Josh

Super Mario Partners! – A conversation with my boyfriend about the world of Mario.

It was recently Mario’s 30th Anniversary so I thought I would do a fun post: a conversation with my partner (and life long Nintendo fan) Jon! (My questions are in bold)

Hello! Is this weird?

A bit.

What was the first Mario game you played?

Uhh… it would have been Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I played it with my sister … I should have said my older sister who – as the eldest – insisted on being Mario so I had to be Luigi.

Fave Mario game?

(Thinks – this is obviously a tough question.) See my instinct is to say “no” as I enjoy them all. There are certain ones that stick out in my mind more, for various reasons. In terms of soundtrack Mario Galaxy – I love the soaring orchestral arrangements. In terms of gameplay probably Super Mario World as I feel they had really refined 2D Mario gameplay by that point and the world map was brilliant. In terms of aesthetic/appearance probably Super Mario 64; even though the graphics are quite dated now, at the time they were jaw dropping. The brightness of the colours and expansiveness/openness of the levels was so new and exciting. I of course have a soft spot for the first 3 games, they are all important.

The first Mario game we played together?

I’m going to say Mario Sunshine but could be Mario Galaxy. Do you remember?

I think it was Double Dash …

No I think we played some Sunshine before that. If you are counting Mario spin-off sports/party games and all that, then that may put a different spin on some of the questions!

Well I think Double Dash was the first kart game we played together …

It was the first multiplayer I think we played yes.

What do you think of the theory that Rosalina is Peach and Luigi’s child?

Hmmmm Luigi and Peach’s? I’d say I’m not totally on board with it … I could accept it if they said it was canon but I prefer the idea of Rosalina being a kind of lost child, waif/stray type person, a new thing.

“…all the best stuff was born in the 80s!”

A lot of people think that Peach and Mario are together …

I don’t know what they are really. I always viewed Mario as being sort of … he’s the Toadstool Kingdom’s protector and by the same token Peach’s. There’s a bit of flirtation between him and Peach but I don’t know if it goes further than that (and I’d rather not know, there are some things that should stay private 😉).

To settle the debate is Toad’s spotty mushroom cap a hat or part of his head?

Well logically since it is the Toadstall/Mushroom Kingdom – there would probably be people who are anthropomorphised mushrooms and toadstools and such. So could say it’s a part of the body. But I guess I almost see it as their hair, their head is the bit underneath – it’s their decorative … growth! Yes it’s a decorative growth.

I like that!

They would just look weird if it was a hat and when they took it off it was just this tiny bald thing. Just be weird – maybe they are hiding a luscious head of hair underneath there.

Recommend a Mario game for someone who hasn’t played Mario before – what would you say they should play?

Depends on whether they wanted to play a 2D or 3D game a bit. But probably on balance Super Mario 3. Super Mario 3 has a bit more story sort of – they knew what they were doing by the time they got to Super Mario 3. And the maps are fun and the powerups: the frog suit and tanooki suit in particular are my faves.

That one’s controversial!

I know (rolls eyes).

Do you have any questions – I’ve put you on the spot there?!

If you had to liken the Memeow mascot to any Mario universe character who are they most like?

Probably a smaller character like Toad or Yoshi. A mix of Yoshi and Toad – friendliness of Toad and the wild side of Yoshi.

With elements of Boo or Shy Guy? Boo is cheeky!

Probably a bit of Boo as well.

Thanks for doing the interview do you have anything to promote/plug?

I have no plugs. Not until I come out with my bestselling book or game!

Any final words? Did that sound a bit ominous?

A bit ominous.

Most interesting Mario easter egg for me is: why are there portraits of Mario and co on the walls of Hyrule castle in Ocarina of Time? Is this proof that all Nintendo universes are connected? Was Hyrule the Mushroom Kingdom a long long time ago? But then goodness knows how that would fit into the already complex timeline! So Peach is like Princess Zelda’s Great Great Great Grandmother? Thats you’re story forget Rosalina!

Shall I tell game theory?

Yep!

Bonus question: How do you feel being almost the same age as Mario?

First:RUDE. Second, it just proves that all the best stuff was born in the 80s!

