Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Reviewing Old Resolutions

I found a list that I made two years ago, thought it would be fun to review it and see what I've accomplished, what I haven't and what no longer interests me. It wasn't a New Year's resolution list, I think it was just a list of targets for the summer holidays.

What really helps is to make specific targets rather than vague goals so they're more achievable and you can tick them off e.g. instead of 'take up running', I wrote 'got for a run every fortnight' (that habit never stuck).

  • Learn a song on guitar 
I learnt several songs on guitar - just chords and how to strum. I've since forgotten everything I've learnt and the guitar is gathering dust.
  • Learn 3 songs on ukulele 
Daisy the ukulele
This is now the only instrument I play. It's so easy to just pick up and strum as a break.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Lil' Bookish Christmas

I'm finally starting to feel festive - went food shopping with the family today. I volunteered to help cook and then realised I have no idea how to roast a chicken (but that's what the internet's for).

Anyway, it's cold and grey outside and everyone's tired because it's the end of the year. So, it's perfect to sit and read whilst fighting off food comas and "do you have a job yet" lectures from relatives.

'Dash and Lily's Book of Dares' - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This is my all-time favourite Christmassy book. I've started reading it every year since my younger sibling got it for me as a gift. Sixteen-year-old Lily adores Christmas - but this year her family have left her alone. Encouraged by her brother, she hides a red notebook full of dares in her favourite bookshop, waiting for the right guy to accept. Cynical and uber-snarky Dash isn't one to step down from a challenge and they send each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Tea on the Green Cafe, Exeter

Tea on the Green is one of my favourite cafes in Exeter, a place my friend Valentina and I love meeting up at for a catch up.

It's right next to Exeter Cathedral so it's beautiful to sit outside on a sunny day. They serve a range of English dishes, pastries, cream teas, coffees and, something I always look for, loose leaf teas.

The cafe's in a Grade II listed building and dates back to around 1530, so it recreates the atmosphere of an old fashioned tea room. The building was bought and the cafe opened in 2009, started by Ben Mangan, one of the founders of the Boston Tea Party chain (something I didn't know until I did some research for this post). It recently got featured on a Buzzfeed list as one of the places in the UK all tea lovers should visit.

Valentina and I went last week or so before the Christmas holidays. They have a very wide range of black, green, white, herbal and flowering teas. I got Japanese Genmaicha tea (one of my absolute favourite blends) and Valentina got Tea Burst - it blooms in hot water and it's one of her usuals. The Genmaicha is Japanese green tea with toasted rice, a warm and almost-nutty tasting tea and it was wonderful here.

They have a glass tea set and there's this fun pot which never fails to amuse me:

Saturday, 19 December 2015

'The Bosch Deception' - Alex Connor (Book Review)

In 1473, a brotherhood hides a secret within the work of the visionary Hieronymus Bosch. In modern day England Nicholas Laverne, a disgraced priest, returns with an artefact that could destroy the Church and the art world. However, secrets like that could kill.

Art, murder and the Catholic Church. No, it isn’t the Da Vinci Code. The Bosch Deception by Alex Connor has a lot of potential to be interesting; however I wished I didn’t have to read through to the end of this book.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Christmas Tag By Someone Who Doesn't Really Do Christmas

I haven't done a tag here for about three years, but I saw Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf do this (great blog, do check it out), so thought I'd have a go. I didn't realise how mellow I am about the festive season until writing this - it's never been a big deal for me but I'm slowly getting more into it over the years. Also I write the word Christmas here about a hundred times so enjoy.

1) What's your favourite Christmas movie?
      Die Hard.
      I saw something online that said there are two types of people in the world - those who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and those who are wrong. Truer words have never been spoken.
      I don't like most Christmas movies as they're too soppy and force the jingle bell gooeyness on you. However, Elf is a close second because we would always watch it in school before the Christmas break and we would quote/scream at each other "SANTA'S COMING!!! OMG!!"
      Ah, good times.

2) Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
      ...Christmas morning.
      I'm not a big Christmas person but there are just some things - what kind of monster opens them the night before??? Father Christmas hasn't delivered all the presents yet!
     I open them when I wake up on the day, sitting in my bed (would like to take the opportunity to thank all my irritating as fu- wonderful friends who put loads of glitter under the wrapping paper/in Christmas cards to spill all over me.

My silhouette interrupting a festive projection

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain Review

This is one of their best-sellers but I'm not a huge fan.

