Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Now for a post from the other (much less frequent blogging) half of Sugar Paper zine, it's KD bringin you the, not the sauce....the Harry Potter!!!

I am a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan, this fact was recently proven by my ability to KILL a magazine based Harry Potter quiz and in turn have all my sister's friends gawp at me as I recite 'Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore' ! As you must all know, the FINAL installment in the film series was recently released along with a rather final poster campaign..IT ALL ENDS.

I know a lot of people who are big fans of the books don't like or watch the films, and over the years I have had more than a few bones to pick with them..but I have come to see them as separate entities to the books, I think that is the only way to fully enjoy the films! Also, I never re-read the book that I'm about to see the film of, last time I did this was for Prisoner of Azkaban...Never Again!!!

So, I am into the books AND the films, they are my go-to films...nothing on, just want to lie on the sofa and drink hot chocolate, I'll put a Harry Potter on!

In early June it hits me...this is it, the last EVER film, the last bit of Harry Potter to be released, the curtain of doom starts to fall...right, I'd better stop being sad and start making plans and make the most of it. A trip to the premiere and of course midnight showing are in order.

The Premiere planning starts, messages are sent to Holly Horcrux to arrange logistics (where to get the portkey to etc) and the countdown begins! The Premiere is on a Thursday night so being ever so very prepared I decide to travel down on the Wednesday night...only to find out on the Tuesday there's already hundreds of people there, aaaaaahhhh! Arrive at St Pancras late Wednesday night, meet my fellow witch and travel past Trafalgar Square to her flat. There are LOADS of people there already, we get really excited and decide we need to come back as early as possible. The only thing that stopped us staying then and there was that Holly didn't have her Hogwarts uniform on!

Two hours sleep and a good strong cup of tea later we're back, it's 4am and we find the queue we need to join for wristbands to gain access to the main area. Thinking about breakfast and if we will get a wristband, we wait....generally surprised at the lack of dressing up and anxious! Then we hear 'anyone a 2?' there are some girls making their way down the line with 2 spare wristbands that they got yesterday, looking for 2 people to take them off their hands. There are 2 girls directly in front of us after the wristbands, but they are pushy, we have full uniforms on and we are nice...we win the wristbands, hooray!

Photographic evidence of wristband, taken back at home with my Kitten Sirius Black.

Now for breakfast where I get VERY confused in McDonalds, I think someone has put the confundus charm on me. Post breakfast, it's about 5.30am, we head back to Trafalgar square and get exciiited. This is the spot where we stood for a large part of the day, great view of the Neville and Snape banners, stage and steps, sweeet!

But we don't have to stay put, we have wristbands so can come and go as we please, and it's stil very early. A cup of tea is soon in order. We go for hot chocolate followed by a (pretty rubbish) cup of tea, but manage to make it last at least an hour and make the most of the comfy sofas...reggae music brings us down, 90s hip hop brings us up...we've not had much sleep and are feeling it!

We find these phone boxes on the way back and massive over-excitement ensues. Aaaah, look I'm infiltrating the ministry, where's Arthur Weasley?! Note, in this photo the floor is dry, this didn't last. The rest of the day went like this: rain, trafalgar square, chatting to Bellatrix Lestrange, deckchairs for a 30 second sleep, more rain, ping pong, rain, food, rain, cafe, rain, friends, dry inside, good tea, funally sunshine! We headed back to Trafalgar Square about 3pm, across the road you could hear the crowds screaming...I was worried we were missing it, half ran to the bit we had been in earlier to find a line of hi-vis jackets. "No more in this side, go round." So we obeyed, and got in round the other side, phew. made it! We're near where the cars are going to pull in, not bad, now to wait (and gently push as far forward as possible). There was no concept of time, but before we knew it there was Ruper Grint, appearing on the red carpet, then Matthew Lewis (Neville), The Weasley Twins at the top, making their way round the WHOLE crowd, no lie, these two love it!

Seeing them do this almost set me off crying, you know why..and if you don't then go find out! Then the stars were coming thick and fast, Evanna Lynch looked amazing I like how her and Luna are almost one and the same, like Rupert and Ron! Then the most exciting bit, Lupin!!! As I mentioned we were stood by where the cars pull in, but this did not guarentee us getting all the stars up close and personal. A lot of them started making their way up and got dragged off by their assistants to the main Red Carpet bit. Not David Thewlis though, as soon as he arrived the whole crowd on our side went wild and starded chanting 'David' and banging the barriers, I think he was scared of a 'mass breakout' if he didn't come and see us. Here he is being amazing....

