If Only It Stopped At The Name Calling…..: Murdered For Being Different Review

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If only it stopped at the name calling is the phrase that has been used to describe this tragedy, which comes across incredibly well in this one-off film from the BBC.

Murdered To Be Different depicts the true story on how young couple Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby were viciously attacked by a gang of teenagers in their local skate park, the main incentive behind this attack was because of the way they looked different. Maltby survived from his injuries, unfortunately Lancaster didn’t and died days later. Speaking as a member of an alternative subculture, particularly Goth, this is an extremely important story; one that has sparked an amazing legacy for the past decade.

One thing I noticed with reconstruction stories is that it starts off with the attack/event and then works from the beginning. It was very refreshing to see that Murdered For Being Different take a completely different turn; the flashbacks focus on the couple’s incredibly affectionate relationship from their first meeting. I admired they looked at the aftermath of the attack told from Maltby’s point of view and a witness who called the ambulance yet stood powerless as he watched the attack happen. From various interviews and accurate research this cleverly creates the re-construction of this tragic event.

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Given the story and the sheer brutality surrounding this attack of hatred, I knew from the start it wouldn’t be an easy watch given you know the conclusion. As predicted the attack was bloody, raw and you can feel the hateful vibe within the scene as the attack happens. Maltby’s time in the hospital up to the point where he says a heartfelt goodbye to his beloved is particularly heart wrenching; being part of a couple that are often seen as alternative, it hit home.

I enjoyed the way it was filmed; murder is a dark and uncomfortable topic for most. I suspect it’s difficult to film a reconstruction and have it come across in an emotional way without going over the top. The subtly in this film worked incredibly well; particularly relatable to those who love art, it covers the topics it set to cover in a beautiful way. The brutal scenes of the attack contrast greatly to the dreamlike sequence of Sophie and Rob’s relationship.

The cast acted out their roles extremely well; Abigail Lawrie gave a charming performance as Sophie Lancaster, from her fierce, determined when she’s persuading Maltby to venture outside again after being bullied outside a chip shop to her vulnerable side where she shows emotion and concern. She certainly stepped into her boots and portrayed her well.

I have always admired Nico Mirallegro’s acting skills, having watched him in Hollyoaks and My Mad Fat Diary, my expectations exceeded as he took on the role of Sophie’s boyfriend Robert Maltby.

Another notable performance comes from Reiss Jarvis, who portrays Michael Gorman. The first person to call an ambulance but terrified to come forward to the police at first. Eventhough his character was fictionalised but based around real life figures, his performance hiding his anxiety between going forward to the police and betraying his “friends” was fantastic.

So overall, this is worth a watch. Be prepared with tissues.

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13 Reasons Why

There’s been a lot of talk about this TV series that is exclusive to Netflix; the only thing I knew about it was the story was about finding out the truth behind a girl’s complex suicide. Knowing that it was likely to touch upon topics surrounding Mental Health issues and a lot of other subjects that are considered taboo by the mainstream media, it peaked my interest.

Before I continue this post, I will say now that this article will contain spoiler alerts and topics that may trigger unwanted memories and emotions.

I have just watched the last episode after spending the last few days watching this gripping series and I must say a few times the themes got to me; the insecurities I have were brought to the surface and the memories of thinking people would be better off without me came back to haunt my mind.

This show also gave me the feeling of thankfulness that I opened up and asked for much needed help when I did two years ago; if I kept it quiet, I don’t think I’d be here now, I wouldn’t be in the best place of my life and wouldn’t be looking towards a promising future.

Anyways about the show itself; it tells the story of the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide that her friend Clay Jensen slowly finds out the truth behind it.

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This is a very well made series that was brilliantly filmed. There is footage of present moments of the aftermath of the suicide that tells Clay’s story into discovering the truth behind his friend’s suicide. These were mixed with flashbacks depicting Hannah’s downward spiral that included rape, anxiety, PTSD and eventually suicide.

The eventual scene with her suicide was extremely hard to watch; I had been preparing myself to watch what I knew what was going to be a graphic scene that would trigger a lot of memories and emotions, I was completely shaking when it was done.

