Things I love

  • Large stawbs
  • Biographies of old Hollywood starsetched mirrors
  • Cracking walnuts
  • Buying lipstick
  • London on quiet days
  • Museum cafes
  • Seeing computers in films from the 80s and 90s
  • Thunder
  • Twitter
  • Etched mirrors
  • Sarcastic female characters
  • Glitter
  • Bustles
  • Log fires burning
  • Presents tied with ribbon
  • Wikipedia lists of mysterious deaths
  • Sugar
  • Pets!
  • James Spader
  • Dancing in the car
  • Gifs
  • The gift shop
  • The fashion from Picnic at Hanging Rockpets
  • Glace cherries
  • Instagram
  • The internet
  • Cotton buds
  • Margot Tenenbaum
  • Strawberry flavoured milk
  • When sparks fly off train wheels
  • Crowns
  • Bows on my gloves
  • Mindy Kaling
  • All pasta
  • Hats
  • Programmes about volcanos, space and earthquakes

Style heroes

  • Zimmermann
  • Loverzimmermann
  • Vivetta
  • Sophia Webster
  • Charlotte Olympia
  • Grace Kelly
  • Liberty
  • Alexis Bittar
  • Givenchy
  • Horst
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Valentino
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Dior
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Helmut Newton
  • Azzedine Alaia
  • Ralph & Russo
  • Henry Poole

TV and film I am obsessed by

  • Doctor Who
  • Dazed & Confused
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Firefly
  • Working Girl
  • Heathers
  • Star Wars
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Grease 2
  • The Virgin Suicides
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Star Trek
  • Cry Baby

Things I hate

  • Banana strings
  • Loud upstairs neighbours
  • Prawns
  • Teeth squeaking when gnashed
  • Skinny jeans
  • Banana flavoured milk
  • My hoarding tendencies
  • Bungle from Rainbowbungle
  • Rough elbow skin
  • Moths
  • Old flower water
  • Good TV shows being cancelled
  • People on mobile phones in the cinema
  • Biting into cloves unexpectedly
  • Weeds
  • The sticky stuff that remains after you remove an ill-made label
  • Suet
  • Pith
  • The draw full of cables
  • The fact that I cannot learn to knit
  • Wood lice
  • The self checkout voice
  • Films featuring Ross from Friends

Colours I love

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Deep green
  • Navy blue
  • Brown
  • White
  • Black
  • Gold

Good smells

  • Roast dinnerpotato
  • Sunshine on my arms
  • Grass after rain
  • Proper roses
  • Yop
  • Coffee
  • Baking
  • My parent’s house
  • Jasmine

The best books

  • The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson
  • Wise Children, Angela Carter
  • Persuasion, Jane Austen
  • Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  • One of us, Michael Marshall Smith
  • A Far Cry from Kensington, Muriel Spark
  • Only Forward, Michael Marshall Smith
  • The Snapper, Roddy Doyle
  • Ex-Heroes series, Peter Clines
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, Douglas Adams
  • The Dark Tower series, Stephen King
  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
  • Orlando, Virginia Woolf

Get ready for some gif-ing awesome news.

Twitter has started to roll out a new gif search button in your Tweets and DMs. Whenever you are composing a Tweet or DM you can now search the gif library, which draws content through from GIPHY and Riffsy.

People on Twitter shared over 100 million gifs in 2015 alone and you can expect to see more popping up in your stream: companies like GIPHY are turning increasingly to integration with platforms like IFTTT, Slack, MailChimp and Kik, to name a few.

Gif search will be rolling out over the coming weeks to everyone around the world on iOS, Android and desktop so keep an eye out.

Prepare yourself for new levels of Beyonce, pizza and cats.

WTF more

 

This post first appeared on Claremont Comms blog.

facebookAnother day, another piece of research saying that teenagers are leaving Facebook in droves. But does it paint a true picture of where and how young people and teenagers are using these platforms, or is this hyperbole to attract headlines?