That was definitly the highlight, that and seeing JK Rowling in the flesh, and the twins, and getting to see some sneak peeks of film on the big screen, and screaming a-lot!

Daniel Radcliffe and JK were 2 of the last people to arrive, they had short interviews on stage (as did everyone) then the screen stopped showing camera footage and went back to the 'screensaver', we think it's over and leave. Bump into Nick on the way back, get take away, watch some of part 1 then sleep. The following day we find out we left too soon, there were some massive emo speeches from Harry, Ron, Hermione, JK and the film dudes, gutted. Back home I watch them on You Tube and cry.... I challenge you to watch Rupert Grint thank JK Rowling for what she has done for ginger people and not shed a tear!!!

Now there's a week to wait for the film, I spend a large part of this week looking at my wristband, thinking about the premiere and by the 14th I'm pretty much just watching trailers and clips and counting down the minutes til I can meet Nickie in town so we can get excited together and make time go a bit quicker. Finally, meet her near the AMC to go and pick up the tickets, she doesn't see me coming cos she has just seen a Lucius Malfoy double walk down the street and is staring at the photo she took of him on her phone. I almost wet's a total Lucius Malfoy double. Get tickets, get OVER excited, buy attitude cos Rupert Grint is in it, meet Seleena (yes, we are slowly converting her, she wore a cat hat for the occasion, professor McGonnagal disguise yeah), get food, I put Nickie's lion head hat on for the full Gryffindor effect, she puts her party cape for full magical effect, and finally head to the cinema to see Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows...Part 1....followed by Part 2.

Again, surprised by the lack of dressing up, maybe not everyone loves dressing up like we do, but they should, it's FUN. I'm not going to do a full film review, it would take me another hour. Neville was pretty much my favourite thing in this one, his speech was amazing! Think they did a good job of the fiend fire bit. Luna was great. I am not going to go into any negatives, but leave you now with a quote from JK Rowling...

" The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home"

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


This is officially back in print (the zine that sees me talking about how I am a feminist and have a penchant for 'EMO' music), mainly to coincide with the release

of this....
HOT OFF THE PRESS part two of my rants about my love for EMO!!!!!!

Monday, 11 July 2011

I'm just a man, I'm not a hero....

(last week, in my week off after jet setting to Berlin and hanging out with loads of rad folk I headed to London for a Grant Morrison talk, I asked Holly to write about it as she knows far more about comics then me and it makes a change from my voice!)

Seleena asked me to write a report based on our adventures last week where we got to hear one of my all time favourite comic writers Grant Morrison give a talk promoting his new book Supergods:Our World in the Age of the Superhero. So Grant Morrison is pretty much responsible for getting me into comics. I'm now a fully fledged comics geek but 10 years ago I didn't have a clue what I was doing and was totally dismissive of comics. A few key titles changed all that, including some of Morrison's work. The first title I read by Morrison was St. Swithen's Day, followed by Kill Your Boyfriend, and then later Doom Patrol. At that point, aside from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, I had never been interested in reading superhero comics before. I kinda liked indie comics, but I thought superheroes were stupid, juvenile, and fluffy pointless crap. Titles like Doom Patrol changed all that while allowing a window of opportunity for me to jump right slap bang into the middle of a complex long running DC title with massive backstory, which is something that had previously put me off reading any kind of Marvel or DC superhero title.

For someone that was once utterly dismissive of superhero comics I'm now obsessed with them .So is Grant Morrison as he is just a geeky fan boy at heart. His new book is concerned with why superheroes exist, why we create them, how they change, and a bunch of examples of the hero myth throughout fiction and religion.

It's not as dry as all that. From the first 100 pages I've read, the book reads exactly how Grant Morrison talks: funny and animated, personal and super smart, geeky and excitable. I could listen to him talk on his own for hours. But he is kept in check tonight by an interviewer before taking on some extremely wanky and pretentious questions from members of the audience.

He talks a lot about the role of superheroes and widens the definition outside of comics, using religion, popular fiction, movies, folklore and myth as examples of our need to create superheroes and our need to hear those stories retold. Morrison discusses the repetition and cycle for all superheroes, it's essentially the same story being told over and over with the status quo restored at the end of each adventure.

