Monthly Archives: February 2012

Monday Pick Me Up: Meryl is Queen

Meryl Streep Oscars 2012

So once again I’m unable to post a non-YouTube video on here, so you’ll have to make do with a link to Perez Hilton for today’s pick me up. To no ones surprise, Meryl Streep won her third golden man last night, it seems that even she thinks her record 17 nominations are overkill.

Her speech was equal parts original, funny and moving – as she mentioned the certainty surrounding her victory in the run up to the awards and then paid tribute to her longtime hair stylist (and now Oscar winner) J. Roy Helland, as well as the rest of her friends in the audience. And let’s face it, she’s probably friends with most of the audience by now.

While I’m in agreement that her accurate portrayal of Maggie Thatcher deserved a win, I wish that she had not been up against such strong candidates, such as Viola Davis. I rewatched The Help last night and remembered just how much I utterly loved it the first time, Viola’s stellar performance more than qualifies her for Oscar glory, maybe next time.

It was a pretty dull ceremony in all, no real surprises – how amazing would it have been if Melissa McCarthy’s name had been on the envelope?! Ah well, maybe next year the most exciting moment won’t be that Sacha Baron Cohen has poured Kim Jong Il’s ashes onto Ryan Seacrest, but something that was actually relevant to the awards.


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Sunday Cook Off

This week’s Sunday Cook Off is going to be a little bit delayed, as I’m planning to make a rather special cake on Tuesday. My friend has just gotten engaged so I’m making it for her and her brand spanking new fianc√©! I’ll update this post when I’ve finished constructing the most ambitious and complicated cake I’ve ever made…wish me luck!

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Saturday Pot Luck: Even imagining Colin Firth speaking can make me cry

Lovely Colin

It’s no secret that I have slight penchant for all things Mr. Firth, but my love for The King’s Speech extends beyond that, for such a British film it’s hugely uplifting. So when Raindance Film Festival’s Twitter feed offered a copy of the script to anyone with an interest, I jumped at the chance. This is a fairly regular occurrence, I have previously been sent a PDF of the Drive screenplay, which was absorbing on paper as it was in celluloid.

On opening my most recent acquisition, of course I instantly located the grand final scene, in which our hero overcomes every obstacle to inspire the country to rise up against evil. All I had to do was read a few lines and I was already tearing up…pathetic.

Anyway, if you would like to obtain your own copy, or learn more about Raindance, have a gander at the information below.

Email for an automatic reply containing the pdf

Tweet @Raindance for more info on their training opportunities or general independent film news


[Image via]

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Fame On A Friday: Adele gives the finger and gets support, bad luck MIA

Adele's message to 'The Suits'

The main story this week has been the controversy surrounding the monumentally poor decision to cut off Adele in the midst of her speech after winning the most important award at The Brits. The luckless James Corden has been bombarded with abuse ever since, which is a bit unfair, but then again I doubt that the award bigwigs have a Twitter account.

It seems that everyone is thinking the same thing – listening to Adele give a heartfelt speech in her usual genuine way would have been a lot more entertaining than hearing Damon Albarn wail into a microphone, during which it became painfully clear that Blur are past their best. The overwhelming support for Adele demonstrates just how different our nation is from our American neighbours. While her middle-fingered gesture of frustration has been lauded as a just and necessary message to The Brits bosses, the outrage surrounding MIA’s flipping of the bird during the Superbowl has actually managed to overshadow Madonna’s comeback performance. MADONNA.

The gyrating wannabe teenager put on a 12 minute performance that featured acrobatic dance moves, a King Xerxes-style carnival float and all of the most popular music acts in the charts at the moment. And yet, a one second gesture from an already-known-to-be-controversial singer has overshadowed the entire thing. Madge must be well and truly pissed.

MIA has been accused of corrupting the minds of innocent children by multiple over-zealous conservative groups (who else?), nevermind that they were already watching a show which featured men attacking each other for the sake of a few seconds of holding a ball. Or the presence of other salacious acts, such as Nicki Minaj, whose songs have recently made stars out of two young British girls, Sophia Grace and Rosie. They regularly appear on TV shows such as Ellen, singing her not quite PG-13 lyrics. God forbid that the children of America should see a person’s finger!

Furthermore, the middle finger gesture is so established as school playground fodder that it’s practically childish for these two well-respected artists to express themselves in such a way. Couldn’t they just have written c*nt on their arses and flashed that? If you’re going to corrupt the minds of a young generation, you might as well go the whole hog.

[Image via]

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Thursday Me Time: Twitter Job Hunt

Apologies for the lateness of this post, I fell asleep while writing it yesterday and had to employ my Superman-like reflexes when I awoke as my laptop was about slide off the bed. Obviously baking cakes really takes it out of me…

This week I was talking to my Dad about trying to find work, and how most of the people that I follow on Twitter post alerts for job vacancies in the media. Ideally I want to get into television production or development, but the old adage of needing experience to get experience is slightly halting my progress. So with that idea, my Dad decided to tweet a message to his 3000+ followers seeing if any of them know of any vacancies, and there have already been a few responses. He included a link to my blog, so I thought that I would aim this post at anyone who fancies a read.

