A Silly Review: The Super Bowl Show

So, it is over (sad face). The biggest, glitziest and most looked forward to sporting night has come to pass with The Patriots taking the winning title as the game came to an end in the NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas.

But that is not what I am here to discuss. I don’t even follow the game; the half time show is what caught my attention along with most other people.

Right from when it was announced that Lady Gaga was to join the list of legacy artists whom have sung their hearts out during the half time show, I was intrigued by what crazy performance she would conjure up- but to be frank I was slightly disappointed.I expected way more from a women who had dreamt of that moment since she was 4 years old.

However, I am just not too sure as to what exactly I did expect, something more ‘wow’ or breathtaking perhaps? . All I do know is that after her performance I was left wanting more. I wanted more of an aerial  performance for example, there was such a huge build up to her performing on the stadium roof that the one minuet she was up there  just was not enough.

I don’t know the logistics of the stunt or the hows and whys, but the dive from the roof to the stage  just felt a tad outdated and (dare I say) a little unimpressive with gaga looking nothing but awkward as she shimmied her way down.  The dancing was impressive though!  and her ability to sing ‘Million Reasons’ beautifully whilst out of breath was incredible, a true demonstration of her singing abilities and professionalism.  Although, I also feel a tad disappointed that Beyonce was not brought out during telephone, but it was never confirmed and Gaga said it herself that bey wouldn’t be joining her so why I feel disappointed, I don’t know. I guess we all got built up thinking it would one of those moments when your parents say you can’t have that toy but you end up unwrapping it on Christmas morn.

Anyway, that’s all. I enjoyed her performance but I would have liked more of a display. No shade but perhaps Gaga should leave the aerial stunts to the professionals such as P!nk, who can make a promise of spectacular and keep it.

If you are reading this, you have survived 2016

Grab a coffee  triple JD and coke, step aboard this nostalgia train and visit the only 12 stops available…

What a historical year this has been! ‘Everything’ that could possibly of  happened in 2016 has happened. From horrific developments in the war over in Syria, to devastating natural disasters, this year has had the stench of death seeping throughout the world. Lets take a large gulp of our chosen beverages as we take a very brief month by month look back on the past year. 

In January 2016, ISIS made their first appearance of the year with two suicide bombers murdering 70 people in Damascus, Syria;  the first of many cowardly attacks in 2016 and It was revealed that the world of Tennis was suspected of match fixing in a report conducted by the BBC, which lead to the arrest of over 36 people. North Korea also conducted a nuclear test which caused a 5.1 earthquake  but in lighter news, January 2016 witnessed  Taiwan elect their first female president; Tsai Ing-wen.

February 2016 welcomed the beginnings of peace talks regarding Syria in light of the Damascus bombings, but as we all know, sadly nothing lasting came of it despite plans for a temporary cease-fire. As of February 2016,  470,000 people died since the war began in 2011.  In other parts of the world, the second month of the year seen another suicide bombing, this time in Nigeria and North Korea launched a satellite up into space. Great. 

March 2016 witnessed a U.S led airstrike kill more than 100 militants in Somalia and the arrest of one of the 2015 Paris attackers. History repeats however with Brussels and Pakistan becoming the latest victim of suicide bombings killing  32 people in Brussels and 72, mainly children in Pakistan. On a more positive note, Turkey stepped up and  agreed to help take in a number of migrants who were fleeing the increasing violence in the east and President Obama made history once again by embarking on a presidential visit to Cuba, the first in 88 years.

In April 2016,  U.S Secretary of state John Kerry made a diplomatic visit to the site of Hiroshima to lay wreaths in memorial, he is the highest ranking U.S official to ever  visit the site.  In Sanaa, Yemen a fresh cease-fire in the fighting between Houthis rebels and Yemeni forces  emerged after an individual was killed a few hours prior,  breaking the original cease fire that was in place.  This month also saw President Obama announce that he would authorise deployment of up-to 250 special forces troops to help Syria fight ISIS But 50 people were killed in Syria after an airstrike destroyed a Hospital in Aleppo, which nobody claimed responsibility for. 

May 2016 played host to three bombings in Baghdad which killed 80 people, injured many more and destroyed the surrounding buildings; Isis claimed responsibility.  Two of the 280 school girls who were kidnapped in April 2014 were found this month leaving a total of, at this point of the year, 218 girls still missing.  The fight against terrorism stepped up this month with the leader of the Afghanistan Taliban  being killed, to further this ISIS militants came under attack from the Iraqi army and U.S air protection. Speaking of the U.S, President Obama made history again by Visiting Hiroshima and its survivors, becoming the first sitting president to visit the site in history, trumping John Kerry’s’ visit last month. 

