Who’s up for Round 3?

And so, after the fogs of the Champagne have parted in your mind and the various gym membership forms have been filled out, what is left to bring you into the New Year? Well, I know it’s probably a bit late doing this half way through January, but this represents a whole 2 Years of My Different Take being up on the web! Sometimes popular, sometimes deader than Shakespeare, but always being updated, My Different Take has been my own personal link into the world of the Internet and expressing my opinion, for what its worth, all across your various Internet Providers displays.

So, what rocked in 2010? This is open to debate, but a lot of awesomeness went down in 2010 that will be hard to top. Firstly, I had my time out in California having some awesome times, meeting awesome people and doing work that ranged from awesome to being yelled at, but regardless it was all experience. 2010 brought around opportunities like: Meeting the cast of Kick-Ass, bumming on the beach with some of my best friends in the world whilst trying to start BBQ’s and failing miserably. It brought beautiful sunsets, amazing holidays, and personal growth like no other. While there were also some losses along the way and some choices that may not have been the best ones of my life, 2010 will not be easily forgotten.

It also brought us some pretty awesome films and music: The start of the year saw Kick-Ass get released along with Iron Man 2 and Inception which I still have yet to see, but fear not as I have the DVD now! Later films included Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and The Social Network, which I still insist are among the best films of the year and are now some of my own personal favourites! As for albums, the ones I’ve most enjoyed throughout 2010 were My Dinosaur Life from Motion City Soundtrack which pretty much made my summer/autumn time, The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang which can easily make you feel better about anything and make you want to get a convertible and drive down to the city, and Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones from Cancer Bats for some unadulterated punk ‘n roll goodness!

With all of that in mind, 2011 might have some work to do to keep up with the previous year! So, what looks god for 2011? Well firstly, as with last year, we start 2011 with some great looking films like 127 Hours, a true story film from Danny Boyle that looks to have a lot of humanity and tough choices dealt with, The Kings Speech is already winning multiple awards for Colin Firth, and The Green Hornet, whilst it seems might not have the best script in the world, does look like it will have some good laughs behind it as long as it’s not taken too seriously as a “comic book movie” (which, technically, it’s not). Also, let us not forget the re-make of True Grit with Jeff Bridges as, whilst it is a re-make, has been gaining successful reviews across the board for how well it has been put together and how many people are getting interested in it. Other big releases this year that I myself am getting hugely excited about include Thor, and now that it’s in 3D as well has got me very excited to see what they’ve done with the visuals, Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch which looks phenomenal in its seemless mixing of fantasy, action and CGI and could wind up being a geeks heaven visualised, Cowboys and Aliens which will see Daniel Craig breaking out of his Bond persona to do something a bit more comic related, and Paul which is the latest offering from the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost combo but without the direction of Edgar Wright its touch and go on whether it will live up to their last releases.

Other films that I’m starting to come round to the idea of are Captain America: The First Avenger after I’ve started seeing more shots from the set from it, after I initially didn’t like the idea of Chris Evans doing Steve Rogers since he’s already Johnny Storm in Marvel’s Fantastic Four films. I’m also starting to like the look of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides even though it doesn’t seem to have all that much that is original or will set it apart from the other ones other than Orlando Bloom and (thankfully) Kira Knightly aren’t in it. Unfortunately, Penelope Cruz is also trying to do that annoying thing where she tries to speak British in this new one. Still, Blackbeard? I’m in! Real Steel is another one that looks fairly interesting, sort of what would happen if Rocky met Transformers, and with Hugh Jackman too, so I’ll look forward to seeing how that one turns out. One of the other hugely anticipated comic book movies of the year, alongside Cap and Thor, is Green Lantern which is looks a little more light-hearted than some of DC’s other offerings like the Superman or Batman franchises. Considering that the CGI plays an important part in Green Lantern, and I’m undecided as to whether Ryan Reynolds will be better as Hal Jordan than Nathan Fillion after all, it could currently go either way. Still, there is potential for this to be as big a franchise as DC’s other films. Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn is also releasing X-Men: First Class this year, so it’s looking to be a triple win for Marvel if all three films take off well, but I’m unsure about the casting for this film until pictures get released. Lastly, speaking of franchises, theres Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. I can safely say that the only direction for these films to go in is up after the diabolical last film, but without Megan Fox ruining the film by not opening her mouth when she talks there is a chance the this could bring it back for the robots in disguise and all the fans who lost faith.

