When Vipers Sing (Poem)

I see you crippled by the endless pains

Which claw at the mind and senses.

I see the nest of vipers whisper

Behind your back and

Sing songs of themselves.

They wrap the truth in skins of fruits

That are long since past their prime.

Some do think you cannot fight

Yet you fought in years of recent past.

Smite the vipers one by one

And beat this darkness alone.

Is This the Way to Amarillo? (Parody)

Going travelling around Europe and having nothing to show for it except a load of photos and a slightly higher appreciation of culture?

Nope, we couldn’t resist but make a video on our little holiday, and here it is. We made it as a parody to Peter Kay’s 2005 music video for Tony Christie’s song Is This the Way to Amarillo?

To read about our trip, check out my articles on; Venice, Budapest and Athens.

Interrail Trip 2016 – Athens, Greece

img_20160720_113502Our final destination was Athens. I was originally not going to document this part of the trip as… what Athens in Greece stays in Greece! Hahaha, I’m so funny. Right let’s get on.

We were staying at Pagration Youth Hostel, just a short journey from the city. It was an odd place, as there were rooms in two different buildings, and a corridor had grown in the space between them. It was swelteringly hot there, not something I can blame on the hostel sadly, meaning our most important daily choice was falling asleep in a baking tray, or falling asleep to the sound of noisy air fans. What I have since learnt is that the summer is not Greece’s biggest tourist season, for this very reason.

img_20160721_184226But that did not stop us from seeing ‘the sights’. On the first day we visited the Panathenaic stadium, the sight of many of the ancient Olympic games. Throughout the week we also saw the Acropolis [where the Parthenon is], the outdoor theatre of Dionysus and the Temple of Hephaestus. And of course no holiday to a Greek city is complete without visiting a museum or two. The museum at the Stoa of Attalos contained many crumbling and headless statues for us to gaze at (and a water fountain), whilst the Acropolis museum was hugeeeeee and contained a vast array of objects from Athens’ long history.

To say that all three of us are ‘artists’ would be an exaggeration (I for one am not nearly creative enough) but we did want to check out a bit of art whilst we were there, so decided to spend a day at the National Gallery of Athens. We packed our sandwiches, put on two layers of sun cream and walked for an hour to get there. The building site we found was a little bit of a disappointment however. The gallery was being rebuilt, meaning the whole collection was being img_20160725_110008housed temporarily at an ex-army base across the city. That didn’t deter us! We love long walks in the sun! (ignore my sarcasm, the chance to feast my eyes on Nikolaos Gyzis’ Behold the Bridegroom Arriving made the whole trip worthwhile).

The actually city of Athens, however, is not as nice as its history. Traffic law or one thing the Greeks haven’t decided to adopt. Cars jumped red lights left right and centre, motorbikes mounted the pavement to skip traffic queues, and one women parked her motorbike in the bread section of Lidl. Not to mention the streets were crawling with stray cats (interestingly Lidl capitalised on this by selling very reasonably-priced cat food) and pickpockets were also something to be wary of.

This interrailing/interplaning/travelling/culture-fest really was a wonderful experience! I loved seeing the three amazing cities, and dipping my toe into the ocean of ‘independence’. Totally recommend guys, go for it!

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Interrail Trip 2016 – Budapest, Hungary

img_20160712_135513So the next location in our world-wide expedition, was Budapest. We actually arrived at this one at a sensible hour of the day, so no rough airport camping for us #winning. We caught the metro from the airport to Budapest town and then arrived at our hostel (Google Maps was a little more accurate this time).

Our hostel was called ‘Carpe Noctem Vitae’ which, as the well versed among you have undoubtedly already worked out, means ‘seize the night life’. It was inhabited by that intimidating breed of human; millennials. Not any millennials though, the fun, up-beat, really cool and hip and enviable millennials who everrrrrry body wants to be, and who drank their nights away in a succession of ‘ruin pubs’.

img_20160716_183051Okay, they were actually quite nice, and they didn’t steal our food which was good. For the second half of the trip we stayed at HIVE hostel. Now this place looked like a space, but the lack of friendly youngsters made it feel oddly… empty.

The city of Budapest is actually very beautiful. Its huge, yet everything is spaced out so the roads and pavements are huge. In the middle of the city is Vajdahunyad castle. It’s a nineteenth century construction meant to showcase the architecture of older buildings, and it really pulls it off in a series of beautifully complex buildings. In the middle of the river is Margitsziget, an island entirely given over to parks and recreation facilities. Meanwhile the national Hungarian gallery across the river was showing a huge exhibition on Picasso, and we are all ‘cultured’ kids so we loved that.

img_20160719_124045We also met up with two friends who were also travelling at the time. Our days together included sightseeing in the middle of torrential rain (we got these sick waterproof ponchos though so it was okay), and climbing to the top of the Hapsburg citadel to watch the sun set over the skyline of the city. They also joined us for the famous Budapest pool party. Basically, hundreds of young millennials, a pair of ancient thermal baths, and some flashing lights. Can’t really describe it any better than that, but it was a great event to experience. And it meant I could use my minion swimming trunks again.

A wonderful city all-in-all. Had a lot of culture, nice nightlife, saw some Picasso which was cool. Didn’t I mean to say something about illuminati? There was illuminati graffiti EVERYWHERE!