It was shocking and intense; you feel the pain along with her as by this point as she feels alone, in pain, deflated, weak and a burden. Watching the documentary afterwards, psychologists and producers explain that it’s important to show that suicide isn’t a pretty or easy way out, the pain still remains for people around them such as parents, family, friends etc.

A couple of other issues it covers is bullying and sexual assault.

There is the character Bryce Walker; popular, outgoing and a high profile student of the school. He is captain of the football team. He heavily abuses his power and position as he sexually assaults Jessica Davis, a former friend of Hannah’s, whilst her boyfriend looks away and lets it happen. Bryce also rapes Hannah in his hot tub. The camera focuses on both of the girls as these rape scenes happen; to show the discomfort, pain and shame the girls are experiencing in this moment. That part that was completely angered me was the way Bryce normalises his actions and shows no remorse. As far as he’s concerned; Jessica, the girlfriend of Bryce’s best friend and fellow team mate Justin Foley,  is meant to be shared amongst his friends, and Hannah was asking for it. I don’t often feel dislike for a fictional character but in Bryce Walker I did, the awful thing is there are people like Bryce out there in the real world.

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Bullying I have been on the receiving end of and it can still affect you years later; after being made to feel you aren’t good enough in your younger years, all the pressure to look a certain way and be someone that seems impossibly hard to achieve.

Throughout the series Hannah is constantly bullied and put down by those peers she at first thinks are her friends. In this day and age, bullying doesn’t stop when the school bell rings; it carries on via the Internet, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. It never goes away and you feel trapped.

It is a great watch that does provide awareness on the taboo subjects of suicide and rape, also the huge impact that bullying amongst your peers can have.

If you are feeling alone or worried about anything, if you feel like you have nowhere to turn, please talk to someone you trust. Whether it’d be a family member, your significant other, a friend, a work colleague; give it a try, I was afraid my family wouldn’t listen to me when I first opened up but they surprised me, they took my concerns seriously and booked an appointment for me to see my GP.

Here’s some services that you can turn to if you need help opening up:

Samaritans

Mind

NHS (Mental Health Services)

Bullying UK

Rape Crisis

Don’t suffer in silence and let’s be kinder to each other.

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Brand New Me and a Brand New Laptop

Hello there

Yes it has been a while since I last posted, things have been taking place in my mind and in my life. There has been more stability in my life and more challenges to take on. The first one being that I am writing for a new magazine project that is title Warrior Women; it is the alternative to the typical women’s magazine, those that seem to encourage taunting when someone has put on weight, going out with no make up, basically just being human. It encourages positivity and ambition. It was started up by Steph Kiddle, all round creative. To find out more watch this video.

After a recent visit and hopefully last counselling session I realise how important it is to like yourself and have strong self confidence, not to the point where you’re completely arrogant mind but enough to know full well you are good enough and you are perfect just the way you are. I realised that after years of not liking myself as a person, at school I was often ignored or teased for being that little bit different; they say sticks and stones will break bones but names won’t hurt you. In fact words can hurt, they stick with you and encourage self doubt. So when I tried to say a nice out loud to myself, I found I couldn’t. I have been practicing since, it gets easier each time but I still need to believe it’s true.

Anyways

Happy New Year and here’s to more writing from me.

Take care

Lotty

My Top Albums of 2016

 

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10. Eternal Halloween – Eternal Halloween

Kicking off my top ten for 2016 is the self titled abomination from terrifying troupe ETERNAL HALLOWEEN. There are a few things I admire about this troupe; their outrageous (well not to us metal heads) appearance, their brilliantly heavy sound and their ability to entice the listener in within the first few seconds. What I liked the most is their scarily accurate lyrical content about some dark issues, these lyrics hit you hard. Not recommend for the faint hearted or easily offended.

