Skagboys – Irvine Welsh – Review

Since I read Trainspotting and Porno after renting them from the library the next town over during my high school years I have been yearning the release of a sequel to explain the madness and destruction that was prominent in the first two books about Welsh’s most famous set of characters. The sequel came in the form of Skagboys.

Renton, Begbie, Sickboy, Tommi and Spud.

As I expected the book would its main focus was on Renton the protagonist in both Trainspotting and Porno and it was interesting in learning about his childhood and how he ended up being a smack head.  What made Rent-boy’s story so interesting is the normality of it.  His story is not far off reality for a lot of people but this is why people love reading Welsh’s work – the gritty realism.

I have read nearly all of Welsh’s work and I can say that Skagboys is tame in comparison to some of his other works such as Filth which as the title would suggest is utter Filth – a great book but utterly disgusting. I was surprised to hear that Filth is being made into a film – straight to DVD I assume.  If it is not I will keel over in surprise.  Anyone who has read the book will know which part I am referring to.

I enjoyed Skagboys but if you are as familiar with Welsh’s work as I am then do not get your hopes up in it being the next Trainspotting or Porno.   I don’t think Welsh will ever write a book as good as them but then again he does not need to.  He has made such a name for himself that he could release anything and people would buy it.  I would do the same if I were him.

Renton’s rehab diaries are both sad in their realistic approach to rehab but humorous due to the in your face realism.  If you didn’t laugh you would cry is the approach here.

The characters stories are warming to hear but at times the book gets confusing because it is hard to tell who is the voice in the chapter.  I think this would be even more confusing for those that are not familiar with Welsh’s work.   The length of the book is questionable too.  I could be wrong but I think it is the longest book Welsh has ever wrote and if not it felt like it.  Usually I cannot put his books down but Skagboys although I liked it I found it hard to get through.

I feel bad not giving this book a glowing review because Welsh is my favourite author and wrote my favourite book which happens to be Porno but I felt I had to give it an honest review as the author if anything is honest in what he says. Skagboys is a honest review of what growing up in Edinburgh was like 1980’s during the economic downturn and there are parallels of that in Edinburgh today.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Review

On seeing the trailer for this film I cringed.  The trailer alone made me cringe but my friend over at Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding is a sucker for bad films so we went to see it one Orange Wednesday with the agreement that we would also see Dark Shadows.

I am not at all child friendly and I judge young people with kids – I am in no way having a baby in the near future. I’d rather cut off my arm. Please do not come at me defending yourself if you are a young parent because if you weren’t a young parent you would probably be in the judging crowd also. I’m just getting out there that I’m not broody.  At all. Give me a puppy over a baby any day. 
However I did enjoy this film.  Mainly because it looked at a lot of the funny things that pregnancy brings which no one on my facebook with child ever speaks of. I talk about all the crap that I face in my life as a graduate but no funny baby stories or stories of being woke up at 5am and wanting to kill said child?  I like a good hard side of realism with my pregnancy and  baby stories.  I think that is why I am such a cynic about young Mum’s.  I do not believe the keeping up appearances that Facebook allows. 
This film strips away that pretence though and looks at pregnancy from all angles – the good and the bad.  You will laugh out loud and you’ll have a little weep both happy and sad. I haven’t seen realism like this since Marinda was pregnant in Sex and the City.  I feel pregnancy is very sugar-coated these days. 
It’s a good girly film for those with or without children and then there is a half naked Joe Manganiello to oogle at – so you’ll come away having enjoyed the film in some respects.

Slutwalk – Edinburgh – 7th of July 2012 – Part 2

Ever considered taking part in a protest or doing something charitable but then never bothered getting off your ass and actually doing something?  Well here is your chance.   If you feel strongly about the safety of the women in Scotland and the world over then here is something you can do to show your discomfort towards sexual assault.  The cause does focus on women because it was women that raised their concern about societies views towards sexual assault.  You can find the background story of Slutwalk here – Slutwalk Part One but the protest is for all sexual assault across all genders, races and regardless of your sexual orientation.  

My fabulous friend Nicolle Mcsaveney has organised this event so that the people of Scotland can show their disgust towards the opinion that some people deserve to be raped because they’re ‘sluts’ – narrowed down to dress provocatively.  

“Let’s make a stand against rape and sexual abuse. Let’s make our opinions count. Let’s allow women to make their own sexual choices. And let’s give others the inspiration to speak out about their own experiences and know that they are survivors. not victims.

