My 10 Most Popular Posts This Year

Right, let’s go straight into my 10 most popular posts out of the 37 that I’ve shoved your way this year. And because I’m not the least bit ashamed, I’ll also let you know my least popular post at the end. Just for balance.

Oh, but first please let me say THANK YOU so much for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and my blog would be nothing without you all. You’re all superstars!

Click on the titles to enjoy each post.

10. A Guide to Hanging Out with Cloth Ears

deaf culture huh

This may have been even more popular if I hadn’t published it just as a Facebook post first of all. This post runs through everything you need to know if you either want to know what it’s like to be deaf or want to know what to consider if you’re spending time with someone who is hard of hearing. Ignorance is not bliss.

9. Halloween Playlist!

pumpkin-988231__340

This did surprisingly well and still gets regular views today. Err guys, it’s not Halloween anymore.

8. Just Another Book Club- July Book

51wG7x-S+0L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

My first dabble with my online book club and it went down very well. Lots of people had lots to say about this one.

7. Top 10 TV Character Fashion Idols

Catastrophe

This post provides a run down of all my favourite fashion icons that have ever graced our TV screens. From Denise Huxtable to Sybil Fawlty, it’s an eclectic collection.

6. Just Another Book Club

Books-IFOA-2016-Tanja-Tiziana

An introduction to my idea of holding an online book club and luckily lots of people seemed to be as excited by it as I was. It also gave the list of books to read for the latter part of 2017.

5. F**KING SCOOTERS

img_6031.jpg

I stand by every word of this and I still fucking hate fucking scooters.

4. Love Your Body

tumblr_m8k78l7ZCg1ra6hiio1_500

A lot of people sadly were able to relate to this. I talked about how there has been a steady increase of eating disorders in very young girls and I suggest ways we can all help to combat this.

3. Everyday Sexual Harassment

images

Another post that sadly a lot of people could relate to. Whilst it was quite devastating to hear other people’s experiences, it was in some way slightly comforting to know that I am clearly not alone with my experiences of sexual harassment. This post still regularly gets daily views.

2. 10 Most Influential Albums of my Teenage Years

img_5999

This post is what you might call, a slow burner. It got moderate views when it was first published, but it receives views most days, which meant it slowly crept up my list of most popular posts.

  1. Dear Stephen

hand-on-shoulder-dreams-about-people-who-have-died

Whilst this remains the hardest blog post that I’ve ever written, what is wonderful about this post being so popular is that so many of you lovely people read and heard about my wonderful friend. It helped make it the tribute that I wanted it to be. It would also be nice to think that it may have possibly helped someone somewhere.

The one that didn’t quite make my top ten: The Importance of Creativity for Children 3 views away from making the top 10.

My least popular post this year: Music Tag Thingy, but then again I didn’t really do a very good job of promoting it. It got a paltry 56 views- whoop.

My most popular post ever: Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business. Nuff said.

Thanks again and see you next year for more irrelevant and irreverent shit (I really know how to sell myself, don’t I?)

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1981

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1981.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980

66318

So 1981, the year that Prince Charles married Diana Spencer (and I won a fancy dress competition dressed as Diana in her wedding dress), Peter Sutcliffe is charged with being the Yorkshire Ripper, Dynasty debuts on TV, Pope John Paul II is shot, but not killed, John McEnroe throws a paddy at Wimbledon and shouts “You cannot be serious” at the umpire for the first time (and my brother won the boys section of the same fancy dress competition dressed as McEnroe with a large plaster over his mouth. The Beasleys were on FIRE in 1981), race riots spread across the UK, Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision Song Contest (best UK entry ever) and Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. I turned 5 years old.

IndianaJones3_V2

Yes please

Oh so this is when things get deliciously 80s. There may be some credible tunes here, but yes there is Adam Ant, yes there’s Kim Wilde and yes there’s Bucks Fizz and I’m not apologising for any of it. Enjoy!

  1. Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode

d40886d9000dfe30726808699c0040dd

2. Reward by Teardrop Explodes

Teardrop-Explodes-006

3. Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants

Adam_and_the_Ants_1981

4. Can You Feel It by the Jacksons

294686956e87ef1bfb54a7d760bae947.jpg

5. Tainted Love by Soft Cell

6. Pretty in Pink by Psychedelic Furs

psychedelic

7. Kids in America by Kim Wilde

09f84520fe36937b9e29cf3725450497--wilde-s-music

8. One in Ten by UB40

UB40-1980

9. Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz (If you need cheering up then I implore you to watch this. It’s their Eurovision performance and it evens features our Tel*)

10. Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie

bowie-mercury

Whilst this has been one of my favourite years so far (I think I say that every week), choosing my favourite was easy. It’s Queen and Bowie. Obvs. Which one is your favourite?

