Wireless Festival #ThrowbackThursday

Wow, what a year it has been, I was sat at work today thinking about some of the great things that I have seen in the last year. One of my biggest passions in life is music, I am a singer, and I play the guitar and bass guitar. Often you will find me performing in my shower, or with the Hitchin Thespians choir and amateur dramatics, depending on what I have decided to do for that half of the year. I have been exposed to music from such a young age that it is a huge part of my every day and one of the best things is being able to watch music live!

There are a lot of people that often sacrifice travelling for music festivals, I would rather compromise and do both. I am sure you saw an earlier post this year about Rhythms of the World, my favourite local festival, well I also had the pleasure of going to Wireless Festival!

It was AWESOME! Held at Finsbury Park over a 3 day weekend and it is not a stay over kind of festival, but with easy links to some cheaper parts of the city or just outside, it is affordable to go every day if you wish. I attended the Saturday this year and it was a fantastic day of music, sunshine, booze and food. I got to spend the best day with my partner and he and I were exposed to incredible legendary music and some fantastic new acts. So here today in this throwback of Summer 2015, without further ado, the musical acts!

MARY J BLIGE I loved seeing her live, what an absolute icon on stage, totally in control of her performance and a stage presence to die for.

CHILDISH GAMBINO a true poet with a real gift for words and a true delight live.

KENDRICK LAMAR the whole reason why we went was for my man to see this absolute icon and hip hop sensation. I am not the best hip hop critic, but I love Lamar’s wordplay and his stage presence as immense. He completely took over and I could tell that the whole half of the crowd where I was stood was there for him and him alone. Incredible.

We got to see some other incredible musicians that you have to listen to and experience! Ady Suleiman was one of the opening acts and was phenomenal, great things will come to him and I have not stopped listening to him since Wireless. Others to look for are Mnek, Etta Bond, Bad Rabbits, Alessia Cara and Parra for Cuva. It is so much fun to enjoy new music and watch it live. I would completely recommend festivals to everyone.

I leave you now with some photos and links into the musicians’ websites. I do have videos and eventually these will be uploaded for you to watch!

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Woman in Black – #ThrowbackThursday

So November 14th 2015, I had the opportunity and pleasure of watching the Woman in Black live in the theatre, and today I am throwing it back to this theatrical experience.

Let me make it explicitly clear that I am awful with anything horror. I sat through the movie Woman in Black with a scarf wrapped around my head with just a gap for my nostrils where I could breathe and the tiniest slit in my eyes so I could barely see it. The sound of it alone is just agonising let alone the visual impetus. I felt that in the theatre it was made ten times worse, seeing as I could also smell everything and the performers are at arms reach.

The play itself is actually really different from the movie, in that is it all a recollection of a story and uses metatheatre as the story telling device. For those who do not know, metatheatre is when you are watching a play about a play, so theatre within theatre. This is how the piece is originally written and it works so well, with two primary actors taking on all the roles and making it a very intimate setting, which only adds to the creepiness of the whole affair.

Now I am painfully aware that OBVIOUSLY there is a third performer who plays the woman in black HOWEVER, theatrical license is everything and the performer who plays the woman in black is not mentioned AT ALL in the programme nor do they appear at the curtain call. This only adds further to the creepiness of it all. I did some extra research into this and found out that in the actual script she is not written in either. This is far too much for me to deal with, it is too creepy.

The production was amazing and they were all fantastic and really delivered the spooky story successfully. I for one will leave this behind as one of those things I have done and watched that I do not have to do again. That is how much of a wimp I am. That being said, I have to say that in the end – SPOILER ALERT! – for those who have watched it – she comes out, for the scariest bit after all the build up, the sound team are pressing those buttons with all their might, there is a fog machine going, you do not see her coming from anywhere but she appears in all her might, scary as hell, and she accidentally – or I am hoping it was accidentally – revealed her face and got lit up with a weird green light and no word of a lie, the woman in black looked like Elphaba the Wicked witch of the west. That really did help me go home less paranoid so I am so grateful, and I hope no one else saw that and it was just me.

You can watch Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre in London. Tickets are available on www.thewomaninblack.com

Penmanship, a disappearing art! #ThrowbackThursday

Just under 3 years ago I was living the high life in London, under the complete illusion that I was the next big thing in talent scouting, writing, production etc etc so many dreams so many things to achieve before getting there! Regardless, it was a time of my life in which I insisted on immersing myself in as much amateur theatre, performances, comedy etc as possible, to see acts grow and become the next big thing. I knew this time would end soon, as I had already accepted that I would be moving home shortly after graduating because responsibility was calling. So I did, and this post is something I wrote about a particular experience I had that really spoke to me very loudly, especially as a blogger and aspiring published writer. I hope you enjoy it!