March with us on July 7th in Edinburgh. Thinking “oh, it doesn’t affect me.” or “it wont make a difference” are attitudes that will just encourage society’s view on rape culture to remain the same. This can’t continue”.

I’m sure we have all experienced that horrible feeling of fear when returning home from a night out or simply just being out on your own during the winter nights – that fear that someone is going to hurt you.  We shouldn’t have to fear this.  Yes we should always be cautious but we shouldn’t have to live in such fear.

If you want to contribute to trying to put a stop to this then join us on the 7th of July. For more information see:  The Facebook page or on Twitter @slutwalkedin 

Download Festival – 2012 – Friday – 8/06/2012

Each June myself and thousands of other rockers make our annual pilgrimage to Download Festival to worship the Gods of rock n roll – come rain or shine.  This year was the will be remembered as the year of the Download Downpour and the ten year anniversary of the festival.

From the minute we stepped off the bus at 1pm after travelling on a bus since 5.30am from Glasgow it started to rain despite our optimism during out journey into Donnington Park – the sun was shining.

We kept upbeat and made out trek into the park.  I call it a trek as the walk into Donnigton and then the process of getting camped is my least favourite part of the weekend.  It has never been easy – especially if you are a girl that does not pack light.  This year was worse than normal even though we got there on the Wednesday – which made me think it would be easier getting camped up. It took us about two and a half hours to get camped.  I stood for 45 minutes waiting for the stewards to open Brown Camp – which they did not open in the end.  During this time the rain started again – resulting in wrecked converse, soaked jumper, hair and furry jacket.  There goes any chance of looking stylish the rest of the weekend.  We eventually all got camped together and the rain died down for a little while – obviously it started back up and made everything beautifully muddy for the rest of the weekend but I’ll leave the mud stories for the next post.

True story, bro.

The first two days were honestly horrible everything was damp, a friends tent broke and I got myself lost which near resulted in a panic attack but you’ll be glad to know the rest of the weekend was better than the first two days. 

Friday – 8/06/2012

The weather was so bad that the opening time for the arena was delayed which meant some of the first bands did not get to play their set.  Bands such as Cancer Bats.  I felt really bad for those bands and I hope they are compensated somehow next year.  

The first act I seen was Billy Talent and singer Benjamin Kowalewicz was lovely enough to allow fellow Canadians Cancer Bats to come on stage and play one song. For me this symbolised exactly what Download Festival is about for a lot of people – love.  Love thy fellow rocker.  

After seeing Talent at Download 2009 I was excited to see them again as he gave a great performance back then.  Yet again they did not disappoint and played their new track Viking Death March.  It was great to hear new material from them and they were a great act to open Download 2012 for me.

 Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish were up next.  Nightwish are a band I loved dearly when I was sixteen but fell off the radar a little for me but after seeing them live they are back on my most recent playlist. 
Great band live – in both sound quality and stage persona.  There were a good mix of tracks from when Annette Olzon,the current singer, wasn’t in the band to their most recent tracks.   Definitely a band I will go and see when they tour – lots of smoke and pyro and the classical and folk music element to their music is utterly beautiful live.  
Music that will temporarily carry you off to another world. 

Closing the first night of Download was the man who epitomises rock n roll – Slash. If Billy Joel is Piano Man then Slash is Guitar Man and that is why I opted to see him over The Prodigy.  Well that and the fact that the beautiful Myles Kennedy was performing with Slash.

This was my second time seeing the combo of Slash and Myles Kennedy and I now think this gives me the authority to say that Myles Kennedy can do what Axl Rose does just as well if not better, with an air of professionalism and on time I might add.

The set-list was perfect – a great mix of tracks from the self-titled Slash album, the new album Apocalyptic Love album, classic Gun and Roses and finishing with Velvet Revolver.

Slash and Kennedy are both Grade A performers and I can’t imagine them ever letting a crowd down and the atmosphere is always electric.

The first couple of days of Download 2012 might have been miserable but I would not have missed singing along to Sweet Child of Mine out of tune with thousands of other people for the all the rain in the world.

Part 2 – Saturday – 9/06/2012 – The Treatment, Biffy Clyro, Steel Panther, Metallica, Heavens Basement Coming Soon. 

Mia Klose – The Return of Chick Rock With Balls.

Finally there is some chick rock on the scene that isn’t all about having a broken heart and executing revenge in a brutal yet whiny manner.  Mia Klose has brought the balls back to chick rock circa Joan Jett and The Runaways.  

