RSS Feed

Category Archives: Culture

Singapore Part 1: Local food and a massive aquarium

Posted on

Finally, after 13 hours on a plane, I have arrived at Singapore (well, I arrived on Wednesday, but I was too tired to write then). Several things are different, several things are the same.

The first thing worth noting is the huge amount of people at the airport customs. Normally when we arrive, the queue is very short, but here the queue was massive. Something must have boosted the tourism here. The flight itself felt quite short, though of course it was normal length. I spent my time watching James Bond in hype mode (incidentally, Spectre trailer= AWESOME!) and sleeping.

I decided this holiday to not have any Western food until Australia, so my food in Singapore has been completely Eastern. I have had noodles, teriyaki and roast pork. Most food comes from the hawker centres, which are the traditional Singapore dining and socialising areas.

The main thing achieved today was the S.E.A Aquarium in Sentosa, one of the largest aquariums in the world. The last time I was here, the aquarium was pretty small. Good, but small. Now, the aquarium is gigantic. There is a huge tank with fish, sharks, groupers and three manta rays. There is a giant pacific octopus, spider crabs (does whatever a spider crab can), dolphins, jellyfish and more sharks. Every exhibit was great and there was a huge array of animals. Not since Singapore Zoo have I seen such a huge variety of animals.

We also went to Vivo City, the largest mall in Singapore. It’s huge, but not very interesting. I used to love it with the Toys’R’Us but now it just seems to be clothes shops. It is also very strangely laid out, at least to me. Thankfully there are other malls for me to explore. I have 400 Singapore dollars to spend (£200) so I have three options. Either find a perfect Singapore mall, spend all the money in Australia or wait until I get back to England and go on a Forbidden Planet shopping frenzy.

Whatever way it goes, my next post will be all about Australia and hopefully an Ant-Man review too.

Symbols of a country

Posted on

This summer, I’ll be visiting three countries – Singapore, Australia and Malaysia. All three have things which instantly define them. Singapore has the Merlion, Australia has the Opera House (which I sadly won’t be able to see this trip), Ayer’s Rock and kangaroos, both of which I will be able to see, while Malaysia has the Patronas Towers. This led me to think about what defines a country.

What instantly makes a place recognisable? Is there something which is so famous that the entire country is defined by it.

Sydney opera house

I’m not just talking about buildings or statues, but animals, culture and people. For example, in my mind, the most British thing that could ever happen is – Read the rest of this entry

Why are films never original?

Posted on

In the world of Hollywood, most major blockbusters are one of four things: Superhero, sequel, remake/reboot or adaptation of a book, usually a young adult one. Very few films nowadays are original. Sure Pacific Rim and Interstellar are two examples of original ideas, but it is rare to see a new blockbuster franchise spawn from something new.

I have nothing against the un-original blockbusters- all five of my most anticipated films of the year (Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Spectre and Star Wars VII) fall into one of the categories I mentioned above. The ones I’ve seen as of July (Ultron, JW) have been great, and I hope the other ones are as well . But that raises my first point.

In Hollywood, it is all about money. The big companies want to profit from their businesses, so they need to entice a way to get as many people into watching the movie. Let’s get a scenario up:

A Hollywood producer is offered three scripts, one of which they will finance and produce. Their company is struggling and they need a big hit. Do they-

Read the rest of this entry

5 places in the USA I would like to visit

Posted on

Today is the 4th of July, the day when the United States celebrate Independence Day from us Brits! Of course, if you live in the US, you would know that already. So to celebrate, I decided to list the 5 places in the States where I would like to visit. I have left out the Georgia Aquarium, as I have already mentioned that and don’t want to repeat myself. So, let’s go to the Land of the Free…

New York City


The most famous city in the world, New York City is a place high on my cities to visit list. I not only want to see the iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge, but also see the history behind it. Ellis Island is where all the American immigrants arrived at between 1892-1954, where the US was the biggest place for immigrants around the world to go to.

