Lazy Bones

Teenagers didn’t exist until the 1950’s. Sure, everyone had those rebellious years of mood swings, growth spurts and bad skin but it was never really given much thought until the post-war generation of the 1950’s. Those American baby boomers were one of first to have the privilege of time, money and opportunity and they exploited it in every way they could. Once armed with an after-school job they had money to burn those youth’s had enough economic power to drive sales in any direction they pleased and so consumerism was kicked into overdrive.The world was at the fingertips of the young; Woodstock, Beatlemania, fast cars, big advertising, civil rights, sexual liberation, political assasinations and a trip to the moon were all a part of this adolescent culture.

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However, as we know, what goes up must come down. The information age has given us the opportunity to learn absolutely anything which ultimately means we learn absolutely nothing. Our scope is too wide and our memories feeble; I can’t list one phone number by heart unless I learnt it pre-iPhone era. There are terrorist attacks, wars, bombings, murders and corruption going on at a level that may not be any higher than the past but because every single one of these events are coming up on our 24 hour newsfeed we can’t escape it, unless that is we turn to the fantasy world of E! Entertainment and Perez Hilton. We are veracious readers of frivolous celebrity scandals and trivial fluff. As a result of this escapism people’s private information, photographs, voice messages and conversations are being leaked to the world at a second’s notice. Orwell’s 1984 is coming true and we are, predictably, ignoring all the warnings.

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We desperately seek the meaning of life through inspirational messages on Pinterest and Instagram while social networks turn us into deeply anti-social creatures, too self aware to deal with a filter-less world. We’re spoilt and defiantly ignorant, angry at all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons and knowingly becoming more vulnerable to anyone who would care to take advantage. The majority of us can name at least one celebrity love-triangle or wardrobe malfunction but few of us can intelligently discuss recent politics. Why? Because it’s easier and we, the spoilt generation, are all about our comforts.

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In 1950 the first remote control, aptly named “Lazy Bones”, was invented and some say it is the most dangerous invention ever made; instant gratification at the push of a button was made possible and as a result in 2015 I am somewhat disappointed if my flight doesn’t have on board wi-fi. Words cannot truly describe how troubling that is. Yes, ambition and drive are all very admirable but if all we’re driving towards is quicker access to more comfort, then does it really count? We have never in the course of human history had so much time to delve into so much information with such ease and yet all I do with my days off is binge-watch Netflix….not even good Netflix.

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So what are we to do? Learn a number, turn your phone off, read a book, watch one high quality film for every trashy rom-com and above all go traveling. Travel to a place where your 4G doesn’t work and don’t spend your time searching for a Starbucks. Talk to people without the luxury of a remote control, TV or Netflix subscription and notice how perfectly happy they are. Money won’t buy you happiness, your world won’t fall apart if you turn your phone off and you’ll make more friends offline than on. All I can take out of my ridiculously privileged quarter-life crisis is that experiences will make you feel worthy of tasks thrown in your direction. The most unsuspecting people can teach and test you and with the likes of Skyscanner there’s really no excuse not to go! Live somewhere different, travel somewhere far away and work for your gratification. And then, as it is 2015, Instagram it all to your hearts content.

– Sinann Fetherston

#OscarsSoWhite

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The Academy Awards have always brought a sense of royalty to Hollywood. It is a ceremony that bestows the highest and most esteemed recognition to those who have followed a certain work ethic. It acknowledges those who fall deep into their imaginations to create stories, step into characters and concoct worlds for audience’s to fall into. Rom-coms, action-packed blockbusters and tacky horrors are pushed aside as only the worthy are dared to be nominated. Victims of disease, abuse and injustice are brought to light through momentous adaptations, beautiful worlds are created throughout scriptwriting and CGI, beloved celebrities warp and contort themselves into characters we can cry for. It’s emotional brutality and we love it.

