Goodbye (For Now)

After almost two full years, Mind the Gap Zine is shutting down...but not forever. You'll still be able to read all of our archived posts, and maybe one day we'll reopen for business, but for now, we bid you adieu!

An abandoned Tube stop. Source. 

An abandoned Tube stop. Source. 

Jane

 

Sam

Before I say my goodbyes, I'd like to thank my writing partner-in-crime Jane for coming up with the idea of creating a zine in the first place! For two years, it's given me a space to shout about the people/places/things I love. Even if only a handful of people read my work, it's nice to pour my enthusiasm out somewhere in all its CAPSLOCK-ed (and parenthetical) glory. A sense of pride in the site and the burning need to fangirl forced me to adopt a writing schedule that I hope I can still maintain (because if I don't write on the regs, I might die). And I got a lot better at throwing words onto a page (sorry for all those times my posts were super rambly, the more excited I get, the less sense I make).

If, for some wild reason, you’re still interested in reading my words, you can always check out the pieces I contribute to idobi radio...and I won’t be able to stay away from blogging for too long. 

Squeeing Saturday - May 2017

For our last Squeeing Saturday, here's what we've been into this month!

Sam

Band: Twin Wild

I've actually been following Twin Wild on Twitter for a while but didn't get around to listening to them until recently, and they're great! Sort of Nothing But Thieves-y, but I'm into it. 

Song: "Life of the Party" - All Time Low

Of the four songs All Time Low has released so far from their upcoming album, this is the one I haven't been able to stop listening to for the past month!!!

Book: The Love Interest - Cale Dietrich

A love triangle where the guys forget the girl and fall in love with each other!!!! I was so excited for this book, and it did NOT disappoint!! Check out my review here

TV Show: Veep

Admittedly a lot of the politics go over my head, but season four was particularly funny...plus Hugh Laurie is always a welcome addition to a show!!

Jane

TV Show: American Gods

American Gods1.jpg

Probably one of the most ambitious efforts of turning a beloved book into a television series. The show is a lot to take in but it is truly wondrous in its execution.

TV Show: Feud

This campy tale of the raging feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford is a wild romp of backstabbing, booze and broads, that has serious heart and deep emotional resonance.

TV Show: Master of None

The second season of Master of None has learned from its first season and hits harder with deeper storytelling and emotions. The one word I keep coming back to for it is: charming.

Fandoms We Joined Too Late

Jane

Star Trek

Star Trek: The Next Generation is almost 30 years old and I'm only beginning to watch it now. Now, obviously, the Trek fandom is still going strong, lo these many years, and there happen to be two very good TNG podcasts that have just started getting produced... you know what? I may have come into this fandom at the perfect time!

Sam

My Chemical Romance

While I'm not a devoted member of the MCRmy, I always regret stupidly waiting until AFTER they broke up to listen to My Chemical Romance. Mostly I'm just mad I won't get to hear “Welcome to the Black Parade” live or the delicious feeling of anticipating new music. I’ve seen Gerard Way as a solo artist, though, which is pretty cool, but it’s not the same thing. 

Spring Cleaning

Sam

I really don’t like cleaning, mostly because it’s boring, but I’ve done a couple of cleaning sprees in the past two months. For one, I cleared out a bunch of boxes from our garage. And the last time I changed my sheets, I spontaneously decided to dust my bookshelves (which is so dangerous for me, because I end up spending hours reading while holding a dusting rag limply in one hand). I’m also considering cleaning out my closet, but the problem is that I wear literally everything I own - and the stuff I don’t wear is the stuff I can’t find because my closet is overstuffed (it’s a vicious circle). 

Jane

I get very frustrated when my apartment begins to get cluttered and I can never figure out how it happened other than I left one thing in one place and that one thing became a black hole for other things to get piled up on top of it and suddenly I live in clutter and I want to die. I try to clean a bit more frequently than just in spring but I do need to do a deep cleaning of floors and behind appliances because that, quite frankly, never gets done. I honestly don't know how people do it. 

Squeeing Saturday - April 2017

Here's what we squee-ed about this month!

Jane

Book: The Handmaid's Tale

I listened to the audiobook of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in anticipation of the new Hulu series and I was truly horrified and amazed. It's a fantastic read and is basically compulsory reading.

TV: The Handmaid's Tale

Yeah, the show is pretty great too.