I should mention that my Dad works in the computing industry, so I imagine that most of his many followers work in a similar field of cloud computing or some such software engineering type thing. I freely admit to having no clue about any of this. So if anyone needs an admin assistant or similar, I’m there. I know that I can do the job and make a valid contribution to the company. But if there are vacancies with more of a programming vibe, then unfortunately I cannot be of any help. While my computing skills cover a wide range of office software and social media, when it comes to…whatever software engineering entails, I am without knowledge. As a proactive learner, I am working on this by teaching myself Photoshop and HTML to broaden my tech skills.

The areas in which I most excel are television, film and entertainment – did I mention that I have a photographic memory? – I have become the go to person for information on any of these subjects. I am also a keen traveller, if you read my Travellin’ Tuesdays posts then you will see that I have backpacked around Australia, the South Pacific islands and New Zealand, where I also studied Pacific Lit for a year. So I like to think that I am pretty adaptable and can manage any situation no matter what issues may arise. My 7 years of experience in customer service roles are also a great help.

These skills served me well last year, when I was a Hospitality Intern at The Cambridge Film Festival, where I compiled and managed daily itineraries for all of our delegates. I organised transport, accommodation, dinners, sponsor receptions, and even a UK premiere. I also managed the delegate reception desk and complimentary ticket allocation, which required me to learn a lot of new software fairly quickly. During the festival, I made myself available 24/7, at one point taking a guest back to London at midnight because her flat had been burgled. Whenever anything went wrong – which, in such a fast-paced environment, was quite often – I thought of the best way to solve it and put my plan into action. From co-ordinating multiple arrivals/departures and juggling ticket allocations for sold out screenings, to racing across to town to get vital supplies for the 60+ delegate packs. You give me a challenge and I will get results.

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Syrians are massacred and the UN doesn’t care

Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik

This week it seems that everyone has begun to talk about the unrest in Syria, particularly in the city of Homs, but that’s all that they are doing, talking. I’m not going to pretend to know all of the details regarding why President Assad is murdering his own people, or even why the UN and various governments seem reluctant to take action against a violent dictator. However, as I recall, the action against Colonel Gaddhafi was a lot more decisive and swift, and I refuse to believe that any governing body can think that it is preferential to do nothing.

Today the main story has been the deaths of American journalist, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, an undeniably tragic occurrence for people who strived to tell the stories of those without a voice. Hopefully the high profile nature of this news story will spur the authorities into action against Assad, who, according to Colvin’s final report, has been purposely attacking densely populated civilian areas and refusing to allow anyone to leave. However, it should not be the sad deaths of two dedicated professionals that inspire our world’s leaders to aid the suffering Syrians, the very fact that a government was murdering their own people should have been enough.

As I understand it, the hesitation is due to the strong Syrian army, powerful position of the country’s leader and, probably, it’s ownership of oil (please correct me if I’m wrong). But the fact that it may be a challenge to overcome a terrible regime should not be a deterrent. Many Syrians have died in their efforts to attain freedom, and their sacrifice should not be in vain. Call me crazy, but the entire United Nations against one administration doesn’t sound like much of a fight. I can’t understand what they are waiting for, do they think that a homicidal tyrant is simply going to stop his vengeful attack? Or are they waiting for all of the dissidents to be murdered and for the country to return to a dictatorship, so that they can return to the more important matter of rewarding the bankers that caused a global recession?

Hopefully our world leaders will grow a backbone soon, for the sake of the Syrian people.

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Travellin’ Tuesdays: Great Barrier Reef in a hurricane? Why the hell not.

The beautiful Whitsunday Islands

This week I thought I’d talk about visiting the Great Barrier Reef, arguably one of the most astounding sights on the planet. My friends and I took a trip there whilst backpacking up the east coast of Australia, we didn’t get as far north as Cairns but were still able to visit one of the world’s natural wonders – albeit in unusual weather conditions.

Out of our entire Australian experience, myself and four friends spent the most time in the Whitsundays, as three of them were booked onto a scuba PADI course. I have to admit that I envied their exciting adventures underwater (the Whitsundays are definitely the dullest place to spend 8 days when you have nothing planned), but my complete phobia of all things sea related meant that I wasn’t too put out. What did affect my mood was the less than perfect Aussie summer, in which I experienced hurricanes, terrible storms and humidity like you wouldn’t believe, not the best situation when you are camping in the cheapest, and shittest, tent known to man. Seriously, it cost ¬£25 on ebay, had a hole in the top and wasn’t even vaguely waterproof. We were thinking that vents and waterproofing weren’t relevant when you’re camping in the SUMMER. We were wrong.

