Friday, 30 June 2017

Harry Potter Week: I don't wish to be such a Raven-bore but

So we've reached the end of my Harry Potter themed week on my blog and the final ramblings about the series. I've offered you an overly emotional review of my history with the books on Monday, a rant about Harry himself on Tuesday, a rant about Dumbledore on Wednesday, and a hard-hitting investigation into the terrible conditions at Hogwarts yesterday. What do we have in store for today? Well I don't know. I could easily offer up another rant about how awful Snape is (really why do people respect him so much? Bravest wizard I know? For fuck's sake!) but this week has supposed to be about a celebration of the books that changed so many people's lives. These books have been so great in helping us all grow up and will continue to help youngsters for a long time yet. So I want to take another moment to look at the fandom as a whole. Just think back to just over 20 years ago; what was the world like? We didn't know what Quidditch was. We didn't have a handy way to divide ourselves up by random personality traits. We didn't know about the sheer badassery of Professor Minerva McGonagall. These books were a magical and changed literary history. Yes, JK Rowling may have been incredibly lucky to get published (let's be honest, these books shouldn't have been the hit they were) but that doesn't mean she doesn't deserve her success. I just wish she'd know when to stop.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Harry Potter Week: Hog-Warts the deal with this school, though?

If you're a Harry Potter fan then I'm sure you, like me, grew up dreaming of going to Hogwarts. As a kid there was nothing that seemed as exciting as being packed off to the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to perform magic. Being stuck in school being taught how to do maths or learning about geography was nothing compared to being in a transfiguration or potions lesson. The teachers all seemed so much more interesting than my own and the headteacher was a sparkly blue eyed old man with a love of traditional sweets. It sounded perfect to a child of 10. I'm kind of a grown adult now and can see that the whole school is just a joke. Every single year the headteacher cancels final exams. How the hell do the students get their qualifications? What kind of school system just gives students a free pass every year? In my first year of uni, my friend collapsed and had a fit on the way to our English Literature exam. I had to stop her hurting herself while my other friends ran around campus to find a porter to ring an ambulance (because, stupidly, that's how you had to do it). Did we get let off the exam and given a passing grade? Did we fuck? We sat that exam despite having no idea how our friend was. Because that's life. If you go to Hogwarts and break a nail before an exam Albus would probably have let you skip it on emotional grounds.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Harry Potter Week: Sorry Albus, don't let the Dumble-Door Hit You on the Way Out

As someone who spends a lot of time internet window shopping for geeky goods, it seems to me that you can't really go anywhere without seeing Albus Dumbledore being quoted on something. After "Always", which is something I've discussed briefly in my rant about Severus Snape, Dumbledore quotations are the most commercially viable of the Harry Potter franchise. People wishing to seem deep love nothing more than plastering his words of "wisdom" all over their houses. However, I've always felt that Dumbledore's soundbites are just trite and overly simplified adages. People just eat that shit up. They love the guy. Dumbledore always reminds me of the Tim Minchin song 'The Fence'. Readers are so quick to want Dumbledore to be good because they need someone to be the opposite of Voldemort. They need the world to be that binary but it doesn't exist. There's a part of the song about the Dalai Lama that goes:
He's a lovely, funny fella,
He gives soundbites galore
But let's not forget that back in Tibet,
Those funky monks used to dick the poor, yeah
It just reminds me of Dumbledore. For all his talk of socks and sherbet lemons, there is a darkness hiding beneath Albus Dumbledore that comes out when it needs to. He has so many secrets throughout the book that show just how far away from a perfect hero he was. Just because they guy manages to say something that sounds deep once in a while people just seem to ignore all of the shitty decisions he makes. Well, not any more, my friends.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Harry Potter Week: Harry Pott-er are we sure this guy is the hero?

