Culture Focus: Barcelona

By Eliza Rawson – I was fortunate enough to spend three days in Barcelona over New Years (which has become my favourite city!) Barcelona is an amazing, vibrant city that is full of history, culture and amazing architecture. Perfect all year round…

By Eliza Rawson

img_2798

I was fortunate enough to spend three days in Barcelona over New Years (which has become my favourite city!) Barcelona is an amazing, vibrant city that is full of history, culture and amazing architecture. Perfect all year round and taking just under two hours when flying from London, the city is great for a weekend break or a week long holiday.

Here are my top tips and places to visit if you’re wanting to make the most out of a short city break and see what Barcelona has to offer.


Attractions –

La Rambla:

Situated in the centre of Barcelona, La Rambla was a five minute walk from our Air BnB, bursting with tourists, tapas bars and souvenir stalls. The architecture was amazing and you could definitely understand why the area is so popular with tourists. There is plenty to do and a wide variety of food and drink places too.

Magic Fountain:

This is where the New Years fireworks were hosted. At night, the fountain had lights that projected into the sky which lit up the night sky amongst the stars. During the day, you could clearly see the water display and the architecture surrounding it which was so picturesque. 100% recommend climbing to the top which gives incredible views of the Barcelona skyline.

img_2695
img_2656

Teleferic de Montjuic:

Barcelona is incredibly hilly so I recommend wearing trainers (not heeled boots like me) when you’re exploring. We walked up to a cable cart centre which took us up to Montjuic – the views were phenomenal. Once reaching the top, you are welcomed to more incredible views of the ocean, harbour and Barcelona. You can either jump back on the cable cart to get back or walk all the way down and grab a bus.

83F5360A-173D-4246-B5D4-5EDF30B431F7.JPG

Gothic Quarter:

The quarter is full of picturesque architecture, a tourist haven. Again, a popular place filled with shops, attractions and food bars. The gothic quarter makes a great spot for a photo and to explore the side streets, bursting with culture.

Barcelona Cathedral:

Situated in the Gothic Quarter, the cathedral is a must see! We didn’t go inside but from the outside, again, has phenomenal architecture and looks amazing when the sun is shining.  Extremely popular with tourists so would recommend buying tickets online if you wanted to go inside.

et

Arc De Trimof:

This is probably one of my favourite attractions! Although there isn’t much to do there, the walk and views were amazing amongst the blue sky and palm trees.

img_8188

img_2797

Sagrada Familia:

The temple of Antoni Gaudi which is still being built on his behalf! A must see even if you don’t pay to go inside, the architecture, detail and colour was like nothing I have ever seen before. Highly recommend jumping on the subway and visiting the Sagrada.

img_8206

Food & Drink –

Macchina Pasta Bar:

The first restaurant we visited when arriving in Barcelona and still to this day, I’m dreaming of the pasta I had. The restaurant operated on you choosing the exact dish you wanted – the type of pasta, sauce, toppings, you created your own meal! The food wasn’t too overpriced either so I’d say 100% worth taking a visit if you love pasta.

Chok:

A sweet tooth haven – the only words I can use to describe this bakery. The doughnuts came in a wide topping variety, from pistachio to oreo to kinder bueno – the toppings were suited for everyone’s taste buds.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Tandem Cocktail Bar:

A small, quirky cocktail bar found on Trip Advisor (another fab tip when on holiday, make use of Trip Advisor to find the small, independent restaurants and cocktail bars – they always end up being the best!) The bar had every type of alcohol you could imagine, they didn’t even have a menu! You created your own cocktail based on what taste/flavour you fancied. For £10 a cocktail which is standard, I thought this was very reasonable and 100% worth every penny.

img_2825

La Boqueria Market:

I’d say La Boqueria Market is both an attraction and food place but if you’re looking for local cuisines and fresh meat, fish, fruits & veg, this is your place! The market was bursting with freshness and a great place to experience local foods.

img_2745

‘Instant Family’ (2019) – Film Review

Instant Family (Directed by Sean Anders), was not only a hilarious film, but also very heart warming and extremely emotional. We were laughing, then crying and then doing both. It was a whole whirlwind of emotions which made…

Instant Family (Directed by Sean Anders), was not only a hilarious film, but also very heart warming and extremely emotional. We were laughing, then crying and then doing both. It was a whole whirlwind of emotions which made it one of our instant favourite films (pun intended).

Instant Family is based loosely on a true story, or as it says on-screen: “Inspired by a true story”. In fact, after doing some research, we found that it was inspired by the writer/director’s own experience of adopting, surrounding the issues and emotions he faced while going through the process. The film follows a married couple, Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) who want to start a family and decide that they want to foster a child. They intend to foster a 5-year-old girl, but after meeting Lizzy (Isabela Moner), an uncontrollable 15-year-old girl they decide to foster her. Little do they know, she won’t be fostered without her younger brother, Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and her younger sister, Lita (Julianna Gamiz). Pete and Ellie go from no kids, to three kids in a matter of days as we watch them struggle in their new role as parents. We found ourselves connected to them and felt like we were going through their new process too.

dfdf

From watching the trailer which featured Rose Byrne, who’s mostly known as a comedic actress, we thought the film was going to be a classic comedy. But oh, how we were wrong – it was touching and emotional and often left us in tears (tbh, we are total emotional wrecks most days and it really doesn’t take much in a film to make us cry, but this film made us SOB) Nevertheless, it was also a very funny film, with many comical gags occurring throughout that really did make us laugh out loud. Since the film was based on a real-life story, it showed the reality of family, highly relatable for many; arguments with your parents, flighting with siblings, parents trying to get involved in your personal life.

Another great element of the film was its acting. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne were the perfect pair to play Pete and Ellie; they had great on-screen chemistry as both a married couple and new modern parents and they were kind of cool, like the parents you wish you had (sorry mum and dad). The scenes transition so well and the little montages showing them all falling in love with each other and becoming a proper family really made us grin (and happy cry).

