Saturday, 6 October 2012

Childhood Dreams

When Do We Grow Up?

Beautiful things I remember seeing as a girl, why can't I see them anymore? - Natalie Oliveri

That quote is the first line of lyrics in Natalie Oliveri's song, Childhood Dreams. The song's title pretty much speaks for itself, but the song is about the childlike innocence and playful personalities we used to have as a kid. When we grow up we lose that amazing innocence, and life becomes difficult and fragile. We used to have arguments and then sweetly forgive each other the next day; now, we call each other a slut and/or have a fist fight. The lyrics I chose to put above are the ones that spoke out the most to me in the song. When we were young it was like we wore protective goggles - everything we saw was beautiful and content, and then suddenly some asshole ripped those goggles off our face and spat at us. With... life.

So, when do those goggles come off? When do we grow up? Under America's and the UK's law, we legally become an adult at 18. We can vote, we can drink alcohol (UK only), we can get a tattoo, and we can even adopt a child. A lot of people may feel like an adult at 18, a lot of people may not. Half of 18 year olds will spend all their time drinking and splashing away their money, so I don't think they are an adult. I think you're an adult when you take responsibility for yourself. This will probably be when you realise you've had that innocence taken away from you. So, when we grow up, what do we do? How should we behave?

Just because you're an adult with responsibilities, it doesn't mean you have to be an insipid douchebag. So many of us still have that childlike energy. It's the thing that keeps us happy and interesting. Don't ever ask yourself, 'am I too weird?' Or, 'am I too hyper for an adult?' (Well, don't be an obnoxious hyper adult)! Being weird is better than being normal and boring - don't grow up completely; the world is already filled with too many boring people. 

Kimbra recently made a song with Mark Foster (from Foster The People, LOVE them), called Warrior. The song is similar to Childhood Dreams. Kimbra herself said: 'It's funny as you grow up, you start to lose your childlike sense of aura on the world - and the song is about fighting for that sense of wonder and maintaining that childlike perspective on the world. And not letting everyone explain everything away from you, so that it takes away the magic.'

I couldn't have said it better myself. Acknowledge your beautiful and vivacious personality, and embrace it. Be a warrior and don't forget your childhood dreams.

Thank you to Natalie Oliveri for inspiring this blog post. Be sure to check out her song Childhood Dreams here (it's REALLY good) She's an amazing lyricist and has a beautiful voice.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Horror Films - What Scares YOU?

The Power Of Imagination...

'Demons to some. Angels to others.' - Pinhead, Hellraiser

Pinhead, from Hellraiser.
Above is my favourite quote from one of my two favourite horror films, Hellraiser. My other favourite is another classic, Halloween, made in 1978. Halloween is John Carpenter's best masterpiece, in my opinion. So, if you haven't gathered yet, in this post I'm going to discuss horror films. Some people like them, some people love them, some people hate them. Most people who hate them will have one or both of the following reasons as to why they dislike them: they either think they're not scary, and they're overdone and ridiculous; or they don't like being terrified by the few horrors that are truly scary. I can understand both of these reasons - if you don't like being scared, fair enough. I agree that most of the horror films out there aren't scary. But I disagree with you if you say none of them are scary. And this is what I want to talk about.

Everyone is scared by different things - I'm personally scared by the unknown, and the things that intrude our imagination when our brains imagine something petrifying. No amount of gore or death scares me; I've desensitised myself from gore by growing up secretly watching plenty of horror films! I always wanted to be a surgeon when I was younger because I loved blood so much - it wasn't until recently that I realised you need to be good at science for that *laughs at self, then looks down with disappointment*. Even though I'm not scared by gore, I do enjoy a good gory film such as Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday The 13th. Countless random people being butchered can actually act as a good stress ball, for people with lots of built up anger like me (I'm kind of joking). But, when a film uses the power of imagination to scare you, I think that's movie magic. It's what made Halloween and the first Paranormal Activity so fantastic.