Sam

Villain: Kilgrave

AKA 95% of the reason I started watching Jessica Jones in the first place. David Tennant’s Kilgrave is everything I want in a villain: a manipulative sociopath who looks good in a suit (I have a very specific taste in villains).

TV: Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23

As badass as Krysten Ritter is as Jessica Jones, she’s hilarious as over-the-top irresponsible flirt Chloe. And the rest of the cast is excellent too!

Song: "Fake It" – Bastille

Hearing this song live in March positively shook my soul because THAT BASS in the chorus. 

Book: Geekerella - Ashley Poston

Fairy tales x fandom = adorable! Shameless self-promotion: you can read my review here.

Reject Room #2

Once again, we've come across something popular that disappointed us. 

Sam

Trainspotting

My sister and I tried to watch Trainspotting a couple of weeks ago because it’s a cult classic and the sequel (which just came out) is supposed to be just as great...but we just couldn’t get into it. Maybe we had to be paying closer attention (we were both working on other things), but neither of us could focus on what was going on (up until a truly disgusting sequence in Scotland’s worst toilet, which was NOT the best time to look up from my laptop, let me tell you). 

Jane

Sports

It seems to be sports season in the city, with the streetcars adorned with "Go Raptors" and "Go Jays Go" signs and I couldn't give less of a fuck. I've never understood the appeal of watching sports, I've never followed a team's progress from... I don't even know what they progress to. I find it boring and I'll be sticking to real entertainment, thank you very much. 

What Pets Should We Get?

If we could have any pet in the world (without worrying about conservation or danger issues), here's what we'd choose:

Jane

I've been doing a lot of research on Canada for a project at work and one thing I learned about was the Kermode bear or the spirit bear, which is British Columbia's provincial animal. This toasted-marshmallow coloured bear is a rare subspecies of black bear. I had never heard about them before this project and apparently, there are very few of them around. This would obviously be a most impractical companion, as it is a bear and it would destroy me, but I would love to hang out with one in a perfect world.

Sam

I flippin' love meerkats, so yes, I would absolutely, 100% adopt a meerkat if I had the chance (I once tried to steal a meerkat from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. And by "steal", I mean I made chittering noises at it in the hopes that it would leap over the guardrail and let me carry it home). They're so cute, and I die a little when they pop up all inquisitively, and I would definitely buy it a little jacket in the winter. 

Also, for your entertainment, here's my current favourite video clip featuring meerkats (and David Tennant).

Beauty and the Beast

It's a tale as old as time - two twenty-somethings went to see the live-action reboot of an animated Disney classic (separately). Here's what we thought!

Sam

First and foremost, it was such a pretty movie! The sets and the costumes and the visuals were aesthetically pleasing, but honestly, I wish theatres would stop forcing me to see things in 3D because it's NOT fun wearing glasses on top of my actual glasses. Other than that, I think they did a good job keeping the spirit of the animated classic and I liked the additional details (extended backstory, the magic book, etc). Admittedly, the Belle/Beast relationship is harder to digest when there are real people involved, but as a Downton Abbey fan, I was just waiting for the Beast to turn back into a human (‘sup, Dan Stevens)...plus Belle had more agency so it was less Stockholm Syndrome-y. And Luke Evans was delightful as Gaston (P.S. after the big kerfuffle they made over LeFou’s sexuality, I expected a lot more). Overall, I was content with it: nothing upset me or ruined my childhood or whatever, so I count it as a win (although, I wish they had kept in Belle's killer comeback "Gaston, you are positively primeval"). 

And yes, the library is still the most gorgeous set in the movie. 

Jane

Well... I thought I would have time to see this movie this week but it turns out I didn't. But. I do intend to see it and I do have some thoughts about the movie pre-seeing it. 

Quite frankly, I don't see a point of remaking the original Disney animated film. It's a weird, fucked up story, one that I happen to adore, and Belle was by far my favourite princess as a child, since she loved to read so much. But it's still a really messed up tale. However, it being animated, it's a little easier to wrap your head around. The anthropomorphizing of the objects around the castle is cute and playful as an animation. It's downright creepy in live-action. That being said, I've only seen snippets so it's possible that the effect grows on you.

I know nothing about the so-called "explicitly" gay scene in the film though I have heard that it is neither explicit nor particularly offensive (thank goodness). I am curious to see Dan Stevens as the Beast, though from the growls in the trailer, that creature sounds nothing like Matthew Crawley. 

