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Disclosed book on table at library

This Year I Read…

..a lot of YA.

I don’t know whether it’s arrested development in full force, or the fact that so many of the ‘adult’ books by female writers I’ve read are studies in marriage or parenting, but YA books (especially the ones written with the adult end of the spectrum in mind) are just more fun. Full of the ‘what ifs?’ rather than the ‘oh no’s

And if like me, you’re keen on anything supernatural based, the YA variery are generally loads better. (Mostly because you don’t have to read embarrassing vampire sex scenes).

So, on the off chance thay you’re interested, stand out books of 2015 for me included:

Dark Rooms – Lili Anolik 

I really loved this. It’s not YA (officially), but it is a coming-of-age tale/thriller. Think Jawbreaker (movie, not band) meets The OC meets School Ties but with a way darker edge (the narrative is kicked off by a murder) Excited to see what Lili Anolik does next.

Life Moves Pretty Fast – Hadley Freeman

If you’re old enough to have grown up on 80s movies and understand their majesty and excellence, and also are a feminist, and also live to read books of critical essays, then you are going to love this. You’re probably also going to get really annoyed about the state of Hollywood today and maybe you’ll wander around  talking shit about ‘foreign markets’ for a while too.

Maggie Stiefvater  – The Raven Boys (first 3 books in quadrilogy)

Bit late to the game on this one. Had this on my Kindle for the better part of a year before I got around to reading it and then absorbed the first 3 books in the series in the space of a month or two. Southern Gothic YA obsessed with dead Welsh kings? Muscle cars? Elite prep schools? YA  written as if the reader is actually aware of the things that teenagers do? I’m dying that I have to wait until April to read the final book. Also, I have a huge crush on Gansey, which is totally cool because he’s fictional.

Rainbow Rowell – Carry On

I’m going to start this by explaining that I am not a Harry Potter fan. In the slightest, and I never really understood Potter fanfic. I’ll take Narnia over anything Rowling creates, any day of the week. However, I am a huge nerd for anything that Rainbow Rowell puts out, and I fell in love with Simon and Baz back when they were just written in italics in Fangirl. I WISH THEY WOULD ADAPT THIS FOR TV.

Alys Arden The Casquette Girls 

Part study on post Katrina New Orleans, part Originals-esque vampiric monster thriller. Alys Arden proves herself to be a worthy sucessor (if a slightly less subversive one) to Poppy Z Brite’s New Orleans gothic throne. If you really liked The Craft way back when, then you’ll probably really like this now.

 

 

 

Field Report Video

I know I didn’t post best of year lists here last year, mostly it’s because I’m old and happy and I don’t feel like I have to tell everyone everything anymore. That being said, if I had made a best of year music list, then the Field Report record would definitely have been on it, probably very near the top.

Do you know the deal with Field Report? Chris Porterfield, who used to be known as Conrad Plymouth but morphed into Field Report a couple of years ago, is simply amazing. (Oh, and he used to be in a band with Bon Iver, back in the day, but don’t let that put you off)

Anyway, Field Report recently did a session at a gorgeous chapel at Colorado College (so down with bands playing in chapels) and the lovely people at Fuel/Friends were kind enough to post a video of first track off the record “Fergus Falls” and I’ve posted it here for your viewing pleasure.

So, watch, fall in love and if you want to, click here for a download of the whole session.

Teenage Dreams

Um, guys. Cursive and Cymbals Eat Guitars covering Hey Jealousy.

I’ve had dreams that were less good than this.

Tim Kasher really “Cursives” it up, I’m warning you.

[iframe src=”http://www.avclub.com/video_embed/?id=70699″ width=”100%” height=”480″]

Man, I LOVE the AV club.

Oh Summer!

Hello,

Happy 2012. It’s been pretty busy so far, and I didn’t make any year end lists either. I decided to try and actually have a  Christmas break and IT WAS AWESOME

Anyway, I found this on my friend Tessa’s blog and although I’m loathed to post a Funny or Die video, it’s totally worth it.

I watched all the OC Chrismukkah episodes over the holidays, and thought about how goddamn bad Hart Of Dixie is. (Southland though, woah! Did you see the first episode of Season 4? Ryan WINS at post OC life)

You should watch this if you have any interest in early to mid 00s teen TV. C-DUB BITCHES!

Reasons To Get Excited For Fall Part 1 – TV!