As far as music goes, there are a few new releases that I’m looking forward to. To start with, Architects are making a new release very soon to start off the year in their more melodic than usual offering of The Here And Now, and from what I’ve heard so far its a pretty solid mix of brutality and melody to fit all kinds of moods. Yellowcard are set to release a new record which I’m anxiously waiting to hear stuff from around the time that they tour the UK with All Time Low in March who are also releasing a new album, so the success from that will be interesting considering their amount of radio play in the UK.

Deaf Havana are releasing an album this year after a change in their line-up from their last album and ergo, a change in their sound to something still melodic but no less punchy. Rumours of a new Frank Turner album, I’m not sure yet, but I don’t think are confirmed but I do remember him saying a follow-up to his latest Rock And Roll EP is due sometime this year, so I shall be keeping an eye out for that! After their recent reformation and announcement of headlining this years Download Festival, I think its safe to expect a new offering from System of a Down this year, and who knows, we might even see this fabled new Blink-182 album they’ve been making for nearly two-damn-years now which was meant to be out last year but still hasn’t!

Anyway, the long and short of it is that you can expect there to be more reviews, previews, and general expression of my own opinion on this site for a while to come yet, and with any luck I’ll be able to do it more regularly this year! Year one was a healthy experiment, year two got more people reading and me writing more. Let’s see what year three’s got.

When bands lose members…

The news was released yesterday (December 18th), though an official press release on the bands website that Josh and Zac Farro (guitarist and drummer respectively) of Paramore have decided to leave the band, leaving Hayley Williams as the only original member of the line up (since Jeremy Davies joined the band on their second album and Taylor York became an official band member before their third). According to their press release, this has been a decision that the band knew was coming since the Farro brothers said that they would be departing from the band at the end of the year a while ago, and the band have kept it to themselves up until now. That was, until a fake blog post revealed the information without the bands consent and they have now come clean about it. I’m not going to blub and say that the world is over because Paramore have lost a couple of members, but it is always a shame when one of the bands you listen to a lot lose a member.

Obviously there have been worse tragedies – 2010 saw us lose Ronnie James Dio to cancer, and Slipknot bassist Paul Gray passed away as well, so there are always worse things that can happen, and I’m not saying this entirely exclusively about Paramore, but it does raise an interesting subject.

I’ve got to say, I’m a bit upset but I’m also a little curious as well. Don’t get me wrong, its sad that they feel the need to leave the band to go about things differently, but in fairness to them Josh is married now and is probably starting a family and can’t be on the road, and Zac is probably starting down the same road because he doesnt want to lose contact with his brother. Paramore obviously won’t be the same without them, no band ever is when they lose members, but after this I think a series of things could happen:

1) It’s likely that Josh and Zac will realise that Paramore actually IS where they’re happiest and there will be a big reform splattered over the music press and they’ll sell loads more of their new album they are to start writing soon because of it.

2) Because there’s only 3 members of the previous line-up left, they’ll probably form some kind of new band (as they should if nearly half of the original line-up isnt there anymore) and go in a new direction which will be fresh, different and interesting.

3) It will take the eye off of Hayley for a bit. Don’t get me wrong (again) I think Hayley is brilliant and sings really well, but no matter how much she tries to deny it Paramore will always be about her. It’s mostly not even her fault –  it’s the way press works, as they need a face to put to the name and its normally the front-person. So it just stands to reason that the bigger Paramore got, that would mean Hayley would always be that much bigger until she became what the band was about in some peoples eyes. So perhaps this will allow them to take a sabaticle and rework their image in the press a little.

