This weekend I’m loving…

1. Lady Gaga – was on the judging panel this week for So You Think You Can Dance (US version) and was eloquent, insightful and articulate.  The only weird thing was her outfit, so no surprises there.  Also loving her new single You And I.

2. Stars and spots – all over this season’s catwalks, and what a pretty way to transition to autumn.

Image courtesy of coolspotters.com

3. Liam Neeson – I recently re-watched Taken, and he definitely falls into the Hot Dad category.  Helps that he could probably get you out of any kind of sticky situation…

4. Bright yellow nail polish – might not be for everyone, but it’s certainly a good way of bringing a little bit of sunshine to your feet

5. Experimental cooking – risotto with chestnut stuffing that’s been in the freezer since Christmas?  Why not…

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One for the to-read list?

Oh look, what a surprise, there’s yet another celebrity-turned-novelist.  And this time it’s none other than Tyra Banks with her so-called thriller, ‘Modelland’.  Here is the description as given by amazon.com:

No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.

But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.

Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.

Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Or could it? Dark rumors like silken threads swirl around the question of why Tookie and her new friends were selected . . . and the shadows around Modelland hide sinister secrets.

Are you ready? Modelland is waiting for you. . . .

Now I find several things wrong with this.  Firstly, I have up until now been quite a big Tyra fan, and she clearly represents the powerful, beautiful, modern woman that most of us aspire to be.  However, I feel that by joining the likes of Katie Price, Kerry Katona, Martine McCutcheon, and Sharon Osbourne, Miss Banks is somewhat degrading herself.  Did she not learn from the whole let’s-attempt-a-music-career fiasco?  Does she not realise that this will most likely be a flash-in-the-pan experience?

Secondly, I have a problem with the title itself.  ‘Modelland’.  Why not ‘Model Land’?  To what purpose is this merging of two words?

Thirdly, I feel that Tyra is beginning to get just a little greedy.  Not that I’m one to begrudge a certain amount of fame and fortune, but when you’ve already got two hit TV shows, a lucrative production company AND the earnings from a hugely successful modelling career, surely you’d be happy with what you’ve achieved?

My bet is that once girls actually read these books, they will find themselves less intellectually challenged and entertained than when they read Angelina Ballerina to their little sister.  Of course, I could be totally wrong, read the book and enjoy it immensely, but for now, sorry Tyra, I’m not convinced.

Winds of change

On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to be listening to Zane Lowe’s show on Radio 1, and he played the world exclusive of Snow Patrol’s new single, Called Out In The Dark.  Having been a Snow Patrol fan since the release of Final Straw in 2003, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this latest release, especially since the band promised a ‘different’ sound.  YouTube addict that I am, I’ve had the audio track on repeat since Friday morning, and I’m still not bored of what is quite frankly a great record.

I always find it interesting to look at what comments people have written in response to YouTube videos, and the overwhelming response to Called Out In The Dark is a hugely positive one.  However, not everyone seems to share this adoration of the new release.  Comments range from ‘Erm this isnt very good’ to  ‘this is blase, I’m starting to worry about the future quality of their music …’, but the underlying debate is whether the change in Snow Patrol’s sound has been a step in the right or wrong direction.

This made me think about the dilemma artists must face when wanting to develop and change their music.  On the one hand, there is the want and need to keep exploring different sounds and experiment with creativity.  But on the other hand, there are the fans.  A group or solo artists run the risk of alienating their fan base if they release a single that is a complete departure from the music the fans originally fell in love with.  Personally, I feel that musicians are almost obliged to develop and evolve, as change is a natural part of the creative process.  History shows us that change can be the making of an artist.  For example, there is the little-known fact that Another One Bites The Dust, one of Queen’s greatest records, almost never made it to the public domain.  The majority of the band felt it was too different, too disco, and that it wouldn’t be well-received by their fans.  However, Freddie Mercury pushed for its release, and as a result of its more funky sound, the single was snapped up by the Afro-American community, most of whom thought it was a black man on the lead vocals.  Clearly, change can result in exposure to a brand new set of listeners, as well as giving existing fans something new to chew on.

It seems that as long as artists retain their (often indefinable) ‘essence’, then any change they make will ultimately be accepted by those who listen to their music.  The difference between the tracks on Final Straw and Snow Patrol’s latest release is significant.  Early songs such as Gleaming Auction and Spitting Games are, in comparison to more recent singles like Just Say Yes, far more simple and obvious in their composition.  But this does not mean that they are any less good.  The band has followed a natural progression of using different effects with their music, and yet they have still retained that certain something that makes their music so different from anyone else’s.

Going back to the YouTube comments, there are many of the ‘I wasn’t sure at first but now I love it’ variety, which goes to show that taking a risk and changing your sound is nearly always a good move.  My favorite comment is ‘They have to move on,they cant keep making the same songs the whole time. I like their old stuff, but I like this song too.They’re talented lads just support them if you’re a real fan’.  Well said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH70oczxqOU

Starting blocks

So, the first post of my new blog.  I’ll start off by saying that this is my second blog, but the first one, for reasons unexplained by Google, got deleted.  However this was a blessing in disguise as I had been thinking about taking what was a purely fashion-based blog in a new direction.  While fashion was, and still is, my main area of interest, I have found myself wanting to write about a greater range of topics.  Also, in November I shall be moving to the Alps for six months, which I’ve heard might limit my exposure to content appropriate for a fashion blog.  Ski fashion maybe..?

Anyway, for those of you who are reading this, I hope you enjoy my blog, and please feel free to post comments, either positive or negative.  After all, what is life without a little bit of debate?