Anyway, we had booked onto a boat trip to a pontoon in the Reef and were highly excited about entering Nemo’s world. The fact that there were two hurricane-like storms on the horizon slightly dampened our spirits, particularly my friend Sophie, who is infamous for getting sick just by looking at the sea. It turns out that the remaining four of us were the only people on the entire ship not to get seasick during the two hour journey to the pontoon. If you thought that being surrounded by 50 people throwing up could put you off life in general, you were right. Needless to say, we were the first off of the boat when we reached the pontoon, straight into the wetsuits and out into the water.

The pontoon had a number of different activites, such as a glass bottom boat and a water slide, but I was most interested in actually getting into the water. Particularly because it was a roped off area monitored by a lifeguard – I should mention that I have a pathological fear of sharks. As in, I can’t even look at a picture without flinching. But I felt safe, and I was really excited to see some fish that were more exciting than those of the gold variety. It was so peaceful yet bustling with life at the same time, and I was definitely replaying “Just keep swimming” in my head for a good half an hour. From iridescent cuttlefish to, what shall be forever known as ‘Dory fish’, the view was quite spectacular and I was sad to get out and return to a pontoon filled with seasick families determined to get their money’s worth despite overwhelming nausea.

I met up with my friends, who had left for a diving experience and a spin on the glass bottomed boat, they gleefully informed me that they had seen a reef shark. A REEF SHARK. In the water. Near me. Yes, they’re small and harmless, but any creature with ‘shark’ in the name instantly terrifies me and, well, I was not impressed.

However, shark terror aside, the experience of seeing up close the kind of wildlife normally reserved for an aquarium visit more than made up for a previously dull week in the Whitsundays (I should mention that I was ill with laryngitis and skint during this time as well). But it was all part of the character building, can you tell that I like that phrase? I must have used it every week so far, but with good reason. The whole point of travelling is to experience something new, and it may not always be a positive experience, but it will definitely leave you with a good story to tell.

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Monday Pick Me Up: Corpsing IS Comedy

This week I’ve become a bit obsessed with the most recent episode of SNL, in which alum Maya Rudolph returns to her former stomping ground, along with a few surprise guests. Justin Timberlake and Amy Poehler both popped up for stellar cameos in skits poking fun at Beyonce’s new baby, as well reviving the old favourite, Bronx Beats. My personal favourite was the Super Showcase sketch, in which pretty much everyone involved was corpsing at Shonda and Vonda (Rudolph and Kristen Wiig) as they took a contestant through the various surprises that they could’ve won. I think that the best sketches are the ones that are so funny that even the performers can’t help but laugh, and you become a part of a group of friends who are, let’s face it, pissing around on stage and doing silly voices. Haven’t we all done something similar? Anyway, it’s not available on Youtube and my HTML skills are not quite up to scratch yet so you’ll have to click on the link below, enjoy.

SNL-Super Showcase

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Sunday Cook Off: Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Didn't quite manage to get a picture before tucking in


This week I made Chocolate Ripple Teabread, taken from a Cadburys chocolate recipe book that I’ve had for years. At the moment I’ve got my eye on one of my signature dishes, a Chocolate Marble Cheesecake – but that’s for another week.


200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter/margarine, softened

1 tsp ground mixed spice

175g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence (as always, I used more)

225g self-raising flour

1/2 (half) tsp baking powder

100g milk chocolate, chopped (to decorate)

1. Prepare a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. Put the chocolate (not the stuff for decoration) in a heatproof bowl, place over a pan of gently simmer water and leave until melted. Stir in 25g of the butter and the spice.

2. Place the remaining butter, the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence in a bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into the tin. Spread one-third of the chocolate mixture over the cake mixture. Repeat the layering of the cake mixture and chocolate sauce, finishing with a layer of cake mixture [how many times can mixture be used in a sentence?!]. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate.

3. Bake in a preheated over, 180*C (350*F) for 1 1/4 hours or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. **I found that, after 45 mins, my cake was well done and starting to burn, I’ve no idea where they got an hour and a quarter from, but when I make this again I’ll probably put it in for 40 mins max.** Leave in the tin for 10 mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4. Gobble.

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Saturday Pot Luck: Kevin Costner should deliver everyone’s eulogy

Today was Whitney Houston’s funeral, it was broadcast live to million of people, all of them eager to share in the mourning of an idol. There was quite a stellar lineup of speakers and performers, from the Rev. Al Sharpton to Alicia Keys, but the person who stood out the most for me was Kevin Costner. His speech, though a little random at the beginning, gave us an insight into the Whitney that very few people were privileged enough to see. From her beginnings in a church choir through to an embarrassing mishap during a screen test for her most famous film, The Bodyguard. I was laughing and bawling in equal measure, particularly at the end: check it out below.

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