While this research suggests a mass exodus from Facebook, the most popular social platforms amongst teens remain Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, although Pew puts Snapchat in the mix as well.

Overall this isn’t too different from platform popularity across all age groups. The difference being LinkedIn, which comes in third to Facebook and Twitter overall in terms of global popularity.

The power of the anecdote

Interestingly, teens do not perceive the figures of Facebook usage to show a true picture of their time online and, although they maintain a presence on these channels, this is not where young people are creating and curating their brand.

Business insider put a group of teenagers onstage at their conference in December 2014 to grill them on their use of social media, which gives a different insight into how they are using the social behemoth:

One teenage boy said he disabled the voluminous Newsfeed all together and only uses the social network to organize his ultimate Frisbee games.

One girl said she only joined Facebook because her “Grandma made an account.” Others said it was good for school, citing that some of their teachers have created pages for their classes to post updates, notes, and homework assignments.”

When it comes to Instagram, the same teens seemed to be far more engaged.

When asked how much time the teens spend on Instagram, you could hear a collective groan mixed with uneasy laughter. “Too long… you can get lost and lose track of time.”

Articles written by teens themselves – like this popular one on Medium – highlight repeatedly that Facebook is “dead” to them, which has led to a slew of articles gleefully condemning platform’s teen chops. However, if the research shows that teens still have Facebook accounts, it is how they are using it that we need to focus on.

Move away from the delete button

So before you decide to blow up your Facebook page it is important to remember that these comments are coming from one or two affluent, US or UK teens.

It is hard to generalise about a population that’s roughly 40 million people strong – and that is just the UK and US alone. As Danah Boyd said…

Teens’ use of social media is significantly shaped by race and class, geography and cultural background.

Teens and young adults are a diverse bunch. While it is tempting to use articles like those from Business Insider (above) or research from sources like Lloyds when planning your activity for 2015-16, teens still have a maintained presence on those platforms.

Not to mention the other Facebook products; Facebook Messenger still remains the most popular messaging app amongst Millennials (not to mention Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp).

Activism > Clicktivism

An area where it is hard to ignore teens is activism.

Research from Mintel shows 16-24 year olds are the UK’s second highest charity donors, and it is not hard to understand why when news from around the world breaks online (like Charlie Hebdo) or gains momentum online when it is ignored by mainstream media (see Steubenville or Boko Haram), the role that social media has taken in breaking news and activism.

Social helped keep people around the world up to date with what was happening in Ferguson, which garnered a record number of mentions. Eight in 10* 18-24 year olds have campaigned on an issue that matters to them in the last year. The Scottish referendum saw 90.1% of 16 and 17-year-olds registered to vote.

Clearly this is a generation of politically minded individuals, even if they may not be interested in the parties that represent them. It is logical that activist teens would use the platforms that are most popular across all age groups to amplify their message to people outside of their age group.

Graduation from one platform to another

This is a generation of people who aren’t just digital; their parents (and grandparents) are likely to have a generous online presence as well. Just as you wouldn’t dream of giving your parents your diary to read, it is understandable that teens and young people want an online space devoid of the parental gaze to discover who they are. This is born out by the growth of apps and sites that support anonymous use, like Whisper, Secret and YikYak.

New social spaces will need to evolve on a regular basis to cater to younger people looking to form communities away from parents, grandparents and older siblings. Instagram and SnapChat are obvious examples of this, but as the users of these platforms become parents themselves, so new spaces will need to be made.

Once young people and teens start work there is a natural ‘graduation’ to some of the bigger social networks that they may be on, but not as invested in. LinkedIn, arguably is the clearest-cut when it comes to networks to graduate to, however they are not happy to wait. LinkedIn launched university and college pages in 2013 and at the last count LinkedIn has 39 million students and recent graduates on the site. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.

Facebook’s announcement in late 2014 that it would be developing a professional element is a no brainer too. While LinkedIn and Twitter both have clear professional benefits, Facebook has lagged behind. This could see users graduating from the personal to the professional elements if it takes off.