Instant Family really shines a light on some of the issues that come with the fostering process and the length some people have to go through to be able to foster. It also showed how the parents feel when they foster kids, highlighting the emotions they go through which is shown through the parents going through support groups with other foster parents. At the support group they used humour to talk about serious issues the new parents were facing. Issues such as: accepting a new person into their lives or whether their new child will cut their throats in the middle of the night (you’ll laugh when you watch it). Nevertheless, the intention to capture the joy that family can bring worked, and it was amazing watching these strangers become a family and forming their ‘cosmic’ bond.

instant family

Overall, this is a very enjoyable film, giving you comedy, drama, some slight action, a whole load of emotions and Mark Walhberg’s biceps, (His biceps look like they were stolen from Hercules himself). Instant Family really had us crying up until the last moment, including the credits, where they displayed images of real-life foster families, including Sean Anders and his family.

The film promotes fostering and adoption, providing a website for people to find more information out about the subject in the credits. If you are interested or want to find out more about the process, follow the link here: InstantFamily.org

Instant Family is released in UK cinemas February 14th

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUfZq3DUd3Y

(Read more of Jess’ work at jessreviewsfilms.wordpress.com)

Our Top Ten Christmas Films

By Jess & Amy – The Christmas vibes are in full swing, Christmas is tomorrow and our Christmas break has only just begun… If you’re not feeling the Christmas spirt yet, then here are our top ten Christmas films, to get you in the mood for Christmas…

By Jess & Amy

The Christmas vibes are in full swing, Christmas is tomorrow and our Christmas break has only just begun…

If you’re not feeling the Christmas spirt yet, then here are our top ten Christmas films, to get you in the mood for Christmas!

The Princess Switch (2018)

2a3fc254-2650-4855-a057-4b4dcc333ee5-tumblr_pi34z6ozjw1xlv8m3o1_540.gif

What is it about?

A Netflix original movie about a duchess who switches places with a Chicago baker called Stacey, who looks exactly like her (Vanessa Hudgens plays both the duchess and Stacey). Problems occur when the duchess falls for Stacey’s lifelong friend Kevin (Nick Sager) and Stacey falls for the Prince (Sam Palladio).

Why we love it.

Christmas isn’t exactly crucial to this plot, but having it set during the Christmas month in the fictional country of Belgrvia makes it magical (plus the element of falling in love as a Christmas wish is any girls dream). Any Christmas film that has a cheesy love storyline, is a film we want to watch! Sam Palladio is everything to us, so him with not one but two Vanessa Hudgens is like, WOW. Kinda annoyed they didn’t have a little duet because both Sam and Vanessa have amazing voices, but maybe that can be a sequel?

Fun Fact.

Jess actually met Sam Palladio who plays the Prince, here is a picture after an 8-hour flight looking tired (but still looking hella fresh).

Picture1.png

The Polar Express (2004)

giphy.gif

What is it about?

The film, which is inspired by the book of the same name, is set on Christmas Eve where a young boy embarks on a magical journey upon ‘The Polar Express’ to the North Pole after questioning the existence of Father Christmas. On board he meets other children who are all supervised by the trains conductor who is on a tight schedule.

 Why we love it.

It’s a heart-warming film about family, friendship and reliving your childhood fantasy of meeting Santa (them fake Santa’s you meet in shopping mall’s never really made the cut). A proper family film that always leaves us in tears when he finally hears the bell (you’ll know what we mean when you watch). Plus, Tom Hanks, is iconic, even if it’s only his voice we are hearing.

 Fun fact.

You can actually have a trip on ‘The Polar Express’. There are many experiences offered by different train companies. Why not google it too see if they offer a magical journey near you.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

source.gif

What is it about?

The film is a live-action adaption of the book by Dr.Seuss, it’s about the Grinch (voiced by Jim Carrey), a reclusive and grumpy creature who hates not only Christmas but the who’s (residents of Whoville) as well. He decides to dress up as Santa and steals all the presents and everything Christmas related from the residents of Whoville.

Why we love it.

This is a Christmas classic and a must watch every Christmas! Realising the Grinch isn’t really mean, he was just bullied in his past. The songs are just amazing, and we love singing along!

Fun fact.

Universal pictures recently released a new animated version of The Grinch, its same story with some slight variations, once again it’s a great film but it also has an amazing soundtrack performed by Tyler the Creator.

uyghjk.png

The Santa Clause (1994)

screen-shot-2017-12-24-at-17-07-32.png

What is it about?

On Christmas Eve, Calvin (Tim Allen), along with his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), accidentally kill Santa by causing him to fall off a roof while delivering presents. After he dies, Calvin finds a business card, telling him to put on the suit and become the new Father Christmas. The film follows Calvin and his struggles to become the new Santa while trying to maintain a relationship with his son and his ex-wife and her new partner.

Why we love it.

Watching Tim Allen becoming Santa is always a laugh especially since he accidentally killed his Santa predecessor. Him shaving just to have a full white beard later is also hilarious. Then him gaining weight overnight and not knowing why is great (and we can all relate) but ultimately, he does become the Santa we know and love.

Fun fact.

This film is the first part of a trilogy; The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.

Love Actually (2003)

giphy (1)

What is it about?

With a multi-strand narrative, we follow many different characters (who, in some small way are all connected). Set on the lead up to Christmas, this film is about love, heartbreak and friendship. It’s a proper British film, showing school nativities, a dancing prime minister (Thersa May is shaking) to forbidden friend love and puppy love. Love Actually literally has it all.

Why we love it.

Emma Thompson. Hugh Grant. Colin Firth. Andrew Lincoln. Liam Neeson. Chiwetel Ejiofor. Kieira Knightly. Bill Nighty. Kris Marshall. A Young Thomas Brodie Sangster and ALAN RICKMAN.

Need we say more?

Fun fact.

I can’t lie, I still don’t think I am over Alan Rickman’s character buying his secret affair that gold necklace and breaking Emma Thompsons characters heart.

Home Alone (1990)

giphy (2).gif

What is it about?

After Kevin McCallister’s (Macaulay Culkin) family, forget about him and leave him behind on a trip to Paris, he finds himself living a dream, being able to do what he wants. This is until two men try to rob the house, and he finds himself protecting the house all by himself, coming up with creative ways to keep the thieves out.