This product has been around for a long time - my big sister used to have this when I was little and I LOVED it. It was the first ever lip and cheek stain I ever tried.

So when I started to have my own money, I bought one to make me feel grown up but it's pretty disappointing. I have the rose pink and my friend got the bronze glimmer shade - she feels the same way. The product is like a lip gloss, except the liquid is much lighter. It's fairly watery and therefore difficult to apply evenly, giving me patchy stains on my lips (and dries them out). The colour intensity builds as it dries, but you have to apply quite a lot and keep touching it up.

It does stay on for around three or four hours, so you can eat and it can withstand a couple of drinks (no marks are left on cups and glasses). It's easy to wash off with water which is both good and bad - simple to rinse off at the end of the night but if you wanted it to be waterproof then it's no good. As a cheek stain, it's ok. Again, you have to slowly build up the colour but it's easy to apply.

The tint should be something easily transportable but if you don't screw it back together tightly then it can leak and cause a crimson disaster.

Overall a disappointing purchase and I won't be buying another in the future.

Price: £10 (as of Dec 2015)
Cruelty free? Kinda? The Body Shop's parent company L'Oreal. It's widely disputed in the cruelty-free blogging community whether or not The Body Shop and L'Oreal are cruelty free, so - I'll leave it to you to make up your mind. .

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Writing Update #16

The Christmas holidays are here and I am free to blog a little bit more!


  • I'm writing this on Saturday night and I have a BIG list of posts to write - some of them I've been meaning to write for months. Also, I'm going through all my drafts and figuring out what I want to write and what to delete. There's a few that are two years old...
  • I went to an event held by BedBoat Magazine. They're a small independent magazine and quite new - their first issue came out in September 2015. It was a night full of music to raise money for their second issue. I met the editors (who are really lovely), met some people and hung out with friends - just a great night with excellent music! The line-up consisted of Samuel Wulf, Velvet & Stone, and Atlas Hands. The magazine is really lovely and well made, especially for a first issue - I'll be submitting some poetry and/or article ideas.
At the Bike Shed Theatre with BedBoat Magazine
  • The playwriting group I joined two months ago has disbanded as the founder moved away! Oh well, I'm going to persevere with this script anyway. 
  • Working on a new radio play series, need to get the idea ok-ed before work can begin.


I am utterly obsessed with Owl City. As winter progresses and days get darker, I've been looking for something to brighten my day. Owl City is so bright and cheery it's like liquid sunshine is being poured into my ears. 

I've loved his music for about 6 years now. Like most people, I discovered him from his track 'Fireflies' which was HUGE in 2009. I wish I knew about him before, as his earlier experimental music is really gorgeous, especially the Sky Sailing project. His music has beautiful story-telling lyrics and he's got a day-dreamy boyish singing voice. 

Real Life and Other Nonsense

  • I got my essays back - received a first on both of them!!! Very very happy, had pizza to celebrate. 
  • Term has ended, and it'll be my final Christmas break filled with studying and essay writing which is an odd thought.
  • I've been getting back in doing little comics/doodles and leaving them where I go - my friend Emily suggested I take sticky notes with me, which is a much better idea than constantly ripping out pages from my little sketchpad.
One of my favourite doodles

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'A Christmas Carol' - Exeter Northcott (8 Dec 2015)

This review was originally written for The Review Hub

Writer: Charles Dickens
Adaptor: Katherine Senior
Director: Amanda Knott
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Exeter Northcott and Creative Cow collaborate to adapt Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge, literature’s most famous miser, despises Christmas and those who celebrate it. However, on Christmas Eve he is visited by supernatural beings who seek to show him the true festive spirit and the error of his ways.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Writing Update #15

Uni work piled up and my writing has been slow but here we go:

  • I've been going to quite a lot of theatre shows to review them for The Reviews Hub. I went to see Ensuite (a coming of age one man show), an opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and Simon Armitage's new play Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead. All really good shows, writing reviews is a tough challenge especially when it gets to about 1am but it's worth it!
  • Going to write a play script for the first time - I'm trying to write as many formats as possible. So far I've done poetry, short stories, had a go at a novel, scripts for screen and radio - now it's theatre. Starting was scary as I have no experience with playwriting and since I review shows, it would be really hypocritical if I wrote something abysmal. After some flapping about with nerves, I just dived in and started. The best way to learn is to do it. 

