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This is raw. This is pure. And it showcases a true legend – This Is It.

An extraordinary documentary – nothing like I imagined – stitches together raw footage from the singer’s rehearsals. Assembled shortly after the singer’s death in June, the behind the scene footage is a window into the preparations for the ‘This Is It’ tour. 50 dates – sold out within seconds – and after seeing this, the fact is, his concerts would have been absolutely breath-taking.

Here we saw the genius at work. Completely focused and incredibly determined on perfecting every second of the show. Reaching a level of perfection, you see cuts from different rehearsals which are identical. Here was no sign of sickness – Just a man who is doing what he does best.

Everything was in place – Musicians, dancers, a 3D Thriller, and the man himself. Dancing like a 21-year-old and a singing straight from his heart, you could really feel the passion. These pure, stripped-down moments shows Michael in his element.

Taking you away from Michael’s life in the tabloids, and even his death, you feel like you’ve gone back in time and are a fly on the wall. Yet the story goes on. The collage of his rehearsals becomes a bittersweet memorial, because of course; we all know how it ends.

When I think of what Michael would have been like live – this is it – Completely on the ball, energetic and a faultless show.

Before seeing the show, I had read a few reviews, and I’ll admit I was a little worried. But this man deserves a lot more credit – this was not an artist past his prime, this was Michael Jackson.

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Nick-Griffin-wearing-a-poppy

We could argue whether or not the BBC should have let Nick Griffin on Question Time forever. But what’s done, is done. Now we all have to deal with the consequences.

It was the exposure he had only dreamed of, a perfect platform to address millions of people. Really, the BBC needs to consider what their aim was in bringing the leader of an openly racist party on Question Time.

It seems the panel and the audience spent the hour bullying Nick about his racist views. The debate was going round in circles. They dug up the past claiming: ‘My Dad fought in the war. Yours didn’t.’ Now, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the BBC’s goal.

Should the panel not have questioned him about his policies? Taking the focus away from Nick and perhaps discussing the Royal Mail, the recession, or crime figures, the public would have really understood the BNP. Everyone knows they are a racist party and I’m sure Nick was well prepared for the questions he received. And so along came the well rehearsed answers.

Now here is the worrying stuff I read on the TimesOnline:
“An opinion poll conducted after the programme was aired found that 22 per cent of people would ‘seriously consider’ voting for the BNP.” 22 per cent! That is a lot.

“The BBC has also had 243 complaints that the show was biased against Griffin, compared with 114 complaining about him appearing on it.”

The BBC can’t deny a party of air time. In a country where a party of this nature can form, it is only rational for them to have fair treatment. But politics is a mess at the moment. So what did that hour of Question Time achieve? Anger among the electorate might just make them do what all parties don’t want – More support for BNP.

I think most people realise how sordid the BNP is and took everything Nick said with a pinch of salt. In one ear and out the another, as my mum would say. But I’m worried about the people who are sitting on the fence. People who have been feeling less and less in control of the lives and blame politicians.

Repercussions of the debate are far from finished but I guess only time will tell the really damage.

The first thing that comes to mind when recollecting this year’s Fright Night at Thorpe Park is: “Welcome to a maze of spin-chilling fright”.

With Halloween creeping upon us, Thorpe Park has extended its opening hours to the dead darkness of night. You are invited to get lost in live action horror mazes which will leave your heart pounding and body trembling, and ride the rollercoasters in the dark.

As well as taking the voyages of Stealth, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno and even the Teacups rides by the night, you are sure to get lost, frightened and tormented in the mazes. Even though you’ve been on all the rides in the summer’s gone, being launched up into a pitch black sky has the most disorientating feeling. Stealth was so exhilarating that we went twice! And as for Teacups, well I should know better than to sit in one with Nikhil. All our heads were spinning!

And as for the ridiculously scary mazes, a special feature of the Halloween nights – a MUST-DO for any dare devils, or wannabe dare devils:

Se7en: Distressing scenes of violence and pain. Each room leaves you feeling trapped. Not advised if you suffer from claustrophobia, asthma or epilepsy!
Scare-o-meter rating: 8.5/10

The Curse: Scare-o-meter rating: every actor seems to want to take your life. Prepare for fear, and you’re not allowed to run in the mazes so take a deep breath or close your eyes when they attack – it’ll lessen the pain! And as for the man with the chainsaw, well don’t even get me started on seeing him!
Scare-o-meter rating: 8/10

The Asylum: Filled with dead ends, mirrors and hidden corners, you will seriously get lost in here. And if that is not enough the chaos increases when shadows of locked up mental patient appear behind you.
Scare-o-meter rating: 9/10

Hellgate: The final maze, and by this point, I almost cried. The bravest of souls cannot prepare for the evil that will be unleashed. Empty souls wander, preying on human life and trust me, they can smell fear. The more fear you show, the more distressed they will make you. At one point, you feel that you are trapped in a room with no escape. Bars line the walls and on the other side, actors chuck themselves against the bars which leaves your heart pounding crazily.
Scare-o-meter rating: 9/10

For the mazes, you are required to enter with a group of at least four others. You are asked to make a train like chain so that nobody gets lost in the darkness. Or to just hold on for your life to the person in front of you (which is what I did!) There are dead ends, actors in terrifying outfits and brilliant make up and acting skills. It takes approximately five minutes to get through each maze, but for some, that will be the most terrifying five minutes they have ever experienced. The actors do an awesome job of scaring you out of your wits- jumping out at every corner, pulling on your hair, coming up really close behind you, tugging your leg – all at times when you are least expecting it.

The best thing about it was there were no queues! Going with the John Lewis crew the park was practically empty. I’ve got to say that did make it a little scarier but hey, it was all in the name of fun!

IMG_7105Everyone loves Friends. You know the script by heart (well I do) yet you still chuckle away to the lives of Ross, Joey, Chandler, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe.

Celebrating their 15th year anniversary Central Perk came to London. Drinking a coffee in the famous coffee house, whilst watching a selection of clips was the perfect way to spend our afternoon.

The replica coffee house took Broadwick Street for two weeks only and I just managed to squeeze in.  And it has it all – the redbrick wall, the high stools, Tiffany-style lamps, and of course, a completely worn out peach sofa you sink straight into.

Also filled with real artefacts we found ourselves cracking up at the Geller Cup, Science Boy, the turkey Joey got stuck on his head and oh-so-beautiful Gladys.

And to top of my afternoon, I won a Friends t-shirt by answering a question – What was the name of Monica boyfriend from the second series who was 21 years older than her? Richard!

The%20wedding%20Nicholas%20Sparks

Three words to describe this book – Happily ever after.

Nicholas Spark once again touched my heart, with the novel The Wedding. He tells the story of Wilson and Jane. Through the eyes of Wilson we learn his failure as a husband and feel his fear of losing his wife. As the tale evolves you think to yourself how can he make up years of abandonment? He is a work alcoholic, left Jane to raise three children and to top it all off he forget their 29th wedding anniversary! Once realization hits, Wilson is determined to make up for lost time, but can he do it?

I’ve got to admit, the first few chapters were a little slow for my liking. At some points I forgot what exactly was going on and where in the story I was. But the twist at the end was worth it. Filled with romance and emotion it made me feel all gooey inside.

Being a sequel I was bit worried as Sparks had set such a high bar with The Notebook, however this novel tells a different story – Re-kindling love and finding that warm fuzzy feeling again.

Sweet tale, though I think it’s targeted at a slightly older audience. Maybe my Mum would enjoy more.

Although it’s not one of my favourites, I still love the way Sparks write ever so beautifully.

October 2009
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