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Star Wars: The Fangirl Awakens

I didn’t see any Star Wars films until I was 17, and even then I only saw Episodes 1-4. Aka the prequels and the original film. So when the new Star Wars film was announced I wasn’t really fussed, because, well, I didn’t care about the original six films. Of course, by law of averages, some of my friends love Star Wars. And that’s how I ended up seeing Episode VII Star Wars: The Force Awakens the day it came out.

Warning: Spoilers abound.

The first thing I have to say is that it was very weird seeing it on the day it came out as a non-pre-existing fan. The cinema had hired a Wookie, a Storm Trooper and a character that I still don’t know who it is. And of course, they decided I was the best person out of my group of friends to talk to. I have one of those faces, you know. And the cinema was full. Absolutely packed and everyone was so very excited. As someone who was and still feels kind of eh about the original films, I felt very out of place.

And then the film started. So yeah. You’ve read the title of this post. You know where this is going. I loved it. Like, really loved it. And maybe I didn’t get all of the references and maybe I thought the old guy at the start was Obi Wan Kenobi (kinda hard when he died in an earlier film), but it was such a good film. I’m not sure how best to structure this so I’m going to go for a list of all the things I loved.

  1. Rey

Oh my god, Rey is incredible. Kickass, mechanic, pilot, emotional, caring, quick thinking. She’s everything I ever wanted in a female heroine. She’s so great.

  1. No romantic plot

The only stated romantic plot in The Force Awakens is Han and Leia. Nothing was shoehorned in to make Rey have a boyfriend or to have unrequited feelings for another character. She makes friends and it doesn’t go further. I can’t remember the last time I watched a film where the lead was a woman and there was no romantic story line.

  1. Leia

Leia’s incredible. Super incredible. A General with excellent hair who carries on through major personal grief. I want to be her.

  1. How good a film it is

I’ve seen The Force Awakens twice now. That’s how good it was. And the second time I saw it? I wasn’t bored once. What’s even cooler is that both times I’ve immediately wanted to watch Episode VIII.

  1. Supporting characters

The internet’s going crazy over Finn and Poe, and quite rightly too. Finn is the sweetest ex-stormtrooper imaginable and Poe is everything I ever wanted from a resistance pilot. They’re great characters and I’m so looking forward to seeing them in the next film.

So there you have it. It’s a fantastic film and I now own much Star Wars merchandise, from a Rey keyring to a resistance mug to a resistance sticker on my laptop. If anyone wants to buy me a BB-8, let me know. Of course, I still haven’t seen Episodes 5 & 6, and to be honest, how much I love Episode VII doesn’t make me want to watch the old ones.

What did you think? Were you disappointed in the lack of Jar Jar Binks? Is General Hux just a death eater version of Bill Weasley? Will the resistance ever look less then fabulous? My comments section is open.

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If It Ain’t Got That Swing

So recently I’ve been to two electro swing concerts, and have blogged about neither so far. And thus today’s post so about the genius of Parov Stelar and Caro Emerald, and how I need all concerts to have an excitable saxophonist from now on.

Parov Stelar

In November, I was listening to Parov Stelar as I often do, and idly wondered if the band was touring. To my shock and delight, they were. And they were going to be in Stuttgart at the same time as I was. So I messaged Helen and made her agree to come with me.

Getting to the Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle was surreal for two reasons. 1) I learnt about Hanns Martin Schleyer at university because German history and 2) it’s next to the Porsche arena and the Mercedes Benz arena so their names were up in lights.

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A little bit surreal.

When we got into the arena, we headed straight to the bar for pretzels and beer, because when in Germany, right? The arena wasn’t exactly full, and as we had standing tickets, I was looking forward to not being super squished. And then the support act started.

Eugene and the Cat are an Austrian band, who play jazz, swing and glitch hop. No, I have no idea what glitch hop is, but I was looking forward to finding out. I still have no idea what glitch hop is. But Eugene the Cat were pretty great. Super energetic, super excited to be there – all in all a great support act.

And then after a long interval in which the entire arena filled up, Parov Stelar came out. And the crowd went wild.  With a DJ, double bass, bass guitar, guitar, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and vocalist, there’s a lot going on. But because me and Helen had bothered to watch Eugene and the Cat we were really close to the front, so we got to see all the dorky dancing and how excited the saxophonist was.

We spent a good while trying to figure out which of them was Parov Stelar and decided it must be the saxophonist because he was enjoying himself so much. I had a lot of fun and Helen even had a good time, which is good seeing as I’d made her come with me to see a band she’d never listened to before. And then we nearly missed the last tram home because we were buying merch.

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All my pictures are blurry because I was dancing too much.

Good night. Such a good night. I would definitely recommend seeing Parov Stelar because they had so much energy. It was one of the best atmospheres of any concert I’ve ever been to. And I went to see S Club 7.

Caro Emerald

Caro Emerald was my first explicit introduction into electro swing and I am really grateful that my Dad discovered her, because she is great. We went to see her in 2014 and about a month later we booked tickets to go and see her in 2015.

Cue Decemeber 2015, and me and Dad were in Nottingham ready to see Caro Emerald again. Supported by Andreya Triana who was freaking amazing, Caro Emerald wasn’t too shabby either.

With a band that between them played keyboards, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, double bass, bass guitar, and a DJ, many of the songs were more electro than the CD versions, and that was fantastic. I do love me some electro in my swing.

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Again, awful quality because I was dancing an awful lot.

Not only were the band good at music, they were pretty good at dancing too. At one point two of them abandoned their instruments to break into the Charleston in the middle of the stage. And Caro Emerald did exactly what I would do if I were a singing sensation – she took her shoes off and joined in.

It was such a good evening and I can relive it, as when buying a programme you got a code to download the audio from any concert from The Absolutely Me Tour. Caro Emerald always gets an audience dancing, and really what more could you want?

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Being Resolved

Welcome to 2016! If you follow the Gregorian Calendar, obviously. I hope the holiday period has been good for you. I’ve managed to see family and friends and eat way too much so my holiday has been pretty great.

It’s traditional at this time of year to come up with resolutions and it seems to be a modern tradition to put those resolutions on the internet. I’ve never really been one for making resolutions, but I suppose I can try. So have a list of things I want to do this year:

  • Start going to swing dance again.

I haven’t been swing dancing with any regularity since I left university and I miss it an awful lot. So I’m going to make the effort to go to classes.

  • Join a gym. Go to the gym.

I’m booked onto a swing dance weekend in March and if I want to dance the whole night through, I’m gonna have to get my stamina up. Way up. And so, the gym.

  • Keep on top of minor jobs.

I have a habit of needing to do something that’ll take 10-20 minutes and deciding to put it off. Again and again. It’s idiotic and I’m an adult* now. Maybe I should get on changing that.

  • Go adventuring

I love travelling with my friends. It’s so much fun and so far they haven’t said that they hate spending time with me. So whether in this country or another, I’m hoping to go adventuring with my favourite people again.

These are the only ones I can think of right now. If you’ve got any you think I should add to the list or want to let me know what you’re hoping to do this year, either leave a comment below, or tweet me at @KatandStuff. Or use any of the other methods of communication listed here.

 

*Sort of.