Saturday, 29 January 2011

Skins

I am writing this review with absolutely no personal bias. The fact that the new lead character beat me to the role of Lyra in the Golden Compass has absolutely no bearing on the opinions and viewpoints you are about to hear.
So I opened up Skins Series 5 Episode 1 on 4OD, Youtube. I had to wait for a few adverts, but I was prepared to suffer because I like Skins. I was very pleased that the opening had remained largely unchanged because it is a defining aspect of Skins and is truly representative of its vaguely depressing, occasionally light-hearted and sometimes even surreal style. I don't give a huge shit about the opening but I thought I should start my review with some pretense of wisdom and taste.
Onto the story. In a decreasingly subtle and and ever typical Skins fashion, the episode starts with a main character getting ready for college. Franky is an androgenous looking girl who dresses as a clown nearly. I will not judge her acting yet, as all she has done is looked moody and performed basic actions such as putting on trousers.
The climax of the episode comes questionably early. The dressing is complete, and she now proceeds to leave the her house. Following her down the stairs, we get the impression that she has just moved here, and can only assume that she is a 'new girl'. Then, as she reaches and opens the door, two males wave her goodbye, giving inane and generic 'new college' advice. Franky has stepped outside. She is on the threshold between the safety of home and the unfamiliar, endlessly threatening realm of 'new college.' Now she says it - 'Bye Dads.' Sweet Christ. She has two dads. What a bountiful resource for exploration of a character's home life and, no doubt, a significant factor in storyline to come.
After that life changing bombshell it goes downhill from there. There were about forty minutes left, all of which were bland, awkward and confusing. I can't remember exactly what happened but it was predictable and disappointing. There are some other characters: two pretty ones and a load of dog-looking ones. Franky gets dolled up, then undolls herself again because of identity and self expression and other stuff. Humiliation, enigmas, misery. Random and unnecessary drug taking followed by running and spinning around in the shopping centre. That scene was fairly uncomfortable to watch and basically pointless.
I couldn't really get into it, but whether this was because of the empty storyline or the acting I don't know. The acting was diabolical. Possibly the worst acting I've ever seen. You know the acting is bad when you get the overwhelming impression that you're watching a bunch of actors, acting. It felt like Dakota 'Blue' Richards (Franky) was reading her lines for the first time. And that she had reading difficulties. I struggled to place 'Mini's' weird accent and this unnerved me greatly. There might have been other characters but I kept forgetting if I was watching Skins or that thing on BBC Switch called 'The Cut' which is so crap it's almost good.
It was disgustingly bad. I had to watch it again to make sure it really was that awful, and it was. I shall be watching next week's episode because there is nothing on TV at the moment, but I am disappointed and betrayed.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Line

My camera has decided that, following all the excited posts about upcoming Canon, it would be funny to have a software defect. In every single photo there is a thin horizontal line running part way across. This line is present on the final images and it is about two pixels high.
I hate this line. This line is subversive; an embarrassing blemish on the would-be perfection of the situation. Locating itself at exactly eye level, it can achieve the height of disruption and irritation, and it renders my camera completely disfunctional.
Prime example: (the line's vertical as it's rotated. It's near the right. Click photo.)



Forget Creative Auto mode. Forget slow shutter speed, long exposure and aperture settings - forget Portrait mode saturation and white balance. They are suddenly pathetic, trivial and useless, all killed by the line. My professional status is no more. Even Mario Testino is no match for the line.
I am becoming increasingly unnerved by Line. Google seems to have no record of it: I even went to the surreal and confusing realms of the 2nd page of search results with no success. I can only conclude that I am the only one in the whole world with this problem. My camera is sentient and it is ridiculing me.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

70s?!?! (and I'm a Photographer.)

Everywhere seems to be obsessed with the sartorial aspects of the 70s. Nearly all Topshop's current 'collections' are heavily influenced by the decade - with 'Abigail's Party' and 'Swedish Summer' stating 'we're playing by 70s rules' and 'fall in love with sweetly 70s style'. I can no longer go anywhere without seeing kimonos, polka-dot blouses with pussy bows, thick chunky platforms and flares. I thought this would be a fleeting, quiet trend: gone after 4 weeks and, as it is clearly a great embarrassment, never mentioned again. But I was wrong.
To my understanding, the 70s was the most disgusting decade for fashion. People wore flares a lot and round sunglasses. There were loads of hippies. Or was that the 60s? I forget. The point is that certain shops are taking huge liberties with their mimicry of this era.
For example, Topshop decided to make some hideous 'Navy Printed Wide Leg Trousers'. It turns out that it does, in fact, get worse than flares.


And with these 'Belted Culottes', New Look managed to surpass even the wide leg trousers in ugliness.

I have my new camera now and it definitely lived up to my expectations. I can now competently use 3% of its features and consider myself an experienced amateur. Tomorrow, I expect to achieve professional status, and soon my prints will be available worldwide. If you would like to book me for a photoshoot, I charge £600 an hour (I'm in ludicrously high demand) plus expenses.
An example of my work is this emotionally intense graveyard shot which marks the moment I discovered long exposure, or maybe slow shutter speed. It represents love, vanity, fear, death, love and fear. While it may look like a 'botched' shot, it in fact took hours of careful consideration before I perfected the lighting and 'composition'.


Thursday, 20 January 2011

bally

I am one day away from being the owner of a digital slr camera - (Canon Digital Rebel TSi 500D) This means I am one day away from being able to adorn my blog with overexposed images with 'retro' blue/green washes. Ever keen and preemptive, I have already downloaded the 200 page instruction manual and read it. This means that, while I am in the favourable position of knowing how to use my camera, I have also become bored of it before I have even touched it.


Just like everyone else at the moment, I am suddenly obsessed with ballet. This is probably due to the Black Swan, as well as other balletic developments in the media. I only wish I hadn't given ballet up at the age of nine, after seven excruciating years. I didn't think this was possible - but I think I may be jealous of myself. My former stronger, leaner, and more culturally fashionable self.
Black Swan got a review of 8.6 on IMDb - a highly respectable score from the veteran of internet film review sites.
I tried to book tickets online but it turns out I'm too old to understand the internet and I failed miserably, so I had to resort to using the telephone and talking to a real person.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

I've done something a bit strange

This morning I woke up resolved to buy something online. So I went on the Topshop sale, and they had updated it.
Fifteen minutes later and it seems that I have ordered two prom dresses in the sale, one reduced from £170 to £50 and one reduced from £55 to £15.


Three other options that I bagged quickly before they ran out of size 6 were long Kate Moss dresses, which my mum dismissed as 'too old' because she still thinks I'm 8.
I am rather smug at the fact that I haven't spent more than £75 and come away with two potential dresses, and also at the fact that I used a £5 off voucher that you're only supposed to use on full priced items. I have effectively outsmarted Topshop.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New year

Some say it is the new year. But something far more important has occurred.

I have discovered contraband in our household.




The culprit is 'Natural Touch, Rose 3% blended with Jojoba Oil.'
Everything about it is suspicious. From the way it says '3% blended with' in small letters (you don't notice how little rose is actually in there), to the very fact that it is AROMATHERAPY (however much rose they decide to put in it will still have zero effect).
At the bottom they write 'Rosa damascena - Simmondsia chinensis' because pretty scientific words lead people to believe a lot of intelligent thought has gone into this little vial of lies.
When I discovered it I swiftly took the bottle in a plastic bag and, holding it at arms length, demanded how it had found its way into our reasoning and fairly logical home. 

This aromatherapy bottle has calming properties, but I fail to see how this is possible when it in fact caused great panic and unrest.