In which I invite you to explore the City of Lights with me.
In which I have a wonderful day out at Cheltenham Literary Festival, the mecca for British book lovers.
“All I Know Now” by Carrie Hope Fletcher (Sphere)
“How to be a Heroine” by Samantha Ellis (Chatto & Windus)
“Peter Pan and Wendy” by J.M. Barrie (Puffin Classics)
My review of “All I Know Now”
More about the festival
“Cute” by bensound.com
“Indie Romance” by Silent Partners
Bright Glowing Discs Particles Video Background Loop by UV Associates
KEY WORDS: wendy darling, book festival, reading, literature, self-help, heroines, role models, diversity, women, feminism, youtube, romance, announcement, new feature
In which I follow in the footsteps of the Kingmaker’s Daughter, Anne Neville, and visit the most spectacular castle in England, Warwick Castle.
In which we continue our discussions about our web series “Elinor and Marianne Take Barton” (inspired by Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”). We talk OTPs, fan reactions and the truth behind that infamous ‘wet shirt’ scene.
Part One of the EMTB Creator Q&A here.
Watch “Elinor and Marianne Take Barton” here.
Key words: sense and sensibility, jane austen, literary web series, nothing much to do, emma approved, pemberly digital, pride and prejudice, colin firth, behind the scenes, elinor dashwood, marianne dashwood, brandon palmer, shirtless scene
The Twittersphere recently erupted with a particularly nasty-sounding hashtag (#FeministsAreUgly). To retaliate, users have been posting photographs of pro-equality celebrities (the beautiful faces of Beyoncé, Emma Watson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were frequently on my dash) and well as selfies of themselves. The point is fairly clear: there are plenty of feminists who are “regulation hotties” and anything but ugly.
As it turns out, the hashtag wasn’t started by Twitter trolls or militant Men’s Rights Activists . Instead, it was an ironic statement from two feminists in August 2014 whilst posting selfies. It seems that this was all a case of smoke without fire (and perhaps think before you tweet). But there’s actually a bigger issue at stake here, and that’s in how it was handled by the other feminists who thought the hashtag was legit troll bait. (And, it’s worth bearing in mind that I have seen many, many people of both genders have said they genuinely believe that only ugly girls are feminists, so it can’t all be dismissed as misunderstanding).
In which I’m joined by two special guests to discuss our web series, “Elinor and Marianne Take Barton” (inspired by Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”). We talk about favourite Austen adaptations, imagine crossovers and provide the definitive answer to whether sense or sensibility is the best.
NO MAJOR SPOILERS, SO YOU CAN WATCH WITHOUT HAVING SEEN THE SERIES!
Watch “Elinor and Marianne Take Barton” here.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
(500) Days of Summer, close encounters of the third kind, confessions of a shopaholic, game of thrones, gone with the wind, krispy kreme donuts, liebster award, milkshake, roman holiday, sleepless in seattle, stephen spielberg, targarean, the holiday, the hunger games, the vampire diaries, tyrell
Thank you to Jaime Fok for the nomination! You should definitely check out her blog – loads of great movie reviews and news 🙂
1. What is your absolute favourite film of all time? You can’t ask a film student this question – it’s too cruel! I adore (500) Days of Summer because it’s the sort of film you can watch over and over and it means something different every time depending on what mood you’re in. I’m also a sucker for an old fashioned, sweeping romance like Roman Holiday or Gone With the Wind.
2. What is your second least favourite film and why? I can’t stand Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’m not a big Spielberg fan generally (I know, alert the media), but Close Encounters is bad even by his standards: it’s too long, the main character is a jerk and I remember getting to the end and wondering why I even bothered watching it in the first place.
3. What is your guilty pleasure? A really sappy Rom Com, when I’m in the right mood. Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Holiday, Sleepless in Seattle…I know they’re not “great” movies per se, but I really enjoy them and what’s wrong with that?
4. What one word would be the best one to describe your personality? Dramatic, probably.
5. Coffee, beer, or wine? I’d rather have a milkshake.
6. Pick your favourite TV show, and then choose 3 characters from that show to Kiss/Kill/Marry. The Vampire Diaries. Marry Klaus because I can’t resist his boyish, psycho charm. Kiss Damon Salvatore because he is ridiculously hot. Kill Stefan because I can’t stand any more of his sulking.