As one of the most iconic places in the whole world, a place like New York is a must on any American trip.



This is a place which as a film fan I consider an essential visiting place. It would be great to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and see the iconic Hollywood sign. There are also tours around the area, where I can see where famous actors live or used to live. There is the Hollywood Museum, the Dolby Theatre (where the Academy Awards are held) and a tour of Paramount Studios. There are a lot of places where I can learn about the history of film.

Hollywood is the number one place in California I would like to visit, though a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge is a close second. Read the rest of this entry

Reasons Hampshire is a must see British destination

Posted on

In my 15 years of living in Hampshire, I have seen enough interesting places in this humble county in the South of the UK to call it a great place to be. There is so much history and exotic locations, some of which are very important to the country’s history. Here are some reasons why Hampshire is an important and must see British location.

Busy and important cities

It may sound pompous, but I believe that the cities in Hampshire are extremely important. Let’s start with the historical city of Winchester. It’s small but sweet, with plenty of history. It houses Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in England and it contains the tomb of Jane Austen, who lived in the city near the end of her life. If the rumours of a Doctor Who episode starring Jane Austen is true, then I hope that they film in Winchester. The remains of William II are also in the Cathedral. I visit Winchester a lot to visit the library, which is full of good comics.

Winchester is also the former capital of the country and was ruled over by Alfred the Great, whose statue is in the city. Other historical elements of Winchester include Winchester Castle, home of the Round Table of Winchester and Wolvesey Castle, a ruined castle which was the location of Mary I’s wedding to Phillip II of Spain. It was destroyed by the Roundheads in the Civil War (the castle, not the wedding).

Winchester High Street

Winchester High Street

Inside Winchester Great Hall

Inside Winchester Great Hall.

The two other major cities are Southampton and Portsmouth. Both are major ports and Portsmouth was a hugely important naval base. Portsmouth is also home to the Spinnaker Tower, the tallest tower in the UK not in London. The city is the UK’s only island city, as it is on Portsea Island. The city is also the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

Southampton is still one of the UK’s major shipping grounds and is still a major part of history, thanks to the fact that the Titanic set sail from Southampton’s port. The SeaCity Museum is a great insight into Southampton’s role in the event. The city is mainly a shopping place though, which isn’t a bad thing really, as some of the shops are great.

The New Forest

The New Forest is one of the UK’s most important natural areas and national parks. Things to see include the New Forest ponies and has a lot of history linked to my local area. William II was killed in the New Forest while hunting. He was killed with an arrow shot by Walter Tyrell, who may have killed him by accident or deliberately.

His tomb was carried across Hampshire, including the area which is now Chandler’s Ford . The way is now marked with a road called King’s Road. As mentioned before, he is now buried in Winchester Cathedral. Two of my primary school house names were Rufus (the nickname for William II due to his hair) and Tyrell.

Kings Road

The picture below is when we went camping in the New Forest with my friend and his family. On the last day some donkeys invaded the camp site and poked their heads in the tents.

Camping in New Forest

Camping in New Forest

Those are two reasons why I believe Hampshire is an important UK destination. Even though I’ve been to a lot of places in Hampshire I haven’t been to every area in the county. Hopefully this post has persuaded you to visit the south of England.

Jurassic World review

Posted on

Last Saturday I continued my 2015 summer movie marathon with Jurassic World. I was really excited for the movie as the original film is one of my all time favourite movies. Having seen the film, I think Jurassic Park has a worthy sequel which is incredibly entertaining and full of story. Seeing how it is still in cinemas, I will make this as spoiler free as possible.


My favourite aspect of the film, aside from the dinosaurs, is that it decided to prolong the action and mayhem and focus on establishing themes and a story for the first hour. Just like the first film established themes of genetics and man versus science, this movie addresses scientific advancements and the modern world’s changing ideas. The main dinosaur Indomidus Rex itself is a metaphor for the ever changing face of  industry and science, with companies sponsoring the dinosaurs and the new genetically modified dinosaur being used to bring visiting numbers up. Jurassic World is set at a time when dinosaurs are becoming an everyday occurrence, so the park is forced to bring in something new and flashier. It’s a clever subtext woven through the movie and it makes the movie a lot more meaningful in the long run.