#ThrowbackThursday – originally written and published on 21st January 2013

A week or so ago, my house-mates and I attended an underground, free stand-up comedy evening. There were two wonderful performers that were testing their material for their Edinburgh Fringe shows. Both shows were wonderfully witty, informed, and furthermore, they were simply different. Uniqueness is something that most artists thrive for, Paul McGarrity marketing himself as an awkward man with a brilliant historical knowledge and Ben Van Der Velde wanting to unite the World through letter writing. Both approached subjects that were extremely relevant today as we lose touch with certain things we only talked about in school days or never even tried!

It may seem like I am veering from the subject, as the title suggests, but I promise I am not. Ben Van Der Velde instigated an urge in me that I hadn’t felt in a while. As he convinced me to participate in his fantastically mad idea of writing a letter to a dear one that he will personally hand deliver in the hopes of beginning a series of chain POST, I began to think: ‘Gosh, when did I stop hand writing!?’

After a mere two paragraphs my hand was aching from the extending and contorting, the swishing and swaying, the dance between pen and paper that was so precise it could only be choreographed by years of practice. This made me think of all the times I used to handwrite: essays, notes, letters, scripts, short stories, you name it, I wrote it. Yet now, slave to modern technology, my fingers slim down and my wrists rest rather than work. As I tap ferociously on a keyboard and lose all connection with what I write it strikes me that everybody is losing this connection too!

Penmanship is a slowly disappearing art form! As schools worldwide opt to have tests taken on computers and others even choose to teach children how to type rather than write, handwriting is going extinct. Many dialogues have began on the subject. For example, in the USA it has been recently added to their famous SATs, a 25 minute handwritten essay question. Many schools have complained about this as they claim their students are not prepared for the task, and the students too seem to think that although capable of achieving high scoring grades, their writing will not be understandable to examiners. Yet, they stick by their guns – stubborn schools – that their curriculum will not be altered for the students to pass one test! Surely that claim is void, as the SATs are the exams that guarantee the futures of their students. Well colour me blind, hard-headedness takes you far, and this certainly will lead to an array of parent complaints!

TED.com began a discussion on the extinction of handwriting, transforming it in an art-form only practised by a select group of people. It seems the instigator of this discussion (Thomas Quinones) took a writing class in a local community college, and noticed that in a class with ages ranging from 16 through to 50, the elder generations were able to keep up with the writing. He says that most younger students seemed to lack the manual agility to manoeuvre the pen at their will, or write cursive and legible words. It seemed to the younger generations a hard task, where as the older grew concerned for the potential take over of computer generated words and the loss of penmanship! Sarah Connor is certainly right, the robots are soon going to take over and we aren’t even trying to stop it! (Yes, that was a reference to the Terminator, and yes I do seek salvation from the technological world!)

There aren’t many pure pleasures in life left any more (pun intended) but I remain adamant that pouring ones soul into a piece of paper through the immediate artistry of their hand and the ball of a pen is one of the few! A form of release, of freedom, of self expression and one of the only things that make each and every human being unique! How can something that has stemmed so many studies can possibly be falling into oblivion?!

Calligraphy, Graphology, Cursive, Typography, Signature, Handwriting all these terms that relate to the act of writing on a piece of paper and can do so much, but mainly identify a person. Like how I know my mother’s and sister’s handwritings so perfectly. How my best friend writes as if the surface were always uneven underneath his piece of paper, and how my father writes for people with magnifying glasses. How my tutor slurs so many of her letters it takes me a while to decipher her R’s from the N’s and M’s and how my ex boyfriend wrote practically everything in block letters so I would know exactly what he was saying to me. Handwriting is an art form that everyone can practise, yet most choose to ignore it.

I commend some of my friends for still carrying notebooks in their bags just in case inspiration strikes them. I admire Ben Van Der Velde for making me write a letter. I admire my mother for handwriting essays into each and every single Christmas card she posts to people in the season, and believe me there are lots! And I commend myself for handwriting most of this and typing it after only to post it. The last time I wrote in an exam was in the summer of 2011, the last time I wrote a letter was last week Monday, and the last time I wrote on a notebook was about an hour ago as I noted the name of a book I might want to read for my dissertation.

