Wednesday, 20 March 2013

SAWA Awards - 'Behind the Scenes'

 Seeing as the awards are out and about now I see no problem with showing off how we made them.

I must stress that neither Liam nor I were responsible for sculpting the master, that was all our tutor Eddie's work - we just cast more and finished them! XD

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Liam made the silicone moulds before I got involved in the job but I taped them up while he mixed each batch of resin so we had a nice little production line going. Here's two in the moulds just after pouring. The resin went off in about an hour or two so we could get several batches done in quick succession if we really pushed ourselves.

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Fresh out of the moulds. Some came out better than others and we had a small pile of rejects left at the end.

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All this excess resin flashing had to be carved off and sanded before we could get them painted up. It wasn't the most glamorous job but it had to be done!

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The original had a really nice matte textured finish but sanding it down obviously removed this so a thorough blast with the airbrush gave it a nice texture again. I'm rubbish with the airbrush so Liam sorted out all the painting. To be honest, he really did most of the work on this project but casting and sanding was such a time consuming job that I came in handy to share the workload!

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Painted!

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They were really nice to hold and you couldn't help but start practising your Oscar acceptance speech whenever you picked one up. :P







Scottish Asian Woman Awards 2013

Apologies for taking so long to report back on this! I meant to last week but got caught up with relatives visiting and then this week I've been choked up with a really horrible headcold which has knocked me right back.

Anyway, enough of that, we survived! We weren't forced to make a speech, our work was shown at the iMax, we got a (mostly) free meal out of it and I won some cakes in the raffle. Excellent evening! 


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 http://www.scottishasianwomensassociation.com/2012/09/scottish-asian-womens-awards-2013/

 When we were told that we had been granted free tickets to an awards ceremony a little part of my brain started panicking and never more so than when I looked on the website and saw 'black tie' listed as the dress code.

As a rule, I don't really do formal. I don't even wear skirts, let alone dresses, it's just not my thing. Unfortunately for me, mother insisted that I get something so I was marched off to the shops with my significantly more fashion concious cousin and came back with...nothing. Everything was either really short, with straps or big OTT ballgown type affairs that were never going to suit me even if I wanted them to. So, in the end I ended up with this. (apologies for the 'facebook profile pic' type photos. XD)
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Hardly haute couture: the trousers were from M&S, the top from *somewhere*, I'm not sure, mum found it and donated the scarf and the necklace? £1.99 from the charity shop! XD

That was all well and good but when it came to the jacket I was stumped. My only good jacket, a lovely suede one I got at a lovely bargain price in TK Maxx has a ripped pocket and I was hardly going to turn up in the purple hoodie I wear to college every day!

Mum came to the rescue again and gave me her coat. It's a bit big for me and I couldn't take myself seriously in it. All I needed was a trilby and a magnifying glass and I'd have been ready to start solving mysteries!


Still, it did the job and I didn't freeze to death en route so it was all good.

I met Liam at the station then got a taxi to the Science Centre where it was being held. Although I've been there plenty of times for the iMax and once or twice for the Science Centre itself, this was the first time I'd been there 'after hours' as it were and I have to say, the function people had done a great job as it looked stunning.
Upon getting out of the taxi, there was a tunnel-like construction that led to the entrance, lined with a red carpet. As we walked up, one of the official photographers stopped us for a shot so somewhere, someday, there'll be a horrendously awkward photo of the pair of us freezing to death with me in my big DCI Sutcliffe coat. Oh well, if I ever find it, rest assured it'll be put up here for the lols.

After a slightly worrying moment where we thought we hadn't been invited at all (upon handing over the tickets, the people at the desk looked through several books to find our names only to go 'Oh, you're the students' and waved us through) we were handed a programme and lo and behold, what was on the cover but one of our awards!