As for Emma Watson, I've tired of her. I have no clue if she was the right person for the role, and less of a clue of whether she can sing. Meh and meh. Beauty and the Beast has some of my favourite Disney songs and they are so iconically sung by the likes of Angela Landsbury and Celine Dion (... I realize that they sing the same song... whatever). Watson has lost a bit of her edge and fire as the years have gone on, and I wish to see that strength she once had as a young Hermione Granger. Hopefully she's gotten it back in this movie.

From the trailer, the movie looks spectacularly beautiful and I'm sure Disney went all out on the effects. So even if the movie sucks, at least it'll suck prettily.

 

Things We Love About Spring

We're so happy to be out of winter's grasp, we're celebrating the things we love about spring!

Jane

The Breeze

Breeze.jpg

One of my least favourite things about Winter is the harsh, cold wind that slaps you in the face. One of my favourite things about Spring is the light touch of breeze which keeps you at the perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold.

the colours

Light colours abound in Spring. Florals are everywhere, which I know is not groundbreaking, but does make me very happy.

Sam

Flowers

Irises are my favourite (though they sadly don't last very long once they've bloomed), but I enjoy flowers in general. Our garden is always a riot of colours in May/June and I love it.

My Birthday

Because even though I'm pushing thirty, I still get childishly excited for my birthday. LET'S ALL CELEBRATE ME FOR A DAY. 

Easter

Easter is exciting for two reasons: 1) it usually falls near my birthday (this year, it's actually on my birthday) and 2) it marks the end of Lent which means I can eat chocolate and drink cider again!!!

Warmer Weather

Much as I love my winter jacket, I like being able to put it away and walk outside in just a sweatshirt. 

Squeeing Saturday - March 2017

Here's what we were into this month!

Sam

Band: Waterparks

I've heard of Waterparks, but didn't get around to listening to them until I won tickets to see them at the end of February...and NOW I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO THEIR DEBUT ALBUM "DOUBLE DARE". Pop-punk at its finest. 

Song: "black butterflies & déjà vu" - The Maine

NEW THE MAINE MUSIC IS ALWAYS CAUSE FOR SQUEEING!!

TV Show: Broadchurch

The first two seasons were fantastic and the third season (which started at the beginning of the month) is AMAZING so far!!!!

Sketch Comedy: Catherine Tate x David Tennant for Comic Relief

In my quest to soothe my heart after watching the season four finale of Doctor Who, I stumbled upon this sketch which makes me laugh every time I think about it. "Amest I bovvered?"

Jane

TV Show: Lovesick

I didn't get into this show when it was originally titled Scrotal Recall (an unfortunate name that now that they've changed it, I wish they would have leaned into a bit more). I watched the entire series in just over a day. It's an interesting premise (guy contracts chlamydia, contacts every woman he's had sex with, stories are told through flashbacks), and an easily digestible treat.

Video Game: Mass Effect - Andromeda

So the biggest game of the year was just released to many, many, MANY criticisms on its animation and glitchiness. I'm not very far into the game, but I never played Mass Effect for the graphics. That's what Witcher 3 is for. I play Mass Effect for the story and so far, that is holding up. I look forward to getting incredibly emotionally invested in it.

Song: Sound of Silence - Disturbed

I know literally nothing about Disturbed but I know that their version of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" is epic. Just listen.

Wanted: One Travel Companion

If you could travel with one person, who would it be?

Jane

Anthony Bourdain.jpg

Seriously, who else was I going to choose? Anthony Bourdain travels without fear, a quality that I'm only beginning to learn and execute. He would take me to the best local eateries, we'd have access to some of the highest quality restaurants in the world and he would be FUN. I would risk food poisoning for a whirlwind "Parts Unknown" adventure with Bourdain.

Sam

When Jane first proposed this topic, it took me a while to make a list of all the people I'd love to travel with. In the end, I had to narrow it down to two, because I just couldn't decide!

If I was doing a food-inspired trip, I'd want to travel with Jamie Oliver. Not only would I get into basically every restaurant in the world, but I'd also learn the process and history behind most of the dishes for a fully immersive experience. Sure I'd come home 200 pounds heavier, but I'd be super satisfied. (Fun fact: I once met Jamie Oliver in real life and he was a delight. I bet he'd be a fantastic companion!).

