Monday, 17 August 2020

Theatre Severn Live Stream With Flash A Tribute To Queen

Read all about Flash: A Tribute To Queen and their weekend live stream at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury. 

One of the best things about lockdown and the very difficult time we are still going through is watching my favourite creatives, and people I've worked for/written about, embrace new things and push their comfort zones. Watching and then looking at the reactions afterward, not only from the crowd but from the band themselves is heartwarming to see. I think now more than ever we all need a bit of escapism, and to connect with each other and music if and when we can, and the human side of a band is something we all love to respond to. 

Flash: A Tribute To Queen (one of my last clients before lockdown hit) teamed up with Wild Edric Media and Theatre Severn Shrewsbury to put on a live stream broadcast to support the theatre, a venue like many other arts spaces that are wondering what their future will shape up to be.

Flash played for an hour with a pro streaming, staging, and lighting set-up, running through a set-list that covered all the hits from 'I Want To Break Free', and 'Fat Bottomed Girls' to one of my personal favourites, the emotional 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives'. Launch song 'Fat Bottomed Girl's' was a bit shakey vocally, and it took them a little while to get used to the pin dropping quietness that came at the end of each song, but watching a band try, and then grow into a new situation is all part of the experience, at a time when Saturdays needed to be good again.

The staging looked very cool, the camera work was on point, and while it wasn't always vintage Flash vocally (I'm just a bit picky knowing what they can do), it didn't take too long before they were looking, performing, and sounding the part. When they got comfortable with the camera, the high notes were all there, the guitar solo's soared, and an amusing attempt to keep up with the live chat zooming across a screen to the side of the stage (try the slow chat mode, next time guys!) added some fun.

I really enjoyed watching it and seeing them adapt to a crowd on their couches, and feel a little bit proud.

It's been labelled a success by all involved, who all gave up their time to support the venue, and it was great to see people donating as they were watching. I didn't expect a Flash socially distanced lockdown cover, and definitely I didn't expect this, but both have been very much appreciated. Thank you for all the smiles guys, and I know we are all looking forward to whatever comes next.

#LetTheMusicPlay

#SupportTheArts

#WeMakeEvents 

*All the people involved in making this stream are linked in the post if you would like to go and visit their pages. You can also watch the broadcast back at any time, it's embedded above or available on the Theatre Severn Youtube. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Disney Questions and Answers

I think the title of this post may give it away, but yes I am a big Disney fan. When I've been watching Disney videos on Youtube I see some tag videos on there, but I am not a fan of being in front of the camera, so I thought I'd blog my Q&A instead.  If you're a blogger/Disney fan would be great to see your answers in a blog post too.



1. How did you get into Disney?

I grew up with the films, and they gradually entered my life when I was old enough to watch them (Bambi was banned at first for obvious reasons!). I remember not having much patience for Fantasia but fell in love with some of the other films on first watch.

At some point Walt Disney World really started to be advertised in the UK, and that got me even more excited, especially after some neighbours had been to the Californian version. To a young me it was just magical, and the ultimate place to go on holiday.

2. Have you been to any Disney parks?

Yes! I was really lucky to go to Orlando twice in the late 80's/early 90's with my family and absolutely loved it. We saved and went without to make the trips happen, and hands down they were two of the best holidays I've been on. We stayed on the monorail loop at the Polynesian Village Resort, and that place is amazing. I just love the whole Hawaiian theming. I spent ages in the pool as well as the parks, and they did some super-sized Mickey Waffles back then! I'd love to go back to Florida, though I am not sure how an older me would cope with all the rollercoasters now, I have never been on one that goes upside down!!

3. What's on your Disney bucket list?

There are a few things I haven't experienced before, so I'd love to see a Disney production in the UK such as Disney On Ice or a West End Musical. It would be great to hear some of my favourite songs live. I'd like to visit Disneyland Paris as well as I've never been to, and I know they have some unique attractions you don't get in Florida.

I did tick one small thing of my list already, as I've now bought Disney merchandise from a Disney store! It may sound silly but there was something kind of satisfying about walking around town with a Disney carrier bag, having spent in-store, and chatted with a cast member about all things Disney. Sadly our pop-up Disney store is gone, but will hopefully come back one day.

Apart from that, I'd love to go back to Florida as it's been so long, and there's so much more to see now.



4. If you could voice any Disney character in a film who would it be?

One of my favourite things is seeing the behind the scenes stuff on Disney DVDs of the actors voicing the script. It looks like so much fun, especially when you get to see some of the actor's mannerisms in the animated character. The animals always seem a lot of fun and full of expression, so maybe Timon (Lion King) or If Pluto could speak I'd choose him, one of my favourite characters.

5. Favourite Disney villain?

Maleficent hands down. I have watched the film quite a few times now, and I really enjoyed the story and the contrast between her initial joy and youthful energy, and the darker side she displays when betrayed by ambitious Stefan. Ursula is probably my least favourite, she just freaks me out for some reason.

6. First characters you'd queue to meet in the Disney park?

Chip and Dale and Pluto. Pluto is, without doubt, my favourite Disney dog, and I've always loved Chip n Dale - remembering which one's which, and trying to find Disney merchandise with them on.

7. If money was no object, what would be your ultimate Disney experience?

I'd like business class flights to Florida (I'd love to have the beds there and back), if its the ultimate experience, then they'd be serving my favourite Disney dishes on the flight there instead of the plane food I'd normally refuse. Then I would be escorted to my bungalow at the Polynesian by Mickey Mouse. There would be an Ohana feast and tropical fruit plate waiting to help me get over the jet lag.

