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15 October 2008 @ 08:15 pm
Because my video was boring compared to others.

10 September 2008 @ 06:15 pm
An idea I had after a Biology leson. EDIT: Better version added.

07 September 2008 @ 05:51 pm
Because Magnus is a hero.

06 September 2008 @ 08:56 pm
Because I wanted to enter the Sigur Rós competition.

Here's my entry, my interpretation of Gobbledigook... and the photo is one I took on holiday because I didn't want it to be a boring black screen.

15 July 2008 @ 07:32 pm
I finally got one... and spent 5 days adding 123 photos of my artwork... so here I am:


Oh, RATS! I just made a card... that I'll have to take a photo of... and upload it...
Two weeks ago I auditioned to move up from the Lancashire Schools' Symphony Orchestra to the Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra, I was told at the audition I would get a letter telling me yes or no later that week.

By next weekend I still didn't have a letter from them. The Monday after I received two letters from the Lancashire Music service. I thought, "Oh, one will be about my audition and the other about the upcoming concerts. The first one I opened was about the concerts, so I opened the other... it was exactly the same.

My parents thought they'd sent two because both my sister and I are in the orchestra.

So I checked with other orchestra members. Mary hadn't done an audition and had one letter about the concerts. Rob had done an audition, and received two letters the same about the concert while his mother laughed at him. Harriet did an audition and thought her parents had got one letter about the concerts.

Today my parents got a letter and I quote...

"Dear Parent/Guardian

Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra

I am pleased to offer Hazel a place in the above ensemble."


03 July 2008 @ 04:28 pm

My Report on LazyTown Live in Preston Guild Hall July 2nd

Mary, my three year-old sister, and I got out of my granddad's car. I looked down the street, I could already see a mini-Sportacus and a mini-Stephanie. Well at least I knew I'd come at the right time.

Mary was simply wearing a pink t-shirt, pink shorts and a pink cardigan... and of course her red Charlie and Lola backpack. Meanwhile I was wearing black combats, my black with white stripes jacket, under this I was wearing my school red PE top because we had games on our last day in Year 11 and my friend was turning our shirts into Liverpool shirts, on the back mine said “Sportagirl 10.5”. We walked into the building to meet my friend Liz, who I'd only ever spoken on the phone to, or emailed beforehand. She had brought her cousin Joe, unfortunately I wasn't sure which young woman with a little boy would be her.

And so, like Robbie, I devised a plan *insert evil laughter*. I took my phone out my pocket and phoned her to see who would pick up a phone. After she answered I finally spotted her and we went into the foyer under the Guild Hall together giving our tickets to the gentlemen on the door.

The room was pink and blue. Seriously. I wanted to be dressed like Sportacus so I could go up to one of the many little Sportacuses... Sportaci... (who knows what two of them are called!) and act out a scene from one of the episodes where Robbie (the villain, with a handsomely big chin, and amazing fashion sense) has dressed up as Sportacus (the town's slightly-above-average hero) and walks into Sportacus, and they do the “I'm Sportacus.” “No, I'M Sportacus!” routine.

Not before long, we were dragged to the table selling merchandise. They sold Sportacus crystals that flashed when you jumped up and down, and they were cheaper than the activity brochure and poster that came together, so I bought us both one to wear. We then went and found our seats and sat there for a while, I took my purple 'elf' hat out of my bag and put it on, so I looked like a Robbie-coloured Sportacus... and then five minutes before it started Mary looked at me... “Vic... I need the toilet.”

She has got to be kidding.

So we fought our way through the audience and I carried her down the stairs and all the way to the toilets to be very quick. I sat her on the toilet... “This is the last call for LazyTown Live.”


She looked at me “Oh no Vic, we're going to miss it.” And after all that... she didn't want the toilet after hearing that. We walked outside, only to meet Liz and Joe, who claimed he wanted the toilet as well. So Mary and I went back to guard the seats, in case Stingy tried to claim them. Liz and Joe came back quite quickly, it turned out he didn't need it either. What is it with little kids and plotting against their carers?

Well, you may be reading this and wondering what I'm talking about, since I have no idea who'll read this. You may not know anything about a TV show called LazyTown... or you may be like me, who knows more or less everything that I can find on the show. Can I cram everything I know into a little summary... probably not but here goes...