I’ll be taking a break from Top Ten Tunes next week as I’ll be posting my 10 most popular blog posts from this year instead. So see you on Friday 5th January for 1982.

*Famous Irish TV/radio personality Terry Wogan who was hugely popular and bit of legend in the UK and Ireland and who we sadly lost last year.

 

 

 

2017 Culture Review: the best of TV, Films and Music

Here’s my succinct cultural review of 2017. It’s been a great year for TV yet again, not so strong musically, but a few corkers nonetheless. I’ve only bothered with a top 3 for each category, but there were of course, lots of other great TV programmes, films and music from this year. There’s a longer playlist at the end with 25 of the best singles and album tracks from the year for y’all.

Best Album

3. Colours by Beck

2. MASSEDUCTION by St. Vincent

1. Melodrama by Lorde (gloriously unapologetic pop, whilst remaining beautiful, dramatic and intimate)

Lorde-Melodrama-1500x1000

Best Song

3. Everything Now by Arcade Fire

2. Tomorrow by Anni

1. New York by St. Vincent (my only criticism of this song is that it’s far too short.)
st.-vincent-new-york-video-2

Best Film

3. Dunkirk/The Last Jedi (couldn’t decide between those two)

2. Trainspotting 2

1. Lion (released at the beginning of 2017 in the UK and I’m still reeling from the fact it didn’t walk away with the Oscar for Best Picture quite frankly. Read more about how this film made me feel here)

Lion-Poster

Best TV Programme

3. Stranger Things

2. The Crown

1. Master of None (actual perfectionism)

masterofnonemain.0

That’s mine. You know the score, now tell me yours.

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1980

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1980. Oh yes, I welcome you to the EIGHTIES!

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978 1979

http---a.amz.mshcdn.com-wp-content-uploads-2015-12-lennon-18

1980 was another eventful year. John Lennon was shot and killed in New York, a former Hollywood actor became the president of the United States, Alton Towers opened, the Rubik’s Cube was voted best toy, terrorists seized the Iranian embassy in London, which leads to the SAS to storm the embassy and release all the hostages, the world found out who shot JR?” and my all time favourite film The Shining is released. And I turned the grand old age of 4 years old.

c55d3f2463a47e4e85d260b9263528ea

So here’s my top ten songs from 1980. There’s a few repeat artists here (artists that have appeared on previous Top Tens), but this list is no weaker for it. Lots of strong tunes here and there’s a Spotify playlist at the end as always.

1. Babooshka by Kate Bush

2.  Baggy Trousers by Madness

3. Going Underground by the Jam

The+Jam1

4. Too Much Too Young by the Specials

hqdefault-4.jpg

5. Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder

R-2204395-1387653292-4739.jpeg

6. Happy House by Siouxsie and the Banshees

siouxsie-and-the-banshees-happy-house-1980-3

7. Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie

f9eab3955eaf0906acb1792e296b6106

8. Atomic by Blondie

Blondie1977

9. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

JOY DIVISION

10. Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders

rs-182418-122714727

Whilst it’s very close between Blondie and Joy Division for my favourite track this week (kind of annoying these two songs appear within the same year tbh), but it has to be Joy Division. Love Will Tear Us Apart is one of the greatest songs every written. So, which is your favourite then?

See you next week for 1981!

 

 

 

 

 

Just Another Book Club- 2018 (part I)

Books-IFOA-2016-Tanja-Tiziana

Hooray, a new list of books for you to read! I set this online book club up last year as a way to reconnect people with a love of books and reading. I am as guilty as the next person of picking my phone up far more often than a book. So after enjoying running this online book club during the latter part of 2017, I’ve decided to continue it on into 2018 and I’d absolutely love for you to join me again. So for those of you that are new to my book club or need a reminder of how it works. Here’s a few pointers:

  1. I will provide a list of 6 books, one for each month for the first half of 2018.
  2. I’ll always provide at least one non-fiction book within a list.
  3. At the beginning of the following month, I’ll publish a quick post with my thoughts on the book.
  4. Your lovely selves can then provide your thoughts/opinions within the comments section (or within my Facebook blog page) and a discussion can evolve from there.
  5. Obviously, there’s no obligation. You can read all six, only three or just the one. Whatever suits you best or how much you want to join in.
  6. You can join in the discussion whenever you want, but the closer to the time I published my book review post the better, as you’re more likely to get a response from other readers. I’ll always respond though, so you really are welcome to leave your comment whenever you have finished a book. There are no time constraints.
  7. If this is continues to be a success, I’ll list 6 more books in June for the latter part of 2018.
  8. Drinking wine/gin/tea/coffee isn’t obligatory whilst joining in with the discussion about these books, but it might help.
  9. Any questions, let me know.