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We'd arrived in plenty of time but we hadn't realised just how LONG we were expected to mingle and it was at least an hour before anything started happening. I wasn't wearing particularly high heels but they weren't converses which is what I'm used to so after about fifteen minutes my feet were absolutely killing me and there was nowhere to sit down. (Well, except for a seat an older woman was sitting on. Liam suggested that I should kick her off if I really needed to and I have to admit, I was a little tempted towards the end. :P) We didn't know anyone there and neither of us really knew what we were supposed to do so we just wandered about, grabbed a few nibbles (beetroot soaked smoked salmon on little mini pancakes - yes please!)  and spent the next 40 minutes just standing around looking awkward.



Finally, the crowds started shifting and we rejoiced - food time!

Oh, wait, no.

Turns out we were having the awards first and they were going to be held in the iMax cinema itself! I hadn't expected that and I certainly didn't expect to go in and see our awards blown up to supersize either!


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As always happens with your own work, we could see all the flaws in it and kept cringing whenever people started praising them. 'Oh it's just like a real Oscar!' had us squirming. XD

I tried to get photos of all the recipients but there's too many to show here so I'll just leave you with this one. All of the women were so deserving of them but she especially left a big impact on me for the way she broke through the taboos of discussing breast cancer and getting more people aware. She also looked absolutely stunning and I wish I could have photographed her headscarf as it was really beautiful with lots of gold and shimmery bits.

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Oh and here's the overall 'winner' if you can call her that - they were all winners in my book, even those who didn't get an award. There's a photo of her with her statue -here-. :D


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The awards lasted ages but despite going into them feeling really hungry, it was so nice and informal that it didn't really feel like a long time. There were some really nice speeches and a song by a girl who had never performed live before which was pretty good considering she looked really nervous!

Once it was all over we were ushered over to the dining area which looked beautiful; all shiny lights and glittery bits.

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The First Minister stopped to greet someone at our table so I took the opportunity to snap a quick photo. I may not be an SNP supporter but still. XD


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It was a set menu and the food took forever to arrive but the starter (Fillet of smoked salmon with balsamic vinegar and salad) was worth waiting for despite it barely being more than a mouthful.


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For the main, there was 'Five spice chicken with sesame roast potatoes, wilted pak choi, sugar snaps and green beans served with coriander and tomato sauce' which, truth be told, I didn't really fancy.


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 I thought I'd have to put up with it as there didn't appear to be the choice of a vegetarian or alternative until literally as they were bringing plates to the table, at which point we were asked, rather carelessly if anyone wanted a veggie option. To be fair, it being the Scottish Asian woman's awards, there was a rather strong likelihood that there would be a lot who didn't eat meat so it seemed rather unprofessional to have not asked around the tables prior to serving them as there were a few people I noticed who had a plate of chicken put down in front of them only to have it whisked away a minute later once the servers realised! (Apparently the chicken wasn't even all that good anyway. XD) I managed to get the alternative of spinach and ricotta cannelloni which is one of my favourite foods so that worked out well.

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The dessert ('Milk chocolate tort with orange jam and poppy seed biscuit') was really nice, if a bit rich but I could have quite happily eaten the biscuitty things by the handful, they were so nice!

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While we weren't paying for the meal, drinks cost extra and oooft, were they pricey! I just had a couple of orange & lemonades but even then it was pretty steep.

After the meal there were a couple of speeches and a bit of comedy from actress Elaine C Smith who was absolutely hilarious. She started her routine by thanking everyone who came, starting with the first minister, then all the award winners, esteemed guests, sponsors, waiting staff, toilet attendants...politicians...Scottish politicians and finally...bankers.It was worth going just for her, honestly. XD

Most of this probably isn't that funny when removed from context (one of those 'you had to be there' moments I think) and and me not remembering things properly but here's a few memorable bits. One of my favourites was this brilliant number about a woman going for a mammogram.

'So she goes into the place all worried but at the end the doctor said 'oh, you're fine but I must say, for a woman of your age (late fifties) you have the breasts of a twenty year old!'
With that in mind, she goes home and tells her husband who laughs at her and says: 'aye, sure but did he say anything about your sixty year old arse?'
'Oh no' she says 'He didn't mention you.'

