Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rock of Ages - The Movie

Yesterday evening my bezzie mate and I had a girlie night out at the cinema. We went to see Rock of Ages, the movie version of the stage musical starring Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Mary. J. Blige, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta and many more. There were also lots of cameos from 1980s music acts.

It was a fantastic film! Yes the storyline was some what predictable, but in a good way. By the end of the film everything that you wanted to happen had happened. The various couples had got it together, the bad guy had got his comeuppance, and the up-tight Mayor's wife had given in to her youthful passion for Rock Music!

Encase you are wondering about the storyline its about a small town girl called Sherrie who moves to LA to become a singer. On the way she gets mugged by a guy who steals her precious record collection and then gets comforted by Drew another wannabe singer who happens to work at the legendary Bourbon Rooms - a rock music club. Quickly she is offered a job as a waitress by club owner Alec Baldwin, who really has other things on his mind as the club is facing financial ruin unless he can make enough money at the upcoming farewell gig of the legendary Stacee Jaxx and his rock band Arsenal played superbly by Tom Cruise. On the other side of Town the newly elected Mayor's wife played by Catherine Zeta Jones is rallying her troop of mothers and religious groups to campaign to shut down the Bourbon Rooms which is seen as the root of all evil, corrupting the youngsters of 1987 America with rock music!

Sherrie and Drew promptly fall in love and on the night of the Arsenal gig Drew and his band get the chance to open the show after the original booked act drops out. Drew is spotted by Stacee Jaxx's manager and is offered fame over the love he has for Sherrie. Due to a misunderstanding Drew believes his beloved Sherrie has had sex with Stacee Jaxx in his dressing room and promptly agrees to become the next big thing and quits his job at the Club after splitting up with Sherrie. She also quits the club and in desperation and heartache she starts to work as a waitress in a pole dancing strip club owned by Mary. J/.Blige's character. It isn't long before Sherrie becomes a stripper herself and begins to lose her idealistic views of the world. Meanwhile Drew has his image dramatically changed by his new manager, and instead of becoming the next rock star, gets manufactured into the new kind of music star  - a typical 1980s rap/pop music boy band!

While this is going on we also meet the amazing Stacee Jaxx himself. He is a washed up rock star who is admired by millions, yet is lost in drugs, drink and sex with random women and surrounded by "yes men". He is also looking for the perfect song. His manager is using him to make a fortune and steals all the takings from the gig at the Bourbon Club saying it is Stacee's cut although Stacee doesn't even know this is happening. When he comes to the Bourbon to perform his final gig he meets an attractive interviewer from Rolling Stone Magazine who refuses to take any of his rock star rubbish and tells him a few home truths including how his manager is taking him for a ride. Her words penetrate his ego and he starts to fall in love with her. She in turns begins to fall for him, but leaves, and leaves Stacee feeling very confused as he has never felt love before. Later in the film the interview comes out in Rolling Stone Magazine where she reveals the truth about his manager and how he stole money from the Bourbon. Stacee who has become very confused after having his mind opened by her confronts his manager, who tells him the truth. Stacee fires him and tries to track down the young reporter he calls Cinderella or Constance as she is actually called!

The film's finale is at the Bourbon club where Drew's new pop group are performing their first ever gig supporting Stacee Jaxx at his first solo performance (although nobody has told Stacee he has a gig!). Outside Catherine Zeta Jones and her supporters are facing up to all the rock fans. Stacee Jaxx arrives as he has finally found out he has a gig and that Constance is reporting on it. When he arrives he recognises Catherine Zeta Jones character and its revealed that she was once one of his many girlfriends. He goes inside where he eventually finds Constance and they finally get together. He also gives the money his manager stole back to the Club therefore saving it. Meanwhile Drew's boyband takes to the stage and the rock audience quickly get annoyed and start booing them off. Sherri arrives after hearing the song Drew had written about her and he leaves the stage to tell her he loves her. As the crowd turn nasty Sherrie takes to the stage to sing the opening lines of Drew's song. "Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world......". Drew then joins her to sing the song. When Stacee hears this song he realises he has finally found the perfect song and the film ends with a massive Arsenal Concert with Drew and Sherrie singing on stage with Stacee. As Stacee looks off stage Constance is cheering him from the wings in full rock outfit and a cute baby bump. The other characters are also in the audience including a very differently dressed Catherine Zeta Jones!

This is a fantastic film and the ending is perfect. Tom Cruise gives an amazing performance as Stacee Jaxx, and as someone who never really got the appeal of Tom Cruise, going by this film  I am now converted! Wow! Russell Brand is also surprisingly good although the northern accent which comes and go throughout the film is a little off putting, but his relationship in the film with Alec Baldwin is both funny and brilliant!