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in the small country called Iceland that was not actually made of ice. He was a carpenter and made a bet with his mates, he ended up winning the silver medal at the world championship of professional aerobics. His name was (and still is) Magnus Scheving, and he used his fame to travel around the world and give talks on healthy living. He noticed that parents always asked him the same questions about raising their kids, and when he thought about it, there were no healthy role models for kids. So he went back to Iceland and wrote some books that became bestsellers and later became musicals in which he would play the hero, Íþróttaálfurinn, the 'Sports Elf', who later in the TV series became 'Sportacus 10'. The first musical, 'Áfram Latibær' was about a group of kids in 'Latibær', or 'LazyTown' as it later became, who were negative about living healthily, until a certain Sports Elf appeared and changed this. The second play 'Glanni Glæpur í Latabæ' introduced a villain, 'Glanni Glæpur', played by one of Iceland's greatest actors/comedians, Stefan Karl Stefansson, who still plays 'Robbie Rotten' in the TV series.

Eventually, Magnus managed to get Nickelodeon to commission a TV series for their little kiddie channel Nick Jr. The show is entirely produced at the TV studios built for the show in Gardabaer in Iceland. It mixes live acting, puppetry and CGI, and is noticeable for the bright, vivid colours that young children like. Magnus doesn't believe in lowering quality just because it's made for kids, not adults, and spends roughly £421000 on each 24-minute episode. Puts the BBC to shame considering the budget they have, to make kids TV programmes compared to other channels. The BBC spent £14 million on producing a hundred 30-minute episodes of 'In The Night Garden'. To be honest, do we want our kids singing songs that will help them brush their teeth, or do we want them to go round kissing trees and singing “Makka Pakka, Akka Whakka, Mikka Makka Moo!”?

LazyTown Live is based on the characters from the TV series, but has one new character, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for you. Stephanie, played by American actress Julianna Rose Mauriello in the TV series, is a cheerful 8 year old who always wears pink to match her bright pink hair, she moves to LazyTown to visit her uncle, Mayor Milford Meanswell. Mayor Meanswell, as his name suggests, always means well, but unfortunately he is a little organised and clumsy and often ends up in sticky situations. Mayor Meanswell completely adores Miss Bessie Busybody and will do anything for her. Bessie is the town's gossip, she is always seen talking on her mobile phone and is unaware of the Mayor feelings for her, she tries to be a motherly figure for the kids in the town, but unfortunately is not so good at it. The kids in the town tend to stay indoors all day playing computer games and eating unhealthy junk food, probably influenced by Robbie Rotten and his lazy ways. Ziggy is always eating candy and is the youngest of the group, Stingy thinks he owns everything, Trixie doesn't like following rules and Pixel would rather talk to a computer than a actual human being. Stephanie comes along and tries to change their ways, Robbie of course doesn't like this, so Stephanie calls Sportacus to the town. Each episode shows Sportacus beating Robbie's dastardly plans, as Robbie does not give up, (ironic he's trying to throw a pink girl out of town who uses the phrase “There's always a way” a lot) as in the words of Stefan Karl “Robbie is a good man but he wants to be the villain.”

So we all boarded the flight from Preston to LazyTown. The show was cleverly done, all on the same set and it was surprising how much like Stefan Karl's Robbie, this Robbie was. He was clumsy, he squealed like a girl... but didn't notice the “WOOHOO!” for him among all the booing, I wonder who that was...

The show used clips from many of the songs from the show which the kids, and slightly older kids, sang to. A certain little girl next to me couldn't stop bouncing up and down on her chair, when she wasn't hugging me to death, saying “It's too scary!”. I'm not sure why they bothered with seats for all the kids. I noticed that after the interval lots of the children had just gathered around the stage, then again it's easier to dance there than in a chair. They were jumping up and dancing and joining in. I think that Preston has to work with their parents as they seem to be incapable of jumping up and joining in even though Stephanie told everyone, even the parents to jump to knock the apple down. My friend and I must have been the only people over the age of 7 who did actually jump up and join in. How can parents expect their kids to join in if they don't? I suggest that the council start working on this, persuading parents to be more active, so next year my friend and I are saved from the embarrassment of dancing on our own. If Sportacus is fighting child obesity, we need someone to fight adult obesity, because kids copy their parents and if they don't change why should kids?

In the interval, the Guild Hall were selling the ice cream they always sell, and popcorn, well at least Ziggy and Robbie would be happy. I made a rather loud comment to my friend “YOU WOULD THINK THEY WOULD SELL CARROTS, OR APPLES, CONSIDERING WHAT SHOW IT IS!”

I think the only negative things of the show (other than the food they were selling) were the lack of Robbie's line “IT'S DISGUISE TIME!” and the lack of Bessie in the show, after all the puppeteer and voice for Bessie in the TV show is Julie Westwood from Bolton.

So when we walked out, Mary chased the man selling balloons. I wasn't going to buy one because I hate balloons. But then again, Stephanie has faced her fear of heights, and Sportacus has faced his fear of dinosaurs and even Robbie faces his fear of heights nearly every episode, even if it is to kick 'Sportakook' out of town. So we got on the bus with my mum, and a balloon, and a mini-Stephanie, and a mini-Sportacus.