  • I went to see Frank Turner at Bristol and it was one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to. Frank Turner is folk-punk and he writes the most beautifully honest songs with incredible storytelling lyrics. Also, this was show 1791 for him - the man REALLY knows how to play a gig. 

The Reviews Hub: 'The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead' - Exeter Northcott (25 Nov 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Simon Armitage
Director: Nick Bagnall
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“Grief for the missing is worse than the grief for the dead.”
A high-ranking government minister is sent abroad to Istanbul as a representative on a diplomatic mission. Smith is a man who has already missed too many birthdays and hospital visits, been too absent from home, when a bar room brawl makes him Europe’s most wanted man overnight. On the run from higher powers, he begins his odyssey.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Kukadoodles Visiting Cakeadoodledo

Not going to lie, I was interested in Cakeadoodledo mainly because it sounds so similar to my internet name. Also, I'd been hearing really good things about this little cafe so I roped in my friend Nickie for a coffee date.

It's roughly two seconds away from Exeter Cathedral, and it's a tiny place. There's only about five tables but it manages to be cosy rather than claustrophobic, with a light and airy feel. It also has a lovely garden with more seating. They sell their books, aprons, jars of jam and kitchenware in the shop as well, and it's nice to peruse the stock whilst you're waiting for your food.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'The Tales of Hoffmann' - Exeter Northcott Theatre (19 Nov 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Composer: Jacques Offenbach
English Version: Jeff Clarke
Director: James Bonas
Conductor: Philip Sunderland
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Based on E T A Hoffman’s dark and twisted short stories The Sandman, Councillor Crespel and The Adventures of New Year’s Eve, the English Touring Opera brings its version of Jacques Offenbach’s operatic adaptation to the Northcott. The character Hoffman (Sam Furness) sits in a tavern in an alcoholic stupor, surrounded by drunken friends. He recounts his three former lovers and how each romance came to its doomed end.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Ensuite' - The Bike Shed (4 Nov 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Hugh McCann
Director: Tom Nicholas 
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Ensuite is Hugh McCann’s debut play, a coming of age story about his brief time at university as he tries and ultimately fails to become his ideal of an ‘Art Student’.
It’s immensely funny with an edge of the surreal to it. The set has about 26 swimming noodles suspended from the ceiling, through which McCann weaves in and out to tell his story. He begins the play with a relatable awkward enthusiasm for university life, leading the audience on his drug-filled journey through art lectures, bizarre parties with Björk and hiding in his ensuite bathroom smoking until he drops out.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Writing Update #14

Make yourself a big cup of tea - there's been a lot of things happening!

  • I mentioned the sci-fi radio play in the last post - it's been made! Over the last month we (myself and the head of scripted) cast and recorded the play. I directed and edited, the first time I've done both and learnt a lot. It's so amazing following the process of your writing come to life - the words on the pages have voices and expressions, you layer sounds and make last minute edits and it's alive! It's alive!
Click the image to hear the play!

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'The Talisman' - Bike Shed Theatre (30 Sept 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: W.W Jacobs
Adapters: Ripple & Nick Discombe
Director: David Prescott
Reviewer: Christy Ku
The Talisman updates W.W. Jacobs’ short story The Monkey’s Paw, creating a spooky and modern, but faithful, play. Amanda and Gary are a couple hopelessly deep in debt when Gary’s friend returns from war and hands them an ancient talisman. It has the power to grant three wishes – but the wishes are cursed…

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Mayor and James' - Cygnet Theatre (26 Sept 2015, Live Music)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Musicians: Simon Mayor and Hilary James
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Mandolin music, dry wit and songs about turkeys – it can only be Simon Mayor and Hilary James. Mayor is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, columnist and one of the world’s leading mandolinists. He tours with long-term partner Hilary James, a singer and fellow multi-instrumentalist. Together, they play folk music with an interest in children’s music.