June 2016 sadly seen the deaths of 49 individuals in the devastating Orlando shooting and the next day would see Paris attacked once again with two police officers being  killed hours before the Eiffel Tower was to be  lit up in rainbow colours as a mark of solidarity and respect for the Orlando victims.  However in the east, victory was Iraq’s after the government regained control Fallujah, a town that was held captive at the hands of ISIS for months prior. June 2016 also witnessed a few  other positives including the election of Rome’s first female mayor. But It wasn’t long before it all went downhill again however with the UK voting for Brexit resulting in the prime Minister David Cameron, who backed to stay apart of the EU, retiring. Great job guys! 

July 2016 was a particular awful month as it became clear ISIS had a much stronger presence in the world the ever before with an increase of ISIS inspired terror attacks spreading throughout the east. Pathetically, Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to a mere 6 years behind bars for the murder of girlfriend Reeve Steemkamp in 2014 and the UK saw Theresa may become Prime Minister, the 2nd female to take the helm. Andy Murray won Wimbledon again making him the second player to win twice since Fred perry in 1936 but France was the victim of yet another terror attack, this time in Nice after a truck was driven through crowds lined up to celebrate Bastille day, killing 84 and injuring 200.  Japan witnessed its worst mass killing in decades after 19 disabled people were murdered and  to  end July 2016, ISIS held five people hostage in a church in Normandy, France, executing the priest on his altar. And if things couldn’t get worse, July also saw Pokemon go released. 

August 2016 did not provide any respite for the hideous evil acts of cowardly murders as another bomb went off in a hospital killing 11, this time in Yemen where a further two bombs destroyed a school and a food factory the week before.  In this month Russia launched an airstrike attack from Iran into Syria, blowing up two ISIS command posts along with 150 ISIS militants. August seen the United Nations announce that they were going to financially help  Haiti with their battle with cholera after the disease was introduced into the country by United Nations peacekeepers who travelled from Nepal where it is rife. Also , sadly an ISIS suicide bomber killed 50 people at a turkish wedding ceremony, making it Turkeys deadliest ISIS attack. To counter that however ISIS’ second in command leader was killed. 

September 2016 was no different either. The Syrian Government were suspects after chlorine Bomb was  dropped on Aleppo causing  100 people to be hospitalised and another Syrian cease-fire was called for but was soon over after an airstrike on a UN convoy carrying food and medical aid killing  20 people in the attack.  However, In other news Mother Theresa gained her sainthood naming her Saint Theresa. Go you Theresa! 

In October 2016, citizens and rebels of Aleppo were given eight hours to evacuate as Syrian forces and Russia forces paused attacks, the united nations approved the plans even though they had requested a 48 hour pause, Yemen however, saw a three-day cease-fire. The migrant camp ‘The Jungle’ in Cali, France was  dismantled this month due to poor conditions with the migrants being relocated to temporary housing units throughout France. Pakistan came under attack once again this year with a police training camp falling victim, killing 61 cadets and injuring 100. 

November 2016 saw Iraq army forces enter ISIS held town of  Mosul, for the first time in two years. In response ISIS kidnaps 300 citizens 47 miles west of Mosul, at this point the fate of the citizens was unknown, it was later shown that they were being used as human shields. Also, as of November 2016 3,940 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to escape the raging wars in the east. And to top it of, Donald Trump went on to win the US president election, but that is another post you can read here.

December 2016 brought a very small gift of positivity as the control of the Syrian city of Aleppo was regained from ISIS by the Syrian Government for the first time in four years. Despite their efforts however, ISIS managed to regain control of another central location, Palmyra and the fight continues. ISIS also claimed responsibility for the very recent attacks on the  christmas market in Berlin, a copy cat attack of the awful truck incident that happened in France took 12 lives and injured many more. A Russian Ambassador was also shot and killed in turkey this month.  And to finish the year, actress Carrie fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds die just a day apart. They are the latest in the mass of celebrity deaths that have occurred periodically throughout the year of 2016. (You can read about them on some place else) 

So that is it. This train has reached its final destination. Please depart and enter 2017 with love, respect and kindness.  

Happy new year. 

* All information came from 2016 Current events . All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not represent the source used to gain information.

 

What a boom Audio Boom makes!

It is rare that I become obsessed with somthing, it has to be extreamly good. But there is no other word to describe my feeling for Audio booms’ Serial  then obsession!

Audio Boom is a app that hosts a whole range of podcasts from fictatious dramas to new bullitins and everything in between, you can download podcasts manualy or set it to download atomaticaly when the latest install is online! It’s free, easy to use and full of great content: for example, Serial.