4) I know Josh and Zac are obviously very good at what they do, but perhaps whoever they get in to play for them will be even better and it will almost be like starting over again, so Paramore will go back to playing some smaller venues and re-discover themselves all over again. Which will make it better for the fans as they will be able to see them playing in the kinds of venues they started out in.

5) They’ll break everything off entirely and Hayley will accept the persona shes now become in the press and embark on Solo projects of her own. Personally, I really liked the song she did for the Jennifer’s Body soundtrack as it was acoustic and also pretty punk as welll – like Hayley was doing Frank Turner songs. More of that would be very welcome!

So, why am I posting this exclusively about Paramore when bands split or members move on all the time? Because it struck me that no matter how much a band means to people or an individual, there is life after a line-up change. And sometimes its for the better. Coheed And Cambria changed their drummer after there was problems in the band and now Chris Pennie has added a new dynamic to their whole technical sound. Taking Back Sunday seem to change their guitarist each album they release, and they still keep selling records.

For those incredibly dedicated to a band such as Paramore, it’s easy to understand how they can become so much more than just a band. For the loyal fans, they’re not just a band, they’re all individuals that are playing music, and it’s all about who they are and what they do. They become so much more than a name, they actually become people you know intimately, and when one or more of those people leave that band that you love it’s like a friend moving away. But ultimately, it doesn’t mean that their music no longer exists – the records you have will always be there as a reminder of what they gave you, and they’re not going anywhere unless you sell them!

Ultimately, this is more than about Paramore really. I’ll openly admit that I love the band, but this happens all the time and it affects people differently, but bands will always make music as long as its what they love doing.

Whatever happens, its a shame they felt the need to split, but I’m dubious and interested as to what will come next.

The End.

R.I.P.

GUY ROBERTSON

19th May 1957 – 31st January 2010

Dad – You will be missed, and remembered, in our hearts and minds.

I’ll be lucky to go and visit half of the places that you’ve been able to.

Happy 1st Birthday!

Thats right, guys – this website is now officially 1 Year Old!! This is just a short message to say thanks to all the people I know who read this on a regular basis, and all the new people that have started catching up with all the crap that I have to say – you guys make this what it is!

Ok, so, whilst I haven’t exactly reached my goal of having 52 posts on here by this point (which would effectively be one post per week) at 46 I’ve come pretty close, so it’s not too bad really. Still, with any luck 2010 will give me a lot more to write about, so there should be all kinds of posts going on here in the next lot of 52 weeks! Either way, it’s been an interesting year, and looking back I’ve had a lot of stuff to put up here, and hopefully it’s all made for an interesting read every so often. Of course, I know that these are only my own opinions, so they may not count for much in this day and age, but the fact that this site is still running pleases me quite a bit!

So, here’s to more interesting things to eventually go up, and here’s to all the people reading this! Thanks guys, much love!

-Drew-

They’ve built WHAT now?!

I have JUST been told by a friend that a rumoured Harry Potter Theme Park is now in completion and will be opening in Spring 2010. I first heard about plans for this Theme Park a couple of years ago in the papers, along with artists renderings of what the final completed park would look like and what attractions it would have. But, after not hearing anymore about it (partly out of lack of interest for the most part in anything Harry Potter, and partly because I guess they were avoiding making it too much of common knowledge so that people will be more excited about it!) I assumed that plans for it had been scrapped for whatever reason they may have. In hindsight, this was probably a bit dense of me to think that they WOULDN’T do this – it’s the ultimate “raking-it-in” idea, really! But still, my friend has sent me a link to the promotional video for the Theme Parks opening. This link, I have also decided to post below, so thanks for the link Jamie!:

http://www.universalorlandoresort.com/harrypotter/first_look_uo.html

Now, first of all, I’ve noticed two majorly disappointing things – 1) WHY is it in America when it’s actually a British institution, set in Britain and has a British cast, and could potentially make even more money by setting up partnerships with airlines for all the people who would be travelling to come to it? and 2) How come it’s being put in Universal Studios Orlando (which, admittedly, is Theme Park Central and would definitely have the funding to undertake such a monstrous project) when the production company behind it are Warner Brothers, who are situated (perhaps more fittingly) in Los Angeles?