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The Oscars ceremony itself is star studded glamour and the red carpet is served up as a delicious appetizer before the real show begins. We love the dresses, the tuxes, the strides and even the falls. However, it is on the red carpet that we should start to notice something slightly amiss. All those wonderful movies we’ve been watching have taught us about overcoming injustice and inequality, yet here we are watching a myriad of bigotry where women are looked up and down, judged on their appearance despite being nominated for their talent. I understand that designers send their gowns to celebrities for free in order to be seen by the millions of cameras at high profile events and that Hollywood is very much about appearance. However, before these ladies have even taken their second step onto the carpet, their pictures have been uploaded on to someone’s “Worst Dressed List”.

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These women are traditionally stick thin, caucasian, and stunningly pretty. This makes no sense to me as the film industry is surely supposed to contain a diverse range of talents that portray real life in all of it’s many shapes, colours and sizes. Perhaps for your day to day rom-com there are reasons to have slim blondes at every corner but surely at the Academy Awards, where a range of broad talent is being showcased, the land scape should look a little different? Especially when the red carpet should be filled with women being celebrated as writers, producers, musicians and directors… right? Sadly no, this year not one woman outside of acting was recognized at all. In fact, the Oscars 2015 is looking pretty shabby in terms of true-to-life diversity. While Mexican director Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu was nominated as ‘Best Director’ for “Birdman” and historical drama “Selma” was nominated for “Best Picture”, the rest of the nominees in every category are white. It’s being said that this is the least diverse pool of nominees since the 70th Academy Awards in 1998 and this largely caucasian pool of nominees has caught many a movie fan’s eye, including April Reign who started the #OscarsSoWhite Twitter trend.

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So why is it that we seem to be moving backwards rather than forwards? The Atlantic suggests that it’s because those on the Oscar’s voting panel are 94% white, 76% male, and the average age is 63 years old. This may explain why “Selma”, although nominated for ‘Best Picture’, was ignored in every other category, despite the fact that had DuVernay been nominated for ‘Best Director’ she would have been the first African-American woman in history. Vulture asked Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first female African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, if the organization has a problem recognizing diversity. Her response was“Not at all. Not at all” however she did add that she hoped to see “greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories” and that “It behooves Hollywood — as an economic imperative, if not a moral one — to begin more closely reflecting the changing face of America.” Issacs raises an interesting point because although I believe that films like “Selma” and “Dear White People” deserve more recognition, I also believe that this is a tough year. Many films and performances that were thought to be sure-fire Oscar bait were snubbed at the nominations; Jake Gylenhaal in Nightcrawler, Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher, Jennifer Aniston in “Cake” and of course, “The Lego Movie”.

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The thing is that there are very few nominations that can be discredited. “Birdman” is Michael Keaton’s come back; it’s weird and interesting and attention grabbing in the best of ways. “Whiplash” is intense and filled with fierce talent. “American Sniper” is a true story that showcases both the heroics and horrors of war. “Boyhood” is a cinematic feat spanning twelve years. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a Wes Anderson wonderland of pastels and genius comic timing. “The Theory of Everything” is a love story featuring one of the most famous and renowned scientists suffering from motor-neuron disease. “The Imitation Game” is Benedict Cumberbatch saving the world from Nazis while being punished for his sexuality. These films were made for Oscar nominations. The problem therefore lies in the movie making game; where are the opportunities for literally anyone other than wealthy, middle aged, white guy to break in? And if they do make it, who will pay attention? It’s not just actors that need a chance but directors, writers, producers and cinematographers. It’s 2015 and yet it still seems to take momentous effort to create a film with an African-American cast and crew, and when it does happen, it manifests into one phenomenal, but solitary, film. Is this years “Selma” just seen as last years “12 Years a Slave”? Why isn’t there a diverse blend of people in both cast and crew, both behind and in front of camera, throughout the industry? After all, life is much more of a mix than Hollywood lets on.

