Thursday, 25 November 2010

Teenage girl arrested on suspicion of burning Qur'an - The Guardian 25/Nov/2010

This morning this article caught my attention. A teenage girl of 15 allegedly burns a copy of the Qu'ran. This is not a post to express my anger about burning the Qu'ran per se. I'm not a Muslim, nor a supporter of Islam. This is rather a post to express my sadness and dissappointment for a young girl who in the multicultural country she lives in (UK that is), has failed to show the minimum respect required to a sacred and religious symbol such is the Qu'ran, but assuming herself to be part of a civilised world.

People are different, and they always will be. They will have different opinions, attitudes and behaviors. You will disagree with them. You will argue with them. But if you disrespect them, you allow for them to disrespect you, and if limits are not maintained, the result would be quite simply a mayhem. And all this in civilised Europe.

So yes, I am dissappointed that someone was so provocative and disrespectful to a religion and a large group of people, although this of course would not be the first nor the last time. Nevertheless, my dissappointment can only escalate when the person in question is only 15, and she uploads a footage of the act on a social networking site such as Facebook to take credit for her action.

Youth is the future of every country. And this does not seem very promising at the moment.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Urashima Taro

A few days ago I had the fortune of watching a performance of the story of Urashima Taro performed with human sized puppets in the style of the Japanese Bunraku puppets, aided by Kamishibai, a form of paper theatre also originating from Japan.

The story revolved around a poor fisherman, Urashima Taro, who was seduced by the beautiful but mysterious witch Lady Otohime, who encourages him to stay with her in her palace under the sea. However, things quickly turn sour and Urashima's dream of never-ending happiness and pleasure turns into a nightmare. After Otohime gives birth to their baby she ignores him completely. Urashima, as a result, decides to escape from Otohime's palace. However, he cannot escape from her vengeance.

Although the plot was not particularly mentally challenging, I was intrigued by the media used in the performance. Undeniably, it takes exquisite talent for someone to perform a whole story on their own. Indeed, the only human on stage was the actress playing the role of Lady Otohime. The rest of the characters were Bunraku puppets held by the actress on stage. Moreover, there was very little talking (it would rather be a monologue now that I come to think about it), but she successfully used her body language as well as some sounds that other characters were supposively making, to convey the atmosphere and information about the story. Very impressed indeed.

A video to give you a taste :)

Friday, 19 November 2010

The unknown Tony Blair

Now which Prime Minister wouldn't want to publish his erotic encounters, and then be shortlisted for a bad sex award?

And then lose the award to a mere mortal?

Lucky Cherie!

The Joanne Harris Appreciation Post

This post is dedicated to Joanne Harris - one of my all time favourite authors. Although most widely known for being the author of Chocolat (which personally I don't think it's her best work), she has written a number of other masterpieces.

If you haven't read any of her books yet, you really REALLY have to read Gentlemen and Players. When I read it I was intrigued beyond words: very intelligent plot as towards the end it proves to be much more complex than the reader initially thinks, very 'human' characters, exploration of taboo topics, graphic and detailed descriptions of feelings and behaviors, and (my favourite!) interchanging personas! Although the interchanging personas are a characteristic of several books by Harris, it never seizes to excite me each time. How can you better communicate a character's thoughts and feelings if you don't let them do the talking? And do this for all the main characters in the book?! I'll tell you this: I was on holiday in the Greek island of Santorini, and anyone who has been there can assure you that you have every reason to go out. Well, I did go out, but not without Gentlemen and Players!

Don't get me wrong, I love her other books as well, with a sliiight preference for Jigs & Reels, her collection of short stories published in 2004. Arguably writing a good short story is more difficult than writing a book: the story has to encapsulate the plot, the techniques as well as the feelings and the behaviors of the characters in far fewer words than a regular book. What is more, I love the way she gives voice to characters that one would normally ignore. In one of the stories, the persona is one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters. AND she falls in love with the bad wolf from Red Riding Hood, who is apparently hurt by RRH's behavior. Now, who else does that other than Joanne Harris?! (Maybe Carol Ann Duffy in The World's Wife, but I'll discuss that in another post).

Next on the reading list: Blue-eyed boy by Joanne Harris (yes, I'm a bit left behind, but I have courseworks to write and lectures to attend!)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Designer ft High Street

With both Lanvin for H&M, and Valentino for Gap collections hitting the stores at the end of the month, fashionistas have every reason to be excited.

My top picks from Lanvin for H&M:

Nothing screams luxury more than that.

...and nothing screams boldness more than that!

...and both are at the humble price (for us mortals) of £99.99 each.

Source for photographs: H&M website

PS: I'm afraid I haven't seen any pieces of the Valentino collection yet. But, no worries, I will unquestionably keep you posted when I do! :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

We heart Akis from Greek Masterchef


Red, Bloody Lips

I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that it will be all about statement lips this fall. I love red lipstick, it gives an air of '50s glamour and a Grace-Kelly-elegance no other make up tool can give. Seen at Roberto Cavalli, D&G, Peter Som, Missoni, Proenza Schouler and Issa, to name just a few, there's no doubt it will be a celebration of scarlet lips this season!

My top red lipsticks at the moment: 
MAC's in Dubonnet
MAC's in Chilli
Max Factor's in Bewitching
Revlon's in Really Red

PS: So excited!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why I love Soap and Glory

Because they smell divine and their bodycare products are probably the best I've ever used (and I've used A LOT). My absolute favourites:

Scrub Actually: 
It's the only scrub I've used (at least from what I can remember) that has exactly the think, pasty texture which is particularly useful if you need some serious scrubbing. Although I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive skin (as I said, serious scrubbing), it leaves my skin really soft, like no other scrub does! Particularly effective on tougher areas, eg elbows and heels. 4.5/5

The Righteous Butter:
Probably the thickest body butter out there, and I say butter, because this is much thicker than a lotion.  Very good for serious moisturizing and can make your skin feel velvety for more than 24 hours. However, not recommended if you don't really like this on-going feeling of moisture/ kind of oiliness, or if you plan on going for a wax. Oh, and did I mention that it smells great?


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