Eurovision

Eurovision was last night. As usual, it featured the expected cast of depressing ballads, underwhelming performances by previously successful stars, political voting, and nutters.

Now, I know that the Eurovision Song Contest hasn’t really been about the songs for a while. What with all the eastern block of Europe voting for each other and sending the highest points to those countries that share borders with, or have previously supported, the country in some way. No, the ESC has become a farce in my eyes. Something that most of us put on to enjoy the trashy commentary of Graham Norton here in the UK and watch some dire music acts and have a bit of a chuckle. It still shocks me how some countries win, despite a terrible song.

Now if I were in charge of the Eurovision Song Contest, I’d insist that there was an equal amount of effort put in to each countries entry, none of this synthesised techno club music and generic lyrics that sound like they could be out of a Calvin Harris song, like those of Loreen – this years winner. I’m not saying she didn’t deserve it, but it’s not hard to write and perform a club song where pretty much all of the lyrics are either the name of the song, repeated twenty thousand times or the word ‘up’. “Going up,up,up,up,up,up,up.” Come on, put a bit of effort in with the songs!

Now, for a hilarious song, we have the 2008 Latvian entry!

It might not be the best sung song, and a lot of it is repetitive but they put some effort in with the idea and the costumes. Good work Latvia.

No, the only recent ESC song that I have really liked was the 2009 winner, Norways Alexander Rybak and his song Fairytale. Rybak played the violin and sang during this song and the lyrics told a story, rather than filled space with a beat and synthesized bassline. It was a SONG for once, not a TRACK or an ANTHEM. It was what I think Eurovision should be about and I’d be glad for a return to every entry being of this calibre!

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Book Reviews: The Hunger Games Trilogy

This might seem a little behind the times, seeing as almost everyone has now seen the film and probably read the books, but here is my own little review for you.

The Hunger Games is the trilogy of books that everyone has been talking about recently. Written by Suzanne Collins the books have been read by millions of people worldwide and topped numerous best seller lists. The film adaptation of the first book in the trilogy has had success in multiple countries. Truly these books are seen to be something special.

So why am I going against all of this to say to you that in my opinion: ‘The Hunger Games’ was alright.

I’m  not going to rail against the books for being a travesty of modern fiction because, when all is said and done, they were a good read. The story itself was captivating and you wanted to read more, to find out what happened to Katniss – the series protagonist. The setting; the great, post apocolyptic nation of Panem; was intriguing and offered a stark contrast to some of the dystopian-set books that I’ve read. At least at first. I mean, the first book in the series, The Hunger Games, was a good read and an interesting story (if quite similar to many other stories that are out there already. Battle Royale anyone?) and I found the book difficult to put down at times. So with great expectations i set about reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the second and third titles in the series. It was right here that I got let down.

The sequels were just that. Sequels that just were’nt good enough to be books in their won right. All throughout Catching Fire I had the feeling that this was nothing but an overlong prologue for the third book. That the entire purpose of the second book was to pave the way for the third book and not provide any character development whilst doing it. The third book, Mockingjay, wasn’t much better. It tried to be a war story, but it didn’t do a very good job at it.

Overall, I found the trilogy to be a bit of a disappointment after the first book. Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable and readable but after the expectations that were given to me by the reccommendations of almost everybody that I know who read the books, I felt a little let down.

Overall, the trilogy gets a 7/10 with the first book deserving of a 9/10 on its own.

Dealing With Your Hangover: A Guide

I feel that it is safe to say that I have had my fair share of hangovers. As a student, a lot of your first year is spent socialising and attempting to make new and interesting friends and this usually involves the use of nights on the town and a fair bit of alcohol. From time to time you will likely over indulge and whilst you may feel amazing when still drunk, in the morning you will have to face the soul crushing agony that is…

THE HANGOVER

The hangover is your body’s way for punishing you for having too much of a good time the night before. It is “the experience of various unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, typically after the intoxicating effect of the alcohol begins to wear off.”
Sounds like hell right? Luckily, most hangovers don’t feature ALL of the symptoms, but merely a combination of a few – unless you’re really unlucky. So what can you do to fight back against this torment? Well, the first step is knowledge. “Forewarned is forearmed” as many great strategists have said after all.

The way I see it, there are a few different types of Hangover Sufferers and they all deal with them in their own way. Sometimes, a hangover may be so incredibly soul destroying that it resists the allocated treatment for your kind of hangover, so feel free to mix and match should that day ever come. But, straight on to the first type!

The Sleeper

The Sleeper is probably one of the most common forms of hangover sufferers. The only thing that can cure the insatiable pounding in their heads that resembles a 90s trance disco is to stay asleep for as long as humanly possible. This leads to the view that most students (as they are of course almost always hungover) are zombies. Wandering around, barely functioning and trying just to stay alive. The Sleeper requires a good 12 to 20 hours of sleep the day after a heavy night and no amount of sunlight will help!

The Exerciser

“Up and at ’em!” is the best way to describe this group. The layabout ways of The Sleeper have absolutely no place here as Exercisers need to get up and get moving, despite the splitting pain in their head. Hitting the gym, going for a run or cycle or even a brisk walk will blitz the toxic fumes left roaming the body and within a short time, you’ll be back up to a functioning level of humanity.

The Eater

Food. Food. FOOD! That’s what you need and it had better be fried! Eggs, bacon, sausage, anything. You need a lot of it and the greasier the better. All the fats from the fried food will soak up any remaining alcohol in your stomach and cure the roiling belly, possibly your least favourite part of the hangover.

The Preparer

If you’re a Preparer then you’ll have forced down some chips or toast before you get to bed, just so that you can let the carbs soak up some of your boozy binge whilst you try to sleep it off. Chances are, you’ll have also chugged a pint of crisp and cold water before stumbling your way up the stairs and plonking that second glass of water on your bedside table, ready for the morning – usually with a berocca next to it.

Personally, I’m an Exerciser. I get up early every morning anyway and I love hitting the gym so it makes it pretty easy to drag myself up and out of bed the morning after an over indulgance. That said, I do keep a glass of water by my bed, just in case. It never hurts to be prepared 😉