Category Archives: Lifestyle

Radio

Burst Radio (Bristol University Student Radio) is up and running!! I am really proud of how the first week is going, and would love if you nice people could give it a listen. There is a huge variety of programmes, so there is something for everyone.

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As well as presenting The Culture Club on Tuesday’s at 5PM (http://www.burstradio.org.uk/shows/the-culture-club/), I am also Co-Head of News this year. As well as being responsible for producing the pre-recorded news segments that play every hour, this year we have introduced a longer, live news segment at 1PM. This is the first time there have been ‘newsreaders’ on Burst Radio, and we are very proud of how it is going so far.

I think student radio has given me and everyone involved such valuable experience and I am so happy to have had the chance to discover what I think I want to do professionally post graduation.

Did you get involved in any extracurriculars that ended up being your career?

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Music of the Moment

After a summer of culture I have got quite a few new top songs, and an old favourite! Here are my top 5 of the moment:

1. Disclosure

After seeing these guys at Latitude, I can firmly call myself a fan! They’re clever brand of electro-pop is great to dance or chill-out to.

2. Matt Corby

I finally got round to buying the Into the Flame album, and as suspected I loved it. My favourite song has to be Resolution.

3. Katy Perry

I fluctuate between loving and hating Katy Perry. But her new song Roar is exactly the version of her I love to see – empowered, talented and with a good message. It is so far from California Girls, or Peacock, and much closer to Firework. Although I have to say the video is a little over long…

4. Ellie Goulding

I don’t normally like Ellie Goulding, but her new album has very much changed my mind. In particular, Anything Could Happen makes me very happy and relaxed.

5. Adele

This month I have spent a lot of time on trains, and my favourite relaxing train music is the sweet tones of Adele’s singing. I love so many of her songs, but one of the best has to be Crazy for You.

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West Side Story @ Sadler’s Wells

I was lucky enough to be invited by my friend to see the Sadler’s Wells production of West Side Story. I am a huge fan of the film version, but have never seen a stage performance, so was really excited to see one of my favourite musicals live on stage.

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I have to say, unfortunately, I was not blown away. Many of the singers were very good, especially Tony and Anita, and the choreography, following the original by Jerome Robbins, was superb. However much of the actual dancing was pretty lacklustre, and the actor playing Riff wasn’t obviously the strongest singer or dancers in the Jets group. Indeed one of the most enjoyable songs was “Gee, Officer Krupke”, in which Riff doesn’t feature. However, the performances were generally strong, and really picked up in the second act. The ending in particular brought me to tears – Maria was exceptionally powerful in the final scenes.

I think my main problem with the stage version of West Side Story is that I just prefer it in film. While the choreography is fantastic, much of the ‘fighting’ requires way too much set up for my liking, and this makes a lot of the main scenes lose pace. It is very obvious where the film has changed scenes around or cut them out altogether, and I think in some places this was for the better. There was a rather strange dream sequence where Tony and Maria envisage a world where everyone gets along. While this is a good message it didn’t seem to fit into the flow of the musical in general. However it did showcase the style of dance that seemed to come most naturally to the cast, which was nice to see.

This review may seem quite negative, but I have to say I did enjoy West Side Story, and I am very glad I have experienced the original stage version. I suspect the problem was just that it did not quite live up to my expectations, and I think that is quite a typical problem with ‘summer stock’ performances.

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Edinburgh #3

The last two weeks in Edinburgh were very busy, and I’m pleased to say I kept to my promise of seeing a lot more shows! I also unfortunately succumbed to the inevitable, and got Fringe flu, but now I am back home and recovering. I have seen a really great mix of shows, so lets get on with the list:

McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-bit – this was one of our shows that I was very excited to see. Essentially it consisted of a group of comedians playing old video games, drinking and doing forfeit challenges. Despite the fact that I am too young to remember any of the games played (the original Mario Kart, Streetfighter and Bomberman) I got really into the show, shouting and chanting with everyone else.

Ben Moor: Each of us – this is probably my favourite show of the fringe. Ben Moor is billed as a comedian, but the show is more performance storytelling than anything else. All I can really say is that Moor delivers a truly beautiful show, and I am exceedingly glad that he was selling a book of it, because there were so many lines I had wanted to note down.