While some writers find the structure of mainstream superhero comics extremely limiting, Morrison kinda loves the boundaries it places on his work. He describes it as 12 bar blues. He isn't there to play jazz and fuck things up, he likes the familiarity and the structure, and he can have fun with it. It's an interesting point cuz really in mainstream comics you can't do anything radical. You can never ever really kill a superhero. They always come back, whether it's a magical resurrection spell, an alternative universe, or some kind of other loophole - you can't die. Not for long anyway. Did I mention that Morrison is fucking funny as well? Everything he says tonight, even the deeply philosophical shit, is said with a cheeky grin. I don't know, maybe it's the Glasgow accent but when he's talking about the difference between real life death and superhero deaths in comics shouting “YR MUM'S NOT COMING BACK, YR DAD'S NOT COMING BACK, BUT BATMAN IS!” it's hilarious but so true. Superheroes can't die,so technically there's really no consequences to anything that superheroes do. But Morrison talks about how much he fucking loves that. He argues that Superman is older than all of us in the room tonight and that Superman will still be around when we are all dead, “Superman will outlive us all and maybe that makes him more real and more valid than we as people will ever be.”

It's also amazing how much Grant Morrison contradicts himself. He spends ages talking about how much more real superheroes are than us real life humans, but then rubbishes all that for the second half of his talk by saying that superheroes aren't real. While a lot of contemporary comic writers have spent a lot of time attempting to give superheroes real life problems and making them a bit darker this way, Morrison prefers his superheroes to be just that. Super. They shouldn't have to deal with the same shit us lowly people do. For every stupid question he is asked tonight he deflects it saying 'But it isn't real! None of this is real, it's just a story!'. He goes off on a tangent at one point saying 'people want to pick superheroes apart saying things like “why would superman look like that? Why does he wear such a ridiculous costume?” or “how come you never see Bruce Wayne go to the toilet?” BATMAN ISN'T REAL! HE HASN'T HAS A PISS IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE BECAUSE HE ISN'T REAL!”

Tonight Grant Morrison almost achieves the impossible: he manages to make me wanna read Superman. I hate Superman, I've read some stuff but I've never been able to read much without getting bored or pissed off with it, it just doesn't appeal to me. Until that is Grant Morrison described his new work on Action Comics #1 out this year describing his take on Superman as Springsteen Superman talking about how his Superman will be a working class dirty and gritty superhero. Ok, I totally wanna read that!

The best thing about Grant Morrison is that he seems to hate Q+As as much as I do (people don't ask questions at Q+As they just state a stupidly long opinion and stick a question mark on the end of it) and much prefers the sound of his own voice rather than the stupid questions he's getting asked today. From someone asking 'will you be writing anymore Seaguy?” - (um, well done mate, you know a lesser known Grant Morrison title, 10 geek points to you, thanks for your pointless question) to someone asking a 3 part question that seems to interrogate Grant Morrison's need to write himself in as a character in some of the comics he writes ( I can't actually remember the question because it took the guy about 10 minutes to ask it. I lost interest after about 5 minutes. So did Morrison). Morrison defended the way he sometimes writes himself into comics saying that someone should be talking to these superheroes and asking them what's up. The guy asking the question then said but why do we need to know what those guys think? Whats so special about them, why not some other fictional character, why not Ronald Mcdonald? To which Morrison replied 'it's about fucking time someone did have a word with Ronald Mcdonald, I'll do it, I wanna know what he's about, lets make it happen.' It was a great way to end the night and made me want a double cheeseburger and fries. Grant Morrison you are a legend.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Belguim; Blowing my mind!

So last week saw a Sugar Paper holiday as Kandy and I headed to Belgium for fun, music, waffles and chocolate. It went a little like this.....

We set off on Thursday afternoon to Liverpool airport, after browsing Claire's in Manchester we managed to waste another half hour browsing it in the airport, plane delayed, tea drunk. Flight boarded. the flight was super short, quicker then what it takes me to get to work, into that!
we managed to get ourselves to the train station (thanks to Kandy's French skills, which came in handy all weekend!) and use our free train pass!
Then after confusing Google directions we found our hotel in Leuven, just 2 minutes walk form the train station, yes!
I would recommend the Etap hotel (it's a chain) the room was clean (possibly unused as it was so new) yeah it was a building site outside but I didn't come for scenic stay. No bin or set of drawers in the room though!
Wandered around Leuven before deciding on eating pizza for tea, holiday food! Heading back and getting shut eye for early rise!