The Reviews Hub: 'Flare Path' - Exeter Northcott Theatre (23 Sept 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Terence Rattigan
Director: Justin Audibert
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Set in World War Two, Patricia (Olivia Hallinan) is a former actress and wife of RAF pilot Teddy (Alastair Whatley). When her former flame and Hollywood icon Peter Kyle (Leon Ockenden) arrives and her husband is called on a dangerous mission over Germany, their seemingly perfect marriage is tested to the limits.
From the moment you enter the theatre, you feel yourself being immersed in the world of Flare Path. The action takes place in the lobby of the Old Falcon Hotel, a simple-looking but carefully designed set. The jagged metal framing of the stage juxtaposes the warm wooden furniture and reminds the audience of how fragile a thing safety was when attempting to live a wartime life.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Beyond Expectations', Cygnet Theatre (06 June 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Charles Dickens
Adaptors: Martin Levinson and Avril Silk
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“What are we but agents in the lives of others.”
Beyond Expectations is a retelling of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Untold Theatre seeks to make Estella, one of literature’s most famous femmes fatales, the focal point of their play.
Estella’s birth mother, Molly (Brooke Andersen) has a stronger role in this version. A gypsy in the original tale, the theme of tarot cards runs throughout the show – something the writer Avril Silk may have gained knowledge of through her background of teaching and working with gypsy travellers. Andersen plays both of Estella’s mothers; Molly and Miss Havisham, creating a connection between the two otherwise utterly different characters.

The Reviews Hub: '603 Miles', Cygnet Theatre (06 June 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Writer: Marion MacBeth
Director: Mark Sidey
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Two estranged brothers, one urn full of their dad’s ashes and a long journey to Ireland.
The play’s story is simple, and has a lot of potential to be both humorous and touching. Yet, it struggles to deliver either well. It’s a fun play with lots of comic moments, but they generate chuckles rather than laughs. The punch lines are too obvious with generally poor comic timing from the actors.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'So It Goes', Bike Shed Theatre (26 May 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub on 26 May 2015

Creators and Directors: Hannah Moss & David Ralfe
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“I’m not speaking. It’s easier.”
For several years after the death of her father, Hannah Moss found it hard to talk about him. Grief is difficult to discuss, and Moss discovered a way to do so in So it Goes – without speaking. Full of fabulously awkward dancing and immensely touching moments, this is a truly beautiful theatre show.
Moss connects with the audience on a deep, personal level from the moment she steps onto the stage, as she looks closely at them and smiles. It’s a self-conscious play as she talks about scenes she likes, and frequently breaks the fourth wall to speak to the audience. Joined by David Ralfe, they communicate through the use of whiteboards and hand drawn cardboard signs. The strong friendship between the two actors is apparent and they have a fantastic chemistry.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Reviews Hub: '64 Squares' Bike Shed Theatre (20 May 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub 

Writer: Stefan Zweig
Adaptor and Director: Christopher Harrisson
Reviewer: Christy Ku
“When he sleeps, he dreams in black and white.”
In 1939, B finds himself on board a luxury cruise liner, playing against one of the world’s greatest chess champions during a storm. However, B is not one person – but four, and they’re all trying to remember how he got there.
When the four cast members enter, the unreality begins. Through ebbs and rushes of energy, drum beats and sweeping language, 64 Squares unfolds the story using themes of lost memories, identity and sanity.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures - Episode 1 Review

The KickThePJ team have delivered one of the their most ambitious projects yet. Originating as a short film funded by New Form Digital on YouTube, Oscar's Hotel For Fantastical Creatures now become a six-part web series available on Vimeo On Demand.

The eccentric Oscar (Andrew Ableson) and his nephew Oliver (Chris Kendall) run a hotel for strange and fantastical creatures. Soon, Oscar leaves for cosmic council duties and Oliver, the only human in the place, must manage the hotel and all its surreal adventures.

Available on Vimeo On Demand

Episode 1, The Party Nightmare was released on Tues 15 September 2015 and it wasn't long before the Oscar's Hotel hashtag became the top trend in the UK. Director and creator PJ Liguori had been releasing behind-the-scenes snippets and photos on his side channel and Instagram for several months and the audience have been waiting impatiently.

In the first episode, Oscar's advert is failing to attract interesting clients, especially with the Dull Head twins (Joe Bereta and Elliott Morgan) bringing down the mood. Resorting to desperate measures, Oliver phones up the Party Nightmare (Jake Roper) - an "insane boogie gun wielding demon horse" - which brings disastrous results...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Classics I Haven't Read But Probably Should

I've been in education for 16 years, and studying English Lit at university for two years. I confess - there's a lot of big titles I haven't read. Try not to explode from indignation.

I based most of this list on the standard Western canon - so lots of books by old dead white men. If you have recommendations please let me know!