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

Some of my latest binge-watches

Hello and happy Halloween month! I thought I’d post about some of my recent binge watches…

Aggretsuko

I have recently binged S2 and S3 of Aggretsuko on Netflix. You know the show with the cute red panda office worker with anger issues. Oh and is secretly a death metal singer! With episodes running for 15-20 mins long, I’m unsure why I took so long to tune in again. I love that this show is aimed at adults but doesn’t tone down the cute style. Adults can like cute things too you know!! Retsuko portrays the typical overworked office worker, with a great coping mechanism, imagining her death metal persona during moments of high stress. After work Retsuko regularly unleashes her death metal persona in the Karaoke bar. This is a very cute and easy watch and recommend for anyone who needs a nice positive distraction! Also OTM Girls song from S3 ‘Viral Star’ is a total BOP.

Ratched

This new netflix show follows character Nurse Mildred Ratched from the Book/film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Sarah Paulson plays a younger incarnation of Ratched in this prequel series. Admittedly I have not seen the original film or read the book prior to this series, but decided to check out the series due to Paulson and it being a Ryan Murphy production. I liked that they added some LGBTQ content which apparently wasn’t in the original story. The cinematography is fantastic as are the various outfits of Nurse Ratched. Overall a fun binge watch, though not for the squeamish/feint hearted!

Selling Sunset

Who knew a reality show about a Beverly Hills estate agents could be so fun! I like many others binged watched this show after the 3rd season landed in August. The overdramatic soapy drama mixed with beautiful shots of Million dollar properties make for great viewing! Also you know you’ve been watching too much of this series when they show a $2M house and think “that’s cheap, what a bargain!”.

Hoping to get another blog post out soon with the help of my partner! So watch this space…

P.S. I have recently received some lovely reviews on my Etsy shop, which feel great to receive as a small business owner. It really makes my day when I receive a positive review! 🙂

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This is my idea of fun playing video games – New Gaymer Cards + Redbubble

I’ve recently added some more Gaymer related cards to my etsy shop after the success of my GAYMEBOYZ and GAMEGIRLZ cards. These cards were fun to design, since I’m a part time Gaymer myself! Click here to check them out.

I’ve also recently added an Asexual Pride card to my collection to go with my other Pride themed cat cards. The other cards in the range have the text “You’re Purrfect” but felt that “You’re Ace!” was a better pun for this card.

You’re Ace! Greetings Card – Link to buy

I’ve also recently set up my Memeow Gifts redbubble shop which has some of my previous designs, along with some new ones for purchase on T-shirts, notepads, stickers and more! Click here to view the current range.

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Some of my redbubble designs

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

Lockdown Listening

I thought I’d write a post about of some of the new albums I’ve been enjoying while in lockdown.

Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa

This 80s/Disco infused second album from Dua Lipa is full of bops, and I would say better than her first album. My top tracks are Physical, Don’t Start Now,Cool, Levitating and Hallucinate. The podcast Switched On Pop have a great episode where they deconstruct Don’t Start Now and break down all the elements that make the song e.g. text painting (where music reflects the music)

100 Gecs – Tree of clues

Technically a remix album of 100 Gecs debut album 1000 Gegs. 100 Gecs sound is best described as very polarizing! The album features songs with high pitch,glitchy vocals and pulsating beats through out which are so DAMN CATCHY. The catchiness really reminds me of bubblegum meme songs I used to listen to in my teen years. My Fave tracks include xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx (would make a great 2000’s MSN messenger name) stupid horse, ringtone and hand crushed by a mallet (feat Fall Out Boy)

how i’m feeling now – Charli XCX

This is Charli’s made in quarantine album. I really like this album and the lyrics are very fitting for the time. The glitchy music feeling even making a great soundtrack for these highly uncertain anxious times. fave tracks – forever, claws and anthems.

Dedicated Side B – Carly Rae Jepsen

Queen of Side B albums/EPs! E•MO•TION Side B is probably my fave of CRJ records and just proves the quality of Jepsen’s B sides. Dedicated Side B is another great addition to Jepsen’s catalogue. It also raises the question of how many unreleased gems Jepsen has locked away. My Fave tracks are The Keeper,This Love Isn’t Crazy and Solo.

