Fall Anthems

I’m a lazy toad at the best of times but there is one physical activity that is totally my jam and that’s walking in the Autumn.

It harks back to my time living alone in Vancouver, a very introspective period of my life. While I was doing my ‘single life’ navel gazing, there were a couple of tunes that just kept popping up as I stomped about getting shit done.

I’m a creature of habit really, so if a song makes my rotation, it very rarely gets booted off again. So I’m basically listening to these songs still, my Fall anthems. In no particular order:

  • Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
  • Everywhere – Bran Van 3000
  • Army of Me – Bjork
  • Be The One – The Ting Tings
  • Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Cheap & Cheerful – The Kills
  • Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
  • Rhiannon – Stevie Nicks
  • Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry

I don’t think these songs need any introduction, I just love them, and feel strong and motivated when I listen them. I actually might go out for a little wander around the park in a bit, those fallen leaves aren’t going to crunch themselves underfoot.

You can have a cheeky listen to my Autumn Jams here:

What are your favourites?

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Autumn Bucket List

I haven’t really planned much for Autumn apart from my trip, which in itself is a pretty cool thing to cross off the bucket list. I’ve always wanted to visit Copenhagen, so I guess I’ll start there.

These are the things I’ll be doing this Autumn, in no particular order.

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Copenhagen

Tora and I have been friends for years, ever since I got back from Vancouver. My old BFF was always trying to force us together, even before I left and neither of us were that into the idea. But on our own terms we inevitably fell in love and have been close ever since. This will be our first trip away together and we can’t wait.

We have rented our own apartment about 45 minutes from where all the action happens in the city and have a very vague to-do list – I want to visit The Little Mermaid, Tivoli and the design museum and just generally mooch, and Tora’s in agreement.

This is exactly what I need right now, good company, good surroundings and a shitload of good food and drink. And as you read this I will be away enjoying myself. Catch you on the flip side.

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The Perfect PSL

In a pinch obviously Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte will do but it’s not great. Much better if you have it made with soya milk. This Fall I will be searching for the perfect PSL – I have a suspicion it’s out there somewhere just waiting for me to rescue it.

I do love a seasonal drink in the late Autumn sunshine, leaves crunching satisfyingly underfoot as I amble on my way to wherever I’m going.

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

IMDB Synopsis

As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends.

I’m quite certain Jill will be with me on this one, and I really hope it’s great. Riverdale, like Sabrina is based on the Archie comics and was a pile of trash (sometimes in a good way, ultimately not).

Any 90’s kid worth their salt had a soft spot for Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in all it’s cheesy, all-American splendor. To be able to revisit the source material with a darker twist sounds blissful and I’m very excited about it. I’ve missed Salem the cat.

Whisper after me: Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.

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Doing Nothing

There’s an art to doing nothing and I think I have it down pat. I’ll be making far less plans in the evenings and I shall be nesting with the best of them. Heaven.

What have you got planned?

Fall Projects

Autumn is my own version of Spring and when the days are bright and crisp, I’m inspired. I thought I’d let you in on one of my favourite ongoing projects and how my partner and I have been working to streamline everything for our brand new season.

I’m talking about the podcast I co-host with my friend James – it’s called All Out of Bubblegum and we’ve been doing it for two years now. I love doing it as much as I love my blog because I get to watch movies for a purpose: to talk about them with my friend to my hearts content.

We recently took an extended Summer break and have just recorded two new episodes for Season 2. The break illustrated just how much work the podcast had become in addition to our other commitments (full-time jobs, social life, other creative undertakings). Since we both love doing it so much, we never want it to feel like a chore – so we’re making some important changes.

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Seasons

We’re going to start splitting the podcast into seasons. Each Summer we’ll take a long break and when we return we’ll start in on a new Season. We’ve never done this before but I think it will break things up a bit. Season 2, Episode 1 will drop very soon – and even though it’s still the same as before, it feels like a fresh start, which is always a plus for any creative project.

Recording

Instead of recording two episodes every two weeks and posting weekly, we’re moving to monthly and posting fortnightly. This gives us more time to do our homework and actually have a life. Nobody wants their hobbies to feel like an obligation, God knows we have enough of those.

Content

I’ve been really bad about managing our marketing ‘strategy’. I share the episodes on Facebook and Twitter but that’s the bare minimum required – and I’ve forgotten about everything else.

The plan was always to pad out the episodes with opinions on films and blog posts so I’ve just set up the All Out of Bubblegum Hub. It’s still a work in progress but I’ll get there – and we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We want to beef up our content but there are no rigid rules or expectations – we do what we can, when we can – and we do it ‘cos we love it.

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We Only Review Worthwhile Things

We don’t have to love all the things we talk about – you win some, you lose some when it comes to art – but if we’re both on the same page about something that isn’t working for us, instead of enduring it, we’ll let each other know. Life is too short to sit through boring TV and films – especially when there’s so much good stuff to discover.