Why we love it.

As a kid I wanted nothing more than to be left at home alone just so I could defend my house from robbers. This film made me want to do all the crazy stuff that Kevin pulls off because it just looked so cool. Not only is it about this badass kid, it’s about Kevin realising that he loves and misses his family and actually couldn’t live without them. The scene where he reunites with his mother and they share a hug always makes me cry, and then when the rest of the family return… so emotional.

It’s such a classic that I do judge you if you don’t like it.

Fun fact.

Jess hates this film.

Elf (2003)

43600.jpg

What is it about?

As a baby, Buddy is accidentally taken by Santa to The North Pole, where he is raised by elves. However, buddy knows he is very different. Buddy who knows he doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the elf leaves The North Pole in search of his real father. Arriving in New York, Buddy gets to grips with human culture. Along the way, Buddy finds love, helps his dad to grow a heart and helps boost Christmas spirit.

Why we love it.

Not all of us do. Jess hates this film too (such a Scrooge), so much so she refused to write anything about it. Never the less I always end up watching this film at Christmas time, and I know I am not the only one. This is just a great feel good film, filled with Christmas spirt and cheer which just makes you happy from laughing.

Fun fact.

When I watch this I always end up saying “Did you hear that” after I burp, it’s a curse.

The Holiday (2006)

holiday.jpg

What is it about?

After Amanda (Cameron Diaz) finds out her boyfriend has cheated on her and Iris (Kate Winslet), finds out the love of her life is engaged to another woman, they decide to swap homes for Christmas. Iris leaves her little cottage in snowy Surrey for Amanda’s beauty mansion in sunny LA and vice versa. After wanting nothing to do with men, Amanda meets Iris’ brother, Graham (Jude Law) and after a one-night stand, they decide to start seeing each other, for the remainder of time she has in England. While Iris meets another kind of man, Arthur (Eli Wallach), who is an award winning, retired screen writer. Arthur teaches Iris all about the old films and how to “be the leading lady of her own film” (That bit always makes me cry). This film isn’t really about Christmas but more set around Christmas.

Why we love it.

Jude Law and Jack Black? Hell yes.

This is one of these films that is so romantic is makes you sick, it is so cheesy, but it makes you grin from ear to ear. One of these films you can’t help but smile at, even if you are bitter like Jess.

Fun fact.

This is my (Jess) all time favourite Christmas film. Like every other Christmas film can die because this one wins all the awards.

Arthur Christmas (2011)

original.gif

What is it about?

Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), the son of Santa, second in line to become the next Santa, goes on a mission with Gran-Santa (voiced by Bill Nightly), to make sure a little girl gets her present on time. The modern ways of delivering presents have meant that it one girl is missed. Santa and Steve, a stickler for the rules, believe it’s impossible to deliver the present in time. Arthur however can’t stop thinking about the little girl waking up to nothing on Christmas day so he makes it his mission to make sure she isn’t forgotten.

Why we love it.

It’s a heart-warming film that can be enjoyed by everyone in your family. I really love the element of bringing the old ways of Santa with the ways of using technology, especially in the end when they find a balance between personal delivery with technology aiding them.

I’m just waiting for a second film tbh.

Fun fact.

Justin Bieber has a song in it, and that’s the only reason we saw it, but I (Amy) ended up loving it, and watch it every year since.

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

https___blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_875406_86e4e1cc-8fca-4bda-a95e-270199aa6d37.gif

What is it about?

Since the death of their father, siblings Kate and Teddy don’t get along. However, on Christmas eve when Teddy is looking after Kate they hatch a plan to capture Santa Claus on camera. Their plan works, and they get footage of Santa in the flesh, but when Kate wants to get a close up of the sleigh, things go wrong. They startle Santa on his sleigh causing him to lose control and crash, losing his sack in the process. The kids must team up with Santa in order to save Christmas.

Why we love it

Ok, so since this is a Netflix film we both thought it was going to be cheesy af, just like the princess switch, we were wrong. This film has a potential to become a Christmas classic. It was very very good. Kurt Russel plays Santa brilliantly, he’s funny and witty and full of magic. This films depiction of Santa is quite refreshing and becomes one of mine favourite film Santas. It’s also reimagines the look of elves, creating them fully from CGI and making them look like small cute furr-like creatures.

Fun Fact

Santa doesn’t say ‘Ho Ho Ho’ until the end of the film and it becomes the most satisfying thing.

The Film Corner: December Filmmaker of the Month

By Piotr Wysmyk – Ritchie gained recognition from the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – his debut feature film. His career succeeded further in 2000 with the release of Snatch. Although Guy Ritchie’s career in film industry hit a low point, he was…

By Piotr Wysmyk

Guy Ritchie

unnamed (3).jpg

Born in 1968 – British Director.

Ritchie gained recognition from the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – his debut feature film. His career succeeded further in 2000 with the release of Snatch. Although Guy Ritchie’s career in film industry hit a low point, he was still in the centre of attention due to his marriage with Madonna (married in 2000, divorced in 2008).

Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) earned Ritchie his comeback, earning him a huge box office success. They were later followed by The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017, for now it is the last production of this director).

Sherlock Holmes VS Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – (Review)

Sherlock Holmes and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows are probably Guy Ritchie’s biggest box office successes. Although the sequel is the direct continuation of the previous movie, each film presents its own, unique approach to storytelling and filmmaking techniques.

Sherlock Holmes introduces all the main characters such as Sherlock Holmes, his partner John Watson and also some supporting characters (e.g. Mary Morstan and Irene Adler). This time the famous detective meets his match in Lord Henry Blackwood – the villainous member of the secret cult. His sinister purpose is to plunge the English population in fear of him in order to take over the whole country. Sherlock Holmes puts much effort to take the villain down but it proves to be a very hard task due to Henry Blackwood’s supernatural forces. He clearly seems to have the Devil on his side…

From its very beginning, Sherlock Holmes seems to be packed with darkness, mystery and suspense. The film is usually set in dangerous, gloomy streets of 19th century London. One of the main focuses of the movie is the horrible world of crime with enigmatic Lord Henry Blackwood at its centre. There are many weird, unexplained deaths/disappearing’s and the audience has to wait until the very end to get to know the solutions to these riddles. From a technical point of view, the film’s colour palette (darkened in post production, stripped of the natural colourfulness) and the selection of specific music/sound builds a disturbing atmosphere of darkness, gloominess and mystery.

