Sunday, 30 March 2014

Book Review: Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

For my A2 English lit coursework I have recently studied Chuck Palahniuk's well-known novel Fight Club.

When I first learned we'd be studying this book and heard a brief overview, I was somewhat put off by the twisted plot of a psychopath who was unaware of his split personality. And I was still rather creeped out by it all as I read the book, but some sort of evolution ended up occurring as I read on, and I began to enjoy the madness, craving the inhumane happenings. By the end I actually kind of wanted to start my own 'Fight Club' and longed for the military-style routine that 'Project Mayhem' entailed.

Palahniuk has a real niche for plots featuring psychological distress, and although as a reader you'll always be a bystander, the first person narrative seems to allow you to make connections between yourself and the narrator. Where he thinks that he's completely sane, a reader can begin to question their own sanity and even wonder if their own continuous tiredness might be the effect of an insomnia induced alter-ego. It's the most bizarre concept, but I felt the need to question how well I knew myself.

The concept for 'Project Mayhem' derived from Palahniuk's own experiences with the Cacophony Society which I found really interesting to read about. The general idea of the group is that they play pranks and get drunk, which made me wonder if maybe the narrator was a closet alcoholic and that was part of the reasoning for him being unable to remember that he'd actually been up all night living the life of Tyler Durden.

'Fight Club' allows the reader to feel apart of this exclusive group, despite knowing that in reality it's very unlikely anyone would voluntarily get the shit kicked out of them. There's something enjoyably mysterious, especially when the first and second rules are 'you do not talk about fight club.' It's like all the readers of the book are invited in; maybe it was Palahniuk's way of testing how bad people are with secrets, watching to see the extent to which his book circulated. If that was the case then evidently, people talk too much.

Initially I wasn't a fan of the character of Marla, and I have a feeling Palahniuk may have positioned the reader to continue to dislike her as the novel progresses. I felt like at times she got in the way of what was actually happening; due to her it took me quite a while to realise that the narrator and Tyler were actually the same person. She is the only woman of any significance in the novel and I thought this was quite important. Palahniuk seems to be attempting to show male independence and dominance in this novel, and thus Marla's involvement seems to be mostly about Tyler asserting his authority.

Overall, I thought the novel was great, despite the way my fingers turned the pages nervously to begin with. The disjointed feel at the beginning evens out quickly as Tyler takes control of the narrator's life, and I think this is the factor that really allows you to get into it and put yourself in the position of the characters. From the moment the condo's burnt down we see the end of a consumerist era in the narrator's life, and it's clear that the action will begin from there on. Even at the very end of the novel, it appears 'Project Mayhem' will continue on, although it is somewhat annoying that we don't discover whether the narrator fully turns into Tyler Durden or if he consciously regains control. Anyhow, it's a thrilling, yet mundanely written book, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting something out of the ordinary within an ordinary setting.

Until next time.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Wanted: Word Of Mouth Tour London

I just got home from school, wiped off yesterday's make up and changed into my pyjamas, and I've challenged myself to write this post before falling asleep lolz.

Yesterday I went with my two best friends, Chloe and Charlie, to see The Wanted perform at the O2 arena in London on their Word Of Mouth Tour.
And it was rather breathtaking.

We arrived at the O2 at around half-four and went inside to find somewhere to eat. We looked at pretty much everywhere, but the answer to 'where should we eat?' is pretty much always Nandos. And so we filled up on chicken and chips (which were highly needed as we hadn't eaten since breakfast (the absolute horror)) and it was just as great as it always is.

After food, I got to meet my lovely friend Katie, who I've been speaking to via twitter/facetime/text/phone calls for over a year. It was so special to actually meet her for real and in 3D; I'm really happy we got to meet and hope we can see each other again very soon.

The support acts were both really good. Elyar Fox was on first and he was soooo cute and had really great energy. I'd only heard his song Do It All Over Again before, but his other tracks all sounded really good too, and I'm sure I'll find myself looking them up very soon.

And then came The Vamps. Chloe and I love them and we're getting Charlie into them too. Their set was amazing and I wish they could have done more than five songs. They kicked things off with Wildheart which is probably my favourite of their songs; it's so upbeat with a real country vibe that I adore. Following this they performed a new song called Girls on TV which was insanely catchy (I can't wait until their album comes out). They then did Last Night and Can We Dance, ending their set with Oh Cecilia. Overall they were great and had pretty much everyone on their feet at one point or another.

And then it happened.
The Wanted were phenomenal; on a whole other level than I've seen them perform before. They put their heart and soul out on their sleeves and there were tears from both them and us.

My favourite song was Heart Vacancy, which has been my favourite of their songs ever since they released it. And it's always the best song to hear live, because everyone gets completely involved. It's something I know I'll never forget.

Overall, the night was wonderful (bar the tears which I'm rather annoyed they managed to wheedle out of me). The whole thing was just this blur of emotions and whenever I felt happy I became sad and vice versa. I love them and am heartbroken that this is the last time I'll see them now they're taking a break. But I think it was the perfect send off and I wish them all the happiness in the world. There will never come a time when I won't love them.


