Wednesday, 25 June 2014
So, a lot of people have been tweeting and posting about this new show Orange is the new Black and, as a TV show binger, I decided to watch the first 6 episodes last night. To give you a brief synopsis; Piper Chapman is seemingly a 'girl-next-door', sweetness and light type of character. However, ten years prior to the beginning of the show, Chapman went travelling after college, met an international drug exporter, became involved in a lesbian romance with her, smuggled a crap load of money through the airport and has now been named a decade later as being involved in the drug ring. We see Chapman's resolution to surrender herself to prison for 12 months and her preparation for it e.g. reading prison books, getting engaged to her boyfriend (Jim, from American Pie) and telling both his and her family about the offence with the excuse of being 'young and foolish' back then.
I set up my laptop, clicked play and leaned back into my armchair, ready to play critic. To be fair the titles were a great start, a medley of eyes, lips, smiles and frowns accompanied by the song 'You've got time' (recorded by Regina Spektor) which feels really fitting for the show, up-close and personal. So I sat silently following the plot for the first five minutes. My friend, who had been busy in another room came in and asked, 'so what's it like, then?' I contemplated for a moment, 'it's just begun and I've seen boobs three times.' We concurred that that was a pretty good omen.
Little did I know that by episode 3, seeing a pair of boobs was as ordinary and commonplace as brushing your teeth in the morning. Although, it must be said that there's more to this show than just breasts, we experience Piper's transition into prison life and the racism, violence, romance, sisterhood and the laughs that become part of her 'goldfish bowl' existence. Piper makes schoolboy error number one by insulting the prison food in front of the prison cook "Red" who is a don in the women's correctional facility. Next morning, Piper (or Chapman as she is henceforth know under the prison roof) is served a used-tampon sandwich, would you like that rare or well done? Piper is soon denied meals altogether and is being 'starved out', she has to rely on herself to survive and we see her become less Cher from Clueless and more of a savvy inmate.
Chapman subsequently learns how 'tribal' the prison is with inmates sticking to their own race, well except for 'crazy eyes' who adores Piper and calls her 'dandelion' and wife. This is what is called 'swirling', chocolate and vanilla apparently! We also learn that a lot of the prison guards are either useless, vulgar, sexual predators, blackmailers, corrupt or just generally unpleasant with the exception of one or two. As well as laughing at a lot of scenes, a lot made me feel edgy and empathetic. What would I do in that situation ? (fingers crossed I won't be).
It's not just Piper Chapman's experience we get acquainted with, each episode seems to follow an individual character on their road to being incarcerated. Many of the crimes are almost understandable e.g. one inmate killed a man who assaulted one of her young employees... she could be called a hero. We see Sophia, the girl who used to be a male fire fighter, denied of hormone tablets and looking regretfully back over the relationship she has with her disappointed son. We get to see Piper's fiancé visit alongside her bossy mother and frankly annoying best friend. Also, Chapman's ex-girlfriend, who landed her in the mess she's in, shows up while Chapman is mid panic attack and her boyfriend isn't so happy when he discovers that his fiancé is locked up with her ex-lesbian lover. And so unfurls a fascinating, hilarious and tense prison drama.
Did I mention that the show is based on a true story? Piper Kerman, writer of Orange is the new Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, did in fact spend 13 months in prison beginning in 2004. The experiences, the emotions and many of the characters are derived straight from reality but often enhanced or further explored by Jenji Kohan who is the creator of the Netflix show. The characters certainly do have a very real quality about them, so obscure and diverse a population, yet somehow cohabiting this small space and surviving through alliances they make and supporting one another with good humour and sincerity.
Personally, I found the show very endearing and entertaining, I can see what the hype is all about but I am only halfway through the first season so we shall have to wait and see how the show progresses. If you haven't seen it, I would suggest that you gave the first episode a try. The show is certainly not a slow starter and you will get an immediate sense of what the show's all about during that first episode, and whether or not you would enjoy it. If you're a teenage boy, due to the hardcore lesbianism, I would go as far as to say that you'll love it.
P.s. Jodie Foster directed an episode, for that reason alone, it's got to be pretty awesome.
