All content and photos property of Charlie Elliott (unless otherwise stated). Powered by Blogger.

Music: This Week's Obsessions

In the last week or so I have been utterly consumed by an obsession with two songs.


The first is Meds and Feds by M.I.A.. This song is just so catchy, and is delightfully dark and dirty. It makes me want to run around and dance frantically - but as I'm normally at my desk when I listen to it on repeat, this probably isn't a good idea. It's a good healthy mix of guitar and big big bass and just makes you want to move. I challenge you to listen to it without even tapping your foot.






The second is Dance the Way I Feel by Ou est le Swimming Pool. The song reminds me initially of 80s style Soft Cell or Human League with lots of synths, but the vocals are inherently 21st century. A bit shouty, that kind of annoying singing you can imagine kids in a garage doing at band practice after school. But that isn't a bad thing! It feels new and although it has clear influences, it's different, and that is very special nowadays. Such a shame about the loss of the lead singer in 2010, this band would have been huge. Regardless, this song is right up there at the moment as one of my favourite songs ever. 




Let me know what you think of these two!


You can see all the songs I have an unhealthy obsession with on my Put These Songs on Repeat playlist on Spotify

Shopping: A Market Stall Accessories Find

As I think I've mentioned before, I work perilously close to Spitalfields Market and I often love to wander around there on my lunch break to look at the antiques and vintage clothes. I managed to refrain from buying a gorgeous leather vanity case, because let's be honest, I DON'T need it. Check me out with my willpower.


So I rewarded myself with this tiny little hat pin, handmade and unique from a small stall in the market.




I don't wear hats but I'm going to pin this onto tops, lapels and coats - it's a perfect neutral colour so it'll go with everything. And yes, that is a skull on the top. Alexander McQueen eat your heart out!



This is a really tiny pin, maybe 3 inches long. Petite, a bit odd, individual and only £8. I'll keep you updated with any more of my market stall finds from my lunchtime distractions!

Explore: Musical Bingo at Mahiki


If you're thinking this post will be about grannies, two little ducks and musty village halls then Musical Bingo will blow your mind. I'm not a 'club' person, and I'm more than happy to stay in and play board games if I'm totally honest so this is essentially my perfect night out! Held at celebrity haunt Mahiki the concept is simple. Rather than crossing off numbers, you cross of the songs that are played by the DJ - one, two, three lines or a full house and you get prizes. Simple!


The night was fronted by the uber glamorous Lola Hi Rola, who was more than encouraging when we decided we wanted to move from dancing in our seats to busting some moves on the dancefloor!



Being in Mahiki we had to take advantage of the amazing cocktails on offer - all served in bizarre glasses with all sorts of things poking out of the top. We had a Poisoned Chalice and a couple of Lover's Cups, both served in huge fish bowls with ridiculous straws for sharing.



There was a lot of dancing to a huge mix of songs from M.I.A. to Rage Against the Machine and pretty much every genre and decade in between. There was a point where I felt it necessary to dance on stage, I'm not entirely sure why but hey, it's all in the name of bingo right?! One of my fabulous friends even went up to compete in a hula hooping challenge and won one of the famous Mahiki treasure chest cocktails!



And obviously it was a game after all so there had to be prizes! Aside from the treasure chest cocktail we weren't particularly lucky with what we won. Our haul consisted of 2 Superted DVDs, one packet of Pombear crisps and a Matt Cardle autobiography... don't be jealous now!

The atmosphere for the whole night was fantastic, we laughed and danced and drank and danced and hula hooped and eventually stumbled home bouncing like excited toddlers that had had too much sugar. Musical Bingo have a new residency at Mahiki and will be there once a month. I'll see you there!

Photos are by me or from the Musical Bingo Facebook page.

Shopping: Kurt Geiger Sale Picks

Just a mini post to show off my latest bargain purchase!


While casually browsing the Kurt Geiger sale I found these beauties reduced from £70 to just £18!




They are so pretty! Real leather, and I love the stone colour with red. Best of all, they fold back and turn into gloves:



I knew Kurt Geiger did accessories, but thought it was mainly limited to bags. Their sale has loads of fab items up to 75% off. 



The willpower I'm exercising to NOT buy everything at the moment is immense. But I'm pleased with the mittens anyway!

Explore: Dr Who Experience


As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a closet geek. Well, closet in the way that I don't wear massive glasses or know Klingon. Aside from that I'm pretty out and proud in my geekiness. Interrupt me while I'm watching Sherlock and I'll bite your head off, and heaven forbid you should touch my scrapbooks without asking. I've also recently found that if you knit on the tube at 23 years old you get some inquisitive looks (and sometimes questions).