Yes yes, I know it’s raining, and it’s getting darker earlier and it’s time to think about putting the winter duvet back on the bed.  But it’s not all bad! Autumn/Fall is my favourite season, and I’m going to convince you of it’s impending rad, in a series (well, I’m intending to write a series, but I’m really busy with actual work) of posts each detailing another aspect of the season I like to call Awesumn… (admittedly that was a little more Seth Cohen than I was planning on going)

Part 1 -TV

What is greater than the Fall Schedule? Basically nothing. You emerge from the sprawling TV wasteland that is the Summer Season and suddenly there’s a show every night. And sometimes, they’re good! This usually means they’ll get cancelled, but that’s another story.

Here’s my pick of the Fall Schedule 2011

1 – Two Broke Girls

Right of the bat, I want to say that if Kat Dennings wasn’t in this show I wouldn’t be giving it a chance, but I love her sooooooo – and she looks smokin’ in a waitress uniform too. It’s probably not going to be great, but it will probably provide some much needed light relief.

Two Broke Girls Premieres on Monday 19th on CBS

2 – Parenthood Season 3

I’ve really missed the Bravermans this Summer. This is probably the show I’m most excited about returning. Apparently the show has jumped forward a while, given the size of Kristina’s baby bump. I am in no way worried that this show will suck.

Parenthood Premieres on Tuesday September 13th on NBC

3 – Supernatural – Season 7

Supernatural jumped the shark so long ago that it can get away with basically anything now. Sure last season had a lot of filler, but I’m never going to give up on Sam and Dean. AND Charisma Carpenter AND James Marsters are guesting this season. Buffy/Supernatural mash up. TOO EXCITED. It’s still in the Friday night death slot though, good job CW!

Supernatural Premieres September 23rd on The CW

4- New Girl

I love and hate Zooey Deschanel with equal measure. That being said. I will watch this, because she’s very pretty. It looks terrible though, like Sex & The City meets Shasta McNasty.

New Girl Premieres on Fox on September 20th

5 – Pan Am

Yes, it’s Mad Men in the skies – complete with hot stewardess outfits and Christina Ricci – how can it go wrong?

Pan Am Premieres Sunday on ABC

6 – Up All Night

Will Arnett – Christina Applegate – Maya Rudolph and written by SNL ‘s Emily Spivey? Consider me in. It differs from the usual family formula by having Arnett play the stay at home dad. Will Arnett as a Dad….

It premieres on Monday September 19th on NBC

That’s it for now. There are loads more I’ll probably end up not watching along the way.

I’ll be back with more Autumn greatness as soon as I have the time.

 

Infographictastic

Shockingly spot on Twitter infographic based on Josh and my tweeting habits. They seem to have detected that I am obsessed with tea and he is obsessed with dogs, and that I’m the more interesting one.

Sorry, I love infographics and I’ve been waiting for visual.ly to do something for ages…

What I thought about Bridesmaids

A long time ago, when I was still in film school, I used to be a huge film snob. I hated anything that anyone else liked, I had a massive thing for Kieślowski and I despised mainstream Hollywood. Then a funny thing happened, and I got the fuck over myself, stopped hiding my secret love affair with all things Bruckheimer (oh The Culture of Excess how I love you!) and lightened up. To the point where I began to love Appatow movies (once I got over other people liking him, of course) and thats how we arrive at me, dragging Josh along to see a PREVIEW (I couldn’t even wait another 2 days) of Bridesmaids.

Billed as a female version of The Hangover (although, it’s really not, they don’t even make it to Vegas) it treads the awkward territory of the Gross Out Chick Flick. A territory that hasn’t been explored much at all. I’m not sure how much of this was because the two genres mesh seamlessly and how much was based on trying to make an “intelligent chick flick” bankable (Baby Mama and Spring Breakdown both having been box office failures despite casts)

Regardless of the reasoning, it works. And not in a Geordie Shore way either. It’s really well written and full of conversations that actually happen between women, in real life. The dynamics and complexities of female relationships are explored here, and it’s done pretty well, all alongside drunken girl on girl make outs, cock-in-face jokes and spontaneous vomiting in hair. I’d argue that it’s exactly what female audiences need.

The story is is no way complicated. The film centres around 2 childhood friends in what I can only assume are their mid thirties. One of them (Annie) is recovering from a failed business and relationship, playing fuck buddies with the terrifically terrible Jon Hamm, living in a house share and working a shitty job. The other one (Lily) has just got engaged and is moving up the social ranks and living in another city. Lily asks Annie to be her maid of honour et voila. Movie.