There was a brilliant story about a famous Scottish variety singer being given the worst introduction on stage after the host had given the audience a telling off for making a mess in the car park the previous week. Something along the lines of:
'Your behaviour last week was an absolute disgrace - using the car park like a public convenience so all the council workers had to go outside and clean it up - and it wasn't just piss either, there was shite 'n all! So...I give you...Dorothy!'

8-) 

 There was to be a charity raffle so I put in a fiver, not thinking for a minute that I'd actually win anything but you know, it was for charity so it was the least I could do. When 'Table 15, Christine Sutcliffe' was called out I genuinely didn't know what to do - I never win anything!
I couldn't even remember what it was that I'd won so when I walked up to the stage I had to ask Elaine! I ended up going home with a massive basket of cupcakes and chocolates with a voucher for 'tea for two at 'Eats' at Heavenly Treats'

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Although some of the cakes got a bit bashed en route home they still tasted amazing and the red velvet ones, gah, SO GOOD!

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Finally, I asked one of the security people if he could take our photo next to the huge cardboard cutout of the awards. We both don't seem to know what to do with our arms or feet but hey, we don't look too bad I suppose. :P 

So yeah, an interesting night out to say the least!

 The next post will have all the 'behind the scenes' of how we made the awards..


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Being Human Finale - Review

Sorry for the lack of activity recently – I've been doing a lot of college stuff and once again, Skyrim has me in it's steely grip and I've taken to playing that more than going on the computer and stuff. :P
Anyway, I'm totally choked up with the cold and caught up with the final series of Being Human today after missing it for the last few weeks.
I needed a bit of a rant about it so yeah, sorry in advance for all the moaning and the usual picspam of tumblr gifs. XD

I'll return to the regularly scheduled nonsense soon enough - I need to report back on my little jaunt out at the awards do the other week!

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I have loved Being Human since I first saw the advert for its pilot, tucked away in the depths of the Radio Times back in 2008, amongst a list of other potential new BBC programmes that were being shown on BBC 3 to gauge interest. It was the name that first caught my eye, then the synopsis. After all, 'Comedy-drama series about three twenty-something housemates trying to live normal lives, despite struggling with unusual afflictions - one is a werewolf, one is a vampire and the other is a ghost.' is a pretty unique selling point for a series.

I remember sitting through the god-awful 'Phoo Action' pilot which preceded it as I was really worried that I'd miscalculate the time and miss the beginning. iPlayer was still in its infancy back then so if I missed it first time round that would have been it.

When I heard it had been commissioned for a full series I was over the moon – it was so unlike everything else on tv and unlike a lot of fantasy/sci fi dramas, they revelled in the mundane – that's what made it so good. The entire premise was about getting to grips with normality in the face of the paranormal and oh, how they did. While werewolf transformations and rent-a-ghost-ing was all well and good, it was the little things that made it real; the banter, the arguments, the house meetings about cleaning rotas and when The Real Hustle was on – these were real people who just happened to be a vampire trying to go cold turkey, a werewolf in denial and a ghost who couldn't come to terms with her own death.


I read somewhere that originally Being Human was conceived as a non fantasy series with three flatmates trying to deal with problems such as addiction and depression and it's really obvious that it carried over into the actual series with very good results.  (Mitchell – a vampire abstaining from blood was perhaps the most obvious; a recovering drug addict, he fell off the wagon a few times and other people paid the price for it.)


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The relationship between George, Mitchell and Annie (and later Nina, then Tom, Hal and Alex) was fantastic...then...not so.

SPOILERS AHEAD. I REPEAT, SPOILERS AHEAD.

SPOILERRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSS!
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Annie in Purgatory was genius and Mitchell's fall into chaos and subsequent guilt and death, while horrible to come to terms with, was necessary for the plot and for his character's arc to come to a natural end. Though I do wish there had been a way to end it with them all still together, I can see why they didn't so I can't really judge that.

