Posted in book reviews, books, reviews

Book Review: England, England by Julian Barnes

This was a roller coaster of a novel, and not just because it’s about a theme park *bad dum tish*.

This book was one that I wouldn’t have picked up on my own accord but seeing as we had to read it for my Literature course I had no choice. And for the most part it was quite a pleasant read, albeit one rather odd and disturbing scene.

The novel explores what we view as nationalism/ patriotism and how this affects our outlook. It delves into the idea of authenticity and replications- taking a few Platonic terms here and there with a modernised version of “The Cave” allegory in Plato’s Republic. 

To summarise, the novel is essentially from the perspective of a character called Martha. In the beginning we are introduced to her life and see her growing up. The story focuses on her relationships with her father as well as men in general and we get to see inside the inner workings of her love life and thoughts. This however is just one facet of the story. She goes to work for a man called Jack who plans to buy the Isle of Wight and turn it into an amusement park based off of all the better things about being English. The park then becomes so popular that it quickly steals all of the real England’s tourism custom and leaves it in disrepair. In this way the book introduces ideas about what are real vs. the expectations we place on things. And whether our nationhood is justly founded and where and why it originates.

I liked the books way of picking up on the ironies of patriotism and how it often overlooks key factors. In particular, the fact that it highlighted the ignorance that people can assume without actually understanding all the factors and details of the very thing that they are defending deeply resonated with me. Although this book was written in the context of the Scottish Devolution Referendum in 1997 I also feel that it is relevant today what with Brexit. I liked how it emphasised the need to be educated on a certain issue and how little we are told or care to know when we are force fed propaganda by the media.

Anyway I rate this book 7/10 – It was something that I felt I benefited from reading, but not something I would necessary pick up to read for fun or re-read.

Thanks for reading,

-E xxx

Posted in life update

Life Update: Being Single, Friends and Crying (With Laughter) Over Spilt Milk

This is yet another life update, seeing as the last one was very rushed and pretty short.I am currently watching one of my closest friends Natalie pack away her things. She has been living with me for over a week now during Easter break. She’s originally from Malaysia, and catered accommodation kicks everyone out over the breaks which is brutally unfair.

It’s been a pretty eventful time, with a brief visit home for about 4 days on which she accompanied me. We went to St Alban’s to the cathedral and she even got to witness a full blown family dinner – with authentic arguments and more!

My brother introduced (yet another) new girlfriend, then proceeded to try and embarrass me in front of her and Nat. Although, it backfired horribly and he ended up looking even more douchey than usual. My sister came home, mid dinner, drunk and in tears because her so called “friends” had tricked her into eating meat after going without it for two years.

So yes, it was very interesting. And then there was the whole being afraid of bumping into anyone around town who knew about the breakup. I know that sounds very paranoid, but it is a very small town.

Here’s to being a single pringle. It’s a very weird feeling and I won’t lie that I still very guilty about the whole ordeal. But the space was much needed. I just needed to break ties with a lot of things from my old life that I associated with harder times. Unfortunately that meant the break up too.

I just need to learn how to be independent and on my own. I want to do so many things in life and just generally be a little more selfish. I am only 19 after all! We have our whole lives ahead of us!

I like the idea of being able to pick myself up and travel to a new place without anyone knowing who I was or having anything tying me to any one place. Sounds pretty cheesy, eh? I was even thinking about possibly becoming a travel writer. Getting paid to actually go to new places and write about the weird experiences (because believe me there would be a lot) I have. I mean weird shit happens to me almost daily, and that’s in England!

I have enjoyed having Natalie stay with me. We had a lot of laughs, most of them funnily enough to do with milk. There was the time we just bought some new milk and I aggressively pulled the fridge door open in which led to it somersaulting out 007 style and splitting. Milk everywhere. It was on several people’s snapchats.

The milk before that, Nat gave away to my neighbour in another flat. And the one we had before todays, we managed to consume in just ONE DAY.

We have a milk problem, I believe. I mean we drink the stuff like water haha!

Other than that, the only other thing I have to say is that I nearly got hit by a car today. Legit if I hadn’t stepped back onto the curb I would’ve been under their bonnet. Some guy saw it happen and said, “All my daysssss you should be dead, yeah?” to which I weirdly responded with a squeaky, “Sorry!” before hurrying off in embarrassment.

I have work tomorrow and they are trying to teach me how to make a billion different types of coffee which should be interesting, and by interesting I mean end in disaster…

I shall write more tomorrow, I am going to try and be as regular with this blog as I was last month. Which wasn’t amazing, but was good considering this is me we are dealing with aha!