Of course I have to mention the awesome soundtrack! Its amazing from start to finish including songs by Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey, Twisted Sister and many more. My favourite songs include Tom Cruise's version of Wanted Dead or Alive, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin's duet to I Can't Fight This Feeling Any More, the romantic More than Words and of course the brilliant Don't Stop Believing. My bezzie mate has already bought the soundtrack, and I desperately want one too!

I loved this film! It was sooooo good. We were still talking about it hours later and to be honest the next day too! We both came out of the cinema really buzzing and still singing all the songs! This is definitely one for the DVD collection.
So if you like feel good films, with an amazing soundtrack and plenty of laughs please go and see this film or buy it when it comes out on DVD. It is brilliant!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

My Mum

Last week to celebrate Father's Day I told you a bit about my Dad. Since I did that I thought it was only right that I should also tell you about my Mum. I have already told you some stuff about my Mum in other blogs, mainly about all the lovely crafts she does. So here is a bit more about my Mum!

My Mum and I have an awful lot in common. We both love history and visiting museums and heritage sites. Some of my best holiday memories are of me and her going out for the day to some historic location and having a nose about. Once we went to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum of Norfolk Life. We arrived just as it was opening and were some of the last visitors to leave at the end of the day. Even then we had a trouble squeezing in everything we wanted to see! It was a fantastic place to visit and I am so pleased that I got to share it with her. Just the two of us. Whenever I visit somewhere like that I always seem to be one of the last to leave!! I can see now where I get it from!! She is very proud of my work in Museums and I know she always tells all her friends what I am working on.

Another of our shared interests is family history and for the last 8 years my Mum and I have been looking at her side of the family (and when she gets bored of her lot she looks at my Dad's side too!). She discovered that her father and mother had never married and that her father had a wife and children from when he was younger that he never told her about. We have never been able to find out whether he just walked away or whose fault it was which I know really bugs her. She managed to track down his children from this marriage and then their children and grandchildren but sadly despite making content they don't want to know my Mum. Mum finds this very frustrating as all she wants is answers and to try to piece together what happened.  She thinks perhaps the children think she wants money or some sort of relationship but all she wants is information. I know she hopes to get answers one day, but as every lead we get on my Grandfather leads quickly to a dead end or a refusal to talk about him, I do not think it looks likely. On the plus side she has found out a lot of information about her Mum's side of the family and made contact with two of her cousins who she had never meet who were able to give her some fascinating information about that side of the family.

My Mum also loves musicals particularly going to see them in the West End. Before she married my Dad she use to regularly go to see shows at the West End, including ballets and the latest musical spectacular. For my 18th birthday celebrations the two of us went to see We Will Rock You. I had never been to a musical before. It was fantastic and I didn't stop thinking about it for days. It was an amazing experience and again I loved it that I shared it with her. We had also gone out for dinner at Garfunkles before hand and had a great giggle on the train on the way home. This is one of my favourite memories of me and my Mum. I really hope one day I can return the favour and treat her to a few days in London, where we can visit the Museums, do some window shopping and go see a show.

As I have told you in the past my Mum is also into craft. In fact she is a fully fledged crafter with many crafts in her repertoire. They include knitting, cross stitch, tatting, lace making, crocheting, quilting, card making, cake decorating, painting (watercolours mainly), embroidery, and much more. I share her love for card making and I am just starting to learn how to knit, however I do admire the other crafts. All the stuff she makes is stunning and she is a bit of a perfectionist which has both its positives and negatives! She is a member of a number of local craft clubs often going to a few in one day! She has also exhibited her work and done the odd craft fair.

Like my Dad her day job before she retired was also quite creative as she was a curtain maker. In fact she owned her own business and was a successful business woman for over 20 years. First she ran a business with my Dad that had various shops and work rooms across Essex. Then after they divorced she set up a business with Ron and this continued until she retired. I am very proud to say my Mum was a successful business woman. I know it wasn't always easy but she worked incredibly hard and went above and beyond to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I really admire her for that.

Another thing about my Mum is she had breast cancer a few years ago. She showed immense bravery and strong determination to overcome it. Thankfully she did win the fight, although it took her a while to get over it. When she was diagnosed she made the decision to retire so she could concentrate on her treatment and then the recovery. Since then she has been given the all clear and has been signed off from the hospital. She is now enjoying her retirement although not much resting and relaxing seems to be going on!

