I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. The films even came up in film theory a tonne of times as landmark movies that challenged cinematic theories.
Although there are six Alien movies (not including the Alien vs Predator films), only four of them follow Ripley’s tormented adventures with the terrifying creature’s known as Xenomorph’s. Considered one of the most significant female protagonists in all of cinema, Sigourney Weaver played the memorable heroine, Ellen Ripley who turned gender roles in horror and sci-fi movies on their head.
So with whispers of a fifth Ripley-Alien movie floating about, I thought now was a good time as any to natter about some of my favourite facts from the Ripley quadrilogy.
The original Alien cast was ALL men!
The original Alien story had all male characters, but writers Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett had a note in their screenplay to say the characters could be unisex. Alan Ladd, one of the producers, proposed Ripley should be a woman because it would make the film stand out; Ridley Scott loved the idea because nobody would suspect she would survive. O’Bannan and Shusett never actually intended the lead would be played by a female.
A German Shepherd was used to make Jones the Cat, hiss.
Being a crazy cat-mama myself, this has to be one of my favourite facts of the lot. In Alien, the cat handlers couldn’t make Jones hiss at the Xenomorph model alone, so they placed a darkened screen between the Cat and a German Shepherd dog, hiding them from each others sight. When the Alien appears, the crew removed the screen revealing the Dog to the Cat, causing Jones to back up and hiss perfectly for the cameras.
The Xenomorph in the final sequence of Alien was already dying!
Even though it’s not made clear in the first movie, Ridley Scott decided that Xenomorph’s had short lifespans. Like insects, the Xenomorphs rapidly mature through different life-cycles and by the end of the film, when the Alien is moving sluggishly because it’s already dying of natural death.
James Cameron was not welcome on the second instalment of the franchise!
Many of the British crew that had worked on the original Alien film were so loyal to Ridley Scott that James Cameron had a hard time trying to win their respect. In an effort to win their confidence and show off his talents, Cameron arranged a screening of The Terminator but most of them ignored the invite and just didn’t turn up.
the Scott – Cameron Bromance!
Ridley Scott was excited by the thought of a sequel to Alien but when James Cameron was asked to write and direct Aliens instead, Scott said “it hurt my feelings really, because I thought we did quite a good job on the first one”. Scott was working in a nearby studio when Aliens was being made and ended up having a chat with Cameron. Even though the film went a different way than Scott had envisioned, he was impressed with the result, saying “It’s always a tough job to follow a successful film with a sequel to it, so what I think James Cameron did was an excellent action picture. It really was amazing what he accomplished. […] I would never, ever critique or criticise [Aliens] because I think it was very successful and what he did was really good.”
Alien, Aliens and Alien 3 were filmed in Britain!
For Alien, the live-action scenes were filmed at Shepperton Studios, off the B376 in Surrey. The model and miniature filming was done at Bray Studios, near Maidenhead in Berkshire.
The alien egg chamber where Kane (John Hurt) encounters the facehugger, was built in the disused Acton Lane Power Station in west London; the same place that James Cameron’s sequel, Aliens, was filmed.
Alien 3 was mainly filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire and Blast Beach in Seaham was used as the surface of the alien planet, alongside Dawdon Colliery on the Durham coast.
David Fincher had only directed music videos before Alien 3!
Alien 3 passed through the hands of a few directors before it landed on David Fincher‘s lap. Despite going onto make some absolute corkers (Zodiac and Se7en), Fincher didn’t get the same praise for Alien 3 that Alien or Aliens received and he had lots of conflicts with the studio. Fincher had never directed a feature film before and although he went on to be perfectionist in other movies he made, he really grated on producers for shooting and re-shooting scenes multiple times and being obsessed with the little details. The tense relationship with the studio was strained even more by rushed schedules, money, unfinished scripts and editing disagreements. By the time the film was released, Fincher wanted nothing more to do with it and refused to participate in the directors cut which ended up being released based on notes he left behind; it was a director’s cut without the director.
Sigourney Weaver said NO to Alien: Resurrection
Alien: Resurrection didn’t include Ellen Ripley in the original concept. Instead, it was meant to be about the enhanced clone of Newt (the little girl from Aliens) who would have super strength and fighting skills. Joss Whedon was brought onboard to write a story base for the idea because of his experience writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not too long after he wrote the initial story, the studio changed their minds about Newt. They were worried fans of the first Alien movies wouldn’t accept a fourth instalment without the Ripley character. After Sigourney Weaver declined the initial offers, the studio finally offered her $11 million dollars to reprise her role (which was the same as the whole budget for the original Alien movie). She obviously accepted and we ended up with a Ripley clone instead.
I could go on and on and on about all the trivia in the Alien films but I don’t think I would ever finish this post. I haven’t even included any facts about Prometheus (one of my favourite films of all time) or Alien: Covenant but I think I’d rather tackle them on their own.
I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here but I’m off now; I’m gonna go pop a film on… *ahem* Prometheus *ahem*…
Leave your own favourite facts in the comments below to keep this post interesting.
MAIN CAST: Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Elizabeth Banks
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 30min
There are spoilers below…
I try and avoid movie trailers out of fear that they will spoil a film or take something away from it. Most of the time I feel like they show way too much information and somehow force me to develop an opinion about a film before I have even seen it.
Brightburn was one of those times I ended up seeing the trailer and although I wouldn’t necessarily say I developed an opinion about the film I did start thinking up questions about it and like most, I was coming back to Superman every-time.
ooooo, interesting was my initial reaction to the first few seconds of the trailer. Then as it went on I began to cringe a little, ah I don’t know. I mean, a bad Superman?Is that where they’re going with this? We’ve seen Superman turn bad. Then again, we’ve never seen him start out bad. Ok – they’re either gona do this good OR it’s gona be real bad.
I kept seeing odd buzz words around the film: Horror, Gory, Bad seed, Evil Superhero. I was wondering, how dark is this gona be?
When I thought about a bad Superman, I couldn’t help going back to the 1983 Superman III starring Christopher Reeve. It’s the one where Superman splits into an evil version of himself after being exposed to synthetic kryptonite. He becomes a bit of a horny, juvenile alcoholic. Sure some of the stuff he does is a bit bad, but considering the power he wields he doesn’t go thatmental. This got me hoping Brightburn wasn’t just about a moody Mama’s boy going through puberty.
