Friday, 29 April 2011


People thought she was achingly cool; the way she looked like a model (only shorter), dressed like a rock star and the way she writhed and sang sweetly as she poured drinks for customers at the bar. Plus she had a sexy French accent and pronounced 'beach' like 'bitch'.
Nobody really knew her, but they came to hang out at the bar in the hope of getting to know her. Guys came to gaze at her perfect feline face and her long legs. Girls came to see what she was wearing or how she wore her hair.
At lunchtimes she sat cross-legged on the sofa, her boots scuffed, tights ripped. She ate sushi slowly, and wore her cat-eye glasses to read literature or poetry. Big headphones covered her delicate ears and she nodded to music that only she could hear.
People grilled the equally cool guys she worked with; they wore skinny jeans and their hair in pompadours. They’d just shrug, they didn’t really know either. Occasionally the staff all went out together and Betty would come too and get tipsy on rum and coke, and dance crazy like no one was watching. She looked beautiful and ethereal. When a guy chatted her up she’d smile sadly and just say ‘I can’t, sorry’.
Every night Betty went home to a small flat in north London. Her cats would meow and run up and rub on her legs, entwining around her calves. She’d feed them and strip down to knickers and an old rock t-shirt, and she’d lean on the window sill wishing the London sky wasn’t so polluted with light so that she could see the stars and constellations. Tears would stream down her face and her heart would rattle.

I Heart...

Monday, 25 April 2011

This Week I've Been Mostly...

 Wishing I had a fragrant flower filled garden so I could have barbecues, picnics, and make sheet fortresses
 Needing to watch 'Stealing Beauty' again because it is the perfect summer movie
 Channeling Bardot with my fashion
 Eating chocolate and strawberries. Nom nom.
Counting down the days until I go on holiday, but at least the weather in London is gorgeous at the moment  and it's been a bank holiday weekend with another on the way!

Room Envy

Really loving white walls at the moment - perfect for sunshine filled rooms.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Coming Soon

I've been scribbling away writing some modern fairy tales and I'm going to start uploading them here this week! Look out for forests, mermaids, magic and the odd sprinkle of fairy dust for good measure.

Scream 4 Review

I have to admit that I was geekily excited about the release of Scream 4. I was about 15 when the first Scream movie came out. My mum went to see it at the cinema and 'approved it' for my viewing. It was the first proper stalk n slash horror film I had been brave enough to watch and it had a cool young cast and soundtrack. From that I watched all the teen slasher films it spawned; I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend, plus all the really crap ones like Cherry Falls and Valentine. I went back to the films that Scream referenced; Psycho, Halloween, Friday 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Then torture porn films started coming out and I went off horror films because they were too focused on gore and not suspense.

Scream 4 is a welcome return to those horror films I used to enjoy watching. It's clever, slick and made for fellow film buffs who know these movies inside out. I jumped, I laughed, I cringed. Now, I don't want them to drag out the Scream Franchise like they did with the Halloween movies and Friday 13th - but if Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson keep making them then I'm happy. Craven makes good horror, and Williamson is great at teen angst as proven in Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries.

I say goodbye to the hundredth Saw film, and welcome back to smart horror.

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks is an epistolary novel written from the point of view of an introspective fifteen year old boy named Charlie (although he states the names have been changed). It is set in Pittsburgh during 1991-1992 and is written by American writer Stephen Chbosky. It explores issues such as sexuality, abuse and the general awkwardness of adolescence. Indeed, it reminds me of Catcher in the Rye, a book that Charlie reads, and the angst-ridden and reflective tones of My So-Called Life.

I really loved reading this book; it reminded me a lot of how I felt during my teenage years, maybe not to the extreme that Charlie does, but I definitely had my moments of social awkwardness and confusion as to how I should act or be. Nothing prepares you for the sudden suffocating tide of self-consciousness that puberty brings - when you are kid you are quite free and happy to scream and be silly and dress up as a princess or Spiderman to go shopping with your mum, but then you turn 13 or whatever age and everything is so embarrassing and the spotlight feels like it's on you, highlighting every pimple.

