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We Are Live! (21)

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Of course I know who the Beatles are, who doesn’t? Being born in another time, another culture, another everything, it would be lying to say I am a fan. But they have always been around somehow, and in my Spotify playlists.

‘This book is essential reading for any serious Beatles fan, providing a fascinating overview of a band who continue to exert a huge influence on music and popular culture.’

That is from the back cover of The Beatles: Paperback Writer, but I would add that it also appeals to anyone curious for a good story. Bringing together household names, I enjoyed picturing situations that were not caught on camera, such as the awkward meeting between the Beatles and Elvis Presley – or John eyeing up Priscilla Presley’s legs, an anecdote that I really liked. I found myself wanting to find out more about the band afterwards, and in my opinion, if a book makes you feel this then it is worth reading.

A picture of a girl running after the Beatles’ car with a police officer trying to catch her also strikes me; what does it mean to be such a big Beatles fan that you pursue them in that way? Correction: what does it mean when millions of others are having equally intense reactions to them? And then I thought about the word ‘fan’. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is ‘a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing.’ I was interested to know how the band felt about these reactions. I think that if something like this happens, nothing can impress you anymore. In one of John Lennon’s interviews, he said ‘We are not Beatles to each other, you know. This is a joke to us […] we turn into Beatles because everybody looking at us sees the Beatles. We’re not the Beatles at all. We’re just us.’ And I could perfectly picture them simply as schoolboys that liked music and decided to do something together. Even though this was not necessarily its purpose, this book made me think about how others appear to us depending on how we decide to see them – prior to any label, they are another human being, just like us.



Fans can bring their informed review to this book, and mere mortals like me can simply enjoy the experience, and learn more about not just the Beatles, but about those four boys behind that big name. I can say that I really enjoyed it. 

THE BEATLES: PAPERBACK WRITER is available here!
June will mark 45 years since the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – an album that tells the story of arguably the most beloved of David Bowie’s many alter-egos. Although Ziggy has some strong competition; After All, Bowie went through many Changes in his career, so It Ain’t Easy to decide on a favourite look (I feel obliged to here give fair warning that I’m starting with the Bowie song/album puns as I mean to go on, if that’s not Hunky Dory, best stop reading now).

Here are five of his best, as featured in David Bowie: Starman:

Ziggy Stardust

The character: a bisexual rock star alien sent to earth to warn us of the coming apocalypse. The look: skin-tight pantsuit, cherry platform boots, heavy make-up, thin as a rake. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, surely? Well, only in so far as in that Ziggy completely redefined an entire era of music, with his androgynous appearance as much as with his music.



Major Tom

Technically, I’m cheating here; Major Tom was a recurring character in Bowie’s songs, rather than an on-stage persona. But he was an awesome one; ‘Space Oddity’ is tied with ‘Moonage Daydream’ as my all-time favourite Bowie song, and though Tom is apparently dead by its end, he still manages to bounce back to feature in ‘Ashes to Ashes’, ‘Hallo Spaceboy’, and the music video to Bowie’s farewell, ‘Blackstar’.

 

Thin White Duke

Personally, this one has always freaked me out. Impeccably dressed in white shirt, black trousers and waistcoat, the Duke was a hollow man who sang songs of romance with an agonised intensity, yet felt nothing. In Bowie’s words, he was "a nasty character indeed", and a reflection of Bowie’s own troubles – he spent the period subsisting on a diet of peppers, milk and cocaine. Yet for all that these were certainly not Bowie’s Golden Years on a personal level, the Duke brought him more commercial success with Station to Station (1976) and remains one of his most iconic personas.



Halloween Jack

Half man, half dog; all rebel. "A real cool cat" who lives in the decaying "Hunger City", Jack was the star of Diamond Dogs, the 1974 album that, with tracks such as ‘Rebel Rebel’, cemented Bowie’s status as a Future Legend. Maintaining Ziggy’s spiked mullet but dying it a shockingly red color, Bowie donned an eye patch, platform heels, and scarves - a look that would later inspire innovators of punk rock.



Jareth, the Goblin King

Bowie also made several forays into cinema, most famously when he donned the wig of the Goblin King for his role as Jareth in the 1986 fantasy epic Labyrinth. The movie's cult status was cemented with Bowie's performance of the song ‘Magic Dance’.