Zine

We’re been asked to contribute a film column to a friend of James’ zine which is exciting. It may only be quarterly and we’re not sure when but still, could be interesting…

Audience

We’ve always said we’re doing this for ourselves and that it the truth. It’s lovely when someone listens and comments on something we’ve done – but we’ll never be concerned about viewing figures (which is just as well). In fact, we’re both on the same page about what it would be like if we did have the added pressure of a decent following – it would probably freak us right out.

So for now we do this for ourselves and if anyone enjoys it – then I’m grateful.

If you’re interested, you can listen to All Out of Bubblegum here or find us on most podcast listening platforms.

Goodbye Summer

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Picture via Unsplash

How quickly we turn our backs on the summer.

As the calendar flips over to September, the dreams of Autumn begin. Talk of Christmas commences. What will we do, where will we be? Halloween goodies manifest themselves beside the mince pies, hoping desperately not to be forgotten. It’s our turn first, they insist as you pass them by.

As if Halloween isn’t the greatest holiday we have. As if Autumn isn’t the best season.

As if I haven’t been counting every day since last Autumn finished waiting for the next, daydreaming about longer sleeves and boots to crunch crispy leaves beneath.

As if I’m not Autumn’s child.

I can’t wait for the temperatures to drop, for BBC dramas to light the darker nights. For blankets and books and the hard ground. Soft jumpers and nests.

I’ve got it all planned out.

I’m done now, Summer. Move along.

 

 

Ready, Set, Done

Our ten-minute free-write is back! Have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self. Via The Daily Post

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An accurate photographical depiction of where my head’s at

I’ve recently been doing so much proofing and other stuff for work, and stressing while I do it, that my own creative endeavors, even reading my choice of literature at the end of an evening, has gone out of the window.

This is turn, I really believe, makes me a very dull human being indeed. I need to be stimulated, creating, thinking to make this thing called life work. Without it, I am nothing but a drone.

What is the point without passion? This week has been an angry week without creative joy and I know it is my responsibility, and well within my own power, to change this.

So Pretty Woman is on Netflix (hey, the soundtrack is exquisite) and I’m going to free flow this bad boy and clear my head for a fresh and exciting new week. You in?

Where to start? First off, it’s so damned cold out. Have you ever noticed that the conversation is already over the minute the person you’re speaking to starts talking about the weather? It’s such a British thing to talk about how hot/chilly/wet it is out there.

My best friend and I used to consider small talk of this nature the nail in the coffin of conversation. Working as Baristas, it’s all we’d talk about.

“How are you?”
“Cold.”
“… What can I get you?”

The Art of Conversation was not designed to be mastered over the condiment counter, of course so I probably shouldn’t be so hard on the people who have just walked in, probably to avoid talking to anybody. It’s why I go for coffee, after all – for the peace and quiet.

So it’s cold and I’m actually happy about that. Coats and boots and scarves and hot chocolate and blankets; they make me happy. PJs to walk up the road to my BFF’s house make me happy. New hats make me smile.

I like cosy. I am staunchly pro-hibernation.

I don’t like my job at the moment, despite the amazing people I work with (mostly). I like the actual work for the most part and have been given the opportunity to do a little bit of writing, which of course is what I would like to be doing professionally. But I despair of the office politics.

I feel sometimes as though I am losing myself. I hate having to bite my tongue, be patient with stupid people. I hate having to shrug and accept things that anyone can see aren’t working. Sadly, as an assistant there’s not much I can do about that right now.

Perhaps the answer is to look elsewhere for professional fulfillment but I’ve put in the time, done the work, worked my way up; why should I? I feel like I should see it through and stay committed. Like a pitbull with a bone between her teeth.

I guess all I can do is wait and see, quietly work out what’s best for me.

Elsewhere, life is good. Life is hard but good and joyful. Life would be boring if it were perfect, I guess that’s one way to look at it.

Halloween II: A Teaser

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Sure, Halloween is technically ‘over’ but I got a party to go to…

I did Halloween yesterday at work, and now it’s time for round two. I’ve been promised punch. There will be games.

I’ve got my lasso, I think I’m all set…

Happy Saturday, one and all!

Halloween Movies – My Top Picks

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Chill, Mike, I got this

As a horror freak I have always loved Halloween. It’s not as huge here as it is in the US or North America, of course but it’s still always been my very favourite holiday. Ever since my Step Son came into my life and we’ve been taking him trick or treating it’s meant even more.

I particularly respect the adults who throw themselves wholeheartedly into their chosen part on the night. This year I’ve decided to go all out and have not one but two costumes planned. The B’s are going to a Halloween house party at the Haunted House on the Hill (AKA my friend Mix’s house). She’s been planning it for months.

I will most definitely reveal more of that when I can, but I’m keeping things under wraps for now. When Mrs B goes to town, she really goes to town. Instead, let’s talk about my favourite horror films to watch in the lead up to All Hallow’s Eve, shall we?

