Women of the Year 2014

Malala Yousafzai

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It would be impossible to have a list of the Women of The Year without including this phenomenal young lady. As the survivor of an assassination attempt and, at just 17 years old, the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala continues to inspire women across the world with her campaign for human rights, particularly with regards to access to education for women and children in Pakistan and other countries. This is one woman who could truly change the world.

Sophie Hannah

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Sophie Hannah’s books have been popular with crime and fiction fans for a long time, but it is her 2014 offering that has earned Ms Hannah a place on this year’s Women of The Year list. The Monogram Murders is the newest Hercule Poirot mystery – now, we know that it’s damn near impossible to fill Agatha Christie’s shoes, but we can’t think of anyone better to take a shot at it than Sophie Hannah.

Gillian Anderson

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2014 was truly a great year for Gillian Anderson. Not only did her performance in the second series of The Fall get great reviews, she also had an award-winning run as Blanche DuBois in the National Theatre’s staging of A Streetcar Named Desire. And as if that wasn’t enough for Anderson to be getting on with, in October of this year she published her first novel, A Vision of Fire, which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller.

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne Performs At Electric Brixton In London

On Clean Bandit’s absolute banger of a tune, ‘Rather Be’, Jesse Glynne’s voice was all over the radio this year. But rather than fade away like so many featured vocalists, Glynne released her own solo material off the back off the success of ‘Rather Be’; with her husky, soulful voice reminiscent of (and dare I say it, much more interesting than) Adele, the 90’s dance vibe of ‘Right Here’ has hopefully set Jess up for a solid music career.

Lupita Nyong’o

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Sure, we included Lupita on last year’s list but that was before she won her Oscar, so she’s earned her place on this year’s list too! Not content to impress us with her powerful performance in 12 Years A Slave, Lupita’s classy and earnest acceptance speech at the Oscars earned her a place in our hearts. We can’t wait to see what’s next for her!

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson

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If you haven’t been watching Broad City, the Comedy Central sitcom about two twenty-something women in New York, you’re missing out. This weird and hilarious show centres around Ilana and Abbi’s fictionalised versions of themselves, struggling to make ends meet and always managing to get into weird situations. It’s bold, cool and most importantly, totally hilarious – I can’t wait for series two!

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent

The Babadook was easily one of the best films of the year – utterly terrifying without relying on grisly shock-gore or worn out cliches, the sense of claustrophobic terror created instead by tricks of the light and clever sound editing. The character from the film, Mister Babadook, was so scary and popular that Kent is publishing the pop-up book from the film in 2015. Just try and stop me from buying it, I dare you, I DARE YOU

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The Apprentice 2014 Episode 3 – DTSFT Roundup

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I didn’t do episode 2. I apologise. I will fix this. For now – wake up and smell the candles, it’s episode 3 of The Apprentice.

This week, the two teams of plebs have to create and sell a fragranced candles, a task that seems easy enough – vanilla, round jar, little box, fuck it, sorted – but of course, this is The Apprentice and these bastards will find a way to make it look like the most difficult thing in the world.  Despite a few hiccups, Katie led her team well with a clear interest in the products, while over on Roisin’s team it seemed like everyone just wanted the whole thing to be over.

Personally I quite like candles, but try to get me to buy one on the street for more than the pitiful change in my pocket and we’re going to have a problem.  Here’s the roundup:

This outtake from 'When A Stranger Calls'

This outtake from ‘When A Stranger Calls’

Katie: “I buy reed diffusers, candles, plug-ins, I do do that”

What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

What are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I liked the bit where they made sure everyone knows just how few scented candles there are on offer

candle collage

“Everyone says I wanna go back to the beach, I miss the smell” I have never said that

Sarah trying to slyly get the conversation round to lemons again “People like food smells” and later “What about LEMONISE? It’s a made up word”. Hopefully after next week she’ll change her lemony ways. I doubt it though.

lemon gif

This outtake from the episode of GIRLs where they had an office in a taxi:

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Nick’s powerful face

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“Whether you like it or not”

“Whether you like it or not”

When Katie asked the sub-team to ask Sarah to be quiet because “She’s making no sense”

When we had to keep staring at what looked like pee

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These two women who are so far off the radar that I keep forgetting they’re even contestants

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This great shot of Nurun and Lindsay when Karen was calling them both weak links

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I hate Daniel, okay? Stephen totally saved that pitch with his offer, and Daniel accused him of  ruining the pitch with his interjection, even though the interjection WAS what saved the pitch. FUCK OFF DANIEL. Like I said on Twitter, he’s the guy who’ll try to be charming and buy you and a drink, and when you politely decline, he’ll call you a bitch.