Despite having Mia on twitter @Mia_Klose I didn’t pay much attention to her music until she approached me at Download Festival and told me I had great boobs and proceeded to put promotional stickers on them. Now it is not everyday that you get a good looking blonde rock chick feel your boobs so its safe to say I remembered her face and her name.  

The first thing you will notice about Mia is her striking beauty she is the epitome of rocking blonde bombshell but more Cherie Currie than Avril Lavigne in both looks and attitude.  I haven’t seen Mia live but I bet she packs swagger.  She looks like a girl that could control a crowd and leave them begging for more.

Her music has a great 80’s metal vibe to it which I feel is something that has been lacking in the UK metal scene.  They say grunge killed glam in the early 90’s well I think screamo killed the glam resurrection in the noughties but I am glad to see it making a comeback. 

“I am so lucky to have the chance to go where my passion takes me,’ she says. ‘I’m selfish enough to only indulge in what I find creatively stimulating. The artistic challenge has always been what motivates me when it comes to songwriting and performance, and that goes for the visual aspect too.”

It was clear from the point I met Mia, for the brief moment I did, that she that she dedicated to her music.  She was going around Download Festival handing stickering people with information on her album release instead of getting drunk, sunburnt and rocking out to the likes of Sebastian Bach.  Dedication right there.

You can check out Mia’s tracks such as Lady Killer and London’s a Heartbreaker at:

If you like the music of Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, Joan Jett or Lita Ford then you will not be disappointed. I look forward to seeing Mia progress in her career and wish her all the luck but I am sure she won’t need it for talent and charm go a long way in the business.

Best of British – Jubilee Beauty Special

1.  Soap and Glory and their charming products. 

A fairly new company only beginning in 2006 but is one that will be staying for a long time.  All products come in beautiful pink packaging with black and white photo’s on them.  Very 1950’s.  

The products range from the face wash I will review below to a make-up range that was launched last year.

Face Soap and Clarity – £6.13.

I have been using product since December 2011 at least once a day and it still is not finished.  I usually grudge spending over £3.00 on a face wash but I was defiantly be buying this again in the future since it lasts that long and is a good quality face wash.

The wash has a non-drying formula and contains superfruit plum skin brightening complex – so no squeaky  textured skin.  

The reason this product lasts so long is because of how little of it you need to use at a time.  Unlike some face washes that say ‘use a pea-sized amount’ and you end up needing to use a lot more this one you really do only need a ‘pea-sized amount’.

2.  Johnson’s Baby and their Baby Wipes. 

 A staple in any festival-goers luggage and a necessity for anyone with a baby.  When people think baby wipes they think Johnson’s because they have the reputation of being the best.  The wipes contain no alcohol so will not dry out your skin and are made of 97% pure water with just a touch of baby lotion. I occasionally buy a packet of these rather than cleansing wipes as they do the job just as good and at £2.39 for a pack of 64 you can’t complain there.

3.  N-spa and their indulgent beauty products.

This company do the most decadent bubble bath perhaps ever – such as gingerbread latte and hot butter fudge bath – and for this reason are one of my favourite British beauty companies.  The N in N-Spa stands for Nirvana and this is an apt description.  The bubble baths are great for winding down after a stressful week as they smell so great and leave your skin feeling moisturised.  

As the name suggests there is an actual spa but I have not been to it but the bubble baths make you feel like you have been at a spa for a little while.  I have used their bubble baths, body scrubs and a lovely mint foot cream of theirs.  Everything I have used has been top quality and lasts a while.  Body Scrubs start at £2 which is great considering some body scrubs cost £8.  

4.  Nails Inc – Nailing Britain’s Nail Needs.

A regular in my blog posts and one of my favourite nail companies due to their high quality nail polish.  I have tried so many nail polishes over the years including Chanel and I’m not afraid to say that an expensive nail polish does not make a good nail polish.  However Nails Inc even though a little bit expensive at on average £8 a polish do provide a well lasting nail polish.  The polish is thick enough so that you only need one coat and there are so many amazing colours to chose from. 

Being British a lot of the polishes are named after London streets and for the Jubilee there is a special edition glitter nail polish of red, white and blue.

5. Original Source – Natural Showering.

All Original Source products are made from natural ingredients and they smell wonderful.  The Jubilee edition to Original Source contains no other than the famous British fruit – the strawberry – to make your mouth water and your skin smell like an afternoon at Wimbledon but if Strawberry is not for you then there is a wide range of other scents such as mint and tea-tree.