But I'm not alone. Of course I have friends with the same interests and likes as me, but it all started at home. I'm from a family of geeks and my God we're proud of it. I was brought up on a healthy dose of Monty Python films and most importantly, Dr Who. My mum even made my little sister this amazing Tardis shaped birthday cake last year:


Last week we all ventured to the Dr Who Experience at Kensington Olympia for my stepdad's birthday, and I honestly think we were more excited than most of the kids there! I mean, there was a TARDIS ON THE ROOF! Of course it was going to be amazing!
Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures in the actual Experience, but it was brilliant! We were led into a cinema style room where we watched The Doctor tell us that he was locked in the Pandorica 2 and he needed us to find the Tardis to help him escape. Then, as if by magic, the Tardis appeared beside us! Not a projection, but a very cleverly hidden trick which then opened its doors and we had to go inside. And the best bit? IT WAS BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! A complete replica of the inside of the Tardis complete with typewriter and hot and cold taps attached to the centre. The floor moved and shaked while we were instructed to take control until we 'crashed'. 

Like little kids we skipped through the Tardis doors and then ran through the forest where the Weeping Angels stood. (Don't blink!!) We were given glasses to protect us from radiation which conveniently allowed us to see all the 3D monsters that were climbing out of the screen in front of us. It was fun and childish, a little bit scary and so perfectly replicated that geeks like me and my family couldn't fault its execution.

After the walk through experience there was a full blown museum full of original artifacts, costumes and best of all, monsters. The pics only show a small selection of the fabulous things we saw.

And finally, we rounded the day off with a family photo. I've snapped a pic of the keyring I got with it on so it's not the best quality, but hopefully you'll be able to see just how far we ventured into deep space!


Book your Dr Who Experience tickets here.

Music: Girls Rock! Part 2

Last week I wrote about some of my favourite girl bands to prove skeptics wrong about female musicians. I was already convinced, and so it seemed were many of you. Thanks for all the tweets about this, it was great to see a lot of you feel the same, or were at least willing to give some of those listed a try! As I put the post together I realised that were loads more bands I wanted to list, so here is Part II of Girls Rock! I could do about 8 parts to this post but I'm not going to milk the topic, however do let me know if there's anyone you feel really deserves a mention!

Karen O and the Kids
More known for being the front woman for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 
this incarnation of KO is more laid back and still that little
bit odd. Glorious. 
Stand out track: All is Love

The Long Blondes


Northern indie rock, catchy sing-a-long type stuffs.
Stand out track: Lust in the Movies

Santigold


80s pop with dubstep infusions and funky RnB vocals
Stand out track: L.E.S. Artistes

The Pipettes

Indie pop full of doo wops and sha la la's
Stand out track: Pull Shapes

Goldfrapp

As if you need persuading. Just LOOK at her! She oozes brilliance!
Stand out track: Train

Metric

Canadian indie schmindies. Sometimes too high pitched to sing
along to.
Stand out track: Monster Hospital

Bat For Lashes

Ethereal wispy beautiful music with haunting vocals
Stand out track: Horse & I

She & Him

Zooey Deschanel & M Ward couldn't be anymore twee. Seriously.
Stand out track: Sing

MIA

The most mainstream of cool female hip hop females (and
therefore the only one I know). I may sound stupid saying
it, but she is fierce.
Stand out track: Bamboo Banga

Queen Adreena

Mental. Seriously unhinged front woman. Best listened to when
really bloody angry.
Stand out track: I Adore You

Music: Girls Rock!

I can't even begin to total up the amount of times people (male and female) have said to me that they don't like any female fronted bands or artists. I think there can only be one reason for this: you haven't looked hard enough. Because really there are actually a ton of talented ladies out there, putting the men to shame.


Music is one area where women aren't being overshadowed, they are equal and sometimes better than men. Pop is a prime example of this with Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Jessie J dominating the radio and the charts, and I do love a good pop song.


However, my music taste is often a little more...eclectic, and there's plenty out there for me. So this To-Do List Tuesday, make a note of these, download them, and change your damn mind! Oh and there's so many that I've split this post into two. See Part II next week!


(in no particular order)


Ladytron
Synthy, electronic, 80s throwbacks

Camera Obscura
Quirky, light and catchy
Stand out track: French Navy


Emmy the Great
Gentle folksy type songs with adorable lyrics
Stand out track: Paper Forest


Amanda Palmer
Cabaret punk fury. Real and unadulterated brilliance.
Stand out track: Leeds United

Au Revoir Simone
Think spring evenings and floral dresses, but the musical form.
Stand out track: Sad Song

Bitter Ruin
Delicate and scary all at once. Give me shivers. (Oh and they
played a gig in my living room about 2 years ago!)
Stand out track: Trust

Le Tigre
Fresh from the Riot Grrl era, annoying punk and electro pop to
play loudly
Stand out track: Deceptacon

Lykke Li
Beautiful Nordic catchiness
Stand out track: Dance, Dance, Dance

Who are your favourite women in music? Don't forget I'll have Part II of Girls Rock next Tuesday!

Theatre: Howl's Moving Castle

I was majorly excited to stumble across a leaflet for this production in a restaurant one afternoon. I know the story from the anime film, but that was originally adapted from a book by Diana Wynne-Jones, and the plot is mystical and bizarre - right up my street.