Ultimately Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are gaining a great deal of ingenuity from their smaller, newer counterparts. Good ideas, tools and features from the smaller platforms can be developed and incorporated into the larger platforms, either through buying the platform (like Periscope), or through hiring the skilled people who work at them.

Where does this leave my Facebook business page?

While teens may not be raving about their use of the older networks, they are still powerful publishing platforms to access teens and young adults. Having a Facebook page and a Twitter profile are a given for businesses – there is a natural expectation that you can find a business or service through social media – but we no longer live in a social climate where you can just post to these established channels to be successful.

We need to face up to the fact that the behemoths of social, like Facebook and Twitter, are no longer social networking platforms. They are news publishers who rely on advertising, in the same way as Buzzfeed, the Guardian or the Daily Mail. To make a significant headway with the teen audiences on them, money will need to change hands alongside the creative. As platforms expand their offering to advertisers and businesses, like SnapChat’s discover feature, users can expect to find more curated, advertorial and editorial content appearing over time as these platforms become more mainstream.

What does all this mean for marketers?

If money is tight or non-existent putting a great deal of effort into Facebook is most likely a waste of your time, although you can still gain an engaged audience on Twitter through a consistent presence and an authentic message.

Maintain a Facebook and Twitter profile as the baseline for marketing activity and be creative through other platforms that provide a best fit for your business. Shift your activity towards using a series of different platforms just as teens do themselves for their own audiences – family, friends and the curated presence that is developed for the rest of the world.

Platforms like Tumblr, where nearly half of all users are 16-24, or We Heart It, where four out of five of their 25million+ users are under 24 years old. Roll out exclusive content at an event with Chirp or get WhatsApp working for your company as a key part of your customer service. British brands using platforms like these range from the natural fits, like TopShop, to more unlikely candidates like the National Theatre and Barbour.

With new and exciting platforms coming up all the time, stop the a scattergun approach of signing up your company to each new platform with the hopes of hitting teens. Instead, start thinking how digital and social can be incorporated in all parts of your business. Tailoring and integration, alongside confidence and integrity, offer the secret to attracting teens and young adults who are expecting this level of service anyway.

TL:DR – if you take away anything from this post…

  • The big guys of social aren’t going anywhere, although there is room for growth in the services they offer.
  • If you have the budget to market on the big platforms, great, if you don’t, don’t worry about what you cannot do and stop trying so hard.
  • Teens will continue to need new spaces through which they can enjoy anonymity.
  • These spaces will be bought up by the large platforms as they gain popularity, or their ideas will become mainstream (like Tinder’s swipe).
  • The two-tier social media landscape of new, small social platforms and the big guns will end up complimenting each other, by catering to a different need across the different age groups; offering networks to graduate to.
  • Integrate newer tools and platforms into your products and services, not just your marketing.
* Swing the Vote, vInspired & One Poll, May 2014

This blog first appeared on Claremont Communications.

What makes content shareable?

We can now expect most news to break online, and Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat ring with conversations from the Kardashian to terror attacks.

But how does any brand get their content to stand out amid this sea of snippets, and at the right time?

The impetus behind anyone making the decision to share content comes down to three elements.

Sharing triggers

The first thing is to understand what triggers us to share. These triggers boil down to:

  • funnyFunny
  • Sexy
  • Shocking
  • Moving
  • Unbelievable
  • movingControversial
  • Cool/awesome
  • Illuminating or interesting
  • Random
  • cuteZeitgeist
  • Cute
  • Uplifting
  • Disgusting; and
  • Nostalgia.

Or FSSMUCC(a)IRZCUDN if you like an acronym.

Examine the last things you shared on Twitter or Tumblr and they will fall into one or more of these categories.

It is because they have elicited an emotional response. It isn’t surprising that the most popular emotions shared (according to BuzzSumo) are related to positive emotions – funny, uplifting, awesome – people want to feel good and for others to associate positive feelings with the sharer.