 

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9. Rotting Christ – Rituals

As I’ve mentioned previously; watching Greek Extreme Metallers ROTTING CHRIST at Bloodstock 2014 converted me into a fan. Their latest release ‘Rituals’ is a stunning masterpiece with brutal yet beautiful melodies that have you submerged from the word go. From the hypnotic and pounding beats of ‘Devadevam –देवदेवं-‘ to dominant single ‘Elthie Kyrie’ it’s a treasure for fans of the band and Extreme Metal.

 

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8. Diablus In Musica – Dirge For The Archons

They hail from Spain and are fronted by a voice of beauty. Number eight comes in the form of DIABLUS IN MUSICA’s ‘Dirge For The Archons’. This album is a portfolio of grand melodies infused by huge orchestras, loud riffs and a powerful voice. Highlights of this album for me included the empowering ‘Marble Embrace’, Metal/Tim Burton-esque fairy tale ‘Ring Around The Fairies’ Carousel’ and the ballads emphasising the vocal work such as ‘A Speck In The Universe’ and closing track ‘Zauria’. NIGHTWISH watch out, there’s a new troupe in town.

 

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7. Eden’s Curse – Cardinal

It’s no secret they’ve been personal favourites since first reviewing their London show over two years ago. ‘Cardinal’ from Multi-National Melodic Metal outfit EDEN’S CURSE is an assortment of great quality tracks consisting of great guitar work, powerful vocals and excellent arrangements on keyboards, bass and drums. This is the first studio album with drummer John Clelland and new master of the keys Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen, if this album doesn’t say they’ve settled in who knows what will. With some strong melodies such as ‘The Great Pretender’, ‘Unconditional’ (featuring Metal siren Liv Kristine) and ‘Find My Way’ it’s a must have for fans of Hard Rock and Melodic Metal.

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6. Kissin’ Dynamite – Generation Goodbye

KISSIN’ DYNAMITE have been a growing presence in the Hard Rock scene and their latest release containing strong melodies will ensure their increasing recognition. This album contains some Hard Rock masterpieces containing great guitar work, prevailing vocal work and pounding drums. These include the fist pumping ‘She Came She Saw’, the empowering concluding track ‘Utopia’ and moving ballad ‘If Clocks Are Running Backwards’.  If you love epic sounding Hard Rock tracks that you can imagine hearing in stadiums then this is the album for you.

 

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5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika

I understand MOONSORROW have been round for a while but this year was the year I got to experience their sound and live presence. Ever since listening to the album’s single ‘Suden Tunti’ and catching them live with fellow Finnish Folk Metalheads KORPIKLANNI I have been addicted to their sound ever since. With its prevailing, sweeping melodies it’s no wonder the album has been a regular occurrence on my playlist this year. I particularly admire the Pagan like melodies infused with heavy riffs, harsh vocals and pounding drums; it’s an album I can listen to from start to finish without growing bored.

 

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4. Devilskin – Be Like The River

New Zealand based Hard Rock quartet DEVILSKIN have been favourites of mine since last year when I listened to their first album containing straight up, non nonsense melodies. Their latest record ‘Be Like The River’ holds up this statement loud and proud, the first few seconds of ‘Dressed In Black’ had me hooked from the word go. The rest of the album follows suit with tracks such as ‘Bury Me’, ‘Limbs’ and the mighty single ‘Mountains’. This album and band are highly recommended for fans of HALESTORM, giving that they are due to tour together in New Zealand later this month.

 

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3. Delain – Moonbathers

It’s no secret DELAIN are a mounting presence on the Metal scene and their latest release ‘Moonbathers’ will ensure they are still renowned within the scene. The first few seconds of ‘Hands Of Gold’ featuring guest vocals from ARCH ENEMY’s own Alissa Whyte Gluz gives us a taste of the epic sounding music that is expected on the rest of the album. The album contains a great selection of tracks such as empowering ballad ‘Chrysalis – The Last Breath’, fist pumping ‘Pendulum’ and incredible single ‘Suckerpunch’.