//embeds.audioboom.com/posts/4037628-s01-episode-01-the-alibi/embed/v4?eid=AQAAALFqUFj8mz0A

Series one of Serial is a weekly podcast about the murder of a young girl. In TV comparison its just like making a murderer, but I find it is far more captivating.you ar You are stripped of all visuals and rely purly on drip feed of information from the presenters  choice of words. With raw audio of real interviews and telephone calls, Serial is addictive and the murder case can quickly become osessive as you try and solve the most elusive  who dunnit you have ever heard of. Each episode is between 30 minuets to an hour and half, the drip feed style is perfect for when you have abit of time spare.

 

 

 

 

Can you Youtube? Yes you can!

I am a  Journalism student: Check

I have my own blog: Check

I take “artsy” photos that don’t get shown and  just take up memory on my iPhone: Check

Well then, the only thing left to crack was Youtube! And how easy it was to crack! The editors suite is functional, basic and easy to follow and there is a wide variety of stock footage that can be used to create little.poitless videos (such as the one above), hours o fun to be had!

Obviously, you can go out and film your own footage that you can upload and turn into a “vlog” if you so wish, but the process is still just as simple. Drag, drop and edit. The non-lyrical music is provided for you, so you can add a bit of emotion via a soundtrack (Also so you can avoid those hefty licence fees).

Zoella and co move over! BithellTom.com is  virtualy on the way!

 

Like me.

Facebook is a huge part of our everyday life, whether you like it or not you still spend an average 20 + minuets a day scrolling through “your” news feed.

But exactly what keeps you scrolling?

A very special algorithm. That is what keeps you hooked, or so it is supposed to. For us non technical minded folks an algorithm is “a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem”  But what was  Facebook’s’ problem?  well, as it turned out, how to ensure we see the posts that really mattered to us first  was Facebook’s top issue that kept them up at night. 

And to solve the issue; invent an ever-changing  code that will sort the  information it receives and rank it for you. That’s right according to this article I recently read, (available here)  your Facebook news-feed was generated specifically for you with your interests  taken into careful consideration.

In the original days, the data Facebook gathered from you via the links you clicked, the profiles you visited etc., was fed back into the “machine” to give you what Facebook thought you wanted to see first. Although, it would seem it did not work quite as well as they would have liked, according to the article. Only 30%  of users reported that Facebook “sometimes” gave them the most interesting article, and sometimes is just not good enough so Facebook gave us the power to decide what we like, by giving us a “like” button.

It may not be clear to all, but the “Like” button has more use then just letting your friend know you like the video of the cat they posted the other day, it lets Facebook know that you specifically like that person and the cat video, so if you like more of that persons post’s you will see more of that person and you will see other cat videos, which to me makes perfect sense.

The article is very interesting once you get to the nitty grittiness of it. It makes you realise that Facebook holds a lot of power and control over what you get exposed to. I would recommend anyone download it from the kindle app and give it a read.

The kindle app by the way is great! I downloaded it onto my phone and synced it to my chrome account specially for this reading  and it is so handy, easy to use and simple. It’s a forgetful persons saviour! didn’t finish that online reading last night? well whip you phone out because it will be  on their (providing you remembered to save it to the app extension, which you can find here )

 

A review: The Guest (2014)

I watched this film a while back, and again recently, and it still amazes me. Here is my  review of a film that is stilll in my mind. 

“The Guest”- Review

From the director and writer of “You’re Next” comes a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of yout seat and send your brain into overdrive during this exhilarating 1 hr. 37 minute ride.

After its world premiere on 18th January 2014 during Sundance Film Festival, “The Guest” was released to UK cinemas on Friday 5th September 2014. However, this quirky film has met a mixed response from audiences with an abundance of both favourable and apathetic reviews despite charting at number 8 in the box office, making £313,000 within the first three days.

Set in the bleak suburbs of New Mexico, “The Guest” sends chills down the spine as Downtown Abbey’s Dan Stevens steps into the role of the charming, dark and twisted protagonist David. David, a soldier recently discharged from action in Afghanistan, has lost his way.  After witnessing the death of his comrade, Caleb Peterson, David vowed to visit the fallen hero’s family and comfort them with the last words from his lips, hence David’s unexpected arrival at Mrs Peterson’s front door. However, as with any film of this genre, all may not be as it appears.

  This is a film full of twists, turns and scenes that will divide your own opinion as you find yourself warming to the one character you know you shouldn’t.  Just like the Peterson family, you are helpless, falling under the spell cast from the blue-eyed, charismatic sociopath that prowls the screen in front of you.  David slowly slithers his way into the Peterson’s family life by befriending each member of the household one by one, helping simple problems vanish and putting a dramatic stop to the continuous bullying of the Peterson’s teenage son. The speed at which he operates means there is no let up for the audience. A true blink and you’ll miss it film. As the narrative swiftly progresses  it becomes increasingly sinister as David’s back story begins to unravel Continuing to shock and tear your mind apart, the film begins to slow down while some subtle but intricate details start to emerge. Not before too long the narrative gathers speed and sends viewers through a twisting, emotional roller-coaster one final time in the most beautifully filmed climax I have seen.

