Music On The Go: “Chandelier” By Sia

Pick a song, any song, in the charts and you can bet your bottom dollar that Sia Furler had something to do with the production of that track! Her songwriting credentials range from Britney to Rihanna. She’s been revamping their genre and giving them hit after hit. Now it’s her turn!

“Chandelier” is an epic pop ballad about releasing yourself to the night when you have a broken heart and swinging from the ceiling because that’s just how Sia rolls! It’s been a good four years since she last got her solo on and I couldn’t be more excited. The time has come for her to step out of Beyonce’s shadow and become a hit maker herself! Good for you, Sia! You go, Sia!

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Are You The One? Dear God I Hope Not!

As The Captain and Tenille once famously sang, “Love… love will keep us together.” Powerful words that have resonated throughout the ages from 1930s housewives waiting for their menfolk to return from war to struggling first year uni students who are giving the long-distant thing a go. They are words to live by. Unless that is if you’re a contestant on MTV’s romance-yeah-right-have-sex-in-Hawaii-and-bitch-about-it-all-day-long-get-me-someone-to-love-NOW dating show, Are You The One?

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The cast of Are You The One? Peace!

It’s the classic tale of fame-hungry sexually-frustrated post-teen hunks and “fabulous” women who travel to a desert island in Hawaii in order to find their love, whilst sweaty men with cameras over their arms capture the whole thing for our enjoyment. Only this time, MTV have gone all scientific! That’s right, readers, SCIENCE has matched these contestants up in pre-production and now it is their job to find out who is their perfect match in order for the twenty contestants to split one million dollars! The twist? They only have ten weeks to match up or they go home with nothing because apparently finding your soulmate and a ten-week paid vacation in the most beautiful part of the world just isn’t prize enough!

There are many contestants, with a vast range of beauty and cuntish behaviour! My personal favourites come in the form of Shanley and Chris T. Both beautiful, both ready to be rogered in the pool and both absolutely besotted with one another. They seem ideal mates. He enjoys a nice booty and doesn’t mind being screamed at hysterically when drunk and she likes muscles and enjoys screaming at him hysterically when she’s drunk. Overall, they are drunk-tastic together. There’s just one problem, when they enter the Truth Booth, it is announced that they are not a match.

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Shanley is not a happy bunny when Chris T. and Paige are declared perfect matches for one another.

Oh yeah, did I mention there was a Truth Booth?! That’s right! If the rest of the house think that two people are a match then they go into the Truth Booth and after some fancy lights that look like scanners go up and down their body, they  are told if they are a match or not. Sadly, it was the latter for Chris T. and Shanley. Although she is desperate to become Mrs T. there is no hope for them. You see, here in lies the problem with Are You The One? Contestants have to do some SERIOUS soul-searching and really ask themselves the question of whether love is better than money. Turns out, it is! As recently, Chris T. found his soulmate in the form of sexy blonde, Paige. She’s actually very lovely, gullible in the way she falls hook, line and sinker for real New Yorrrrrrrrker Chris S. who looks like an ungenerous lover and proves it after sweet talking her into bed and bragging about it to anyone bored enough to listen, but other than that she’s a real doll. And sadly, after Shanley goes to a rampage ’round the house slagging everyone off for selecting Chris and Paige for the Truth Booth treatment (even though it was an inevitability) before sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder about how science is wrong and what they have is real, her lover must leave the house with his scientific counterpart to the honeymoon suite set up by show’s producers. Whether they like it not!

Although Paige has hopes that she and Chris T. might get to know each other a little better and see if there is a spark, her efforts fall on deaf ears:

‘I’ll take the couch,’ he mutters to her upon arrival at their swish hotel room.

‘Won’t be needing these,’ She sneers as she dusts rose petals off the bed aggressively.

It’s classic MTV. Everything you could possibly want from a “dating” show is accounted for: a presenter too old to be there, sexy romping sessions in a bubble bath, a skinny and camp brunette who is so girl-obsessed he’s GOT to be overcompensating for something and not to mention, it is tattoo porn!

