Lothario Leo

Leonardo DiCaprio is a name that makes us all feel some type of way. To be precise, a type of way that can only be matched by dozens of doughnuts surrounded by kittens and dancing fairies – or is that just me?

Despite being one of the most eligible bachelors in all the land, it strikes me as odd that this now 41-year-old hugely talented star is still acting as though he is half his age. A recent rumour emerged that he has slept with over two thousand models *spits out latte all over self *. Which although sounds completely undoable (clearly unlike the models), given all the yacht and after party pics of him surrounded by scantily clad girls, you can’t help but ponder the fact that he might just be that slutty.

Leo has ex-girlfriends that many men would envy, and if we’re honest, many women would too. His on-screen loves alone are enough to make anyone fall in love with the idea of being with this sharply dressed superstar, non more so then his self-proclaimed BFF Kate Winslet, who let’s be honest, we all want to be just a little bit. So why is it that lovely Leo can’t find a long-term girl for real?

My theory for this is simple (and brilliant, obvs). Leo has waited twenty years for an Oscar after first being nominated in 1996. His brain therefore must have paused itself in that moment when he was a mere 21-years-old, and held him in that boyish frame of mind for the past twenty years – told you it was brilliant. Ok so that might not be the exact reason, after all I’m sure most 41-year-old men would jump at the chance to spend some quiet time with Leo’s lady friends. But hopefully now after his win, this titanically talented star (see what I did there?) can finally act his age and settle down, needless to say hopefully with me.

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The Use of Uni

Why is it that we go to university? Is it to gain an academic achievement? Is it to further our minds and delve into the world of independent learning? Or is it to get a cheap few years away from home, get drunk on a daily basis and pull as many members of the opposite sex that we possible can? For many I fear it’s the latter. Being a smelly, poor student myself I have realised that a lot of my peers here at university didn’t come for their degree at all. In these tough financial times university has become the only chance we have to move out for a few years before grovelling back home to Mom and Dad’s house, to save for a house deposit until we’re no doubt about 93. Gaining those savings most likely from a job that’s got absolutely nothing to do with our degree. For example, I know a girl who has a high level degree in phycology that now works as a buyer for a big supermarket (the yellow one). Now don’t get me wrong, it is an achievement to gain such a position straight out of university – but what has it got to do with psychology? Unless all those poor apples and loaves of bread need counselling, I really can’t understand how graduate jobs can have nothing to do with the chosen subject you spent 3 years painfully studying hungover in a library somewhere.

 

Another massive draw to that lovely UCAS website is the notion that you may never even have to pay all of your loan back. Now it’s a very dangerous thing to open teenager’s minds to the notion of free money, and no doubt pushes more people to the lovely land of higher education. I have been lucky enough to experience the relatively new world of £9,000 a year tuition fees. As I’m sure you can understand this leaves me a little miffed. My sister who is 2 years older than me narrowly escaped these and so has paid £3,000 a year for her degree, so tell me how that’s fair? We live in the same house. We have the same parents. Yet I’m expected to pay triple because I happened to be conceived a little too late in the 90s? If it wasn’t for the reassurance that I will only pay as much of this back as I can afford then I wouldn’t have been able to come to university. So what would I be doing now? Trying to get a job no doubt in an economy where there are little to go around. We are in danger of creating an elitist world of education where only snotty, well-to-do folk can venture to university which doesn’t seem fair at all to me. Why should our doctors, teachers, journalists of the future be the lucky rich ones? Labour has apparently said they intend to reduce university fees if they are voted in at the next election. But in my short life I have learnt the main thing about politics: they will lie to you to get what they want. Much like men at bars if you’re looking for a good comparison. Even if fees were reduced I doubt very much those in university currently (my very good self-included) would have their fees dropped also, only adding to young people’s frustration at politics.

 

Something else that baffles me about university is the extremely random degrees that keep popping up. An excellent example of this is my friend who is studying ‘contour fashion’. Now this may sound very high brow and mystical to the average person, as it did to me. These feelings are shattered however when you learn what it actually is…making bras. Yes, my friend is doing a BA in bras. Now to give her credit she’s not only making the bras, but designing the bras, writing about the bras and I even saw her put a survey on Facebook asking questions about bras (and yes, I may have accidently filled it in).  But what I can’t understand is how she has been almost tricked into paying around £30,000 for a piece of paper telling the world how good she is at dressing boobs. This is another example of how desperate teenagers are to have the ‘uni experience’ and shows how they will study the most random subjects in order to do so.  I mean no offence of course to my friend or her class mates, but it’s hard for me to get how a degree in making bras will get you very far when a degree in psychology only gets you to the corporate world of that yellow supermarket.