In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows the detective has to fight against his arch enemy – Dr James Moriarty. The evil doctors plan is to take over the arms industry and start a world war in order to earn money by selling weapons. Sherlock Holmes and his allies prove to be determined to stop the vicious plan. However, the Moriarty’s power of destruction plunges all of them into the cruel race for their lives.

image2

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows presents something totally different than the previous movie. It shifted from gloomy streets of London to the international setting (different parts of England, Germany, France, Switzerland). The main basis of this film is the constant threat of politico-diplomatic disaster (outbreak of the world war), instead of the mystery of dark powers. In such a manner, the whole storyline gains a more militaristic character (e.g. more shoot-outs, soldiers from different countries, presentation of many types of weaponry of 1890s). From the technical point of view, this atmosphere is additionally highlighted by the slow motion scenes (e.g. reloading the guns, flying bullets).

Webography

Filmography

  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 2017. Directed by Guy Ritchie. USA: Safehouse Picures.
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 1998. Directed by Guy Ritchie. UK: SKA Films.
  • Sherlock Holmes, 2009. Directed by Guy Ritchie. USA/Germany: Warner Bros.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, 2011. Directed by Guy Ritche. USA: Warner Bros.
  • Snatch, 2000. Directed by Guy Ritchie. USA/UK: Columbia Pictures Corporation.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E., 2015. Directed by Guy Ritchie. USA/UK: Warner Bros.

The Pressures of Post-Grad Plans

By Tyla Brine – “What are you going to do after uni?” Is a question asked by my colleagues, friends, family – and even my doctor, who suggests I should do a Masters and travel to Thailand. And it’s a question I don’t think I will ever have a definite…

By Tyla Brine

“What are you going to do after uni?” Is a question asked by my colleagues, friends, family – and even my doctor, who suggests I should do a Masters and travel to Thailand. And it’s a question I don’t think I will ever have a definite answer too. 

Like most other students, and still to this day, are choosing their GCSE options as young as 12 years old. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do and I picked my options based on what my friends were doing, and what I would find easy. Teachers frantically attempted to prepare us for the big working world, meanwhile all I was focusing on at that age was not my future, but getting home in time to watch Prank Patrol and nudge my friends on MSN. 

My careless attitude of picking my options was evident in my GCSE results 4 years later. I didn’t feel like I could pursue a career in acting, because I was terrible at Drama, and i certainly didn’t learn anything in French apart from, “je’ m’appelle Tyla, je voudrais pizza” – But in the end, they always say it’s good for your CV, right?

Leaving school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I chose my sixth form options based on what I enjoyed and thought I could actually excel in. But the pressures of picking subjects just to occupy my years left in full time education, forever clouded my judgment. By the age of 15 I had a part time job, and my attitude towards the whole ‘plan your life out, get good grades to get a job” baffled me, as I had a pretty sturdy job for a 15-year-old whose employers weren’t actually fazed about the grades on my CV or whether I mastered Pythagoras theorem, but whether I was a good communicator and just a nice person. 

Fast forward to final my year of university, and I’ve narrowed down my many lessons learnt to one subject I really enjoy and that I’m actually interested in. But does that mean I know what I want to do for the rest of my life? Not entirely. I like to think I’m not the only one who is quite indecisive about their future plans. Needless to say, I do have some idea of the different jobs I could see myself in and will aim high for. But I am aware that people change and circumstances change, and what I enjoy now may not necessarily be the same things I enjoy in 5 years time.

I feel like I am amongst many other University students who feel pressured with this question and as if it is expectant of us to graduate and go straight into a job at 21, married with kids by our 30’s, and then to stay in that industry for the rest of our lives. Some may argue that we have paid this amount to be here so really that means we aren’t allowed to do anything else. 

I have learnt many lessons whilst at university, whether that’d been in relation to my degree, but I think more importantly what I will take from my experience is the general obstacles of life that I have had to stumble over along the way, the people I’ve met, and the problems I’ve faced. University is a great platform for individuals to learn about themselves and grow, but as the years go by the question hovers over and we start to panic slightly about what’s next on the agenda for us. I don’t think any of us are really set on our future plans and I think it’s safe to say we’re all just wingin’ it, with some of us being better at hiding it then others.

To be successful and have a dream career doesn’t have to be something that’s evident on your Instagram feed boasting #livingmybestlife

But I think it’s something that pays your bills, fills your fridge, and more importantly motivates you creatively, socially or intellectually.

Monthly Gig Listings: December (2018)

By Josh Robins – 16th December – The Trials of Cato Album Launch Party. The Portland Arms, doors open @ 7:30pm…

By Josh Robins

16th December – The Trials of Cato Album Launch Party 

thetrialsofcato-800x445

The Portland Arms, doors open @ 7:30pm

You may see them on Saturdays in town busking and think- what in god’s name are they doing on the street? They shouldn’t be buskers. They should be fully a touring band with golden reviews from the BBC and have an almost sold out EP launch at the Portland in Cambridge.  Well, they’re that too.

16th December – Christmas Carols with Kahuna Karols

6 bells, @ 7pm

Come get festive in the cosiest music venue in Cambridge, drink something mulled, and don’t mess with their harmonies. Kahuna Karols are serious and dedicated professionals. You can’t just join in, don’t even think about it.

20th December – Skindred

skindred-770x470

Cambridge Junction @ 7.30pm

The unstoppable Skindred have released yet another fantastic headbanger of an album and are touring round the country for everyone to hit their mates to.  No new musical developments to note, they are still awesome, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

21st December – He knows When You Are Sleeping,

Blue moon @ 6pm

If you’re in the mood for a weird Christmas.. One massive, wacky event with multiple artists to celebrate the festive season, their own promotion piece says it better than I ever could-

Gracie Casey – Singer song writer from Cambridge. Expect low fi beats, sultry vocals and a hell loada of sass.