Friday! Early rise, wash and decided we will have breakfast in the hotel, pocket some bread, cheese and brioche for lunch and head for the first bus to Werchter at 9. Again just round the corner form the hotel. A few others are heading early (to set up camp I think) a Hen do, decked in pink, listening to Alexandra Burke on their phone, hmmm...

Bus is a nice scenic route and in no time at all we reach our destination ROCK WERCHTER! Walking to the entrance I get a little excited, trip to the portaloo dulls that somewhat but then we wait with the other 16 people waiting early (I'd say 90% of those are MCR fans.)
An hour and half later the gates are about to open when we get told (a queue of all females) we can't queue at this gate as there isn't a female security guard to check our bags and what not as we enter, we're fuming. Belgium's answer to Tank Girl argues our case in Dutch, who then translate to English for us to which Kandy translates to french to some young MCR fans waiting on the queue, we all get mad, swear in our respective languages and reluctantly move queue. Some nice MCR fans in the queue next to us let us in, knowing we have been there FOREVER!

Then we're in, then we wait again to get into the 'stage arena' I must say (aside form the debacle at the gate) the festival is very well organised, I wondered why everyone was walking round in flip flops and not wellies, it's because the stage area is fully floored and with little sections. We finally get in and Kandy secures us a place front row!
Lot's of waiting. A mini downpour, then the sun comes out, we don't have sunglasses, ah well. Mona come on, they're a bit rubbish, made worse by the 'I am a rock star I am god' attitude form the singer. they come out later to let girls screech at them SIGN MY ARM SIGN MY ARM. they leave i get nervous.
I asked Kandy if she is ready to have her life saved (first time seeing MCR) when security hand her an apple, we are super thirsty, her life already just got saved.
Finally, MCR take to the stage. Kandy seems more excited then me, i think I'm still in disbelief. I'm in a foreign country, in a field in broad daylight and MCR are on stage! I'm not going to go on for aaaages because anyone who knows me in real life gets enough of that.
I obviously thought it was amazing. starting off with Na Na Na and kicking straight into Vampire Money and Planetary (surefire way to get a stitch!), House Of Wolves is the only other non single track. The set closes with I'm not Okay with a few others in between. The set seemed so short, like I actually did blink and it was over! I would say it lacked the atmosphere of a usual MCR gig. So it was early, they were the second band on and aside form the first two rows, this crowd wasn't Killjoys. Also the audience were so reserved, no shouting, throwing stuff and when the kids threw their fists in the air, they were half hearted, I mean I wanna see your arm come out the socket. I think despite enjoying the space we had, I missed the crush, a sense of urgency lacked. Highlights were the 90s jam thing they did after Mama, Gerard's wolf howls, Franks screeching, pretty much all of it!

Then it was over, we tried to find the other stage, urinated and got some food. The food all looked sooooo good. Fancy salads and all. We settled on a juicy smoothie, mini spring rolls and possibly THEE BEST waffle I've ever had, I can taste it now, yum.
After a sit and eat we tried to edge our way in the tent ready for Jimmy Eat World. the tent is packed, apparently Ke$ha is big in Belgium. We watch the last few songs. I'm not a Ke$ha fan, but I'll give it to her, she had routines, ribbon dancers, glitter and confetti guns! PARTAY!!
It ends and we edge forward for JEW, excitement take two. It's the first time we have both seen JEW.

They kick off with Bleed American and A Praise Chorus, with hits in between as well as new songs. I'm really glad to see JEW look and make songs the same as they always have done and they look super happy to be there (I love nice guys in rock!). We have so much space to dance and there seems to be a bit more of humph then for MCR, but this is party tent! We manage to recover form the first two songs just in time to get Pain and then two big hits at the end, Sweetness and The Middle of course. I bloody love that song. Then it's all over, again.
We browse the merch stalls before deciding to leave, we've seen what we came to see, we're sunburnt and people were getting drunk enough to be annoying, time to go.