And if I was traveling with the intention of becoming more cultured - museums and galleries and historical monuments and such - I'd tag along after David Tennant. First of all, he could narrate everything to me in his glorious accent, and I'd learn SO MUCH while being immeasurably entertained. And second of all, it would fulfill my current dream of being the Doctor's companion! (He wouldn't have to wear a pinstripe suit, though. Unless he wanted to.)

Unpopular Opinions

"If you like Thing A, of course you must be into Thing B." People sometimes make assumptions that we like something based on previous experience, but we're here to give you some of our unpopular opinions - stuff we're not really into, despite what you may think. 

(Our thumbnail comes from the popular but occasionally offensive Unpopular Opinion Puffin meme). 

Sam

Even though I'm a YA novel buff, I have to confess that there's a handful of popular YA authors/books that I haven't read yet...and don't plan on picking up any time soon. When I say "YA", people immediately ask me about The Hunger Games. Unfortunately for them, I haven't read The Hunger Games, and they're nowhere near the top of my To Read list because dystopia has never been my favourite genre. I also haven't read John Green, or the rest of the Divergent series (I read the first one, then guessed how the trilogy would end, so really, what's the point?), and don't really think I'll get around to reading them in the next couple of years. 

Jane

Mad Max Fury Road1.jpg

I really, truly wanted to like Mad Max: Fury Road. When it came out, it's all anyone was talking about. Conceptually, it seemed right up my alley: badass feminists taking out an archaic, evil patriarchal system, awesome chase scenes, a sexy male lead... but after all is said and done, I left the movie theatre not quite understanding what the big fuss was. I still don't know, over two years later.

Our Favourite Instagram Accounts

We may spend a lot of time scrolling through other people's instagram feeds, so we figured we'd make a list of some of our favourites!

Jane

beautybakeriemakeup

Though I've never actually purchased anything from Beauty Bakerie, their Instagram game is to die for with their amazing looking Lip Whips.

cats_of_instagram

I mean... it's an obvious choice but there's a reason why this account has almost 8 million followers. It's delightful and never fails to put a smile on my face.

mac_lab

The prettiest damn macarons on Instagram, anytime I see those blushing unicorns I get excited. I can only imagine how long it takes to make only one of these but luckily all I have to do is enjoy the view.

bangbangnyc

A beautiful tattoo Instagram, full of gorgeous art and incredible tattooing.

Sam

prettycitylondon

If there's one thing I love, it's looking at pictures of my favourite city (and weeping silently). This feed is all pretty photos in and around London, from brightly coloured doorways to classic shots of Big Ben to bakeries that I need to find the next time I'm there.

foldedpagesdistillery

Of all the #bookstagram accounts out there, Folded Pages Distillery is gorgeous. Such attention to detail, plus her captions often include mini reviews of the featured book. Aesthetically pleasing and useful!

hotdudesreading

It delivers exactly what it promises: attractive men reading in public (usually on some form of transportation). Come from the chiseled jaws, stay for the pun-tastic captions. 

quarterlifepoetry

She doesn't post as often as most of the other accounts I follow, but it's always comedy gold (and #sorelatable). 

Squeeing Saturday - February 2017

February was a short month, but we still had time to squee over some things.

Sam

Song: Bad Behavior – The Maine

I love it when The Maine releases new music. LOVE IT. I was lucky enough to hear them play this at 8123 Fest last month (nope, still not done talking about it), and it was amaaaaazing. 

Podcast: Welcome to Night Vale

I’m slowly getting into Welcome to Night Vale, though I haven’t yet figured out how to multitask while listening to a podcast, so I’m only a few episodes in. But it’s intriguing, and some of their original songs are glorious. 

Show: The IT Crowd

I know Jane has mentioned it before, but I never got around to watching The IT Crowd until a couple of weeks ago and I LAUGHED SO HARD.

Book Series: The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater

I have to wait until September for The Raven King to come out in paperback but I just want to know how it all ends!!!!!

Jane
 

Video Game: Night in the Woods

I literally only started this game two days ago but I'm completely obsessed with the story, the aesthetic and everything it chooses to be. It's a beautiful and weird game about a college dropout which has no right being as enjoyable as it is.

Book: Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

I blasted through this gastronomic book all about an inside baseball look at the culinary world. 