The Junkoactive Wasteman and his Tinphonia – An ex binman who drowned in a barrel of toxic waste and was saved by tin cans which fused to his body. No longer a binman, but part Man, part Tin Can. Playing chopped up samples and live breaks.

Acid Tea – One man mega band! Loads of wires, pedals, guitars, keyboards, synths, drum machines, wires….did i mention wires? and pedals? yeh loads of them!!! Playing groovy funked out squishy future music from another planet . . . DID SOMEONE SAY GUITAR SOLO!?

22nd December – José Son Comes Home for Christmas

Earl of Beaconsfield @ 7:30pm

Local legend Tom Petie leads one of Cambridge’s musical darlings- José Son. The name born from a joke told at the very venue they are playing in. Every fan is a best friend, and you can guarantee the place will be packed. Go and ask them where they got their name from, it’s a long story.

28th December – Flint Moore (support form Oscar Corney)

maxresdefault.jpg

Portland Arms, doors open @ 7pm

Grungy Rockers Flint Moore have won all the rock competitions East Anglia has, sold out the Portland before and are by far Cambridge’s biggest unsigned rock band. They are going from strength to strength at an alarming rate. Go and see them before they get to Wembley.

Team ARU: BUCS This Girl Can Week 2018

This Girl Can runs annually and is an opportunity for Higher Education to highlight the different opportunities available for women to get active and involved in sport during their time at University. The week aims to target gender equality…

This Girl Can runs annually and is an opportunity for Higher Education to highlight the different opportunities available for women to get active and involved in sport during their time at University. The week aims to target gender equality – break down the barriers that stop females playing sport and empower women to become more active.

From inspirational female students, fancy dress tournaments, social media takeovers and our BUCS This Girl Can photo frame appearing in your newsfeed more often than Brexit. Check out our highlights from the week here.

image6.jpg

We want BUCS This Girl Can Week to have a lasting legacy so please continue to use the hashtag #ARUGIRLSCAN. If you are unsure about how you can get active at Anglia Ruskin University please just email us on teamaru@anglia.ac.uk or just ask a member of the Team ARU staff, we are always happy to help.

We hope that BUCS This Girl Can Week has further demonstrated that there is plenty of enjoyable and safe environments for you to try a new activity or pick up a sport you have lost touch with.

unnamed.jpg

K-Pop Society: Karaoke Night Takeover

By Blessing Raimi – Running the K-Pop Society alongside the other committee members has been a great and rewarding experience so far. Initial planning for the karaoke night event began over the summer, which involved taking over one of the…

By Blessing Raimi

Running the K-Pop Society alongside the other committee members has been a great and rewarding experience so far. Initial planning for the karaoke night event began over the summer, which involved taking over one of the Chill Out Tuesday events that is a regular feature on The Academy calendar.  This then led to the event taking place at the end of October.

The society was founded in autumn of last year and since then, has grown in popularity with our involvement in wider university events such as Global Week. Our presence at Fresher’s Fair gave us more visibility to new and returning students who attended.  An Erasmus student studying Sociology said that she joined after: “Seeing the society at Fresher’s Fair and attending the taster sessions with my roommate”, proving that the opportunity of the society being at Fresher’s Fair raised more awareness about it and the trial period assured students of what they could look forward to if they became an official member.

At the start of the semester, taster sessions were offered for students in order for them to gain an idea of the sort of activities that would be taking place over the forthcoming year. Events such as:

  • Korean traditional games
  • Snacks
  • K-Pop dance workshops.

An MSc student studying Biomedical Sciences stated: “It’s a very friendly environment and I joined because I enjoy K-Pop and wanted friends with the same interests.” It was encouraging to see new and returning students interested in signing up and getting involved with the society and our taster sessions. These sessions were very successful with members.

When the event finally took place, there was a great turn out and everyone had a great time. There were a  mix of society members and those who were just interested in having a go at karaoke. There were different Korean snacks available to try and a variety of performances in different languages – Portuguese, Spanish, English and Korean to name a few. What made the night great was the encouragement from students during the performances. It didn’t matter how people sung  or if the song was well known or not, the focus was on having a good time in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

One of the attendees gave a review of the night:

“I think the karaoke night was a success. It was a perfect opportunity to belt out our favourite songs among the people who really appreciate the true value of the music. Not to mention the fan chants for Fake Love. It was truly a moment of pure happiness, bliss and fun.”

Find out more about the K-Pop Society, their events and what activities they get up to at https://www.angliastudent.com/socs/kpop

How to Travel on a Student Budget

By Brontë Taylor – Wanderlust can be a very expensive addiction. Especially if you’re a student! But if you’re anything like me, travelling is a must. I have a few tips and tricks to keep the price down on your next adventure. As a frequent traveler…

By Brontë Taylor

Wanderlust can be a very expensive addiction. Especially if you’re a student! But if you’re anything like me, traveling is a must. I have a few tips and tricks to keep the price down on your next adventure. As a frequent traveler, I have learnt the best ways to pick up cheap deals and enable you to keep checking off your Travel Bucket List.

The first and most important tip to put into practice before you even begin searching for your next destination: put your browser on Private browsing or Incognito. Sites save cookies on your computer, this allows them to know what you have searched previously, meaning that you might not get the best deal if you go back to the site. Private browsing stops websites from doing this.

Okay next, save yourself time and go straight to websites that compare flight prices and show you everything you need to know to book a flight. My go to websites are:

skyscanner.com

kayak.com

These sites are great; not only do they compare prices of flights for you but you can sign up for email alerts. So, if you have somewhere you want to travel to, but the flights tend to be pretty pricey, you can get weekly alerts so that you know when the prices are increasing and decreasing. Not only that, but you can also get weekly emails that show you the cheapest destinations for the week; which means if you are ever feeling particularly spontaneous, you just need to check your weekly email and BOOM you have the cheapest flights of the week in your hand. Obviously, if you want to fly for cheap then companies such as RyanAir, EasyJet and PrimeraAir are probably the best providers, although there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best service.