To be fair, the trailer made it quite clear the little dude in this film was one step ahead of getting wasted, blowing out the Olympic Torch and straightening out the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Superman III). He is definitely a bit of a psycho, but how far was he really going to go? Was he just going to maim people? Or was this angelic looking kid going to go on full-on Killing sprees? I think there’s a few occasions in the DC comics where Superman goes a bit nuts and even starts killing members of the Justice League, so it was possible that he will go that far?
The Gunn brothers, Mark and Brian, that wrote the screenplay are adamant the film is not based on a ‘bad Superman’, but an already evil alien raised on earth but because I don’t read about films until I’ve seen them, most of this I didn’t really pick up until afterward.
I think I should have observed that statement a little harder while I watched it because I got caught up on this whole Evil Superman parallel, that it was easy to only see the Superman element.
Yes! There’s bunch of references paying homage to Superman from the red cape to the laser beam eyes. Yes! Like the Superman back-story, a baby crash lands on a farm and Mr & Mrs Farmer decide to raise the baby as their own, but you can read more about all those on another site.
Forget for a minute that Brightburn had anything to do with Superman at all.
What got my skin crawling is what’s implied about Brandon’s backstory and what he’s going through. After much consideration, I think Brandon is less like Superman – and more like some killer Wasp-Bee alien, and here’s why.
To give that a little more context, I’m going to start from the scene in the school where Brandon talks about bees and wasps.
By the complex answer he gives his teacher when they’re learning about the Bees and the Wasps Brandon appears to be smarter than the average kid. The other children tease Brandon; he is clearly different to them and maybe they all sense that. I don’t think this scene just makes a point about how smart Brandon is, or how the other kids in the class are bullying him. I think this scene is a big clue about why he landed on Earth and what makes this film stand away from Superman.
I’ll expand on what Brandon talks about to show where I’m coming from; Brandon says about the aggressive nature of wasps and how they don’t have the ability to create hives so they take over existing ones by brute force. True Brood wasps are insects that infiltrate host nests as larvae (like Brandon as a baby) and are raised by the adult hosts (like Tori and Kyle). Cuckoo Bumblebees do the same, but also release pheromones in order to slip past bee security and kill or subdue the queen of entire colonies and take them over, forcing the host worker-hive to feed their offspring.
I think showing him being bullied is by the other kids at school could also be seen as they are poking the wasp nest – so to speak but I won’t get carried away.
When Brandon wakes up in the middle of the night after a seizure, the hidden space-vessel he came in seems to send out psychic messages awakening his powers of strength, flight and speed (not to mention the laser eyes). Later in the film Brandon cracks the psychic code and realises its telling him to TAKE THE WORLD – which he seems to do, like a Cuckcoo Bee takes a colony.
Yeah, from here on in, Brandon starts displaying a whole load of manipulative and twisted behaviour that involves bloodshed and threats – but there’s a fair few indicators that what he’s been going through doesn’t just start after the seizure in bed.
Knowing that despite his innocent appearance, Brandon is not a real human child, Kyle points out the things he’s noticed as they have raised him.
Kyle and Tori discover some magazine clippings which aren’t just teenage-boy-spank-bank material. Beneath a few pictures of bikini models, there’s pictures and drawings of human guts. The notebook that he is always writing in is quite tatted and used up and when we see it later in the film, there’s a lot of disturbing content (even the logo he stamps everywhere is like a rudimentary bee or wasp stamp). It all suggests these are things that have been playing on his mind for a while. It’s not quite as simple as a space-ship talking to him awakening some sudden urge to kill, it seems Brandon has been wondering what people look like from the inside-out, for a lot longer.
Does he want to know our anatomy so he can kill us easily? Does he want to lay eggs in our abdomen? Is he going to eat us when he is done? I mean, when he stuck his finger in the blood on his dying uncles face, I half expected him to lick it off!!
Ok I aren’t clutching at straws here – I can give this Bee-Wasp Alien theory a bit more traction.
Another part of the film that seems to back up the idea of Brandon infiltrating Earth to potentially colonise it, like the Cuckoo Bee, is his interest in Caitlyn. Despite the fact that he crushes her hand, in some sort of controlling and manipulative effort he still wants to pursue her sexually. The reason I specifically say sexually, is because the first thing he does after Kyle ‘gives him the talk (about the birds and the bees‘) is stalk her in her bedroom. It’s more carnal than it is romantic, especially because he actually stalks her. Even after he breaks her hand he is still imposing. Has he intended her as his mate?
Ok so enough about that – one of thee main and most definitive reasons I think Brandon is a Wasp Monster is… The insect-like hooded-mask he wears. I mean, come on, could you get more symbolic than that? He hovers like a wasp, he moves at speed like a wasp, he’s aggressive and parasitic and imposing – he even wears a wasp mask!!
So if I forget for a minute that the word Superman is even remotely related to this little monster, I become extremely creeped out. I reckon Brandon is more likely from a liege of super Wasp Aliens that can morph into their hosts, permeate an entire planet and destroy it with no conscience.
If you think I’m totally off the mark then message me or comment. I’d love to hear it.
MAIN CAST: Gabriel Bateman, Mark Hamill, Aubry Plaza
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 30min
There are spoilers below…
The year before I was born, Charles Lee Ray possessed a doll and began a murder rampage that lasted over 30 years –
– Chucky was his nickname and was recognised by any kid born in the 90’s; especially since the franchise kept pumping out horror films. Chucky even got married and had a kid (a doll kid)!
Ok, so by the time he had that kid, anyone who saw the original few movies was beginning to get a little bored (to put it nicely) and by the time Cult of Chucky came out, it was nose-diving into box-office-bomb-oblivion.
Then, after all that, comes Child’s Play 2019. Unlike all the other films, which were sequels, this is a reboot. Reboots are different because they’re not direct continuations of a previous story, but a blank slate.
I went to see the contemporary take on my favourite killer toy, and I don’t know what I expected (I’d purposely not even read a synopsis on the new film), but I did not expect what I got.