David Bowie: Starman is the perfect tribute to the ultimate chameleon, featuring illustrations of Bowie’s most iconic looks for the reader to colour in themselves, alongside facts, quotes and memories of Bowie from those who knew him best. Buy it here.
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 13:25

Guy Egmont's Tips for Speaking Like Aristocracy

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Having made your contacts, you must make sure not to upset them by ignorance of the Queen’s English as spoken by the well-to-do.

Fifty years ago, the phrase M.I.F. was coined by the late Lady Pembroke. It referred to people who put their Milk In First when taking tea. This still holds good as a social criterion though doubtless it tastes better that way.

Never talk about your wallet. The word is pocketbook. You never cash a cheque; you change one. You never purchase anything; you buy it. You help; you never assist. You wash; never perform ablutions.

A mansion is technically a house with two staircases, but you only mention the word if you are an estate agent; otherwise you refer to a house.

Never shorten the words telephone or photograph.

Never refer to ‘Town’ when you mean London. Like Oxford and Cambridge to which you go up, you go up to London, even if you are in Manchester.

Never use the word ‘fat’ except in its literal sense. Don’t speak of ‘fat jobs’ or ‘a fat lot of good that will do you’.

Never say ‘I couldn’t care less’. It’s rude, common, and usually untrue.

In spite of Emily Post, the great American expert on etiquette, there is nothing the matter with referring to other men as fellows or chaps.

A vase is pronounced ‘varze’, not ‘vayze’.
 
Cannes is pronounced without the final ‘s’, but the ‘t’ of Moët et Chandon is pronounced, and Krug is pronounced Kroog. Never call a top hat a topper, it is vulgar in the extreme. If it is black—and therefore mostly worn at a funeral—it is a silk hat. Otherwise it is a white top hat, or tall hat, as used at Ascot and weddings. Controversy is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, not controversy.

It is very common to use the word ‘wealthy’. Rich, well-to-do, very well off are all right.

Never pronounce golf as though it rhymed with the first syllable of doleful. A bicycle is never a cycle or bike, any more than Monte Carlo is Monte.


Never, when giving or answering a toast, say ‘Cheerioh’, ‘Down the hatch’ or ‘Here’s how’. Make a non-committal noise and smile.

‘Cheers’ is just permissible.

A tail coat is a tail coat and not a dress suit, whatever off-the-peg tailors may call it. Ditto, a dinner jacket is not a dinner suit.

And if your hostess tells you to come in a white tie, she means full evening dress and your wife wears white gloves.

Remember that whiskey is Irish, but whisky is Scotch. Bourbon is pronounced Burbon and if you want a dry martini in France you ask for a dri.

Never say ‘drunk as a lord’. It has no meaning today.

There is no such thing as a serviette in polite society. It is a napkin—and never tuck it under your chin, even when eating asparagus.

Don’t say handbag. Say ‘bag’, just as lavatory paper is lavatory paper and not toilet paper. Expunge the word ‘toilet’ from your vocabulary, except for toilet water.

Never refer to the Albany. It is Albany, and it has no flats. It has setts or chambers.

Don’t call television ‘the telly’. It is such an obvious form of inverted snobbism.

Never make puns, unless they are terribly good.

In football, people kick goals. They no more hit them—except in badly-written sports pages—than they kick runs at cricket. It is an East End vulgarity derived from hitting someone a kick.

Never pronounce the first ‘e’ in pomegranate. Never have cosy little chats, though there is no reason why you should not call someone ‘cosy’.

A girl of good family refers to her mother as mummy, not mother, and to her father as daddy, not father.

Never call a soft hat a ‘trilby’, unless you are a detective—which you are not.

100 Reasons to Love Audrey Hepburn
(and it is not a hard task)

She was known as a fashion icon, Givenchy’s muse, UNICEF ambassador. But Audrey Hepburn was many other things. Humble and kind, Audrey always put others before her, and this characteristic was something that not even fame changed. Here are three reasons to love Audrey Hepburn:

 1. She could have died during World War II

Audrey moved to the Netherlands during World War II because her Dutch mother believed they would be safe there. However, they were not, as Hepburn was among the million that nearly starved. She had to eat tulip bulbs to survive.



