Saturday, 19 January 2019

WEEKLY RECAP | New And Nostalgic

Hello, and welcome to the first in my new series ‘Weekly Recap’.

As the name suggests I will be recapping my week; where I’ve been travelling to, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been reading, etc.

I can be a little nosey and enjoy listening to everyone’s weekly round ups on podcasts, but I’m not able to do a podcast of my own just yet (although I would love to), so I’m writing it all down instead.

This week I have been on the move a bit, stuck my nose into some old books (or kindle, actually, I am travelling after all) and finished one of the latest Netflix series. 

The Travel Part

I started my week rolling up Thailand in my first ever sleeper train, from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. The sleeper train was surprisingly roomy, fairly comfortable and not scary. I had two fairly chill days in Chiang Mai, staying in a family run hostel next to the old city. I spent my time exploring the temples, talking to monks and eating at some of the many vegetarian restaurants on offer. My favourite was a cool outdoor restaurant called Reform Kafe. I got an absolutely delicious noodle soup for just a couple of quid, gotta love Thailand. 

The hostel I stayed at was fine, but not very sociable. After a couple of days on my own I was craving a bit of company, so I made the decision to head north to the small but vibrant town of Pai. Getting to Pai involves taking 762 turns up a winding road through the mountains. A lot of people get motion sickness, thankfully I did not. Maybe all those teenage years playing dizzy donkey strengthened my stomach.

Pai is definitely the place to go if you want to do a bit of socialising. Every night our hostel went on a pub crawl, hitting some cool bohemian bars along the way. However, one thing I was not expecting with Pai was the drop in temperature at night. I mean, it was still warmer than the zero degrees weather back home, but I definitely felt a slight chill. 

The Reading Part

I would love to fill this part with some cool unheard-of but brilliant books and sparkly new best sellers. Alas, I have gone a bit mainstream and old school.

I am re-reading the Harry Potter series for the first time in many, many years. This week I read the Chamber of Secrets. I’ve watched the films loads over recent years, so it has been good to read the book version of events again. There were definitely a few gaps in my once near perfect book knowledge, past Laura would have been ashamed.

I also decided to start the Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve watched the movies loads, but never got around to reading the books. Still early days but I am enjoying the book version of the story. It goes into a bit more detail on the daily life in District 12, and the relationships Katniss has with others, especially her Mum and Peeta. I didn’t really get the bread scene in the movies, it made it look like we were supposed to be mad at Peeta even though he was doing a nice thing, or was that just me?

The Media Part

This week I finally set some time aside to finish the last half of You. Oh my god. I really enjoyed the series, it had me shouting at my screen more than once. Although a lot of problems could have been prevented if Beck just closed her bloody curtains. I won’t go into too much detail, cos spoilers, but I did not expect that ending. What did you think of it?

I’ve also been watching a couple of old favourites.

I’m on season 6 of Gilmore Girls, so working through the whole dropping out of Yale fiasco. I’m almost at one of my favourite episodes. The one where Rory throws the DAR event and Emily and Richard finally find out that the Huntzberger’s are stuck up rude so and so’s, so Emily completely takes down Logans mum. Paris and her new-found respect for Marxism also gets me every time.

I’m on season two of Once Upon A Time. Forgot how much I loved this show, and the character Hook. Would highly recommend if you haven’t yet watched it. It’s about an enchanted town where all the characters from the well-known fairy tales are living, unable to remember magic and who they were before the curse brought them to earth.

The Pop Culture/News Part

Another week of people losing their shit over Veganism. I am still as perplexed as ever as to why some people are getting so angry over one vegan choice on a menu. Especially considering the benefits to the planet when we cut down on meat production. Science Daily posted an article this week on the big changes we need to make in order to make ourselves and our planet healthier. This involves both changing our diet and the way we produce food. But sure, Piers, maybe your fragile masculinity is more important…

Kimberly Jeffries, a photographer, got so close to the biggest great white shark on record. According to the BBC the shark is “believed to be one called Deep Blue – around 50 years old, weighing an estimated 2.5 tonnes and nearly six metres long”. The images are incredible. The shot from above was the one that stunned me most, did you see how wide the shark was? Apparently, they suspect it might be pregnant. Kimberly got so close that she touched them. I would love to swim with sharks, but I’d probably do it from the safety of a cage. 

The 10 year challenge that started to annoy some people shifted into a bleak look at how the world has changed. Ice caps melted, forests cut down and towns torn apart are just a few examples of what people have been sharing. The images are shocking and will hopefully open up some peoples eyes to the damage we are causing. I, as well as many people I know online and in real life, am trying to cut down on things like fast fashion and single use plastic. Although realistically it’s the government who needs to do more to tackle the issues.

Brexit. I am feeling poorly at the moment so I can’t even get into the mess that is Brexit. Mays deal has been rejected, although her government has survived the no confidence vote. I am strongly hoping that we don’t end up with a No Deal scenario. The Economist wrote a detailed piece a few weeks back on how damaging that would be for the country, citing food shortages and lack of skilled workers in the NHS amongst many other things. 

Finally, I want to talk about the new Gillette advert that has been causing many people to publicly proclaim they are boycotting the brand altogether. The advert has put a modern, post-“#metoo” twist on their slogan “the best a man can get” by tackling issues such as homophobia, bullying, mansplaining and sexual assault. They ask is this really is the best a man can get alongside shots of men stepping in to stop things like the aforementioned from happening, setting an example to the younger generation of boys. 

A quick search on Twitter shows many critics of the new ad have resurfaced a variety of old and sexist Gillette ads, including one with a multitude of conventionally attractive women in tight blue bodysuits with Gillette written across their glutes. While Gillette’s historical ads are a little sketchy to say the least, personally, I like the new advert. I think it’s good that a male-focused brand is opening up the conversation to and taking accountability of its role in toxic masculinity. Buzzfeed reported Gillette’s statement on the ad, where they allude to the above past indiscretions (although never too directly) and say that “it’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture”. If the brand is willing to accept that they have been part of a bigger problem, and are taking steps to correct that, isn’t that a good thing? 

Just reading peoples negatives comments on this advert makes it more apparent as to why the message needs pushing. One of the more ludicrous was a guy who tweeted out a picture of himself and his two boys holding guns, with his daughter stood in the middle, saying he will raise his children how he wants. Others have been sharing pictures of men in the army protecting unarmed women, thanking them for their “toxic masculinity”. Clearly the point of the ad has gone over their heads.

The Conclusion Part

After writing down what I’ve been watching and reading this week I realised I’ve fallen into the trap of old favourites. I have added a few new things to the list for next week to freshen things up a bit (and I very almost started watching HIMY again). I’ve never really written about pop culture/news events before. Honestly, I’ve been a little apprehensive to. Partly because I felt unqualified to give an opinion and partly because the internet can be a scary place. But after listening to the amazing High Low podcast by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes it gave me the confidence boost to do it. I love how many intelligent and funny women I can listen to, now podcasts are a thing. If you’ve got any more, let me know in the comments below.


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