7. Favourite fast food restaurant? Krispy Kreme Donuts.
8. If you had to spend time with ONLY one person for the rest of your life, who would it be? My mum.
9. Your GoT house. (If you don’t watch GoT, you may choose Harry Potter house, LOTR group, Divergent faction, Hunger Games district, etc.) Ok, so if I was in Game of Thrones I would be half Tyrell and half Targarean, so I could look super gorgeous, until you annoyed me and then I’d burn you to death with my dragon. In Hunger Games, I’m definitely District 4. I have an obsession with the sea and I love Finnick.
10. What is next location on your travel list? Vienna.
11. What is your favourite blog post that you have written? I haven’t written that many yet, but I did like reviewing Testament of Youth because it was such a powerful and moving film.
Your questions are as follows:
1. What’s the one thing you want to do before you die?
2. How was your lunch today?
3. One thing you regret from your past?
4. Do you believe in soul mates?
5. Favourite accessory?
6. One book that you’ve always meant to read, but never got round to?
7. One language you wish you could speak?
8. Do you prefer dancing or singing?
9. Favourite scent (perfume, shampoo, what you will)
10. If your life was a Art Movement, which one would it be? (Impressionists, Surrealists etc)
11. Why did you start a blog?
Image: Tim Ellis/Flickr
I am terrified of wasting my twenties! If you know me at all, I can’t stand being stuck in a routine and I think that’s very easy to do when you have to Be An Adult and Do Responsible Things…
Inspired by Books and Quills, I’ve made a list of the Thirty Things I Want to Do Before I’m Thirty.
1. Live in London
2. Go on an overseas holiday with a friend (and no parental involvement)
3. Make a blog
4. Fall in love
5. Kiss someone in the rain
6. Read all the books on my ‘100 Book Challenge’
7. Watch everything on my ‘100 Movies/TV Shows Challenge’
8. Learn First Aid
9. Visit Warwick Castle (I go to the University of Warwick and I’ve never been there! Shame on me… Plus I love all things The Kingmaker’s Daughter and Richard/Anne)
10. Complete a novel (as in, edit etc not just the first draft)
11. Eat yoghurt on the steps of the Met (Gossip Girl style)
12. Send a love letter
13. Fill my entire Q & A book (a friend gave me a neat book with a question per day for the next five years)
14. Dress as a fictional character
15. Go to a midnight screening of a film
16. Pass my driving test
17. Take an art class
18. Fill a sketchbook with drawings
19. Go to the carnival in Venice
20. Volunteer for a good cause
21. Graduate from university
22. See a musician I love live
23. Have a job where I get paid to do stuff (every graduate’s dream)
24. Go to an outdoor cinema
25. Help a friend with something important
26. Meet a celebrity I admire
27. Become good at some sort of craft
28. Get paid to do something creative (every artist’s dream)
29. Make a scrapbook
30. Go ice-skating (and hopefully don’t die)
I’m nearly 21, which gives me nine years and two months to complete this list. Will I succeed or fail miserably? Only time will tell…
Love, Emily Rose
2014 was truly the year of Taylor Swift. She released the best-selling album of the year, became a feminist and moved to New York (presumably her next step to total world domination). 1989 shows that the once teen country idol has become a full-on pop phenomenon. Gone are the days when Taylor Swift pined on balconies and wept over musical instruments – now she has a mature sound and of course a new look to go with it. She’s exchanged country and curls for New York and red lipstick, but as the two music videos from 1989 demonstrate, the changes in Swift’s persona go much deeper than that.
The multi-award winning platinum artist became a household name with hits like Love Story and You Belong With Me, but soon after this received a hype backlash. Putting aside those who find her music too angsty and boy-focused, Taylor Swift also became the target for a phenomenal amount of (often unfair) criticism for her star image. She was seen on the one hand by feminist magazine Jezebel as fetishizing virginity and purity and on the other as a ‘slut’ for the number of boys she’s dated. This criticism, as well as changes in music style, is probably what encouraged Swift to rebrand herself. She’s not the wide-eyed everygirl writing about teen heartbreak and high school crushes any more, and the music videos for 1989 cement what Red started: an attempt to redefine Swift’s star image.
Shake It Off and Blank Space both address the critical backlash which has been directed at Swift in the past couple of years. However, where Shake It Off fails, Blank Space is funny, self-aware and shows that even though Swift’s sound has changed, she still has the self-deprecating humour and critical eye which made her earlier albums so successful.