Whilst these might only be trivial things in the long run, there are many other things about this Theme Park to mention. I’d like to put in at this point that I’m NOT saying either way that this is a good idea or a bad one – completely unbiased as yet as I haven’t seen enough of it to make a full decision either way yet. BUT, I have seen enough from the video to know this much:

Firstly, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (as it is now called) is most definitely a HUGE corporate investment, much in the same way Disneyland is. This is basically Disneyland for teenagers who are “too cool” to go there anymore. Immediately, as you go through the entry gates, there is the “Main Street” of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is basically a mixture of the Hogsmead Village and Diagon Alley. So, in short, this is where all the money-making happens!! Hugely priced themed pubs, Sweet shops where the kids can get all sugared-up for the day, joke shops and souvenir shops where you can buy ANYthing that you can slap Harry’s bespectacled mug onto (que the introduction of the I Heart So-And-So T-shirts and Hermione’s range of perfume…) for whatever price they deem “reasonable”, all behind massively printed signs and bright lights to get the kids interested in just how much cash the Adults are carrying on them at the time… But, one thing I did think was cool, was the Wand Shop that you will be able to go to where you can supposedly get your own personal wand. This is that fine line between bringing in people’s wallets and bringing people into the magic of Harry Potter Land. Having your own personal wand for the day will make ALL the difference for certain people – crossing that line between consumerism and fantasy-brought-to-life.

The rest of the park looks to be pretty straight forward – rides and attractions and shows all based around the different features of Harry’s world. The Hippogriff rollercoaster, the Dragon fighting attraction, etc, all of which would clearly be backed-up by the highest of effects budgets considering just how much this franchise has now been able to rake in. Also, the Hogwarts Castle Adventure looks like it will be an all-encompassing, multi-sensory, fully immersing dive into the World of Wizards, where the guests will fully believe that they are part of this magnificent world that up until now they have only been able to read about or see on the screen thanks to Hollywood Effects and CGI. Or, at least, that’s the angle that they will be going for…

The promotional video obviously explains more about what the park will have, but it is set to open its gates in Spring 2010, so you can expect families with young kids or couples that are a bit too geeky for their own good to be booking their summer holiday to Orlando a lot this year, and expect to be paying for it for quite a while afterwards! It does beg the question as to whether the amount of expenses would be worth the memorable experience of it all – so it could either be the most magical Theme Park thought up, or a shine to ALL that is consumerism! But, I guess that will all be revealed once it has opened to the public, or once we see more of what The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer.

The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The Final

After not being at a computer since Friday night, I haven’t really had much of a chance to update this journal and give it a proper round off, mostly because of being busy with things immediately as I got home. I originally wanted to update this from the airport, but that turned out to be out of the window when by the time I decided to sit down and have a chance to write anything, they let us on to the plane! Anyway, this is the official round-off to the journal, after getting home, semi-unpacking and then re-packing again as I spontaneously decided to drive with a friend up to Bristol for a couple of days after only being back in the country for 24 hours. Adventurous? Very much so…

I mostly just wanted to put down how much California has taught me. It’s taught me that Creativity Generates Creativity, and that many things are possible if you’re willing to work for them hard enough and are determined enough to get to where you want to go. It’s shown me a new life, a different life, that is all too possible to live – whether that would ACTUALLY be in California or not, as much as I would want it to be. It has shown me many things that I am capable of doing, and just how much can be open for you when you look for it. It’s shown me a better attitude to living – one where you actually live! It’s the attitude that does things because you want to do them, because they’re fun and they make life worth talking about again (like driving up to Bristol to surprise a friend after only getting back to the country again the day before…). It’s taught me especially so that certain ways in which I see myself is not necessarily the same way that other people see me, and that I shouldn’t alway listen to the opinion that I have of myself.