I was sold. Impressed. I loved it. I thought for a reboot, Child’s Play 2019 is bang on the money.
Instead of a possessed doll, the killer doll in this movie is something like a toy version of Amazon Alexa. Buddi (the new Chucky) is an artificially intelligent Doll. Designed for the modern family, he syncs with all their Kaslan Products. He keeps an eye on the kids, remembers their favourite shows and he is the best friend every kid deserves to have (that’s the sale angle anyways).
Reboots are risky business because there are die-hard fans of the originals who want scrutinise every frame for fault and are pre-dispostioned to hate whatever comes onscreen. I have no time for that and I love a new spin on an old idea.
Manufactured in a Vietnamese factory, a disgruntled worker decides he’s going to switch off the safety protocols of a Buddi doll, before he throws himself out of a window.
After seeing the Buddi doll may be faulty, a shopper returns it to the store – where a single mum, to a kid called Andy, works. She takes Buddi home and the rest reboot begins… as I said before, there are spoilers here.
The best thing about a reboot is it’s a new start to an already existing fictional universe. It gives other creative minds the opportunity to put their new stamp, on an old idea.
One of my favourite things about this reboot is that it’s taken something implausible (voodoo and possession) and made it plausible (computers, internet, the cloud, artificial intelligence). The “fear of technology” isn’t a new concept when it comes to horror films, but it does help to draw you in when you can conceive the idea as a true possibility.
Lars brings the Chucky Franchise out of the Voodoo age and into the Digital Age. The characters all have phones, the old lady across the hall can finally work Uber and drones are on sale at Zed Mart; If there’s a time to be scared of AI, the time is now.
My second favourite thing about this movie is Andy and his mates. This kinda ties in with the 80’s theme of adventure nostalgia seen in the new IT film and the Stranger Things Netflix series. People are mad for a bit of kids against the world.
I thought the acting was brilliant and the dialogue and interaction with the kids, the adults and even Chucky was believable, engaging and funny. Quite a few times through the film I couldn’t help but think Chucky was the cutest! I even felt sad for Andy andChucky when Falyn pulled the power source out of Chucky’s chest.
I thought Lars did a smashing job of sharing out the credit while also making the new Child’s Play, new. There were even nods to the original Child’s Play and other popular films from around the same time.
There’s a few little eggs for Child’s Play, the most obvious being the Doll, Andy, his (almost single) Mum and of course the whole thing gets started with a violent death on a stormy night.
There’s other film references from the very start. The original Orion logo from the start of Robocop and of course Lars even slotted a reference to that in too.
Mark Hamill is the voice of Chucky and played Luke Skywaker in the Star Wars films alongside the character Han Solo. When Andy begins the Buddi set-up he tries to call the doll, Han-Solo. Chucky just names himself completely ignoring the Han Solo suggestion.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a slasher movie from 1986. About this time, a whole host of slasher-gore films were beginning to pop up where comedy was a staple element. Seeing how everyone finds it hilarious to see Leatherface wearing a victims skin during a scene where Andy and his new mates are having a movie night, Chucky becomes kind of inspired by the violent scenes on-screen and decides to give it a go himself.
From 1988 – the year the original Child’s Play was released, Andy’s Bedroom has posters of Poltergeist III and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
Killer Klowns is another Horror-Comedy. Like in E.T the Extra Terrestrial, another 80’s movie, Chucky’s finger lights up when he is controlling various Kaslan products.
In the 90’s another movie franchise began called Leprechaun, about…. you guessed it, a Leprechaun. Only this Leprechaun is pure psycho killer. Like Child’s Play and Texas Horror, this too is riddled with funny scenes of death and violence. You can see the reference in the Zed-Mart toward the end of the film where there’s the Leprechaun version of the Buddi2 doll and the Pot of Gold accessories.
There’s a couple other eggs hidden in there but you should just have a crack at trying to see them yourself by watching it again.
I know I will be.
It’s the best reboot I’ve ever seen and I am already hoping there’s a sequel.
MAIN CHARACTERS: Jack Gore, Miya Cech, Benjamin Flores Jr., Alessio Scalzotto
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 38min
What a treat of a film this turned out to be.
Rim of the World: Dariush, Zhenzhen, Alex, Gabriel
the World is about four totally different kids that meet at a summer camp.
Abandoned by the adults, it’s up to Alex, Dariush, Zhenzhen and Gabriel to save
the world when Aliens invade.
If you watch it close enough you will see that is only one part of what this movie has to offer; there are layers, upon layers, upon layers to this film.
stuffed to the ‘rim’ of movie references from the last thirty-odd years making
it a relatable, fun flick for adults and kids alike. It’s a mix of Sci-Fi, Horror,
Adventure and Comedy genres, and it has absolutely no qualms with throwing
every stereotype in the book into the mix.
Recently people have been going mad for the likes of Stranger Things and IT for their nostalgic throwback to the western world’s most favoured adventure blockbusters of the last few decades. Movies like ET, Goonies and Breakfast Club were the backbone of Generation X. Unlike Stranger Things and IT, Rim of the World is set in the present, but with the same sort of adventure format. Generation Z benefits from references of films like Gladiator and Rush Hour and then more recently (for the millennials) Wolverine and John Wick.