Sawayama – Rina Sawayama

This debut album is very eclectic sonically, which some would argue that it is not sonically cohesive but neither is Red by Taylor Swift which is one of my fave albums. Sawayama dives into various genres such as nu metal, pop and rock. My fave tracks are Bad Friend, Tokyo Love Hotel, Paradisin’ and STFU!

folklore – Taylor Swift

This is the kind of album I’ve wanted from Taylor Swift for a while. As much as I love her pop records, I’ve missed her storyteller songs, so its great to hear a stripped back album of pure story songs. Fave tracks – Cardigan, My Tears Ricochet, August and Betty.

Chromatica – Lady Gaga

PopGa is back! This album did not disappoint and I love listening from start to end. The Album is tied together very nicely with the Chromatica interludes including Chromatica II with that godly transition into 911. My fave tracks are Rain On Me, Sine From Above, Fun Tonight and Sour Candy.

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Warwickshire Pride Online

My local pride like many others around the world are holding a digital event this year. Warwickshire Pride ONLINE which will be streaming Sunday 22nd August on facebook, twitter and youtube. I attended Warwickshire Pride last year as a stall holder for Memeow Gifts. The day was great fun, with much entertainment throughout the day and I look forward to watching their digital version this year.

A poster I designed for the event 🙂

The line up hasn’t been released yet but they are announcing acts throughout the coming week. Their tweet below hints at some of the fun things to come.

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Memeow Gifts now on thortful!

Just a short post to let you know that some of my designs are now on available on the popular greetings card website thortful. thortful is one of the most popular websites for greetings cards, so I’m very pleased to be part of their catalog!

An exclusive design I created for thortful

Click here to check out my thortful profile

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

Netflix Documentary ‘Disclosure’ is essential viewing

I recently watched Netflix documentary Disclosure which details the history of Trans representation in TV and Film and the impact on society. The film features many trans stars including Laverne Cox, Bianca Leigh Jen Richards, Lilly Wachowski, Brian Michael Smith, Sandra Caldwell, Chaz Bono and many more.

This documentary is essential viewing especially in times of the Black Lives Matter movement and the planned rolling back of Trans rights by the UK government and celebrities such as JK Rowling making their transphobia known. I know JK is only one person but she has a a lot of power, Harry Potter is a behemoth of a franchise. The comments she has made completely baffle me after she wrote a whole series based around the virtues of accepting others, especially those that differ to you. That being said I don’t wish her any hate or ill will,  but it is a great shame and hope she changes her thinking on trans issues, since many LGBTQ people will have found solace in her stories.

… Anyway back to Disclosure!

“I think for a very long time the ways in which trans people have been represented on screen have suggested that we are not real, have suggested that we are mentally ill, that we don’t exist. And yet, here I am. Yet here we are, and we’ve always been here.” – Laverne Cox says  just before the titles roll perfectly setting up the rest of the documentary.

The documentary details the first trans portrayals in film, transphobic film tropes and various other topics.  I found the part about Cis actors playing trans characters very interesting. Where Jared Leto and Eddie Redmayne may do a decent job of playing trans women it reduces the roles to being costume like e.g. Jared Leto playing a Trans woman in Dallas Byers Club and later receiving the Oscar looking unrecognisable to the character he portrayed. But when trans women are cast in a trans role like Laverne Cox playing Sophia in Orange is The New Black this creates positive representation. Cox is not just representing a transwoman on the show she is also representing herself as a transwoman in real life which is great for trans youth to see.

Jen Richards relays coming out to a good friend as trans. The friend then asking if being trans is like Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill as in the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs who makes a dress out of women he has murdered … Richard’s reassures us that her friend is more understanding now and didn’t mean offence by her comment. But it’s scary that trans representation was/is so scarce that this was someones first frame of reference.

I also found Sandra Caldwell’s story very interesting, Caldwell had a long career starring in films like The Cheetah Girls and Serendipity before coming out more recently as a transwoman. Chaz Bono also shares his experience of being the first trans contestant on Dancing With The Stars.