TV: The Good Fight

I never finished The Good Wife but I'm already head over heels for its spin-off The Good Fight . I always preferred Diane to Alicia and I'm so glad we get to have a show where Christine Baranski can really shine.

Reject Room #1

For all the pop culture we consume between the two of us, every so often we come across something that we just can’t get into, no matter how hard we try. So in the first of our recurring Reject Room posts, let us tell you about something we’ve had to abandon recently. 

Jane

Riverdale

When I was a kid, I collected Archie comics. I cherished my time with the Riverdale crowd, even having my dad print out comics to send me when I was at camp (apparently this was easier than buying the digests themselves). I really wanted to like the new CW series based off of my favourite redhead, but I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. The dialogue was ridiculous, everything was hyper-sexualized and completely overdramatic. I get that it's a new take on an old favourite, but this take is not for me.

Sam

The OA

I’ve been hearing a lot about this show, and it was being pushed as a Stranger Things for adults adventure, so I decided to give it a chance. I lasted all of one episode before I gave up. For one thing, the pacing is SO SLOW (the opening credits don’t even appear until (literally) 57 minutes in, by which point I’d pretty much forgotten what I was there for); the characters are all pretty awful (I’m sure they get better, but when?); and, my main reason for watching it (Jason Isaacs) wasn’t even in the first episode, so I felt betrayed. My friend spoiled the last episode for me - at my request - and I’m SO GLAD I gave up on it because the ending is laughable. 

Infinity On High Track-by-Track Review

Yet another album from our youth is turning 10 this year (in fact, it officially turned 10 on the 6th), so we're celebrating Fall Out Boy's iconic Infinity on High

Thriller

S: Before he was impregnating his wife with twins, Jay-Z was featured on a Fall Out Boy song. #topical Real talk, though, I LOVE the heavy drumming in this song, it soothes my soul in the weirdest way. And I promise you every teenaged FOB fan scrawled “LONG LIVE THE CAR CRASH HEARTS” onto a notebook at some point. 

J: Perfect way to start this album. The Jay-Z intro, the Patrick wailing incomprehensible words, the pounding of the drums, it's fantastic. It wakes you up and gets you wanting more.

The Take Over, The Breaks Over

S: Speaking of cameos – that Ryan Ross guitar solo made my Panic! at the Disco fangirl heart beat faster (faster). But I absolutely love this song – the clapping and the “flash flash flash photography” line...it’s so boppy and catchy. 

J: I feel like I never really gave this song a chance because I don't really love the intro, but it's actually quite good. 

This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

S: Really, what can I say about this song. Classic FOB, a staple in their live shows, a prime example of Patrick Stump’s ability to slur words together...it’s magnificent. 

J: I still get a kick out of this song, perfect for audience participation and I will definitely be screaming "doot doot doot" along with it.

I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me + You)

S: This song is standard FOB: clever wordplay in the lyrics, a slinky bass line, and a ridiculously long title.  Always fun to belt out in the most dramatic way possible.

J: I always forget that I love this song. I find that there are often plenty of FOB songs with kinda meh verses but killer choruses and this song is one of them. 

Hum Hallelujah

S: MY JAM. Easily one of my favourite FOB songs of all time, I love every second of “Hum Hallelujah” and will literally drop everything to sing along to it. Side note: it took me far longer than I care to admit to learn that they sampled Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. 

J: This is a super fun track, no doubt about it. I won't actively seek it out but if it comes on, I will rock out to it.

Golden

S: Slow FOB songs are rarely my favourite, and I’ve never been emotionally attached to this one. Patrick sounds as glorious as he always does, but it just doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s also a bit of letdown because it’s shoved in between two of the album’s highlights (in my opinion).

J: Another example of kind of weak verses but a really great chorus. I quite like this track, despite it's slow tempo  amid an album, so far, of bangers.

Thnks fr th Mmrs

S: Gah, that intro still holds up so well after ten years (though admittedly that might be influenced by nostalgia). This is another classic FOB jam, something that gets the crowd moving at shows, and I love the strings in the background, which adds a touch of theatre. Speaking of theatre: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the video and how it a) features a pre-fame Kim K and b) a cross-over with the TAI video for “We’ve Got a Big Mess on Our Hands”.

J: Another massive hit. Fun, full of energy and has withstood the test of time.

Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?

S: I genuinely forgot what this song sounded like, but as soon as it started I remembered all the words. It’s a fine tune, but I think the first half of the album is packed with so many bangers, this one gets sort of lost in the shuffle. 