And how about Mr 9 out of 10 for attractiveness over here?

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I feel sorry for the delivery people who have to say “Delivery for Team Tenacity/Summit”

Of course Roisin loves the smell of linen, especially after Snow White changes all the bed sheets down at the cottage

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Sorry not sorry

This look from Bianca, which showed just how much faith she had in James’s ability to price things up.

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Would you buy an expensive candle from a bloke in a waistcoat? Shut up.

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Ugh, Sarah is so deliberately unhelpful sometimes, look at her body language, she’s so shit. Also, don’t call other women bossy when they’re just being in control of the project, you idiot.

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James looking unimpressed with Nurun and Lindsay’s attempt at co-ordinating their outfits.

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Karen SCHOOLING James on his RRP shit

Sarah lurking while the others made sales, then trying to convince the others that the price was too high – we’ve found the villains so early on in this series, you guys

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I loved how everyone on team Summit was just going round selling the candles at whatever price they could think of, amazing

When Roisin’s team so rudely took a phonecall while trying to close a sale – we were all Karen in that moment

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Lindsay’s pulled

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Lord Sugar seemed to think that the candle looked like a glass full of custard – I would legit pay £35 for a glass of custard, because that shit is delicious.

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“Nevermind aloe vera, sounds like it’s goodbye Sarah”

I think we all wanted team Tenacity to take their leftover candles to the spa with them and try to sell them there

Of the bodies they could have shown being massaged, they chose Daniel and Felipe instead of Steven. Out-fucking-rageous.

Roisin’s face

This is the face of dreadful realisation

This is the face of dreadful realisation

James repeatedly interrupting actually gave me high blood pressure, just shut the hell up you prick

Then this beautiful moment of stretching

The FUCK are you doing fam?

The FUCK are you doing fam?

“I don’t trade in London, I’m from Peterborough” Best. Line. Ever.

Mr 9 our of 10’s face when Lindsay was talking herself out of a job

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Why was yer man rolling his t-shirt sleeves up? Ain’t no gunshow here.

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Oh and finally, more London p-o-r-n

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It was as if this week was an architecture special, old and new. Glorious.

See you next week for the roundup, if my spine is okay after all the cringing…

5 Things That Need To Stop in 2014

Oh what, did you think I’d forgotten? Or that I’d somehow stopped being a cynic? I expected more from you people.  Well actually, I’m a cynic, so I didn’t expect anything from you at all.

Let’s face it, 2013 was good but it was no 2012, that’s for sure.  And despite my list of demands suggestions for things that should stop in 2013, nothing really changed, did it? So rather than re-hash those same sentiments, I’ve got a new list, one that might be easier to stick to, and as ever these aren’t the big issues that the world needs to focus on. These are the big issues that YOU need to focus on.

5. Mason jars

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If you’ve ever looked at a craft board on Pinterest, you’ll no doubt have come across a load of links to websites for ‘50 Gifts in Mason Jars’ or ‘100 Ways To Use Mason Jars’. There’s only one way to use mason jars, and that’s the way you use ANY jar. You put stuff in it and then that’s it, that’s all, that’s everything. They’re storage, plain and simple. For example, you can store a healthy meal in a mason jar, and layer up the vegetables so that they look colourful and pretty. I wonder how colourful and pretty that meal will look once you’ve tipped it out onto a plate because you can’t scoop your food out properly, and then had to run a spoon around the inside to get every bit of it out. What a hassle. I’ve seen tutorials for melting down candles into mason jars so that instead of a candle in its own glass, you’ve got a candle in its own mason jar. Ooooooooh!  How quaint and rustic, it’ll go so well next to your iPhone speakers! And people will know how thrifty and good at crafts you are when they see your home-made candle next to your £20 foundation and your £350 boots.

MASON JAR GARDEN

Oh, but you’re going to fill yours with sand and put candles in them to light your garden on a summer night? USE SOLAR LIGHTS OR FAIRY LIGHTS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Oh but you’re going to fill yours with a refreshing cucumber and mint drink that will detox your body, and refresh and hydrate your skin? DRINK WATER FROM YOUR FILTHY, CUPPED HANDS LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.