Okay, so now for the 6 books for the first half of this year.

  • January: Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

51QKj-4IPUL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_

  • February: Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

51F452mNI8L._SY346_

  • March: Slade House by David Mitchell

51ta3m0XibL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

  • April: Animal by Sara Pascoe (our non-fiction book selection)

9780571325245

  • May: This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

9781472241580

  • June: Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

31349579

The chosen list of books is final. If you don’t fancy reading a particular book one month, just give it a miss that month. Hopefully, I’ll continue this again for the second half of the year too.

Lastly, I just want to thank the lovely Angela at You Are Awesome blog for providing me with the inspiration to set this up and also for her solid, continued support. Check out her blog post here about book clubs and her blog in general. She’s literally- the best.

So, join me! Together we can put our phones down and pick up a book. Do me a favour first though and please spread the word. It will be fantastic to get people from across the globe coming together to discuss a mutual love- books.

For a list of the books we discussed in 2017, click here.

home-library-21

My dream home library (dog included).

Top Ten Tunes- 1979

Every Friday, I’m publishing my personal top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1979.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977 1978

img_panel_1365594478

Margaret Thatcher, the first British female Prime Minister

So in 1979, Sid Vicious died of an overdose, an IRA bomb killed Lord Mountbatten, some bird called Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and Alien was released. And yes, I celebrated my 3rd Birthday.

alien-1979-752-x-1063-1

I have to say this has been my favourite year so far and it features my favourite song of all time. And because I’m such a fascinating human being, I’m going to leave it to you to work out which one it might be…

[Spotify playlist at the end as per]

  1. One Step Beyond by Madness

R-395329-1438983066-2382.jpeg

2. Rapper’s Delight by Sugarhill Gang

sugarhill

3. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

4. Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure

51hH+5Z7WnL._SY450_.jpg

5. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles

6. I Don’t Like Mondays by Boomtown Rats

396A83A600000578-0-image-m-49_1476553226826

7. Cars by Gary Numan

Gary Numan. Cars

8. Since You’ve Been Gone by Rainbow

rainbow

9. Roxanne by The Police

ThePolice

10. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen

1015130_180811828746945_894138986_o

So don’t be shy, tell me which one is your favourite from this 1979 list of absolute corkers.

See you next week for the beginning of…..THE EIGHTIES!

 

*Top image is the Cure in 1979

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Another Book Club- November Book

Please leave your comments below or within the appropriate post on my Facebook page. Please feel free to peruse other people’s comments and respond to them.

Homegoing

by Yaa Gyasi

81qLl64WbrL

Synopsis

In summary, Homegoing is the sprawling tale of two families split between America and Africa. At the beginning of the book we learn how two sisters are born, but never meet. The book tells the story of each generation that follows from both sides of the family over many years. Through slavery, one family is based in America whilst the other remains in Africa. The title of the book origin’s derive from an old African-American belief that death allowed an enslaved person’s spirit to travel back to Africa.

My Quick Review

First of all, I know one is not meant to judge a book by its cover, BUT I really wanted to mention how gorgeous the cover is for Homegoing and you’ll like this seamless connection: it’s almost as gorgeous as the book itself. Thank you.

But let us move on to more profound thoughts on this book. In short, the enormity of the importance of this book cannot be overstated. It is one of those books that people should be forced to read as it gives the reader a greater understanding of the world and the fabrics of its society (I think there’s a post brewing which lists all the books that I think people should be made to read. One day, I’ll get round to it).

I thought I knew a fair bit about the history of slavery, but after reading this book I realised I knew not nearly enough. Through reading this I learnt so much about African culture too. I absolutely adore books that I can learn from and this book is no exception.

This book at times made me feel ashamed to be British (I’m referring to our disgusting slavery history) and I can imagine the same would be said for an American reading the book. The book so often made me angry and the deplorable injustices that were suffered by slaves and the generations that followed them (my heart will forever break for H and Kojo).

Whilst, this book was consistently shocking and disturbing, the writer somehow managed to write in such a beautiful way. The strength of characters made the reader fall in love with them and root for them (even the flawed characters).

I loved how each chapter represented a different character from a different generation. Referring back to my previous comment, whilst the subject matter of each chapter was often horrific, it also felt like each chapter was telling a different love story. Ultimately, what connects each story to each other is love.