J: The problem with so many FOB songs is that I literally can never remember what any of them are called. I super love this song but I doubt I would know what to search if I wanted to listen to it again.

The (After) Life of the Party

S: Slower, but not as slow as “Golden”, this song is dramatic FOB at their best. When the percussion kicks in after thirty seconds...*kisses fingers* beautiful.

J: This song is great and once again, I forgot what it was called. 

The Carpal Tunnel of Love

S: I thought I was so HARDCORE because I liked Pete Wentz’ unclean vocals at the end of this song and my friends didn’t. (I was not, nor will I ever be, as hardcore as I wish I was).  It’s super angsty, but so enjoyable. And a great stepping stone for getting into actual metal music!

J: Really not my favourite track (and I'm definitely one of those people who didn't love the screaming at the end). This one's pretty forgettable.

Bang the Doldrums

S: Similar to “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am”, this is a perfectly good song, and has such intricate instrumentation,  but I’m not sure if I’ve ever listened to it on its own, outside of the album

J: ... I like the pirate yo-hoing in the chorus. That's about it.

Fame<Infamy

S: I’m realizing that I don’t really have strong opinions on the latter half of this album. Again, good song, great lyrics, impressive showings from Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley...but it doesn’t hit me in the feels at all. It’s a head-bopper, though. 

J: The album is really starting to drag for me now. It could have been cut in half and I would have been okay with it.

You're Crashing, But You're No Wave

S: I actually thought this was a bonus track until I re-listened to the album for this post. So that’s interesting. Patrick sounds so different at the beginning, and I think that’s Butch Walker providing backing vocals, but it’s sort of meh, to be honest. 

J: Patrick's voice is truly beautiful in this because we rarely get him in a lower register but again, another forgettable one.

I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers

S: The best part of this song is the horn section and the pounding piano and Patrick’s soulful voice in the chorus. Otherwise I just barely register it. It’s a good closer because it has energy, but again, I think the first half of the album was a lot stronger. 

J: Meh. Weak closer. 

 

Books to Curl Up With on a Winter's Day

We read no matter what the weather's like, but some books are just made to curl up with during the cold Canadian winters. 

Jane

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

My favourite book of all time can always make me feel nice and warm on a cold winter's day. It doesn't matter how many times I read it, I will always find something new to appreciate and laugh out loud at. 

New York Times Magazine

Not technically a book, but my main source of reading lately is diving into my pile of New York Times Magazines. I love the long-form articles and it can be nice to still be informed but not be completely overwhelmed and depressed were I to dive into the newspaper counterpart.

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

There's nothing quite like a steaming mug of tea or coffee and being bundled up reading a classic. Whether it's Jane Austen or Jane Eyre, there's a certain delight from reading a good, old book on a cold, blustery day.

 

Sam

The Buckshaw Chronicles - Alan Bradley

There's something about Alan Bradley's precocious 12 year old protagonist Flavia de Luce that makes me think of the winter. They could be considered cozy mysteries, and Flavia will make you laugh and (sometimes) cry and overall leave you with a warm feeling. 

The Parasol Protectorate - Gail Carriger

I've only read the first two books so far, but Gail Carriger's supernatural series is charming fluff that will keep you entertained despite the blizzard going on outside your window. Grab a nice cup of tea and settle down on your comfiest couch for a fun frolic with Alexia Tarabotti and her werewolf-y friends. 

Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie

I believe it takes place around Christmas time, but, either way, there's something so winter about Peter Pan. It's a straight up dose of escapism (heck yeah, I want to go to Neverland!), and I personally find children's books so soothing during the cold months (actually, I read children's books year round, but winter always seems like a good time to revisit old favourites). 

Squeeing Saturday - January 2017

Here's what we were into this month!

Sam

Phrase: "Fingers on Lips"

David Tennant shouting “FINGERS ON LIPS” is my new favourite thing. Maybe you have to see it to understand it, so please watch the video above.

Actor: Taron Egerton

I watched Kingsman on Christmas (so much bloodier than I anticipated) and my main takeaway was “who's the dude rocking a suit better than Colin Firth?” (sacrilege, I know). I'm also super into his accent, as evidenced by my appreciation for Johnny the gorilla in Sing...and his singing voice is not too shabby. 