LazyTown has a massive fan base on the internet, ranging from parents of kids who watch it to teenagers at college. While here in the UK fans are happy, we can watch the episodes on Cbeebies or Nick Jr. and buy the merchandise in the shops, fans in America cannot find anything related to LazyTown in the shops and gradually the channels showing LazyTown has been declining. Just because Nickelodeon don't own all of LazyTown and doesn't get the money from the merchandise, they have decided to stop importing the merchandise or show it on TV, and instead bring out as much 'Dora the Explorer' and 'Go Diego Go!' merchandise as they can. American LazyTown fans are calling LazyTown fans all over the world to write to Nickelodeon in America and persuade them to show the show again.

As we walked out, my friend turned to me “So, I'll book the tickets for next year.”

18 January 2008 @ 03:11 pm
 Music is part of me, and has been since I was young. My dad has a photo of me at a very young age sat in a chair next to the Hi-Fi with a pair of massive headphones (or so they seem) on my head. I have been playing the violin since I was five and this September I celebrated my tenth anniversary since beginning. So early on I was introduced to classical music and my dad's Queen and ELO.

I have been playing in the Lancashire Schools' Symphony Orchestra for a few years now, and this is what I really like about classical music. We all sit in a big orchestra, and we all play together as one. It's not just a CD or another famous orchestra making that spectacular sound, it's us! We play a lot of film music, as at concerts that's what many young people like, you find yourself caught in the music you're playing. One of the best feelings I've ever had is playing the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' music by Klaus Badelt, it felt as if we were all there in the film, in the adventure. We also play traditional stuff, for instance, tomorrow at the concert we're playing 'Tritsch Tratsch' by Johann Strauss, which is a really fun, high, jumpy, light piece, which feels as if you're running five miles with a spring in your step, except it's your fingers doing the work instead of your feet. We have played two world premieres, one called 'Carnival' and one called 'Solar Eclipse', if you hear them elsewhere, you feel like saying “Ha, we played this first!”

After early influence from my dad, I found myself really liking rock music. It's modern and they all play their own instruments unlike pop, R'n'B and rap (or what my dad calls “rap with a silent c”).


With the two sides of music liked conflicting, I found Gothic Rock, which is what you get if you fuse Rock with Classical. You have your loud, modern drums and electric guitars but also, in the background you have sad violins, or an operatic choir, or a full orchestra making the whole song dramatic, bringing it alive.

Recently, I came across an artist called Emilie Autumn. Like me, she plays the violin, she makes her music sound modern and Victorian at the same time. This is called Violindustrial or Victorianindustrial. She uses a harpsichord and electric violins, which makes it sound like a modern kind of Baroque music, as Baroque music was often a harpsichord and violins, a kind of staccato, jumpy music.

But Gothic music doesn't have to sound dark and depressing all the time. There is a band called The Birthday Massacre and their music sounds like Gothic Disco. Often Gothic music has clever, deep meaningful lyrics. I think The Birthday Massacre, Within Temptation and Nightwish have some of the most clever, deep lyrics in the world. For example here is a quote from The Birthday Massacre Violet, “Within the heat of passion's war/ Lust is spilled upon the floor/ Staining red the wasted metaphor/ The selfish need for something more/ Claws in vain at closing doors/ Scarring faces once adored.”

Staying with the upbeat, disco music with meaningful lyrics, my baby sister watches a TV show called LazyTown, during which the characters often sing songs. These songs often have positive, inspiring lyrics, and the music is composed by Icelandic genius Maní Svavarsson. In the show, Robbie Rotten, everyone's favourite, adorable, lazy villain gets some of the catchiest songs, which go perfectly with Stefan Karl's amazing, awesome singing voice (I bow down). These songs are a lot better than normal songs on children's TV. Come on, I mean, “Makka Pakka Akka Whakka Mikka Makka Moo!” compared to “Time to move! Time to make it happen! Twenty Times Time is here again!” which is a song designed to help the children brush their teeth.

I love listening to songs in other languages... Icelandic, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, French and Russian to name a few favourites. Icelandic band Sigur Rós sing half in Icelandic and half in their own made-up language, Hopelandic. Their music is meant to represent Icelandic landscapes. I often listen to songs, I don't know what they're saying but I get a general feel through the music.

I have many favourite types of music, well at the end of day, it's all music. I'll rather listen to something than face silence. Having nothing there is like ripping out a part of my soul, almost as if I lost a friend. I am music, and music is my friend.

16 January 2008 @ 08:07 pm
  Should we be worried about the state of health of children in the UK? In recent years our government has begun to notice, but are they too late?