Topics

But the emotion is not enough. It needs to be framed within a subject or topic, and if the topic jars with the emotion it can produce a misstep. Emily Thornberry’s tweet about Rochester is just one example of where the intent was humorous emotion, but the topic was offensive to a group (people from Rochester).

So what topics give you a better chance of your content being shared?Buffer identified that 85% of the topics that are highly shared are about food, home and lifestyle.

pizzahouseshopping

There is a third factor, and perhaps the most important element, which takes a piece of content from an enjoyable experience to one that you want to share.

Ego

What does sharing this content say about me, the sharer? When someone is sharing something part of the trigger to share may be to inform or influence, but it is unlikely they are thinking about your brand, but more about what it says about them.

The digital persona is something that is developed one word or image at a time. According to the Harvard Business Review, we speak on average 16,000 words a day. Unless we are in the public eye, these words are not often recorded and only a small percentage receive validation.

But the digital persona is a more permanent record. A user can take their time to craft exactly what they want to say and this can receive validation through like, retweets, shares and upvotes.

chuck-norris-thumbs-up-dodgeball-gif

The need for social validation is becoming increasingly visible the world over. Ford’s 2014 consumer trend report found 62% adults worldwide report better self-esteem after positive social media feedback. Thailand’s Department of Mental Health issued a warning about young adult addiction to likes and the damaging effect unliked selfies can have on like-addicts’ minds.

The drive for social validation is actually good business sense. Social users who have gained large followings are able to monetise their channels through advertising or endorsements. Social celebrities like Zoella and Joe Sugg are even invited to sing on charity singles and go on tours.

So what does this mean?

A funny article about pizza is probably going to go a long way. You just have to look at Buzzfeed to see how true this is – they have published 49 in the last month and a half.

But seriously, we need to keep all three elements at the forefront when developing content if we want it to go further.

The post was first published on Claremont Communications following on from a talk at the ALPSP Conference.

Winter is coming!

For extremely pale people like myself, and Game of Thrones fans, this phrase is filled with meaning. I no longer have to worry about turning a sickly tomato every time I consider opening the curtains.

Autumn and winter are great seasons for me because I have a significant relationship with black tights and knitted garments. The long sleeve is my best friend, the boot my champion, the mitten mi amore. You get the idea.

This is the outfit that has caught my eye now that flip flops have finally moved on.

I would really like to see the high street start producing the odd crown. There is a market and it is me. Trust me, I will make it worth your while retail magnates. Dolce and Gabbana sent them down the catwalk in AW13, Moira Shearer wore a very cunning small crown in The Red Shoes. I don’t mind if they are gothic or deco, as long as I can get at them. While I wait I will have to make do with this Tiara from TopShop.

TiaraI love coats. Considering how much wear you get out of one in this country I am always surprised that so many people don’t give themselves a few different options, as short of massive body changes a good coat should last you a few years at least. I also try to avoid black where possible. The reasons for this are:

  1. As a depressed youth all of my clothes were black
  2. I like colour
  3. In a London rush hour you can get lost in all the dark colours
  4. I have white pets

I like this coat because it borrows a little bit from the 60s and I am a sucker for a contrast collar. In real life land the collar is fluffier too, great for turning up on a cold day. Combined with a white muff (no sniggering) it would be perfect for bonfire night. Sadly the coat has already sold out online, so I may have to venture into an actual shop. If it comes back in stock you can find it at M&S.

coat

A great many women I know like to cover their upper arms, myself included, so I am frequently baffled by how many sleeveless dresses are out there. It is an informal look that I just can’t pull off, unless I can whack a shirt underneath. Even on the hottest days I would prefer a floaty, short angel sleeve. Also, why can’t I filter by sleeve length, oh shops of the UK and wider internet world?

Anyway, this dress ticks a lot of my boxes: decent sleeves, right shirt shape for my figure, good colour and a bonus bow. I would like more bows on things, preferably black, velvet and round the stem of a cocktail for starters.

red dress

Shoes make me so very happy. I have been known to wear difficult pairs to bed, just so that I can enjoy looking at them on my feet. I have written 1,000 edicts on why shoes are so very very great. These silver shoes make the world a better place and I am sure they would make me a better human being too. The bows would make pleasing companions to the bow on the dress above and I would feel like a space dandy from the 1700s. Who wouldn’t want that in their life?

silver shoes

 

usa flag

USA!