I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t watched Disclosure to check it out! 

 

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

Is Heartwarming Gay Pixar Short ‘Out’ a sign of more LGBTQ representation to come from Disney?

For years LGBTQ Disney/Pixar fans have been calling out for more representation in the animated universe. We have seen many gay coded characters and minor characters have been revealed to be gay see ‘Zootopia’ and recent Pixar film ‘Onward’. I have written before about Disney’s history of Coded Gay characters and LGBTQ representation which you can read here.

The Short film ‘Out’ landed on Disney + at end of May, as part of Pixar’s Smart Short series. This is the most visible LGBTQ representation from Pixar and Disney to date, with the short centring around main character Greg who is struggling to come out as gay to his parents. I loved this short, it has the same charm as many of the other great Pixar shorts and also lovely to finally see concrete LGBTQ representation from Pixar/Disney. Hopefully this is a good sign of what’s to come from their future feature films.

It is a great short and I highly recommend checking it out.

Trailer for ‘Out’

P.S. had to do a bonus drawing of Gigi The Cat and the Dog

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

Happy Purr-ide!

Hello and Happy Pride Month! I first of all wanted to address that this is very difficult time in the world right now. I posted the below link earlier in the month on my socials but wanted to include it here too. A good resource on how to help with the Black Lives Matter movement.

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Memeow stands for love, kindness and acceptance and is against all forms of hate.

I’ve recently added some more cards to my etsy shop including cats in the colours of LGBTQ flags. This is due to the popularity of my Trans Cat card in the colours of the trans flag. The text on all of these cards says “You’re Purrfect” and the range now includes cats based on the Lesbian, Gay,Bi and Trans flags.

Recent additions also include a Trans Unicorn card, two Gaymer cards and a prideful Dachshund card! (I have a slight dachshund obsession)

You can check out the full range here!

I hope to get a few more blog posts out this month, See you on the next one! – Josh

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

A Star is Reborn again on Chromatica and How I Became a Fan of the Enigmatic Lady Gaga

In 2008 Gaga emerged into the world of pop music and nothing was the same again! Now 12 years later she is about to release her latest album Chromatica, to celebrate, I thought I’d write about how I became a fan and giving a short recap of her career so far.

‘Just Dance’ was Gaga’s first big hit and also the first single from her debut album ‘The Fame’ (fun fact it’s “RedOne” the tracks producer that she shouts at the start of the song not “Red Wine”) ‘The Fame’ is about well fame. the good the bad and ugliness of it. I was absolutely obsessed with ‘Poker Face’ the follow up single, which has one of the catchiest pop choruses, combined with a genius Boney M sampled “Ma Ma Ma” hook!

It was however the VMA Performance of Paparazzi which cemented my status from casual fan to hardcore fan! I’d never seen anything like it – it was shocking, entertaining and Gaga’s Voice was INCREDIBLE. I also was very touched that she used her platform to thank the gay community dedicating her VMA win to “God and the Gays”, which is a good precursor to the great LGBTQ activism she would later be involved in.

‘The Fame Monster’ technically Gaga’s second LP was released a year after her debut album, I say technically as the album was in most places tacked on to ‘The Fame’ as a deluxe edition. Gaga requested the album was also released separately as she believed the 8 track record stood as a separate body of work. These 8 songs each represent a different metaphorical ‘Monster’ in Gaga’s life eg fear of love and fear of death. This album contains my favourite Gaga track of all time, ‘Bad Romance’ which is in my mind pop perfection. The song combines catchy melodies, dark lyrics, a killer bridge and also manages to name check 3 Alfred Hitchcock films! (Iconic)

The Gaga/Motorcycle hybrid combined with super 80s style text album cover will probably go down as one of the most controversial album covers of the 2010s! The cover taken from Gaga’s 3rd album ‘Born This Way’ really split the fanbase, I personally do like the cover it’s strange, and incorporates the 80s feel of the album. Title track ‘Born This Way’ is an empowering anthem of self love and includes a shout out to the LGBTQ community. On release ‘Born This Way’ was criticised by certain people as pandering to the LGBTQ community, which I completely disagree with. Even just back in 2011 when the album was released LGBTQ rights were not where they are now, gay marriage wasn’t legalised in the UK until 2014 after all.

