Apr 30, 2011

Anime Fancy Dress!

Anime Fancy Dress

As a nation we all love dressing up! From birthdays, to stag do’s and hen nights, to Halloween and Christmas, or just wanting to jazz up those mundane routine Friday nights out, fancy dress has become a favorite past time for many Brits both young and old alike.

Some people get REALLY get in to the whole fancy dress UK scene with things such as Anime conventions, and Fantasy reenactments. The Warwick arts Centre are holding an Anime convention from 19-21st August this year that will see thousands of devout anime fans turns up in the most elaborate and expensive fancy dress costumes in order to impersonate their favorite anime characters.

Most popular characters people impersonate are ‘Cloud’ from the Infamous Final Fantasy games and film, Light Yagami and the illusive L from the hit Japanese comic and cartoon series ‘Death note’ and of course no anime convention would be complete without a few Kai’s from Dragonball Z running around, along with a few Pok√©mon too! Fans really do go to town when re creating there favorite anime characters costumes, everything down to the spiky mo-hawkesk hair of Cloud, right down to the makeup simulating the signature over sized eyes of most anime characters you will encounter.

To give you a little more background, ‘Death Note’ is an anime series and Japanese comic book by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata in 2006. Most fans opt to dressed up as one of the death Gods or ‘Shinigami’ (as known in the comic) named ‘Ryuk’.

Ryuk is a giant, demon looking Death God, dressed entirely in black PVC, with skulls on his wrists, belt and chains and really spiked out black shoulder cuffs with a spiky white collar to match. He has jet black spiked up hair that stands on end, a white face, piggy nosed, black lips and eyeliner, glowing red googerly eyes, and giant black claws. As you can tell from the description this would be one hell of a costume to re create. But many anime fans love characters like this and often imitate the harder costumes the most as they see it as a challenge and love to outdo each other!

Ryuk also has a female counter part called ‘Rem’, who is similar in appearance but has alot more white PVC to her costume along with a large hoop through one year, thick tubes of white with purple tips for her hair, yellow cat like eyes, and two rows of stitching around her neck. Anime couples often sport this combo at the conventions as the two characters are Death Gods and do have a weird attraction to each other.

Although they are not the main characters like Light Yagmi (also known as Kira), L (also known as Hideki Ryuga) and Misa Amane (also known as the second Kira), they are the most popular at such conventions, as the other main characters although more integral to the plot don’t really have much of theme with their costumes. Therefore the outlandish and exhibitionist amine fans can’t have as much fun when re creating there outfits, so don’t! Ace fancy dress, also do amazing anime outfit if you don’t want to go to all that effort and time!

Maria works for Ace fancy dress and is a huge lover of anime and all things fancy dress UK

Royal Wedding Inspires Parodies

Prince William and Kate Middleton parodies

Admit it – we all have a touch of royal wedding fever these days! It's hard not to, what with all the television specials, speculation over Kate Middleton's wedding gown and bridal jewelry, guest list updates and all the rest. It was only a matter of time before the royal wedding took on a life of its own in popular culture – which it surely has now that the hilarious parodies have started cropping up.

Just the other day, my husband asked if I thought that Prince William and Kate Middleton would enter their wedding reception doing a triumphant “Jersey Shore” style fist pump. It has become a pretty common entrance for a lot of newlyweds, even at very formal weddings. Well, hopefully it won't come to that (although can you imagine the Queen's face?), but apparently my husband is not the only one who has been wondering which pop culture customs would make their way into the pomp and circumstance of the royal wedding.

One hysterical royal wedding inspired spoof takes a look at what might happen if Sammi, Ronnie, and Snooki of “Jersey Shore” went to England to visit with the royals. When the Queen is caught looking at Sammi's man, there is only way to resolve the situation: A Dance Battle! Yep, if you have ever wanted to see how the royals would stack up against some authentic Jersey style fist bumping, this is your chance. Maybe next the gang from the shore will take Kate to a tanning bed to get her “a little base tan” in time for her wedding.

The royal wedding parody that has really been making a huge splash is actually a T-Mobile ad. It has had millions of hits since being posted on You Tube on April 15th, and it is truly hilarious. The video clip is based on the famous “JK Wedding Entrance Dance”, which went viral several years ago. The JK dance got an extra bump in popularity when it was recreated on “The Office” during Pam and Jim's wedding, and now we can see what it would look like done by the royal family. There are actually a couple of versions of the T-Mobile royal wedding spoof, one done to East 17's song “House of Love”, and one which is set to the same song used in the original wedding entrance dance, Chris Brown's “Forever”.

