Monday, 9 January 2012

Margaret Thatcher Returns to our Screens: My Review of The Iron Lady

An Uncanny Resemblance
Well it has possibly been the most hyped-up film of the past few years. The Iron Lady has given birth to further debate and discussion over the former Prime Minister. Love her or hate her, she still makes an impact on the very way we perceive the world and politics today.

As a harsh critic of Margaret Thatcher, I still do my best to remain fair if not impartial. Although I was born almost two years after Baroness Thatcher left office, every aspect of her premiership and even her personality have been told to me by the generations who lived through her tenure.
Two Political Giants: Margaret Thatcher & Neil Kinnock

Meryl Streep's performance was (as expected) phenomenal! Not only was the voice pitch perfect, aesthetically she looked scarily true to the 'Iron Lady's' distinctive appearance. Streep managed to highlight Thatcher's most unpleasant attributes, whilst also humanising an individual whose character has come to be disgraced and subjugated in recent years.

However, the greatest performance in The Iron Lady must go to Jim Broadbent as Dennis Thatcher. Broadbent portrayed Mrs Thatcher's spouse as a good humoured, supportive and kind individual. Not only did Broadbent's performance add to the film's emotional qualities, his role as Thatcher's 'Dennis' helped to highlight the importance of kindness and integrity in politics - qualities some would argue were disregarded by the former Prime Minister.

The Iron Lady: In Nut Cracker Form
I must say, certain moments of the film sat uncomfortably with me. The way Phyllida Lloyd's film portrayed the Falklands War came across somewhat biased and to an extent glorified the actions of Margaret Thatcher. Obviously this depends on your own perceptions of the conflict.

However, this I believe to be an attribute to the film's great success. The Iron Lady's ability to provoke debate and open discussion about 1980s British Politics, allows us to reconsider and once again experience an era of politics that has come to define our nation and the way we are perceived around the world.

My Rating:

4 * / 5*

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Free the Chickens: Battery Farming Comes to an End

Finally battery egg-farming has come to an end. Whether you are a meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan I think we can all see this as good news. I have been a vegetarian for 7 months now. 

Beforehand, I was quite renowned for my impressive meat consumption. However, half a year later and 1.5 stone lighter I'm glad a friend encouraged me to make this decision. 
Now, do not worry! I am not planning to preach to you about why you should be veggie or how it's cruel to eat meat, because frankly, I do not think I will change your mind. Yet, I think we can all rejoice in the fact this primitive and cruel farming practice has come to an end.

As someone who eats a lot of eggs, I'm glad to know when I buy a sandwich from a shop or a pudding from a restaurant the chances are it contain Free-Range eggs.

Although, I am still concerned. Although this practice applies to egg farming, I still fear that mistreatment and malicious farming practice may continue in meat production. 
Furthermore, will businesses such a Nandos and KFC choose to cook with meat that has been imported from one of the 13 EU nations that is yet to institute the animal welfare legislation our government has just ratified.
So glad I was graced with good artistic skills

I totally understand the financial implications this will have on farmers of caged-hens. Some farmers have claimed the change has cost them in excess of £2million. However, it is a simple truth that their farming practices are not just simply cruel and inhumane, but they are outdated. Yet, at the same time I hope the Coalition continues to support these farmers with the transformation to Free-Range farming.

So Hurrah! Long may British concerns for animal welfare continue and I truly hope to see greater standards of care in the future.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Sunday Love Songs with Ollie Dunckley

I love Radio 2 on a Sunday. Shows such as Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young and then Sounds of the Seventees with Johnny Walker are always a fantastic culmination of intriguing and enjoyable listening.

However, one Sunday broadcast I particularly enjoy is Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs.

Music in all forms is enjoyable. Whether a song relates to work, fun or even love, it has the power to evoke a selection of emotions and feelings.

I love music. As I mentioned earlier this week, my taste is somewhat unorthodox. Yet, I would love to share with you a selection of my favourite love songs.

Now, where to start? Perhaps the beginnings of a love story is the right place.

Ray Charles' rendition of  'You Don't Know Me' is about as authentic as love songs come. The strain and longing in Ray's vocals paint an organic and believable picture of a person longing for an individual who is unaware of them. I first heard this song in one of my favourite films; Groundhog Day. You Don't Know Me is a beautiful portrayal of love and how some believe it occurs at first sight, take it away Ray..

I am a confessed fan of Rod Stewart. Yes, yes I know - his music is to many outdated and ancient, however, to me the distinctive sound of Rod's voice is timeless. Rod Stewart's Maggie May is a song I absolutely adore. It portrays love as positive, yet imperfect. This realistic depiction allows many to empathise with the sentiment of Maggie May.

Now, I think heartbreak touches most of us at some period in our lifetimes. The music industry has made an absolute fortune off the broken hearts and tears of people with broken hearts. Musicians such as Roy Orbison, Adelle and Paul Simon have made a career on empathising with the fractured emotions of people facing love loss.
Yet, I believe Supertramp's 'It's Raining Again' is perhaps the greatest representation of how people should face the upset of departing from the ones we love. The straining voice of  the saxophone and the poeticism of the line "It's only time that heals the pain and makes the sun come out again" emphasize the song's positive message of comfort and concilliation. Love it!

Thumbs Up - Simple Sentiment
I must admit, I am definitely a soppy kind of person. I love music, especially when I am able to relate to it and understand its sentiment. The truth is, many love songs talk of forever longing and never letting go of the one you love. However, if you truly love someone, you let them go.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and thanks so much for reading :)

Ollie x

I would also like to dedicate this post to my friends Alyson Rees and Mark Cole who just engaged! Llongyfarchiadau Guys!