John Kearns (winner of best newcomer) – I was taken to see Kearns straight after seeing Ben Moor and the contrast was staggering. Equally brilliant, Kearns’ show was a strange mixture of character comedy, stand up and general weirdness – all of which he acknowledges through the show. Even though I didn’t really understand what I had seen, I knew I loved it!

The Wrestling II – The Wrestling is a one off show where comedians and professional wrestlers actually wrestle each other. It is a weird and wonderful combination that makes for a very high intensity night if screaming and laughing.

Johnny & the Baptists – A very good musical comedy show with plenty of talent and laughs! They are also very lovely guys, which always helps.

Cariad & Paul – This improv duo (one of ours) are absolutely fantastic at what they do. Taking one word from the audience as a prompt to get the creative juices flowing, they invent a show based around the development of a few scenes over an hour. Not only does this in itself just blow my mind, but the actual scenes were also really entertaining and different enough that it didn’t ever feel like they were falling back on stock material.

Men – This play was done by TapTap Theatre which is a Bristol based theatre company. The acting and story were all very good, but I found the play in general overly sweary. It very much felt that the writer had equated anger and intensity with swear word, which I often find lessens their effect. However considering the playwright was 20 when she wrote Men I can understand this slightly immature approach to realism.

Bristol Revunions: Elegant Nymphs – One of my very good friends is in the Bristol sketch comedy group, and I was really happy to be able to see him perform! I really liked the show in general, although I think the framing device of having it be Nymphs trying to break out of their stereotype was a bit misused.

Tim Key: Work in Progress – I only saw Tim Key because I had some time to kill while my friend finished her shift, and he wasn’t sold out. I am very glad I did! The show was a mixture of stand up, weird poetry and general bizarreness (including a woman periodically appearing from a mattress on stage and dancing). It was a great show, and I would love to see the finished product.

Bo Burnham: What – I thought Bo Burnham was genius, and he is definitely in the running for my favourite show! His songs are extremely clever, his poems hilarious and his sarcastic and cynical personality really works with my sense of humour.

Take it Interns – this was a musical brought up by a student run production company (1945 productions) from Bristol. Overall I thought it was really good – the story line, following a group of badly chosen interns at an advertising company, was silly and clever at the same time. For the most part the musical performances were solid, although a few of the actors were clearly not natural singers, and some of the harmonies were not to my taste.

Peacock & Gamble: Heart-Throbs – I don’t think this comedy duo are really my thing. Although I generally enjoyed the show, their odd brand of sketch/ double act comedy didn’t really appeal to me on the night. It was really funny though to see them make each other corpse, a part of comedy shows that I often enjoy the most!

Set List (With Paul Foot, Adam Bloom, Ahir Shah, Matt Okine & others) – I really liked the concept of Set List – comedians are given random items from their imaginary set lists and have to perform stand-up about it. The only problem is that stand-up comedians aren’t known for their improv skills, so you get a very mixed bag of success. Luckily on my night a couple people really rose to the challenge, in particular Ahir Shah and Paul Foot.

Beardyman: One Album Per Hour – Pretty much all I have to say about Beardyman is WOW. Not only is he an incredible beat-boxer, singer, rapper, producer and general lovely guy – he can genuinely create a completely improvised album in an hour. It blew my mind.

Fullmooners (Paulmooners) – This was a charity gig for Paul Byrne, Ed Byrne’s brother who was very sadly diagnosed with cancer on the 2nd day of the Fringe. The Fullmooners concept was created by Paul with Andrew Maxwell and so they put a benefit gig together in just 2 weeks. It was a fantastical funny and emotional gig, with many of the comedians giving little speeches at the end of their sets about Paul.

Comedy Countdown – this show is effectively a low budget Countdown with comedians. Paper and a clipboard are used instead of letter cards, and the clock is in fact David Morgan. It was a really fun set up, and yet again, I got far too into the spirit of the game.

Ben Van der Velde: Chain Letter – My final Edinburgh show was that of my now good friend Ben. Part stand-up, part storytelling, Chain Letter is the story of his attempt to reinvent the hand written letter. It was a funny and heartwarming show that left me very happy. A perfect way to end the Fringe!

