Celebrity & Media

+ A Tribute to Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse on stage in Cardiff
Amy Winehouse singing live at Cardiff Student Union

I clearly remember the first time I listened to Amy Winehouse's album Frank. More than any other album in my life, the songs and the clarity of her lyrics had a massive impact on me. That's what her legacy should be - the ability to move millions with clever wordplay, biting lyricism and, of course, the way her expressive vocals make themselves home in your head and are almost impossible to shake away.

My friend text me about her death, which I received as I was making my way up the escalator of the tube, and I just wanted to break down and cry. Not just for the desperately awful waste of young life and talent, but for the world generally. I sincerely believe the world is worse off without her music and its effect on so many people. I know so many people who have found solace in her music during shit times, who felt her pain as if it was her own, and knowing that no more music of this calibre will ever get made again upset me hugely.

I even remember playing the music to my grandad, a life-long fan of jazz in all its forms, hoping to convince him that not ALL modern music is a waste of time. Thankfully, he agreed! What has really angered me about the reaction to her death is the sense that people cannot publicly comment on their grief without various people seeing fit to dictate that she does not deserve our sorrow because a terrorist attack happened on the same day, or because she was a "low-life drug addict", as one person on my Facebook feed commented.

How can we as people place deaths on a scale of what's more deserving of grief? It's completely nonsensical to me. Yes, she was a drug addict, and yes, her hedonistic behaviour was almost certainly the cause of her untimely death, but funnily enough I doubt she deliberately experimented with drugs with a view to becoming dependent on them... no-one does, isn't that the whole point of addiction, that it's an illness?!

Music is such a powerful form of expression, and Amy gave the world a gift with her beautiful music, as trite as it may sound. I for one will always be grateful that I got a chance to see raw talent in the flesh twice, and I pity those who cannot look beyond the headlines to appreciate it too.

Here are some of my favourite live performances of Amy:

+ The Marketing of Cigarettes

The UK government is considering introducing plain packaging to tobacco packs, in an effort to deglamourise smoking to children. According to health secretary Andrew Lansley, "The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging".

It's all a far cry from tobacco's consumerist heyday in the 1950s! The news coverage surrounding the proposed changes to tobacco packs got me thinking about the alluring adverts created by tobacco companies in the past, so I thought I'd post a few examples:


Vintage Catalog features some interesting smoking adverts, including an advert featuring Amelia Earhart, and another personifying the Earth as a 'happy customer!

Photobucket  Marlboro advert


Personally, I don't think that changing the packaging of cigarettes will deter young people from lighting up for the first time, but it's worth a shot. In contrast to the smoking adverts above, an article featuring the top 45 creative anti-smoking advertisements from The Design Inspiration shows how the power of the visual can potentially prevent people from smoking in the first place! One example is of this
Anti-smoking advert

Here's some more articles about the murky world of smoking, fashion and advertising:

+ Do Fashion Blogs Glamorize Smoking? from The Coveted
+ Marketing Cigarettes to Women from World Profit.
+ The screen stars who can't kick the habit from The Times Online

+ The unique style of Mary-Kate Olsen


A word of warning; normally where Mary-Kate Olsen leads, fashion trends follow. Expect to see a plethora of clogs, woven bags, velvet skirts and eighties-style wetlook jackets in a store near you soon!

Any flares I owned were thrown out along with my crop tops and scrunchies back when I was about eleven, but they're a welcome change to the overload of leggings and skinny jeans, or save our souls, 'jeggings'.

I'm not sure I know anyone who would dress like the Olsen twins out in public, but there's something about their style that seems to captivate so many. Let's just hope she chooses her wardrobe for the season to come wisely!

+ I couldn't help but wonder...

I was browsing the tFS forums and came across this paparazzi shot of Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of the new Sex and the City movie. And I couldn't help but wonder at what point do fashion no-no's become a yes-yes? Only Sarah Jessica Parker could attempt to pull off acid-wash jeans with uggs!

Anyway, it got my thinking, why hasn't a new show come to fill the empty Manolo Blahniks' Sex and the City so gloriously filled? Don't get me wrong, the movies was OK, but where are us girls supposed to go for our weekly drama aimed solely at us? These days the kinds of shows that appeal to me and my friends are either aimed at the family (i.e. Lost, Heroes, Dexter) or try and appeal to the teens by being largely about teenagers having sex (Skins, Inbetweeners).

Quite simply, I could just carry on re-watching any one of the six seasons Sarah Jessica Parker & co ever so kindly made for us. But instead, I've decided to take a look back to Carrie's signature "I couldn't help but wonder..." questions and see whether they relevant to twenty-somethings (a.k.a. people my age) in the Noughties.

#1 Is it better to "fake it" than be alone? (Season Two, Episode Four)

#2 Why do we let the one thing we don't have affect all the things we do have? Why does one minus a plus one feel like it adds up to a zero? (Season Five, Episode Five)

#3 Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?(Season Six, Episode 15(

#4 As we speed along this endless road to the destination called "Who-We-Hope-to-Be," I can't help but whine, are we there yet? (Season Four, Episode 11)

#5 Can you make a mistake and miss your fate? (Season Four, Episode 18)

More to come as I think of answers to these timelessly relevant questions!

+ The Yo-Yo Hair Brigade

The Yo-Yo Hair Brigade

What do the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Scarlett Johansson, Ashlee Simpson and Agyness Deyn (to name but a few!) have in common? They all know the secret. Well, not so much a secret, but one of the best cures for boredom or a life-rut is to change your hair-do. Not content with simply getting a new haircut, the real way to earn your style stripes these days is to change your hair colour as frequently as you change your outfit.

Ok, so it might not necessarily be all that good for your feeble follicles, but it is guaranteed to change your mood and keep your style on its toes.

Red, blonde, raven, brunette, hell I've been them all. Considering how so many people change their locks these days, it would almost be fair to say that stereotypes such as the "ditzy blonde", "boring brunette" and "hot-tempered redhead" are obsolete.

Blondes »»»

Not only do blondes allegedly have more fun, they also have many, many choices when it comes to the wardrobe. For a sleek and glamorous look, dress head-to-toe in black. If you are light-skinned it is often better to avoid bright acidic ensembles and instead add complementary purple accents to your daily outfit.


Red is a sure-win here - just channel the Special K girl! If you have a dark complexion, you can pretty much add all colours to your wardrobe and mix-and-match with no fear, If you have paler skin it is best to steer away from dark colours that can wash you out, and instead choose some sassy fabrics in rich shades of red and purple. Be cautious of boring brown unless you want to blend into a crowd.


The best way to work up your fabulously fiery hair is to contrast it with cool shades of blue, green and aqua. When wearing black add accessories of a brighter hue to prevent pastiness. To really bring out your hair colour don a purple dress, or for the day keep it neutral and instead wear purple, green or yellow accessories.

Raven-haired girls»»»

Wearing all-black can cause dark-haired girls can lead to two things - you either embrace timeless chic or gothic chic. Unless you want the gothic look take care when wearing black with pale complexions. Bright colours will contrast amazingly with your dark locks, so ditch the black and get some contrast. Electric blues, yellows and reds will bring out your eyes and help signal your new vamp status!