Denim shirt: Next (men's); Vest: H&M; Skirt: Missguided

Rings: Rock n Rose; Nail Varnish: Barry M (Gellly Hi-Shine: Mango 337)

Necklace: Rock n Rose

Make up:

Foundation: Rimmel Match Perfection (Light Porcelain 010); Concealer: Collection Lasting Perfection (Fair 1); Bronzer: MUA Mosaic Bronzer (Natural Glow/Shade 1); Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte (Peach Glow 003); Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 3 palette (Dust on lid, Buzz in crease); Mascara: L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic (Magnetic Black); Lips: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter (Pink Truffle 001).

Until next time.

P.s. this took four hours to write :))))))))))))))

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

She Looks So Perfect EP Review

5 Seconds of Summer are an Australian band who have more recently become very popular in the UK, as well as in many other countries around the world. I first heard of them about two years ago through an Australian girl I follow on twitter who's loved them since the beginning, however I'm someone who often resists new music by new artists, as often when I invest my time into upcoming artists on YouTube I'm disappointed. In this case though, I wish I had started listening to their covers when I first heard about them (I made the same mistake with Lawson). A few months ago one of my friends properly introduced me to their music, basically just by telling me she loved their songs and since I will - although perhaps reluctantly - listen to anything I'm recommended, I got on YouTube and had a listen. And the first video I clicked on (a song called Wherever You Are) won me over immediately.

Their first single, She Looks So Perfect, was released on Sunday (23rd March 14) along with an EP. Their sound is notably Pop/Rock, with perhaps a hint of punk, although this is seemingly buried under the catchy riffs and hooks that the likes of One Direction would be likely to envy.

She Looks So Perfect
The song was co-written by members Michael and Ashton, along with songwriter Jake Sinclair. The song is very quirky lyrically, and works well with a dominant electric guitar line that really pushes the song forward. The chanted 'hey' featured throughout is something that I've heard even my dad sing along to when he's heard the song on the radio. The lyrical concept is something kind of warming: a girl can be wearing men's underwear with her lipstick smeared and yet a boy would still think she was perfect. It reminds me of the general concept of young, free love. I think that most teenagers would be able to relate to the song in some way and it's a song that I think would sound completely at home at any festival. And I can't say I'm at all surprised it's number one on iTunes.

Heartache On the Big Screen
This song was written by the band with Mike Duce and Dan Lancaster and I love the extended metaphor. I think that writing about a tough relationship as though it were a film is a very original idea, and very different to the majority of contemporary heartbreak songs heard nowadays. It's a song that sounds somewhat experienced, and yet, equally very naive; I think it really captures the whole concept of young love, with the expectations for everything to be like a romcom, whereas actually, more often than not, it's pretty rubbish ('started out like in the movies, but it ended like a bad dream'). Overall it's a strong song with that special something that makes it very individual.

The Only Reason
Guitarist, Michael, wrote The Only Reason, with Steve Robson and Busbee. In short it's a ballad about heartbreak; but there's the underlying emotion of pure infatuation which leads to personal heartbreak rather than an upset caused by someone else. I really like the bass in this song, as usually in any kind of ballad the instrumental range is incredibly limited (unless you're Mcfly and want to whack in a full orchestra every now and again), but you can really hear everything in this. I like that it's still rock influenced despite the ballad conventions. It's catchy and rhythmically upbeat despite the lyrical message, and that just really works in this song.

What I Like About You
What I Like About You is the final song on the EP, and is a song by The Romantics, originally released in 1979. Whenever I listen to a cover of a song I haven't previously heard of I go straight to the original for comparison, and I like how 5SOS have managed to keep the song very upbeat and yet equally bring their own modern rock influences further forwards, for instance, substituting the electric guitar in the place of the original harmonica. It's a great version of the song with notably strong vocals.

Generally speaking, the EP is fairly diverse, and yet still uses the same instruments with the same overall style. I would recommend these songs to anyone who hasn't heard them and is into music from the 70s onwards.

Until next time.

She Looks So Perfect EP: link
(ps. information on songwriters etc was sourced from 5 Seconds of Summer's instagram: link)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Yesterday I went to the zoo (something I do at any given opportunity) with a big group of my friends and it was wonderful.

I caught up with my favourite rhinos and may have bought two cuddly toys (I couldn't leave them there okay)...

Ryan and Cornelius <3

Here are some pictures from the day (some of them aren't great quality due to lighting/glass).

Jess and I were very excited for penguin feeding time (and also still very tired from the early start)...

Nb. If you ask nicely and have a little chat with them, lots of animals will pose for you.

Literally knocking on the door for their breakfast.

We went on the train giving me my first opportunity of the day to see the rhinos (all my friends shouted my name as soon as they came into sight and I think everyone around us thought I was crazy...)

(We went back to the rhinos quite a few times...)

My favourite lemur

Until next time.