We treat our sens to an ice cream for the walk back to the bus, ignore some drunk asking if we're Australian, he asks why are we shy, we reply we're not, we just don't want to talk to you. he says we're fucking ugly. My pistachio ice cream is well good though.
Super tired from a day in the sun, we get some snacks and cider (lychee flavour) form the supermarket, head to hotel lie in bed, eat drink and watch music TV, fall asleep midway through Wedding Crashers at around half ten, ROCK AND ROLL!
our early night is greeted with a semi late morning, we worry we might miss breakfast so put some clothes on and try not to look like we have just woken up. Steal ourselves some lunch, get dressed and board a train to Brussels.
Accidentally get local stopping, but the views nice!
We hadn't really planned to do anything other then go to the festival, too busy for that, i found a chocolate museum so that was about it. Lucky for us the magazine on the plane had a feature on world famous Brussels Flea Market, open 7 days a week. Takes us a while to locate the tourist information office, but once we have a map and directions we head for the flea market. Passing all the tourists spots on the way, including the very popular pissing cherub thing, BRUSSELS WHAT IS THAT! it's bloody tiny too, we dodge the tourists and keep going.
get to the flea market a little late, they are packing up but bag myself a rate good novelty bag, Kandy barters in French and 4 euros later it's mine, it's filthy and needs a good clean up but still. We browse the vintage shops, i see the world best shoes made for the worlds smallest feet, I stare at them for a while in hope the go from a size three to a six, it doesn't happen so we leave.
We head back to the centre visiting every tat shop on the way (there are a lot!). We get real fussy as we don't want any tat with the pissing cherub on, but this is hard, 400 tat shops later we settle on a snow globe each.
Wander around a bit more, find the best shop in Brussels, a sweet shop that is a lot like that shop them there Weasely twins have in that Potter business!

Suddenly realise we haven't eaten a waffle yet (today) so treat ourselves to a sit down, tea and waffle, I go for the caramel topping, Kandy the chocolate (obvs).
Head up to the art district to see if galleries open on Sunday, realise Brussels is pretty huge, wander though a park, and watch some people do ballroom dancing on a band stand. My hay fever goes crazy so we head back to the hotel. Freshen up and time for proper tea out. We noticed a cute looking bar with a south American menu, and it's painted pink so we head there. Not before passing people dancing salsa in the square (is it dance Saturday?!).

Our tea was soooooo good. Picked from menus with Frida Kahlo on the front, cocktails and burritos, yes! WE have two cocktails, get a bit giddy and are officially stuffed, time to go back, watch music TV and sleep.

Kandy takes a brioche from breakfast, for old times sake, even though we know we're getting chips for dinner. manage to get the quicker train to Brussels. Today is the day we get cultured.
First stop, Musee Rene Magritte. Kandy blags her student card so it's pretty cheap to get in.
The whole thing was so good, I would recommend anyone going to Brussels to see it, four floors of visual delight. We try to sit and watch the film, but our mouths are too dry. The gift shop is a total winner, one whole wall of postcard, YES! and novelty pens, we get the pen that looks like a pencil, I decide not to get the pen that looks like a tube of paint, instant regret that! We pass on the comic strip museum as funds are low. Get some chips after seeing them EVERYWHERE all weekend. they are super tasty. Then we head to the chocolate museum where Kandy makes herself feel sick.
I eat 70% and realise it's like drinking neat brandy, cannot handle that, shove a loud of milk chocolate in to feel better. Watch a demonstration on chocolate making, which Kandy refers to as porn (she loves the chocolate). We eat a few more samples, free stuff yeah, I rub a blob of cocoa butter on my lips and we leave.
Wander around a bit more and go on a mission to find C&A. We locate it, its super busy and rubbish. Clock house is like a naff Peacocks now, all my 90s teen dreams shattered, SCREW YOU C&A!
After the disappointment of C&A we decide to go and get our plane home.
There's a diner in the airport but we can't afford anything, no matter how hard we try just for photo opportunities.
Kandy tries out the ladies urinal.We try to buy something to eat with 2 euros, we struggle and decide to save it for a brew on the plane.
No delays this time, we get back, eat a subway, get the coach and we're back in Manchester.
Had a lovely time in Belgium, only downside was my phone turning Dutch (and then not turning on) when we got back and having to buy a new one.
Big thanks to Kandy for coming when I said I would just go alone, her French, space saving and general rad company was a life saver, just like that apple (and MCR).

picture to sum up the trip.....