Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Did her family consider her important enough? Does it hold any amateur flaws? Was it even in her character to pose alongside her work?
These are just some of the questions raised by Dr Paula Byrne on Jane Austen: the Unseen Portrait?. Alongside presenter Martha Kearney, she begins the journey into finding out whether or not the mysterious portrait she has come to own is in fact one of Jane Austen.
The portrait, looks not too dissimilar from her sister Cassandra's sketch, the softened image we all know and recognise as looking like Austen. However, with its striking qualities, this 'new' portrait presents us with more sharp features, characteristics that many Janeites would rather choose not to be significance to Miss Austen. Across the hour long programme, we are invited to watch the vast dissecting of all elements of the portrait, from examining the materials used to produce the picture, to the signature on the back, and even the clothes the subject wears.
The Unseen Portrait does allow you to make up your own mind, giving you the chance to piece together all that we have learned about the possibilities of the portrait. However, with Dr Paula's convincing pitch to a panel of experts, one could quite easily be swayed in view. It is definitely a thought provoking experience, one that is not stuffed full of unnecessary detail or excessive adoration. It is, instead, a delightful opportunity to gain a historical insight into Austen's life as a writer in the early 19th Century. The question is, however, do you feel that this once unseen portrait could be the real image of Jane Austen?
Monday, 26 December 2011
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the world's biggest fan of Jane Austen's novels. Sure, I may have only read two, but even that's enough to tell me that they all centre around marriage, or money, or the interlinking of marriage and money (the recurring theme is not hard to identify, to put it bluntly). However, I do find her life to be one that is most fascinating to study, so I was rather looking forward to watching BBC's The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen. The big question, however, asks: did it deliver?
In short, yes. It took a different approach to what I was expecting though. The show's presenter - historian and writer Amanda Vickery - takes us along with her to an Austen convention, where we see rare items being auctioned off for extraordinary prices. We're given an insight into how Austen's work compared alongside others of the time, as well as the journey the classics took before reaching the high state of popularity they've peaked at now.
Not quite to a biographical extent, we do learn a little about what the author's life would have been like during the years of her publication, and also why she wished to remain anonymous with her work. The latter part, I found to be most fascinating, and exceedingly thought provoking.
Pieced together well, each section of the hour long programme flowed without interruption. Input from other historians, as well as Austen fans, helped fit together all elements of the exploration into Austen's life, to give us a wider view of the sensation she's become. The scale of popularity is impeccable. The festive period has produced us, this year, with many delightful TV shows connected with the great author, and this is one I'd most certainly recommend.
Monday, 19 December 2011
I won! I actually won!
As much as I love playing with words, I cannot write fiction. I lack the ability to develop my ideas, and cannot create characters that are well rounded. Regardless, I decided to enter the Waterstone's competition, for which one had to create a Dickensian character:
I found out a mere few hours ago that I am the proud winner or a gorgeous collection of Dickens books, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers. Having only read my first Dickens story, A Christmas Carol, two days ago, I'm more than keen to plough through his collection. It's fate, without a doubt!
I can't wait for them to arrive; they look gorgeous.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
To keep this brief, I just want to say that my thoughts are with her family and friends. She certainly came across as a passionate, and indeed successful, woman with her career, and only wish that there was a chance to turn back the clock. Rest in peace, Angie, you were a true inspiration.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Before the gig, I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the queue in WHSmith to see him at his Brung Up Proper book signing (brilliant book - I bought four copies - you must read it!). Well, that was just sensational! An hour and a half after that, and I was seated comfortably in the Metro Radio Arena, the stage not too far away, Jason spotlighted and in his element.
The only comedians I'd seen live prior were Caroline Rhea and Costaki Economopoulos, but having watched Manford on TV for years, I knew pretty much how this was going to go. However, I'd just like to say that it's so much more exciting when you're in the room; the atmosphere is sensational! If you ever get a chance to see him live, to take up that offer!
ManFest 2011 was absolutely perfect; it couldn't have run more smoothly. Jason was a delight at his book signing, utterly hilariously at his gig, and an utter peach to be in the presence of! I'll certainly treasure that day forever.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
When one has waited an incredibly long time for something, they can often fear that it won't be as good as they'd perhaps hoped. This was certainly my concern as I clutched my front row ticket to see psychic medium Derek Acorah on his True Vision tour at the Sunderland Empire last night. Thankfully, I needn't have worried.
Having fallen in love with his work some seven years ago, at the age of twelve, I knew straight away that it was impossible for me to let his stop in Sunderland bypass me. The excitement had, of course, built up inside of me at a steady rate over the months that followed the booking of my ticket, however I hadn't prepared myself for the intense sensation of utter contentment that followed the moments after he first walked onto the stage. Bloody hell, I'm sat in front of Derek Acorah!, I thought. I couldn't have been more ecstatic.
The tour itself allowed Derek to interact with the audience, seeing Sam help him deliver messages from the spirits of audience members' loved ones who had come along to the demonstration. Never did you feel like Derek was lifting the thoughts from his own head; he was so descriptive with his words that you could quite easily visualise the spirits around him. One particular being in the atmosphere who stayed in my mind was a woman called Rose, who, I believe, had passed away at the age of 78. A heavy smoker and a little snooty, I actually felt like I'd known this lady myself in her physical body. Of course, this couldn't possibly so, but Derek never leaves the audience out when sharing information with specific audience members; we're all sucked into the emotional journey.