In no particular order:

Candyman, Candyman
So good, Christina Aguilera named a song after him*

Candyman (1992)

Man, I loved this movie as a teen. It still shits me up and everything about it, from the music to the story of the how Candyman became Candyman, was spot on for me.

Virginia Madsen is crazy good as Helen, the curious grad student intent on uncovering the local legend. Question is, are you brave enough?** Candyman, Candyman, Candyman… Nope, not me.

Calm down, dear
Calm down, dear

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

One of the original ‘Video Nasties’ of the seventies, this film is older than I am (and that’s pretty ancient, let’s face it). It’s up there with one of my favourites because I find Leatherface and his family utterly fascinating.

Even more fascinating is the fact that this is loosely based on the real life of Ed Gein who was a messed up individual. Horrible, bleak and hopeless, this is the complete opposite of a feel good movie but you’ll be rooting for the hippies all the way through it, even though they’re quite annoying. Maybe.

Quitting clownin' around
Quitting clownin’ around

House of 100 Corpses/The Devils Rejects (2003/2005)

Heavily influenced by the aforementioned Chain Saw Massacre, Rob Zombie‘s seminal masterpiece(s) hold their heads high in my top ten because they’re damn good. Horrifying, creative and at times hilarious, both movies follow the lives and times of the Firefly Family, a collection of truly heinous individuals.

They might be sadistic, twisted killers but I dare you not to kind of like them.

Just chillin'
Just chillin’

Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance) (2003)

This is a French horror thriller about two college friends, Marie and Alexa, who run into trouble when they spend the night at Alexa’s parents house.

This is one of those flicks that makes you feel sick and will have you peeking out from behind a cushion until its bloody climax. Jumpy as hell and very gory (which I love), it’s a strong horror contender which manages to keep you gripped until the very end. Definitely recommended.

You've got red on you
“You’ve got red on you”

The Descent (2005)

Another movie that likes to play on multiple fears at the same time, it follows a group of women on a caving expedition after one of the gang suffers a horrible tragedy. It’s no surprise that claustrophobia plays a huge part in the overall feel of the movie but that’s the least of their worries when it all kicks off.

Rumour has it that the American release of this movie changed the ending, which enrages me, as I feel the climax is one of the best things about it. Since it’s rare to get to the end of your average horror these days without being disappointed, that’s very annoying. This might just be a rumour but since you might not have seen this move yet, I’m not saying any more. Love this film as it is.

"I just wanna Axe you a question"
“I just wanna Axe you a question”

The Shining (1980)

Until very early this year I had no idea how good (and scary) this story really is. Like many people, I adore Kubrick‘s version of The Shining and, although I never thought too hard about it, was a little bemused by Stephen King‘s hatred for it.

Now I understand that it’s merely a re-imagining and most of the very terrifying events from the book aren’t really captured in the film. I haven’t watched this since I read the book and it’s been a while, so I’m not sure my fresh understanding will alter the way I feel about it, but I hope not.

I’m happy for there to be two versions. I must admit, at first, it was hard to imagine my own Jack Torrance without Nicholson‘s insane rendition getting in the way. But I coped.

"I got the key, I got the secret"
“I got the key, I got the secret”

The Orphanage (2007)

More of a ghost story than an all-out horror flick, The Orphanage is truly spooky. One particular scene has stuck with me and has to be squeezed out of my consciousness whenever I turn out the bedroom light.

Very, very good.

Not Another French Horror Movie
Not Another French Horror Movie

Martyrs (2008)

Even sourcing a still for this post has turned my stomach a little but I do think that Martyrs deserves its place on this list. The film seems to play out in three separate acts, and tells the tale of a young woman hellbent on revenge on the people who kidnapped and tortured her as a child.

I watched it after it was highly recommended to me by my work colleague and I had no idea what was to come. In fact, I thought it would be pretty standard torture porn fare but actually it gave me so much more than that.

I can honestly say I will never watch it again, since it’s a horrible ride but I think it’s worth it for the final reveal and for the concept itself. At least it tries to be different. Oh, and it’s also French and those French do horror bloody well.

Knife to see you, to see you... knife
Knife to see you, to see you… knife

Halloween (1978)

As if any Halloween list could omit the King of all horror movies! One doesn’t simply forget to reference Michael Myers and his sister, Laurie.

This movie has everything: the plucky heroine, the escaped mental patient with a past, the slutty BFF, the score… its pure perfection really and anyone who’s anyone will fit this into their viewing schedule this October. It’s practically the law. Thanks John Carpenter, for your contribution to the tried and tested slasher movie formula.

So there you have it – my favourites.

How about you guys? Now I know some of you are big film fans so I need recommendations stat! What are you Must See/Go To Halloween Horrors and why? Don’t be shy!

skeleton-spin* not really!
** say his name 5 times in the mirror and then… POW!