Most days little bits of songs re-enter my head associated with a memory of some sort- many more than six- so for the next month or so, I will share some of these tracks. 

Firstly, since I quoted Madonna in the title it would be rude not to start with Her Madge.

Looking at the release date of this song, I was probably about 9 when it came out. It must have been on one of those compilation CDs that most kids get and I just associate it with fun times. It will always be one of my favourite Madonna tracks. I loved Frozen as a kid too. I distinctly remember seeing the video and being enthralled and I'm sure I cut the lyrics out from either Smash Hits magazine or Top of the Pops. In hindsight, I probably enjoyed it because it sounds a bit like a Eurovision song.

I Need A Dollar...And This Coat

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Once again, I have become obsessed with a coat and I still haven't even purchased my winter coat yet.

So, without further ado I present to you Exhibit A:

Mila Kunis in a fabulous tweed, cocoon/funnel neck coat (Fashionistas help me out- I don't quite know the correct terminology). I don't even know the brand (if anyone can help, I'd be grateful) but it looks so cosy! 

I had a little search and found a couple similar coats. 

On the left, we have Won Hundred Factory Cocoon Coat from Urban Outfitters.
Top right is a little more mature from Phase Eight.
Finally, bottom right is from Topshop. The colours on this one wouldn't suit me but it's nice for the right person. 

Hopefully, by the end of next week I will have purchased my own winter coat because I cannot keep wearing my old Whistles number.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Monday, October 8, 2012

I walked into Waterstones the other day and noticed The Silver Linings Playbook on promotion. I  had been hearing (and reading) good things about the film adaptation ever since TIFF, so I decided to give it a go and WOW. I think it is my favourite read of this year. 

The story is told from the point of view of Pat who has just been released from 'the bad place' and is desperate for 'apart time' to be over between him and his wife. Over the course of the novel we journey with Pat as he comes to term with some home truths about his wife, his friends and family, and Hank Baskett. Amidst all of this, Pat befriends Tiffany, who was also in her own version of 'the bad place'. 

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not terribly profound or life-changing. It's not 'literary'. However, the genuineness of all the characters was so overwhelmingly palpable that I was charmed. The book was definitely alive- for me, at least. The story was simple, which is always the case in these kinds of novel, but there was a pureness that shone through as the characters confronted their personal demons and the mistakes they had made in the past. There was an innocence cocooned inside what is quite a dark subject. Also, Pat's voice made a nice change from the wise-cracking, cynical, man-about-town types that are so frequent these days. 

I am now more excited than before to see the film. Even though I had watched the trailer prior to reading the book, it didn't stop me from picturing the characters. For Pat, I heard (rather than saw) Zachary Quinto's voice and for Tiffany I pictured Olivia Wilde. However, I like the pairing of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and I think Robert DeNiro is going to be a perfect version of Pat Sr. I also can't wait for all of the football scenes. I've been tempted to look up the Eagles chant but might just hold out for the film. There's a lot of awards buzz surrounding this film already and if it ends up anything like the book then I can already say it is throughly deserving of any accolade bestowed upon it. 

So, I urge you to go out and buy your copy of The Silver Linings Playbook and get reading before the film! 

Wanty Wanty

Sunday, October 7, 2012

This week, lots of different things have been catching my eye around the web and it made me think of my mum and grandma saying (in their Jamaican accents) 'wanty, wanty, can't get it, getty getty nuh want it'. So, without further ado, here is this week's most coveted item:

Emma Stone's Gorgeous Coat

I'm looking for my winter coat at the moment and I would love one similar to Emma Stone's Maje number (sidebar: does anyone know how you actually pronounce Maje?). It's stylish but functional and she looks very chic in it. Then again, she looks chic most of the time. In fact, I could add her whole wardrobe to my want list. However, at $775, this is way out of my price range.

So, here are two I've found that don't quite measure up to the Maje but are more in my price range:

Whistles Floretta Funnel Neck Coat- £225.00