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During her Critic’s Choice acceptance speech, actress Jessica Chastain commented on the nominations by saying that the film industry needs to build the strength of diversity within itself and to “stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and racist agendas.” This is not the first time that Chastain has spoken about the subject, she has previously spoken to Indiewire saying “I’m speaking out as an audience member who is going to the cinema and noticing there’s a problem here because I don’t see women being represented. I don’t see Asian-American actresses begin represented. I don’t see women in their 60s being represented in film. I want to see incredible actresses like Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe in movies. There are these really fantastic actresses out there, but there are so few opportunities.”

- Sinann Fetherston

London Town

“Tired of London, Tired of Life” – Well, fuck. I must be pretty fucking tired. I know I should learn to love this city; it’s quirky sky scrapers, Brooklynesque bar scene and breathtaking views. I’ve always liked the idea of the place, the people and the stereotypical cockney characters. Unfortunately, I just don’t think I’m going to find my idyllic little London town buried beneath tourist trapping, overpriced chain coffee shops,  deathly quiet streets, overcrowded undergrounds and bland hubs that seem to lack any sentimentality. I want to find it, quite frankly I need to find it, but I have yet to glimpse any hint of life in this seemingly dreary city.

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I’ve wandered the rooms of the Tate, clinked champagne glasses at Sushi Samba and strolled through sunny St. James’ Park. I’ve been floored by the Great Gatsby stylings of Claridge’s tearooms and suffered momentous hangovers from the many, many drinks downed in Dirty Dicks. I have Bunga Bunga on my brunch to-do list and I’ve developed an on-going relationship with burgers from Meat Liquor. I avoid the likes of Oxford Street and instead opt for the beautiful and spacious Westfield. I cherish my buy-one-get-one-free cinema tickets on Wednesdays and I have come to care for my Oyster card like an old friend. I would happily visit London anytime.

However, I don’t have plans to just visit London, I am to live in it. On paper it is perfectly ideal; situated an hour from home, filled with every type of person imaginable and bustling with things to do, it should be the answer to all my problems. So why does it feel like I’m trying to mesh too ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces together? The people that I’ve worked and played with have been nothing but sharply sweet with their delectably droll humor and quick wit, the summers are phenomenal and the beer gardens are phenomenal. Then again, it’s been named as one of the most expensive cities to live in, renting is a fucking nightmare like nothing I’ve seen before, the city streets seem to be full of dispassionate locals and swarms of tourists, the tubes stop at midnight, cabs cost a fortune, men cat call incessantly and I’ve never been called a cunt so much in my life. Sure, the majority of women I know in London are in relationships with Irish men, but let’s not dwell on that. Worst of all, everyone seems to be clawing their way up some invisible social ladder that means fuck all and ends up getting you no where. Be somewhere for the sake of being seen ? Fuck right off.

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Dublin has a sound; it’s full of characters and voices and it’s flawed to fuck but it can laugh at itself in the process of falling on it’s face. It wants a pint and a chat, a good story and a sing-a-long. It’s quirky and warm and it’s got a sense of history and an air of romance. It clusters together to enjoy the likes of Christmas FM, the latest episode of Love/Hate and the latest news story. It rallies and it’s ridiculous and it can be too quiet and dulled down and suffocated for it’s own good but it’s got a little something. Every city I’ve come across has a feel to it; Dublin is warm and inviting, New York is a blazing inferno and London…? London should be a sparkly wonderland of opportunity, but it just feels damp to me. Lifeless.

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I want to love London, I really truly do, but I just haven’t got the knack of it yet. Dublin has become too familiar to be considered bearable, New York requires the ever illusive visa and the rest of Europe requires the gift of a second language. London would be an ideal home to live in. I feel as if it’s all supposed to be about the crazy twenty-something years where you work all day, drink all night live off raman noodles and crash on friend’s couches. I’ve done all that, and honestly, I never felt fucking older, more alone or less meaningful. So really, what my issue is, is having too much time on my hands to worry about problems that are very much relative to first world issues. But there you go.