Shake It Off, whilst catchy, is an example of lazy song writing and too much studio input
Lines like “the haters gonna hate (hate, hate)” aren’t exactly newsworthy and the words “you could have been getting down to this sick beat” sound just plain wrong coming out of Swift’s mouth. Even when she’s singing about her “ex-man’s new girlfriend”, Swift doesn’t have anything interesting to say apart from the fact that she says “Oh my God” a lot.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together was one of the weakest songs from Red, but does at least illustrate how Swift can use a few well-judged details (he likes indie music that’s much cooler than hers and keeps telling her he needs “space”) to build up a realistic and personal portrait of her ex-boyfriend. Shake It Off feels like it was brainstormed at a meeting for maximum commercial impact, and has none of the confessional feeling that usually characterises Swift’s work. This is one of the first times in Swift’s career that she’s made a song that could have been sung by anyone – there’s that little personality in it.
The music video makes it very clear what they’re trying to do: re-brand Swift as a peppy, against-all-the-odds beacon of self-confidence. It just doesn’t work. The video features Swift dancing with deliberate clumsiness amongst groups of ballerinas, twerkers, cheerleaders and other music video staples. Whereas the song feels like it was written by committee and doesn’t have enough of a personal mark upon it, the video goes the other way. Most of Swift’s fans know that she is an enthusiastic but unabashedly awful dancer and know that Shake It Off is poking fun at that, but the general population is likely just to see bad dancing and not understand what it’s supposed to mean.
Another problem with the video is the boredom-factor. There’s no real story or development; the video has one joke (Taylor Swift can’t dance) and repeatedly bashes you over the head with it. Shake It Off is also simply not convincing in how it portrays Swift. She tells you so emphatically so many times and in so many ways that she doesn’t care about the criticism she receives that it makes it seem fake. I started asking myself why she was telling me about it in so much detail – it just makes her seem insecure.
But where Shake It Off fails, Blank Space succeeds
It has the same artificial, synth-heavy sound which dominates much of 1989, but the same sound which flattens the sadder, darker emotions in I Wish You Would works here. It’s because Swift isn’t writing as herself, but from the perspective of the person that the media makes her out to be. By turns whimsical, threatening, earnest and manipulative, Swift captures every facet of her alter ego perfectly. The music video is also more creative, imaginative and better edited than Shake It Off, which could have been produced by just about any moderately talented film school student.
Blank Space tells a story: wide-eyed Swift lives in a giant mansion with two horses, her cat and an entire gallery of portraits she’s painted of her ex-boyfriends. Swift begins a new relationship and everything seems peachy – she goes on picnics with her new hunk, slow-dances and begins a new painting. But things quickly go south when she discovers her boyfriend texting another girl (gasp!), finally leading Swift to destroy the painting, his car, feed him a poisoned apple and then prepare to meet her next victim.
The director packs an awful lot of content into a four-minute video, and the story is punctuated perfectly with great editing and a lot of humour. Swift excels at playing the overly earnest girl who quickly descends into hysteria. She’s normally one for immaculate appearances, but in Blank Space we see her with mascara running down her face and a wild bird’s nest of hair. It’s hard to remember whilst watching this that Swift is usually seen as a wholesome, America’s Sweetheart type. It works because Swift has a real flair for the manic and is surprisingly convincing as the Fatal Attraction-style girlfriend – she delivers lines like “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream” in a way that is genuinely chilling.
Swift is obviously self-aware that she’s putting on an act, but she limits it to the occasional line delivered knowingly to camera. It’s much more effective than the constant ‘little girl lost’ act that she puts on in Shake It Off, which rapidly becomes very frustrating. This self-awareness also brings a sense of satire – Swift is behaving exactly as the media says she is, demonstrating how quick people are to caricature real people, especially women.
Instead of telling you that she doesn’t care about your opinion, in Blank Space Swift shows you with gusto. She’s made the ultimate joke about her reputation better than anyone else can, and it promises an exciting new chapter in Swift’s evolution is to come. You may have your own opinions about Taylor Swift, but after Blank Space, she has made your criticism officially irrelevant.
Love, Emily Rose
Image Credits: Image 1 – Flickr/Jana Zills, Image 2 – pt.wikipedia.org
^ What I wish my new year looked like…
I love lists. I love making them, probably a lot more than I enjoy following through and actually doing the things I’ve set myself. Anyway, New Year is one of my favourite times of the year. I love the sense of possibility and excitement. For me, nothing is worse than being trapped in boring routines, and New Year is the perfect time to shake up my lifestyle and break out of old habits.
Before I look at my resolutions 2015, I want to go back and evaluate how my 2014 resolutions panned out first.
Not bad, I feel. Onto 2015…
In an effort not to forget about these resolutions, I’ll be posting an update later in the year to see how I’m going with them!
xoxo Emily Rose
Image Credits: Header – Christopher Michel/Flickr
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