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.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Exeposé Books - Interview with 2014 Exeter Poetry Slam Winner: James Turner

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

The third sold-out Exeter Poetry Slam was held at the Bike Shed Theatre. James Turner beat off the tough competition with the excellent delivery of his beautifully written laugh-out-loud poetry. Christy Ku, Online Books, caught up with him afterwards.

How did you feel about taking part in and winning the 2014 Exeter Poetry Slam? 

This is the third slam I have taken part in. I used to think slams were not for me, and not really what poetry is about. Recently I have changed my mind on this. There’s no reason why a good poem can’t be read out to an audience at a slam. The audience are there listening, just like any other poetry reading. It’s a chance for me to share my stuff. So when I heard about this slam I entered for it, and adapted a recent rather long poem so it would be the right length and in three parts, one part for each round of the competition. I gave it everything I’ve got, practised it and so on. I don’t have a very good memory so I didn’t learn it by heart. At some slams you have to deliver your poem without the words in front of you, but this slam allowed you to have the text. Anyway I won it, and I was happy, I’m now the official Exeter Slam Champion for the year 2014/15 – but also very surprised. I thought I might get through the first round, but I really didn’t expect to win. I still can’t quite believe it happened.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Exeposé Books - Condensed Classics: 'Fahrenheit 451', Ray Bradbury

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 8 March 2014. Click the image to read the full article.
Published in 1953, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel continues to unsettle and intrigue successive generations of readers…
“Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
This short novella is Ray Bradbury’s influential masterpiece, continuing to inspire and challenge censorship to this day.
The story follows Montag, who lives in a society where books are banned. His job as a fireman is to burn them and the offenders’ houses. Content with his life, he meets his new young neighbour, a mysterious girl called Clarisse. Her unconventional way of thinking slowly awakens Montag to the reality of his life; a world of self-destructive behaviour, mass-produced distractions prevent individual thought, and his marriage – cold and loveless with a woman who has become a stranger. Slowly, with the help of a former university professor, he discovers the power of books – but there are no places for free thinkers. Soon, he becomes an outcast and finds himself on the run from the sinister and lethal mechanical Hound.
Thought-provoking and brilliant, Fahrenheit 451 is a timeless literary treasure.

Monday, 6 July 2015

The Big Moisturiser Collection Review

Why would anyone have more than one moisturiser? Surely you just have the one, use it up and then get another? So why on earth do I have EIGHT

Patronizing family members. That's why. There's a lot of peering at your teenage skin, tutting and then you can expect some face products on your desk as a back-handed gift. 

I'm no longer a teenager, but I have graduated from those years with a fair number of products. So when life gives you lemons, you write reviews.

To let you know, my skin type is sensitive and dry, so what I look for in a moisturiser is hydration without it being irritating. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Exeposé Books - Interview 'Geek Girl: Challenging Fairy Tales with Holly Smale'

Originally published on Exeposé Online, 3 June 2014. Click the image to read the full article.

Christy Ku interviewed Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014 winner author Holly Smale, who spent most of her teenage years being bullied before she was spotted by a top London modelling agency aged fifteen, when nothing changed at all.
Picture Perfect is the latest novel in the international best-selling Geek Girl series, following teenage geek Harriet Manners. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the US and its official motto is “Ever Upward” – but what she doesn’t know is how to model in the Big Apple…

Can you tell us about the idea behind Geek Girl?
I wanted to write a comedy about my experience as a teenage model, and it wasn’t until I wrote the first line, unplanned – “My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek” – that I realised it wasn’t really a story about modelling at all: it was really a story about geeks, and being an outsider. As it turns out, I had a lot more experience in both those things than I ever did in the fashion world, so the rest felt like the right story for me to tell.
I really loved how the transformation of Harriet Manners didn’t quite work in the conventional sense. Often, plot lines revolve around the Cinderella theme where a misfit is “improved” before being accepted and loved. How important do you feel it is to challenge this?
I think it’s essential. I always had a problem with the Ugly Duckling story, because what were we supposed to learn from it? Become beautiful and everyone will like you? Look ugly or different and you’re on your own? 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Exeposé Books - Interview 'Dead Poets Society Slams It Down'

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

Christy Ku met up with the lovely Heads of the new Dead Poets Society (coming this September) to discuss poetry slams, traditional academia and pancakes with bacon.

Anna Romanska: President
Iona Bepey: Social Secretary
Abi Setchfield: General Secretary

Tell me about yourselves – who you are, what you like, who you’d like to see take the iron throne…
Anna: Well, we’re all studying English at the uni here. I live in Bahrain, but I’m from Poland, and I love all things literature, poetry, and fandom (like these two). And I have recently decided I want there to be no Iron Throne, so as to keep everyone happy. (But am secretly rooting for Sansa).
Iona: I’m sadly obsessed with Keats and wartime fiction, as well as appalling American reality TV. And Tyrion clearly has the edge.
Abi: I’ve been doing performance poetry since Yr 7 when I started speech and drama lesson., I love Percy Bysshe, Simon Armitage, Joelle Taylor, and bacon with maple syrup and pancakes. (And I don’t really care who gets the iron throne because the White Walkers are KINDA providing a sticky situation right now).
Pancakes and bacon with maple syrup? I am yet to try this culinary arrangement.
Abi: You want to make sure the bacon’s really crispy, and American pancakes work best. And thick maple syrup.
Anna: We all like cooking, we have arranged various evenings where we just eat and talk about Supernatural.
So how do you guys know each other?
Anna: Iona knew Abi and myself separately. I met Iona at a birthday, whilst we were both extremely drunk and bonding over Supernatural.
And how did Iona meet Abi?
Iona: Oh lord. This is really not going to reflect well on me…
Abi: It’s such a good story.
Iona: You get to tell the story.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Exeposé Books - Review 'The Fault In Our Stars - Just Another Sad Story?'

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

The Fault In Our Stars has been one of the most anticipated screen adaptations of the year. But is the book behind the movie really worth the hype? Or is the success founded upon being “a sad book”?

Generally referred to as “the book that made everyone cry”, the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is out in cinemas now – and the build-up has been incredible. The book was released in 2012 (with Green signing the entire first print run of 150,000 books) and debuted at the top of the New York Times Best Seller’s list. Since then, fan art has flooded Tumblr, positive reviews are everywhere and now a much anticipated movie has been released – of which perhaps Green has been the giddiest fan, following and tweeting about the movie from the set to the screen.

But is the story worth the hype?