2. She helped to fight the Nazis

Although her parents were rooting for the Nazis, Audrey helped to support the Resistance. She donated money that she earned from ballet recitals and acted as a courier, delivering money and papers from one Resistance fighter to another. 



3. She always kept the positive spirit

Audrey faced war, suffered malnutrition, was abandoned by her father and had several miscarriages but she kept always her confidence. She believed that nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’




Texting and talking have become a real problem but you have to understand that you can’t demand an audience’s attention, you have to command it.”

-Benedict Cumberbatch-

And he certainly did!



Let’s talk about the interesting phenomenon that is Benedict Cumberbatch! If you have not heard this name before, well, hi, welcome to the Cumberverse, you are very welcome to read this highly biased appreciation post based on facts, quotes and cheekbones.

No need to mention his films, it is hard to miss their release when the media is making sure you see enough ads to dream about them at night. Instead, let’s talk about the Benedict Cumberbatch we tend to forget.

Joanna Benecke wrote this short and entertaining illustrated biography called Being Benedict Cumberbatch. As a publishing student, I have to say that the layout of this book is amazing, and as a fan I fully recommend it as I learned a lot more than I thought I would.

So now, here are some underappreciated facts about our favourite British gentleman.

Unexpected skills

We all know he studied drama and that he is insanely well-spoken and polite, but did you know about his perfumer skills?

Benedict worked with a perfumer for six months and learned about blends and how to recognise the different notes and scents. Granted, it probably did not help his acting career but you have got to admire the skill.

Actually…



I am sorry for your nightmares tonight.

Tibetan monks



During his gap year he taught English to Tibetan monks and lived with them for half a year. Benedict said that he “could actually stay with monks in their home, watch them at work and at prayer, and get the chance to teach them and interact with them.”

Born to play Doctor Strange! Also, can we appreciate the fact that he took a gap year to teach?

Waltzing with Death

This fact is a bit darker but I promise we will talk cheekbones afterwards.

When Benedict was in South Africa, he and two of his co-workers were carjacked and kidnapped while they were trying to change a flat tire.

With a gun on his head, Benedict managed to stay calm and “reason” with his kidnappers. They had been told a few days before how to behave during a carjacking, but what he did required a mind of steel and great courage. People underestimate how disabling panic can be.

It was not Benedict Cumberbatch’s first brush with death but it was certainly the most traumatic.
“It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary.”

If you want more, definitely read Being Benedict Cumberbatch, it is light hearted, funny and full of the details you did not know you needed in your life. If you are still not convinced, remember that there are more than 85 full-colour photographs in there.

Happy cheekbones time!

  

Friday, 10 February 2017 16:34

100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling

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Looking for somebody to love this Valentine’s day? Well look no further than our 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling book. Do you need any more reasons to love him? I think not. Here are a few facts from the book just to get your taste buds flowing.


1)     Being a Mouseketeer didn’t f**k him up

27)    He loves animals 

49)      He believes in marriage equality

55)    He was home-schooled

82)    He gives his dog a Mohawk for the summer

90)    He can play the ukulele 

The immaculate Ryan Gosling first graced our screens in the ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ back in 1993, and most recently has awed audiences in La La Land. The wonderful new film by acclaimed director Damien Chazelle has taken the box offices and the awards season by storm, with Ryan being one of the main talking points. Critics have praised his performance, his effortless singing and dancing, and his determination to learn the piano (there were no hand doubles used in any of his piano scenes).

La La Land follows a clichéd storyline, harking back to the nostalgic films of the past, such as Singin’ in the Rain. Easy to watch and easy to predict, yet the film does not fail to deliver. Following two young hopefuls in their quest to achieve their dreams, whilst simultaneously falling in love, this is a film that aesthetically thrills whilst also tugging at a few heart strings. Chazelle pays homage to the glory days of Hollywood, whittling the complexities of contemporary Hollywood films down to the basics, and rediscovering the joy in the enjoyable. 

Ryan Gosling plays the ever-gorgeous musician Seb, an uncompromising jazz artist, who dreams of opening his own Jazz club. After meeting and falling in love with aspiring actress Mia, played by Emma Stone, both embark on an all-singing, all-dancing journey to fulfil their, somewhat tenuous, dreams.