When the next series began, sans Mitchell, I didn't really know what to expect – certainly not that they'd write out two of the main characters within the very first episode!  I can understand that they perhaps wanted to begin again with a new cast but would it have been so hard to let the remaining three – George, Nina and Annie – live happily ever after? It would have certainly been a lot more palatable than killing Nina OFFSCREEN (a horrible bit of writing) and then George, in a ridiculous scene where seemingly all the pre-established rules of the series canon were cast aside in favour of a convenient and bafflingly stupid death. (randomly deciding that a werewolf could somehow force himself to change without the full moon just by thinking about it was incredibly lazy writing and served only as a means to a very disappointing end)
While I liked the new trio of Hal, Tom (previously a recurring side character) and Annie (who was later replaced with Alex) it felt forced and to go from such familiarity to....this, so suddenly left a bad taste in my mouth. The series-long story arcs which had once been so good, now verged on tacky. The last series to this one involved a prophecy surrounding George and Nina's child who would go on to stop a war – a far cry from where the series had come from – no glitz, no glamour, no saving the world – just trying to stay grounded; to stay human. It was as if they had forgotten what the show's premise really was. It's like they thought, oh no, we can't have these 'monsters' having real LIVES, they need to save the world, not develop personalities - who'd want to watch that?!

Despite the horrible background plot which I tried my best to ignore, the characters and excellent banter kept me hooked. I loved Hal and Tom Рboth completely different from George and Mitchell which was a good thing, but still with similarities that kept the whole thing tied together. Tom's adorable naivet̩ and good nature was a joy to watch and I loved the way he constantly tried to better himself whilst being completely unaware of how good he already was.

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Hal's self inflicted OCD and regimented behaviour seemed at odds with everything else but it suited him and his history and the way he would knock over things and organise them to de-stress was a really interesting way of coping with his affliction.

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When Annie bowed out at the end of last series, newly dead Alex took her place and I was hopeful that the final - as it turned out to be – series would be a good one, and while the characters remained as good as ever, it wasn't what it could have been.

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Whereas during other series, where I'd been concerned about the background plot and how it affected the trio, this time round I discovered that I really didn't care. I didn't want to know about Captain Hatch, or Mr Rook or 'Crumb' – they weren't what mattered and the more episodes they were in, the more I wanted them gone. When the 'devil' plotline was exposed in the first couple of episodes I genuinely groaned.  This is a thing I sent to one of my friends after watching it. XD

I've just watched both eps of Being Human and arrrgghhhh, whaaaattttt are they doing?! The whole devil thing is STUPID, I hate it already and the new vampire guy looks and acts a bit too Herricky for my liking. (Don't get me wrong, Herrick was AWESOME (although seeing him playing an actual legit nice guy in Call the Midwife was hilarious) but he went bad too quickly and all the gamer stereotyping they've labelled him with is genuinely embarrassing) The only series that has handled a whole 'devil rising' kind of plotline is Supernatural and that's only because that particular thread came about after five series of lore and things to fall back on - not to mention a consistent and fantastic cast and scenes like -this- where Lucifer is so well written and acted that instead of being the big bad villain who's evil just for the sake of it, you actually sympathise with him and treat him as a person who, granted, has a pretty damn nasty agenda. So far, the BH equivalent stinks of panto villain. :/

The thing with Being Human is that it's always been about the characters rather than the supernatural world they inhabit and so suddenly throwing in THIS thing felt ridiculous. They also seemed to delight in throwing in things that contradicted previous series – a little ghost boy who had been living in the same house the trio had been...and yet NOBODY KNEW HE WAS THERE?! The fuck? You might have got away with it if only Alex had been there as she was still new to death and perhaps couldn't sense him but Annie was pretty powerful so you'd have thought she'd have spotted him pretty sharpish. One of the other things that irritated me was actually seeing the 'men with sticks and rope' - I always loved that as a description as it had so much menace. The scariest things are always those that are left unseen but now, knowing that they just look like zombie animal control guys it just...doesn't work.