The performance was held at Southwark Playhouse, a little theatre hidden away on the corner of Bermondsey Street by London Bridge; so unassuming in fact that I walked past it twice before finding it. Tucked behind a pub, this place is actually an old disused Underground tunnel. Had I known this before going I may have reconsidered as it completely freaked me out - it was damp and cold in the actual theatre, but it provided such an intense and private atmosphere. We were stowed away, out of sight of anyone else; it was like the show was a one off, just for us.

The tunnels of Southwark Playhouse
The set was made entirely of plain white cardboard, just a big cut out castle with doors on either side and a window. It was so basic but so clever, as the story was brought to life with genius projections and sound. We were transported over snow capped mountains, into the sky and through villages with swooping lights and pictures put up on the plain background. It almost completely eliminated the need for props, as projections allowed Sophie to look into a mirror to see her younger self, and even to clean 'dirt' off the doors. It was all (pretty much) seamlessly synched.

The cardboard set
The use of the unusual space we were in was perfectly utilised by the character of Calcifier - the fire demon. He was projected in the fireplace, but was able to move by clever lighting making him 'jump' to different candle holders, and making his voice come out from different speakers around the venue making it seem as though he had really moved from right in front of you, to behind you, and back again.

There were only 3 actual present cast members, with the voices of Calcifer and the Castle (played by Stephen Fry) both pre-recorded, but their enthusiasm and take on what is ultimately a child's story was refreshing. Kudos to the woman who played Young Sophie/the Witch for learning so many lines, but it was maybe a slight error in the casting to have somebody with a notably foreign accent play a younger version of someone who is then played by somebody really quite British as the older version. But it didn't detract from the great storytelling, the bizarre and impish nature of Howl and, of course, the brilliant set design.

Howl and Young Sophie
I wish I could tell you to go and see it, but it finishes at some point this week. However, do check out Southwark Playhouse for more upcoming productions.

(Pics from Southwark Playhouse website, Exeunt Magazine and Theatre Fix)

Shopping: 2 for £10 DVDs

I live in quite a small room. A room that's far too small for my shopping habit, but I keep squeezing in some more space. And that includes for DVDs. I don't download films, and any music I download I normally end up buying on CD anyway - I just like having a hard copy of things. And that's where an offer like this one is my downfall.

HMV have got 2 for £10 on a massive range of DVDs at the moment. It's definitely on in store, I don't know about online. But I got some really recent releases in this bargain, not just any old tat they're trying to get rid of.

This week's Mid-Week Bargain is these 4 DVDs, which I got for a bargain total of £20!





Film: Films to Look Forward To in 2012

It's a new year, and with 12 months stretching ahead of us all I am making damn sure that there is more to look forward to in 2012 then the bloody Olympics. It doesn't matter where you are in the UK, you won't be able to escape Boris and Coe (Seb, that is) but you could hide in the warm and dark depths of a cinema, and ignore all the hullabaloo outside and watch a new classic on the big screen.

This Tuesday keep this To-Do List for the whole of 2012, and tick off each of these as and when you see them. Here are the films I can't wait to see this year:

The Dark Knight Rises


The final installment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series. Boasting a flippin' amazing cast with the usuals of Gary Oldman and Christian Bale being joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy. The only worry I have is Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, as I don't think she's a particularly versatile actress, but I'll reserve judgement until 20th July! Watch the trailer here.

Martha Marcy May Marlene


This is the first big role by Olsen sibling Elizabeth, and I hear she is well deserved to be known within her own right after this performance. MMMM is the story of a young girl brought up in a cult, and the flashbacks she has once she escapes. I reckon it'll be one of those films that will really affect the audience and that  you can't get out of your head. Watch the trailer here.

A Dangerous Method


I think this is going to be fascinating. The biopic of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and the innovation of psychoanalysis. Starring Keira Knightley as their batty patient along with two of my favourite actors, Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel. Watch the trailer here.

The Hunger Games


2011 was the end of Harry Potter, 2012 sees the first of a new children's book adaptation that's appealing to parents as well as their offspring. The Hunger Games tells the tale of a world where children are pitted against each other in battles to the death. There are rumours that the film hasn't held back on the violence, despite being a teens book originally. I hope they're right. Watch the trailer here.

Dark Shadows


Hooray! 1 of 2 new Tim Burton films due out in 2012, this is a new take on a 60s soap opera about vampires. Classic Burton territory, and of course it stars Johnny Depp. I can imagine it being very much like Ed Wood, which is definitely not a bad thing.


The Great Gatsby


Now, I wouldn't say I'm exactly looking forward to this. But I am very curious about it. I love the book, I love Carey Mulligan. However, I'm not a fan of Baz Luhrmann films and he's doing it in 3D. Why in God's name that is a good idea I do not know. You'll hear my opinions on here anyway!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


I shouldn't even have to explain why this is going to be amazing. Just read the title.
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review