The dinosaurs themselves are great, with a combination of CGI and practical effects. I especially like the mosasaur and the trained raptors. While the concept may sound silly, it is pulled off very well, and like the other dinosaurs they represent a certain part of the movie. In this case, the raptors represent Owen’s respect and treatment of dinosaurs as real animals, as he trained them from when they first hatched.

The action is really good and suspenseful. As with the first film, the dinosaurs are a genuine menace and can pose a threat to the characters. The action is timed really well and they pay homage to the first film. In fact, the homages to the first film are plentiful. Some may find the references too much, but I personally liked them as like the action they were placed very well in the movie. There are some minor issues, like a few plot holes and plot related issues which I can’t go into as this is spoiler free. At the end of the year when I do my Blockbuster Awards I will be talking about this movie more, along with every blockbuster I have seen.

Overall, this is a great movie for fans of the first film and to general audiences. It doesn’t require you having seen the other films, although it will add to the viewing experience. I finished this review the day after I got the original Jurassic Park book and I will be reading it. I will probably do a book/movie comparison. My next post, incidentally, will be about film adaptations and why so many movies are based on books.

My favourite periods of history

Posted on

I have always been interested in history, but some periods of time are more interesting to me personally. I’m not talking about specific events, as there are plenty of interesting moments in history, but rather the exact periods which I like, whether it is the politics of the time or the events in them.

  • Medieval England

From William the Conqueror to Richard III dying in battle, the whole medieval period is just fascinating to me. Everything from the numerous civil wars, the foundations of modern-day politics, the swordplay and the crazy kings just appeals to me. It also helps that it is the setting for Dungeons and Dragons and Merlin.

I always imagine a medieval knight riding into battle against a dragon, even though I know that never happened. The politics and people in this period are very interesting, as there are rulers like William I, Henry II, King John, Richard II and Richard III who I find to be interesting figures. Not necessarily good rulers, but intriguing ones.

One particular event I remember vividly is the War of the Roses. The events and the conflicts of that time were great for me as I could think about who was truly a better ruler and whether Henry VI could have been a good ruler if he hadn’t gone mad

I visited Westminster Abbey with my mum a few years ago and I loved seeing the medieval world come to life. I saw the Coronation chair and the tombs of many English Kings.

I just love this time period. I wouldn’t want to live in it, but I love studying and learning about it.

  • Cold War

I just love this period of history, as it shaped the politics of today. I find the whole story of it to be very interesting, as well as the amount of conspiracies and huge events. JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis,The Space Race, Vietnam War, all these are key events in one of the most turbulent parts of history.

I love the politics behind it and the differences between capitalism and communism interest me. Communism is about everyone having equal working wage while capitalism has imbalance. Both were equally opposed to each other in the Cold War.

There are lots of events which have great story potential as well, like the Moon landing (Doctor Who in Series 6) and it also helps that it was the era of spies and espionage.This might have inspired spy movies such as James Bond.

I personally think that the events after WWII were equally as bad and dangerous as it was before. Even now the world is divided into many sectors, and North Korea and Cuba are still pure Communist.

  • America in the 1920s

The era of gangsters, prosperity and a lot of racial conflict, this era interests me because it is full of contrasts. On the one hand the economy booms and people live prosperously, but on the other hand there is poverty, racial violence and gangsters controlling the streets and manipulating the police. They would bribe policemen with money to stop the police arresting them as they were trading and dealing alcohol, which was banned at the time. The policies and rules of the time as well as the lifestyle of the people are what make me interested in this era.