I for one will have children who write to their hearts content (even if it is forced upon them!) and I will not give in to the take over of modern age technology. Just as I like reading books in paperbacks not kindles, I like reading my life histories in my handwritten diaries, collages, poems, short stories and bits of scrap dialogue that I HAND WRITE here, there and everywhere. So happy writing and don’t let the 21st century be a victim to modern technology. Let us keep alive one of the most ancient human traditions!

(Please support Paul D McGarrity and Ben Van Der Velde in their journey up to Edinburgh fringe 2013! Follow them on twitter under: @PaulDuncanMcG and @BenVanDerVelde – supporting artists everyday!)

3 years on from this post on penmanship, and not much has changed in my opinion. I realise the irony of me saying this as I post in a virtual world and this was definitely typed onto the computer, however, I still keep a diary with all my appointments, note books for my creative bursts and notes for the blog, I hand write shopping lists and love letter to my one and only. Hand writing continues to be the way I decipher whether my loved one have put thought into their festive cards or have just copied something from the internet. It is one of the only art forms that we all practice and makes us all unique. I have a dream that when I am a successful published writer, someone will want to take all my notebooks and publish them or display them in some sort of literary museum – dream on!

To keep up with the performers mentioned here, please visit their websites:

Ben Van Der Velde www.benvandervelde.com – you can find more information on his 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Chain Letter

Paul McGarrity www.paulduncanmcgarrity.co.uk

#ThrowbackThursday Close to home, a duck came floating in…

This is my first #ThrowbackThursday post on the website, after doing a #FlashbackFriday last week. We all use social media, and this is a very fun way to look at some things that have happened in the past.

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Around May/June 2013 a giant yellow rubber duck invaded Hong Kong, and here is a post I wrote about it back then.

For those of you who don’t know, I was born and raised in Macau, China. This lovely little place and independent state, is very close to the previously British colony of Hong Kong. I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and that side of the World is very close to my heart and a high influence in the person I have become and what interests me.

Now when a GIANT DUCK invades my home, I have to take note!

Image rubber-duck-by-florentijn-hofman

Dutch conceptual artist, Florentijn Hofman, is responsible for the 16.5 metre tall bath toy Rubber Duck that since 2007 has travelled 12 cities in 10 different countries. It is now sat at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, until the 9th of June for the marvel of all the curious citizens and tourists of the colony.

Hofman’s projects cause a certain relief and childhood memories to surface. Among the tension in today’s world, with the economic crisis and so many other problems, Rubber Duck offers the chance for some relief and happiness to enter our worlds.

Hofman says on his website, and I quote: “The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!”

Rubber Duck has bee travelling everywhere since 2007 and has graced the presence of St Nazaire in France, Sao Paulo – Brazil, Auckland in New Z, Hasselt in Belgium, Osaka and Hiroshima in Japan, Sydney Australia, Nurnberg in Denmark and Amsterdam in Netherlands amongst so many others.

It is a wonder that a figure of every child’s bathing time, has bathed the world’s shores of cruelty and brought only joy. May Rubber Duck continue to do so for a long while! After 6 years he is still here and we want him to stay.

Two years later this Rubber Duck is still travelling the world, doing what us mere mortals only dream of doing!

Having looked at Hofman’s work for the last two years, my curiosity continues to peak! As he is responsible for bringing such pure unadulterated joy, but also sometimes deeply disturbing us with these gigantic installations. It is a very invasive way of reminding the world to laugh a little, take things lightly and not let the child in us disappear. It works in my opinion, and I cannot wait to be in some place in the vast globe and come across one of his pieces of art.

Rubber Duck was last seen in Camden Waterfront and in Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, to watch the “Parade of Sails” between June and July 2015. Taking part in one of the most attended festivals, celebrations or parades of the area, Rubber Duck has made a true impact.

Copyright – NJ.com Rubber Duck at the ‘Parade of Sails’

I am deeply distraught by the fact that Rubber Duck was in Norfolk, England, in 2014 and I did not know. I missed his presence, but I believe I will see him around. Perhaps he will come back to the UK and I can bask in his glory.

Hoffman continues to work his magic in other ways, so please check out his work, as we are all for supporting artists here in Discovering Diana. To follow Hofman’s works, look him up on: http://www.florentijnhofman.nl

To read the Philadelphia news report on Rubber Duck’s presence, please click here.