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'Extravaganza at Exeter Phoenix' (27 Aug 2015)

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub 

Devised: The Company
Reviewer: Christy Ku

Four men, two unicycles, one unitard. Le Navet Bete and their troupe of modern clowns bring out their craziest show again.

A company in residence at the Phoenix Arts Centre, the stage is their home. They become unruly adolescents whose parents are away for a holiday, opening the house for a madcap party. To warm up the crowd, Hans wanders among the seats and the bar, greeting everyone. He does a fantastic job – with his charisma, the audience connects with him immediately and feels comfortable. This later becomes crucial due to the amount of audience participation in this show – expect to be serenaded at some point.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Writing Update #13

Contain your excitement - this writing update is actually going out on time.

I've written SO MUCH! Here's a run down:
  • Finished a poem, currently reworking an old one and working on a new one. I've signed up to compete in my university's poetry slam (my first ever one) so I'm both excited and terrified. I'll try and record my performance(s) to share. 
  • Screen scripts; I've been working on a series and I just need to finish off all the drafts. If all goes well, it'll be made but that won't be for several months. Also, I have an idea for a satire on student politics, but that depends on if I can work with a team of writers - felt this wasn't a one person job. 
  • Radio scripts: I'm revamping the old jazz cafe idea (again). I've stripped it down (again) as I think I've finally found a way for it to work. More on that another time. 
Lots of writing makes me happy. Although, now there's a little voice saying my drive will soon run out and I'll be lying on the floor making carpet angels of uninspired misery. Thanks dude. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Student Journal, Review: 'The Honeymoon Hotel' by Hester Browne

Originally published on The Student Journal, November 2014.

Christy Ku reviews The Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne: 'predictable but fabulous'.

Welcome to the Bonneville Hotel, a former refuge for royalty and movie stars. Full of beautiful suites, ballrooms and a glamorous history, the hotel is being transformed into the wedding venue with the work of Events Manager, Rosie. Focused and ambitious, she tries to live her ideal London life. She has a respected food critic, Dominic, as a boyfriend and is in charge of the biggest, high-profile wedding the hotel has ever seen; there's nothing to stop her. Until, of course, she stumbles across a half-naked man in the honeymoon suite; Joe, the eccentric and outspoken son of the hotel owner...

The Honeymoon Hotel was the perfect book to be reading on the train home after attending a London wedding show with my sisters (the eldest is to be married, Miss Austen). Upon reading the blurb, I was worried that it would have a generic business-woman chick-lit plot. We know what that is: the typical ‘I-have-no-time-my-for-own-love-life’ female protagonist suddenly meets the gorgeous (but annoying) guy and they argue for every chapter...until they ultimately end up together. The plot was exactly that, and entirely predictable. And it was utterly fabulous.
We know what’s going to happen in the story. Browne addresses the problem of this clichéd plot commonly found in so many similar books by challenging it in the very first paragraph of chapter one; “People make a lot of assumptions about wedding planners. Either we’re hopeless romantics (I’m not). Or we’re terminal singletons (I live with my boyfriend)”. She sets the story up to be different, but ultimately it falls back into the typical plot line anyway. But, everything is written and created so amusingly that it makes the book such a fun read.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Writing Update #12

Haven't done one in a while, so let's go!

  • I've set myself a target of writing 5 scripts this summer - I've written 3 so far. One was for radio, a sci-fi set in space and the other two are for TV; a series of Halloween themed sketches and another one set in the future where clean air is a commodity.
  • Still writing for The Public Reviews, been going to Edinburgh previews and providing feedback for companies before they went up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sadly, I'm too southern and poor to go up there. 
  • I've had an idea for a novel for a very long time, and I've finally started on it. As it's early days, I won't disclose too much, as new ideas are always fragile. But, I'm announcing that it exists so I commit to it. 

  • My uni's male acapella group, Semi-Toned are really good. One of my friends is in it, and their mash-up of Rich Man by Gwen Stefani and  Eve & Fiddler on the Roof currently has over 55,000 views on YouTube. They won Overall UK University Champions at this year's Voice Festival and are selling out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Check them out:

Real Life and Other Nonsense
  • I have a real job now! I work in an office and basically help everyone. Lots of filing and photocopying. Paper cuts sustained: 2. 
  • Suffering from envy as everyone is going to Summer In The City or Edinburgh Fringe. 
  • Been playing around with shooting videos and editing, so look out for things related to that!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Exeposé Features: 'Waxwork Zoella in Madame Tussauds: Has YouTube fame gone too far?'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 5 May 2015. Click the image to read the full article.

