Sunday, May 31

Richard III - In his Majesty's Car Park

(Written Sept '14)
For Father's day I gave my Dad an IOU for you a trip to the new Richard III Visitor centre. It opened at the end of July and we visited in the middle of August. Dad has always taken us to museums and stately homes and things so it was a given that we would go at some point!
It's not the biggest of museums, they probably would have made it bigger if they were starting from scratch rather than using existing buildings. But it still took a good couple of hours to go round. Richard's early life and his short reign were covered downstairs. There are interactive bits, a little game about the princes in the tower and plenty about the Wars of the Roses. Then upstairs there is more modern stuff. The portrayals of Richard in film and literature, all about the dig and then some more science based stuff about how they determined it was in fact the last Plantagenet.
To me, the weirdest thing about finding Richard's remains was that people had known where he was buried! The monastery he was buried in was knocked down in Tudor times. The land was rebuilt on multiple times, but one owner even had a pillar placed where the king was supposedly laid to rest. But rumours had it he had already been dug up and his remains thrown in the river Soar, so nobody thought to look and check! A little ridiculous if you ask me.
They also have a glass walk way over the trench Richard was eventually found in. A projection of the bones is beamed down to neatly show where he laid for hundreds of years. And a little cafe, without extortionate prices, adds to the day with a nice pot of tea and a snack. All in all it's a lovely day out and I will probably visit again some time.

Sunday, July 20

Bradgate Park

My endeavour to get out with my beloved camera some more has taken me to Bradgate Park. I'm pretty sure everyone in Leicester has been to, or at least knows of, Bradgate. Hills, bracken, deer and some quirky buildings along the way. I haven't been for ages and now I want to make sure I go more regularly. 

This beautiful red ruin is the remains of Lady Jane Grey's house. She was queen for 19 days in 1553, in the middle of the Tudor era. Among troubles of succession and religion, Lady Jane Grey was executed and her reign was cut short. The vivid red brick reminds me of Hampton Court and really highlights it as a Tudor building. It must have been amazing when it was full of life. But now the main resident is a peacock who sounds remarkably like Kevin from Up.

Our adorable guide for the afternoon.

Old John can be seen right across Leicester, or the beer jug as some people will know it. It's an odd little building and, I'll be honest, I still have no idea what its about. It's never open, and I can't imagine there's a lot to see in there anyway. But still, you can't visit Bradgate without taking a picture of it!

Monday, February 17

The Lego Movie

The old romantics we are, me and the boy went to see the Lego Movie for Valentines day (any excuse for a kids film, really). And it turns out that Everything is Awesome.
From the sound track to the voices to the sentimental plot twists, the Lego Movie was perfect. And I don't say such things lightly. I'm still umming and ahhing over Frozen, but there is no mistaking how incredible this film is.
I grew up playing with Lego and though the boy is slightly less enthused, that didn't affect how either of us enjoyed the film. We laughed throughout, spent an embarrassing length of time trying to figure out who voiced Lord Business and then spent the rest of the evening quoting the mass of quotable lines, with "SPACESHIP!" being one of our favourites.
The characterisation in this film is impressive and Emmet, overwhelmed by what is now expected of him, is easy to relate to. After all, how would you cope with becoming "the special"? Wyldstyle is far from a submissive female character, which is good to see in any film. She proves to be a great vehicle to help carry the message of being yourself.
The strong characters, morals and nostalgia are beautifully tied together with action, wit and so many laughs. This film definitely worth a watch. And if not one, then 5. Don't let the fact that it's about Lego, a toy you might not have been that interested in, put you off or make you think it's gimmicky. It's not. It's an excuse for an awesome movie. There is a strong narrative, brilliant script and a cast of well picked voices. The sequel has already been put in the pipelines and I hope it can be just as strong as the first. Until then, I will quite happily watch Emmet and Co. a million times over.

Tuesday, October 29

Lewis' Law

Lewis' Law is taken from journalist Helen Law's theory that "the comments on any article about feminism, justify feminism". It only takes a short trip to do the bottom half of the internet to see where she is coming from. There are a lot of articles, blog posts or videos that touch upon feminism that are then followed by comments suggesting the women concerned return to the kitchen or that they are better suited to child rearing than whatever they are doing.
And so with this in mind I have created a found poem to help demonstrate Lewis' Law and the sexism that is present on that dark side of the internet otherwise known as the comments section. I have scrolled through many websites, posts and comments and pulled together some of the most spectacular phrases that real people have deemed appropriate and suitable for broadcast. And this is without venturing into the more abusive and threatening comments that may female writers face online.
(And for a little more on the matter at hand I recommend this article.)

Lewis' Law.

What's so good about feminism?
Their constant whining and
masculine appearances.
A real woman, REAL woman,
should be trained in childcare.
And a real woman cooks.
Call me old fashioned, I think women
themselves are to blame,
demanding preferential treatment, blaming men
for everything. 100% garbage. Another non-issue.

But wait...where are the tits?

Teach all the young girls to cook. Have them trained
at school in domesticity.
WIFE stands for Washes Irons Folds Etc,
it's hilarious people are offended by this sort of thing.

Feminists are nutty as a hazelnut cake
with extra nuts on. But you can't have
your feminist cake and eat it. They're all
about whinging. I like my women
how I like my steaks. Thick and submissive.

Oh stop being offended by petty jokes and enjoy your cats.