The book sits uneasily with the reader as so many of the issues you read about that existed many years ago, still prevail in America today. It’s abhorrent that one reads and thinks “how has any of this really changed?”. I think the book does a very good (and eloquent) job of illustrating this.

I thought the symbolism of the stone necklace was perfect. For me, I felt like it represented African history. When an African was taken from Africa and enslaved and shipped off to America, it was as if their African history was erased. The African-American person’s history then starts with slavery in America, but this of course not the start of their history. When Marjorie hands Marcus the stone necklace, it is like she is handing back his rightful history that was so cruelly taken from him and his ancestors. It is a beautiful and extremely emotional moment.

It was interesting that Marjorie and her side of the family seemed to represent fire and that Marcus’s represented water. When Marjorie and Marcus meet and connect, they persuade each other to embrace the element that they each fear. In this sense, Marjorie and Marcus complete each other.

This book is a fantastic achievement for a debut author. It is truly wonderful and so far (though we only have one book left on the list), this is my favourite book that we have read.

I loved so many quotes in this book. I made a list for you.

The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad”, this thing “white” and this thing “black”, was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.

Slavery aint’ nothin’ but a dot in your eye, huh? If nobody tell you, I’ma tell you. War may be over but it ain’t ended. 

He was not the con they had told him he was.

This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others….(for example) Kojo says that when the warriors came to his village the coats were red, but Kwame says that they were blue. Whose story do we believe, then? We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself , Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed, so that this voice could come forth?

The news made it sound like the fault lay with the blacks of Harlem. The violent, the crazy, the monstrous black people who had the gall to demand that their children not be gunned down in the streets. 

The Ruin of a Nation Begins in the Homes of Its People

21939985._SX540_

Cape Coast Castle, Ghana

Questions to Consider

1. Evaluate the title of the book. Why do you think that the author chose the word Homegoing? What is a homegoing and where does it appear in the novel? In addition to the term’s literal meaning, discuss what symbolic meanings or associations the title might have in terms of a connection with our place of birth, our ancestors, our heritage, and our personal and cultural histories.

2. Explore the theme of belief. What forms of belief are depicted in the book and what purpose do these beliefs seem to serve for the characters? Does the author reveal what has shaped the characters’ beliefs? Do these beliefs seem to have a mostly positive or negative impact on the believer and those around them?

3. What perspective does the book offer on the subject of beliefs and otherness? For instance, does the book delineate between superstition and belief? Why does Ma Aku reprimand Jo after he is kicked out of church? What do the Missionary and the fetish man contribute to a dialogue on beliefs and otherness? Does the book ultimately suggest the best way to confront beliefs that are foreign to us?

4. Evaluate the treatment and role of women in the novel. What role does marriage play within the cultures represented in the novel and how are the women treated as a result? Likewise, what significance does fertility and motherhood have for the women and how does it influence their treatment? In the chapter entitled “Effia,” what does Adwoa tell Effia that her coupling with James is really about? In its depiction of the collective experiences of the female characters, what does the book seem to reveal about womanhood? How different would you say the treatment and role of women is today? Discuss.

5. Analyze the structure of the book. Why do you think the author assigned a chapter to each of the major characters? What points of view are represented therein? Does any single point of view seem to stand out among the rest or do you believe that the author presented a balanced point of view? Explain. Although each chapter is distinct, what do the stories have in common when considered collectively? How might your interpretation of the book differ if the author had chosen to tell the story from a single point of view?

6. Consider the setting of the book. What time periods are represented and what places are adopted as settings? Why do you think that the author chose these particular settings? What subjects and themes are illuminated via these particular choices? How does the extensive scope of the book help to unify these themes and create a cohesive treatment of the subjects therein?

7. In the chapter entitled “Quey,” Fiifi tells Quey that “[the] village must conduct its business like [the] female bird” (53). What does he mean by this and why do you think that Fiifi chooses this approach?

8. Why was Quey sent to England? After his return home, why does Quey say that it was safer in England? Why might he feel that what he faces at home is more difficult than the challenges he faced in leaving home and living abroad?

9. James’s mother, Nana Yaa, says that the Gold Coast is like a pot of groundnut soup (89). What does she mean by this?

10. Why does Akosua Mensah insist to James, “I will be my own nation” (99)? What role do patriotism, heritage, and tradition play in contributing to the injustices, prejudices, and violence depicted in the book? Which other characters seem to share Akosua’s point of view?