Christy Ku shares her thoughts on YouTube fame and to what extent it is truly deserved…
1 May 2015 marked ten years of YouTube. This video sharing platform has transformed many people’s lives, becoming a place to share music, original films, videos of animals – and has allowed the rise of the ‘vlogger’ (video blogger).

Vloggers generally earn money through ad revenue (the bigger the view count, the more money earnt), and occasionally through sponsorship with companies. For many, the income earned from what started as a hobby has become enough for vlogging to be their full-time job. Notable British vloggers include Dan Howell (danisnotonfire), Phil Lester (AmazingPhil), Joe Sugg (ThatcherJoe) and of course, his big sister Zoe Sugg (Zoella) and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog).
Vlogging has also given YouTubers many different opportunities including their own merchandise, presenting on Radio 1, launching makeup ranges and securing book deals – you may have heard of Sugg’s notorious ghost-written debut book.
Now, Sugg’s and Deyes’ fame is being cemented (well, melted and moulded) in the form of wax figures for Madame Tussauds in London. The same criticisms are surfacing again: “Do they really deserve this kind of – or any – fame?” “Why don’t they get a real job?” “Aren’t they all just rich white kids with a camera?” It’s just like old people tutting at kids these days with their new gadgets.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Exeposé Music, Album Review - 'Emilie Nicolas – Like I’m a Warrior'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 7 July 2015. Click the image to read the full article.

With its release due this Tuesday, Christy Ku reviews the latest release from rising Norwegian vocalist and composer, Emilie Nicolas, Like I’m A Warrior. 
“Don’t call me lazy, I go down on him daily”

Emilie Nicolas
Like I’m A Warrior
RCA, 7 July 2015

“It will get stormy”, Emilie Nicolas croons angelically on the opening track to her upcoming debut album Like I’m a Warrior. Tipped to be the next big thing in Scandinavia, and with stamps of approval from Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Greg James, her ice-cool sound is coming to the UK shores. 

Grown Up - Emilie Nicolas

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Exeposé Music, Interview - 'An Interview with David Craft'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 27 Nov 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Could you tell us about yourself and your music? How did you get into it and what influences your work?
I’m a songwriter from the hills of Perth, Western Australia. I think growing up in a small town shielded me a bit from the commercialism and capitalism of the modern world which taught me a lot about appreciating timeless music and art. I spent most of my youth listening to old folk and blues records, which I think still shines through the songs I write today.

How do you feel about winning the Best Folk Act award from WAM?

I’ve spent most of my life admiring folk music and the history of folk in general so it feels pretty nice to be considered a “folk singer”. Folk music to me is songs about people and sharing ideas. I try to execute those exact qualities in my songwriting. Sometime I fail and sometimes it works.

Smokey Lungs and Dirty Puns

Saturday, 8 August 2015

First Impressions: BB Seaweed, Fresh Face Mask from Lush

I'm in love, I'm obsessed.

The very nice lady in Lush recommended this one to me after I described my skin type (sensitive, dry and I'm currently having a little outbreak across my face).

Key ingredients in this little pot of magic:

  • Seaweed - strengthens and revitalises.
  • Honey - an antiseptic, which is super important as keeping your skin clean and healthy will prevent infection and help the spots go away.
  • Aloe vera - soothing. Basically in every soothing/sensitive skin product ever. 
  • Rose - moisturises and it smells gawjus. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Exeposé Screen, Review - 'Fargo'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 2 May 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Murder, Martin Freeman and a bit of snow, Christy Ku reviews Channel 4’s darkly comic adaptation of Fargo. 
Several things started to attract me to this show; the dark humour, the dramatic trailer, Martin Freeman doing an American accent.

Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) is stuck in his mundane existence as an unsuccessful insurance salesman, and unhappily married to his demanding wife. But with the arrival of hit-man Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) murder comes to the small snowy town. Lester’s encounter with the strange and disturbing man leads him on a path of destruction.

This version of Fargo is a ten part TV remake of the original American film by the Coen brothers. The sinister crime-comedy film was released in 1996, winning Academy awards and BAFTAs.

