Josh

My Top 10 Favourite TV Shows of the Year!

Hello! Thought for my final post of the year I would post about my top 10 tv shows of the year!

10.Tiger King – This was released near the start of the first UK lockdown this year and seemed to be what everyone was watching at one point! The series quickly made house hold names of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. Even though there was a lot of hype around this show, I do have to say it is probably one of the most entertaining documentary series I have ever watched just for sheer amount of craziness. This show definitely proves that sometimes reality really is stranger than fiction.

9. Ratched – I’ve long been a fan of Ryan Murphy’s work and this year we saw many of his new projects drop on Netflix including Ratched. Sarah Paulson stars in this prequel series based around the character of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as American Horror Story it was still and enjoyable binge watch and Sarah Paulson is pretty much good in everything.

8. The Boys – I found the second series of The Boys even better than the first and Stormfront makes a great villain for the second season alongside other big bad Homelander. Also who doesn’t love some Billy Joel?

7. The Haunting of Bly Manor -The people that brought us The Haunting Of Hill House in 2018 returned with another offering from The Haunting anthology. I was sceptical at first as I loved Hill House so much but when I accepted Bly Manor was a different beast and not Hill House 2, I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the love story between Dani and Jamie and that ending still hurts!

6. This Country – Final season of BBC Three’s cotswold comedy This Country was another highlight of the year for me, in a year where a great comedy show is needed most! I am sad that this is the last outing for Kerry and Kurtan but hopefully there will be more some time in the future. Living in and around the cotswolds most of my life I have found that this show really captures the area very well.

5. Umbrella Academy – The second season of the Umbrella Academy saw the main characters scattered through time to different years of the 60s. It’s been a while since I saw the first season but I do think this season was better, I got through the episodes very fast which is a good sign. I’m interested to see where they go next after that finale!

4. I May Destroy You – This comedy/drama from Michaela Coel follows author Arabella who is trying to finish up writing her second book while also dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault. The show definitely goes into some very dark territory, but also has some great comedic moments too. I enjoyed how the show played around with the format of story telling eg flashing back to different moments from Arabella’s past in some episodes and the twisty but clever finale. A sign of a great show is being left with a feeling of wanting more and this show definitely left me wanting more, even though I think it really works as a limited series.

3. Dark – The final season of this mind bending, time travel, scifi thriller came to a very satisfying conclusion this year. I have to be honest, I don’t always understand what is going on in Dark as their are so many things happening! You’ve got the stories going on different time lines and this season introduced an alternate dimension so it is hard to keep up. But that being said there is so much attention to detail, the story is pretty air tight. I recommend non-german speakers watch with subtitles rather than the dubbed version which Netflix loves to default to for some reason!

2. Schitt’s Creek – Another final season of one of my favourites. I will have to do a Schitt’s Creek post at some point as I love this show so much and very deserving of all the awards it won this year. This show had just got better and better throughout its run and was given a fitting farewell. If you haven’t binged this series yet, do yourself a favour! (All seasons are on Netflix UK) – Moira spinoff anyone?

1. The Queen’s Gambit – Who knew a show about chess could be so emotional, exciting and also addictive? The Queen’s Gambit feels like a long movie (in the best way) we follow chess prodigy Beth Harmon’s life from child to young adult. This series is a perfect example of what a limited series should be, satisfying but also doesn’t over stay its welcome. Like I said a story about set around Chess doesn’t seem like it should work but it really does! Anya Taylor-Joy does a great job of portraying Beth Harmon as do Isla Johnston and Annabeth Kelly who play younger versions of the character. Overall a extremely solid series which I can see being on the top of many best of lists this year!

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

New Space themed Designs coming soon! – The Sea of Tranquility

Hello! Goodness we are nearly at the end of November already… This month I produced a range of designs featuring sea creatures in space! This started with my Octopus design and I decided to create 3 more in the series. I felt like doing something a bit different than my usual designs and enjoyed escaping into my imagination for this series. I will soon be selling these designs as a postcards on my etsy shop. The Designs are also currently for sale on my redbubble shop.

Check out the series below! –

Also on the space theme – (don’t know what it is with my new space obsession, maybe a longing to escape from this planet with the current crazy world we live in!) Is my new Chester Star Princess design which I also hope to get on merch soon too! Heavily inspired by my cat Chester, yes I made fanart of my cat. Thinking of getting this design printed on notepads and magnets. Chester StarPrincess is available on Redbubble now!

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

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

It was recently Mario’s 35th 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! 🙂

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

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.

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

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.

Etsy | Redbubble |Instagram | Twitter

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

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