Seen/Heard/Read

Lindsey Stirling’s New Music Video Brims with Joy

Stirlingites everywhere rejoice, for Lindsey’s music video for the song Guardian off her last album, Artemis, is out on YouTube! And it’s absolutely fabulous.

This is classic Lindsey showcasing everything she does best, but at the same time with every new shot we’re wondering what will come next. Viewers will know from past behind-the-scenes videos that this uniquely talented dancing violinist and composer takes her location scouting very seriously indeed! This is once again obvious in this music video, because the opening shot immediately took my breath away. Considering I just spent several days walking around my home city snapping every tree with autumn leaves on it, it’s an additional bonus to see these amazing backdrops here. OK, it’s not like we really did the same thing, but I can relate!

A lot of thought has clearly gone in to how the colors in these breathtaking landscapes work with Lindsey’s gorgeous costumes and ALL the visuals in this music video are simply stunning. It’s amazing how Lindsey translates her music to imagery, and the joyful notes in Guardian, equal parts delicate and strong, fly around the trees and mountains we see here. Lindsey’s video editing skills are also utilized to great effect, with seamless transitions between shots. Considering all the restrictions still in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, this video does a terrific job of conveying a soaring sense of freedom and space. The landscape theme also takes me back to Elements, one of my favourite songs and music videos ever.

Lindsey’s dancing while she plays (and not only then) is a jaw-dropping performance every time. The fluidity, the precision, the beauty, the strength, it’s all there. While we see those killer back bends and twirls throughout the video, I have to say, I’m floored by those precise energetic moves in ballet slippers on rocky terrain and the forest floor.

I think WOW is the only appropriate response. I’m off to fangirl some more.

 

 

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Seen/Heard/Read

Labyrinth Quotes to Unsettle Annoying People

Just a bit of studying to remember these and take your pick! Or maybe you already know the movie by heart? Predictably, many gems will come from Jareth, the one and only goblin king. Quotes listed in no particular order.  Extra points if your delivery includes accents, voices, voice switches if it’s a dialogue and tunes if it’s a lyric.

“Sarah, beware. I have been generous up ’til now. I can be cruel.” Substitute Sarah’s name with whichever you need in the moment.

“How you turn my world, you precious thing.”

“What’s said is said.” – “But, I didn’t mean it.” – “Oh, you didn’t?”

“Ha ha ha… well? laugh!”

“I thought they did nice things, like… Like granting wishes.” Substitute “they” with “you”.

“That’s not it! Where did she get that rubbish? It doesn’t even start with “I wish!” ” Substitute “she” with “you”.

“SMELL BAD!”

“What’s the matter, my dear, don’t you like your toys?”

“You have no power over me!”

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Emily in Paris: Some Possibly Unsaid Things

What can I add that hasn’t been said already… Well, just in case, I could add the trailer.

The internet was talking about this so much, I just couldn’t stand aside, though I’m often able to, content to wait until the noise dies down and it’s quiet enough for me to think for myself. I got wind of the reactions and reviews before I’d even seen the trailer or had any clue Emily in Paris existed. I was enjoying the stuff people were posting and writing so much, I just had to see what it was all about. Luckily, with only ten episodes available to stream so far, this was doable in less than a week. Paris is, fortunately, a big part of my life, and I miss it very much these days. This was part of the reason, as it might have been for many others, that I dived right in. I’m neither French or American, but here’s what I have to say. Warning, minor spoilers ahead.

The whole not speaking French and getting a job in Paris thing…

OK, so the opportunity to go work in Paris for a year basically fell into Emily’s lap unexpectedly, so one could argue that she simply didn’t have time to learn French or never considered she would need to. What’s interesting is that despite the language class she does start attending during the series, or the amount of French she hears around her on a daily basis (because if you go to France, there is NO WAY to avoid hearing French everywhere A LOT, duh), neither seems to be having any visible impact on her. Her Bonjour and Très stubbornly retain the American R in every episode. Sure, some sounds take work to reproduce properly when you’re learning a foreign language. But the implication is also that it’s impossible for her to pronounce things the correct way, which brings me to my next point…

The horribly cliché representation of French people…and of Americans?