 

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2. Sabaton – The Last Stand

‘When the winged hussars arrive’ have been the words on every SABATON’s fans lips and with their powerful new release ‘The Last Stand’ it is easy to see why. Love them or hate them this camouflaged troupe of talented Swedish musicians have made a huge impact on the Metal scene. The first few seconds of opener ‘Sparta’ was enough to grab my attention and made me punch the air with glory. The release contains some incredible belters such as ‘The Last Stand’, ‘Winged Hussars’, ‘The Last Battle’ and ‘Blood Of Bannockburn’.  It appears these Power Metal heroes have conquered once more.

 

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1.Van Canto – Voices Of Fire

My number one album of 2016 comes from the almighty acapella troupe VAN CANTO. This is their very first concept album and the first one not to contain covers. It goes to show that you can create an epic release using only five voices and a drum kit. At first listen the spoken prologue and ‘Clashings Of Armour Plates’ send shivers down the spine and hair raising on end with the sheer beauty of this majestic sound. It keeps up this stately feel with songs such as ‘Firevows (Join The Journey)’, ‘Time And Time Again’, ‘The Bardcall’ and ‘To Catharsis’. With striking sounding voices harmonising to create grand melodies, this makes VAN CANTO’s album ‘Voices Of Fire’ my number one record of 2016. I highly recommended getting the album with beautiful bonus track ’Hymn’.

I am back; I mean it this time!

Hello there everyone, hope you’re all well.

I apologise for the lack of updates; last month was quite eventful.

Those of you who know me personally and have me on Facebook will know the news. Those of you who don’t or haven’t got me on Facebook; my grandma sadly passed away 1st August 2016, she had been ill for a while and she couldn’t keep on. I said goodbye to her yesterday at her funeral where a lovely service took place and a spirited wake happened afterwards. Particularly laughing at times where she would say cheeky things to the waiters in restaurants.407606_422767697787138_781258009_n

I am extremely saddened by her passing but incredibly blessed that she was my grandma and part of my life. She’d be calling me a big softy if she saw this. She was also not one to dwell on things, I will feel sad about it but I will always remember that she wouldn’t want to mope around and feel sorry for myself. She tell me to pull myself together and call me a silly bugger. She was kind, loving woman with a cheeky spirit and I will miss her dearly but blessed that she was my grandma.

This month was not all sad; I had a much needed holiday. It was my first one with my boyfriend Joel; we took a trip to Stockholm, Sweden for a mini weekend. It was his first holiday with a girlfriend and my first one for a long time so I was apprehensive. It turns out I needn’t have worried; we both had a lovely time dressing as vikings, swimming in the pool and more importantly being there for the other. He keeps me calm when I panic; if anything I feel the holiday bought us closer together.

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*warning soppyness alert*

I also want to take this moment to say how much he means to me; he really helped to pull me out of a dark hole and showed me that I can be appreciated. He is the best thing to ever happen to me; he is patient and understanding when I panic or worry (even about the most trivial things). He is there when I want to talk to; I can be a complete goofball with him. I tell people the key things I look for in a partner are:

  • Someone who likes me for who I am and doesn’t try to change me
  • Is there for me when it matters
  • Makes me laugh

He ticks all those boxes and much more. I couldn’t have asked for a kinder, funnier and caring boyfriend; he makes me happy, he looks after me. That’s all I can ask for.

That’s me; I am back in business. I have some great albums to check out and I cannot wait to tell you about one.

See you soon

Lotty

Half Way Post

It only feels like yesterday since 2016 started and already a lot has happened. Including music releases which is what I am aiming to slowly get back into talking about. So here are the albums that have been released this year that have made my year so far.

