Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


Game of Thrones

I’m a late bloomer, clearly, when it comes to TV shows but the boy and I finally started watching Game of Thrones.

We finished Season 1 He was impressed straight away but I needed a little convincing. Mainly because everyone had said that it was SO awesome that my expectations were so high that I expected nothing less but to be transported to Winterfell and live out what was happening – without dying. Obviously this didn’t happen and I was disappointed. Not just because of that, I’m not an idiot, but the show just didn’t live up to the impossibly high bar that people had set for it.

It took a while (episode 7 to be exact) before I actually became excited to watch the next episode. Before that, I felt like Game of Thrones wasn’t trying. It was setting up the story and that was it. If it had been a film I wouldn’t have minded, but these shows are an hour long and it’s a far bigger investment. It meant I wanted the show to entice me rather than me rely on people’s opinions or on reading the books.

Game of Thrones is a fantastic series but it only turned fantastic after season 7 when things actually started moving. As interesting as it is to find out the background of a story, it shouldn’t last more than half of an entire season.

I’ll admit it, for the first seven episodes I did not get it. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t a show that gripped me straight away. The acting was superb and the storyline had potential (it’s epic now) but the show had that spark missing. It’s like going on a date and wanting it to work but the chemistry isn’t there.

I kept trying (not necessarily what you should do with dating) – mainly because the boy loved it and I’m glad I did. The show now, we’re currently on season 2, is entertaining and doing what any seasoned drama should do – it is leaving me wanting to watch more. At the end of each episode, I am excited to watch the next and I really do think that Game of Thrones didn’t quite hit the nail on the head at the beginning of the series.

It was, to me, a slow burner and though it has picked up speed and is now what I would consider, a brilliant watch, it didn’t start off in the best way to keep audiences. (All hate mail can be sent to me at the email provided).

If you’re considering watching Game of Thrones then ignore all the raving reviews and thumbs up it’s getting because they’ll end up making you expect something impossibly brilliant which, I think, the show fails to bring in the first half of the first season. That will instantly make you more impatient because your expectations are so high, but wait it out.

It gets better and then you’ll love it and then you’ll rave about it like crazy and make someone else expect amazing things from the show from the opening credits of the very first episode of Season 1. And so, the vicious cycle of expectation – disappointment – boredom – surprise – interest – loving it – raving about it, will begin again.


I like him but I hate his show

Gok Wan first graced British television screens in 2006. I remember watching How to Look Good Naked and even though it was annoying at times, overall the programme was entertaining and feel-good. I liked Gok Wan, I thought he was sweet and enthusiastic and made a good enough presenter that it kept me watching.

Then he made a few other shows which were okay. Some were good like Made in China, and others weren’t that great. But last night I probably watched the most annoying programme I have ever seen. I was actually disappointed with Gok Wan for agreeing to present, and be the face, of such a show.

Gok’s Style Secrets was awful. I like watching programmes I can rant about. It frustrates me to the point where I rant and rave like a lunatic and there is something quite cathartic about that. But Gok’s Style Secrets silenced me. I like Gok Wan, he seems like a nice guy and I think we could be friends but this show made me want to die a little inside.

The show sees Gok Wan impart his knowledge of clothes and dating to help a singleton feel good about themselves and bag a partner. It is worse than it sounds however. The fashion is given a back-seat, which is Gok’s strong point and his main claim to fame. It doesn’t seem to make much sense that this side is ignored then. The whole love/dating advice side of the show is cringe-worthy at best.

The whole ‘trying to date’ aspect is terrible, forced and appallingly acted. The first episode saw a lady consistently referred to as a ‘goth’ as if she didn’t have any other part of her personality and forced to go and talk to actors that obviously weren’t being paid enough to look genuinely interested in what was going on.

Gok Wan has always been a big pusher of being yourself and not trying to change to fit a skinny, pretty media ideal. He has promoted instead working with your shape and aiming for health more than anything. But this show seems to almost turn a cold shoulder against this six year long message that he’s been pushing in all his other shows.

This ‘goth’ girl (which was the least goth-like lady I have ever seen in my life) was told to wear colour and patterns and things that weren’t gothic at all. She was made to clean her room of the things she loved (which in fairness was kind of a good thing because her room looked like it belonged to a 15-year-old boy).

While all this was going on and she was made to look like everyone else (you can still dress for your body and remain ‘gothic’ if that’s what you like), Gok made sure to keep saying that as long as her tattoos were on show they were staying faithful to her. It didn’t convince anyone, it was a little like a car salesman saying that the car he has is the best one you can buy with the money, even though it’s older than some museum artefacts.

The show just seemed overly fake which would be fine if it embraced this fakery. However, it pretended to be a new, empowering and touching show. In my opinion this was it’s downfall. Pretending to be something, you are not while you try to pretend to be better than the industry you are a part of doesn’t work if there isn’t a little bit of truth in the message that you’re trying to spread.

