Hayley Kiyoko: Queer role model

25-year-old singer Hayley Kiyoko’s catchy songs are hard to forget and she has an amazing voice but why is she such an important figure for LGBT teens?

Recently she has received much praise from fans on social media due to her LGBT themes in her music videos. Despite being bisexual, Hayley Kiyoko has been dubbed ‘queen of the gays’, and has become an important role model to people all over the world figuring out their sexuality.

Hayley Kiyoko is so important because not so long ago, even though the music industry has had numerous out singers and musicians, there wasn’t really any open representation for the LGBT community. Hayley is breaking through boundaries with her music videos and their completely unapologetic queer themes. ‘Girls like Girls’ became something of an anthem to LGBT teens when the video was released in 2015, the video being about two girls, one (Sonya) with a boyfriend (Trenton), the other one (Coley) is interested in the girl with the boyfriend. Eventually, the Sonya realizes that she likes Coley, when Trenton is apprehended because he was shouting at his girlfriend and being aggressive. It ends with the Coley smiling because she got the girl. One of the reasons it has been such a hit in the queer community is because the video and its ending is the story that so many queer girls would love to have. Through the video it is a constant reminder to young girls that it is okay to like other girls.

Another reason Hayley is such a massive influence is how regularly she stresses that it is going to get better for teenagers growing up and going through tough times, and with her recent song and music video; Gravel To Tempo, she provides entertainment with important messages to be yourself, and not care what others think. At an age where teenagers are already developing insecurities about their bodies and focusing on their flaws, it can be even harder for someone who is learning that they are different than the other people around them, and it can be a daunting experience, having to admit these new realizations to yourself. Having a role model like Hayley Kiyoko to look up to is a way for young people in the LGBT community to feel secure in themselves and proud of their sexuality in the way that they should.

But also, not only has she become a role model for her unapologetic attitude to people who scorn her sexuality, and inspiring views that more people should be following, her music and videos provide great entertainment that has social media sites like Tumblr losing their mind, and it’s also a good natured way of normalizing LGBT relationships into everyday life, and to always remind you to that ‘the only validation you need is yourself’.

You can download her new EP ‘Citrine’ from iTunes now.

Sacked Managers, Booed Captain, Unsatisfied fans- What’s next for English football?

The summer performances on show by the England squad in the European Championships were some of the most disappointing on show since the turn of the last century. Despite the fact that the Three Lions squads over the years have only won six knock out matches in international performances since their sole triumph of 1966 the fans had high hopes going into the Euros.

The result was all too familiar. England’s Group Stage campaign started of with an infuriating draw against Russia due to a last minute goal. Despite the anger caused among the English fans, hopes remained reasonably high as the squad could take positives from the game. The next game was elating win after coming back and scoring in the last minute against Wales, making it all the sweeter. The optimism levels were high once again, however this soon came to an end with another irritating draw, this time a goalless one against Slovakia, meaning that our national team finished second to bitter rivals Wales in the group. Then the tense wait for the round of 16 draw. When drawn against Iceland it was seen as a given victory, only for the team to give the most under-whelming performance in living memory. There were no excuses that would satisfy a livid country of football lovers and there was no escape for the manager. The next morning Roy Hodgson resigned from the managerial role.

The month long media rumors began with pundits and fans trying to predict the next manager of the England team. After much debate the manager of England was announced as Sam Allardyce. Allardyce was an experienced manager by this point who had been managing in the highest tier of English football for over a decade. Despite not having trophies to his name “Big Sam”, as he is sometimes known, was and still is famous for playing a no non-sense style of football, helping him save many a club from relegation in the Premier League over his lengthy career as a top flight manager. Surely this was exactly what England needed after their abysmal European Championship campaign, a straight talking manager who would try and get England out of the rut they we are currently in. But once again things were not as simple as they seemed.

After Big Sam’s first game in charge, which avoided yet another infuriating draw with a last minute goal from Lallana, all seemed to be going to plan. However shortly after this a video was released to the press, depicting Big Sam talking about how to side-step FA rules and take short-cuts in the beautiful game. this resulted in a tirade of pressure from the media, public and the FA urging him to step-down, eventually resulting in his resignation. this led to Gareth Southgate, former England international, stepping in as caretaker manager until a permanent replacement is found.