I also hated the weatherman werewolf guy – Larry? Barry? I know he was supposed to have a massive ego but this is the UK, we don't really treat news presenters as celebrities so I didn't really get why he would even imagine himself as one. If I saw Michael Fish or Heather 'The Weather' walking down the street I might point them out if I was with someone but I wouldn't really treat it as that big a deal. His character felt like it would have belonged in a US programme rather than a British one – it just didn't work!

And so, now we must address the ending.

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All things considered...it could have been worse. I'm glad the trio survived and can be happy but part of me laments the fact that they had to literally become human again. When Hal said 'to want it, is to have it' before he made to leave; that was perfect – the whole series, start to finish could be summed up in that one line and what did they do? They fucked it up, that's what they did.

To me, personally, the whole 'he will rise'/apocalypse thing was so ridiculous and had so little substance to it that they would have been better off without it entirely. They could have kept in Mr Rook and his infatuation with keeping order but made him completely lose it towards the end. That way the trio would have something to fight against (aside from themselves) and once he was defeated or brought around, they could carry on as before but with more resolve.

The bit with the government broadcast and the ritual was just...god, I can't even think of a word to describe how terrible that part was. It was weak, very weak and I still can't believe they actually went with it. I still don't really understand the whole lifting of the curse thing either. Did this affect just them or everyone? If it was a government thing then surely it would only have affected the UK?  If it's everyone then the world is going to be in for a bit of a shocker as thousands of ghosts come back to life all over the place! I don't really see being a ghost as much of a curse either because for most people they die, come back as a ghost and immediately walk through their door to the afterlife. It's only the ones with unfinished business that linger on so how is that the same as vampirism or lycanthropy? I didn't get the feeling that they'd put all that much thought into it.

I did like the bit where they are shown how their lives could go if they let him win, that was good but I didn't understand why when they came back, it was Bad!Hal again and not Good!Hal, especially given that he had chosen to come back to be with his friends.
 I know it was cancelled so they had to end it somehow but leaving that little origami wolf there was cruel. Either finish it cleanly or don't – don't leave that tantalising figment there to drive us all mad!

I suppose making them human again was almost like a reward for everything they've been through up until this point but it still feels like a bit of a cheat – especially given the aforementioned 'to want it, is to have it' line from Hal.

 It isn't the physical nature of actually being human that counts, it's the desire to want to be.

The fact that it was Bad!Hal that said it was interesting though, I'm not quite sure what to make of it.
 So, all in all, a disappointing ending to a series that has brought me to tears of joy and sadness in the past.

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I don't really know what my feelings are doing right now. :/

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Panicking slightly...

So here's the thing - last week one of our tutors gave Liam and I the job of making up a batch of trophies (casting and painting them - the tutor made the master) for the Scottish Asian Woman Awards tonight....only as part of the deal we ended up with tickets to the awards themselves as representatives of the college.

Sounds great, right?

It is of course but it's also a BLACK TIE event/dinner/thing and we're probably the two scruffiest members of the class! LOL
Liam'll be fine as he bought a suit but I don't have anything really formal and I'm useless at this kind of thing so I may die. XD

I've got a nice black top and trousers (I hate skirts/dresses with a passion) but no coat so I'm borrowing my mum's which may or may not fit as well as some horribly uncomfortable shoes I have worn about three times total and really resent the fact that I have to have some kind of handbag to top the whole thing off. I feel completely out of my comfort zone, it's unreal.

We should hopefully be getting some money out of it (although it's probably more likely to be vouchers to the local art shop but hey, freeeeee!) as well but the tickets to the awards are worth £100 each so we're both dreading it as it's totally not the kind of thing we'd ever normally be seen dead at! The guest list includes a variety of MSPs including the First Minister Alex Salmond! (for those not in the UK, he's basically the political leader of Scotland/head of Scottish government!)

 I doubt we'll end up in a conversation which is probably just as well as the one thing Mr Salmond goes on about the most is the whole Scottish Independence thing which I don't support. :P
(although I might if he got a nice big film studio installed somewhere in Glasgow so I could get a guaranteed job out of it! HINT, HINT)


 Bah, humbug - I was not made for formalities! 

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I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow...if I manage to survive it that is. XD