Using the same countless politically incorrect inferences we all grew up on; filmmakers have brought contentious issues into the spotlight, instead of hiding them beneath the surface as a cheap gag trick. The main clue that this film is openly commenting on politically charged stereotypes or agendas is when Carl & Logan, the Camp Leaders (who are also “the black men on Campus”) are sitting about the campfire talking about Toy Story 3. It’s not to say that Carl & Logan’s interpretation of Toy Story 3 is true (“the ruling class justification for the inferior conditions of the working class”), but it is how the filmmakers say to the audience, “yes, films are meant to talked about; yes, they have hidden meanings and agendas – including this film; and yes, we know what we are doing – that’s the point”.
list all of the film references in the movie, I am sure there are a tonne of websites
that’ve already made it their mission to; besides, spotting them yourself is
part of the fun because for many of them it’s just one line of dialogue or a
prop or special effect that’s the reference instead of the actual name of the
think is so important to take away from the film is its coming of age theme and
The guy that wrote the film, Zack, has mentioned in a few interviews about the emotional importance of the films he grew up on in the 80’s and the lessons they taught him and millions of others. They relied a lot on how kids in the audience identified with what the characters are going through. Childhood traumas like bullying, poverty, grief, peer-pressure or some sort of in-house/domestic abuse are usually used as part of the background info in most of the main character arcs. In Rim of the World, it’s all about abandonment. Alex’s Father died traumatically in front of him, Dariush’s Father is going to Jail, Gabriel’s Father leaves when he’s Ten and Zhenzhen is an orphan – Not to mention they’re all left alone by the ‘adult camp leaders’ when the whole movie kicks off.
the plot of the all these Generation X movies features a Headmaster or Evil
Grown-up, a Monster, or in this case Alien, which acts as the metaphor for the
main characters’ trauma and how they overcome it is always based on how they
pull together and ‘Stand By’ each other; it’s the lessons they learn through
their friendship that gives them strength, not just in the immediate battle,
but also the one they are fighting at home or school.
Rim of the World packs a LOT into an hour and half. I could mention that I thought the special effects were kind of wooden and I could say the introduction of the characters and even some of the interaction and dialogue sometimes felt awkward and unnatural and I don’t think it’d be hard to disagree with me but, the fact that it’s full of hints and clichés from the last forty years makes me think it’s all of this part of its purposeful charm.
Overall it does well to be its own unique take on western pop-culture. It brings together the last three generations of audiences in a hilarious, albeit crude and obvious, complement of one-liners, shoddy CGI explosions and an evil looking monster, while also facing the crushing trauma of family torment with your best mates at your side.
Tuesday was my best day, I had thee best time from start to finish.
My morning started with a nightmare… and yes, you may be thinking ‘how on Earth can a great day start with a nightmare?’
It’s because I actually love nightmares. With the same logic of why people go on roller-coasters, go bungee jumping or watch horror films; they do it for a rush. To me a nightmare is like a surprise horror screening in the cinema of your brain… which is kind of apt because I ended up having a whole movie day.
Well this nightmare was so bad that it made me bolt upright in bed gasping for air for the first time in a few years. So you can imagine how racy my heart was. The worst thing about this was that there was no way I was getting back to sleep straight away.
The 2nd best thing that happened was to my sweet, scrawny, tiny and very dopey Batcat.
For Christmas, I got a cat flap and all the cats, except Batcat, loved it from the first Day. It was like a letterbox for cats. When they figured it out, it was like I could almost hear them saying ‘Mam – this is amazing, it’s our OWN DOOR!’ and they were in and out of it all day and have been since. Batcat on the other-hand was having absolutely none of it. She would cry and cry and cry until I opened the door. Despite my weeks of trying to coax and help her through, she didn’t seem to grasp the whole concept of the flap.
So back to my Tuesday morning where I needed a walk around the house with a glass of water to shake off this dream of being chased and eaten by a giant bacteria-worm down my Dad’s street.
Not surprisingly, there was Batcat, sitting at the back door whining for me to let her out. So I did, but not before warning her I was going back to bed so she was staying outside.
Off she went and off I went, back to bed. So there I was, dozing off and about to re-enter dream hell, when I heard that familiar letterbox noise, not once, not twice, not three times, but over and over and Over and OVer and OVEr and OVER.
I threw back my covers, in a rage! What was going on down there?!
I stampeded down the stairs ready to find out which of my little furry demons were trying to wind me up. But there, from down the hallway, I could see the tiny paw of my freaky Batcat.
I couldn’t believe it, she’d gotten her paw through the flap. Her whole Paw! Suddenly realising this could be the moment I had been waiting for – I stopped.
‘Come on girl, come on – you can do it!’ I coaxed in my softest voice while I crept toward the door, ‘Tsk Tsk Tsk, come on.’
Well, what can I say when I saw that little head come all the way inside I knew she had finally done it. It was like seeing a child walk for the first time, except better cause it was my baby Batcat! She chirped as she came through the cat flap and I scooped her up, giving her the most cuddly cuddle and strokes.
It was amazing and easily makes its way into the best thing that’s happened in months… Judge all you like.
So obviously after all this excitement there was no way I was getting back to sleep.
Me and Batcat went back to bed but we decided on a morning movie; The Spy who dumped me.
That was my 3rd best thing and I just need to say that every time I watch Mila Kunis in a film, I fall in love with her more and more. She is a great actress and absolutely drop dead gorgeous but she plays it off with such humility. With every film her characters get better and better. Next to her was Kate Mckinnon as her best friend and What. A. Pair… It made me want to call all my best friends and go to Prague… again.
The 4th was seeing my Family and finding out more about the latest project my Dad was into.
Then taking my little Sister and my baby nephew for food.
I went to see Pet Sematary at Cinema– completely alone.
That’s right, there was nobody else in the screening with me. I was so excited.
There was a bit of an issue though. I had geared myself up for a heart attack level of scare so bad that I would be white with terror and need an ambulance before the end. I must have ‘bigged it up’ too much though.
It was nowhere as terrifying as I thought it would be. I liked the soundtrack a lot, bodies dragging themselves around on wooden floors and bones crunching underfoot in the woods. A few scenes did make me shiver but I could have just been cold.
Then for the 7th event of the day, Costa! I went with a friend and I AM SO GLAD I DID. Obviously after seeing Pet Sematary, Stephen King came up. Then naturally IT came up and my friend casually mentions a metaphor I didn’t notice when I had read the IT book before. I could not let this pass me by (more on this when I read the book). I hadn’t read IT since I was 15, so within minutes, I was furiously tapping away on Ebay.
I’m now impatiently waiting for a copy of IT to make its way to me in the post.
The 8th best thing was A Clockwork Orange at Odeon
Popcorn and Pick ‘N’ Mix.
The 10th best thing of the day though… Recliners.
That’s right, Odeon have done their cinema out in Hull and Oh My Days! There is no other way to watch a film at cinema AGAIN.