Although Southgate won his first game in charge comfortably against Malta in England’s World Cup Qualifying campaign his career so far has not problem-free. The main area of concern is that England captain and most experienced player Wayne Rooney is in poor form and is being booed by his own fans. This hostility towards this loyal servant of the English cause has put pressure on Southgate and has resulted in Rooney being dropped to the bench for the next World Cup Qualifying round. Without a clear natural born leader in the side the England team have not played as a team in recent times.

So what is next for English football? With the next qualifier against Slovenia approaching it has the feel of a must-win-game for the new England manager if he i to silence the critics and restore the long lost confidence of the nation, the confidence so vital for the success of the England squad. And so looking into the future, it seems that the best way for England to approach the World Cup in 2018 is to qualify with confidence and play in the same way, but in terms of the tournament itself, should go into it with a level-headed , perhaps less optimistic mentality in order to alleviate some of the pressure that was so evidently present on that appalling night against Iceland.

The First Presidential Debate: A Win for Clinton

The US presidential election is becoming much more exhilarating, as 27th September marked the first of three official and highly anticipated debate between the two presidential nominees. The debate attracted an overall audience of over 88 million viewers live, surpassing any previous record of any other debate in American history! As a result of the debate at New York’s Hofstra University, the Democrat Candidate Hillary Clinton, (68) former Senator of New York and Secretary of State has officially advanced ahead of the Republican Candidate and industrial tycoon of real estate, Donald Trump (70) according to official election polls.  
 
But who really won the debate?
What went wrong with the candidates?
What can we expect from the next debate?
 
Firstly, the key moment from Clinton was when she suggested Trump doesn’t possess the ability to be the president. However, perhaps she’s right! After she made this claim, Trump repeatedly stated Clinton did not have the ‘stamina’ to be president, although the Secretary of State shot back and stated, “When Donald Trump spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina,” shaking off Trump’s attack.
 
It’s arguable that Trump himself does not have the stamina, as seen by his introductory statement of the debate. Clinton at the beginning of her speech focused on her objectives of the economy and highlighted the importance of prioritising future generations with the security of jobs and rising incomes, however but protecting sustainable energy and minimum wages, while guaranteeing equal pay for women’s work, in order to close the large gender-pay gap that exists in the states. On the other hand, Trump began with the phrases, “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico.” He then rambled on that as a result of other countries, America is becoming devalued and continuously discussed the departure of jobs and firms and that the US needs a government to fights on the unemployed US citizens and prevents firms from moving their businesses to Mexico in particular. Yet despite his constant attempts to appear like a suitable successor for Obama, his desire to battle rather than unite with the world strongest players such as China only proves how he would dismantle America if he were to assume the position. Hillary on the other hand believes that strong trade relationships with the rest of the world is how to “grow the economy” as she stated that the US is “5 percent of the world’s population” and that they “need to have smart, fair trade deals”. She also mocked Trumps easy background to which she refers to the “small loan of $1 million” Fred Trump and highlighted her support for the middle class and their future.
 
Throughout the debate, Trump displayed a sign of vulnerability against the well-prepped Clinton as his inaccuracy against Clintons views over NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a trilateral trade bloc agreement between Canada, Mexica and the US which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993) was influenced and changed by Donald Trump himself, confirmed by his statement, “…you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.” To which Clinton wittily mocked him and replied “Well Donald, I know you live in your own reality…” which was followed by Trump attempting to through Clinton by throwing Obama into the sum by repeatedly asking, “Is it President Obama’s fault?”  Looking at the debate, his effort to humiliate and intimidate Hillary by use of repetition of controversial and dramatic sentences or questions in truth only demonstrates why he couldn’t possibly lead the United States into prosperity.
 
However, to prove that Clinton won the debate, I refer to her most effective ‘slam’ against Trump, given from The Washington Post transcript of the night.
 
Trump: “… We’re a debtor nation. We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas.”
 
Clinton: “And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”
 
Her statement was followed by a large applause from the audience who although were given strict instructions not to respond to the debate, proving how Clinton excelled in that moment.
 
