Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Owen Benjamin & Why Didn't They Laugh

Okay, so yesterday, I mentioned Owen Benjamin's podcast, Why Didn't They Laugh, in my list of things that make me happy. And I realised that that one tiny post wasn't really giving him enough credit - because for the last few weeks since I've known of his existence, he's more than made me smile. He's made me laugh out loud, and he's made my addled little writer brain think.

I heard about Owen Benjamin via reviews for the Impractical Jokers UK tour. Every single review that mentioned him said how much they enjoyed him and how funny he was. As a lifelong fan of comedy, my interest was piqued and I followed him on Twitter immediately.

One thing that's cool about Twitter is the interaction - and not all people with a massive following will interact because it must be overwhelming to keep up with all the tweets. Not an issue with this guy. He thrives on conversation, and this was where it became clear that not only is he face-achingly funny, but he's smart. Super smart. And not afraid to share his opinions. Over recent weeks, he has discussed the terror attacks in Manchester and London, talked about Sharia Law, about the Kathy Griffin controversy, about religion in general, and most recently, J.K Rowling's 14-tweet long rant about the use of the word "whore".

Criticism of people who are extremely well-loved, or voicing potentially unpopular opinions is something many shy away from, but actually, it's a really good thing to open up conversations about subjects that are quite often avoided. Do I  always agree with him? Oh, hell no. But hearing out others is about listening, learning, considering other angles, and I love that. (Unfortunately, I have a major affliction when it comes to joining in these conversations online because I cannot fit my point into 140 characters. I can hit that 'like' button like a demon though :p) Opening up a dialogue - even if it's uncomfortable - is okay, and more than that, it's important.

Taking it back to the less serious stuff - the comedy  - if you want to check out Owen Benjamin in action, you can see some of his stand up on YouTube, check out his podcast (link is at the top of the page), or take a glimpse at his Instagram - and, honestly, this was the moment I knew I was in the presence of a genius.

Do yourselves a favour, friends. Check him out. If you're lucky, you'll catch him on Periscope - where he will make you laugh in between playing piano, taking requests, and answering questions.

You can see Owen Benjamin live both in the US and the UK, so if you like what you see, check out the dates here.




Monday, 12 June 2017

Miles of Smiles Bloghop



The Rules:

Several years ago, I created the Bloghop of Joy with Clare Dugmore. The idea behind it was for people to sign up and tell each other about the small things in their lives that always make them smile. Miles of Smiles will run along those exact same lines BUT we’re doing this all over social media. That means you can use your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter or your Instagram to share your joys.

The reason we’re opening it up is to spread this as far and wide as possible. Things on your list of joy could be a random memory, something you see on TV, overhearing something that makes you laugh out loud - just that one thing that makes the clouds part, and the sunshine appear again.

We all know that our friends and families makes us happy – that is pretty much a given. We're not talking about life-changing moments, just the little things that inexplicably make us smile and forget our worries for a while. We would love it if you would join us on our #MilesofSmiles mission!


My List of Joy

So, I already did this hop on my writing blog, but I'm joining in over here because there are some entertainment specific things that make me happy! 

Podcasts

I rarely have time to listen to podcasts BUT there are some that I just have to make time for. Specifically, Why Didn't They Laugh by the awesome Owen Benjamin (will talk about him more at some point!), and Tell 'Em Steve Dave (this is not for the faint-hearted. These guys are hilarious, but not necessarily family friendly!) 

Ed Sheeran

I have a confession. I didn't like Ed Sheeran much at first. I didn't really get what the big deal was, but now? Now I cannot get enough of his music. 

British Comedy

I love comedy of all kinds, but - and I may be biased - British comedy is amazing. Quite recently we had a TV show on here called The Keith and Paddy Picture Show, where to of Britain's finest comedians/actors/presenters "remade" classic movies. Their version of Dirty Dancing was infinitely better than the genuine remake that happened recently!


So, tell me, what are the little things that make you smile?

 To join in with a blog, sign up here:


Monday, 5 June 2017

One Love Manchester


So... last night Ariana Grande returned to Manchester after the horrific attack at her show on May 22nd, and she brought with her a whole host of amazing artists, who call came together to help raise money for those who were affected by the attack. 

Honestly, I wasn't absolutely sure what to expect. What I always knew for sure about Ariana Grande was that she has an amazing voice - other than that, I didn't know a whole lot. So, to witness this beautiful young lady on stage, doing what she does best while fighting back her emotions, was just phenomenal. She's a petite little thing, but she commanded that stage and that audience with ease - and she made a fan out of me the moment she sang with the Parrs Wood High School choir and held onto the sweet young lady who sang My Everything as she broke down. Also, One Last Time was a moving moment as that was reportedly the last song played at Grande's concert on May 22nd. And can we just talk about Ariana's stunning rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow? It could not have been a more perfect song to end on.

Other amazing moments during the concert included the always awesome Robbie Williams trying to hold it together in the city that means so much to him. My inner teenager could not handle seeing him so upset, and his chants of "Manchester we're strong" were truly moving, as was him singing Angels. 

The Black Eyed Peas singing Where Is The Love with Ariana was where I lost it. That song has been in my head since the first attack on London earlier this year, and to see it performed at this event was amazing. Also, will.i.am is the shiz. 

Coldplay took to the stage to sing what has become Manchester's anthem - Don't Look Back In Anger. Not everyone was crazy about them covering the Oasis classic, but it felt important that that song had a place at the concert. The crowd seemed to love it, and then Coldplay went into a few of their own songs. Love them or hate them, they know how to put on a show, as the audience was showered in coloured stars which rained down from the sky.

One of the bigger moments of the night came from Liam Gallagher's appearance on the stage - dressed in orange and looking pretty much as he did back in the nineties. Read into that what you will :p but it was great that he was a part of the night. 

All in all, it was an incredible show to witness. There were tears and smiles, and a feeling of oneness, firstly with my fellow Brits who were all talking about the concert, talking about the parts they enjoyed and the parts that made them cry - not one of them forgetting why this concert was happening. But also with the rest of the world who watched as some of the world's best known performers united for this event.