They have actual, super comfy, recliners in in some of their screens. Oh Man, Oh Mannnnn!! The comfort level was through the roof. I even saw a few people go with blankets – which I am definitely doing next time I go. I don’t think I can leave it very long either. I want to take one of those recliners home with me. It was such a premier experience. Especially seeing A Clockwork Orange on the big screen which, by the way, gets better every time I see it.
We had picked up driving snacks and water in Asda and my co-pilot, Sam, was passing me crisps dipped in sour cream and slices of broccoli quiche as we went. We only stopped once an hour after leaving Hull; I wanted a soya milk Cappuccino from Starbucks – nom.
Only as we were approaching the last few junctions into Coventry, did I lose my head. My leg began to ache again and I could feel the skin around the bite getting tight.
So when a van with three men in the front pulled out on me at the roundabout, I shouted every swearword, held my horn down and made sure they saw me sign them. Naturally when I saw they were shouting something back, I was enraged.
“Ugh – who do they think they are? Shouting back?!?! I’m going back round!! I’m gona drive into them.”
“Oook, calm down, calm down -” everyone soothed.
Trying my hardest to get a grip of myself I said, “Sorry, I’m tired and my leg hurts.”
“Shall I drive the last bit?” Sam asked.
“There’s only 18 minutes left, I’ll be ok” – I could almost hear everyone’s thoughts: You might be ok, but we aren’t, you psycho. “- thanks though.”
We parked up next to an SUV with its windows down and plumes of Ganja smoke pouring out.
A few minor rants later we were at the apartment we had booked.
Scrambling for the door while we tried to find the hidden key, “Let us in”, I joked.
And that’s when the heavens opened, no really- let us in, I thought.
On the way from Hull we had gone from fluffy clouds, rain, big black grey clouds and stunning sunshine. We really had no idea what to expect from the weather tonight. Google had changed its mind every time we looked.
We grabbed every bag and case we could, nobody was going back out in that – and we sweated and scrambled up two flights of stairs.
It was 3pm.
For the next few hours the rain came down like it was trying to cleanse Coventry of some biblical stain. Never mind Spice Girls, it was looking more like Drowned Girls. The doors to the arena opened at 5pm but there was no way we would be there by then and none of us could see sense in getting there so early.
The others were only too excited to go to the concert and all I could think is how much I wanted to put my PJ’s on and rest my leg. Going out in the cold rain was the last thing I wanted to do. I may have been feeling sorry for myself, but I was genuinely gutted.
The day was ruined.
Within half an hour I was pretty much done and ready. It worked out well because I don’t think I could have managed any other Spice. I had the easiest dress up; trainers on my feet and Braids in my hair.
“I need help with my eyelashes”
“I can’t do my make up”
“What can I do with my hair?”
– well lucky for these lot, I was a bit of a Skilled Spice too and after a bit of sticking and a bit of spraying and lots of puffing and blowing and yanking – I had a Baby Spice, a Scary Spice and a Ginger Spice to go with my Sporty Spice.
….It only took 2 and half hours.
Ok, so everyone looked amazing and I couldnt help feeling excited again.
Time for a photo shoot – well, a phone propped up in front of the TV with a timer on – shoot.
We Zig-a-Zig-ahhed, peace signed and pouted for a good 20 minutes before I looked back out the window – ughhh it was so deflating, but Sam and Kate and Alex seemed completely unaffected. All I could think is how gorgeous they all looked and how washed out we would be after the rain got us.
“Did anyone bring a brolly?”…
“No”, everyone chimed.
Sam was counting the Uber down and we knew we would have to make a run for it. As the Uber approached it seemed the rain was getting worse.
We all started to check and pack our little bags.
We touched up our make up.
“Cigs, phones, keys…??”
“Three minutes, ok lets head down”, Sam shouts.
Everyone chugged their final drinks.
“Have you got the tickets?” Kate asks.
“Oooh my God, noooo”, shouts Sam with a giggle, “I almost left them”.
“SAAAMMM!!!” we all shout.
“I’m too excited”, she squeals as she shoves them into her little pink backpack. Thank God for Kate.
We made it down the stairs without falling down them, which was a win considering the heels on everyone but me.
By the time we were in the Uber, the downpour was so horrendous, we could barely see out of the windows.
I was now Grumpy Spice.
I’m just going to stand at the bar, I want to go home, is it over yet, my leg hurts so bad, this is shit… of course I didn’t say any of that, but you could have probably read it on my face.
As we were pulling into the side of the arena, Sam, Kate and Alex were a gaggle of gorgeous squealing Spice Girl fangirls; meanwhile, I was looking for those people selling ponchos on the side of the road because that was where I was going to ask the driver to pull up.
There were two poncho sellers as we got out the car. A woman first then a man almost right behind her.
I saw immediately that they were selling were little more than bin-liners with hoods.
“How much for four?” I call to the lady.
“Three Pounds each!” She says and I can’t help but scoff.
“Give us four for a tenner?” I ask and she shakes her head in disgust and mutters something under her breath.
The guy behind saw me and I shouted the same over to him, he resisted a little, but Sam was on it and already pushing a soggy £10 note into his hand. Defeated, he dished out the hoods.
“Yessss!” Why I felt this was such a win is beyond me, but I was chuffed to bits with my tinted pink bin-liner hooded poncho.
So with my mood lifted, despite the god-awful rain, the only thing really messing me up now, was my leg. The queues were only a few people deep, so we had timed it perfectly… or had we?
We weren’t waiting long to get into the arena and out of the rain but once inside, there was a 15 minutes wait for the toilets, (I wasn’t bothered about that- I was just happy to be out the rain) and the brief moment on the loo was sweet relief to my poor foot while I was sat down.
The next queue was the food and beer queues!! This was easy going to be half an hour. There may have been nobody in the queues outside, but that was because they were all in queues in the arena waiting for beers and burgers.
In all our waiting about in different queues, I noticed all the men. From 16 to 60!! There were loads of them. What were they all doing here? Spice Girls had a following that surpassed thousands of eight year-old school girls and I was shocked to see the range of their audience. But the more the merrier, I guess.
Through the gaps in the stands we could see the rain was stopping. Even in our plastic ponchos and half sodden, we were still the best dressed Spice Girls in the arena and I was chuffed to bits at how awesome everyone looked.