Oh but you’re going to fill yours with little bits of paper, on which you’ve written your hopes and dreams for 2014? GIVE UP ON YOURSELF AND HUMANITY LIKE THE REST OF US.

4. Talking

Why do people talk all the time? Why can’t they shut up for a minute and let me think?

 3. Sharing ‘must-see links’ on Facebook and Twitter

I get it, people.  You feel guilty that you can’t get out there and be an inspiration to other people, or that you’re not changing the world in some dramatic, emotional way.  So instead, you share videos of people talking – and if you read number 4 on this list, you’ll know that I’m not okay with talking.

To be more specific, spoken-word poetry. For a start, the name itself annoys me – ‘spoken word poetry’.  Poetry is words, words are either read or spoken, therefore two out of the three parts of that name are redundant, they should just call it ‘words’. So ‘words’ then, people are sharing videos of people standing up in front of others and saying ‘words’.  Some of them are interesting to listen to because they’re funny or insightful – there are many videos on Youtube of poets like T. Miller who are actually great, but for every great poet there are a hundred more who think that just by using the same tired inflections and cadences in their voice they can turn their blah-blahs into poetry. Take Pages Matam:

Here’s his BRAVE PERFORMANCE of a poem he wrote after hearing a woman on the bus being told that her looks meant she’d never be raped.  People shared this video, hailing this man for being strong and caring about women so much that he bravely stood up and shared his words in front of a group of people, his words about how to support and respect women despite the fact that in the situation he clearly didn’t do a damn thing to support and respect the woman in question.

Don’t get caught up in the bullshit, people. They’re just throwing together long rambling sentences that require them to take a breath before a few shorts, blunt sentences with sad/angry looks, waving their hands as if they’re arguing for their life when in fact they’re just tricking you into believing what they’re saying is in some way meaningful or insightful because they’ve just got many words to say before symbolically dropping the mic and walking off the stage. See what I’m doing? I’m using their form for that paragraph.  And it worked.

*drops mic, walks off the stage*

2. Miniature and hybrid food

Guys, I’m really not okay with this. There’s nothing ‘cute’ about miniature cupcakes or mini muffins or whatever.  It’s essentially party food, and the ironic thing about party food is that unless the entire platter of mini pizzas is for me, no-one is going to have a good time because I’ll be crying in the corner and shouting abuse at the host/hostess for not providing enough food. It’s just rude, to be honest.

Sadly, this doesn't have a tilt-shift effect, they're really just small

Sadly, this doesn’t have a tilt-shift effect, they’re really just small

But hybrid food is the main issue here.  Cronuts, for fuck’s sake. A cross between a doughnut and a WHO GIVES A SHIT? EAT BOTH. EAT BOTH AND SHUT UP.

cronutWhy are they trying to improve doughnuts? They’re already perfection, it’s blasphemous, quite frankly. Doughnuts were doing great, and then someone filled them with jam and blew our minds, and then someone else filled them with custard and spun our heads, and then someone filled them with cream and covered them with chocolate and changed the game, man.

Then we became greedy. We got ahead of ourselves. We abused our baking powers and starting messing around with things, creating our own monsters like culinary Frankensteins in our kitchen laboratories.

Also, if ‘cronut’ was spelt ‘croughnut’, people might pronounce it as ‘cruffnut’, and that’s so unappealing.

1. Mumford and Sons-ing songs

Look, guys. We live in a world where it’s cheaper to buy a new phone than replace it. If something breaks, we don’t need to fix it because we’re so used to things being disposable, so if our coats or jumpers get a tear in them we just get a new one. If we get a hole in our boots, we’ll just buy a new pair instead of taking them to the cobblers.  And speaking of cobblers, Mumford and Sons.

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This folk revival that’s been gradually happening has reached a point where even Gary bloody Barlow is influenced by Mumford and Sons. Fast chords on a guitar, a banjo in the background and wearing tweed, that’s all you need to make a Mumford and Sons song.  Back in 2012 when Phillip Phillips (that’s his actual name) won American Idol, his winner’s song wasn’t a huge ballad, it was a folk-style song with plenty of drums and twanging guitars as if they were trying to convince you that he’d won a country fair rather than a national televised singing competition.

Mumford and Sons, I’m calling out – you’ve released the same song over and over again and managed to distract the general public by doing things like casting Hollywood actors in your videos and marrying Carey Mulligan.  But your reign of terror is over. It’s time for you to go.