Judging by the outcome of the debate, it’s fair to say that Hillary was the only one on the stage who demonstrated suitability to become president, as well as showing Trump’s inadequacy and lack of control, especially when Moderator Lester Holt struggled to remain on topic when Trump frequently burst into folly that didn’t always answer the question asked. Overall Trump’s tactics of the debate which involved contradicting himself and attacking Clinton’s clear plan of presidency which in fact is of far more intelligence than any of Trump’s, have unravelled a path of great difficulty for his next debate, as Clinton proved she can handle Donald’s aggressive, controversial statements with great ease and brilliant satire.

A Royal Affair: The Fascinating Tale of Queen Victoria

Victoria, ITV’s new, eight part, period drama was released on August 28th (directed by Tom Vaughan) and depicts the fascinating tale of England’s Queen Victoria coming to power in 1837, at just 18 years of age.

Daisy Goodwin, the TV-show’s creator and writer, discovered the first volume of Victoria’s journals – of which there are many – in 1981, when studying the 19th century monarchy at Cambridge.  Instantly she became captivated by the “discovery of a monarch who is engaging, funny and frank; a girl, in fact”. For the first time, Goodwin experienced the Queen in a more personal light; a stark contrast to the cold-hearted character so commonly associated with her name. Her subsequent decision to revive Victoria’s sprightly, resolute personality in television form, offered the rest of the country the same luxury.

Queen Victoria’s reputation is cemented in the history books: humourless, prude and stony –manifested within her hilariously cynical catchphrase, “We are not amused.” Not only has recent evidence suggested that she never did utter those words but, according to A.N. Wilson, the show’s historical adviser, the reputation itself is undeserved and was apparently a façade. It was devised by the Royal Family – to “supress the truth about her passionate nature”.

Goodwin’s aim was to overturn the common perception of England’s longest-reigning monarch. One line in particular, refuting the misconceptions of Victoria’s personality, captured Goodwin’s attention: “My dear Albert came in today from the rain; he looked so handsome in his white cashmere britches, with nothing on underneath,” This remark was one that Goodwin claimed to have mortified her (but only for a second)! She wanted to portray the ‘real’ Victoria, the passionate girl in the thrall of young love, whose surprisingly relatable thoughts she had uncovered within the diaries. Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman, the actress portraying young Queen Victoria in the series, said she hoped that the drama would reveal the lesser-known side of this supposedly implacable monarch – and that is exactly what it has accomplished. The programme shows the Queen – though reliant on her intimate friend, Lord Melbourne – to be a headstrong, decisive woman in the midst of a patriarchal society.

Despite its admirable execution, every historical drama is subject to criticism concerning its accuracy; and Victoria is no exception. Historians are quick to scrutinize the relevance of the staff sub-plots and precision of the Royal Family’s portrayal, with some sharp enough to assess Coleman’s height (a mere 3 inches above that of Queen Victoria’s 4ft11inch figure). Upon being questioned about the series’ historical accuracy, Daisy Goodwin admitted that she had made up the characters and stories of life downstairs, but insisted that “everything that happens from upstairs is true and from Victoria’s diaries.” Even so, whilst Victoria is representation of 19th century Britain, it is still a TV programme, and so one can expect additional plots and a slightly exaggerated reality; so is the nature of a televised drama. What truly matters is the fact that the series allows the opportunity to explore a whole new aspect to Queen Victoria’s character and does well to challenge the unwarranted reputation of the monarch in a way which is not only gripping, but enjoyable. After all, this was the initial aim of its creator.

Through the work of Daisy Goodman and her crew, Victoria captures the journey of a miscalculated Queen, faced with the unfathomable responsibility of leading a country at such a vulnerable age. Instead of the stout, old lady that has been branded onto public consciousness, Queen Victoria is presented to us in a way that is respectable, relatable and redoubtable. In many ways, she is a fantastic role model.  A part truly fit for a queen.

Why Horror Films Aren’t Scary Anymore

The suggestion of a horror film is enough to send at least a quarter of the nation into a petrified state of terror with images of the regular Halloween horror or a ghastly graveyard, filling their heads. However, the reality of the infamous nightmare stirrers is far less sinister nowadays than they used to be. Continue reading “Why Horror Films Aren’t Scary Anymore”