I have come to the USA. The States. Murica! And in particular the corner that Beyoncé comes from.

As a frequent flyer with sod’s law I got ill on the plane and spent my first couple of days under a duvet. Today I emerged like a coughing butterfly to get started on the tourism.

Houston has a lot of big scary freeways. Bits of road shoot off very high in the air and are curved like a racetrack so that you could fall off* if you aren’t going fast enough. Everyone drives big wide things the size of our flat. Shops are massive along the freeway, whether you are after pancakes or psychics.

flag

Big ass flag

It is also the custom to put a flag on anything that stands still for too long. A lot of places will have thirty normal sized flags and one big one the size of HMS Belfast. Who makes these giant flags? Surely there can’t be many people with huge sewing machines.

Rocket

Rocket

The driving was to get us to NASA. As soon as we passed inside I realised we had timed it wrong. Every class in America was on a field trip to see the Johnson Space Centre and none of them could form a sensible queue. I got on the blue tram tour and had one youth sit on me, despite having two seats to herself. “More fool you. I have been getting the tube since I was ten, you have no idea.” I promptly made myself look big like the cat in Red Dwarf. It is a skill.

Mission Control

Mission Control

Fat kids aside, the space centre is a pretty amazing place. We got to see the mission control where NASA managed all the Apollo missions and nine of the Gemini missions. Even though the room is filled with monitors and buttons there were no computers! The whole building had 5mb of storage in the basement. All calculations were made by hand and they had one phone which was a direct line to the pentagon.

The Saturn V hangar was a great big bag of cool beans too. The hangar holds one of only three Saturn V rockets left on earth; most are orbiting the Earth or were crashed into the moon. It is 36 stories tall, with enormous burners on each of the three stages. All of this and a heck-load of fuel to hurl a very small module into space, which is the rusty looking bit on top.

Saturn V

Saturn V

burners

Big ass burners

*bit of a porky

There was nothing very special about our town, something I realised when I left it behind. Terraced houses, a church, corner shops. A couple of good pubs and one bad one. There was a small station on a branch line, a bus that took you to the next town and the bus to the Company.

The Company had built the town for the workers and their families. I am sure the plans looked fine on paper but the effect of a town springing up all at once was like a smile stretched too wide. All the houses were identical, with the same front door, carpet and kitchen counters; fully furnished like dolls houses. Streets were symmetrical and alphabetical, and you never saw people collecting the rubbish.

It was a town of women and children. Women on their way to the shop or taking the children to school; women in the garden hanging out the washing; women on the doorstep talking to their neighbours. Women served at the shops, taught in the school and delivered the mail. The men worked for the company and came home every second weekend in shifts. The preacher travelled in from the next town along.

Working for the Company was anticipated. It was where most boys went once they turned eighteen. You got an envelope, wore your best suit on the bus to the company. You came home to your own identikit house. It was rare to be turned down.

There was another envelope issued by the company. It was sent to the wife or mother. Everyone knew what it meant. A cream envelope with the company logo was delivered by a woman with doughy cheeks and a navy hat, outside of the regular post. As soon as she walked up the street voices would hush and games stop while people waited to see which house she would go to. I wondered where she lived and how her neighbours felt seeing her so often, hoping that her post-bag was empty at the end of each day.

Getting the envelope made a house sick. Curtains stayed shut, children stopped playing out front, no more chalk pictures on the pavement. Women would talk on the front steps in quiet voices and take food round, or take an extra wash in to help out. As kids we talked about what the letter said, no one had ever seen one. Then someone’s family would get one and you couldn’t talk about it around them anymore.

Of course the envelope came to our house. Mum complained at someone knocking at tea time in a sotto voice all the way to the door. Then a certain quality of silence which stops you. I remember seeing it in her hand but after that it was a bit of a blur.