One could quite easily expect such an evening to be gloomy and depressing. On the contrary, Derek was full of life and hilarity. It's clear to see from his high energy that he's very excited to be on the stage, always embracing his gift and doing so very passionately too. Of course, I've never doubted Derek's abilities as a medium, however, if a skeptic were to see the show, they'd certainly be put in their place! Derek kept churning out information that was received to be correct; the believer does not need proof, but if they wanted such like, then Derek could certainly offer something of the sort.
I was fortunate enough to meet the delightful Derek after the show; I was the last in the queue and had a small wait, but it was certainly worth it, and so much more personal since it was only my friend and I left in the building (security and crew aside!). My five-minute conversation left me with much more information than I'd ever intended receiving from Mr Acorah. He said a few things that shocked me, delightfully, and a few that won't ever leave me. Over the foundations of his passion, he's layered knowledge, to create a combination that is nothing less than perfection. He's such a wonderful person, with an equally gorgeous soul. Whether you're already a supporter of Derek Acorah's work, or are just keen to see how a demonstration works, his True Vision tour is one not to be missed.
Click here to read my article!
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Sunday, 30 October 2011
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Monday, 19 September 2011
Okay so last week's challenge I thought was quite exciting. A lot of patience, and indeed confidence, is required when working with children and I feel that Ryan especially coped remarkably with his role as Stumpy the Good Pirate. Ruby-Jo did worry me for a moment that she was going to give up completely, however she managed to turn herself around at the last minute - what a relief!
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
Thursday, 18 August 2011
With some of my earlier subjects aside, I'm quite pleased with the knowledge I've gained from my subject choices and feel that, with a few tweaks, they could have been perfect! I suppose a lot of the subject enjoyment does come from the class environment. During those few months I studied Psychology, I found it to be one of the most interesting things I'd ever looked at, but the class just wasn't right and it dampened my enjoyment incredibly.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Sunday, 14 August 2011
Saturday, 6 August 2011
Okay, so I’ve another dream to report to you this morning. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I do have a lot of Doctor Who and Torchwood dreams, and this one plays into that…
I sat on a train with a pile of tickets in my hand. Sitting backwards at the table there were two people in front of me, but nobody to the side. It became apparent that these two other people were my Torchwood companions. Yes, I was a member of Torchwood!
Shortly after the ticket inspector had come along, I noticed a metal creature approaching the train. It held the figure of a small dinosaur but once it reached the train doors, I could no longer see it. No commotion was created; it had arrived in peace.
I didn’t think anything more of it, until I felt something tugging at my legs. I hovered myself by using the table, resisting the creature’s strength as best as I could. Alerting my colleagues, action was quickly taken.
In charge of our group was a slightly round middle aged man (I imagine this is what Barrowman would look like if he abandoned the make-up and ate a couple of pies). Following his instructions, I sped along the train corridor, opening all of the doors to ensure passenger safety. It was then that we realised we had a bigger problem on our hands.
This had just become the battle of Nine V Ten. It turned out that the only reason the metal creature, now known as Ten, had come on board was to seek out its plastic enemy, Nine (think Autons V Cybermen!). As I made my way down the corridor with our unnamed leader following behind, Ten vanished out of sight. Instead, a long snake-like plastic arm slithered its way down behind us, chasing us and gaining speed.
Right at the very end of the corridor was a lift (yes, on a train…). Hammering on the button for the doors to open, we rushed inside and let the doors slam behind us. We were safe.
We were stuck in the lift for what felt like an eternity. Why weren’t we outside trying to do something about the creature invasion? Well, the answer to that is simply because we couldn’t! We’d somehow managed to get ourselves trapped inside the lift. We weren’t moving anywhere but the doors refused to open.
We had no idea what havoc was being created outside those doors – we couldn’t hear nor see anything. However, we had a new problem to deal with – our oxygen supply was quickly running low. Unable to leave the lift, it seemed as if our chances of survival were against us. Being Torchwood, we simply wanted to sort out the war that could have been unfolding mere metres away from us, but we were helpless. We couldn’t fight, and we couldn’t breathe…
I didn’t get a chance to see how this one unfolded, for I woke up in a state of panic and refused to go back to sleep. The dream was enthralling, action-packed and very exciting. However, once awake with the time to contemplate and replay the scenes, it seems so much more terrifying! This is also the second night in a row which I’ve dreamed about losing my life, both times with a TV-related, sci-fi twist. What does that mean?!
Friday, 5 August 2011
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Sunday, 31 July 2011
Thoughts of presenting live Television is something which terrifies the life out of me, but in all ways positive! I've presented the odd (some very odd!) live events, but only to a small audience. To present live Television with potentially millions of viewers would be insane! Shooting PTCs is one thing, where retakes are allowed if slip ups occur, but with live television there's no escaping your errors! Just to be able to say that I've broadcast a programme live would be a massive achievement.