11. Explore the theme of complicity. What are some examples of complicity found in the novel? Who is complicit in the slave trade? Where do most of the slaves come from and who trades them? Who does Abena’s father say is ultimately responsible (142)? Do you agree with him? Explain why or why not.

12. Examine the relationships between parents and children in the book. How would you characterize these relationships? Do the children seem to understand their parents and have good relationships with them and vice versa? Do the characters’ views of their parents change or evolve as they grow up? How do the characters’ relationships with their parents influence the way that they raise their own children?

13. What significance does naming have in the book? Why do some of the characters have to change or give up their names? Likewise, what do the characters’ nicknames reveal both about them and about those who give or repeat these names? What does this dialogue ultimately suggest about the power of language and naming?

14. Explore the motif of storytelling. Who are the storytellers in the book and what kinds of stories do they tell? Who is their audience? What might these examples suggest about the purpose and significance of a storytelling tradition?

15. According to Akua, where does evil begin? Where else in the book do readers find examples that support her view? What impact does Akua’s opinion have on Yaw’s lifework? Does he agree with Akua’s view or refute it? Do you agree with her? Discuss.

16. What is history according to Yaw? What does he tell his students is “the problem of history” (226)? Who does Yaw say we believe when reading historical texts and what does he say is the question we must ask when studying history? How might these ideas influence your own reading of Gyasi’s book and reshape your ideas about the historical subjects and themes treated therein?

17. Sonny says that the problem in America “wasn’t segregation but the fact that you could not, in fact, segregate” (244)? What does he mean by this? What does Sonny say that he is forced to feel because of segregation? Which of the other characters experience these same feelings and hardships? Does there seem to be any progress as the story goes on? If so, how is progress achieved? Alternatively, what stymies and slows progress in this area?

18. What is Marcus studying and why isn’t his research going well? What feeling does he indicate that he hopes to capture with his project? Why does Marcus go to Ghana and what does he learn from his experiences there? Marcus believes that “most people lived their lives on upper levels, not stopping to peer underneath (298). What does he mean by this? Where do we find examples of this elsewhere in the book? Are there any characters in the novel who defy this characterization?

19. Consider the book’s treatment of colonialism and imperialism. In the chapter entitled “Esi” at the start of the book, what does Esi’s mother tell her daughter that weakness and strength really are? How does her definition of weakness and strength correspond to the dialogue about colonialism and imperialism that runs throughout the book? Discuss how this dialogue expands into a deeper conversation about freedom and human rights. Have the issues surrounding colonialism, imperialism, freedom, and human rights featured in the book been resolved today or do they linger? If they remain, does the book ultimately offer any suggestions or advice as to how this might be remedied?

(Questions issued by the publisher.)

December’s book is My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman. I’ll be starting the conversation for this on Wednesday 3rd January.

A list of new books for the first six months of 2018 will be published NEXT MONDAY 11th DECEMBER.

 

Top Ten Tunes- 1978

Every Friday, I’m publishing my personal top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1978.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1976 1977

GrangeHillCast1978-630-6916

Grange Hill

In 1978, the first ever test tube baby was born, Nancy Spungen was stabbed to death by Sid Viscous in New York, Grange Hill and Dallas debuted on TV, Ipswich Town won the FA Cup and both Grease and Superman were released. And I turned 2 years old.

large_rLTdj7oB9oxsYwuweeglWRzRng7

So, here’s my personal top ten tracks from 1978. Spotify playlist at the end of this post as usual.

  1. Blame it on the Boogie by The Jacksons (if you have a spare 4 minutes you will not regret watching this glorious Jacksons video. It is 100% 70s)

2. Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie & the Banshees

oh-15-03486_siouxsieandthebanshees100club1978_1copy2.jpg

3. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones

_65387743_undertones

4. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush (you won’t regret watching this video either. Obviously. It’s Kate being a QUEEN as per)

5. Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel (whilst this was released in ’77, it didn’t become popular and didn’t peak in the UK charts until ’78)

billy-joel-just-the-way-you-are-1978-6

6. Because the Night by Patti Smith Group

patti_smith_group-because_the_night_s_2

7. To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have a Nice Time) by the Jam

p02vkd9h

8. Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie

Blondie_-_Hanging_On_The_Telephone_(UK)

9. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

ian_dury_00.jpg

10. Ever Fallen in Love (with someone you shouldn’t’ve) by the Buzzcocks

maxresdefault-5

So, you know the drill, let me know your favourite please. For me, it’s very close between the Undertones and Kate Bush, but it ultimately has to be Kate.

See you kids next week for 1979.

*The image at the top of the page is of Debbie Harry with the Buzzcocks in 1978.