This film has been under scrutiny recently from critics and audiences alike. The hype surrounding the film has elevated it to almost unreachable heights, being nominated for a record-tying fourteen Oscars, including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, and winning in every category it was nominated for at the recent Golden Globes, a record breaking seven wins. Audiences have questioned whether the film lives up to its reputation. The spectacular acting from both Stone and Gosling is undeniable, but it is worth questioning whether these roles should earn these two an Oscar nomination (especially considering the snub of Amy Adams for her role in both Arrival and Nocturnal Animals). Nevertheless, their chemistry is heart-warming, and I personally found it a wonderful experience to enjoy a film from start to finish, without once feeling squeamish or awkward. Chazelle delivers an odyssey of colour, with a scrupulously clever script that contains gems of wisdom such as ‘L.A. worships everything and values nothing.’

So if you need someone to love this Valentine’s day, pop along to see La La Land clutching a copy of our 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling and gaze at the Number 101 reason to love him: ‘He definitely looks good whilst tap dancing.’
Monday, 16 January 2017 12:17

Blue Monday with New Order

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Blue Monday is upon us, and we all need a little something to perk us up and get us through what has been dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

Getting back into the swing of things at work, booking any holiday we can afford, and maybe dipping into the chocolate and breaking a New Year’s resolution or two. That’s usually what January comprises. I know I’ve booked a last minute holiday, and my leftover Christmas chocolate is definitely getting eaten on a daily basis.

My Blue Monday is going to consist of comforting food, an evening on the sofa, and a little bit of New Order. If that doesn’t sound like the most relaxing evening then I don’t know what would. Whilst New Order’s 1983 single ‘Blue Monday’ may reflect our sentiments for this dreaded day, I think we should try to make it as stress free as possible.

We can play our favourite album, dance or relax to our favourite songs, but maybe skip the ‘Blue Monday’ single because we don’t want to succumb to those blues. Or, if a quieter night seems to be what we’re in need of, then we can satisfy our love of the iconic ‘Blue Monday’ with a bit of reading instead. The Blue Monday Diaries by Michael Butterworth will provide the perfect dose of rock without needing to get up and dance away from the comfort of your sofa. 

An insight into the recording studio and the life of New Order offers the necessary escapism from Blue Monday. Written from notebooks jottings about the mundane and the illicit, Butterworth presents behind-the-scene details that have never been discussed before. If you want to dance away this Monday, go ahead. Why let anyone stop you? But, for me, putting my feet up with an absorbing read and a healthy dose of chocolate will be ideal.

Even though it’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, I think we should try to make it happier, more of a Yellow Monday. Something that speaks of sunshine and summer time, something we all need to help us forget about winter and the impending frost. And if you can’t make New Order’s US tour and Coachella appearance later this year, just remember that Gillian Gilbert’s birthday is on the 27th January so there’s an excuse to celebrate.

Whether you choose to dance and sing or sit and read, just be sure it’s New Order on your mind and not Blue Monday. I know which I’d rather be thinking about.

Blue Monday or ‘Blue Monday’? I’ll let you decide. 
Share your Blue Monday set-up with us over on Instagram and Twitter!



‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’ – David Bowie

Ever true to his promise, David Bowie’s life was anything but dull…

Brilliantly creative and wonderfully weird, Bowie was not only a talented musician, but an artistic visionary. It is for this reason that he has maintained such a loyal fan base. There was something strangely other worldly, almost immortal about David Bowie, which is perhaps why his death just over a year ago today impacted fans, friends and family in such a major (pun intended?) way. Many have taken to social media to express their sadness over the loss of such an iconic figure, who dedicated his life to art.

David Bowie: Starman celebrates the life of David Bowie in all its glory and colour. The book serves as a kind of anthology or tribute, including illustrations of Bowie (for readers to colour in) alongside info on his life and works, as well as a selection of quotes from various musicians, actors and comedians. Rebellious in his weirdness, Bowie’s refusal to tick boxes and conform to society’s idea of normal helped to reassure a new generation of young people that it’s ok to be odd. Highlights include a section from a particularly touching speech by actor and fan, Tilda Swinton, given at the V&A, who recalls her feelings of affinity towards Bowie:

‘The image of that gingery, bony, pinky-whitey person on the cover with the liquid mercury collar bone was – for one particular young moonage daydreamer – the image of planetary kin, of a close imaginary cousin and companion of choice.’