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Edinburgh #2

This week has felt a lot busier – we have finished with most of the 241 and preview deals so we are trying to get people to part with more money to see the shows – a much harder sell I’m sure you’d agree. Still I have managed to see some shows, and am still impressed with the standard:

Sad Faces… Threw a party – This is one of our shows, but I did manage to catch it and had a great time. The premise is that Sad Faces have thrown a party with the audience as the guests, and it all goes wrong! A really fun show, and you get party bags at the end.

Matt Forde: The political party – a really good satire show from an ex Labour lobbyist who does some spot on impressions!

Greg Proops (podcast recording) – although we didn’t see Proops do his proper stand up, I really enjoyed the podcast recording. He has some interesting opinions and still manages to keep the ‘show’ funny and entertaining despite the slightly odd format. Although I would still like to see his stand up, I definitely think I will be catching up on his other podcasts.
School Night (variety) – the premise for this show is very fun; various comedians come on to ‘teach’ the audience things – we had sociology, French, PE and psychology this time around, and it was really good fun!

Late Night Gimp Fight – this 5 man sketch group make such a fun, ridiculous and weird show! Normal sketch comedy is interspersed with videos made by the ‘gimps’ who help the comedians with scene changes. It is a great late night show to catch if you are looking for something a bit silly!

Hot Dub Time Machine – this is more of a club night, but I think it still deserves a mention considering its popularity. A song is played from every year from the 1950s to now. It was such a fun night; you were twisting, MC Hammer-ing and raving all in one night, it was great! I think the night travels around, so catch it if you can!

Although I have really enjoyed everything I have seen so far nothing has been particularly mind-blowing, I think mainly because I have only seen comedy shows up till now. Luckily my day off is coming up very soon, and I am planning to see a lot more theatre in the next week!

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Edinburgh #1

I have been working at the Fringe for six days now, and have just had some time to write to you all. Sorry! I have been having a fantastic time flyering for Ditto Productions (plug post coming soon), meeting new people and seeing shows. Now that I am in the swing of things I think my plan to review everything I saw properly, as well as telling you stories from being on a street team, is probably a little out of reach, so instead I thought I would take Sunday nights (my self-designated night in to sleep and rest) to give you weekly updates. Obviously if I have any more time, or a show I really want to review in depth I will, but these posts will probably be a bit more sparse.

We have been incredibly lucky with the weather, so I have really got to see Edinburgh as a city in its best light. I really love it. The buildings are beautiful, the people are funny and friendly (even the ones who aren’t comedians!) and there are so many little shops and cafes here that are a nice change to the massive chain stores that are about in London. I am very aware that Edinburgh during the Fringe is practically a different city, but it is shaping up to be more than lovely!

In terms of shows that I have seen this week, I have seen the shows that I am flyering for: The Beta Males… in Superopolis; Farce Noir: The Big Sheep; Jay Foreman: No More Colours; and Sock Puppet, by John Luke Roberts. I have also seen David Trent: This is all I have; Claudia O’Doherty: Pioneer; Iain Stirling; and Late ‘n’ Live, a variety show in which I got to see The Noise Next (and I don’t know the names of the rest of the acts – they either never said or I wasn’t concentrating for various reasons…) All of the shows have been great! I really have been impressed with the quality of everything I have seen; a lot have been just as weird as it was wonderful, and I am really hoping I continue this fantastic run.

If anyone is up at the Fringe and has recommendations for shows that I should see, please put them in the comments, I’d love to see some new shows/ performers!

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My Book List

I really enjoy reading, but unfortunately I often don’t have time to read, or don’t know which book to start with. I thought I would make a list of all the unread books I have on my bedroom shelves, in the hope that making these public would encourage me to make a start! Here I have a lot of fiction, some history books and a few foreign books that I have bought or acquired over the years but never got round to reading. If you have any suggestions as to where I should start, please put them in the comments!

Nina Bawden: Carrie’s War

Louis de Bernières: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Albert Camus: L’étranger

John le Carré: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Giacomo Casanova: The Story of My Life

Edward Conlon: Blue Blood

Dante: Inferno

*Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities

Jeffrey Eugenides: The Virgin Suicides

Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Stephen Fry in America

Lawrence James: The Middle Class

Primo Levi: If this is a man

Ian McEwan: Atonement

Bao Ninh: The Sorrow of War

George Orwell: 1984

Percival Spear: The Oxford History of Modern India 1740-1975

Toby Wilkinson: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

Zola: La Bête Humaine

*= currently reading
struck through = finished

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