I won’t say what we ended up paying for four pints and a burger, but what really pissed me off, was that it said there was a veggie option on the menu and when our own Ginger Spice, Kate, asked for one, the server said nowhere in the arena does veggie food!! She was a total bitch about it too (we even saw someone with chips a bit later, but it was way too late at that point). So I hope karma gets a hold of her and gives her a severe rash or something for being so rude. Poor Kate settled for a bit of a burger bun, but she was far too excited to care.
Anyyyyyways!!! Finally we were getting somewhere, the rain had become nothing more than a trickley spit. That was enough for Alex and Sam – they tore off their plastic ponchos in an epic effort to show up the real Spice Girls! Alex even looked so good she ended up on Mel B’s Instagram. G’wwwaaan Alex!
As for me and Kate, we were a little more skeptical about the weather and ours stayed on a little longer. I was keeping mine on because as soon as we found a spot away from the crowd down the side of the arena, I planted myself on the floor. I was going to drink my beers and rest my leg.
I didn’t care who was looking (everyone looked). I’d had less than three hours sleep, I’d driven two and half hours and barely sat down since I got out the car, I was cold and wet, my leg hurt and worst of all… I WAS THIRTY TODAY!!!!
Yes, I felt sorry for myself. More than anyone had felt sorry for themselves in the history of feeling sorry for themselves. I was sitting on the floor of that stadium until I had finished this beer and that was that.
It was my birthday and I’ll sulk if I want to.
Ten minutes into my resting-sulk, a ripple of commotion began fluttering through the crowd. It was too early for Spice Girls so it could only be Jess Glynne, the support act; one of Alex’s favourite singers.
I had no choice, something was starting and as patient as Kate and Sam and Alex had been, they needed to be closer to the show – who was I to hold them back.
Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the atmosphere, (or maybe I really just needed that ten minutes on the floor) but as music started I was lifted (figuratively and physically, because I needed a hand up). Alex, Kate and Sam’s excitement and squeals were infectious.
To me and a lot of others around us, Jess Glynne looked a lot like she was coming out of a ket-hole and she seemed tired and bored. My sister on the other hand, couldn’t have been more thrilled and was having the time of her life, so that was good enough for me.
As the crowds grew louder laughing, singing and dancing, it was as though the Sun wanted in on the action, and glorious orange beams of light began to warm up the arena; it was time to lose the poncho.
… and go for another wee… and get more beer!
Alex and Kate went first, missing the last two songs from Jess Glynne’s crack-set and with only minutes to spare Sam and I decided to brave it.
After fighting our way through the crowds… (well, I smashed people out the way dragging Sam behind me), we finally made up to the stairs, then down to the toilets where 40 other women waited in line. Now if there hadn’t of been attendants checking the male toilet doors, we would have happily hovered over a urinal but not wanting to get thrown out, I restrained myself. So from Stand 23, I dragged my Baby Spice all the way to stand 36 where we waited all of 3 minutes for a loo.
As it turns out, Sam’s feet didn’t hurt until I made her run 13 stands worth of arena…
“Aw no, we still need beers”, Sam reminded me. Feeling a little bad for being the most comfy and agile Spice Girl at this point, (as well as for my Grumpy behaviour) I decided to take one for the team because minutes before I was due to be served, we heard the intro to Spice up your Life.
“Sam, Go Go, get us a little vid of the opening!!!” I shouted, getting butterflies and goosebumps all over. It took everything I had not to start screaming with the overwhelming excitement I felt in that moment.
“No, I can’t it’s your birthday, you go”, Sam argued.
“Get your Baby Spice Ass up them stairs now, I will be up in a minute I am almost being served” I shouted. With the biggest grin and a little squeak she was flying up the stairs!!
Moments later I had five bottles and was running up the stairs after her.
AND THERE THEY WERE!!!!!!
Every good thing I remember about being a little girl was right there!! The Mother Ducking Spice Girls Baby!!!!!!!
It took my breath away!! The real girls were stood right there, singing their hearts out. Trotting up and down the stage like they did in their 20’s. Here they were now, with a whole generation of life and experiences behind them like we all did. They had all grown-up!! But here we were and I felt eight years old again.
Grabbing my hand and with so much hysterical energy that it almost came off, Sam took over dragging us both back to the spot where Alex and Kate were waiting.
When they saw us through the crowds we were finally complete. We were a frenzy of screams and squeals.
We sang, we laughed, we cuddled, we screamed, we cheered, we danced we screamed and cheered some more!
I was not prepared for how overwhelmed and emotional I felt seeing our childhood superstars chatting and laughing and singing right in front of us. I imagine a lot of people might think, Oh Come On, it’s only the Spice Girls for God sake; but to think when I was a little girl, going to concerts just didn’t happen to us, they were just too expensive. So stood there, in that moment, it was like we were at a concert we had been waiting 20 years to go to.
It may have been a helluva day –
But it was nothing compared to the birthday night of my life.
The night was mindblowing from one song to the next! The Spice Girls, from what I have read, have had some rave reviews. I aren’t going to go into much detail about the night with the girls on stage. They were absolutely fantastic and deserved every bit of praise they get and if you didn’t get chance to go then I am sorry you missed out.
That’s how old I was when Spice World, the Spice Girls movie came out in 1997.
I remember knowing every single dance move and every word of every song. I had their official Spice Fever cheap bubble bomber jacket that I wore until there were big tears with fluff coming out.
Let’s just say, like millions of other young Girls, my sister and I thought we were real Mini-Spices!
To many of us Generation Y kids, they were the original Girl Band. Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary and Sporty – a girl for almost every personality. Good or Bad – thousands of us Loved It.
Imagine my excitement when my Dad’s Girlfriend messaged me and my sister to say she was dragging us both, with her friend, to see Spice Girls on my 30th birthday (courtesy of Dad’s bank account – thank you, Dad).
The date was June 4th. The place was Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
No expense would be spared. This was the concert of our lives. There were going to be t-shirts, dress-ups, playlists and poses!!!
On the lead up to an event we had been waiting for months, we made so many plans for the day, it had to be just right.