Speak soon,

E xxx

Posted in life update, Overheard in Flat 19 Quotes, Student Story Time

Overheard in Flat 19 – Funny Quotes From University Halls

Hi everyone,

Today I have a different kind of post that was kind of spur of the moment.

So, I have been told off for not featuring my flat mates more on this blog and therefore have decided to introduce the entire bloggerverse to the Great Wall of Flat 19 (no, not China).

The Quote Wall was something that we came up as a flat to torture those innocent flat mates (mainly David) for saying silly things. They get written down and dated but the name of the speaker is never revealed, and passers by who come and visit from other flats etc. have to guess who said what.

Today I will only be giving you a slither of my favourites (and by the way I have been featured on the wall too). Some of these things have to be considered completely out of context too.

Without further ado, here are the top quotes

Arden Shakespeare… is he Shakespeare’s brother?

-24th October 2016- Said when I came back from shopping having picked up a couple of new books from Oxfam. One of them being an Arden (publisher) addition of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. I will concede and tell you that Naveedh is the person who said this.

Speaker 1: I’m not ready for his package.

Speaker 2: No one ever is

This is the newest one on the wall, and not dated unfortunately. I believe this was in regard to the mail- but who knows my flat is pretty crazy.

Aren’t plants animals?!

This one came from Kat, an anomaly in the mix and I am proud to say that this is her only addition to the Great Wall of Flat 19’s Quotes.

Speaker 1: We could catch the 5:34 bus

Speaker 2: What time’s the 5:34 bus?

Said on a drunken night out. Again a conversation between Naveedh and Monty. To this day Naveedh contests that he simply thought that Monty was talking in terms of the bus’ number but I don’t believe him…

You would need  a tranquilliser to get me into bed.

Yes, I know a very questionable sentence – and again this came from Naveedh (are you starting to see a pattern here?)

I would believe you even if you told me the sky was blue!

Okay. *sighs* This one MAY have been me. It was. But let me just clarify that it was night time when this was said and the sky was pitch black. But yes, I still know how silly it sounds.

It feels like Naveedh is inside of me.

This is Kumar’s one and only quote on the board. And he himself would like you all to know that the original quote is actually missing (yeah right). To give some context I believe Naveedh simply said exactly what was on Kumar’s mind at the time.

And our final quote  *drum roll*

If you ever need someone to try on your tights, my pants will come right off!

Can you guess who said it? Yes, that’s right Naveedh again. He was very very drunk at the time and came into my room when me and some other people were putting away my tights. I jokingly said he could wear them if he wanted and thinking himself Robin Hood at the time… well this was what left his mouth… Oh dear….

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this humorous post. I have plenty more quotes than that as well so I might do another post like this (at my poor flatmates expense but also at my own).

I also have two more reviews on there way, that I will be posting within the next two days. One of them is La La Land (BOOOOOOTIFUL) and the other is Kwaidan a 1964 Japanese horror anthology movie.

I promise I will actually do some book reviews too at some point, just degree reading has been putting me behind in that aspect.

Thanks for reading!

-E xxx

 

 

Posted in film reviews

Movie Review:Austenland

So I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really read much Austen… or any to be fair. I attempted Emma and hated the character so much darcythat it put me off of her other works. Which are currently still sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust.

But after watching the film Austenland for the second time in a row, I have to admit that I think I’m ready to take on Mr Darcy.

So the story revolves around an Austen mad girl that’s never been lucky in love because she’s dealing with 21st century men. Her way of solving this issue is spending all her savings on going on holiday to England, to Austenland. Yep, you’ve guessed it the guests live out a regency style fantasy with actors that they fall in love with. But as with all things, reality and fantasy gets intertwined and confused and Jane is stuck in the middle wandering what it is she really wants.

tally-hoSo there’s a whole load of strapping young men and one Jane, even though she got the crappy copper package at Austenland, I bet you can already predict that there’s going to be a lot of men to choose from…

I have to admit one of my favourite parts was Mrs. Charming, the fellow American women who turns up there. She’s absolutely hilarious, albeit quite vague minded.

I won’t spoil anything more for you there, but the cast is full of cooky and brilliant characters and honestly this is one of my favourite feel-good movies. funny-austen

I give it a 5/5 review if you like rom-coms, cheesy characters and lots of giggles. And oh yeah, Jane Austen obviously hehe. I feel like the gifs reflect how great this movie is in my
eyes. So head up onto netflix and get watching- oooh and let me know in the comments about what you thought.

Merry Christmas! Or tally- ho in Mrs. Charmings case haha!