The great part about the royal wedding entrance video is that all the participants are dressed exactly as you would expect for the real wedding, right down to the very British hats. The Queen even wears a pair of decorous little white gloves. Many of the actors closely resemble the real royals; the Prince Harry is especially good and his leapfrog is just great. I did think that the choice for Kate Middleton's bridal gown and jewelry was a little plain for a princess bride, though.

The best part is that the videos are really funny, but not disrespectful. They just take a look at what happens when 21st Century pop culture meets the tradition and opulence of a royal wedding. It is entirely appropriate, considering that the royal family itself has been trying hard to use technology to update its image (Kate and William's engagement was announced on Twitter, after all). And by the way, the real royal wedding on April 29th will be available to watch streaming live on YouTube. Just don't expect to see the bride and groom enter doing the “JK Wedding Entrance Dance”!

Bridget Mora writes mostly about fashion,weddings and jewelry. She is a former bridal shop manager and stays on top of the wedding industry trends. She writes often for silverlandjewelry.com Check out their fabulous cz bridal jewelry sets and Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry. Order free sample crystals and pearls in your wedding colors.

Apr 13, 2011

How will the Twilight Phenomenon Change the Job Market?


By now, six years after the opening book of her ‘Twilight’ series first hit the shelves, the story of how Stephenie Meyer came to write her ‘saga’ has become as firmly planted in the public subconscious as the girl-vampire-werewolf-love-triangle of the books themselves. As we all know, it came to her in a dream.

Way back in 1815 another young women also started writing a story, filled with horror, tension and a hint of the supernatural. Just like Meyer, it came to her in a dream. Her name was Mary Shelley, the novel was Frankenstein. The work is now considered a fundamental part of the cannon of Women’s literature and went on to change the way people think, not only about Halloween costumes, but also issues such as sexual politics and the relationship between technology and morality. It could be argued that the novel was at the base of the growing movement for Women’s rights which, in more recent decades, has completely changed employment law in this country.

There was no way that, when the 18 year old Shelley started sketching out ideas for her ground breaking work, she could’ve had any notion of the legacy it would leave behind. Likewise Meyer, who was originally writing Twilight as a gift to her sister, could not have anticipated finding a publisher, yet alone sparking a global phenomenon of Harry Potter sized proportions (although she was probably much more ready for the Hollywood remakes!)

So, if Twilight can be seen as the modern equivalent of Frankenstein, what effect will it have on the future of our nation’s job market?

A lot is made of the challenges facing graduates taking their first steps out of the safety of their campuses and into the veritable killing fields of today’s cut throat job market. Wider youth unemployment recently hit record highs, standing at roughly 2.5 million and, whilst most economic forecasters are generally gloomy about things to come, there is a problem on the horizon they have not forseen. We have on our hands a whole generation of young people who, either want to grow to be vampires, or believe they already are.

So, what shifts in employment patterns is this likely to produce? For one thing, more and more young people will want to find careers where they can work in the dark. The ideal solution would be mining. Not only would the cold, subterranean working conditions be perfect for vampires, their skin would be blacked with coal, protecting them from sunlight at the end of the day. They’d also get to use their super strength.

Unfortunately, ever since Thatcher, Britain’s primary production industries have been shrinking. Perhaps the tertiary sector will provide jobs for young vampires? Maybe in call centres, customer care, or even business to business sales roles? Alas, if Edward Cullen, hero of the Twilight books, is anything to go by vampires are not very chatty and normally speak in sentences of four words, usually “I love you, Bella.” Not great for any role that requires ‘people skills’, a term that employers tend to put in all person specifications and job ads. Oh dear.

Many civil servants have a certain something of Nosferartu about them, creeping the corridors of White Hall but, given the huge amount of cuts that have occurred in the public sector, this also looks like a tough option for our young vampires.

You’d have to conclude that the Twilight sensation will probably make the job market an even scarier place and, considering that vampires live forever, the costs to public services will be a disaster for the deficit. They’d make good security guards though, and if David Cameron can’t do anything to lower unemployment, he’s probably going to need a few of those.

Richard Norris runs a job search website specializing in publishing jobs in the UK and also happens to be a Twilight fan after being dragged to the cinema by his two daughters to watch the series of films.

Apr 12, 2011

We Love Super Hero Movies!

If you are a fan of superhero movies get ready for what is promising to be a fantastic year!

Already trailers for film adaptions of 'Thor' and 'Green Lantern' have been tickling the appetites of audiences across the country. In just a few minutes these snippets of film show off shiny sleek costumes, an abundance of special effects and of course, rippling muscles.

