Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gun Free South Africa on awareness of gun violence brought by high profile case

Oscar Pistorius - Olympic and  Paralympian CHAMPION, a star of the field, a South African sporting hero and captivator of our hearts as someone who overcame adversity after having his legs amputated below the knee as a baby. Our Blade Runner.  Until the morning of 14th February 2013 when we woke up to the news that he had shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of the morning, with four gun shots fired through the door of his toilet in his house in an exclusive, secure complex in Pretoria. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Knock Knock Knock ... BBT! Knock Knock Knock... BBT! Knock Knock Knock... BBT!

My family and I have fallen hook line and sinker for The Big Bang Theory. So much so that our catch phrase right now is Bazinga! and we knock on doors, windows, whatever there is to knock on in the Sheldon Cooper style. 

Knock knock knock Penny! Knock knock knock Leonard! 

We ogle over Sheldon's shirts and are toying with the idea (not really, as shipping is too expensive) of ordering a shirt or two from America. We have come to the conclusion that we are nerds, and geeks (yes, I know, many people will be surprised that it's taken us this long to realise it). 

The ball pit scene from Season 3 Episode 14 "The Einstein Approximation" had us laughing for days. 

The Big Bang Theory stars Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter, Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz, Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali, Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, and Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is Obviously for Boy Bands

B is for Boy Bands. And for Brother Beyond, and for Bros, and Backstreet Boys and for my latest crush, the Boys in the Band, who are a celebration of all boy bands! But maybe mostly for the BEATLES!!! Who were the first ever Boy Band!  Let's take a brief walk through some known boy bands, and think about why they hold the appeal they do. I believe by understanding what appeals to people, we can begin to understand the problems in the world and possibly get to the solutions.

Yes, it's true. John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. They broke ice, and became the first ever boy band, way back in the 60s. Without them, we'd still be listening to Bing Crosby and Paul Anka (not that there's anything wrong with them either!) and the concept of the boy band may never have been born. Let's face it, the boy band concept is pretty formulaic. Some handsome boys, nicely dressed, crooning how much they adore you, and at a certain time of their lives, teenage girls lap that up (all women do, really!) and you love that band for the rest of your life. So let's celebrate some of the boy bands through the ages!

The Beatles, the first fresh faced boy band.

And the fans that went wild for them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

N is for Never Gonna Give You Up

N is for Never Gonna Give You Up (and no, this is not a Rickroll).

For the uninitiated, Never Gonna Give You Up was a 1987 song by British singer Rick Astley. It's the song that catapulted me into listening to pop music. We all have that song, yes? Think back, and tell me which song it was for you.

Those were heady days back then, as I think I've mentioned in another post. The mid to late 80s were an awesome time to be young. There was a lot of good movies, a lot of good music, and a lot of great TV. I was breaking the mould of my childhood then. I was the child of an Hons Degree music teacher mother and a father who was just becoming more eclectic in his taste by discovering (and trying to foist on me) classical composers like Glazunov, I found the bubblegum, upbeat pop music of the day much more to my taste! And Never Gonna Give You Up came out at just about the right time to be the vehicle of my ride out of my parents opinion into my own.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

M is for the Movies

This is such a broad topic that it's been a bit daunting for me. I think the broadness of the topic gave me writers block, but I decided today to just sit down and do it! I don't think that any article I write could hope to do full justice to this topic, unless I wrote something the length of the Bible, but there is no doubt about it - movies have played a massive role in the development of popular culture.

Maybe the way to go about this is to just discuss some of the movies that have had a great influence in my life. Even that is a subject which is almost too big to take on! There are so many. Grease, Dirty Dancing (covered in a post of its own)

You built a time machine out of a DeLorean?
One of them is the now cult classic Back to the Future. It kind of makes me feel old to think that one of my favourite movies is a cult classic. But - there it is. Back to the Future is just awesome in every way. It starred Michael J Fox, and in 1985, who could resist a movie that featured a DeLorean as a Time Machine, went back 30 years to what was a fabulous era - the 50s - and then, in the second movie, went FORWARD to the future. I think one of the reasons it's become a classic is that we still haven't reached the future of BTTF - we are all still waiting to see whether cars fly and skateboards hover in 2015 (despite all the internet memes that the day has arrived, it hasn't. The big day will be October 21st, 2015!

Mamma said life is like a box of chocolates. You never
know what you're gonna get. 
Another of my favourites is Forrest Gump. And if you ask me why, I'd have to tell you I don't know. The movie has some of everything. Love, war, triumph of the underdog, awesome scenery, and Tom Hanks - who as Forrest brings across an incredible portrayal of a character who faces many different scenarios and roles. The music in the movie is incredible too. I walked three times to the cinema to see it and got it on DVD when it came out. Forrest Gump I guess was just something that made you believe a better life was possible.

There's something about going to the MOVIES, though, that makes the whole experience amazing. There's probably no better way to sum it up than to play this song from Annie, which although it may be a bit cheesy, tells how I feel. And Annie itself is a bit of a cult classic now too which makes it even more fitting.

"Let's go to the movies, let's go see the stars".. I guess that about sums it up. We've a fascination with the rich and famous.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was still all this fanfare about movies?

The movies themselves obviously have influence on popular culture. One that comes to mind is "It's a Wonderful Life" starring James Stewart. (may be a bit of a vague reference, but for decades after just about every family watched It's a Wonderful Life at Christmas). I was watching Home Alone 2, ANOTHER classic and saw the family in Home Alone watching it!

Some less than intelligent ways that movies impact culture are in the animal world - after Finding Nemo, a spike came in the popularity of clown fish, after Lassie, a spike in the popularity of the collie - the problem comes in when the recipient can't or won't care for the animal.

And who can forget the awesome trend of the 80s, breakdancing? Most certainly inspired by the movies Flashdance and Footloose. It made all the boys in school who could do it seem very attractive to me.

In Project X of 2012, a group of teenagers have a party in the absence of their parents. The party quickly gets out of control - drugs, guns and a whole neighbourhood fire ensure. Stupidly, according to the website, many kids are emulating this. DRugs, guns, taking over empty buildings - and the problem is widespread, so much so that Warner Brothers issued a statement along the lines of “Guys. It’s a movie. Knock it off.”

To round off the article with a local context, I'm always reminded of the old Jeremy Taylor song Ag Pleez Daddy when I think of the movies. 

Ag pleez deddy won’t you take us to the drive-in
All six, seven of us, eight, nine, ten
We wanna see a flick about
Tarzan and the Ape-men
And when the show is over you can bring us back again

Popcorn, chewing gum, peanuts and bubble gum
Ice cream, candy floss and Eskimo Pie ... and I won't go on, because it gets a bit rude :-)

And there - I wrote my M is for Movies post, which shows that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.