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Historical Hysteria: best events to have witnessed

This is a short post mainly because my response will only be one side of a coin, and cannot cover the whole of history. After reading this I encourage you to ask someone else what historical event they would love to have witnessed, and what events they’ve witnessed that people of the future will look back and wish they’d seen firsthand? Let’s get this historical conversation rolling . . .

  1. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ
  2. The immaculate(?) conception of Jesus Christ
  3. A miracle performed by Jesus Christ (was it the real deal?)
  4. An evening at the Palace of Versailles under the rule of King Louis XV 
  5. Christopher Columbus’ first trip to the New World 
  6. Apollo 11’s moon landing
  7. Gladiatorial show in Ancient Rome
  8. Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
  9. Be an attendant at one of the infamous dinner parties Plato wrote about
  10. Socrates’ trial
  11. Be in the recording studio as The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  12. The stock market crash of 1929
  13. Woodstock festival
  14. King Charles I’s execution
  15. The Big Bang
  16. The first creature/ life form being created
  17. Dinosaurs roaming on Earth
  18. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech
  19. The birth of Google 
  20. Listen to the fluent Latin conversations in Ancient Rome 

This list barely scratches the surface, but are just a few (somewhat generic) things I would love to have witnessed.

How about you?

Abandoman: Life + Rhymes

‘Who/ what is Abandoman, and why are you writing an article on them?’ I hear you ask! Well, let me enlighten you.

I went to the Edinburgh Fringe this year and out of all the shows I watched (ranging from naked men running around on stage to women juggling chainsaws), this was by far the most fun and memorable thing I saw.

Abandoman comprises of two Irish men, Rob Broderick and James Hancox, who dub themselves as “Ireland’s seventh biggest hip-hop crew”. Their show can be most accurately described as relaxed, creative, interactive and improvised hip-hop – though I still probably haven’t sold you (You: If I wanted to see hip hop I’d just buy tickets to a Kanye concert? Me: *chuckling inwardly* Oh you have so much to learn young sensei). The duo are animated, lively and absolutely hilarious, which is what you can expect at every show considering that Broderick is also a comedian. He provides the quick-fire lines and neatly spat bars, whilst Hancox plays the guitar, DJs, and manages the effects. No two performances are ever the same because it all relies on who is in the audience and what random items or situations people from the crowd shout out. In my case, some of the best raps centred upon an osteopath sitting in the front row who said his favourite pastime was playing Pokémon Go. As you can imagine, this made for an interesting rap to say the least.

Not only was it a marvel to see Broderick’s finesse at quickly conjuring up a complex and witty rap so multi-faceted, but it was generally just one big laugh the whole way through. As Fest Magazine so deftly put it, “I’ve yet to see an audience not go nuts”. They got people up on stage to groove out with them; they maintained a rapport with the front row and the volunteers throughout the show; they beamed the whole way through and they genuinely seemed to be enjoying it just as much as the audience.

If you want a feel-good show that’s also insanely smart, sharp and funny, look no further – Abandoman are your boys.

**FIVE STARS OUT OF FIVE FROM ME** Thank you, and good night.

Best chick flicks of all time

Chick flicks get a bad rep, mainly for being the genre of film that all men groan at the thought of. Since when did the phrase ‘chick flick’ denote a negative connotation? Some of the films with the best screenplays and most iconic scenes are chick flicks! So I’ve made a countdown of my top favourites as a sort of ode to an often trodden on genre. Enjoy . . .

10. Sweet Home Alabama

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 16.54.59.png

Why is it so great? 

Has that southern charm throughout all the dialogue, is funny, and sweetly shows the evolving relationship between childhood sweethearts.

Best line? 

Jake Perry: Whatcha wanna be married to me for?
Melanie Carmichael: So I can kiss you anytime I want.
(Cheeeesy but oh so great).

 

 

 

 9. Legally Blonde

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 17.02.09.png Why is it so great? 

The female character Elle Woods is so lovable. She is at times frustratingly unaware of her social surroundings, but her gumption and positive attitude is truly admirable. Plus, her outfits are so spectacularly pink – what’s not to love?

Best line/s?

1. Warner: You got into Harvard Law?

Elle: What? Like, it’s hard?

2. Elle: Hi. Im Elle Woods and this is Bruiser Woods. We’re both Gemini vegetarians.

 

8. Bridesmaids

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 00.31.49.png Why is it so great? 

Hilarious dialogue, many iconic scenes, and generally a fun female-dominated film which proves women can be just as funny as men.

Best line?

Helen: (crying) Why are you smiling?

Annie: It’s just…it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you look ugly…and that makes me kind of happy.

 

 

 

7. Titanic

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 00.37.36.png

Why is it so great? 

It’s grossed over $2 billion dollars worldwide. If that doesn’t prove that it’s epic, I don’t know what does.

Best line?

[Rose shows Jack the diamond]

Rose: Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Wearing this…

Jack: All right.

Rose: Wearing *only* this.

(I think we all remember that scene…)

 

6. The Notebook

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 00.43.24.png

Why is it so great? 

Epic, epic love story. Still remains one of the only romantic films which, in my opinion, isn’t contrived and actually makes you feel something for the plot and characters. Also, the on-screen romance between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is like no other.

Best line?

Allie: Now say you’re a bird too.

Noah: If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.

 

 

5. 10 Things I Hate About You

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 00.50.14.png Why is it so great?