Making someone walk around a bar and walking past the same person two or three times to catch their eye makes you look like a weirdo, it doesn’t secure a date. The chances of that actually resulting in romance is so slim, you may as well play the lottery – you’d be more likely to strike lucky there.

Gok Wan’s newest show is, quite simply, abysmal. The first episode Gok dressed a woman to look nice but like everyone else and so far away from her apparent ‘goth’ persona that I was half-expecting her to be given a baby pink babydoll dress. She was then told to walk around in the same outfit (only three new outfits in total, a disaster considering he’s supposed to be a fashion expert), was not allowed to actually control an online dating profile that Gok created for her (she wasn’t even in the frame) and was consistently reminded that it was the tattoos that made her special (never mind her career, family, hobbies, friends or brain), she was forced to clean her room because it could freak out potential mates (true but still, if he/she doesn’t love your likes to the point that they don’t want to be with you then they’re probably not the right person) and to top that all off the worst, and most basic, psychological assessments ever made on Earth make you want to jump out of a window.

I’m not sure what to think of Gok for spending his time being a part of a show like Gok’s Style Secrets. I still like him but I feel it’s the money rather than the genuine message of the show that has influenced his presence on the programme. It seems a shame and I think the show is fake enough to have knocked Mr Wan off his “real is fabulous” perch.


You don’t need a television

I used to love television, I still do, but not in the dependent way that I did. Before university I used to enjoy having a television as my background, I wouldn’t say it was time wasted, I watched documentaries as well as the more trivial programming but still.

At university I didn’t watch any television. If there was a programme I liked I would watch it online, without the adverts and the temptation of watching whatever came next. You don’t realise how truly short a programme is without the adverts.

If this was the only thing on TV maybe it would be easier to avoid it.

After graduating, television became something new and strange that I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to get sucked back into. Now winter is here (England doesn’t really have an autumn, Mother Nature only likes to do extremes on this little island) the television has come back into my life. It’s almost like a routine to come home, relax and watch a little TV before I do some work and go about doing whatever I need to to relax or prepare for the next day.

Recently I’ve been trying to step back from being in front of the television as a way of relaxing. Yesterday, for example, by going upstairs away from the television I was more productive than ever. I did everything I actually want to do while still watching a few of my favourite shows and then switching off instead of trying to fill the background noise with pointless shows that I don’t care about and are still detracting.

You don’t really need a television in today’s day and age. Obviously I still enjoy some of my favourite shows: Revenge, The Simpsons and a few others I can’t remember are great ways of chilling for short breaks. I am trying very hard to only watch shows that I like and enjoy rather than watching something just because my show has finished.

This is the power of television.

Those moving images keep going, and try to entice you to keep watching. That’s where your time is drained with the shows that are stupid, pointless and you don’t actually want to watch but have on in the background as a distraction.

By switching off your television, you’re saving energy (duh) and you’re making yourself more productive. Those flashing images are not the only source of entertainment. I exercised, I read and I did work to get ahead in my course. The television should not be considered an essential in every home, it should be an addition.

Although I don’t believe that the television will ever die or fall out of favour, it does not need to be as important.

After all, if I loved television as much as I thought I did, I would have given it a second thought when I lived without it at university.


A film adaptation too far

I enjoy watching films and I love reading books. It is normal that films would take a lot of their ideas from books and create adaptations. There is a theory that there are only seven stories in terms of plot. Everything usually follows these storylines and embellishes them to create something different.

I usually have nothing against film adaptions. I quite like watching them, and I tend to enjoy them because I wholeheartedly accept that it will never be as good as the book. Sometimes a film will surprise me, usually it doesn’t. But it’s okay, you’re imagination has no limitations. Film still does even with all the special effects.

There are some film adaptions I wish I could remove from my brain together. The Golden Compass was probably the WORST book to film ever. Not just because the books are magnificent but because it seemed clear that the book had not been read properly by anyone in charge of said film.

It makes me angry just thinking about it.

You may or may not have heard that Life of Pi has been made into a film and is being released in the UK on Thursday 20 November. This is worrying me a great amount.

Life of Pi is the best book I have ever read. It resonated deeply with me and it is unafraid of tackling heavy subjects whilst crazy events take place. It is a phenomenal read and a book I am consistently recommending to people.

Yann Martel was able to truly capture the reader’s imagination and I think the story is made to be read, envisioned and felt rather than seen. The film will never, ever live up to the book. I do not doubt that the film will be good and enjoyable at the very least. A strong story will usually always make an enjoyable film. But I can’t help but feel this is a film adaption too far.

Nothing is off limits in Hollywood. Creativity knows no bounds (nor does the greed of financial want) but some things are better left in their original forms. The way they were intended to be. I am no traditionalist but I can’t help but feel that Life of Pi is just one of those books, one of those narratives, that works better and is more effective when everything is not handed over on a silver platter.

It’s hard to describe a book that makes you think, leaves you guessing and makes you feel like something in the world has changed once you’ve finished reading it. I know a film can do the same but it isn’t the same.