Saturday, September 21

St Peter & St Paul's Church

You might feel like you know your town pretty well. Especially if you've lived there all your life as I have with Syston. But your knowledge is really put to the test when you're submerged in its history. Today me and my Dad set out for an open day at our local church and got side tracked by a display in the Methodist Church. There we spent a good half hour looking at old photos and road plans and land auction bills from our town. Sadly, our house hasn't even reached the age of 25 and so was nowhere to be seen among the hoard of black and white photos. But it was great figuring out what buildings were still there and thinking about what they have become. 
Then we tested our knowledge even further when we popped round the corner to St Peter & St Paul's Church. A few more old photos greeted us but the only reason I went was to climb the church tower. We had done the same in 2007, I still have the certificate pinned to my cork-board, and I was excited to do it a second time. As the time before, we stopped off in the bell ringing room and, further up, we peeked through a door to see the bells spinning round and ringing. 
After crawling through a small hatch we were on the top of the church tower. From there we looked for our house, Dad's allotment, I looked at the changes to my primary school and we basked in the sunshine that had managed to creep out for us. We looked out to Bradgate park, the churches of surrounding villages and had a very clear view of the new Doctors Surgery which hadn't been built when we last conquered the spiral staircase.
Of course if you're not local to Syston or Leicester this will all mean considerably little. But there really is nothing like viewing your town from above and if you get a chance to do so then you should take it. Even if it means staggering away from a spiral staircase feeling incredibly dizzy. 

Tuesday, September 17

Lets get lyrical, lyrical.

It's a topic that keeps creeping into my mind and so I am going to unload it all on you. If you aren't a fan of pedantry you might want to look away now.
There are some amazing lyricists out there. Whether they are penning punchy pop tunes or heart wrenching ballads, some people just have a great talent when it comes to writing song lyrics. But I'm going to be pulling out a few lyrics that don't quite bang the nail on the head. And some miss by a mile.
To start we have Rihanna. And although she didn't write it, we're going to pin the blame on her anyway.
"Want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world". That sounds pretty romantic, right? If you're the only girl in the world then his eyes aren't going to start wandering and you are going to be the only one for him. Fabulous! But on the other hand, you're the only girl in the world. There's a big chance that he's settling, love. I would rather feel like there are plenty of other girls out there but know that he chose you and only wants you. If there's only one apple left on the tree, your options are limited.
Next? You may recall that in Beauty and a Beat, a certain Justin Bieber claimed that "we gonna party like it's 3012 tonight". 3012? It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and although it fits the line pretty well, it really doesn't sound quite right. But I'm going to let him off on this one, and not just because he didn't write it. What year are we meant to say now when we're looking to the future? Prince sounded a little concerned about the new millennium and instead he told us "party like it's 1999". Meanwhile Pulp said "lets all meet up in the year 2000". And I think Busted still have a pretty strong hold on the year 3000. And so I'm going to let the pop munchkin off, because quite frankly I can't think of a date that doesn't sound a little bit odd. I still think 2013 sounds weird.
Lets swing back to 2009 and remember the delightful Soulja Boy repeating the line "kiss me thru the phone" in what I like to think was a desperate plea for a dictionary. I spent a lot of time shouting "No! That's not a thing!" and hoping the world's addiction to the song would soon be over. A year or so later I found myself submerged in Cheap Trick and my ear drums were feeling very spoilt. Until, when listening to I Can't Take It, I heard the line "You're kissin' on the phone". I was heartbroken. My new found pop-rock heroes were singing about the same concept I berated. And so to avoid diminishing one of my favourite songs, I have to forgive the irritating lyrics of one of my least favourite songs. Just promise not to kiss me thru the phone or I will cry.
There are plenty other song lyrics out there that are worth moaning about. Drop me a comment with lyrics that annoy you and I'm sure we can have a ranty discussion about it! If you need any inspiration I recommend watching Ed Byrne talk about Alanis Morisette's Ironic. He sums it up beautifully, That's not ironic, that's just stupid. 

Saturday, May 11

Visiting Victoria & Albert

I spent most of Thursday in the Victoria and Albert Museum. With a short break to go to the Hummingbird Bakery and a get a cupcake, obviously. I can't go to South Kensington without having one. I have previously written about the Natural History Museum, and it is still my favourite, but the V&A is becoming a close second. I spent hours walking around the maze of rooms and exhibits and I didn't even see them all.
I know I missed a few rooms of tapestries and I missed out the Raphael Cartoons which I had seen before. However the worst part is I missed the David Bowie is exhibit! I really want to see it but as I might be seeing it with the boyfriend I thought I had better leave it. And it was OK, there was plenty more to keep me and my camera occupied. 
The diversity of the exhibits is so impressive. One moment you're in a room full of spectacular glassware, then you're looking at models of architecture from around the world. There's theatrical dress, paintings by Constable and religious artefacts. As I walked through a gallery full of silverware I even heard Nirvana coming from a lecture room upstairs. It's a huge building and it still manages to be bigger on the inside.
I took a lot of photos in my afternoon and these are just a few. Some of them are a little dim but I don't like using my flash and drawing attention to myself in such quiet places. 

Charles II
 I love how much attitude Charlie
 has in his portraits.
 Gorgeous Glassware
Theatrical Dress
Not all of the costumes in the collection are 
this odd, these are pretty spectacular though.
Mantle Piece
Just a little bit of bling. 
Perseus and Medusa
One of my favourite shots of the day. 

If you like these there are more on my Flickr page, here.