Unless you’re doing a day trip, you’re going to need accommodation! The best way to save money is to stay in a hostel. Hostels aren’t as scary as you may think, personally, I’ve stayed in quite a few and they’ve quite honestly been better quality than if you get a cheap hotel. Hostels are a great way to meet other avid travellers and to socialise. The website I always use for hostels is hostelworld.com, here you will be able to search for hostels in any city. I always check the reviews for these hostels because they may have high ratings but if those that have stayed there had issues, then I like to know. These reviews really help me make my decision and find the best accommodation for my trip.

Alternatively, AirBnb is also a great option if you want to keep accommodation cheap or you can always get great deals on websites like lastminute.com, where you can get flights and hotel for one cheap price. In March this year, I managed to travel to Paris for three days, (in a 4-star hotel may I add) with train included for about £150!  So, it is still possible to get some luxury on a student budget if hostels aren’t your thing.

paris picture.png
Paris, France. Photo by Brontë Taylor

Another great way to save money while you are travelling is to plan out where you want to go and what you want to see. Most entry prices are listed online, therefore you can prioritise what you want to see and work around those prices. It’ll make it a lot easier to budget your days and control your spending while you are away, if you have a general idea where you want go and how much it will cost. A lot of tourist spots, like museums, usually have student discounts, as long as you can prove that you are a student, some places may even let you in for free.

So those are a few of my tips and tricks to travel on a student’s budget, I hope these help you reach your travel goals.

paris paris.png
Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Megan Hageman

‘Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald’ (2018) – Film Review

By Jess Weal – Before you read this review just know, I am writing this at 4am after the midnight screening. I have been awake for 22 hours and am only running on coffee. “You could have waited till the morning to write this” I hear…

By Jess Weal

Before you read this review just know, I am writing this at 4am after the midnight screening. I have been awake for 22 hours and am only running on coffee. “You could have waited till the morning to write this” I hear you say, but I needed to get my emotions out about right now! I also wanted you to know I am better than you because I went to the midnight screening and you did not. But let’s get on, shall we?

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a ‘Potterhead’ I am (hate this term but I know y’all will come for me if I use another one). The whole Harry Potter franchise is my life, to the point where I have tattoos that my parents hate me for (sorry mum and dad). And let’s be honest, the only real reason we are getting this “spin-off” is because Jo wanted more money, that’s just the tea. Despite all this, I loved it, so let’s talk about that.

Crimes of Grindelwald carries on from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has just escaped prison and is trying to get all pure-blooded wizards together to rule over muggles (so basically Voldermort because apparently, they couldn’t come up with a better idea). Newt (Eddie Redmayne) is back in London and has been asked by Dumbledore (Jude Law) to go to Paris to go after Grindelwald and stop him. Credence (Ezra Miller) is alive and looking for his family (he doesn’t have a bowl haircut anymore, thank god). And Dumbledore… he is sexy as hell and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

unnamed

Negatives first, because there always has to be one… or many in this case.

Johnny Depp is trash. Nice to look at in the 80s. But now he is trash.

The film follows way too many different storylines, to the point where some things that are said, which seems like they would be extremely important to the plot, are rushed over! I literally turned to my friend, like “what is going on?” It was really confusing, and everyone was here, there, and everywhere. There were so many unanswered questions, which seem like they probably couldn’t be answered in another film, and so many things are happening that contradict all the Harry Potter films, people are related to other people and it’s all very confusing! And I know this isn’t another Harry Potter film, but if you are going to have Dumbledore and Hogwarts, then I’m calling it a Harry Potter film.

I need more Young Grindelwald (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Young Dumbledore (Toby Regbo) in the film! Having them on the screen, for about collectively, 30 seconds was not enough. Do you know how much I screamed when I saw Jamie was playing Grindelwald again? Do you know how much I screamed when Toby popped up in the trailer for about .5 of a second? You don’t, but my sisters do because I left them a voice note screaming about it. All my screams for about 30 seconds of screen time? No, thank you.

We all know Dumbledore is gay, so I want more of that. We know he loved Grindelwald, but we don’t know if Grindelwald loved him back and I need to know this! This is such a massive part of their relationship together and the fact that their history is brushed over completely is actually pretty ridiculous. We need to find out more in the next film or I’m suing!

Other than all this. This film is pretty amazing and I actually loved it more than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Again, I’m going to compare this to Harry Potter and I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it!

Seeing Hogwarts again, honestly, I wanted to cry. It felt familiar, it felt like home.

We actually get to see Dumbledore teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, and he uses a Boggart and the names of his students are the last names of the students in Harry Potter. It was all very… you guessed it, familiar. And I loved it, I loved the little easter eggs that were in it, stupid stuff that maybe people who weren’t majorly obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise wouldn’t recognise.

Whoever cast Young Newt should get a pay rise because that was an amazing match, I was actually shook, it was really like looking at a young Eddie Redmayne. Also, after this, my Eddie Redmayne obsession has come back again, so if you need me, I will be watching Les Mis on repeat for the next 24 hours.

Kind of love that Nagini is a person in this, really weird though, but watching her turn into the snake version of Nagini was amazing. It was a really interesting way to introduce her to the plot, and we all know how it ends for her, but I can’t wait to see how she gets to that point, what she goes through to get to Voldemort and why they bond the way they did.

We get introduced to Bunty, who is in it for all of 5 minutes. But, in them 5 minutes, she tells Newt to take off his shirt and if I was in her position I would have done the exact same thing. Bunty is the real hero of this film.

2 words. BABY. NIFFLERS. I want one! No, I need one. Imagine having a baby niffler. Ohh my god, I can’t think about it I get too emotional.

Jacob, Tina and Queenie are all back again. I just ship Jacob and Queenie, so much! Tina and Newt are alright I guess, but it is kind of a hetty relationship that doesn’t really need to happen.

image3

This film has so many plot twists and surprises, I was sat there with my mouth wide open at so many points. There are so many things that will just remind you of Harry Potter and will make you want to go back and watch all the films again. Mini spoiler, but there are a few characters from the Harry Potter films that you may recognise (the names at least).

