Monday, 8 March 2010

Technological Umbilical Cord

A little while ago I was temporarily separated from my mobile phone. The feeling I felt is something I can only compare to a mother losing her child in the menswear department of Marks & Spencers. It was as if I had lost a part of myself, like my kidneys had fallen out of my backside.

In the few hours me and my beloved phone were apart I left a number of frantic status updates on trusty Facebook in an attempt to track it down. Refreshing the page every few seconds only to be disappointed when the only news the site was ‘feeding’ me was that whatsername who I haven’t spoken to since primary school has ‘LOLd at a picture of …(insert something dull here)’ or that one of my friends would prefer a pork based snack to Cheryl Cole.

When I was eventually reunited with my phone, I must admit that the wonderful feeling of relief and elation was slightly deflated by the discovery that I had no missed calls or texts, but I reassured myself that my phone had probably deleted them for me as I was not around to receive them. It’s amazing what technology can do these days.

But this traumatic event perfectly illustrates why I am reluctant to move over to the pristine white side and purchase an iPhone. Although the thought of being able to give the world minute by minute updates on my trip to the local shop via a series of ‘tweets’ is appealing, the fact that I would be able to lose my phone and iPod in one easy step is not worth thinking about. It is highly likely I would have a mental breakdown and end up shaving off my hair or drunkenly pestering holiday makers in St Lucia.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Film Review: Alice In Wonderland

Lets take a look down the beautifully constructed, yet disappointingly hollow rabbit hole…

As many of the Tim Burton’s dedicated following expected, the director’s ‘extension’ to the tale of Alice and her adventures in Wonderland is simply stunning. 10 years after our first tumble down the rabbit hole, ‘Underland’ is a much darker world than dedicated Disney fans will remember. Yet Burton manages to use his movie-magician skills to somehow make it seem more colourful than ever. Using a combination of live action filming and animation, the film is truly breath-taking and much like Avatar it would be unthinkable to see it in anything other than 3D.

Unfortunately, as was the case with Avatar, it is the story that prevents the film becoming a complete masterpiece. This new tale, written by Linda Woolverton, fails to capture the unpredictable nature of Lewis Carroll’s original story. The very Harry Potter-esqe plot, culminating in an inevitable battle sequence feels very formulaic and to make things worse we are also teased with flashbacks of what Burton’s depiction of Alice’s first visit to Wonderland would have looked like.

However, it is casting which really makes the film worth seeing. From Helena Bonham Carter’s big-headed (in more ways than one) Queen of Hearts right down to Barbara Windsor as the plucky Dormouse, the film leaves you wondering how you ever thought of the Wonderland clan in any other way.

Little Britain’s Matt Lucas manages to put his own iconic spin on Tweedledum and Tweedledee and Stephen Fry’s smooth voice is perfectly suited to the creepy yet loveable Cheshire Cat. Australian newcomer to the acting game, Mia Wasikowska, gives a suitably ‘away with the faries’ portrayal of Alice although is somewhat easily forgettable as she is overshadowed by the other characters, particularly Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. Looking just like a clinically insane Ronald McDonald, The Hatter is both hilariously wacky and fascinatingly terrifying and proves once again why the Burton-Depp partnership works so well. Plus there is sure to be several broken bones as children try to recreate the Hatter’s spectacular ‘Thudderwack’ dance in playgrounds across the world.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Festival Advice Clinic

In true supermarket style, March seems like the perfect time to start planning for summer. As we all know, summer is all about BBQ’s, wasps and festivals. As my knowledge of the first two is limited, I’m going to provide you with my top tips for making the most – or even just surviving – your festival experience.

1) Think how big your tent needs to be. And buy a bigger one – Trust me, the amount of stuff you take, or simply acquire whilst you are there, will be equal to at least one more person. So unless you want to sleep on top of your stuff then make sure there is enough room for it alongside your sleeping bag. Unfortunately crates of cider do not make a good mattress.

2) Take sunscreen AND wellies - The British weather can be as predictable as the Lottery numbers at times so be prepared. Hell, even take your snow boots if you can.

3) Don’t camp near the toilets – It may seem convenient but believe me its not worth it. When those things start to smell, even that giant puddle of mud next to the water taps will start to look like a desirable place to set up camp.

4) Bring marker pens - You will wake up with a drawing of male genitalia on your face at some point over the weekend. So bring your own pens so you can seek revenge. NOTE: They also come in handy for decorating your neighbour’s tents with such witty comments as ‘Free Sex Here’ and ‘I Love Your Mum’.

5) Leave the ‘Free Hugs’ sign at home – The novelty has worn off. Plus no one will want to hug you when you haven’t washed for a few days, so spare yourself the rejection.

6) Take a flag, and a torch – The search for the Titanic was easier than trying to find your tent at a festival. You may think your tent is ‘unique’ enough to stand out but trust me there will be one just like it in the endless sea of canvas. So why not customise your tent with a flag of some kind to save your fellow festival goers having to wake up next to a bewildered stranger who has stumbled into the wrong tent.

7) Pack a spade – In my experience, one of the best ways to pass the time at a festival whilst waiting for your favourite band to play, is to dig a hole in the path, pull up a chair and watch as drunken fools trip up one by one. Hours of entertainment.

8) Love thy neighbour – festivals are a great way to meet other unwashed people who share your taste in music. Try inviting your neighbours over to your camp for a BBQ and some good old fashioned camp fire songs. Top Tip: furnishing your camp with an inflatable sofa or paddling pool will automatically draw in fellow campers, like a Page 3 girl to a footballer’s mansion.