 

So what happened to the poor folk who don’t venture to university? I’m lucky enough to have a twin brother who is the complete opposite to me. He climbed trees, I fell out of them. He rode his bike, I fell off mine. He earns £100s of pounds at a time as a builder, I’m only 20 and already owe more money than I’ve ever had. This really proves to me that the only thing that matters is that you’re doing what makes you happy. It just sucks that what makes me happy is costing me £9,000 a year but never the less, at least I’m here and I’m enjoying it. But if you’d rather build walls, paint nails, skip around your house to Shirley Bassey all day for all I care then do it! All I say is that if you do decide to go to university, make sure it’s doing something that you love. Something that you’d happily do all day every day for the rest of your life.  And something worth the money you’ll be pretending to spend on it.

The Day The Earth Caught Fire

Here is a piece I wrote a couple of years ago about the 1961 film, “The Day The Earth Caught Fire”. It’s essentially a breakdown of the film including my verdict on it.

 

Premise:

  • Nuclear experiments gone wrong
  • Strange happenings: freak weather and early eclipse highlight that something is wrong
  • The bomb experiments have shifted the earth off its axis and orbit, causing it to be moving towards the sun and a change in equator

 

 

Plot:

A male journalist working for the Daily Express notices strange interference after a nuclear bomb experiment. In trying to find out more information he meets a woman (Jeana) who connects his call. Freak weather erupts over the world including heat waves, huge mist and massive storms. They form a relationship and she discloses to him that she overheard government officials discussing that the earth had moved off its axis and tells him in confidence. He ignores his promise to keep it a secret and breaks the story sending the woman to jail. Water shortages erupt causing it to be rationed worldwide. After the woman is released from jail she is employed by the Daily Express and they re-kindle their romance. It is then announced that in order to try and move the earth back, more explosions will be set off in a last attempt to prevent the earth from meeting its untimely fate. The movie ends after the explosions have been detonated leaving the audience on a cliff hanger as we don’t know if it has been successful.

 

Pacing:

  • Starts mysteriously, easing the audience into the plot
  • Newsroom scenes fasten the pace as information is revealed to the characters and the audience
  • Overall slow paced as information about the plot is steadily revealed

 

 

Message:

  • How would the world cope in a nuclear situation?
  • How would the press reveal to an audience that the world was possibly ending?

 

 

 

Quotes:

 

  • ‘Is it the end or another beginning?’
  • ‘What about a Daily Express arc?’
  • ‘Water is life. Save it’

 

Strong/Weak Scenes:

 

  • Effective first scene. Shows time just before the bombs are detonated the flashbacks 90 days prior to tell the story. This immediately draws in the audience and makes them ask questions.
  • Faster paced scenes such as those in the newsroom keep the plot interesting and stop it from becoming boring and slow
  • Scenes involving special effects are weak as the film was made in a time when then they weren’t very realistic (1961)

 

Visual Effects:

 

  • Very fake looking compared to modern special effects.
  • When showing rain on the window, it was only visible going down the centre of it. This is a very noticeable mistake.
  • Scene with fog engulfing the river is ineffective as it looks massively fake and unrealistic

 

Quality of Acting:

  • Typical of the time use of only pretty, young actresses compared to older male characters
  • Bad acting shown on phone conversations as they seeming react to a response to quickly, they don’t give a normal time for someone to respond before they talk again making it seem unrealistic
  • The two children featured are understandably unexperienced and so their acting abilities are a little stale (the man’s son and a little lost girl).

 

Topical Resonances:

  • Nuclear warfare is a constant issue in our time and so it prompts more questions relating to the controversial weaponry
  • Opens the idea of nuclear issues from a different angle. Rather than radiation and destruction, it takes it from a scientific perspective of what effects it could have on the planets position and weather

Overall Verdict:

 

I think that if this film concept was re done in modern times, the special effects of today would make it a much better movie. It wasn’t to my personal taste as it seemed a bit farfetched as far a plot lines go and I didn’t like the fact that it was shown in black and white. I did however find the use of a brownish tint effective showing the effects of the heat but still think colour would bring the plot much more to life. I would personally give it a 6/10.

FLASHBACK THURSDAY

High jacking an Instagram trend, here is a flashback to a piece I wrote two years ago to go along with photos of my friend and her lovely horse, Bob. The style is slightly different as it is aimed at children so thought I’d share it as it’s slightly different to my usual posts.

 

We all love ponies! But what is it like to own your own horse? We decided to investigate by following Lucy and her horse Bob around for the day to see what they got up to. We all know how fun ponies are, but there are a lot of jobs involved in looking after one. Remember, a pony is for life, not just for Christmas!

First things first, we have to go and get Bob from the field. We have to be careful though because it’s very muddy! Bob is wearing a special coat called a ‘rug’. This makes sure he’s warm and dry whenever it’s cold outside. He also has a special one for when he’s in his stable at night to keep him cosy, like your duvet at home.

With all that time in the field, Bob needs a good groom to clean him up. Grooming your horse is important because it gives you a chance to look them over, and make sure they haven’t got any injuries anywhere on their bodies. It also keeps his coat nice and glossy and shows off his heart shape clip on his bottom!