Fair point, enough said. But aren’t Americans, through our heroine, also represented in a cliché way? Just like not every single French person exhibits all the, um, qualities depicted in the show, surely not every single American disregards the importance of learning the language of the country they find themselves in, only goes so far as to look for daily interpreters, expects everyone to speak English, treats Paris as a playground and is ready to confidently instruct anyone how to do life and work? I can’t decide whether the show is meant to show actual belief in what Emily represents or her character is supposed to remind us that, yes, such people do still exist, and it’s not the best thing. In fact, I’m wondering, is she full of clichés or is she simply almost fascinatingly clueless? Basically, is the show painting ALL of its characters with the same brush, regardless of their nationality?

But back to French things and Paris

My travel-hungry eyes feasted on every single shot of Paris cleaner than I have ever seen it. Than anyone has ever seen it, probably. The visuals are wonderful and that’s fine. It was also less crowded than I’ve experienced it in tourist areas, which is also a fantasy I’m willing to accept. The city is, of course, about so much more than its visual appeal, which seems to be the only dimension capturing Emily and her phone so far. Paris is a whole world onto itself, and I’m not sure this is possible to convey through the current concept of the series. Maybe that’s not supposed to happen. But still, Emily biting into her first pain au chocolat and reducing it to a “Oh my God, butter and chocolate” combination? Non. Emily rejecting her rare steak because it’s “wrong”, without having done some prior research or politely asking before ordering? Non. Emily making fun of how the French say her last name? See above for Bonjour and Très. Non. Emily wearing berets every chance she gets, because we are clearly expecting this from Paris fashion? Non. I’m surprised the striped shirt hasn’t made an appearance yet. Emily being rudely dictated which roses she is allowed to buy by the lady who sells them? Non.

Then there’s all that stuff about French guys

My impression is that the two recurring points in the online debates on this topic are whether Gabriel is likable and how realistic it is to have an attractive downstairs neighbor when you move into your Parisian apartment. Point two gets a quicker answer: sometimes you have attractive neighbors, sometimes you don’t. But it’s definitely an issue to be addressed for all those ambitious dreamers moving to Paris. As well as the fact that said neighbor should come with the following attributes: either single and honest about it OR taken and honest about it. On the other hand, he might just want his privacy, like any normal person. Now to point one. Is Gabriel likable? He’s very attractive, he’s got that whole smize thing going on, he’s easily confident around women, he considers it a normal reaction to kiss a woman who is not his girlfriend back after she kisses him…this isn’t just a French thing or a French guy. Take away the beautiful language, the seamless flirting (let’s give him that one), and you will find this guy in many, many countries. As well as the guy who told Emily what he liked after the dinner party her friend Mindy threw, the older leering men (not so sure about the lingerie gift delivered to work, though, but hey, it’s fiction), the confident mansplainer.

Finally…

So many shows have provoked questions not dissimilar to those following Emily in Paris. Wow, see what I did there, see it? It’s a fine line between escapism and how far you can suspend disbelief while still being able to relate to characters and events. Because no matter how much switching off happens in the brain, there has to be some connection felt to what’s on the screen. Bottom line, they achieved what they set out to do. I’ve watched it all, I’ve contributed to views, I’m writing way more about it than I intended and I’m probably not even the target audience. Et voilà.

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Disney Wisdom That Will Set You for Life

I mean, really, what else do you need?

The Lion King

The basics.

Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.

Simba: But, Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?

Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.

Aladdin

Things to know.

Jafar in disguise: You’ve heard of the golden rule, haven’t you? The one who has the gold, makes the rules (add disgusting wheezing laugh).

Bambi

Manners.

Thumper: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.

Sleeping Beauty

Skillfully telling your family you met someone.

Prince Philip: I said I met the girl I was going to marry. I don’t know who she was, a peasant girl, I suppose.