One of my favourite things about the movie, is that when Annie finds out that Lillian is engaged although she does the fake happy thing, she doesn’t do it all that well. It’s refreshing to see an honest female character, jealousy and self pity are central themes for Annie’s character, and quite dangerous things for a female protagonist to exhibit in Hollywood.

I don’t mean to make the movie sound dour, it’s the opposite of that, it’s laugh out loud awesome a lot of the time, and even the schmaltzy elements aren’t that sickening. It’s the kind of girl based movie I wouldn’t resign for just viewing on PMS days.

It’s beautifully played by a stellar cast. Everyone is funny and pitch perfect. Jon Hamm plays a fuckable douche SO WELL (not in a Draper way) Chris O Dowd from the IT Crowd is an odd choice for a nerdy love interest, but he’s great. Melissa McCarthy (who I’ve loved since Gilmore Girls) is amazing and takes the token fat chick role to a whole new level.

So, if you’re looking for a movie that appeals to your sentimental side that talks about letting people change, accepting responsibility for your actions, realising your dreams and watching your adult friendships evolve while simultaneously showing a myriad of meltdowns, misbehaviour and a room full of women in Wedding attire getting food poisoning in graphic detail then I’d give this a go.

I really liked it, and think it’s a triumph as far as movies made specifically for girls go.

Alright, alright, I like Indie Rom Coms

It’s Valentine’s, and me being a girl and all, despite punk rock leanings and an at-times-Daria-esque shell, I sometimes like to watch rom coms. DON’T JUDGE ME.

Not real Rom Coms of course, I’m way to self aware for that stuff – my guilt complex only allows me to fully enjoy them if they’re of the indie variety. So without further ado, here are my top 5 indie rom coms to watch alone, or with your best girl pal (boys really take the edge of them, I speak from experience)

Dedication

Justin Theroux directs Billy Crudup as Henry Roth, a massively damaged and misanthropic childrens books author living in New York. Through some saddening fate twists he’s forced to work with new illustrator, Mandy Moore (with the nicest heavy eye-makeup I’ve ever seen). He’s awkward and mental, she teaches him not to be – you know the deal, but everyone is pretty, there are heartbreaking moments of honesty and Theroux handles the direction well with beautiful lighting and a perfect score.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

I don’t understand what there’s not to love about this movie. Sure, the book was a little more punk rock in it’s name dropping but JEEEEZ. Did you see how downright adorable everyone in this movie is. And not in a really sickening way either. Kat Dennings is a huge girl crush of mine, based on her basic perfection. Michael Cera is admittedly type cast, but dang, he does it so well. Adorable, sweet, cute,  a harkback to 80’s into the night movies and laugh out loud funny. ALWAYS improves my mood – and a singalong soundtrack to boot.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Kevin Smith has a huge hard on for John Hughes movies, but who doesn’t, right? This is where he has come closest to getting it right. Elizabeth Banks is awesome as Miri, and this was the movie where Seth Rogen started becoming less annoying in general. Porn stars, hockey, star wars, high school reunions and a jaw droppingly funny cameo from Justin Long. Oh, and it leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling you haven’t had since 1994.

Going The Distance

If you know me at all you know that a) My dedication and love for Drew Barrymore knows no bounds and b) I completely believe in the potential of long-distance-relationships. Thereby, it’s not a huge leap to assume that I would be smitten with Going The Distance from the get go. Yes, it’s very cheesy, there are some cringeworthy moments and it’s very predictable, but it’s adorable and funny and Long and Barrymore carry it beautifully. It’s also a treat for fans of Top Gun.

Lars and the Real Girl

Written by long time 6 feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl centres around the character of Lars played to perfection by Ryan Gosling (in his least dreamy role to date). He’s very damaged by circumstance, and, long story short imports a Russian sex doll and parades her about the small town he inhabits, apparently believing she’s his girlfriend. Stay with me, I know it sounds so indie quirky that you want to die, but give it a chance by the end of the movie it’s pretty much the dictionary definition of heartwarming, albeit you’ve taken an odd route to get there.

I feel pretty good about myself that I managed to write this list and avoid Zooey Deschanel completely. I have tons more that I wanted to add to the list, but really, who wants to read all of that on Valentines . It’s a day for smooching or eating cupcakes and listening to pop-punk,  right?

And on that note, I’m off to partake in one of the above.

Things That Made Me Enjoy 2010, Part 1: Music

2010 was – without doubt – my favourite year of my life thus far, strangely it was probably also the year that I have paid the least attention to pop cultural releases. I’m not drawing any lines between the two, but it’s given me something to think about.