I identified with Charlie, I recognised the hunger he has to learn and the attachment he feels towards great books and moving songs. Best of all it harks back to the 90s when I was a teenager and there were no mobile phones or iPods.

A film version starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Nina Dobrev has been announced for release in 2012. Chbosky is writing the screenplay and directing, so hopefully it will capture the rawness of the book. Plus I really hope they use the mixtape Charlie makes as the soundtrack.

I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Book Review: Heroes and Villains by Angela Carter

I first discovered Angela Carter's writing at university, studying her collection of short stories 'The Bloody Chamber'. This was Carter's take on fairy tales, but not the saccarine fairy tales of childhood and Disney films, rather bloodthirsty, dark and erotic tales written for adults, just as the original fairy stories were intended. She later edited collected volumes of traditional and international fairy stories.
Carter was a British writer and jounalist, known largely for her feminist and magic-realism works. She was a true lover of language, and this is evident in the beautiful, complex vocabulary used in her writing. She is one of my heroes for this, and of course because of her gothic stories which questioned society, culture, sexuality and most importantly, gender. Sadly, Carter died aged 51 in 1992 from lung cancer, but is considered one of Britain's greatest writers.
'Heroes and Villains' is a dystopian gothic fantasy where society has split into goups of Professors, Barbarians and deformed 'Out People'. Marianne is the feisty heroine who embarks on a journey away from a life she knew in the Professors' towers, to an unfamiliar decaying world, and a twisted romance with a beautiful Barbarian named Jewel.
As always, Carter's language is lush, bringing this nightmarish world to vivid reality. Marianne makes for an unconventional protaganist; fearless except for the prospect of losing her autonomy. Jewel is a deliciously sordid love interest and antagonist.
Sublime imagery and rich language.
A must read for anyone who loves gothic and magic-realism.

I Heart...

  • Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road
  • The smell of lavender at bedtime
  • Peppermint and liquorice tea
  • Sweet strawberries
  • Outdoor cinemas
  • Thomasina Miers' book Mexican Food Made Simple
  • Sketching people
  • Listening to music at night when I can't sleep

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Top Soundtracks

In no order, some of my favourites (they may be cheesy but hey, I started liking them when I was a kid!). I'm listing song-based albums here as opposed to scores.

The Lost Boys
Cruel Intentions
Pulp Fiction
Stealing Beauty
Marie Antoinette
500 Days of Summer
Wayne's World
Donnie Darko
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
The Wedding Singer
Pretty Woman
Dirty Dancing
Empire Records
The Craft
Mad Love
The Virgin Suicides
Boogie Nights

Ok so I'm tired, I want a glass of wine and I'm focusing on music I loved as a teenager mostly. I'll leave it at that for now, my mind has gone foggy.

500 Days of Summer: Joe & Zooey on Music

500 Days of Summer - The Smiths - There is a light that never goes out


Film Pick: 500 Days of Summer

I like to review new films that I've seen, but I also want to get the word out on great films that have been out a while. 500 Days of Summer is a quirky, unconventional 'love' story. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It's funny, charming and has a fantastic soundtrack. Definitely not a typical rom-com Jennifer Aniston cheesefest, which is a relief.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Style Crush: Jean Seberg

Spring makes me want to emulate Jean Seberg's classic style, most memorable in A Bout de Souffle. I recently bought the 50th anniversary edition of the film purely for a Seberg documentary extra (I already owned a vanilla disc). She wore the cropped cut perfectly and her clothes were simple and hinted at the American starlet's affilations with Europe, especially France. Seberg's later years were marred with tragedy and I wish there were more books about her life - but perhaps that makes her all the more enigmatic.

To dress like Jean Seberg, think 50s style dresses, nautical stripes, capri pants, and a Herald Tribune t-shirt