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

If you wish to know why this Italian Symphonic Death Metal act are becoming an established presence on the scene, listen to their latest album ‘King’. It’s a kingdom of songs to suit each of the King’s royal subjects; you have the quirky soundings of ‘The Fool’ depicting the entertaining antics of the court jester, ‘A Million Deaths’ for the King’s army running into battle and the operatic ballad ‘Paramour (Die Leidenschaft bringt Leiden)’ for his queen. These are just SOME of the tracks on this masterpiece. The grand sounding orchestras and the aggressive metal harmonise together exquisitely, proof that opposites attract.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and their official website

Van Canto – Voices Of Fire

What do you get when you have five vocalists and a drummer? You get German Acapella outfit VAN CANTO, over the past decade they have been well known for their brilliantly interesting covers of well known rock and metal songs such as ‘The Final Countdown’, NIGHTWISH’s ‘Wishmaster’ and IRON MAIDEN classic ‘Fear Of The Dark’. This album is entirely made up of original material based on a epic fantasy tale. It’s majestic, it’s grand and powerful. It’s an album one can listen to from start to finish without growing bored.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.

King Goat – Conduit

Brighton, UK is a great scene for upcoming metal acts and Progressive/Doom outfit KING GOAT are one of them. They released their debut album ‘Conduit’ back in March and it’s an atmospheric masterpiece consisting of beautiful tracks that have a mellow yet brutal vibe about them. Those who have seen their shows will know they truly deliver and it can be imagined that each of these tracks will go down well with keen punters.

Find King Goat on FacebookBandCamp and their official website.

Grand Magus – Sword Songs

Some of the best metal seems to dwell in the Nordics; Finland, Norway and Sweden. Keeping up the reputation for Sweden is GRAND MAGUS and their latest album ‘Sword Songs’, the album is appropriately named here. It consists of gallant melodies that will bring out the inner warrior within you. From ‘Forged In Iron/ Crowned In Steel’ to their heroic cover ‘Stormbringer’ this is a must have whatever music you like.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.

Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika

Finnish Pagan Metal outfit MOONSORROW are somewhat of a household name in the metal community and their latest album ‘Jumalten Aika’ will be sure to continue to uphold that title. It’s a brilliant collection of sweeping, aggressive melodies with pagan elements. These tracks will no doubt have you performing windmills and arrange sweeping syncronised headbanging sessions. There is a perfect balance between the brutality and melodic tones. An album definitely worth checking out.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter and official website.

Avatar – Feathers & Flesh

Swedish Metal circus AVATAR are slowly becoming established onto the scene, their own fable with a book released this year will open more doors for this eccentric troupe. The album is truly fantastic; there is a track to suit every mood under the sun from the majestic ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ to the somber ‘Sky Burial’ it is the classic heavy metal fable that everyone should experience.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.

So those are my albums of the year so far. Which albums have made your year so far and what releases are you looking forward to?

Coming Back: Feeling Fine

It’s been a while since I last posted so I will start with a hello and how are you. I’m now doing extremely well; I am the happiest I have been for a really long time.

Until nearly three weeks ago I was out of work, I was for a good few months. I’m going to be honest, it was quite a hard time. For those of you who have or are in this situation will know that it is a long, tedious process that can make you feel like giving up all together. I was lucky in my situation that I didn’t have bills or rent to pay since I currently live at home with my parents. Luckily I was able to find a job in a company with a great working atmosphere and a positive ambiance.

I am  proud to say that recently I am the happiest I have been for a long time; I have a job which I love, an amazing family, wonderful boyfriend and a great support network of friends. After months of different types of support and councelling, my mental health has been the best it’s been for a very long time.

It feels great, I feel happy.

There is a few of things I learnt over the past year:

Don’t suffer in silence, if something is worrying or troubling you talk to someone you trust no matter how small or big it is. It’s better to open up than bottle up, you’d be surprised by the number of people who are willing to help you.

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Count your blessings; it’s common to have days where things go wrong and that makes you loose motivation. My advice? Get a blank notebook, write down all the good things you’ve achieved i.e. getting married, your friends etc. next time you have a bad day, read the book. You’d be surprised what seeing good things can do for your mental wellbeing.

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Don’t give up; it’s easy to feel like throwing in the towel. Especially when things aren’t going your way but surrounding yourself with people who believe in and have faith works wonders. It actually refuels your motivation to carry on.

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I am slowing dipping into the world of reviewing music again, it might be a tad quite for now due to festival season only just starting but I aim to be back soon.

Take care

Lotty