We cried together. We sat together. We didn’t open the envelope.

Women came round with pies and bakes, and did the washing.

Having worked solidly for the best part of fifteen years my natural response to any day off is to have a lie-in that lasts til 4pm. I very quickly turn into a nocturnal type who is up all night talking to the internet instead of sleeping.

Now that I will be having some time off from February I am trying to find something to do each day that will require me to get up and out. Here is the wishlist:

  1. Visit the volcanoes and earthquakes gallery at the National History Museum
  2. Dress up and dine at the Criterion
  3. Become a member of the London Library
  4. Go on a cup cake crawl, taking in Bea’s of bloomsbury, Peggy Porchen, William Curley’s dessert bar and Pollen Street dessert bar
  5. Visit the Whirled Cinema
  6. Go up the shard!
  7. Tour the hidden pubs of London
  8. Climb up the Millenium Dome
  9. Have cocktails at The Society Club with my dog Frank
  10. Visit the garden museum
  11. Sing a long to Grease 2 with Nick and Jane
  12. Visit the west side of Highgate Cemetery
  13. Have a spa day
  14. Find the Mitre in Ely court
  15. See the Beatrix Potter,  Siegfried Sassoon and the lost art of writing display at the V&A 
  16. Hunt out London spies and do a few other weird tours

Some may notice a few glaring omissions from this list: the Rocky / Karate Kid sort of ones – never saw them, go have a look at another list of montages. I also left out Clueless and the Princess Diaries as neither Ty nor Mia actually had a proper makeover which makes a mockery of their montages.*

Chris Penn learning to dance in Footloose

footloose

Clothes swap

It is adorable that Chris Penn cannot do anything in time – he might even lose his girl to a burly cowboy! But pretty soon, with Bacon tutelage, Penn is doing the sort of dancing I have never seen another human being do. It is quite strange that he learns all these moves and then impresses Sarah Jessica Parker by busting out… the pogo! Perhaps he was overcome. At least it wasn’t the Bogo Pogo, eh? eh?

Also, I think Bacon and Penn swap clothes at some point.

According to IMDB, the scenes where Chris Penn‘s character had to learn how to dance were actually added to the film because Chris Penn couldn’t dance in real life land too. This is about as true a montage as we are ever going to get.

Choosing a faction in St Trinian’s

goth lite

short-lived

Annabelle has spent the film up until this point looking pale and not fitting in. The student body (all of whom can fit in one room) have now decided she is worthy of fitting in and lo, a makeover montage is born!

Annabelle looks pretty great pre-makeover, but the makeover is necessary as we will then know what sort of person she is: a geek? A goth? An.. odd (whatever that is)? Actually she looks pretty good as goth-lite but goes in a different direction.

The A Team prepare for a fight

I love the fight preparation montage which happened every week. What do they need those tyres for? What is he rigging up there? Why are they welding that? There is always welding in the A Team montage. It is also how you know they are a serious bunch, ready to help the needy, as there is no joshing in joining.

Dressing up in The Sweetest Thing

My friend Dan introduced me to The Sweetest Thing, which is very 00s and full of sex.

While on their way to crash a wedding, Applegate and Diaz end up being poked in the eye by a penis (Diaz) and covered in toilet water. Naturally they need to change their clothes but the only place they can find has neon nana outfits! This prompts a montage. 80s Madonna, Pretty Woman, Flashdance all get a nod.

top gun

Oily

Playing oily volleyball in Top Gun

Who doesn’t love Kenny Loggins? Especially when he is singing about playing with the boys and BOYS ARE ACTUALLY PLAYING!

There is no reason for this scene other than to show off the oiled up bodies of the flying men. And that is fine.

Baby learns to dance in Dirty Dancing

I have no idea how many times I have watched this film, but it was pretty much compulsory viewing growing up so let’s assume we are in triple digits. This means that a whole generation of women can dance going up uneven stairs, dance across a bridge with dramatic flair and we have ALL tried to do the lift in the swimming pool.