Of course, Starman could not be a true celebration of Bowie without any words of wisdom from the man himself. The text includes quotes from interviews, in which David Bowie describes the creative and lyrical process behind his most successful albums, as well as the inspiration for his various onstage personas, including the formidable Ziggy Stardust. Starman highlights Bowie’s artistry through his talents as a musician and a performer as well as the inspiration behind his outlandish fashion sense, exploring what it was that made this super human-being quite so extraordinary. 

Below is just a small sample of the wonderful colourings fans have sent in!



Get it here


January is full of New Year’s resolutions aplenty, and getting healthy is one of the most popular choices.


As you look forward to a new you in 2017, we want you to step back in time and explore the recipes created by Vera Richter in the 1920s.

Vintage Vegan is guaranteed to give you some foodie inspiration that will take you out of your comfort zone. This raw vegan recipe book offers delicious and unique food and drink that is sure to kick-start your January. 

Whilst resolutions seems like a good idea when you make them, more often than not we all slip up soon enough. Instead of dreading your healthy eating, and daydreaming of chocolate at your desk, let Vintage Vegan
take you on a journey to discover the extensive options available to you whilst on a vegan diet. Those January blues will cause no more trouble once you start a fulfilling and satisfying vegan lifestyle.


Here’s how Vintage Vegan can help you to achieve your goal:

  • If it’s the 3pm sugar slump you struggle with then Vera’s coconut caramels or peanut butter confections will do the trick.
  • Liven up your salads with the sesame seed dressing or simplicity dressing.
  • Buying an unhealthy lunch will be a thing of the past with Vera’s tomato-cream soup or summer salad.
  • Keep up the Christmas spirit with vegan mince pies and Christmas spice cake.

By using Vera’s recipes inside Vintage Vegan, your energy levels will be boosted after the comfort food of Christmas. An extra boost will help to combat your January blues and make your Monday mornings something to look forward to.

The nutritional benefits are abundant in the most popular recipes from the first raw vegan restaurant. And we want to share that goodness with you to help ensure your January is the best it can be.

Beating the January blues has never been easy, but sticking to your New Year’s resolution has never been simpler. 

We made our own peanut butter confection which you can see here!

Let us know if you’ve tried any of the lovely recipes!

You can buy a copy of Vintage Vegan here.

It’s that time of year again when everyone begins their ‘new year, new me’ mantra in hopes of becoming the best version of themselves.

We’re here to tell you that you’re already the best you, and don’t let the popular New Year’s resolutions tell you otherwise.

Don’t worry about the amount of chocolate that you’ve eaten, don’t worry about the emails stacking up at the office, and don’t worry about the one too many cocktails you had on Boxing Day. There’s no need to feel down or worry about the inevitable.

Whilst others are making commitments to be a better person, Guy Egmont will reassure you that you and your manners are already impeccable. Instead of January being a time for change and renewal, Manly Manners for the Impeccable Gent is here to celebrate your timeless etiquette that requires no alterations.

Manly Manners is a satirical guide for the sophisticated gentleman, designed to debunk any myths about social etiquette. From dinner parties and business meetings to the English accent and facial hair, Guy Egmont’s advice will ensure that you continue to be the gentleman you already are.

Soon your friends will start complaining that they’ve been saying yes to more invitations than they can cope with. Just remember that you’re in the all clear because all those ‘white lies on the telephone’ were ‘as convincing as possible’, leaving more time for you to do the things you enjoy.

If you feel a little rusty and simply want to freshen up your manners for the New Year, some pieces of advice within this humorous guide include:

-          If you earn a reputation as a good mimic or an amusing gossip, you won’t go very far.

-          Never be sarcastic to anyone, whether in public or in private. It can be very wounding and will never be forgotten, particularly by newspapermen.

-          There is nothing that a rich man likes more than to be asked for advice.

-          Never punish your host’s brandy or whiskey unduly.

So, forget about those resolutions. A sophisticated gentleman like yourself doesn’t need to make promises in order to shine this January.

Instead, be unforgivingly you.

What better way is there to combat those January blues?

Let us know how you’re being unforgivingly you this January on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
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