Now it’s time to tack up Bob and get him ready to be ridden. We have to put what’s called a ‘bridle’ on his head. This is what his reins are attached to so Lucy can control which way he goes when she rides him. We also have to put a ‘saddle’ on him, making sure what’s called the ‘girth’ underneath is nice and tight to keep it on and to keep Bob nice and comfy.

Now we have to make sure we’re wearing the right gear. Riding boots give you a good grip when riding your horse and help to keep your legs in the right position. We must also make sure to always wear a hat so if we fall off, we don’t hurt ourselves too badly! Lucy also closes to wear what’s called a ‘body protector’ to keep her extra safe when riding as this protects her even more. She trots Bob around the arena to give him the exercise that he needs, its super fun too!

Now for the best bit, mucking out! Lucy has to do this every day to make sure Bob has a nice, clean bed to sleep in. Then all is left to do is make sure Bob is nice and calm before we give him his food and make sure he has enough water. It’s been a long day but it’s all worth it when you get to own such a clever, friendly animal! We love you Bob!

Red Velvet Chair

grand theatre

Here is a piece I wrote for a module at university, the assignment was to write about a memory we found significant. I chose to write about the first time I went to the theatre to see my Auntie in My Fair Lady at The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton, a picture of which you can see above. Enjoy!

“I’m all dressed up, but I’m not sure why. Being told my Auntie was going to be in a show didn’t mean too much to me, after all I’m only six so what do I know? To be honest, I’d much rather be playing with my friends or pink wooden dolls house right now but no, I’m sat on a red velvet chair in a sea of people staring at an even redder, velvet curtain.

The most exciting part about this so far is that Nan has brought me sweets to munch on, I rarely get to eat this many sweets, Mom says they’re bad for me so this is a rare, delicious treat. It is only now, during my twenty-fourth Malteser that the heavy weight of the curtain is beginning to lift as the room suddenly gets darker and there it is, Victorian London.

It’s very odd. I’ve seen pretend things before on the TV and in films, but never like this. I can physically see the shapes of the houses in the background and the intricate costumes on the people who are beginning to move around the stage, it takes me so much by surprise that I almost drop Malteser number twenty-five.

Then it happens. They start singing. It’s strange to me to hear songs in this way, all the people are in time with one another and are even doing it in a funny accent. They all sound like the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins – I like it.

I think the story is about a common girl and a posh man who makes a bet to make her sound like him, but none of that really matters. The songs and dances are enough to ignite a love for this that I never realised I’d have, and I’m only saddened when I have to get up and out of my red velvet chair.”

The Beast of Grief

In the past week many deaths have been in the news. David Bowie shocked the world when he slipped away, only to be followed by Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey and Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil.

The sad passing of these people has made me only too aware of the power of grief. I have never met a single one of them, nor would I ever expect to and yet I feel a genuine sadness at the knowledge that they are no longer of this earth.

I have also been very aware of this being the case with others.  Being part of the “Harry Potter generation” means that my social media was full of quotes and pictures of Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the dark, yet great Severus Snape after the news broke of his passing from cancer – at the same age and due to the same cause of David Bowie not a few days before him.

Grief is a funny thing. You can feel as though you’re rid of the beast only for it to pounce on you without a moment’s notice. There is something very uniting however about sharing this emotion with others, others of whom you may never have even met yet know exactly how you are feeling as it is mirrored in themselves.

It is a shame that in a seemingly separate world, the defining thing that unites a generation is grief. The loss of a character mirroring the loss of the child within you who read about that character every night before bed, and has seen the films over and over. The loss of a musician who taught you that being different was ok and whose music is loved by countless people of all ages.

It is glorious however that in the darkness of death, the light of a person will always shine through. We remember the fondness and memories that person gave us, possibly without even knowing they ever did and for that, we are forever grateful.

“Old soul”

Being a young adult is always a stressful situation. Pretty much the same way being an old adult, teenager, child, or foetus is in the modern world.

It is therefore a struggle of mine that I do not fit the stereotypical mould that my age group has stuck to it – stuck to it I assume with beer, drugs and Facebook “likes”. I in fact love nothing more than staying in and watching Midsummer Murders on the days my friends are out watching people throw up on club floors through drunken eyes. Is it just me who doesn’t see the appeal?

Don’t get me wrong, I not completely boring (although I do try my best!) I do in fact enjoy the odd night out, I just don’t want to do it all the time and to me that’s ok. People my age tend to feel the need to keep up with one another in regards to clubbing and drinking but to me, you should only ever do what you personally enjoy and ignore the pressure of others – although we all know that’s never easy.

Whenever I see family after a term at uni I always get comments about how much I must go out because I’m a student, when in fact the busiest night I’ve had is trying to work out whodunit on Miss Marple.

I have however now come to the conclusion that all of this is fine. When I was a child I always acted older than I was so it only makes sense that as a 20-year-old I now act like a 70-year-old right? Please post confirmation of this to my new residency at an old folk’s home.