I sincerely hope to eventually go back to Cali. The people, the vibe of the place, everything – it all makes for an experience that has bettered me personally, and has given me new directions and new ideas and focus for life, and I don’t think I can be thankful enough for that to all the people who I have come to know out there. It’s been an amazing experience that has had a huge effect on me, and I doubt I would trade any of the time I had out there for anything. And that’s really saying something, I think!

The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The Sixth

Monday 7th December: One good thing about growing up in England is that when visiting other countries, you gain a little perspective in certain areas. Food, yes, there’s more out here than there is at home. Lifestyle, again, is something very different to what we would deem normal. Attitudes towards the weather… oh yes. You see, today, for the first time in my 6 weeks of being here (and for the first time in months and months for the people that actually reside in this state), it rained. It not only rained – it is still raining. Not only is it still raining, but it will continue to do so for a little while. But what surprised me most is how it rains – it’s not just a drizzle out here, it’s fucking Biblical!! Admittedly, this is apparently how it has been in England for a while now, with warnings of floods et al, but even with that in mind, it’s still coming down kinda hard. But even so, the way people react to this kind of weather, you’d think the fucking Apocalypse was just around the corner! But it really does live up to the old addage of “when it rains, it pours”, so this is all new to me – the concept of it actually raining in California! Anyway, no time to finish the entry last night, but we went to the house of a friend of Leigh and Marguerite’s (the people who run the company I’m interning for, so I’m their intern) and had a great meal and sung some songs, because they’re music-oriented people which was really great. We also listened to this CD of this guy called David Sedaris, who was talking about different Christmas stories but about the Dutch one in particular. Apparently, in Dutch Christmas stories, St. Nick arrives on a Steamboat and then travels by horses etc, but part of the story is that there are no elves (Elves, apparently, are just a silly concept to have at Christmas…). Instead, he is accompanied by what is only ever referred to as “six to eight black men, who are in no way slaves but in fact work for St. Nick purely voluntarily”. This made us all laugh SO hard, as it’s only EVER “six to eight black men” – never an exact head count! Anyway, you learn something new every day. Back at work today, doing more work on projects before I go (not long now. Bad times.) and quite possibly head into Santa Monica in the evening later on! Packing things into my schedule this week – should be fun!!

Tuesday 8th December: I have just come out of the tail end of what could have been the most spontaneous, emotional and generally all round baffling 4 days I’ve been through since being here. I’ve only just now gotten back to the house where I’m staying, and thus back to where my clothes are. This is mostly due to me spending the weekend at Leigh and Marguerite’s (as has already been explained), but then spontaneously spending the night round my friend Mindy’s last night. I should explain at this point that when I eventually DID decide to stay at her house, I had had NO chances to go back to my place. Which meant I was STILL wearing the clothes I set out in on Saturday at noon. ALL of the same clothes – all down to the socks. Anyway, I decided to stay as I thought it might be fun since I was being taught how to play a game called Beer Pong. Those that don’t know of it, should look it up. Those that do, will know that it is one of the BEST games around! Considering I don’t drink, it was very kind of the people there to fill my cups with water instead, and for someone to drink my “beer” for me, but the game basically consists of two teams of two players taking turns to land ping-pong balls in cups of beer at the other end of a table. You are also allowed to throw the other person off their game, so most things go – insults, random noises, various acts of nudity, you name it. Anyway, we play this game for a while, and I end up staying round the night. I wake up the next morning and realise that I don’t actually have much in the way of getting to work… After attempting the normally reliable (when I actually know where to go to get one, and which one to get) bus, I vote for the taxi option. 5 weeks of being here by myself, and this is the first time I’ve resorted to a taxi. I’d say that’s pretty good going so far! Tonight was a bit strange, things got cancelled because Jennifer suddenly got really really sick. I haven’t heard back, but hopefully she isn’t too bad. It did mean that there were no plans for this evening, so I saw Mindy again instead (No Beer Pong this time, which is probably a good thing!). Right now, however, I am shattered. I had VERY little sleep last night, I’ve been in the same clothes (minus resorting to a shirt today which WAS meant to be a present for myself at Christmas. Oh well…) for 4 whole days now, and I’m going to sleep and I don’t care what you say about it. G’night!