Vivian gets her shopping on in Pretty Woman

Shop server

Very expensive

“Mary Pat, Mary Kate, Mary Francis!”

I don’t know which came first, my desire to shop or watching other people doing it. Pretty Woman has some of the best shopping in it. SO many bags that several people must walk behind Vivian carrying them. She even makes a man give her his tie! Rather rude, but serves the point that old Viv has bought EVERYTHING. No clothes left on Rodeo Drive, baby.

Also, a friend of mine asked if the hats in Liberty came with a hat box and they don’t, so this sort of shopping dream is probably impossible in the UK where you would be grappling with plastic monstrosities.

Buffy’s workout montage in Once More with Feeling

Despite Giles saying that they would just lie down if he and Buffy heard any stirring music, he gets right into a good old sing-song while Buffy is slo-mo-ing backflips. I love Buffy and every list should include Joss Whedon.

Jake and Elwood smash up the mall in the Blue Brothers

If you took the number of times I saw Dirty Dancing and tripled it you wouldn’t be close to how many times I have seen The Blues Brothers. It introduced me to the Oldsmobiles being in early that year, Pier 1 imports and Disco Pants & Haircuts.

Brand new girl

Grab the bleach!

Valerie becomes a brand new girl in Earth Girls are Easy

Possibly my favourites – this is a proper makeover. It scene starts with a wonderfully 80s computer makeover programme and contains fantastic nails. The great lines include “grab the bleach, she’s seen the light!”, “the route of all your problems is that you don’t look like me” and “You’re pure and fresh and wholesome, but science has a cure!”

I’m off to learn the art of teasing.

.

* Ty just gets her hair dyed and shows her belly. Mia has your basic straighten-the-hair and give-her-contacts job. On a side note, they should have left her eyebrows well alone. My plucked-into-90s-obscurity eyebrows can attest that eyebrow thickness is a fickle fashion that comes and goes. Own the eyebrows, Mia.

I would also like to add Paulo obviously has never been near a woman before because he has no idea how to brush hair, although I do appreciate him comparing Mia’s mane to that of a wolf.

Die-Hard22Die Hard. There is some debate over whether it is a Christmas film or not.

No, it does not include Father Christmas – neither does It’s a Wonderful Life, Love, Actually or White Christmas – and (much like those films) the fact that it takes place at Christmas does not have that much to do with the plot. But just like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas, it is the spirit of the film and the drive to go out on a limb that makes it a great Christmas film.

And to clear up any confusion, here are the Christmas features of the film:

  • John McClane is heading to his wife Holly’s  house for Christmas;
  • John stops in to her Christmas party;
  • He asks for some Christmas music on the way there: Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC;
  • There are presents in the car;
  • Family is at the heart of the film: John trying to reunite with his family, company executive Joseph Takagi keeping his five children safe, Karl and Tony as the terrorist version of the Mitchell brothers;
  • The Christmas party has all the standard decorations, as does the rest of the building when we get to see a bit more of it through terrorists activities;
  • When Harry Ellis snorts coke his nose becomes red;
  • Whenever a bit of tense action appears, so do the sleigh bells;
  • John guns down a terrorist and sends him to Hans Gruber (the bad guy) as a present;
  • The terrorist present is wearing a Christmas hat and with Ho Ho Ho written on it;
  • It snows money;
  • One of the terrorists uses the poem Twas the Night Before Christmas to talk about the tactics of the police;
  • At the end Let it Snow plays.

The argument that Die Hard is not a Christmas film because it is set AT Christmas, but not ABOUT it would invalidate It’s a Wonderful Life as well. The missing money could have set off George’s suicidal the chain of events at any time.

I suppose it is a bit like tinsel – some people think it incredibly tacky while others cannot imagine a Christmas without it. Whichever side you fall on have a look at the trailer – you can’t deny the intent of the filmmakers to make Christmas a big feature of it.

One of the biggest clues that it is a Christmas film, is that a large group of people consider it to be so.