There is so much more to say, but there are so many things to spoil I want to quit while I am ahead!

Of course, I am going to see this film again, and I recommend you all see it too, regardless of if you were a big Harry Potter fan or not. This film is amazing, and you will love it.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in cinemas now

Team ARU: Mens Hockey Match Report

By Tom Smith – The boys knew they had to win this game and that’s PRECISELY what happened. They started well with Hamish dribbling into the D and slotting the ball through the keepers legs. The team then scored a potential goal of the season…

By Tom Smith

Anglia Ruskin University vs University of Leicester 

Score:  4 – 2, WE WON!!

Goals:

  • Callum Carter
  • Hamish Leslie
  • Tom Burrows
  • Herbert Jrn Mudzamiri

The boys knew they had to win this game and that’s PRECISELY what happened. They started well with Hamish dribbling into the D and slotting the ball through the keepers legs. The team then scored a potential goal of the season, with Alex Johnson flinging an aerial and Callum taking it in the air and smashing it past the keeper. We pressed on, Callum scoring our third goal, which was then somehow bizarrely ruled out by the umpire who ‘didn’t see the ball go in the goal’. This caused a little bit of ‘discussion’ amongst the 2 coaches, but it didn’t affect the game and Burrows scored our third goal after a short corner. ARU got slightly complacent and Leicester scored from their first short. It could have been worse had goalie Ben not been sharp off his line to prevent another goal.

We came in at half time knowing the game was nowhere near won. Our boys nearly started the second half badly, Ben kicking a ball that had been hit from the Leicester half, straight back to their striker. Luckily this didn’t result into a goal. We did however concede a 2nd goal, after a mix up between Henry and Rolland. After they kept strong and kept moving the ball, and it paid off. Herbert securing all 3 points with 5 minutes to go after good work down the right hand side from Tom Burrows. The boys ran and gave everything for the team. A massive shout out to Miles Fiddes who in his first start, and second game had an absolute worldly. Playing all positions on the park, trapping aerials, slapping balls with quality into the D, and defensively class. Burrows a close second for MotM with 2 assists and a goal.

Man of the Match: Miles Fiddes

Next week ARU Men’s 1st will play Loughborough Men’s 5th at home on Wilberforce Road Sports Grounds. Come and support them from 3pm onwards.

‘Robin Hood’ (2018) – Film Review

By Amy Williams – Robin Hood (2018) directed by Otto Bathurst is a re-telling of the classic folklore story of Robin Hood.  We all know the story, the thief that steals from the rich and gives to the poor, right? Well this film tells you to think again…

By Amy Williams

Robin Hood (2018) directed by Otto Bathurst is a re-telling of the classic folklore story of Robin Hood.  We all know the story, the thief that steals from the rich and gives to the poor, right? Well this film tells you to think again.

The films acts as prequel to all the legendary tales of Robin Hood and follows the origin of the outlawed legend who starts out as the rich Lord, Robin of Loxley. He falls for Marian, a do-gooder who he catches trying to steal a horse from him. They are separated by war, as he is drafted by the Sheriff of Nottingham to fight in the war against Arabia. Years go by, and upon his return he finds Nottingham’s people in a state of oppression and poverty due to the “war” taxes put in place by the Sheriff. With help from John, Robin finds a new desire to hit back at authority and in some way take revenge upon the Sheriff.

Let me tell you, Taron Egerton is amazing, I loved him from Kingsman, and I loved him in this. He effortlessly becomes ‘Robin’ as if the role was just for him. His stunts were choreographed seamlessly and he executed them brilliantly with what looked like little to no effort, what a brilliant actor! (I saw a video online of Taron’s training sessions for handling a bow and arrow and its clear he had an unexpected talent for archery). I also loved the youth he brought to the character of Robin and felt that he was very charming, I quite enjoyed his topless scenes as well, I can’t lie.

What lets this film down was the narrative alongside the script. There were so many unnecessary exchanges between characters, I sat rolling my eyes for half of the film as well as thinking how much the writers messed up with the script. The narrative doesn’t flow as well as it should have and this film had so much potential and that’s why it’s so frustrating.

“Is it weird that I wanted to see more blood and violence?”

Another issue I had with this film was the aesthetics. The mixture of the colourful clothing and the modern-day style of some outfits didn’t fit in well with the rest of the look of the film, sometimes it looked as if it was set in the modern day and sometimes it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong the visuals and general look of the film was quite good. The heavy CGI that aided a lot of the action scenes wasn’t too bad. However, many of the action sequences left a lot to be desired, is it weird that I wanted to see more blood and violence?

I didn’t want this to be such a negative review but as much as I wanted this film to be amazing, it just didn’t seem to meet my expectations. The acting from everyone was fine, but the script just let the whole film down. Dare I say it, but there could possibly be a second film, the ending certainty sets it up. However, I don’t think it’s had quite a good enough reception to justify a second film.

Nevertheless, I still recommend that you watch it, simply because Taron Egerton is an excellent actor and I guess it is quite a cool action film. It’s also nice to see an action film without guns for once since the main weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

Robin Hood is in cinemas now.

Coasts Farewell Tour at Cambridge Junction

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the…

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make but we ultimately feel that it is a positive one.”

The members of Coasts, Chris Caines (Vocals), Liam Willford (Guitar), James Gamage (Bass), David Goulbourn (Keyboards) and Ben Street (Drums), met at University in Bath. Shortly after they moved to Bristol where they formed their band. They achieved two UK  Top 40 albums as well as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record’ in October 2014.

Coasts performed at Cambridge Junction on Wednesday 24th October, alongside Only The Poets as support. I feel as if I have been late to the party with this band, having only discovered them this summer, but their show certainly did not disappoint. They performed singles such as “Stay” and “Oceans” and despite being their smallest audience so far, the atmosphere was incredible.

In their announcement post, the members concluded it by saying, “We started this band as five best friends and we’ll finish it as five best friends. Coasts has been our lives for the past 10 years and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”.