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Call me crazy but I don’t think Chris and Paige are gonna make it…

Don’t get my wrong, if there was an award for Trashiest But Best Thing On Television, this show would be going home with it! It has changed the game in regards to Bad/Good television. You know like most people justify their poor viewing habits with the line, “It’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away!” With Are You The One? It’s a train wreck you wanna stare at all day long, laughing hysterically at the wreckage and uttering the words, “She’s such a bitch!” to the bikini-clad survivors! I’m rooting for no one and everyone in equal measure and loving every second!

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Chicks On Lit: “The Bone Season” By Samantha Shannon

Boy do I love a good Dystopian text. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. I love the genre and everything about it. I love reading it, I love writing it and I love adaptations that include barely legal heartthrobs and smoldering yet artsy posters (I’m looking at you, Divergent!). But my only issue is that they all seem to be extremely American. Even the ones set in England tend to have a United States twang to them. Maybe it’s me, but I feel that a good Dystopian novel set in Britain is just what the world needs as we continue to grieve the loss of Harry Potter.

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Enter Samantha Shannon and her best-selling novel, The Bone Season. The title may give you all the wrong ideas as this is a fabulously delicious tale of modern day witch trials that infuses the universal action and mystery we expect of its genre as well as a good dollop of tasteful Britishness. The story tells us of Paige Mahoney (Who is actually Irish, but we’ll move on), a clairvoyant living in Scion occupied London in 2059. She lives in a secret world where the abnormal is deemed wrong and is punishable by death. As a “dreamwalker” she able to walk in and out of people’s minds and as such she must keep her gift a secret. After a fatal incident on a train, she is kidnapped and taken to Oxford, now a lost city, where the secrets of the world she lives in are revealed.

It’s a pretty meaty subject matter that spans different timelines. One chapter we’re in the nitty gritty with Paige as she rebels against the new order she’s placed in when the next chapter shows us her life before as a questioning young girl falling in love for the first time. As a romantic, and a fan of strong female characters, I have to say that Shannon really does kill it in that regard. Paige is pretty bad ass. She fights the power by no mistake and her actions are the perfect blend of enthralling and endearing. The story is so intricate you get the sense the Shannon totally knows what’s going on and we’re left in the dark struggling to piece together the clues she leaves us. Also, I’m all for a love triangle. Who isn’t, right? But this one takes the crown. God, I wish I could tell you but you’re going to have to read it for yourselves! It’s so modern and cool, I mean you absolutely see it coming but that doesn’t make it any less gratifying when it arrives.

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Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season

Hoooooowever, the book is not without its flaws. As a seven part series, I understand that there is still more to learn about Paige but sometimes I found myself wanting the book to just get to the bloody point! The suspense is great and I truly had no idea where the plot was going, but sometimes I found some chapters felt more like filler than anything else. It ebbs and it flows as a novel but a lot of the things I found more intriguing come very late in the book. Also, the world of The Bone Season is a complicated one. The way Paige’s gift works and the language used could be very confusing in places. Shannon does a terrific job in explaining the mechanics of the “aether” and how Paige’s gift of using it works but as a novel, the golden rule of showing and not telling intervenes and I’m left scratching my head. Luckily for me, Shannon announced quite recently that she will be releasing a series of blog post explaining whatever her fans want to know. You can find her blog here.       

At the tender age of twenty-two Samantha Shannon has achieved more than some novelists dare to dream. A six-figure book deal with Bloomsbury, a commissioned seven-book deal, Andy Serkis overseeing the film adaptation and a sequel novel only round the corner. She’s brilliant at what she does she creates an exceptional world from her own lovely London town and writes characters you not only care about, but want to know more about.

In summary: It’s pretty damn good.

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Music On The Go: “Rumour” By Chlöe Howl

Eighteen-year-old Chlöe Howl has got critics and myself buzzing. As 2014 approaches, everyone is looking for that next star to heat up our airwaves and get our toes a-tapping and I think Miss Howl might just be one of those lucky few to get us going.

“Rumour” is a fun British electro-pop/indie funk hybrid about… well, rumours and the stigma attached to them. It talks about trying to find something genuine in a world made up of hearsay and general bitchiness. She’s shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2014 alongside some pretty heavy competition but whatever the outcome her album is due out next year and this lady is definitely going to have us all talking! You go, Chlöe Howl!

Music On The Go: “Team” By Lorde

She’s divided opinions and James Arthur from the top of the UK Single Charts but I can’t help but love Lorde. She’s been killing it this year with her song “Royals” and her new track “Team” is seriously kick ass as well!