Kat Strafford (the main girl) is extremely quick-witted and sarcastic which makes for a great lead. Also, Heath Ledger is on fine Australian wooing form.

Best line?

Kat Strafford: I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

4. Clueless

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 00.56.12 Why is it so great?

The dialogue is fun, the outfits are so 90s, and Cher, the female lead, is tough and clever – a fun character to watch.

Best line?

Tai: Do you think she’s pretty?

Cher: No, she’s a full-on Monet.

Tai: What’s a monet?

Cher: It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.

3. Beaches

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 01.04.24.png Why is it so great? 

Delicately shows the lasting friendship between two childhood friends, and tugs at your heartstrings and loosens your tear ducts in the process.

Best line? 

Hillary: I’m not stubborn, I’m…right.

 

 

 

 

2. Crazy, Stupid, Love

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 01.09.03.png Why is it so great? 

It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s nostalgic and it intertwines different people’s stories so effortlessly. It’s also extremely well-acted all round.

Best line/s?

1. Cal: How about we say what we want on three? One, two, three.

Emily: I want a divorce.

Cal: [at the same time] Creme brulée.

 

 

2. Jacob: Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?

Cal: No.

Jacob: Oh, ok. In that case, you’ve got no right to wear New Balance sneakers. Ever.

1. Mean Girls

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 01.16.06.png Why is it so great?

Tina Fey nailed the screenplay. Also, the film really does capture to some extent what it means to be a teenager trying to fit in and all that jazz.

Best line/s?

1. Gretchen: Ex-boyfriends are off-limits to friends. That’s just, like, the rules of feminism.

2. Damien: That’s why her hair is so big. It’s full of secrets.

What’s the deal with haikus?

If you went to primary school in the UK (not sure how it works in other countries), chances are you spent multiple lessons here and there writing Japanese Haiku poems. Yes they were fairly fun to create – in part due to the fact that it wasn’t the most taxing of exercises – and yes they did mean you could put the times tables to one side for just a moment. But after the finished product, I always felt mightily disappointed. Perhaps I am not a natural haiku-ist (?), but I do believe that haikus work a lot better when written in Japanese. The only English haiku I have properly appreciated was one written by my friend Sabrina:

Haiku’s just begun

Oh no not another one

Don’t worry, it’s done

Short but sweet, and coincides with my feelings of mild dislike towards English haikus.

Japanese haikus traditionally each contain a kigo, a word or phrase which symbolises the season of the poem, which is taken from the saijiki, a detailed list of such words. Moreover, these haikus usually contain two juxtaposing images in order to create rich and imaginative imagery. When reading Japanese haikus (given without the characters because I am yet to learn Japanese) phonetically the words roll off the tongue and do sound rather beautiful.

fu-ru-i-ke ya (5)

ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7)

mi-zu-no-o-to (5)

Translation: old pond . . .

                           a frog leaps in

                          water’s sound

But it seems to me undeniable that something vital has been lost in translation… so why do us English-speaking haiku-attempters continue attempting the futile? A short poem not restricted to 5/7/5 syllables would suit the long-worded English language a lot more in my opinion.

I can’t help but feel that haikus are a fad which caught on despite being quite unspectacular (like, say, artisanal condiments). But I suppose I am rather biased because I enjoy poems with a little more meat on their bones.

What do you think of haikus?

London’s best cheap eats

1. Bao

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 01.07.24

What’s the vibe? Mixture of trendy types wielding 35mm film cameras and tourists willing to queue for the best buns in town.

When to go? Very early evening (like 6pm) or late evening (like 8.30pm) – either way, you’re going to have to queue.

What to order? The pork belly bun (pictured above) and the classic bun are a must. The Horlicks ice-cream bun is also delicious for dessert.

2. The Frenchie at Southbank

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 01.19.17

What’s the vibe? Extremely low-key. Located on Southbank at its outdoor weekend market, The Frenchie’s vibe depends all on the weather.

When to go? Fridays & Saturdays 12 – 8pm, or Sundays 12-6pm.

What to order? The duck fat chips with truffle mayonnaise and the duck confit burger (toasted brioche bun, duck confit, cheese of your choice, scratchings, chutney, truffle honey, rocket and mustard).

3. Egg break

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 14.31.37

What’s the vibe? Simple, good food in a neighbourhood area of Notting Hill. Minimalistic café which isn’t stuck up or too trendy for its own good.

When to go? Breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s open all day.

What to order? For breakfast you have to try the famous french toast (pictured above). For lunch and dinner the house stuffed flatbread and crispy chicken wings are a must. And pudding wise, the cereal-milk soft serve and chocolate pot are the way to go.

4. Boom Burger

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 14.43.34

What’s the vibe? Loud Jamaican music, hipster festival-goers and greasy burgers are all the rage in this small restaurant located in the heart of Portobello.

When to go? Anytime from lunch to dinner. Particularly busy on weekends but there’s usually not a wait if you’re in a small group.

What to order? Boom burger (their signature beef burger covered in cheese and bacon jam) or the jerk boom burger (jerk chicken, fried plantain, rocket and mango & pawpaw sauce), along with plantain fries or jerk chicken wings.

5. Ranoush Juice

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 14.52.37

What’s the vibe? No soul to the restaurant in that mostly people are popping in for takeaways, but late at night is when it comes alive with people drunkenly craving delicious Lebanese food.

When to go? Anytime as there’s never a queue.

What to order? The wraps are the best thing they do, so try the mixed shawarma or chicken shawarma wrap.

 

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