A Band to Keep Your Eye On – 

only poets

Only the Poets joined the stage to support Coasts on their farewell tour. Although the venue wasn’t necessarily packed out, the crowd filled out the empty space with double the noise which created an exciting atmosphere.

The indie pop band from Reading made this their first major tour and they filled the room with their catchy tunes and had everyone moving. Their set included songs from their EP such as ‘Even Hell’ and ‘CeaseFire’. As someone who has never heard of them before, I’ve found myself listening to their EP on repeat since the gig and they are definitely a band to watch out for. You can find them on Spotify and they have some upcoming tour dates available for sale now. 

Photo Credit: Tyla Brine

Written By: Tyla Brine

Team ARU: Taekwondo Report

By Jessica Marie Baloso – A very early start for the team driving to the Jean Brown Indoor Arena in Ilford. We eagerly waited for the weigh-ins to start. A number of universities had also started arriving and some students had been exercising to burn…

By Jessica Marie Baloso

BSTF Autumn Championships and LUSL 2018

Results: x4 Gold, x9 Silver, x5 Bronze

A very early start for the team driving to the Jean Brown Indoor Arena in Ilford. We eagerly waited for the weigh-ins to start. A number of universities had also started arriving and some students had been exercising to burn off any excess weight to ensure they met their weight requirement. Other competitors were also practicing for the first set of competitions known as Poomsae, which is a distinct pattern of attack and defence actions.

The world weights division for sparring began around noon and Team ARU athletes were warming up, stretching, and practicing kicks before their fights. There were some issues with more than one of the team members’ matches happening at the same time. Therefore, those who were not yet competing were split all over the place, supporting as many of the team members as possible. The coaches too were doing an incredible job of managing multiple members of the team, one after the other as everyone’s matches were close together.

Every single member of the club performed very well and scoring a number of points and all at advancing the semi-finals as a minimum. A valid kick to the trunk is two points but four if it is a turning kick, and a kick to the head is three, but five if it is a turning kick.

After a lunch break to rejuvenate the athletes, the rest of the matches for the first session continued and soon came to end, and the Olympic weights division followed. Despite losing some matches, the team had a 100% medal rate and were able to take home 18 medals. The full results were:

– Maria Michael: x2 Silver, Bronze
– Jessica Marie Baloso: x2 Silver
– Lidia Iazzolino: x2 Gold
– Piyush Dattatray Dixit: Bronze
– Miranda Ventrella: Bronze
– William Moore: Gold
– George Dennis: Bronze
– Abdul Khan: Silver
– Muhammad Shoaib Shahid: x2 Silver
– Alexina Oladipupo: Gold, Silver
– Neuza Nunes-Cossa: Silver, Bronze

The Taekwondo club has improved greatly over a short period of time, from the number of members signing up, down to the progression of the hard-working individuals. The new committee members have been actively involved with their members of the group and supporting one another through running Mondays’ training sessions, as well as promoting the club with a new Instagram page being set up. The club has also gained an extra training session at a new facility at North Cambridge Academy.

A massive thank you to Barbora Hodorova for volunteering as corner and Poomsae judge, Kian Ziari, Shoaib Shahid, and Piyush Dixit for doing a wonderful job of coaching the team! Next stop: Student Nationals!

‘Les Miserables’ (London, 2018) – Theatre Review

By Hannah Miller – As the longest running musical in the West End, Les Miserables celebrated its 33rd year at on the 8th October, which incidentally is when I managed to see it. Having already seen the show, I was very aware of how emotional it makes…

By Hannah Miller

As the longest running musical in the West End, Les Miserables celebrated its 33rd year at on the 8th October, which incidentally is when I managed to see it. Having already seen the show, I was very aware of how emotional it makes me, but even so, it still managed to blow me away.

Bradley Jadon stole the show as Javert. Having previously played some of my favourite roles within musical theatre (Enjolras in Les Miserables and Fiyero in Wicked), I probably went in with a biased opinion of him, expecting a lot. He lived up this high standard, with Stars being one of the stand out moments of the show for me.

Controversially, I wasn’t a fan of the portrayal of both Fantine and Eponine in this cast. With these two characters being favourites of mine, I was disappointed with how they were; Carley Stenson who played Fantine, didn’t lack in emotion at all. Her Fantine was brilliant, yet I just felt that her voice didn’t suit the role. Eponine is, like most teenage girls who were obsessed with Les Mis, a role that will always be special to me. Yet, I just found that Elena Skye, who played her, didn’t do the role justice.  

Dean Chisnall was an outstanding Jean Valjean. His rendition of Bring Him Home brought the house down, and was easily a highlight of the performance. With Jean Valjean being a tough role to play due to the vocal range the actor is going to need, it’s easy to get wrong. Yet, he was note perfect for the entire show and captured the emotion of the character perfectly.

Other outstanding actors in the performance were Samuel Edwards, playing Enjolras. He managed to capture the characteristics of the stubborn revolutionary perfectly, and still managed to show his softer side during Drink With Me, a portrayal that perfectly encapsulated the conflicting sides to his personality that Hugo wrote in the original novel. Amara Okereke and Toby Miles stood out as Cosette and Marius respectively. Having both just graduated this year from Arts Educational School, and this being Miles’ West End and professional debut, it is outstanding how good they are and the joy they brought to the show with their innocence from their characters. Stephen Meo and Vivien Parry were also amazing as Monsieur and Madame Thendardier, their comic timing gave the show its much needed comic relief. Yet ‘The Sewers’ gave a well needed reminder of just how depraved they actually were, as Meo’s rendition felt particularly jarring. Of course, Les Miserables isn’t complete without its extensive chorus. They all were incredibly strong and helped carry the show, making it an extremely strong and moving production.

Going on the musicals 33rd birthday was an even more special experience. I would definitely regard Les Miserables as being my favourite musical, so just to see it performed is amazing enough. But to have the cast come out on stage and sing happy birthday to it was even more special and it felt amazing to celebrate this musical that has meant so much to me, along with the cast and so many other fans.