Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Please stand by:

Source: here

Today I should be posting my Inferior Book Group review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest but (with kind of a heavy heart) I'm postponing it until next month.  My review will go up at the end of next month instead.  This is the first time I haven't finished a book since I started the series in September last year, so I'm giving myself a break until my exams are over.  The good news is that this time next week I will be totally finished with uni classes and exams!

Spare me a thought as I retreat back into the world of highlighters and index cards until Tuesday afternoon...  Things should become a lot livelier around here after that!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Inferior Inspiration #12:

As strange as it feels to write here, in a few short weeks I will be finished all of my postgrad classes.  Honestly, I didn't even make a dent in all of that stationery I bought...  The course isn't quite over yet, though.  Between May and August I will be working on my dissertation which will involve plenty of research, writing and also filming.

As I'll be lugging books and camera equipment around Edinburgh and Glasgow (and possibly even further afield) for months, I thought it might nice to treat myself to a sensible yet handsome backpack.  The bags I've been looking at for inspiration all have a specific padded pocket that would fit my laptop and keep it safe.  They are also all extortionate!  You can't beat a good rucksack though, right?

1. The Pop Quiz Plus backpack from Herschel Supply Company is basic in design but still beautiful.  Inside you'll find a cute red and white striped lining and as many useful pockets a girl (or boy) could ever need. (£50ish)

Source: here

2. For something a little more feminine (but no less practical) there's the Jill-E laptop backpack in a more traditional style.  Budding photographers might be interested to know that you can purchase a camera insert for this bag to keep your equipment safe and secure on the go.  I love the style of this bag, but the pale beige colour makes me nervous.  I know it would end up filthy in no time! (£40ish)

Source: here

3. This Goodordering retro backpack in forest green fondly reminds me of primary school bags and the '90s in general.  I'm not sure how good the quality of this bag would be in reality (I found it on Amazon) but it comes in several colours and looks like it has plenty of space for books as well as a laptop. (£59)

Source: here

4. The interior of the Incase Campus mini backpack is - to be frank - pretty ugly.  However, I really love the exterior shape and colour combination of bright yellow and muted grey.  It's modern, lightweight and the hideous interior is very useful and (mostly) hidden from view. (£39.95)

Source: here

5. I am a sucker for anything bright blue, and this Unique Vintage Korean style backpack is no exception.  It actually comes in a whole host of beautiful colours, but the blue is my favourite.  I like the classic design, and it seems like this one can hold a lot whilst still looking cute! (£20ish)

Source: here

6. Curveball!  The JanSport Superbreak Sleeve is nothing like the other rucksacks on this list, but it still appeals to me.  Clearly not much would fit into this bag (aside from a laptop) but it's such a neat design that you can just grab and go.  I love it! (£15ish)

Source: here

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

SurGE magazine:

If you're out and about in Edinburgh or Glasgow in the near future (or have been over the last week or so) you may well stumble across a copy of the magazine pictured above.  I'm really proud to say that SurGE magazine was created and produced purely by my uni class in just over two (short and stressful) months.

SurGE is loosely themed around the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.  As the least sporty person I know, I wasn't expecting to get on board with this theme as much as I did.  In the end, it worked out perfectly.  We managed to create an interesting and well rounded publication that covers the human and cultural sides of the Games, as well as the sporting element.  I really think that there's something for everyone in SurGE!  But maybe I'm biased.

Source: here

It started as a class assessment, but became a way of life.  We did everything you might expect journalism students to do along the way (i.e. writing and editing copy) as well as quite a bit that you wouldn't expect.  Fundraising, diving and wrestling (for research purposes, of course), sourcing advertisers and distributors, wrangling with alien programs like Photoshop and InDesign to construct the individual pages of the magazine...  You name it, we did it.  SurGE even has its own website with extra content, from interviews to videos.