Continuing with my celebration of all thing Harry Potter this week we have a welcome return to my traditional rants. Hooray! It is a truth universally acknowledged that Harry Potter is one of the most annoying characters in the whole series. Well, maybe not universally acknowledged. I thought it was pretty much accepted that, as characters go, Harry Potter is a fucking dick but it seems that there are some people out there who still stick up for him. In the comments section of a recent Guardian post about the anniversary of The Philosopher's Stone there was a beautiful comment talking about how annoying Harry is. I agreed with it 100% but then it was just criticised by everyone else in the comments. Now it's time to get serious: Harry is a straight up wanker and we all know it. Just because his name is in the fucking title doesn't mean we should all just let him get away with that.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Harry Potter Week: The Girl Who Read

When I turned 20 I was at university and I had an epic night out with a load of my flatmates. It was a typical university style night out and we all got super drunk. It was during the days when people still took digital cameras on nights out (yes I'm super old) and I took a shit ton of photos. It's safe to say, as the night progressed, things get less pretty and my eyelids droop ever lower. My 20th birthday was a fantastic night out but the next day I experienced my first, grown-up hangover. Literally the day I turned 20 my body stopped being able to just get up and go after a night out. I was dying. I'd never felt as old as I did that morning. I doubt Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone woke up this morning with a banging headache and feeling super nauseated but I bet it felt old. I mean I fucking do. The first Harry Potter series was released 20 years ago. I'm nearly 30 but it still feels like yesterday that I first read about the boy who lived.  How did this happen? Imagine if I had another night out like my 20th birthday... I probably would die at this point. Jeez.

Sunday, 25 June 2017


So, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and, in honour of this momentous occasion, I'm dedicating my entire week to writing Harry Potter related posts. Some of you may remember my week of ranting at the end of the last season of Game of Thrones: I called it my week of Irk and Ire. It's basically going to be like that but for Harry Potter. So I won't be sticking to my usual schedule of reviews. Instead I'll just be writing rants and ramblings about the book series. I'm hoping it will be fun but I can't promise anything.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

TBT - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (20

After seeing Wonder Woman last week I claimed it was my favourite DC movie so far. It definitely is but, considering that it's only the 4th, that isn't really saying much. It's not like the mind fuck of trying to work out which is the best Marvel movie. Most of the time my favourite will be whichever was the last film I saw but that's only because my attention span is the same as a bloody goldfish. It also comes down to what you consider important for making a good film. I mean, a well-made film isn't necessarily going to automatically entertain you the most. And, likewise, a super fun film isn't necessarily going to be good. In a job interview a few years ago, whilst discussing this blog, I was asked what my favourite film was. Now, this is a terrible question to ask anyway but in an already stressed environment I almost collapsed. I ended up by garbling an answer like "I know it should be something classic like Citizen Kane but it's probably more like Space Jam." It's a cop out but I think it raises a good point. The films that regularly grace the top of 'the best films ever made' lists aren't necessarily the ones that you watch about 7 times a year. So do I chose something like Thor that I know isn't the greatest but is so much fun to watch? Or do actually pick the greatest film in the franchise? Well, it's been a while since I've seen that one so it's probably time I revisited it. Oh, and fancy that, it happens to be Thursday too.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Wonder Woman (2017)

If you'd asked me how I felt when the Wonder Woman film was first announced I would probably have told you I didn't give a shit. I was never really into the character, despite my love of badass women, and my limited view just made her seem a bit campy and annoying. Then there's the issue of an endless stream of disappointing DC films. Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice were both just too dark and completely thoughtless. Then Suicide Squad ruined the chance to be something different and fun by being completely obvious and uninspiring. So, yeah, maybe thanks to their insane love of Zack fucking Snyder I was kind of convinced that DC would somehow fuck this up. Wonder Woman had a lot to live up: it's the first comic book movie about a female superhero. They beat Marvel at showing a woman being awesome front and centre. It needed to be good. With their track record I couldn't help but feel that was unlikely... but then again I'm old and cynical by now.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


This weekend has been incredibly hot here in the UK, which has made being in work unbearable. The kitchen is stifling in this weather and we're all so uncomfortable. All we need is some kind of air con and everything would be fine. Instead we have shitty old vents that really do bugger all to help anyone in the kitchen. Anyway, I only have to get through another couple of weeks and then I'm off. Free to do absolutely fuck all if I want to. If it's sunny I might even sit inside all day and protect my pale skin whilst reading and napping. Those are the thoughts that will get me through.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

TBT - Prometheus (2012)