Friday, 28 February 2014
Paris is not just for lovers - it’s for everyone! It’s a city full of culture that’s ideal for those on a budget. If you’re looking for a weekend city break here are five reasons why Paris should be at the very top of your list of places to visit.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
|Image courtesy of James Longhorn|
But even for all the algorithm determined matching, it still comes across as a less subtle version of MySpace (and remember the subtlety of ‘pc4pc?’). With boobshots, dickshots, dogshots, catshots, hi-res, low-res, and all the other shit that results from internet anonymity. My profile pic choice was b&w selfie: opting to cast myself as a brooding byronic-hero amongst the rabble of social-recluses and wannabe pornstars.
I got a start on my profile, hitting the brick wall of how to present my drug, alcohol and cigarette intake (does anyone in their 20’s not dabble?)- ultimately deciding that as I don’t drink bottles of Smirnoff in bed I was ‘social drinker’ and as I don’t smoke when I can’t afford to I was a ‘social smoker.’ It also asks you about religion, your love of animals, and a other questions designed to turn the best of us into the untruthful cretin beneath.
|"I'm a poet, do you want me?"|
Having set up my profile I started trying to make contact. I think the messaging part is probably the part of online dating that takes the most getting used to. The fact that it’s all done via the internet meant I constantly had to remind myself that it was a real person on the other end of the messages. I imagine it’s probably this sense of not interacting with reality that begins some men's online sleezy descent, from donning a tank-top and flexing their abs; to posing topless and asking to see women tits; eventually culminating in their becoming one of the penises on chatroulette.
It was during the messaging stage that I began to realise that all in all it’s a pretty dull experience. Its fundamental flaw is the lifelessness of digital communication. Even beyond the standard MSN “how r u/ wuu2/ how u doin?” convo, without the nuances of human face to face interaction, flirting ( ;) ) and discussing shared interests are rendered lifeless.
So having had multiple discussions about the Smiths and Amelie (which seems to be really big amongst the OkCupid community) I came to the realisation that it was all just too manufactured. Sure, if your sole intent is to find somebody because you feel it’s all that could make you happy, then maybe it’s worth it. Or if you’re too shy to find somebody in the real world. But everyone else? You should probably just get out there and talk to people- real people. Surely there's more to finding love than the monotony of a keyboard convo.
Besides, everyone knows you find love in the place you least expect it. Like power-hour in that club that serves cheap doubles, or Tinder, yeh, maybe Tinder...
Words: James Dawson
Monday, 27 January 2014
Words: Lindsay Bradley
Friday, 17 January 2014
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
|Last and First Men|
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Words: Charles Hay
I don't deal well with being alone, so these jobs which put me in unexplored territory, on my own... They're not so great.
It is an uncomfortable sort of trapped, to have so few of your things around you and to be so far from your loved ones. It lends a stifling blankness to existence that is extremely difficult to overcome. That is the primary reason for me writing this piece, in fact. This is an attempt to beat blandness by engendering it; forcing it into being something, and therefore destroying its ability to numb me.
It becomes almost like a hum, or something like a thrum. Like an unavoidable existential tinitus. It saps away vitality, and stretches seconds into hours whilst paradoxically making days seem like seconds. It becomes invasive; louder than thought. Decisions have too much inertia to tackle. They stumble before boredom.
I have spent a huge part of the last two years in rooms like this. Vaguely identikit bed and breakfasts. Sometimes there brilliant ones. Sometimes there are spectacularly awful ones. But by their context, they all become the same. They all become a room which is fundamentally not home. The telly goes on for fear of silence. The phone comes out for fear of loneliness.
Phonecalls are made and echo against flat, rigid silence when they end. The walls stare inwards. The door is locked. The world is locked. The world seems so far away.
Monday, 6 January 2014
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Friday, 6 December 2013
Thankfully, in our Wikipedia age, businesses and consumers alike are growing increasingly aware that free art - be it music, film, writing or any other art form - is less likely to be good art.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Author's Note: 'Healing' forms part of an acclaimed poetry collection which re-imagines the life of Jesus into present day America. I am currently in the process adapting the collection to create a piece of poetic prose. This will become the next instalment in my series of short fictions, Living Legends. The provisional date for the release of 'Living Legends: Jesus Christ' on Amazon Kindle is 11th December 2013.
Monday, 18 November 2013