Source: here

My main role on the team was Culture Section Editor, but I also did various other bits and bobs to help out.  The most challenging of these was arranging a sportswear fashion photo shoot for the magazine.  I don't claim to be anywhere near an expert on sport or fashion, but I can organise the hell out of anything, and that's exactly what I did.  Somehow - with a lot of help from friends and classmates - I manage to rustle up a photographer, two models, two make up artists, top of the range sportswear, props and both an indoor and outdoor location for the shoot.  The day went really well in the end, and we even avoided the rain for the most part!  My partner in crime Nicola and I filmed a behind the scenes video of the shoot which you can watch below.

Seeing the magazine in print makes all the hard work worth it, and I'm so proud of all of us!  Last Thursday the majority of the class went out in teams to distribute SurGE across Edinburgh and Glasgow before celebrating our official launch with a party at The Voodoo Rooms.  The French Quarter Bar there has an amazing light up dance floor, which we all pulled our fair share of shapes on during the course of the evening.

It feels good to say I helped to make a magazine, but it also feels good to say that we've finished it!  Now please excuse us all while we take a two week holiday to recover...

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Instagram #21:

1. My uni campus is home to some of the ugliest buildings Edinburgh has to offer, but the city views from the top of them are second to none.
2. Chipping in to help with the planning of our class project, SurGE magazine.
3. Craig fuelling up at City Cafe before a long day of filming.

4. Melissa, the pub quiz queen at our magazine fundraiser.
5. Learning how green screen magic happens in Napier's TV gallery.
6. A tired out morning selfie!

7. I drank beer for the first time in ages at Clerk's Bar, and also had the most delicious pulled pork hot dog.
8. Amazing cocktails with Nicola at Panda and Sons speakeasy style bar.  It's a really cool place, and the Super Tonic is perfect for G&T lovers like me.
9. Craig joining the party at Panda and Sons with a Wild Horse Canyon.

10. Nicola and (the other) Melissa swotting up for a lads mags story.
11. Visiting the (sleepy) pandas at Edinburgh Zoo for a news piece was so much fun!
12. There were a LOT of panda related souvenirs in the gift shop, including these earmuffs.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Inferior Book Group #7:

I feel like I shot myself in the foot when it came to The Great Gatsby.  I really should have read it a long time ago.  Despite plenty of recommendations, I put off picking up this book for so long that Baz Luhrmann got around to making a film adaptation before I had purchased a copy.  I saw it in the cinema and loved it.  Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant as Gatsby, and the film's cinematography was so beautiful that the images were burned into my mind.  As a result, I couldn't read the novel without thinking of Luhrmann's characters and sets.  This is why I normally prefer to read a book before I see the film version, but in this case the movie actually perfectly complemented F. Scott Fitzgerald's words.

Source: here

Although it was published in 1925, I found The Great Gatsby surprisingly easy to read (even compared to Scoop (1938).  Aside from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I hadn't read any of Fitzgerald's work before, and I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of style.  I was pleased to discover a mixture of colourful (but straightforward) description, quick dialogue and poetic afterthoughts.

As you might expect, there is a little more room for character development in Fitzgerald's novel than in Luhrmann's film.  The narrator, Nick Carraway, is much more fleshed out and, I think, much more likeable.  Sincerest apologies to Tobey Maguire, but his portrayal of Carraway came off as a bit wimpy on the big screen.

Source: here

Parts of the novel are desperately sad and hopeless, but my favourite part of The Great Gatsby had to be the descriptions of Gatsby's decadent parties.  While I understand that they are meant to highlight the exploitive and fickle nature of human beings, they really do sound like fun.  Who wouldn't want to go and poke around a young millionaire's huge, beautiful mansion and sip champagne in 1920s New York?

In April, it is the turn of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  This is another book with its own  famous film adaptation, and the lead role has been immortalised by Jack Nicholson.  Still, I've heard that the novel is very different to the movie, so I'll just have to wait and see what I think.