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Interrail Trip 2016 – Venice, Italy

img_20160708_123531With the conclusion of our exhausting A-Level exams, my friends and I were left to enjoy a sprawling, three-month summer holiday. We had all decided to skip gap years (because realistically what would I do with my time?) and start university in September. So in the interim, we thought we ought to make ourselves more cultured and well-travelled and planned a short inter-railing break in Europe.

Our itinerary wasn’t as long as some, we decided to visit three locations (Venice, Budapest and Athens) and spend a week in each. We told ourselves this was so we could forge meaningful connections with our surroundings, and become closely acquainted with the area. But honestly, spending hours on a cramped European train every other day was not appealing. So unappealing in fact that we decided to fly between each location.

img-20160710-wa0037-copyWe set off from Heathrow, and landed at the Marco Polo airport in Venice at about 1 in the morning (it was the cheapest flight okay!) After a night on the airport floor we set off for our hostel, which Google Maps kindly told us was just a short walk away. In reality it was a three hour walk, struggling with our heavy camping bags, and dying from the knowledge that you can’t drink tap water in Italy.

We were all alive when we got there however, that’s all that matters aye.

The city of Venice was absolutely beautiful. Swelteringly hot and so bright I could hardly see even with sunglasses on, but it was worth it for the sights. Every side street, every building, every twist in the canal was just stunning. The architecture! The art! The pure, unadulterated poetry floating around us in the air! Look I appreciate stuff!

Whilst we were iimg_20160709_130221-01n the city we tried to visit the main sights. St Mark’s Campanile gave us (and my Instagram account) a great view over the city. The basilica was massive and beautiful and I’ve never seen so many paintings of Saint Peter in my life. We also got the ferry across to the island of Lido and went swimming on the beach. Good job I had purchased those minion swimming trunks right guys?

We were staying at Camping Rialto (there you go, some free promotion) which was a sort of hostel/campsite/caravan park hybrid. We got our own little shed and it was very cute, whilst over the road there was a Lidl, so we had baguettes when we needed them.

There was no wifi though, annoying. We had to keep popping in Burger King!

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Not Going Out Recording – Series 8

When it was announced that Lee Mack’s long running sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ was to end after its seventh series, audiences breathed a sigh of relief. The show may have won the BBC millions of viewers, been praised by critic for its multitude of one liners, and propelled he careers of its stars Lee Mack, Tim Vine, Katy Wix and Sally Bretton, yet frequent cast drop-outs and ever more predictable storylines were slowly having their effect.

The final episode, which featured the long-awaited yet un-expected marriage between Lee and Lucy, aired on Christmas Eve 2014, and the show was forever retired.

IMG_20160701_185809 - Copy.jpgOne year on and it seems the BBC is having problems commissioning new comedy. Not Going Out returned for a ‘one off’ Christmas special set one year after the finale. A couple of months after that, an eight series has been commissioned. So this’ll be fun!

The new series is set seven years after Lee and Lucy’s marriage. The two have moved out of their unrealistically-expensive London apartment to a semi-detached house in suburban Surrey. Surprise surprise they have children, three of them. Don’t bother learning their names though, the combination of strict child working laws and the show’s live audience recording slot means they appear about once an episode, and even then just to remind the audience they exist.

Katy Wix has moved on to bigger things, so Hugh Denis and Abigail Cruttenden (who had recurring roles in series seven) are promoted to series regulars. Some may argue a feuding, unhappily married couple are not the best additions to a light family drama, yet their characters are ideal for exploring the new, family setting of the show. Wait, didn’t they have a child last series, who should be seven by now??

IMG_20160701_185813 - Copy.jpgI attended one recording from the new series, yet it would be unfair to reveal specific plot points. The new format will definitely take some years to iron out, yet the change was necessary for a show stuck in such a repetitive loop. The new series will air later this year. For those who have seen ‘Not Going Out’ before, check it out. For those who haven’t, please please save yourself!

Walking Dead/Breaking Bad link Confirmed

There’s been a long-standing theory that AMC’s two biggest shows; The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, are set in the same multi-verse, with Breaking Bad set in the years preceding Walking Dead’s zombie apocalypse. There’s some (but not much) evidence to support this, including:

  • Walt’s blue meth appears in a bag of Merle’s drugs
  • The red ‘Dodge Challenger’ car appearing in both series
  • The name Glenn is mentioned in Breaking Bad (a pretty weak link this)
  • Daryl tells Beth how Merle’s dealer used the phrase “I’m gonna kill you bitch”

However, the season six finale offers us a bit more concrete evidence that connects the two shows, through the casting of Steven Ogg as an unnamed saviour.

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Steven Ogg in The Walking Dead

Ogg, famous for his role in the Grand Theft Auto games, popped up in the episode ‘Last Day on Earth’ playing a member of Negan’s psychotic band of survivors. Yet it was only last year Ogg appeared in Breaking Bad prequel ‘Better Call Saul, playing Sobchak, a gang member hired to protect an amateur drug dealer.

Both characters are violent, well enunciated, have a cool mustache and ARE PLAYED BY THE SAME GUY. If this isn’t proof that the two series co-exist, I don’t know what is. It can’t be a coincidence that AMC have refused to name Ogg’s Walking Dead character either.

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Steven Ogg as Sobchak in Better Call Saul

Also, my friend is trying to raise money to fund an exhibition, so please help. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Evolution2016