Some may question why hearing positive LGBTQ lyrics in a pop song is that important, but just think about how many places pop music is played, shops, restaurants, the radio ; for anyone struggling with their sexuality or gender identity to be told you are perfect as you are is very comforting message.

Themes of self love and empowerment are weaved throughout the rest of the ‘Born This Way’ album, on ‘Hair’ Gaga sings “I just wanna be myself,And I want you to love me for who I am”, Scheiße’ is a female empowerment anthem about wishing to be confident in yourself and ‘Marry The Night’ is about taking on your own demons. Other highlights include the controversial super catchy ‘Judas’, Lesbian love song ‘Americano’ and my favourite of the album ‘The Edge of Glory” inspired by her grandparents love.

Born This Way’ is personally my favourite album of Gaga’s as I’m sucker for 80s style music, the concept of reinvention, rebelling against a society that sometimes makes you feel you don’t fit in and it’s empowering message of self love.

“I don’t remember ARTPOP” Gaga tweeted last year referencing her 4th album, which wasn’t Gaga’s smoothest album cycle to say the least! The album came only 6 months after Gaga broke her hip and had to prematurely end her Born This Way Ball Tour. After the first single ‘Applause’, Gaga and her team had planned to release ‘Venus’ as the next single off of ARTPOP, but when Promo single ‘Do What U Want’ started gaining traction they decided to release the latter as the second single. The video that was shot for ‘DWUW’ was never released as it was too controversial and in hindsight was the best thing considering the featured artist on the track (the song has now been taken off streaming platforms and removed from any new CDs/vinyls)

Anyway…Even though there were issues with the rollout of the ARTPOP cycle I do still like album and don’t think it deserved the harsh reception it got from critics. I also appreciated how Gaga released a final music video mainly for fans – “G.U.Y (An ARTPOP Film)”, which featured songs ‘ARTPOP’, ‘Venus’ and ‘G.U.Y.’

Gaga went for a singer-songwriter approach for her next solo studio album Joanne which was released after Gaga’s jazz collaboration (Cheek to Cheek) with Tony Bennet. The album’s title track ‘Joanne’ comes from the name of Gaga’s late aunt and the song deals with her father’s loss of losing his sister begging ‘Joanne’ to stay with the lyric “Girl where do you think you’re going?”. Another popular song off the record ‘Million Reasons’ is a country inspired ballad about a relationship that is near breaking point but the song’s character will stay if give one good reason over a million not to. Some fans were a bit disappointed due to Gaga’s departure from electro-pop on this record, but I’m glad it exists as I enjoy vulnerability and stripped backness of this record.

Now it’s almost time to go to Chromatica! ‘Chromatica’ Gaga’s latest album comes off the success of her role in Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ and promises a return to the electro pop sound of her early career. The highly danceable first single ‘Stupid Love’ highlights is a precursor to the fun, feel good record that Gaga is serving up this time. ‘Rain On Me’ the second single featuring Ariana Grande (another fave of mine) was released two days ago as of writing and is getting a great response, seems like the perfect uplifting song for these current times.

Other collaborations to look forward to on ‘Chromatica’ include ‘Sour Candy’ featuring Korean group Blackpink and pop legend Elton John on ‘Sine From Above’, Sine referencing a sine wave the mathematical symbol for sound. A sine wave is also found on the album cover for ‘Chromatica’ as Gaga found that making the music healed her, Gaga said in recent interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music regarding the album “I’m making a dance record again. And this dance floor, it’s mine and I earned it. And all that stuff that I went through, I don’t have to feel pain about it anymore. It can just be a part of me, and I can keep going.”

Illustration of Rain On Me Video

I’m sure the album will be brilliant (it is a Gaga record after all) hopefully this album will also provide some healing for others just as ‘Born This Way’ helped me.

I leave you with the tag line of the album, a simple but lovely message.

“In Chromatica no one thing is greater than another” – Lady Gaga

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

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