8. What's your favourite Disney song? 

My current favourites change. I used to really like Breaking Free when High School Musical first came out, but then got sick of it after Disney overloaded us with HSM content, same with Let It Go from Frozen. Hearing Idina Menzel sing it for the first time was a powerful thing, but I got sick of the Frozen hype too. My absolute favourite has to be Circle Of Life from the Lion King (animation). It's such a moving, beautiful song that to me is timeless. Hearing those harmonies, and picturing the scene from the film it plays out over is quite emotive. Plus I think the movie has been treated right and there's been no overkill. One of the best soundtracks overall in my opinion.

Thanks for reading all about my Disney favourites, goals, and more. I hope you enjoyed it. See on you on the next post, and keep on sharing the Disney magic.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Spotlight On: Miranda Dickinson (Author)

Hi everyone,

How is everyone doing? It's a crazy time to be alive right now, isn't it? I really wish everyone well and hope you are all staying safe, washing those hands, and keeping sane during these difficult and stressful times. Let's hope as a nation/world we can all play our part and beat this invisible evil virus into submission, and enjoy life (whatever life will be) more and as we should be. I've been wanting to catch up with some blog writing for a while to keep me busy but wasn't really sure what to write - so I thought I'd just shine a spotlight on some of my favourite things/people, etc. that are inspiring me right now, just to show a bit of support where I can.

Miranda Dickinson became one of my favourite authors a while back. I remember at the time being heavily in to historical sagas, and devouring so many I basically ended up with genre fatigue (if that's not a thing, I've just invented it!) and needed something new. I turned to chick-lit (if that's the right term) and never looked back. I currently have 4 of Miranda's books sitting on my bookshelf, and one other I've read and donated, and when my reading pile eventually goes down I will be catching up with the rest of her novels. 



I've read Take A Look At Me Now, It Started With A Kiss, Fairytale Of New York, and When I Fall In Love more than once. Mum doesn't understand it, but if a book stays on my bookshelf it'll get read again. Re-reading a favourite is a great way to unwind when you haven't the headspace to concentrate on something new. All these novels were set somewhere different, all the characters have different professions or challenges to face - but there is one common theme that unites each one - they are easy to read. I enjoy all the twists and turns, the lively characters, and colourful settings of each story. My favourites change, but right now it's Fairytale of New York at the top of the list. 

Miranda is a prime example of who I love to follow on social media as well - she is real, full of life, very supportive of all authors, bookshops (especially independents). She posts some great baking photo's as well, and let's face it cake is definitely an essential right now. Miranda is also hosting (as I write this) weekly Wednesday chats on her Facebook page, which are a nice distraction. 

I'm not sure what else to say about this lovely lady, but do go check out her books - there is a new one coming called Our Story out on September 3rd on eBook, paperback, and audiobook, which you can preorder now. Go to Waterstones, Amazon, or check out Hive.co.uk - where you can nominate a local independent book shop to benefit from the sale if you buy from that link (such a good idea right now). 

If you've read any Miranda Dickinson novels before, do comment below and let me know your favourite. 

Stay safe and keep reading everybody. 

Miranda Dickinson Facebook
Follow her on Instagram
And find all things sparkly on Twitter

Friday, 20 March 2020

The Girl With The Amber Comb By Linda Finlay - Blog Tour Review

I think it's safe to say we are living in uncertain times right now, and what a crazy time to be writing a book review. Crazy, but in some ways apt, as I think now is the perfect time to switch off from the news and social media when you can, and lose yourself in a book. I'm very happy to join in with the book tour for The Girl With The Amber Comb, and a big thank you to HQ Stories for gifting me a copy of the book for review.

Linda Finlay is a new author to me, but one through her seven published novels who is famed for West Country sagas based around traditional crafts, and The Girl With The Amber Comb is no exception. One of the first things that struck me as I started reading was the sense of place, and how deeply rooted the story is, in its Somerset location. I have read a lot of historical sagas, but this is the first one that I felt was really anchored in its location, and couldn't have been set anywhere else.

But it wasn't just the sense of place that made this novel for me, it was making the traditional craft a big part of the story, more than just a passing mention, or something the main character just goes off to do, sometimes.

This novel follows the story of orphan Eliza, a poor willow weaver dreaming of a more exciting life beyond her remote waterlogged cottage. When childhood friend Clem tells tales of a more exciting life along the river, the daydreamer and her 'grass is greener' philosophy embarks on a journey that is eye-opening on every level.

Eliza is portrayed as a naive and sheltered young woman and the author captures this so well. She is a character you can believe in, and while her short-lived infatuation with wealthy suitor Theo was somewhat expected, the circumstances that led to her fleeing the droves, and ending up 'caring for gentlemen' in disreputable Lavender House was not. I enjoyed the contrast between the remote withies, the slightly more bustling jailhouse environment of Lavender House, and the happy woollen mill and village. The descriptions of each and Elizas experiences of them were great to read.

For someone that got bored of historical sagas and diverted to chick-lit, Linda Finlay is a breath of fresh air in a genre that for me had got very samey. I look forward to learning more about traditional crafts and reading some more of her work. For now, I would encourage you all to stay safe and virus-free, and lose yourself in this new, heart-warming West Country tale. 

The Girl With The Amber Comb was published on 19th March 2020 by HQ Stories. Available in paperback, eBook and audio versions.




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Theatre Severn Live Stream With Flash A Tribute To Queen