Reading a book is personal. You will read it in a different way to how others will. You will see the characters, hear their voices, experience their trials and tribulations in a different way. Reading is a far more personal journey which is why people are so attached to their books. I doubt there is anyone that treats their DVDs in the same way that you would treat your books, not because of how much they cost but because of what they mean to you.

A film cannot do this in the same way as a book. It’s just the way it is.

Life of Pi is very much one of those books that is personal. Maybe because of the way it is written or the way Pi speaks to the reader in the novel. A film adaptation will lose this, it will lose the storytelling aspect, the effect of having to imagine such an incredible journey. It’ll all be there for you to see, you don’t even need to think about it. Just watch and go home. Nothing changes.

I hope I’m wrong. The trailer does look brilliant and I’m sure the film will be a box office hit but I can’t help feel that it’s just one film adaptation too far.


Females according to the entertainment industry

Women make up approximately 50% of the population. If you’re not a woman, then through the process of elimination, it’s fair for me to assume you’re a man. I appreciate that some people do not consider themselves to belong to a certain gender. However, I’m not talking about those lovely people.

Women are every bit as complex as men. We’re humans, half the time we don’t know how we feel and we change our minds as often as we brush our teeth. In reality then we can all agree that women and men both reach the same levels of complexity because after all: we’re all people. But I’m confused because, according to the majority of the entertainment industry and a lot of women’s magazine (I don’t read enough men’s magazines to make a fair judgement) there are only a limited number of women. All seem to have been made to not seem ‘threatening’ to their female counterparts or ‘intimidating’ to their male ones.

Since my course doesn’t start until September and there’s only so many application forms you can fill before wanting to repeatedly bash your head against the wall until it, or you, breaks; I’ve been watching films. I like films. Films make me happy. The representation of women in films however, doesn’t make me as happy.

Females according to the entertainment industry are pretty one dimensional. Even if they have a ‘hidden’ side to them, it’s easily uncovered by a sexy male lead and a candlelit dinner.

So here are the females according to the entertainment industry, in particular rom-coms. If you believe you are completely like any of these women then stop selling yourself short. If any guys reading this believe that some of their female friends are exactly like the women I’m about to describe: don’t be ignorant and stop selling them short. Enjoy the list. Don’t let your brain explode with the frustration.

The teeny tiny woman who eats more than an obese man

This lady is skinnier than a healthy thirteen year old. Yet she is filmed in many of the films’s scenes stuffing her face. She’s usually eating something that would make Beyonce gain weight within a few minutes, even with the Single Ladies dance. You never see her actually finish a meal and you hear her family and friends mention her eating habits several times during the film; heaven forbid she should stop wearing children’s clothes. Anyway squealing ensues, she takes a big bite out of something, eats with her mouth open, and then the scene cuts and we go to the man that she will eventually kiss with her skinny lips as he wraps his arms around her super small, almost non existent, waist.

The best friend that would have a personality if she had her own life

Ah the best friend! She doesn’t have a life, has a hopeless love life and is more interested in the many dramas of the main female than her own life. She talks about sex, is always friggin’ hilarious with her brilliant one liners. She’s not as good as the main female character obviously, heaven forbid that women can be friends and equals. This Best Friend gives pretty good advice and yet, by a viewers calculations, her life is empty – as empty as her head.

The whimsical fairy type girl

Firstly I would like to point out that, in the real world, this girl does not exist. She only goes for obscenely boring and miserable male lead characters and shows them once again the beauty of a life. Like a child, only grown up so it’s not weird to fancy her. She is quirky and weird for weird’s sake. She’s like a fairytale character and decides to do spontaneous things on a whim. She is free, cannot be pinned down and apparently happy (although it’s just an assumption rather than actually implied). She doesn’t seem to have a home, a background or a family. But who cares? She’s only a woman. In real life she would be homeless, in a mental institution or a cartoon.

The workaholic 

This woman is very, very serious. After all, career women are very, very serious. She does not have a boyfriend because who would want someone that cared about her professional progression so much? She always has her hair tied up to make her look very, very serious. She does not smile and she’s a little bit socially awkward. Obviously the most important thing about the workaholic is that she is unsatisfied about her fabulous life. Why? Because she hasn’t found love. Duh! Oh and it is also important to remember that the workaholic does not know how to have fun.

The arty farty and child type

I’ve put these two in the same lovely bold heading because there’s not much to say about these two types of females. A lot of women in rom coms work in an art gallery or paint. When she actually talks about art, which is very little considering how much she loves it, you realise she (nor the person that wrote her script) understands anything about art. And that’s coming from someone who knows very little about art. The child type is the woman who teaches very little, cute but annoying children. The children all love her, mainly because she never gets to teach them. They’re either playing or when the lesson begins she’s interrupted by the main male character. These women are ALWAYS interrupted at work: not like they’re doing anything important anyway.

How my brain feels at seeing women portrayed as one dimensional dolls in films that are targeted at a female audience. What kind of sicko does that?