Entrance Scene: Jim Moriarty

Speaking of dudes who can rock suits...'sup, Andrew Scott? This is somewhat spoiler-y if you haven't watched the Sherlock season finale yet, but my gosh, what an entrance!!! I've been shrieking over this scene for two weeks and I probably won't stop any time soon. Also, if you're not already following @moriartyenterto, you're missing out!!!!

Movie: La La Land

Dudes who rock suits part 3: Canadian edition, aka hello, Ryan Gosling. This movie was adorable and whimsical and made my sister cry (fine, I'll admit that I teared up too). And that soundtrack!!

Band: The Maine

8123 MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. I'll talk about this more next week for Music Monday, but man, I love The Maine so much <3 

Jane

TV Show: Sweet/Vicious

I watched this entire series within a day. It is incredible and is really giving MTV-produced fictional content a good name. 

Magazine: The New Yorker

I got a subscription to the paper edition of The New Yorker (because I needed even more things to read) and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. 

Song: "I Wanna Get Better" - Bleachers

I hadn't listened to Bleachers in awhile but in a pretty pivotal scene in the aforementioned Sweet/Vicious, the protagonists dance and sing along to "I Wanna Get Better" which reminded me of how much I love that track and the entire Bleachers album "Strange Desire."

 

We The Kings Track-by-Track Review

A lot of albums we jammed in high school are turning 10 this year (in case you were wondering how old we are), so we'll probably spend some time on the ones that really stood out to us. First up: We the Kings' self-titled debut. 

Secret Valentine

J: Great way to start the album, full of high energy and whiny pop-punk imagery like "we're finally intertwined" and "this is the moment that we become alive."

S: I always really liked this song, and it is basically the ubiquitous We the Kings song: a pop-rock-y tune about a girl. Not a bad intro to their sound or to this album. 

Skyway Avenue

J: This song is so melodramatic but I love it, like I would dead-ass have loved someone to sing this to me as a 16 year-old (well... my ideal 16 year-old self would have loved it. My neurotic af actual 16 year-old self would probably have run away). 

S: Travis Clark tries to hit such high notes in the chorus and it’s a little strained, but he sounds so earnest. This is such a dramatic song (“I would die for you on Skyway Avenue”), but it could soundtrack just about any YA novel written in that same time period, so clearly they were onto some trend. 

Check Yes Juliet

J: This song still makes me so happy. When going through my hard drive to play this song, I found a PhotoShopped image of all the lyrics to this song in totally rad fonts (ahem, not) that I apparently made when I was 18, which was a very high honour for any song for me at the time. This is We The Kings at their finest. 

S: This is the jammiest jam to ever exist and if you tell me you’ve never once screamed along to it, I’ll assume you’re either a) a lying liar or b) younger than 20. It’s still so good, and I have an oddly vibrant memory of the first time I heard it (coming out of my grade 12 biology class, listening to it through my friend’s headphones because she told me she had a really good song she wanted me to hear). Not gonna lie, it’s my favourite part of seeing WTK live, because the crowd goes nuts for it. 

Stay Young

S: They went for a heavier sound on this tune (the bass, at least, is more aggressive than the previous three songs), and it sounds like it was written expressly for a live performance – the chorus has an anthemic quality and it would absolutely get the crowd up and moving. 

J: Sam nailed it by saying that the song really feels like it was written to be performed live, with audience participation during the "scream it like you mean it" chorus. It is a fun track, but not one that sticks out in my head as top WTK.

Whoa

S: I’ll be honest: most of the time, when I listen to this album, I only really pay attention to the first four songs and then everything else sort of blurs together. This is still a good song, but nothing really special. Catchy “whoas” in the chorus, though. 

J: Sam says it right again, this kind of blends and blurs and I can easily skip past. It almost sounds a bit like "Secret Valentine" in its verses but a less well conceived version. 

August is Over

J: This starts off differently than the other tracks and it feels Dashboard Confessional-ly which I am always in for. I had pretty much forgot about this song but listening to it again, it's actually pretty great. 

S: I like that this song starts off a little slower – you almost expect it to be a ballad of some sort, but then it builds up in the pre-chorus and lets loose. A real head-bopper, the drums really stand out in this one. 

The Quiet

S: I genuinely can’t remember this song. The rest of the tracklist, I can at least bring to mind a chorus or a lyrical phrase, but even the title of this one leaves me miffed. I swear this is the first time I’m hearing it – not bad, but nothing special. Great bassline, though. 

