Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Now That's What I Call... 90s!

You remember the words, you remember the dance routine - you even remember the awful music video that came along with it. But realistically, who could ever forget 90s music anyway?
It was the decade pop took itself to a whole new level- where it was suddenly acceptable to have line dances and to sing about Barbie dolls. It was loud, it was colourful, it was very, very cheesy- but it was totally proud of it.
At the tender age of about 8 years old, I was already fully into the amazing pop fetish that was the 90s. ‘Steps’ were my life. They were your typical pop group really; complete with upbeat cheesy numbers and the classic love ballads as well. I used to have all their albums- CDs AND tape cassette- I had their calendar and bought their annual every year. I even a horrifically cheesy poster of them above my bed, just so I could remind myself of how great they were before I went to sleep each night.
But the most amazing and exciting night of possibly my whole life, was when my mum took me to see them in concert. At 8 years old seeing your heroes in the flesh is a pretty big deal, so I had my outfit planned about a week in advance and even got my hair done for the event.  When they first came on stage I was literally so enthralled I couldn’t even sing along with all the words I already knew by heart.
The best part of the night though, was when ‘H’- my absolute favourite- sang a solo and came flying out into the audience on strings. That’s right, he flew. How amazing! At that point I officially fell in love with him and for the next four years of my life I was totally convinced I would marry him someday.
Although, of course, like all 90s pop bands Steps broke up. Despite physically crying at the time and throwing all their CDs of my rack (then later replacing them because I felt bad) - I somehow managed to get over the heartache.
It was then that I turned my attention to S Club 7 and dedicated my life to becoming their eighth member.
Ten years later though, and it’s pretty obvious that the 90s lives on in its own little way. When I was in school, my friend and I had a very specific plan to revive the days of that amazing decade. Being big fans of the Venga Boys, we thought we would make our own Venga Bus.
We were going to buy a camper van, paint it multi-coloured and upholster the inside with a furry carpet. We were going to attach a megaphone to the top which would constantly play the Venga Bus song, and we were going to drive around with the doors open so if you wanted to party you could, “get on and move your body”- just as the lyrics suggested.  How amazing would that have been?
We all love to be nostalgic about 90s music though, and I didn’t notice this until recently.  I went to a 90s night out with a few equally cheesy friends, and no matter what song came on - whether it was B*Witched, Backstreet Boys or some old school Take That- the crowd went crazy to each tune. Everyone knew every lyric, and everyone was just so happy!
So, even though I never joined S Club 7, and I never married H from Steps- 90s pop definitely still lives on.
We know it’s embarrassingly cheesy, but we still love it shamelessly. We are always going to remember the dance moves, and we are always going to sing every lyric off by heart. We are always going to embrace the cheese – because, let’s face it; the 90s was the greatest musical decade there ever was.  

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Greatest Thing You Will Ever Learn...

I am a girl. I like makeup and new shoes, I have fairy lights in my room, and I still cry every time I watch Bambi.
So naturally- like most girls- I love a good romantic film. Not necessarily the annoyingly predictable rom-coms that star Jennifer Anniston and are set in New York; but ones with a true love story line- maybe a tragic hero or two and the kind of ending that leaves you with a bit of a secret tear.
So with that in mind, it’s a wonder I hadn’t seen Moulin Rouge sooner. 
It does, after all, encompass everything I love in a film.  The heart felt tragic love story, the songs, the music and the ending that leaves you in total shock and awe.
At first, I was unsure of the loud and gaudy feel of the film. With Baz Luhrmman as the director- I should have expected it- but its colourful costumes, fantastical settings and somewhat curious sound effects seemed ridiculously showy at first.
But when the fast paced slapstick died down and the plot began to unfold, I was totally gripped.  What’s not to love about a romantic poet who comes to Paris for inspiration in love, life and loss and to experience the arts of a new city- but who manages to fall for a prostitute along the way? And when that romantic poet is played by Ewan McGregor…well, it just makes it all the more appealing.
The epic mix of love songs is another aspect of Moulin Rouge I couldn’t help but love. I didn’t think it was possible to take so many Elton John and Madonna numbers and mash them together into one dramatic show stopper.
And when this is side lined with unforgettable one- liners like, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return”- it’s just a full on romance fest. The oddest part is, it doesn’t even seem cheesy- it just seems to fit with the rest of the film.
Then, of course, there’s that awe inspiring ending. The unpredictable one, the dramatic one, and the one that leaves you with those teary eyes you so desperately try to hide. I’m not going to ruin it- but it is simply the perfect way to bring a serious ending to a crazy whirlwind of a film.
It should be cheesy and it should be annoyingly predictable- but it isn’t. Somehow, it just works. Really, Moulin Rouge is one of those films you just need to see
So the greatest thing you’ll ever learn… is to embrace the gaudy drama, the love song medleys and the romantic one-liners- because behind it lies an amazing film.