Christopher Reeve superhero

Superhero movies are certainly nothing new. The Batman movie franchise has been setting and breaking box office records for more than 20 years. Before that Christopher Reeve burned up the silver screen in a series of Superman films that are still cherished by millions of film-goers the world over.

Outside Batman and Superman, however, superhero films failed to gain any traction with viewers. There were a few mis-steps (the never-released Fantastic Four movie produced by Marvel in the early 1990's) and a couple of decent films that couldn't quite make it to blockbuster status, like Daredevil and Electra, and the Hulk films, neither of which caught on very well.

Then along came the Spider-Man franchise that simply set the box office on fire from its first film. The subsequent sequels were no less visually stunning, though not quite as strong in the story telling department but it didn't matter. Every one of them is considered a hit due to the amazing box office receipts they generated. After Spider-Man came the X-Men franchise. The first film, directed by Richard Donner, was a special effects bonanza and a hit with superhero fans and people who just liked good movies. It was quickly followed by a couple sequels, no less stunning and still well-accepted by film lovers, though not quite the critical smash of the first.

The X-Men franchise also turned out a solid spin-off film about its lead character, Wolverine and work continues on a sequel to that film which takes the clawed super-loner to Japan to fight ninja assassins.

Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark

Robert Downey Jr. donned the role of Tony Stark, and with it, the Iron Man costume. A perfect match of bravado and excess if ever there was one. Downey was the perfect Stark, he took to the role with relish and played it to perfection. That films massive popularity across genres brought the requisite sequel (one so far, but another is already in the pipeline.) It also brought talk of a massive crossover film involving characters from several different comics. Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America and Nick Fury are all slated to make appearances in what could become the greatest buddy-film of all time. Or, it could fail miserably.

Ghostrider, with Nicolas Cage as the flaming super-hero anti-demon, was moderately popular, but did well enough to earn a sequel which is coming out later this year. Hellboy, based on a popular independent comic book hero earned critical acclaim and got enough money for a sequel. Director Guillermo del Toro said he is dying to make a third Hellboy film for 2012 or 2013 so it seems likely the big red dude will be making another appearance in cinemas.

The first Fantastic Four film was a smash hit, but the sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer was lauded by critics and fans alike, though it still raked in hundreds of millions.

Super hero films are hardly guaranteed to make hundreds of millions, or even to make it off the drawing board, but once they come out, at least some portion of their fans will be pleased. Even if it's a struggle for the rest of us forced to watch it with them.

Shajan Thomas runs a leading Virtual Assistant company and is a big super hero movie fan. If you want to find out Virtual Assistance can help you, Visit our website.

Apr 7, 2011

What Does the Rebecca Black Case Tell us About the Relationship Between the Internet and the Music Industry?

Rebecca Black's YouTube video has had over eight million hits and the download version of the song hit number one on the week of release

Before the internet era, people needed to display talent in order to become famous and successful. Word of mouth spread news of a few talented singers and actors who went on to make it big and become legends. This is no longer the case, the internet can shoot anyone to stardom in a matter of days, but not necessarily because they display talent. Rebecca Black is a name on everyone’s lips at the moment, but not for the right reasons. The thirteen year-old American recently released what is almost universally agreed to be the worst song ever.

Despite this, her cringe-worthily bad ditty – Friday, receiving vitriolic criticism from all over the globe, her YouTube video has had over eight million hits and the download version of the song hit number one on the week of release. We all know that the internet and music have never happily gone hand in hand but does this phenomenon fly in the face of all the criticism that has been launched at the internet for making artists lives tough?

The fact remains that file transfer programmes are damaging to industry but the Rebecca Black case does go some way to proving that a renegotiation is happening between producers, vendors and consumers of music. We all seem to be in agreement that Friday is a god awful song, if this is the case then would it have received so much recognition without the internet? Record label bosses would dismiss it in a second.

You allowed Black to become a hit with little talent. The success of the song however was a result of social networks like Twitter popularising the video. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops however, the song attracted a hive of attention, but hardly any of it was good. Black was in fact receiving death threats by the time her song had gone viral.

This demonstrates the power of social networking, it made Black a star and proved that the music industry and music can indeed co-exist harmoniously. It also highlighted a darker side to the internet however, which allows a convenient conduit for people expressing their views all too freely. The net is often celebrated for giving a voice to millions and reversing the traditional top-down model of broadcast journalism, but is this such a good thing when a thirteen year old girl can be subject to such a hate campaign?

The marriage of the internet and music industry has not always been a happy one, and the Black case surely showcases both extremes of social networking, both positive and negative.

Joe is a keen culture blogger who currently works for a company offering van contract hire.