Anyway, without further procrastination, here are my favourite musical things about 2010:

Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

No surprises here, it’s no secret how much I adore these dudes. It’s a solid record from beginning to end, and I loved it from the get-go. This being said, I haven’t really listened to it since another “seeing them live and walking them out midway through” incident this October. The Levi’s sponsorship still leaves a curious taste in my mouth. Anyway, all of this aside it’s still a fantastic record, and Orphans is my stand out track.

Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now

It’s odd to think my love affair with Miss Caitlin Rose only began this year when I fell hard for her Dead Flowers EP, followed by what may well have been my favourite show ever, upstairs at the Old Queens Head earlier this year. I literally counted don the weeks for her to release her full length, so that I could once again hear the song “New York” which was every bit as good as I remembered it. If you don’t know and love her already, check her out and pay no attention to the “handed on a plate” haters, she’s awesome, as a second show this year at the Slaughtered Lamb with a full band proved.

Mixtapes  – Maps/Thoughts About Growing Up

Maps came from nowhere at the end of January and made my life an altogether better place to be. Every track on the album makes me grin like a maniac. Somehow striking a perfect balance between pop punk and indie rock with boy-girl vocals they rapidly became my favourite new band of the year. The release of “Thoughts About Growing Up” cemented this belief and they just about blew my mind with the release of the Halloween themed split with other new faves Direct Hit! Get it, learn it and love it throughout the whole of 2011

Direct Hit!  – Anthology/Mixtapes Split

Direct Hit had been floating around on mixtapes since earlier this year but I only really started to pay attention when Snickers or Reeses (Pick Up The Pieces) found its way onto one of my go to playlists. They’re basically everything I ever loved about pop punk, and with a heady amount of songs about monsters  (which ALWAYS makes me swoon) They had a cassette version of the anthology up for grabs this November, if you didn’t manage to snag one worry not! The debut studio full length should be out early next year.

Red City Radio – Spinning In Circles is a Gateway Drug

On first listen this seems a little bit “gruff punk by the numbers” but you soon realise it’s waaaaay bigger than that. It’s a perfect posi/gruff/pop punk single. Listen to it and try and feel bad I dare you. This shit makes me happier than Latterman. They sorta sound like a heady blend of the Riot Before and Broadway Calls, sorta.

Iron Chic – Not Like This

To be honest, I’d have fallen for this record based on song titles, it being freakin’ rad was a big plus. It’s poppier and more refined than Shitty Rambo and the demo and it’s awesome for it. It makes every day feel like mid July when you were 19, dig? I’m all about the first track  – Every Town Has an Elm Street.

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans – The Falcon Lake Incident

This year was lacking a proper Weakerthans record, but this (and the John K Samson EP) more than made up for it. Ottawa native Jim Bryson teamed up with the Winnipeg legends to produce this slice of magic. A perfect record for the transition from Fall to Winter, full of big, layered sounds and softly softly vocals as melody stylings. Lives in that happy land between country and indie rock. “Metal Girls” is a great poppy introduction.

John K Samson -Provincial Road 222

Lets face it, John K Samson can do no wrong. Any year without a Weakerthans record could have been made exponentially better with the release of one, but this 3 song EP makes all that yearning go away. When he sings “I know I’m just your little ampersand” in “The Last And” I defy your heart to not melt, at least a little. And I don’t know anyone else that could make a song about broken code and unclosed tags seem ethereal, but he does. New Weakerthans next year please.

Justin Townes Earle –  Harlem River Blues

This is going to be the release that makes your Mum love Justin T, but who cares – it’s awesome. I thought about not including this after that whole postponing the UK tour and going into rehab thing but with the imminent rescheduled date I forgave him. This record is just a tiny bit better than Midnight at the Movies and melancholic in an altogether more upbeat way. I’m kind of in love with “Christchurch Woman”

forgetters EP

As if I wasn’t going to include Blake on this list. After the break up of Thorns of Life I was more than slightly sad, and then forgetters (no capital F) made everything all okay again. Although this EP is more Jawbreaker than Jets and I’m old and it’s winter I love love love this record. I love “Vampire Lessons” the most even though it’s not the best song on the EP. (Blake Schwarzenbach with vague vampiric leanings? JESUS)

Anyway, that was it, my favourite records of this year. I’m going to try and add books and TV later this week, but I have a tax return to complete so we’ll see how that goes. I’m also going to try and upload my best of 2010 mixtape later on, but I’ll let you know.

Edit – I uploaded the mix to 8tracks because today I am a fan of legality. Here you are – go crazy!