Nowadays kids just want to sit inside slumped on the couch, watching TV, eating junk food. They don't want to eat healthily or exercise, and as a result, the population is becoming obese.

You can't really blame them, in this world dominated by fast food chains. You can't move for McDonald's patrolling the streets of city centres. Commercial children's TV channles showing adverts for these kings of junk. Celebrities eat so-called 'food' at these places, why can't they? Children copy people. I know this, having a two year old sister, she copies everything I say and do. There aren't many halthy role models for children.

One of the only healthy role models for children, is Sportacus 10, a slightly-above-average hero who is persuading the couch potatoes to get up and move. Across the world, children are going to bed at 8.08 because he does, they are eating 'sports candy' – fruit and vegetables, instead of sweets because “too much sugar is not for superheroes”. Magnus Scheving, the brain-child of LazyTown and actor who plays Sportacus, said “happy kids move, if they are not moving, then something is wrong.”

So what could be wrong?

Could it be that children are too stressed to exercise? Stress is bad for health, but what could be stressing the children of the UK?

Exam stress.

Britain's kids are some of the most examined kids in the world, and there's a lot of pressure put on us to succeed. We are continually being assessed while we are at school, and then they keep giving us exams and telling us to revise. Revision. Do they think we have time for revision? Homework. Coursework. Revision. We barely have time to practise whatever else we may do, musical instruments, sports.

So when can we exercise?

As I got into my GCSE years at school, they gave us one hour of games a week. One pathetic, measly hour to exercise in. Then they tell us they expect us to do some extra curricular activity after school as we need more exercise. Newsflash, we don't have the time!

We are teenagers with no social life because we sit inside doing homework, coursework and revision. I have to do this and look after my baby sister while my dad builds an extension, my mum works and my sister does her homework. I know friends who have to do most of the housework along with all their schoolwork. While I have been writing this, I have been grounded for a week for my room being in a mess even though most of it was my sister's mess and it's not our fault that my baby sister comes in our room and trashes everything.

So to avoid detention, I am doing my homework, but because I am, my parents ground me. So if they did stop harassing me and I got all my work done, I can't go out and get exercise... and they're the ones who are complaining that I'm lazy. I wonder why?

If the government want us to be healthy and show the world we're not obese, they have to firstly give children better role models, secondly get food companies to make food healthier, thirdly reduce the exams we get and finally reduce our workload so we can exercise.

16 January 2008 @ 08:04 pm
  Voyage of the Damned

After a very long wait, we finally get to see Russell T. Davies' Christmas Special 'Voyage of the Damned' featuring an all-star cast and stunning visual effects. At the end of last series we were left on a cliffhanger as a ship crashed into the TARDIS and the Doctor picked up a life-ring which read 'TITANIC', which probably puzzled the Doctor as well as us.

Well as 'Time Crash' (the Children in Need Special) revealed to us the TARDIS' shields were down. The Fifth Doctor advised the Tenth Doctor to raise shields but just before he could, the Titanic crashed into the TARDIS. Being a Timelord, he reverses time and manages to land on the Titanic. Onboard he learns the ship is one of Max Capricorn's (played by George Costigan) cruiseliners from the planet Sto and it is orbiting 'Sol 3' otherwise known as the planet Earth and the passengers are looking forward to celebrating the 'primitive' festival of Christmas.

Astrid Perth (Kylie Minogue) is a waitress onboard who soon meets the Doctor. She confesses to him she has always dreamed of travelling and seeing new planets. In return he tells her he's a stowaway, to which she offers him a drink.

Why are the ship's shields down even though they are all in danger as high speed meteors speed to collide with the ship? Why is London deserted? What is wrong with the robotic helpers otherwise known as The Host? Who is Max Capricorn?

This all-star cast features David Tennant, Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Vee, George Costigan, Debbie Chazen, Clive Swift, Gray O'Brien, Russell Tovey, Clive Rowe, Geoffrey Palmer, Bernard Cribbins and the voice of Jessica Martin.

One noticeable difference at the beginning is Murray Gold's new “rock” arrangement of the Doctor Who theme tune. He along with Ben Foster, a conductor/arranger and Yamit Mamo, the singer who sings this year's Christmas song appear aboard the Titanic as the band.

Another great point about this episode is the humour, Jimmy Vee plays a cyborg named Bannakaffalatta. Mr Copper (Clive Swift) tells a fairly inaccurate but funny history of the humans' Christmas - “Any day now they'll start boxing!” The Doctor when losing faith uses the answer to everything – 42. he jokes about being at the start of Christmas, he “got the last room”.

The Doctor is revealed to be 903 years old, still looking good for his age!


Current Mood: accomplished