I'm going to be honest, as much as I've defended Prometheus to people it's a film that I had, until very recently, only watched once and that was just after it was released on DVD. Yes, I didn't even watch it in the cinema. That, obviously, hasn't stopped me feeling qualified to defend it and, if there's one thing you can be absolutely sure of about me by now, I won't back down in an argument regardless of how much I know/remember about a topic. Especially if I think I'm morally superior. And, when it comes to Prometheus, I am definitely on the moral high ground. A lot of people I know have unduly criticised this film because it wasn't what they were expecting. It's a similar situation to the time I nearly ruined an old friendship because of the film Hugo: they hated it because they thought it was going to be a kid's adventure instead of a love-story to cinema. People were so desperate for another Alien that anything else was bound to be torn apart. It's nonsense. Ridley Scott always made his intentions for the film super clear and warned audiences not to go in with any stupid expectations. Is it the film's fault if they didn't listen and just wanted another Sigourney Weaver type killed massive black alien creatures? No. Look, I'm not a stubborn monster who isn't willing to listen to people's reasoned arguments about why it's a terrible film. I myself think it has a few major issues. However, if you're only going to negatively compare it to one of the best films of all time... well, let's just say, in my head nobody can hear you moan.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Alien: Covenant (2017)

Before I started writing this review I decided it was time to remind myself of Ridley Scott's first prequel to Alien. I feel like I'm always having to defend Prometheus from people who thought it was a disappointing addition to the franchise. When I looked at the reviews I was shocked to see that a lot of critics gave the film moderate praise. I mean, yes, that praise was mostly for the aesthetic appeal and Michael Fassbender's performance but I was under the impression that it had received more of a negative response. I, personally, didn't mind the film. I knew going in that it wasn't going to be another wild ride of alien escapes and craziness in space. So I went in with realistic expectations. The people that I know who were most disappointed by it are the ones who expected Ridley Scott to pick up where he left off. Before 2012's prequel, Scott had only directed the original film in the franchise so there were fans who were hoping he would give us the same treatment that Sigourney Weaver got but a few years earlier. Instead, we went on a journey to discover humanity's existence and find out where the Alien menace came from. The story wasn't quite as slick as we were used to and, for the most part, Prometheus gave us more questions than it answered. However, it was still enough to whet our appetite for the prequel's sequel. Although, there was always the chance that we would get another Attack of the Clones here. I mean nobody expected that to be even more disappointing to fans than Phantom Menace but then Hayden Christensen managed to take shit to a whole new level.

Sunday, 11 June 2017


What a week it's been here in the UK. With the results of Theresa May's snap election coming in to prove that, in politics, nobody is ever really a winner. It was as good a result anyone who voted for Labour could have hope I think. Jeremy Corbyn was popular but there would never have been that much swing from Tory, UKIP, Lib Dem, or the SNP to get him the win. What he's done is help topple the Conservative from their stronghold and show that the Prime Minister is a weak and unqualified leader. It's still not a great time for us here as the DUP could severely fuck up a lot of things in their casual alliance with Mrs May but there's talk of a slightly softer Brexit that takes into account the wishes of the people. So, maybe some good can come out of this? I just hope that we get another election soon and everyone who was so on the fence about Labour will see that there is potential there. A win for the Conservatives is a loss for ordinary working people, the NHS, education and our future as a society who values other people above ourselves. Under the Tories we will become a nation split between the selfish elite and those who can barely scrape by. It's a scary world we live in.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

TBT - Sliding Doors (1998)

I was sorely tempted to put off this TBT post and do it tomorrow. Today was the General Election and, as I was working from 9 until 630, I decided to go before I set off this morning. That's fine in principal but, as always happens on such occasions, I got caught in a YouTube cycle last night and went to bed far too late. I've been walking around like a zombie for most of the day because of the lack of sleep. I managed quite well but there was a point this morning when I dropped pretty much everything that I picked up. Something that would be quite funny were I part of the circus or in some kind of farce but less useful in a kitchen setting. Still, I am determined to finish this tonight and get to bed, relatively, early. I'd love to stay up and wait for the results to roll in but, as vital as that seemed back in my early twenties, now I'm nearly 30 it seems utterly stupid. Especially when I'm starting work at 7 tomorrow morning. I don't have time for that... Dimbledore or no Dimbledore.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