I think these time periods are important and relevant today because of their lasting impact. The foundations of Parliament and the state of England was defined in the medieval times, the Cold War is technically still going on as North Korea is still a threat to the world. The world in the 1930s was affected by America in the 1920s as the wealth disappeared into the Great Depression, a major trigger for Japan invading Asia. It’s because of these I find them my favourite time periods.

Age of Ultron review

Posted on

As you all know, I love superheroes, and superhero movies, especially ones based on Marvel. The old Spider-Man films, the X-Men films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are all great in my opinion, with my favourite MCU films being The Winter Soldier, Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. But, having now seen Age of Ultron twice now, I think I have a new favourite Marvel film.


While I normally review things spoiler free, the fact that this film is now a month old and that there is a lot to discuss, I will discuss spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen it (why?), I’ll give the short version-


So now, let’s dive into the details of the film. Since this is spoiler filled, I won’t need to summerise the plot, as you’ve probably already seen it. Let’s discuss my favourite parts.

avengers assemble


The action is amazing, with every character having at least one brilliant moment in the action scenes. The film opens in a spectacular manner, with a massive tracking shot to introduce the Avengers storming a HYDRA base. My favourite action scene is the final sequence in Sokovia, with the whole third of the film being one massive fight. The Hulkbuster/Hulk fight in Wakanda (a much appreciated Black Panther Easter Egg) is also brilliant, with traditional Tony Stark witty dialogue mixed with great visuals and music.

Despite this, the film doesn’t forget to have great character moments and development. The second act of the film slows down to have about 20 minutes of no action in Hawkeye’s home. It is this section where the characters can calm down and talk about their feelings and emotions. Every main Avenger goes through an arc: Iron Man learns the dangers of his technology, Banner becomes afraid of the Hulk and his power, Captain America discovers where his home and friends truly are, Black Widow is forced to confront her past and Hawkeye becomes the heart of the team and keeps them together. The one character who doesn’t change is my favourite Avenger, Thor. While he isn’t as prominent as he was in the first movie (he disappears in the second act of this film), he still has plenty of funny lines and awesome moments (the Thor/Captain America combo is amazing).

With Thor pushed aside, the star of this movie is Hawkeye. While he didn’t do much in the last film, here he is full of one-liners, clever trick arrows and is a central part of the movie. He is now one of my favourite Avengers, as he hasn’t got any powers yet he still fights to save the world. He’s an ordinary guy, and if I had to be a character in this movie, it would be Hawkeye.

The themes in this movie are very deep for a superhero movie, and it shows that blockbusters are just as deep as any other kind of film. The main theme I can gather from it is the theme of legacy. Tony creates Ultron to help preserve the Avenger’s legacy and avoid future conflicts, while the Banner/Black Widow relationship is about how their inability to have children means they have no legacy so they bond together as a result. In contrast, Hawkeye’s family shows he has the most to lose out of all the characters and he eventually continues Quicksilver’s legacy by naming his newborn Nathaniel Pietro Barton (while I’m discussing Quicksilver, he isn’t as cool as X-Men’s, but the one here is a slightly better character and is closer to the comics. But they’re both great).

My favourite new character has to be The Vision, introduced in the final part of the film. Not only does his character tie into the idea of legacy (as Ultron creates him to continue his plan to make the perfect person) but he is a great character in his own right, with a cool design and fascinating ideals about himself and Ultron. I am excited to see him in further films, especially seeing how he has the Mind Gem, which may or may not motivate Thanos to invade Earth. Four Infinity Gems have now been revealed: The Mind Gem (Yellow, in the Vision’s forehead), The Space Gem (Blue, Tesseract), The Reality Gem (Red, Aether) and The Power Gem (Purple, Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy). The other two (Time and Soul) are Green and Orange. I predict Doctor Strange will have one, and the second one either in Thor 3 or Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

In conclusion, this is my new favourite Marvel film, and one of my favourite comic book movies, along with Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I cannot wait for Civil War and to see what the consequences of this movie will be for the characters.