(Shortened quote follows)

King Hubert: You’re a prince, and you’re going to marry a princess!

Prince Philip: Now, Father, you’re living in the past. This is the 14th century. Nowadays –

King Hubert: Nowadays I’m still the king, and I command you to come to your senses –

Prince Philip: And marry the girl I love.

King Hubert: Exactly!

The Little Mermaid

Understanding teenagers (because at some point we’ll all need to).

Sebastian: Teenagers. They think they know everything. You give them an inch, they swim all over you.

Pocahontas

How to make friends and share hobbies.

John Smith: Pocahontas, that tree is talking to me…

Pocahontas: And you should talk back!

 

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TV Shows to Watch if You Work in an Office

The shows listed below are enjoyable all on their own and I could talk about The Big Bang Theory for hours, quoting and reenacting my favourite parts, which measure whole episodes. Obviously the list I’m posting here is based entirely on my personal opinion and experience. There is a lot of cool TV and film content (let’s use the modern word, darlings) to choose from across countries and decades, should you feel the burning need to find fictional visual representation of what you may have witnessed in the workplace.

(I didn’t watch The Office because I just have other tastes and I did need a bit of mental distance, preferring to transfer what I had seen back and forth on my own terms.)

Any office is a world of its own, where we might sometimes have to come up with a bit of a character to survive encounters with all sorts of other characters. And so, I lean heavily on…

The Big Bang Theory

This is arguably one of the best sitcoms and TV shows ever made. Whip-smart writing and jokes, memorable characters, relatable humor and immediately recognizable situations, a talented cast that only got better season after season, terrific comic timing, masses of quotable quotes and that constant influx of nerdvana and pop culture that I feed on in my daily life. The Big Bang Theory was also more than the comedy in it, reminding of the bigger things beyond the laughs – friendship, love, family, movies, physics…

The reason that it’s perfect fuel for navigating an office job is because it’s like a catalogue of quote cards for the inevitable absurd or funny situations we encounter. Pull up a scene from TBBT and it adds some sparkle to a frustrating moment, or creates a shared laugh with a coworker who might also be a fan. The best part, of course, is seriously quoting suitable passages at someone who has no clue. This trick also applies to the other two shows I’m about to mention, and they are…

The IT Crowd

Another one for the books. This is a British show from some years back, starring the brilliant Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson, as well as many other wonderful actors.

The IT Crowd literally saved me from succumbing to a bad case of nerves during the first weeks of my new job. Not being an IT person, I had the typical episodes when trying to deal with a computer problem and then I had to actually contact someone about it. That was only half bad, being new and a shy person, but trying to explain what I thought was wrong and then attempting to answer additional questions was terrifying. But because I’d watched The IT Crowd and some of the things happening during my conversations with the lovely people trying to help me out were verbatim what I’d heard on the show, I knew this was real and that I would be alright.

In addition to the above, plenty of scenes in the show do deal with working in an office space and the resemblance to what I had seen in real life was, as they say, uncanny.

Downton Abbey

I got on this train rather late, after the first hype and leveled out a bit (or has it?). There’s something about all those British accents that makes me sit up straighter and feel like I can take on the world. Even when a chain of sudden social occurences threatens to create a scandal of horrific proportions one will never, ever recover from, the characters still sound like they could carry on. Or at least affect that posh accent and regal bearing while desperately figuring out what to do.

In the case of the “upstairs”, if you take away the grand setting and manners, it’s clear that the near constant upshoots of intrigue, emotional and social manipulation, mind games, but also attemps to work on things together are not much different from the day-to-day of interacting with other people while working on projects or creating something between the time spent at your desk.

Just as with the other two shows, a quote never hurts when someone tries to catch you out. In which case I would recommend either turning to the inimitable Lady Violet (hat off to Dame Maggie Smith) or Lady Mary, because whatever you may think of her, she certainly never has to look for words in her pocket, as the Russian saying goes.

 

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