Other things about my Mum is she is a maths wizard (not something we share) who can add up quicker than the tills at supermarkets, she doesn't suffer fools and will tell them what she thinks of them if they get on her nerves, she enjoys cooking, and believes that music must be played with the volume turned up (I agree!). She is also incredibly generous, and fiercely protective of me. She can say what she wants to me - and often does-, but anyone else who thinks they can have a go at me, will have to answer to her. My Mum recently became a Parish Councillor and is also the long suffering Secretary of her local Allotment Committee. I get my work ethic from her - "if a job is worth doing, its worth doing well" and also "you should always work to the best of your abilities and to the available resources".

My hatred of early mornings is another characteristic I have inherited from her. We are both night owls. She is also a clean freak, although this is not something I have got from her I do like things tidy. Her house is always spotless and nice smelling. Even when she was ill she made Ron do all the housework as well as looking after her to keep the standards up! I personally think life is too short for housework and there is a need only to do the minimum to keeps things ticking over. My Mum would be disgusted by that and is one of those weirdos who claims housework doesn't take too long if you do it as you go!

So thats my Mum. I am sure there are more things I could tell you about her, but these are what sprang to mind!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day

Seeing as today is Father's Day I thought I would tell you a bit about my Dad seeing as you are getting to know me so well! The first two things you need to know are 1) my parents divorced shortly before my 7th Birthday and 2) for the last two years and counting I have been living with my Dad after being forced to give up my flat due to my nasty landlord and an abusive neighbour. I suppose another important thing to flag up is that I am a Daddy's girl. I always have been. Apparently when I was born I was handed to my father where I was quite content, yet when I was given to my mother I cried my eyes out and attempted to scream the maternity ward down, only stopping when I was handed back to my father! Oh dear!

My Dad and I usually get on very well (although lately living together has made things "interesting"). We have very few interests in common yet we share a similar sense of humour and usually we share the same laid back attitude to life. I can talk to my Dad about anything and I do love spending quality Dad and Daughter time with him, although the older I am getting the less this is happening! We make each other laugh and can be quite a double act. However equally we can annoy the hell out of each other! We also both like our own company which has proved problematic when suddenly finding ourselves living together!!

My Dad is a very practical person and can confidently do plumbing, electrics, decorating, and building work. He has built sheds, workrooms and conservatories from scratch as well as fitted kitchens and bathrooms. In his day job he is a curtain maker and upholsterer so again more practical things. However mechanics completely bamboozle him. He has never been able to understand cars and engines. He can do the simple things such as checking the oil, putting water in the radiator, replacing spark plugs,  and the like but he is not a man who spends time tinkering with his car's engine or would ever consider trying to do any "work" on it. He would much rather pay for a mechanic! 

My Dad is not someone who can settle down with a good book and get lost in a story. He is more of a newspaper and magazine type reader. However as he is getting older he has developed a love for non-fiction books and autobiographies. He is also an outdoors person. He hates it if he has to spend the whole day indoors. He becomes restless and bored very easily and this leads to him becoming annoying and a bit of a wind up merchant!! My Dad is also a very plain speaker. He doesn't buy into being tactful, favouring more direct conversations and "telling it like it is". He is also very distrusting of people and takes him ages to work out if they can be trusted. He doesn't forgive easily and if you cross him there are no second chances. He just doesn't see the point. Similarly he is not good at doing small talk. He finds it a waste of time. Unfortunately some people think this is shyness or worse stand-offish, which is absolute rubbish as he will talk to anyone, but it has to be about something or a bit of playful banter. 

He is not a man who really has hobbies. Occasionally he will get into something for a while but it will fizzle out quite quickly. A few years ago he got into gardening and got himself an allotment. He was really into it, buying stuff for it and reading all the books. Six months later he was getting bored and the interest was waining. About eight months later he gave up the allotment! Recently he started to get back into decorating and doing DIY. He painted the kitchen and bathroom. He did a brilliant job. He then decided to paint the hallway, he just had to choose a colour. That was four weeks ago. The brushes, ladder and tools are still waiting at the end of the hallway for him to start. He will get around to it,......eventually! He also has got into sea fishing. About a year ago he bought all the gear, and more recently he started reading all the books. Apart from one attempt last year when he got his line in a massive tangle and caught nothing but a cold, he is yet to actually GO fishing. He keeps promising when the weather is better to walk across to the beach and go fishing. I hate to be negative but I would be very surprised if he actually does go. 