Wednesday 9th December: One more thing that I’m seriously going to miss about being out here is the feeling of being around like-minded, creative individuals that have stories to tell. After a regular day of interning (which, even though it was a “regular” day, it’s still great being there!) we go to a Birthday party type thing for the wife of the guy who runs the Facility where this company is, and is also in a band with the person I’m working for. I know it sounds very convoluted and round-about, but I have met them before and they’re very nice people. So we turn up and we start singing Christmas songs – accompanied by Leigh on bass, this dude on guitar and someone else on piano. By this point, we effectively have a full band backing us up in our little Christmas song singing, and it was all really cool. Then these guys had a jam session, and were just playing anything, and it was great to just sit and see these guys be creative with their music and just mesh so well that they knew exactly the time to do what thing. It was really very cool. Anyway, we then went for Italian, I ate FAR too much Gnocchi and Tiramisu and nearly slipped into a carb-coma. Spontaneity has also gotten the better of me again tonight, and I’ve ended up at a friends house once again. But at least I’m not in the office tomorrow, so there’s no worries of waking up and having no idea where to go this time! Possibly a bit of a relaxing day for tomorrow, with a chance of packing and baking in the late afternoon. Still, beats rain I suppose….

Friday 11th December: No post for yesterday as the only time I get to stop and take some time to write it, the internet is down and I have no access! BAH! Anyway, it meant that I could get a head start on packing anyway. It’s strange, the lady who I’ve rented this room from is insanely good at packing  – when I arrived I’d had to squeeze everything into my suitcase. Now I’ve actually gained items, and she helps me pack, and I end up with space left over!! HOW did that happen?? I mean, I know I went through some stuff out here, but surely not that much… Anyway, yesterday was great, I had such a relaxing day just enjoying being where I am. Mindy and I went out and I FINALLY got to try In And Out Burger, which is a burger places thats almost exclusively Californian, and everyone from around here raves about it. It’s dirt cheap ($2 for a cheeseburger? Yes please!) and it’s actually way nicer than the kind of crap you get at McDonalds or something. So we went and ate our burgers on Venice Beach, and watched the sea for a while. It’s funny, even though this is LA and there is always so much happening you can always find somewhere truly peaceful and someone really nice to share that experience with. It definitely made for a memorable last free day. Also, she did make me Christmas Cookies as well, which are amazing! There’s so many of them too, so I’m saving some for the flight home. Unfortunately, the only thing we could find to put them in was a Victoria’s Secret bag – it’s bright pink, so it’s not discreet either. So now, I get to walk around with a bright pink bag which once contained her bra’s but now contains her cookies – Epic Win! In the evening, I went over to Lora and Hans’ since they’ve been so nice in looking after me sometimes when I’m out here and it’s also Hans’ Birthday on Monday, so I had to take something for him before I leave! My second Dutch meal of the week and second making of Nutella Bread and Butter pudding later, and I am genuinely pretty beat. BUT, a-ha, whats this? More ironing to do? No no, my friend, not ironing – Steaming! This is brilliant, and I kind of want one now. A Steamer is like an iron, but you don’t damage the clothes or get a sheen on the fibres or anything. Knocks creases out of shirts like a bitch! I’m totally getting one if I can find one that can do jeans better as well… Anyway, staying at Leigh and Marguerite’s tonight, and I have bits of research now, so the final bit to this will hopefully be posted later!

* * *

Someone brought waffles to the office!! Second breakfast? Don’t mind if I do! Anyway, I’m back in Burbank now, after watching a film double-feature and having an awesome dinner and then one last hit of Pumpkin Pie before having to leave that theory to the Americans again – such a shame. Anyway, the contacts are drying out and I am tired, but I wanted to finish this off before doing any of that. I mostly wanted to put down how much I’m going to miss this place and the people I’ve met and have come to know very well and all of the stuff that is out here. This will probably get finished tomorrow, in between finishing packing and preparing and whatever, but hopefully everything will go smoothly. OR, it won’t, and I get to stay for a few more days…? 

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