Supported by a cast of reasonably unknown actors such as Maika Monroe, who only made her acting debut in 2012 with the film “At Any Price”, and Brendan Mayer who is best known for his role in the children’s television show “Dinosapian”               

. Mixed with a multitude of technical pleasures such as the long forgotten retro-thriller soundtrack and the minimalistic use of special effects this film, in my opinion, has earned its self a respectable place in the box office charts. I feel that this film deserves more recognition then it is currently getting.  Although, the acting within this film is not the absolute best.  But on the other hand it is not the absolute worst either. It is realistic and believable enabling the audience to empathise with the characters. This also means that the audience has the chance to connect and relate to some of the more mundane aspects of the narrative such as falling in love and coping with teen drama.

Dan Stevens has done an excellent job in the portrayal of such a complex, emotionally torn character that deep down inside truly wants to help the grieving family but due to the cross he bears he is firmly halted in his attempts, despite his good intentions, forcing him to work with the devil inside of him. This type of role is a world away from where Stevens is commonly seen, strutting around the lavish sets of “Downton Abbey” and considering that, I think he has adapted well, proving himself to be a versatile actor.

This film was directed by and edited by Adam Wingard, the creator of horror movie “You’re Next” which was released last year. “You’re Next” was very popular at its time of release but again, it was met by several poor reviews.  It seems strange to me that both of Wingards’ latest films have been received in a way that divides the audience and I cannot decide whether or not this is a positive reflection of his directing skills or a negative one. It is clear however, that this film was created on a low budget.  This can be seen through the basic use of SFX and the lack of big name, Hollywood stars. Lance Reddick, who has starred in the successful American television shows “Lost” and “Fringe”, is the most recognisable actor.  Even though this film has been created on a low budget I believe that it has not hindered the film in any way but it has enhanced the film. “The Guest” does not rely on over the top, state of the art special effects or any A list celebrity to carry the film and draw an audience in. It is the intricate plot and the amalgamation of old school horror and 21st century ideologies that give this film its razor edge.

In my opinion, this is a great film and you can stream it on netflix now  

 

Changes.

Well. Here I sit, one year into my journey through university, and what a journey it is turning out to be. For those who do not know, I am studying Theatre at The University of Huddersfield, which is a great university in my eyes that has already churned out many memories for me to share at a later date. But for now… 

It was always the plan to head to university, that is a decision  I have never questioned. I knew exactly what I wanted to spend a sickening amount of money on also, or so I thought.

In the mind of my young naive self, I had it all planned out. I would complete my GCSE Drama, go onto study the subject that I so passionately liked at A level and then further my study at university. It would all go swimmingly because this was what I really, whole heartedly loved. Which is all true. My 16-year-old self did love it, so we followed our carefully crafted plan and we made it past GCSE and we got through our A level. We even managed to get to the university part which was all thrilling, until  life got in the way and my 19-year-old mind slowly and subtly began to change.

Now I have realised the fundamental flaw that my plan had, I did not want it.

I was enjoying it don’t get me wrong, I was having fun and I was good at it. In theory my plan was perfect But in reality I am not interested in theatre theorists, the history of theatre or Shakespeare to be honest. I have no desire to immerse my self in the subject, I wanted to just do it.

In my eyes however,  wanting to “just do it” isn’t enough to justify spending so much money on a degree, when you do not need a degree to do it.      

Many people tried to persuade me off my decision,  but I am not sure what exactly changed in my mind to make me realise that this isn’t for me, for myself. The experience of sitting in the lectures and having no interest but feeling guilty because I should have an interest? or was it the fact that all the way through high school I had not been on the stage during the school plays, but sat in the audience reporting and reviewing it?

 In the back of my mind I have always had a passion for writing. From the ages of 6 I was writing short stories, staying up late at night creating different worlds where my imaginative characters could dwell and then rushing to draw the front cover for my “book”. I thrived on bringing the adventure to life by  drawing the characters I had created.

In primary school I had a part in creating the schools first magazine, and then in High school I was apart of the schools  first newspaper, which in its second year went on to win an award. In year 12 I went to my local newspaper for two weeks for work experience and then before I had even started university, I had submitted my first piece of writing for T’hud magazine, my University’s student publication.

Maybe it was all of this that was occupying my mind while I should have been learning about the difference between theatre, drama and performance? and maybe that is why I am restarting my university adventure and changing my degree from Theatre to journalism. ;D 

I look forward to sharing my new experience here on this blog.