Film of 2014

Little White Lies recently shared David Ehrlich’s annual movie montage portraying his top 25 films of the year. For his 2014 supercut, Ehrlich has picked his favorites from a wide selection including foreign action flicks, indie dramas and Hollywood blockbusters. The result is pretty fantastic.

An Ode to Netflix

Technology may have shown the true face of humanity in recent years. In the past it was about moving faster, going further, and reaching new heights. We wanted to put a man on the moon, faster transportation so we could travel the world, we wanted the ability to reach out for knowledge of any given subject and find it at the tip of our fingers. Now, as 2014 comes to a close, those finger tips are covered in crumbs, as we reach into the bag of whatever fast food we ordered online and had delivered to our doors. We sigh as we have to crawl across our beds to plug in the charger because our laptop batteries are dying due to hours upon hours of binge use.

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We may have over-reached in our pursuit of happiness and technology, and tipped into glutenous indulgence. My friends have scattered across the globe and when I pick up my phone or open my laptop to chat with them, we do not discuss our educated views on the world and our place in it, instead our conversations mostly consist of what we’ve been compulsively watching that week. I have knowingly sat down to short lived TV shows because “there’s only a few seasons and I can get through it in a day or two”. Youth is wasted on the young.

However, in the perilous years of the quarter-life crisis, Netflix comes as a sweet escape. Technology has seeped into all areas of our lives, meaning that dating now comes in the form of an app in which you swipe to accept or dismiss a prospective partner. The world is large but has somehow gotten smaller and it seems that everyone in it is doing better than you. You keep racking up expensive qualifications and internships but not a single interview has been offered for the many real life jobs you have applied for. Netflix is a sweet, sweet escape and also a unifier. When no one wants to talk about how far they’re falling behind everyone else, it’s nice to have the universally accepted chat of how far along you are into the depths of the coffee fueled Gilmore Girls marathon, a show that you don’t know whether to love or despise. I mean what’s with that mother-daughter relationship? And how can they eat so much?

Netflix is loyal. It knows all your favorite things, your guilty pleasures and those background shows you put on as you apply your morning make-up. It knows about the many intellectual documentaries that you keep meaning to see but haven’t quite gotten around to. It makes you laugh, makes you cry and even suggests new and exciting prospects. It brings drama to your life, keeping you up late into the night, reveling in your inability to beat the countdown clock as you reach for the escape button. It’s in your bed every night without fail. What more can a girl want?

Are these endless hours of laying motionless in front of a screen a waste of time at any age, but especially at a time when life is relatively free of responsibility, debt and complications? Absolutely. Will you live to regret this soul sucking pass time? Most likely. Do you have any immediate plans to change this anti-social lifestyle? God no, it’s December. What can I say, sometimes people just need a vice in their life, an unhealthy relationship to look back upon in later years as a lesson learned. For now, I shall return to the world of binge watching season after season of American TV shows and pretend that I am as proactive and exciting as many of it’s preppy and suspiciously older looking twenty-something characters.

– Sinann Fetherston

New York, New York

I am in love with New York: it’s pretty much the best of the best. If someone from another planet were to visit Earth and wanted to know the epitome of human culture with all it’s quirks, downfalls, triumphs and spirit, I would send them to the city that never sleeps. Chinatown, Little Italy, Midtown, Lower East Side, Upper East Side, Soho, Noho, Korea Town…need I go on? For such a teeny tiny island, it manages to contain an entire world. Want some Korean karaoke? You got it. A little Drag Queen brunch? No problem. Craving some caviar and vodka? Try the Russian Tea Room. New York’s got it all and it’s yours for the taking.