An electrohop attack on the big bad cities and overrated artists “Team” is the third single from her Pure Heroine album and the video is truly something as well. Consisting of a world of teenagers living in ruined buildings and North Face coats, Lorde rocks some serious braids whilst people get knocked over on bikes. My description really doesn’t do it justice… Either way, it’s a killer track from a truly killer artist! Enjoy!

How I Live Now: All You Need Is Love… And Saoirse Ronan!

You can throw a stone in any movie theatre in the world right now and hit at least five posters all advertising movies set in a post apocalyptic world. If there’s not a brown-haired chick with a bow and arrow killing villains with genetically enhanced bees then there’s a red-head fighting against the government in a black vest top with a sexy male counterpart. It’s the thing right now, and don’t get me wrong, I’m kind of loving it. I have a fetish for all things alternative world-y and I’m not apologizing. Give me a Saturday night in with a Daim Bar infused block of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and the “next big thing” in YA fiction and I’m a pretty satisfied boy. However, after fifty-thousand pages of sweaty fight scenes and stolen looks across at the broody yet sensitive fight instructor it can feel as if they all blur into one. Young adult writers really have to find a way to get ahead of the curve and present the audience with something fresh, whilst maintaining all those attributes that keeps the genre so popular.

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Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now, released in 2004, really sets itself apart in the YA stakes, flying pretty much under the radar but entertaining and traumatizing all those who find it on the shelf. It focuses on Manhattan brat and struggling anorexic Daisy who heads on over to the other side of the pond to live with her cousins just as a third world war devastates the world. The film was released this year and features the enchanting Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. You would think an Irish girl playing an American in England would present a challenge for most actresses but not Miss Ronan, the girl has caused scandal and devastation in Atonement and played a cut-throat killer assassin in Hanna so her range knows no bounds. As Daisy arrives she struggles to get involved with her cousins’ way of life. They swim, they fish and they frolic in lovely hills from sunrise to sunset and that really isn’t Daisy’s bag. However, dark and brooding Edmond (played by George MacKay) manages to break her down and together they embark on a tempestuous and incestuous love affair that is so cute and British, you half expect Hugh Grant to turn up! But alas, their love is rocked when terrorists release a nuclear bomb in London, world war three is declared, and Daisy and Edmond are separated but not before promising each other that they’ll return to their idyllic life some how, some way!

As a soppy romantic with a love of hand held camera style filming, I was in cinematic nirvana. Ronan and MacKay’s chemistry is so enticing and impacting, they’ve got to be getting it on in real life! The very British feel and the fact that the plot is so grounded in reality is what makes How I Live Now a remarkable YA adaptation. As Daisy and her young cousin, Piper, embark across the country to return to the past they encounter the true horrors of war and the film does not shy away from expressing the real darkness of humanity when all types of order have been abolished. I won’t go into much more detail, but I think you know what I’m eluding to. As the film progresses the suspense never lets up, as Daisy and Piper travel further and further into danger you get a sense that there may not be a happy ending after all.

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The film may bombed at the box office which I think is a shame, as How I Live Now is a film that very much presents the YA genre in a fresh and original way, and not to mention the actors are realistically good-looking which is always a bonus. Not without it’s faults, of course, as Daisy’s dream-sequences are so fanciful that the stark reality style shoots are slightly tarnished, also Miss Ronan gives us a nip-slip that is just not needed and makes you feel a little weird. But I digress, How I Live Now is a fantastic film that both entertains and illuminates whilst gives off the meaningful message in regards to the importance of people and how life really is a blessing. Sniff! 

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What We REALLY Love This Week… Lily Allen’s Return!

Say what you want about Lily Allen because she ain’t listening! For too long we have had silence on her end whilst she got married had babies and recorded Keane songs for sad/happy John Lewis adverts. But now she’s back!

“Hard Out Here” is the first track from her third album and I really don’t want to oversell this but IT’S FUCKING AMAZING! It’s a song about women in the media getting things done without a penis and there is a delicious sight of her crotch-grabbing in a Nicki Minaj-esque video. It really is hard out here for a bitch (her words, not mine!) but not for Miss Allen, she’s the business!