My ideal fictional character

Posted on

I love reading books, watching TV and films and reading comics. All of those have great characters, but some appeal to me more for various reasons. Here are some requirements for a character to have to tick all my boxes on the awesome-meter:

  • A cool hat


During Eurovision this year I commented on how I liked Australia and Austria’s hats. It seems I always have a thing for guys wearing fedoras and other brimmed hats. The Fourth Doctor wears one, Indiana Jones wears one and Skulduggery Pleasent wears one. There are other cool hats as well. The Seventh Doctor owns the Panama hat, Oddjob wields his bowler hat, Jack Sparrow has the pirate hat and Sherlock Holmes made the deerstalker an icon.

I don’t know what it is but something about hats appeal to me. I own a trilby and I always find a character with a brimmed hat to be cool. Maybe it’s because it makes their silhouette unique and it conceals their face. A character wearing a hat instantly makes them mysterious and meaning business.

  • Trench coat

tenth doctor


Of course the most famous trench coat in British culture is the Tenth Doctor, but there are other cool trench coat wearing characters. Constantine, Hellboy, Gambit, Captain Jack and the Jedi all wear the awesome coat. I like trench coats because they are just so cool. The characters who wear them are basically saying “Yeah, I wear a coat indoors and outdoors”. It also helps that the coat’s length means they flow in the wind, so when the characters run, the coat flies with them. They just give the character a sense of style and makes them look big and imposing.

  • Witty one liners

This one applies to many characters I’ve already mentioned. I love characters who can look at any situation and think of something to say. James Bond is a fan of these after he kills someone (“Shocking”) and the Doctor can make these comments, especially the Fourth (“Hello can you help me I’m a spy”). Hawkeye is full of these in Age of Ultron, but I won’t discuss any further as I will review the film seeing how I’ve now seen it twice (Most people in the film have great one-liners). One-liners give a character a sense of fun and add a sense of snark and wit to them.

  • Capes



Superheroes wear capes, as does Darth Vadar and many other Star Wars characters. Like with big coats, capes give a sense of size and awe to the character. Batman wouldn’t look as cool without his cape and while superheroes can be cool without them (Wolverine, Spider-Man, Green Lantern), most of them look intimating with a cape in the background. In Darth Vader’s case, his long cloak gives him a presence, which he needs if he wants to rule the galaxy.

So those are four things which instantly make a character awesome to me. Of course their personality and what they do also helps but if a character wears a hat, dons a trench coat, wears a cape and has a quip for every occasion then they get my seal of approval.

Celebrating 3 years of blogging: Doctor Who Mighty 15

Posted on

Today WordPress informed me that it has been three years since I wrote my first post. So today I will celebrate by listing my Doctor Who Mighty 15. While I’ve already listed my favourite Who stories of all time, today I am only focusing on the revived series, as I count down my 15 favourites. About half of these have already been discussed in length already, so this post will focus on the stories which I haven’t talked about much yet still love. Let’s get the ones I already talked about here so I don’t need to repeat myself-

Now that is out of the way, let’s dive into my 13 other favourite revived series stories-

hey who turned out the lights

Series 4 is my absolute favourite Doctor Who series. It’s the series which I started watching Doctor Who weekly rather than isolated stories here and there, but upon re-watching most of it nostalgia isn’t the only reason I love this series. It has the best companion of the revived series, the Tenth Doctor at his best, the most imaginative stories and monsters and dark themes. This two parter is the magnum opus of the series to me, and one of the Tenth Doctor’s best. It has a fascinating story with intriguing characters and a terrifying monster with a great style of duel storytelling. Silence in the Library is about the archaeologists meeting the Doctor in the Library, while Forest of the Dead is about Donna trapped in an artificial world. It’s incredibly entertaining and has great characterisation and truly frightening moments, thanks to a brilliant monster. The use of a common phrase (“Hey, who turned out the lights”) means the Vashta Nerada are memorable. This is one I re-watch regularly and it is still amazing. Read the rest of this entry


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 149 other followers