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That hustle and bustle is 24/7 and believe me, it is intense. The stories I’ve heard from inside the offices of Wall Street, the boardrooms of Soho and that bagel place on Broadway would turn your stomach. Chairs have been thrown across rooms at meeting, interns have been sent on green smoothie runs in blistering heat, executives have walked out on jobs before the ink had even dried on their contacts. When you work in Manhattan, there’s a chance that every single one of your stories will sound like a scene from The Devil Wears Prada, but without the Chanel boots. You don’t just hop on a train; you travel through the momentous marble halls of Grand Central. When you walk through any of the city’s parks with your coffee, you get flash backs of just about every rom-com ever made. When you shuffle on to the subway, bleary eyed and smushed up against some strangers, your eyes may fall upon…well, just about anything.

Festivals, fashion week and film-sets are just part of the day to day life when you walk through Manhattan so get ready to feel like an actor. Everyone becomes an exaggeration of themselves whether they mean to or not. Bitchier, cooler, funnier, hotter – people instantly become more interesting because they’re in a city of high expectations. You’ll treat yourself to Eataly gelato, and as you pass by the Flatiron building to sit in Madison Square Park, you will instantly up your conversation game with friends because you feel as if TV cameras should be following you. This move-like feeling will not, however, extend to the world of dating.

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Yes, you will have your SATC moments, but less Monolo Blahniks from Mr. Big and more “How about we have a threesome as our second date?” from Mr. Unstable. Online dating will become the norm because although you are constantly surrounded by approximately a million people at any given time, you will speak to none of them, especially while on public transportation. You will give it your best college try; putting on the little black dress, picking a public place and texting your friends throughout each cringe worthy moment. Whats worse? You’ll probably sleep with a few of them. Know now that the ratio of women to men in New York City is soul crushingly unfair, and yes, the good one’s are taken.

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The men of the 21st century have given up on one-liners and have instead decided on listing their attributes (whether they’re true or not) as their opening line. Expect to hear “Hi, I’m Mike. I work on Wall Street and live on the Upper West Side” as an introduction riddled with expectation. He is employed in a place renowned for it’s salary and lives in a desirable area, you as a woman are expected to be impressed. “Can I buy you a drink?” is another favorite. It’s posed as a question but don’t be fooled, if you’re not downright floored that this desirable man is so generous and kind as to offer you a drink, then you are clearly a spoilt bitch who needs to be reprimanded.

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This is not the city of love people. It’s the city of experience! You will live like those crazy kids on TV; dancing on tables with the girls, adding your bra to the wall of lingerie in the Meat Packing districts finest establishments, forcing your eyes to stay open on the 4am subway home desperately trying to keep down the free pizza that came with your beer. You’ll power walk down streets and think about all those who have walked there before you. No matter how crazy and stressful and intense it gets, the city will give you chills in all the right ways, just when you need them. This is a city with heart and soul and it doesn’t give a shit who you are or where you’re from, it just wants to know that you’re down for the ride.

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Wall streeters play the homeless in chess by a Gandhi statue in Union Square. Taylor Swift and Lorde eat at Shake Shack. That super expensive thrift shop on the lower east side is actually a swanky bar. There are numerous secret train platforms beneath your feet. Grand Central’s Whispering Walls. Sleep No More. Please Don’t Tell. This is a city full of hidden gems and secret gardens. It never sleeps, it offers opportunity for anyone willing to take it, and fucking despises anyone who doesn’t think power walking is the only acceptable speed to move at. It’s intense and iconic and living and breathing and it’s hard, and it can be lonely, but it’s probably the best thing you’ll ever do. Whatever relationship you have with it; New York will sustain you, create you, and stay with you no matter how long you spend there. As Thomas Wolfe said “One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years”.

Can you tell I miss it?

– Sinann Fetheston

Parklife

Earlier this week Russell Brand became the victim of some internet mockery as his conversation on politics and society was turned into a Blur remix. The internet did what it does best by turning the joke into an all-out craze with Vines, Youtube videos and tweets flooding news-feeds everywhere. Brand, being the good sport that he is, turned the mockery on it’s head with the help of Limerick city’s favorite duo The Rubberbandits, giving us all something to think about…once we get that pesky tune out of our heads that is.

– Sinann Fetherston