-E

xxx

Posted in Diary Entry

I Should Be Dressed Right Now.

Hi guys, I just thought I’d do a bit of an update before I go out to finish my Christmas shopping (yes I know, I am very disorganised).

I am back from uni for a little while and trying to get my life into order before January exams. You can imagine how well that’s going for me, right?

But yes, I am currently sitting on my bed procrastinating in my dressing gown and with a towel on my head. There is a ginger cat to my side and The Maine playing in the background (shout out to Holly – I know you’re reading this).

And I’m going to Kathryn’s tonight for her birthday with all the rest of the girlies and I’m feeling very nervous to say the least. I hope Beth likes her Secret Santa Gift, I did try hard. I also have to print off some pictures in town and finish off the photo album for Alex. I glitterhave become very DIY since going to university I must say. Especially after the Glitter Catastrophe that went down in the kitchen when I tried to make a backdrop for our drama assessment.

There is still glitter in that kitchen to this day. I swear to God I’m not even kidding ya.

Anyway, I just thought I’d fill you in that yes I am alive and if you haven’t been able to tell I have really been loving writing short stories of late.

beutI think I’m also going to go on to do a writing series on Shakespeare, specifically his second tetralogy seeing as that’s what I’ve got an exam in in…. exactly one month. So that’ll be Quick Tips on Richard 2nd, Henry 4th Part 1 and 2, and Henry 5th. Also all the critical theory that goes behind it. Sounds fun, right? Oh, and some reviews of the film versions too!

But anyway, I don’t know how much I’ll get to post tomorrow seeing as there’s a lot going on. But I’ll try to get something out if possible!

Speak soon,

-E

xxx

Posted in Diary Entry, Student Story Time

Student Story Time: A Not So Sober Night

I really need my titles to be a tad more inventive.

Oh well it sums it up quite nicely don’t you think?

Basically in true student fashion I experienced some horrifying flash backs to a drunken night that happened the Friday before last night that my brain had been trying desperately to conceal from me for as long as possible.drunk-meme

Thanks brain *pats head* but we all knew this day would come.

So let me fill you guys in. It was Friday Booze Night as my flat mate Molly likes to say (every nights booze night to her though so don’t be fooled into thinking this was a special occasion) and everyone was congregating in our kitchen when I broke out the wine. Now, I had a bad day and so in true Esther fashion popped down to the Sainsbury’s and picked out the highest percent but cheapest wine there.

It was no Tesco Straw Hat* believe you me! This stuff was very very rancid so I applaud myself for drinking as much of it as I did.

But then I noticed out of the corner of my eye Sonia breaking out her precious Fireball whisky. Hmmmm went my brain as I sneakily poured myself some.

Anyone who knows me understands that I have the sweetest tooth known to mankind – let’s be honest my working at a newsagents for two years probably didn’t help the matter and my parents have in fact informed me that since leaving they have saved a lot of money on granulated sugar.

gotSo, we all know how this story is going to go. I downed lots of whisky, went a bit crazy, my flat mate Naveedh had to hide the alcohol from me and has videos of me falling all over the place as you do.

And then the nausea hit me. Like a tonne of bricks. I flew to the toilet and proceeded to throw up. I still shiver at the thought of me touching that disgusting communal toilet. After that I flopped to the ground and Naveedh and Ian proceeded to lift me up and the others tried to get too my room in one piece.

Then Molly let loose her battle cry, “Spooooooooooooooooooooons!”

At those words my head sprung up- and all of a sudden I was determined to make it to Spoons.

Olyvia struggled against me as I tried to get past her to join Molly on her drunken journey to the pub. But Olyvia was having none of it. After thirty seconds of struggling she threw wallme and I “rag dolled” as we are now calling and flew through the air and hit my head against the concrete wall.

This part I remember very clearly, I blacked out for about five seconds and came too to the familiar voices around me.

“She’s dead, you killed her!” Naveedh exclaimed.

To which Olyvia amusingly replied, “Nah she’s fine, she’s still breathing.”

I awoke after that and the rest of the night was characterised by a lot of upchucking- I refuse to say chundered- and lots of honest talking, bawling and laughing on my part. Most of which I don’t remember and wish for it to stay that way.

The next day I was going on a day out with the knitting society to Bakewell and lets just say I woke up wondering why I was wearing a bambi nighty with pikachu shorts…

My fashion sense when drunk clearly isn’t the best to say the least.

-E

P.S. This might become a new segment on my blog of all the weird things that have happened to me as a student. I’m going clubbing next Tuesday for my birthday and I’m certain that there will definitely be a story there.