So naturally, when it came to the actual day, a LOT of things went wrong.
I had been lucky enough to have a birthday party planned by my friends on the 1st of June. It was Festival themed – with tents, music, a BBQ and acrobatics in the grass. Despite my friend Amber, spraying us all down numerous times with bug repellent, I was bitten by some cheeky little nipper on my foot.
Nevermind, one bite is annoying, but manageable, ay? Hahahaa, nope!
As midnight rolled over and the 3rd of June became the 4th (my birthday), I was on the phone to emergency doctors worried I may need my foot amputating. Of course, I was being dramatic but I did have a bad infection and I spent the early hours of the morning seeing a GP who had to prescribe me with antibiotics (for a brief moment I was devastated until he advised me that alcohol was not a problem with this particular brand – what a win).
Off I went, hobbling home in pain, now dreading the concert I had looked forward to for the most part of the year.
I flopped into bed gobbling down my first Antibiotic, and with a cold flannel on my poorly, bright red and purple throbbing balloon ankle I tried to sleep.
When I woke up a few hours later I threw back my covers in a panic because I could still feel the ache. Although it still looked like I’d been bitten by zombie, my leg was a lot less swollen. Thank God, I thought.
Keep your leg up, everyone said – and ohhh did intend to. There was a two and a half hour journey to Coventry – plenty of resting time.
From a mixture of road-rage, stress and headaches I’d given up my car over a year ago, but I could still bomb about in my Dad’s if I needed to. On this occasion though, Dad’s girlfriend, Sam had opted to drive so I looked forward to keeping my leg firmly rested on the back seat.
We all planned to meet at my Dad’s house, so at 9.30am my sister picked me up with my bags.
I was surprised to walk through the door and see banners, balloons, party poppers, a cake, cards, presents, a breakfast banquet and everyone lined up shouting Happy Birthday.
I was immediately happier. The ache in my foot was fading away and being replaced by excited squeals.
So, let me introduce you to the Spice Girls from Hull. There was me, I was Sporty Spice. Alex (my sister) was Scary Spice. Sam (Dad’s Girlfriend) was Baby spice. Kate (Sam’s bestie) was Ginger Spice (Posh spice wasn’t doing the tour so we weren’t too bothered about finding our 5th traitor Spice).
After a photo shoot by Dad (a real photographer), we had our t-shirts on and our bags packed – the car loaded up and Spice Girls CD at the ready; so it was time to get on the road.
– oh, er after we went to Asda… Oh, and then the petrol station… Oh, and back home for the SatNav…
That was it, really…
…but just as I got my poorly leg sprawled out on the back seat (over my sister’s legs) -“Oh no”, shouts Sam, as we set off for the 3rd time, “I haven’t taxed my car”. We all look at each other.
“I’m on it”, shouts Alex, “what’s your Reg Number?”
They to-and-fro questions and answers as Alex tries to make the transaction on her phone.
“Unable to complete- MOT Out of Date. Sam, when is your MOT due?” Says Alex.
“Whaaaaat?” Squeals Sam. “Not for, like, another month. Let me call your Dad.”
At this point we are only approaching the town centre and not too far away from home.
“Dean, we can’t tax my car it says the MOT is out of date”.
“Whaaaaat?” He laughs down the speaker phone. “Hang on, let me have a look.” There’s a pause, some scrambling and paper-shuffling noises at the other side of the line — “Sam, it ran out yesterday.”
“Saaaaam” Me, Kate and Alex shout in unison.
Sam let’s out a nervous giggle and a much quieter “Oh No”. We all see her look about the car and realise she needs to pull over.
“Dad, I shout from the back, can you get your car to us on St Andrews Quay? We will pull over there. You can take Sam’s car home and we will take yours.”
“Going to have to, aren’t I”, he chuckles.
The phone clicks off. There’s a silence before we all burst out laughing and start ribbing Sam.
“I can’t believe it, I thought it was next month”, obviously a bit shocked, she then says, “erm, I can’t drive your Dad’s car though”. Before anyone can get anymore concerned about the situation –
“Don’t worry I love that little Golf”, I pipe up, “it’s a right go-er, I’ll do it.”
“What about your leg though?!” She says, a little worried.
We turn into the car park of the Quay.
“It’ll be fine, I’ll only be using it to accelerate, if it gets bad, you might have to bite the bullet – but Kate and Alex can both drive too. We’ll be fine.”
Thirty minutes pass and my little brother rolls into the car park.
“Yayyyy,” we all cheer, “Thanks Ben.”
We repack the cars, going from a 2006 Ford Fusion 1.6 TdCi to a 2006 Golf 2 Litre SDI 60mpg car in a few minutes. We weren’t messing about.
I strap myself in, adjust the mirrors, make the seat low and get into gear.
We tear out the car park before Sam shouts again, “Oh no, WE LEFT THE CD IN THE OTHER CAR!”
“Let’s just get there shall we”, Kate and Alex shout.
Here I am, having a catch up with myself at 2.30 in the morning, but it serves me right for having a 3-hour nap earlier.
I’m completely out of sync with my sleep this week and I’ve been unable to get back into a rhythm since my last night shift a few days ago.
If you work nights, you’ll understand the struggle of managing your day life and your night life and your social life and your health life and… I’m sure you get the picture.
So here I am, trimming and pruning the next few posts (I don’t like doing one thing at once… no, I have to do everything at the same time) while also writing this one but enough moaning about that. I only have 2 more nightshifts and 3 very long all-day shifts before it’s all over and I change jobs. I may have enjoyed most of it while it lasted (it was an interesting experience), but for so many reasons I had to give it up.
It’s been an arduous month of interviews and multi-tasking and babysitting (so much babysitting), but I’m so excited to say that I’ve found another job and I will be working days again (and no more weekends).
The photo above is an hour before I attended my final interview… er, yesterday I guess… after a night of (like the picture says) 3 hours sleep .
This has been one of the most testing months I have had in a while but I feel like it’s all been worth it even though I spent a lot of time worrying about, things that seemed to just fall into place anyway.