So, anyone who follows my Instagram will have noticed that I recently took possession of the 20th Anniversary editions of The Philosopher's Stone. I now own 8 different editions of the book, thanks to my four House paperbacks and Ravenclaw hardback, but I'll probably end up caving and buying the other 3 hardbacks. On June 27th 1997, Harry Potter and the Philopsopher's Stone was first published. I didn't read it until a year later but it is a date that remains an important moment in my life. Whatever I think of the series now, the Harry Potter books had a huge impact on my life. I loved them. I obsessed over them. I even, in my more misguided moments, wrote fanfiction about them... secret fanfiction that nobody else ever read but still. However, over the years I've kind of grown a bit cynical and have a lot of irritation for certain aspects of the series. Most importantly is the number of people who pick up on specific quotes and spout them like their philosophy. Things like "Always" and the endless number of Albus Dumbledore quotes are infecting my social media whilst there are so many important quotes just being ignored. Quotations that actually have something to tell us about humanity instead of just regurgitating the usual guff and nonsense that Dumbledore is so fond of. So I decided to put together 10, admittedly this isn't really an indication of my top 10, that should be given more respect. If I'm being honest, this post comes after deciding that doing a Top 10 characters from the series would just be the top 10 characters in Harry Potter that I'd be most likely to sleep with, which is really unhelpful and, more important, probably quite shameful. This feels safer.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

This is one of those books that I'd seen all over Instagram but never thought I'd read. Call me a snob if you wish but I'm always a bit wary of books that have been endorsed by Richard and Judy. I mean they don't have a great track record of picking out the literary greats. It also just seemed like the sort of romantic-comedy kind of shit that I try and avoid. I don't wish to insult anyone who loves a piece of chick lit but I can't put up with the cliches and the idealism that is central to the plot. It's all very dreamy and not very realistic. Still, when happening upon a Kindle deal I bought the eBook and, later, decided to buy a cheap copy of the audiobook. I guess I still didn't have any real plans to read/listen to it any time soon but it was comforting to know it was there if I ever needed an easy read. Then, without any warning, I became obsessed with Audible so when I finished Norse Mythology last week I was desperate to start another one. I randomly picked this out of the ones I have mostly because it was the shortest but also because I like having a copy of the book to go alongside it. So I still wasn't exactly going into this full of anticipation and excitement. I was hardly open-minded but I figured it couldn't possibly be the worst thing I'd ever read. Especially considering some of the shit I had to read at university.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


Today I've spent the day trying to sort my life out... or at least my room. Although, I've spent most of the afternoon cleaning and moving things around and I don't think I like it. Basically, I have too much stuff and I'm trying desperately to declutter. It's so difficult when I'm a hoarder at heart. I have books that I've not read for years and mementos from trips I've long forgotten that I just won't get rid of. And don't even get me started on how many bloody mugs and tea cups that I have. Anyway, I've been as brutal as I ever really get and have moved things around. My only problem now is that my playstation is further into my room meaning the WIFI signal is even weaker. I know this is a first world problem but how the hell am I supposed to watch Netflix for hours at a time now? God, what am I going to do? Read?!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

TBT - Stardust (2007)

When it comes to romantic comedies I can't say that I'm a huge fan. I'm much too cynical and, if we're being honest, it's all been done a thousand times before. Boy meets girl. Boy tries to make girl fall in love with him. Stuff happens. Happily ever after. I just never find it an incredibly inspiring to sit down and watch them so I avoid them. However, if ever there was going to be a writer who could change my mind about the whole concept it would be Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is the much loved fantasy, horror, science fiction, anything else you can think of writer who has penned such notable works as The Sandman comic book series as well as numerous novels and short story collections. Stardust is, in a way, Gaiman's own The Princess Bride  (incidentally, this is one of the few romantic comedies that I genuinely adore). Now, I've made it pretty clear that I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman's writing and I would recommend his books to anyone. His writing is like magic. There's nobody quite like him. Yet, I've never really been a massive fan of any adaptations of his work. Well, that's not quite true. I like them but I can't say I love them. I could read and reread Gaiman's work any number of times but I don't think I'd ever watch one his films or TV shows more than once. Except maybe Coraline because that was fucking awesome. There's something that just gets lost in translation and I don't have that same connection with them. It's why I never rewatched this film until I needed something to review for today... and it's why I'm in no real rush to watch it again.