J: Yeah, this is not a memorable song. It's pretty generic pop-punk. If I was to list the songs of this album, I would likely forget this one. I do enjoy the chorus a fair bit, but that's about it. 

Don't Speak Liar

J: Now this is a song I have no memory of. I can vaguely pick out the chorus but that's it. It's not great. 

S: Again, a song that’s closer to a ballad. It’s a softer sound up the chorus which sounds as angry as We the Kings gets (on this album, at least).

Headlines Read Out

J: Cobra Starship in that synth intro, which I do quite enjoy but really this back half of this album is really nothing special. They knock it out of the park with the first five tracks and then it's just blended whininess. 

S: OH MY GOSH, that intro. It’s SOOO 2007 to have that electronic (synth?) intro that has nothing to do with the rest of the song. Probably the most dated song on the album, in terms of sound. 

All Again for You

J: Okay, I take it back, I actually really like this song. Again, something I would be okay with a teenage boy singing to me (as a teenage girl, not as a 26 year-old bitter woman). 

S: I’m sure if I actually listened to the words, I’d find some deep meaning in this song, but sonically, its structure is very similar to “Don’t Speak Liar”, so it’s probably one of the reasons why the last half of this album blends together for me. 

This Is Our Town

J: I mean... I guess it's a rite of passage for every pop-punk band to write a song about their "town" but this is a bit of a downer to end the album on. This would have been better stuck in the middle with the album ending with a banger.

S: I vaguely remember this song being used in promos for One Tree Hill (fun fact: I actually didn’t start watching One Tree Hill until the series was almost over) and it does fit perfectly. The only true ballad, it’s interesting that they chose to end the album with something so slow and emotional, but the piano part is lovely and you gotta give them points for passion. 

Sing

Since we both saw the new animated movie Sing (though, regrettably, not together), we've decided to give you our thoughts on this animal-full musical adventure. 

Sam

I saw this with my nieces (who are actually in the target audience age range) and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We'd also seen Zootopia together last year, and if you're worried that the two movies are copies of each other, don't be. Zootopia spent a lot of time building up the animal world so that it would make sense to us, while Sing just throws us right into the story about a down-on-his-luck koala (Matthew McConaughey, who didn't sound like Matthew McConaughey) trying to make his crumbling theatre a success again by holding a singing competition. Is it a predictable story? Yes. But is it still heart-warming and enjoyable? Heck yes!

Unlike most Disney movies, there's more of an ensemble cast and less a focus on just one character. Buster Moon (the koala) is arguably the protagonist, but there's a lot of time spent on the contestants. There's not a lot of character development, but they have distinctive personalities and separate story lines that give you a glimpse at what kind of people - er, animals - they are outside of the competition. My nieces were all about the female contestants, of course (they're always down for a character voiced by Scarlett Johansson), but I'm enamoured of Taron Egerton's accent, so Johnny the gorilla was my favourite. It won't win any awards for complicated plot, but the idea of pursuing your dreams in the face of adversity is always a good one to explore (and so satisfying when the dreams are then achieved). 

Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love.
— Buster Moon

Plus the soundtrack is pretty darn catchy, so that's reason enough to check it out, in my opinion. 

Jane

Like Sam, I saw this movie with some youngin's which always brings a new perspective to "children's movies" as opposed to me watching Zootopia or Moana on my own and weeping softly to myself. It took me awhile to get into Sing, mostly because it seemed to lack focus and did not stay long enough on any one character to give us enough of a story or hook. Pretty much every "main" character felt like a passing extra who we were only given a glimpse into, which ended up making their storylines feel simplistic, predictable and under-developed. 

That being said, it is a fun movie. There is one scene in particular that had me crying with laughter, when Buster seems to have lost it all and goes back to his first job: car washing... with his body. It was perfectly executed with his best friend, a sheep, working as a shammy. The message of the film is commendable: don't give up on your dreams even when it seems like the odds are against you. The soundtrack, as Sam so rightly says, is catchy as hell, with tracks spanning the decades from Elton John to Taylor Swift. It's also so beautiful. Animated features continue to blow my mind, technologically, and this film from Illumination is no exception. 

As we exit 2016, I think it's a good idea to take a page out of Johnny's book in one of my favourite performances of the film.