Now – a confession – I haven’t seen the film. But, whilst I can’t give you a comparison of the film and the TV show, at least this article will be free from ‘which is better the original vs. the remake’ and focus on the show itself.
The show opens with ‘this is a true story’ – which is annoying, because it never is. The story is gripping; the viewer watches the disaster unfold, bit by bit, murder after murder in the small town.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Exeposé Features - 'YouTubers: Taking Advantage of "Celebrity"?'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 26 April 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Recently the YouTube community has been rocked by allegations of an under age sex scandal, Christy Ku looks at the development of events and how this has impacted the online YouTube community. 

Over the past month, allegations of sexual abuse and emotional manipulation against certain members of the YouTube community have emerged, specifically against video bloggers (vloggers) and musicians Tom Milson and Alex Day.  These accusations are not currently a legal matter; however they have been taken seriously by their label DFTBA Records and by fellow YouTubers.
Initially, a girl named Olga Breslavets spoke out about her six month relationship with Tom Milson, which was emotionally abusive, beginning when she was fifteen and he was twenty one.  Seemingly encouraged, several others have also stepped out with their allegations against Alex Day, detailing emotional and sexual manipulation, as well as adultery. Whilst Milson has remained silent on the matter, Day has produced two statements on his Tumblr account. At first, he writes that “At no point in my life have I ever had a sexual relationship with someone under the age of consent [or] ever undertaken any romantic activity, sexual or otherwise, without being sure the other person wanted it.” However, his later post appeared to contradict his previous statement; “the result of that belief is that ‘only no means no’, is that I spend a long part of my life doing shitty things to good people and barely ever realising or acknowledging that I was doing the shitty things”. He has since asked DFTBA Records to take down his merchandise.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Exeposé Features, 'Halal Hysteria'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 24 May 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Is it political correctness gone mad? Should it be Britain first? Or is it the media’s attempt to stir up Islamophobia and oppose ‘Muslim food’? Christy Ku investigates. 
Subway announced that they would provide Halal-only meat at some of their stores, a few days before The Sun published its front page ‘reveal’ on Wednesday 7 May that the chicken used by Pizza Express is Halal. Since then, a ‘Boycott Subway’ page has been created on Facebook and received over 8,000 likes, and debates between respecting faiths and putting Britain first have resurfaced once more.
However, there have been a lot of misinterpretations. Firstly, not all 1,700 Subway stores are having their meat replaced by Halal meat – only 185 stores are.  Furthermore, there is no need to fear that bacon and ham are being eradicated from every Subway menu (pork is forbidden for Muslims); Subway emailed to state: “Absolutely nothing has changed, bacon and ham aren’t going anywhere (…) The small proportion of Halal specific menu stores that carry Halal-approved turkey-based ham and bacon, have been around since 2007”. Indeed, Pizza Express’s use of Halal meat should not be new information – whilst it is not expressly written on menus, the fact has been addressed several times in previous years in the media and on Pizza Express’s website: “it is no secret that all the chicken used in our dishes is Halal slaughtered. Our teams in restaurants have and always will provide this information, and in addition it is available on the customer service section of our website. We are looking at whether we take steps to make this information even clearer through our menus”.

But why are restaurants switching to or providing Halal meat? And what is all the fuss about?

Friday, 17 July 2015

Exeposé Books, Interview - Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 18 Nov 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Exeter graduates Ralph Miller and Joe Inniss have combined their passion for food and hip hop music to create this fun cookbook. Filled with a huge range of fantastic illustrations, puns galore and excellent recipes, it’s an ideal gift for any and everyone going to university. For example, how could you resist the sound of “Wu Tang Clam Chowder”, or cooking up some “Ludacrispy Duck”? Quirkiness aside, it’s a great little book. It’s beautifully presented with clever little aspects like “Beats Per Minute” to indicate how long it’ll take to cook and prepare the dish, as well as a QR code at the back which will link you to a Spotify playlist. Compiled with the artists mentioned in the book, you can cook whilst getting down in the kitchen. We caught up with Ralph Miller to chat about the inspiration and process behind the book.

How did you come up with the idea?

When we were students at Exeter, Joe and I had our own show on Xpression FM called the ‘Ralph and Joe show’. We played a wide range of music, like electronic, dance, pop, and of course hip hop. We’re both foodies and love cooking, so we would have a laugh making up food puns. This became an ongoing joke on our show and amongst our friends. When we left university, we realised we could actually do something with this idea.