It could be all the sunshine & vitamin D or maybe I’m finally just crawling out from under the rock I’ve been living under, but I finally feel excited for something and it has been such a long, long time.
yes, I just nicked the title of a famous Only Fools and Horses episode.
new, welcome. If you’ve been before, then welcome back.
Big welcomes all round.
So, I’m trying this blogging thing out and I reckon one of the easiest ways to practice writing to a bunch of people is to write about the things I know.
my home town.
One of my favourite things about Hull is that if you want something to do for the day, we have a little bunch of free museums. They’re decent ones too, especially if you don’t have a lot of money.
they are no Natural History or Science Museum (like in London), but they make
for a nice wander around the city centre.
We also have the Deep, which is about £10 per person, but you only need to pay once for the whole year.
to the point, there’s a new addition to the city centre.
It’s been open a few months and if you live in Hull you may have missed it. I went with some friends and we all remembered it as the old art shop down West Street (behind Brookes and Cooplands).
It had a
door price of £11 but they were having a 2-4-1 deal and I thought that was
reasonable for something different. As it happened, we weren’t in there for
very long, so with the full price in mind, I’d think £11 was a bit steep.
experience is that you’re guided around a few rooms by different actresses in
full costume and let’s just say, it does not look like the art shop now. I
don’t want to spoil it for anyone that’s not been yet, so I won’t give away too
It looks great in there, but…
And yes, there is a but which I don’t like because it’s not like anyone heads to a day out and thinks,
‘i hope this event is a waste of my money and there’s loads wrong with it’…
on Live Experience tours before and they have blown me away and this Live
Experience had a few well executed scares. BUT –
hoping for a bit more information around the tour, a few more fact nuggets. The
stories they told us weren’t very well formed and there were a few things that just
didn’t quite make sense.
would also say things like stay away from that corner, or that some people
would be coming, but nothing would happen, or the people didn’t show up.
agreed we got the sense the actresses are only just learning their roles. It
was very amateurish and felt a bit silly. The last lady was brilliant, but we
only had her for a few minutes.
maybe the tour guides need to go see a few live tours, they need to fine tune
their scripts and work on the information they’re telling customers.
If they accept they’re not quite there yet and try and learn a more about the stories they are telling and what do’s and don’ts work in a Live Experience tour then I am sure it’ll all get much better.
Places trying to get established in Hull need our support so I definitely think everyone should give it a go, even if its to leave some feedback.
For now, though, I hope they keep that 2-4-1 offer on while they are still practicing.
It is no secret how much I love my cat family. Hugo, Patch, Jessie & Batcat.
I’m so boring when it comes to my cats and I can almost feel everyone’s eyes roll into the backs of their heads when I start to tell yet another story about them. If I work with you, if you’re my friend, neighbour or family, or a stranger in the street, you will hear me talk about at least one of my four cats during an encounter.
This one is about Patch.
I used to have a beautiful black cat called Scarlet but she took it upon herself to leave me and I never saw her again. She just never came home and since then, I have been dreading the day that I notice I’m a cat down. It may be less stressful to keep them inside, but I feel like it goes against their natural behaviour.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that my cute but scraggly Batcat, had her momentous achievement of getting into the house through the cat-flap (it had been months of trying to coax, cajole and con her through it). Since then, not only does she come in, but she goes out too; she’s a fully fledged cat-flapper-cat.
Alas, a few days after the cat-flap breakthrough, Patch decided that the day had come to put me through the same as Scarlet.
Although Patch is one of my more aloof Kitties and only comes to have the odd bit of attention when no other cat is about, I can always rely on her come meet me in the street when I home from a night-shift.
On the fateful morning of April 12th I didn’t get my usual fussy Hello. A little worried, but also aware of my tendency to over-react, I went to bed knowing I would be up in an hour or two for my new internet upgrade, and she would probably be home by then.
Less than two hours later I was awakened by my horrifcally loud door-bell and two very polite, smiling internet engineers.
“In there fellers,” I directed them to the living room at the back of the house, “help yourselves”. I stuck my head out of the front garden gate and gave a short whistle for Patch. Nope, still no sign (“don’t over-react, don’t over-react, don’t over-react”).
After a few trips in and out of the back garden, the odd whirring of drilling and stapling of wires, they were done “Bye, love” they say, and they were off.
Still, in the hours to come, there was no sign of my fur-baby Patch. Thoughts of all the horror stories I had ever heard were beginning to race through my mind and by tea-time I had resided myself to the fact that she wasn’t coming home or she was cold, injured and hiding – alone and frightened somewhere.
I went out several times into the night looking for her. Every moment that passed only convinced me more that she was gone for good.
By the next day I had over 50 shares on a Facebook post, had driven about Hull with my sister following up on any dead cat sightings people posted, and replied to several comments and messages from well wishers and cat lovers alike providing me with comforting advice (which surprisingly, actually was comforting).
"She may have been spooked and is hiding until it's safe to come back"
"She may have just gone exploring, Cats do this from time to time"
"Mine was missing a whole two weeks before she came back, I know what you're going through, try not to get too upset at this point"
Other comments included advice about when was best to go and look for her and different ways to lure her back.
The next day at work, I was worrying the whole time. It was so nice to hear from people and what their experiences had been. I was trying to convince myself that this was a normal thing that could happen and maybe I shouldn’t bee too worried at this point; it had only been a day (this was not me over-reacting by the way).
By the end of the day, one of my posts had racked up nearly 80 shares. That may not seem a big deal to some people but to me I was so grateful that there was a whole 80 people that wanted to help me out.
It was a late finish from work and it wasn’t until 11:30pm that I rocked up at home with a frog in my throat when I realised for a second day that she wasn’t home. All the comments and well wishing that had kept me calm through the day didn’t seem to mean much when I didn’t see her trot up to me in the street.
It was a little after midnight when I went back out shaking my treats, with no real expectation of seeing Patch… but who comes trotting around the corner like nothing had happened?
Of course I spent the next 20 minutes sobbing uncontrollable tears of joy and Patch did nothing but try and wriggle free wondering why I was being so clingy.
She hasn’t done it since. In fact, in the last few weeks since she has even taken to sleeping upstairs with the rest of the cat-fam. I aren’t complaining.