One hobby my Dad has stuck at is caravaning. His caravan is now 25 years old but is still in a very good condition thanks to his loving care. However age is taking its toll on it and he would love to buy a more newer one if he had the spare money. He also has a tent which he also takes camping. He loves the open air and relaxation of sitting in a field watching the world go by. Although the camp sites do have to have electric link ups, and clean washing, showering and toilet facilities. I use to go camping with him when I was a child and in my early teens and use to really enjoy it. However as I got older I became far too high maintenance and I just couldn't go without my creature comforts. He now goes with Ann. 

Other facts about my Dad are he is a diabetic and an asthmatic. Two years ago he had a full knee replacement and after his recovery discovered his other knee was damaged and very painful too. He is currently going through various treatments to try and manage the pain as the doctors don't wish to replace his other knee so early. Another thing about my Dad is he is a fruit bat. He loves eating fresh fruit and can easily get through a bag of grapes, a few clementines, a banana, an apple, a few plums and a bowl of strawberries in one sitting. He puts it down to his childhood where he got a job at the age of 7 helping the local fruit and veg man. Initially he just helped with deliveries to his road but gradually as he got older helped more and more with the rounds. He got a wage but was also allowed to eat as much fruit as he liked. At the end of the day he would also be given fruit that needed to be eaten such as a bag of oranges or a bag of apples to take home to his Mum. This was very gratefully received seeing as there were 5 children and his Mum to feed. This apparently created his love of fruit. 

So that's my Dad. I am sure there are better things I could tell you about him but that's what comes to mind. I love my Dad very much and although we recently have had our ups and downs I hope we will always remain close. He is as much a friend as a Dad. Over this weekend I have spent some lovely quality time with him. We didn't do anything special, just talked, laughed, watched a film, cooked and ate dinner together and simply hung out. It was very relaxing and nice to spend time with him. 
So to my Dad, Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Jaunt 2012

Yesterday was Bexhill Museum's Diamond Jubilee Jaunt. It was organised by my friend and it was to raise money for the Museum as well as celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The walk took us from the bottom of Galley Hill, all the way along the Prom, past the De La Warr Pavilion to the Clock Tower on West Parade where the Museum is. It was very windy but at least the rain held off until we got to the Museum and the sun did come out for some of the time, enough to give me a little bit of sunburn on my face. Or perhaps its wind-burn! Most of the people who took part were in costume, either historical or red, white and blue. I wore my lovely new Medieval Kirtle which has been made by my friend's Mum (and my surrogate mum!)

The children were dressed in either Medieval or Tudor costume and were given the important job of rattling the collection tubs at any passers by. Just encase any local's had expected a quiet afternoon walk along the Prom the children also went along shouting "Bexhill Museum" and "Support Bexhill Museum". Slightly worryingly by the time we had got to the Pavilion the children had begun shouting "Save Our Museum" which although funny for us, was not really what we wanted the public to hear, so we had to get them to quickly go back to "Support our Museum". Many of the the people we met on the way did give generously.

Some of the passers by were also "held up" by our very own Long Bowman in the form of my friend's son who was using his bow and arrow (blunt not sharp!) to request money for the Museum. Thankfully the local's did see the funny side! Although one little boy got a bit frightened after putting some money in the tin to be confronted by a bow and arrow aimed in his direction! He ran very fast in the opposite direction to the safety of his Dad! Bless! At least my friend's son had waited until the money had gone in the tin!!

The prom was very busy as the Heritage Motor Trail was also being launched that day and the panels were placed along the seafront. A procession of classic cars followed the route led by the Museum's Serpollet or Easter Egg which is a replica of the first car to win the racing at Bexhill in 1902. (Encase you were not aware Bexhill is the home of British Racing and we held the first ever race in this country along the seafront in 1902 making this year the 110th Anniversary). As well as the cars they were also joined by the Classic Cycle Group who were riding classic bicycles in period costume. Due to the location of the panels, our Jaunt kept leap frogging the opening ceremonies of the panels which helped create quite a fun atmosphere. As we arrived at the Museum, so did the Heritage Motor Trail launch (there is a panel at the Museum). So we got to watch this unveiling before going into the Museum for a much needed drink and a sit down!

It was a really enjoyable day and it was lovely to be involved in a Jubilee themed event. All along the seafront there were union jacks and an abundance of red, white and blue. It was actually really heart-warming to see. There was clearly a party atmosphere!

It was a really great day, although there were quite a few sore feet, achy legs and tired bodies at the end of it! In the evening No 2 and I had a take-away and girlie night which was very well deserved and nice to have a good rest!
As for today, well I am enjoying watching some of the Jubilee celebrations on the telly, chilling out and trying to get some more craft done! So far it has been a fantastic Diamond Jubilee Weekend!

Hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing!