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GIG REVIEW // JAMIE T @ ALLY PALLY

The food hall at Alexandra Palace with lights on the ceiling

Jamie T at Alexandra Palace - 14/11/2014

This year has been chock full of amazing gigs but we've been waiting a while for this one in particular. Jamie T at Alexandra Palace held a lot of excitement because:

1. His new album is fantastic
2. None of us had ever been to Ally Pally before
and 3. It was an excuse for a festive London trip with some of my music loving mates!

As we were travelling from Watford Junction, we took a number of tubes to end up in Wood Green. From there, we jumped on board the Ally Pally coach (just on the opposite side of the road to the station) and surprisingly, it was only a quid for the journey!

We arrived, skipped the uber-fan queue to go straight to the bar - obviously. In the Bar & Kitchen it was pretty reasonably priced to say we were in London and at a venue in the middle of nowhere. We all ordered food (halloumi kebabs for me, absolute winner) and had a few drinks before the chaos began.

Inside, the Palace had set up food stalls galore and it was such a festival feel we got into the gig spirit pretty quickly, if the copious amounts of cider hadn't already. The place is stunning and holds up to 10,400 people, and of course, Jamie T had well and truly sold out.




Opening with Limit Lies and Don't You Find, he introduced his album to the fans live, in the biggest headline gig of his career.

It was lairy, to put it simply. It's been a while since I've been in a 'crowd-crushing' and 'struggling to find air instead of other people's sweaty fumes' sort of situation, but by the end, I felt right at home. 

There were moshpits galore but not in a 'Bring Me The Horizon; Oli Sykes is a dickhead' sort of way. The crowd was mainly male and there was a clear Jamie T inspired sense of style - laddish.
Every one of the parka coat/umbro jacket squad however, provided a great atmosphere and quite frankly, it was one of the best crowds I've ever been a part of.

Jamie had not played the same setlist throughout the entire tour which made us a little bit nervous he might miss out a few old favourites (e.g. he didn't play Sheila in Bristol - soz you missed out guys!)
However he went on and played all the ones I personally love, Turn On The Light, 368 and If You Got the Money. 

He finished with what I'd say was the best encore I've ever experienced, with his most famous three singles - Sheila, Zombie and Sticks 'n' Stones.

A radio DJ earlier in the week asked 'Is Jamie T the biggest comeback of the year?'
My answer is yes, he most definitely is.


leanne

x


BOOK REVIEW // ENDGAME

Endgame
by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton


'Twelve ancient cultures were chosen millennia ago to represent humanity in Endgame, a global game that will decide the fate of humankind. Endgame has always been a possibility, but never a reality…until now. Twelve meteorites have just struck Earth, each meteorite containing a message for a Player who has been trained for this moment. At stake for the Players: saving their bloodline, as well as the fate of the world. And only one can win.

Endgame is real. Endgame is now.'



After reading the blurb I knew I wanted to read 'Endgame' and was kindly sent a copy before release. The whole dystopian genre has come under a huge spotlight since 'The Hunger Games' and this sounded very similar to others I've read such as 'The Maze Runner' (review here).

I wasn't sold on the story at first - it seemed like another book in which kids kill each other to survive blah blah. It did get me hooked when I was half way through the book however. Unlike 'The Hunger Games', there's more focus on all of the 12 players rather than a sole protagonist. I wanted to know what happened to my favourite characters by the end because you find out an equal amount of each (dependant on how long they're alive for, obviously).

The characters and detail into their lives before and during playing Endgame was the best point for me, it means you really get to grips with them as people and I find it's more enjoyable when you care about what happens to each one.

One of the most irritating things about the book is An Liu, a player with a stammer. Each of his chapters have an extraordinary amount of *blinkblinkblink-ing* in them which after introducing him as a character with this issue and a first *blink* they should have just given the audience the credit to remember that he would be disadvantaged because of this.

It was pretty action packed but not my cup of tea, I didn't find it exciting enough.

However, the interesting thing about this book is how it is also an interactive REAL LIFE game involving puzzles, YouTube videos, e-books and more. Basically, there's a $500,000 prize if a reader can figure out the clues, reflecting a similar plot to that of the actual story (without murder and death I hope) and unlock the gold in Las Vegas. It's all pretty exciting BUT this isn't portrayed enough at all. I received the book, read the book, saw the puzzles and yet still had to Google for about half an hour to find out if this was actually a real thing. Apparently it is, see the live stream here.

What did you think of Endgame, or would you want to read it?

If so, it's available here - Endgame on Amazon




'TIS THE SEASON IN LONDON //


Large red bauble decorations at Covent Garden

'Tis the Season to be jolly...

...in London, apparently!

I visited London last weekend for a gig (review to come later...) followed by Christmas window shopping, sightseeing and a wild night out in Watford! It was such a lovely experience, not only because I had a great time with a good bunch of people but because visiting London at this time of year is guaranteed to make even Scrooge himself feel a bit of festive spirit.

It was absolutely beautiful, which of course my amateur Nokia phone photo skills won't portray, but I went a bit snap happy regardless and I hope you enjoy reading about my time in the capital.

We started our 'Day of Fun and Christmas' at Harrods. Obviously. Where else?!
After flitting quickly through the jewellery department and trying to find an escalator, we eventually followed the jolly Christmas music and ended up in the Christmas at Home section - and it didn't disappoint. 

Christmas Tree ornaments

Christmas Tree ornaments
Look at all the beautiful tree ornaments!

As a designer (sometimes environmental) I was captured by the clever advent calendar style wall displays Harrods used in each area. They all had specific themes and accompanying themed trees!
Delicate, elegant, floral and pretty pretty pretty theme.
Much more up my street - quirky, wood and bright colours!

It would be a crime not to visit the food hall in here, so after deciding a £9 hot chocolate was a bit out of our price range at the chocolate cafe (it looked heavenly, though!) we headed straight for the cakes. The Christmas theme didn't just stop at homeware...

See what I chose on Instagram...
BAUBLE CUPCAKES!

After this, we headed through London with digital and polaroid cameras to hand for the full tourist experience. Our friend Kim kindly gave us the ultimate, unique guide to London as she walked us through various scenes from different TV shows she watches...

From Millenium Bridge, where the Cybermen walked across in the last episode of Dr Who, apparently.

From there we went to the Tower Bridge to see the amazing poppy displays that were placed for Remembrance Sunday a few weeks ago. The volunteers were steadily taking them all down but the majority of the display was still there and it was spectacular. All 888,246 poppies (one for every fatality in WW1) have been sold to raise money for six charities relating to the Armed Forces and Servicemen.



FROM BOOK TO FILM // #2 THE MAZE RUNNER

This is a blog series in which I look at books that have recently been produced as films. I love adaptations of plots but sometimes, it can go terribly wrong in the process (look at The Fault in our Stars, for example. Controversial? We can discuss this another time friends...)


The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Screenplay by various, Film directed by Wes Ball

from book...

I picked up The Maze Runner series because it specifically sold itself as 'for fans of The Hunger Games'. I love the dystopian future theme that has been taking over the cinemas lately and The Maze Runner is a great contender. I loved the first book and the overall idea, albeit VERY similar to THG but hey, they did tell me that in the first place...

All male characters (initially) and a random, deserted place they've all landed in; I actually found the start of the book pretty slow. However, I appreciated the time spent describing individual characters although there are a lot of nicknames to remember.

The whole storyline is pretty action packed after the introductions and it was a page turner from there onwards. The Glade seems genuinely horrific and the 'grievers' (awful, slimy, machine creatures...) can be imagined as pretty terrifying.

You get pretty attached to certain characters which isn't surprising as they're pretty detailed and their individual relationships with Thomas shows a lot about the personality each one. I think this works really well but didn't expect the same to come across in the film, due to having to compress it, basically.

...to film

So I still like the character of Thomas as I did in the book, played by Dylan O'Brien (who at first glance, I actually thought was the same guy who played Percy Jackson. It isn't. Just thought I'd let you know.) Not a lot of detail about certain characters. Gally is less likeable from the get go in the book and Alby isn't as 'fatherly'.

The Glade isn't half as scary as the book makes out. They're actually all having a pretty great time with no families, normality and in the middle of a field. It's all a bit Glastonbury.

The grievers are fantastic, couldn't have imagined them better.

The only female character makes a very quick entry into the film and is useless, and in the book she doesn't really play much of a part until the end but is still pretty useless. I actually think Teresa is a seriously poor character. Kaya is stunning but that's all I can say about that.

As far as 'book to film' standards go, it's pretty damn poor.
HOWEVER, I thought it was a good film. The effects were great and the highlight is pretty unsurprisingly, the action and adventure inside the maze, particularly Minho and Thomas' second time in the maze together.

I'm going to be honest, I think the book series goes downhill from here so I can only imagine that will be the same for the films and next up in 2015 - Maze Runner: Scorch Trials...




BONFIRE NIGHT //


Remember, remember the 5th of November...
because it's also my half birthday!

Yes I know I sound like a spoiled child but I don't actually celebrate it, however, my mum is to blame for me always having to have someone at least acknowledge it. Almost every year when I was little and bonfire night came around, she reminded me it was halfway between my birthdays and that just stuck with me.

So imagine my surprise when this year, my boyfriend drove up to see me for the night, so we could go out and see the fireworks! He even brought everything we could possibly need for a night in the cold!


 We started the night with some hearty, British ready meals then set off armed with
hot chocolate and brandy in our flasks, reminiscent of our Scarborough beach bonfire tradition.
He even brought me the cutest owl glove/mittens (Primark) because he knew I didn't have any!

We went to a park a short bus ride away from where I live, which was new to both of us.
David's face was pure brilliance when he saw the size of the bonfire in comparison to what he's used to, being a country bumpkin from the midlands.

In his words, 'Northerner's know how to do a bonfire'. Damn reet, we do.
We watched the fireworks which were amazing and it was a lovely, lovely night and a great surprise and thanks David, for helping me complete a November Resolution :)

Hope you all had a wonderful night!








FROM BOOK TO FILM // #1 GONE GIRL

Fantastic books that are produced as films are my ultimate marmite.
The films are either equally as brilliant as the literary version or terrible due to the fact a film cannot encompass the amount of detail described in a book, in my opinion.

I thought it would make a nice first series for The Dress Diaries because I've always got a book in my hand and I'd love to share my thoughts on recent cinema too. This month has inspired me to begin the series because the quality of films has been immense and ALL the films I've seen have originally been a favourite book of mine at some point.



Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (screenplay/book)
Film directed by David Fincher


from book...

This is the last book I've read that I could not put down. It's absolutely gripping and will keep you guessing from the second you start reading until the very last page. I read this whilst on holiday earlier this year because I wanted to read it before the film was released in October. I'd also heard SO many great things about it that it seemed impossible to ignore.

I'm not usually one for a thriller but there is so much more to this plot than just a sinister twist or two. If I'm honest, sometimes the book made me feel really uncomfortable because it was so real but with that I find it means the author has done a perfect job. The characters are relatable at times then seem completely different people on the next page, which I guess highlights human feelings and more importantly, the ups and downs of a relationship between two people.

I think it's tremendously well written and any plot that has so many well thought out twists in it is a winner in my book (ha, see what I did there). I have since insisted that every other book lover in my life get it so we can discuss!



...to film

My mum was the first person I forced into buying this on her Kindle and her reaction was exactly the same. She found it difficult to put down and then insisted we see the film as soon as it was released.

I was wary after seeing the trailer (here) that it might not live up to my expectations, as I've found with so many book-to-film productions. The cast looked great though and who can say no to a bit of serious Ben Affleck?

*sort-of-spoiler*
It was rated an 18 which I wasn't overly surprised at. The language is pretty heavy I guess but what I didn't expect was the most gory, twisted sex scene I've ever seen in a film that isn't classified as a 'horror'. It was shot really well, very uncomfortable to watch (clearly a theme that transferred between mediums!) and was the sort that people gasped audibly at. I rarely like to admit this because I am a lover of books but this scene was much better in the film!
*end-of-sort-of-spoiler*

Overall, the story pretty much matched the original which is the way I love it. Even though I don't particularly like the ending of the novel, I'm not one to encourage changing originality into a something completely different just so film fans enjoy it more. There were a few characters lacking that I felt were fairly important viewpoints in the book so it was a shame they were cut BUT I understand it isn't possible to include everything.


I really enjoyed it, frankly and to be honest, reading the book after the film is probably recommended!


HALLOWEEN COSTUME // DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Mad Hatter and Alice make a cute, albeit weird couple.

Me and my flatmate had a party at our (not-so-new-anymore) apartment and the theme was
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE.

Think Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland with extra gore and creepiness.

Naturally because this event was at my home, I got to be Alice ;)

I went to a vintage fair in Leeds last month and my friend spotted the PERFECT Alice dress.
It cost about £7 which is brilliant, I wanted something I can rip up and cover in blood so I didn't want to spend a lot.


Before
 I used white face makeup and fake blood, £1 each from Wilkos. For my eye makeup, I used red face makeup (£1 ASDA) and Smiffy's black face paint (£3 ASDA). I'm also wearing my fave Revlon lipstick in 477 Black Cherry (featured here).

After

We decorated the apartment with my flatmate's graphic designs he'd printed including door signs, playing cards and hanging suit symbols. Safe to say, it looked ace.

There were also stolen (or unwittingly donated) tiny bottles we used for shots that were ideal for the theme and I baked some pumpkin buns - eat your heart out, Mary Berry.





Everyone had a really good time and it was definitely a good theme, the makeup and costumes looked fab and a lot of drinking games were thoroughly enjoyed.


 


Hope you all had an amazing halloween, did you have a party to celebrate?