Michael Myers, the killer from the Halloween Series.
The mask from Halloween is just f***ing horrifying. It's so vague and blank, yet it still manages to scare the s**t out of you. We can't help but imagine what's behind that mask - what goes through the mind of the person wearing it. That's what terrifies us, our thoughts of all the things that could be behind that mask. It's not the same with films like Scream and Friday The 13th, maybe it's the detail in the mask, but it's mainly because we know about the person behind the masks. Rob Zombie recently made two remakes of the first two Halloween films. I can say two good things about them: I'd say they act as good stand alone films, but not as a part of the Halloween series; and he actually emphasised just how amazing the originals are. He made good films - they explored Michael's (the serial killer) past, and had a lot more detail in the plot. He created good death scenes and he actually gave a great sense of realism. However, to me, his films weren't horror - I wasn't scared by Michael, and this just made the film feel more like a thriller. He showed Michael's identity, and even as an adult he showed his face (not in great detail, but still). This ruined the mystery and the unknown factor, and it wasn't like the originals. Still, Rob Zombie did us a favour by emphasising just how creepy the originals are.

Paranormal Activity.
Something that REALLY annoys me is when people criticise Paranormal Activity for the fact that 'it's just a door swinging open and bedsheets moving.' Ok, the second and third (and fourth, by the looks of the trailer) are complete and utter crap, but you can't criticise the first one. It was made with just $15,000 and it's sparked almost a whole new genre of films. If the film didn't scare you, you have no imagination and/or no respect for film making. It's exactly the same as The Blair Witch Project, it's the thing we don't know that terrifies us. The ending scene for both of these films are horrible - I remember watching Paranormal Activity for the first time and begging my mum to turn off the TV as I heard the stomping noises. I literally wanted to kill myself, I couldn't deal with what was about to happen. It's in those ten seconds that you're thinking, 'what the f***ing f*** is going to appear on my f***ing screen?!' Another one of my favourite horror films is Rec, a relatively modern Spanish film. In the last scene it's almost pitch black but you see this skinny-raggy-demon-thing walking around trying to find this helpless woman. I was on my own that time and I actually turned my TV off. I re-watched it, of course.

The super sexy demon from Rec.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, the power of imagination is something that should be used more regularly in today's horror films. If you can master it and create a good film out of it, you're a genius. You're also awesome for not making another generic horror film that just isn't scary. 

Thanks to Nathan for inspiring today's blog post!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

LiamJGreen's Fundamental Tips To Life: #1 Have a Role Model

Have a Role Model

"How're you gonna be a black role model if you never had one?!" - 30 Rock, S06E22

Ok, so maybe that quote doesn't apply to all of you, but... the point still stands. As this quote is said to Tracy in one of my favourite shows, 30 Rock, he realises that he needs a role model. It's true, everyone does. A lot of people don't have one - my friend, Lauren, has been struggling recently with things concerning her future. I asked her what ambitions she has, what she wants to do.
'Do you not have a role model?' I gasped, and as she replied with a firm, 'no', I realised the importance of people to aspire to.

Sarah Silverman!
For me, I have a few. When I'm older I plan on being a filmmaker, so, in those terms, my role model is Quentin Tarantino. He's made films such as Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill, Jackie Brown - just to name a few. Sixties and seventies films inspired him, and he inspired me. In terms of life in general, I have a few role models - Sarah Silverman, J.K. Rowling, Tina Fey and Geena Davis. These people, specifically Sarah, have simply helped me get on with... life. They've shaped my personality, and helped me get over humps in my life. As a sufferer of clinical depression, I've found that (apart from huge doses of music) role models can act as antidepressants. They show you who you can be, who you want to be and who you're supposed to be. They become the paradigms of happiness in your insipid life - and when you're as solitary as me, or your life is as mundane as mine, this can be relieving.

So, you're not really interested in current day's society, or you really have no idea what you want to do with your life? The answer is this: you already have a role model. It's you. A role model influences someone's life, and while I look up to others to believe in myself, at the end of the day, my role model is me. You influence yourself. You decide who you want to be, you decide who you're going to be. Be your own role model, live your life - then be someone else's. Light up someone's life - if it be your fans, your friends, your family - teach them how to believe in others, then teach them how to believe in themselves. Because, eventually it falls to you to remove the solitude and mundanity from your life.