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.
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)
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.”
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
Happy International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia or IDAHOBIT for short! IDAHOBIT was started by Louis-Georges Tin in 2004. The days name has changed in recent years to include more LGBTQ groups, starting off as IDAHO but now including Bi and Transgender members of the community in the days name.
The date of May 17th was chosen as this is the date The World Health Organisation (who I think we’ve all heard of now!) decided to remove Homosexuality from their international classification of diseases in 1990.
Happy IDAHOBIT to you all and remember to stay safe! 🙂
Working on some new card designs this weekend which I can’t wait to release soon. Also working on another post for later this month so stay tuned!
In my blog post before last, I posted about my contribution to the #SixFanarts challenge and mentioned that I would create an edition based on The OA. I’ve now finished The OA edition which you can view below.
This as, with the first #SixFanarts challenge was a lot of fun, giving me an opportunity to experiment with my style a bit. Also good practice as I usually draw animal characters so drawing 6 humans was slightly out of my comfort zone!
I also this week decided I’m going to work on a set of Quarantine inspired designs which I will be posting for free on this blog once I have finished. These cards will focus on LGBTQ couples and positive messages, while we are in this weird time in the world.
Below is the first of the quarantine designs – which is based on my previous card design A Whole Otter Love!
Rainbows are popping up in windows up and down the country here in the UK so I thought I’d offer some free printable rainbow colouring pages. Let me know if you do use them and post pics on social media tagging @memeowgifts so I can repost them!
Window users right-click on the images to save them, for Mac Users ctrl-click.
Hello! I hope you are well and staying safe. I recently took part in the latest art internet trend the #SixFanarts challenge created by twitter user @mcapriglioneart – who provided a template for the challenge consistomg of six boxes to fill with fanart of characters suggested by your followers.
Below is the finished result!
BBA (The Oa), Rosalina (Super Mario Galaxy), Anju (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time), Celestia Ludenberg (Danganronpa), Eggman (Sonic The Hedgehog) and Rick from Rick and Morty. A strange but varied mixture of characters! I did have a lot of requests for other characters from The OA so I’m planning on doing an OA edition too!
I had a lot of fun with this challenge as it gave a me a chance to try out a slightly different style, I experimented with a more consistent black outline, which I think works well.
Below is the template for the challenge if you want to take part.
Hi, The world has changed quite a bit since my last post, we find ourselves living in a very strange time, Oh how I long for the days of constant GDPR emails instead of these COVID-19 ones! I decided to self isolate last week and I’m now doing my main job from home. I thought that as most us are currently isolated/quarantining I would compile a short list of things to do while we are in this situation, I hope you find it useful.
1.Keeping in touch with loved ones via technology
Whether it is via text,call,video chat or social media, technology allows us to remain in touch with the people closest to us. Free video conferencing app Zoom is very popular at the moment, people have been hosting house parties, game nights and even virtual pubs via the free app.
Now is the perfect time to read a new book, I’m currently reading ‘The Beast Within’ by Serena Valentino the second of of series of books which slightly twists the tales of various Disney villains. They are a fun read and would recommend for any Disney fans out there. I have also recently finish Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ a hybrid memoir and self help book for those dealing with depression. This is great book with good tips for coping with these stressful and uncertain times. If you have a library card many libraries offer downloads on their website of e-books and audiobooks to read/listen to.
3. Watching TV
Whether you prefer streaming a good film or binge watching a boxset there is a plenty of content out there to watch while being isolated. As I always would recommend The OA (Netflix) its not only great escapism but also a story full of hope and people joining together. If you are looking for something a bit more gentle and light hearted recommend another of my favourites Steven Universe (Netflix,Now Kids, Amazon), a lovely animation with quirky and lovable characters. Like I said there is so much choice out there, most of the shows I mentioned in my top 10 TV Shows of the decade list are available to stream. With so many streaming services out there Netflix, Prime Video, Now TV and the recently launched in the UK, Disney +, you really are spoilt for choice!
My partner recently bought me Just Dance for Christmas and I absolutely love it! Not only is it great fun, you also get a good workout out of it which is great especially if you are confined to your home. Alternatively there are dance videos on Youtube you can dance along to and also live dance parties online, dancer Mark Kanemura has been hosting live dance parties on Instagram (link below)
5. Being Creative
I love drawing whenever I’m going through a stressful time, I find it very therapeutic and sometimes even find the stress fuels my creativity. So I encourage everyone to express themselves at this very odd time in our existence, to draw, write, make music, sew, crochet, or participate in any other creative outlet you have.
Remember we will get through this and by staying home we are saving lives. Stay Safe everyone.
See you on the next blog post – Josh 🙂
P.S below is a recent Wedding card design I created,
Yesterday Lady Gaga released her new extremely catchy single ‘Stupid Love’, a high energy, extremely danceable pop song produced by the likes of BloodPop and pop genius Max Martin. This single seems to signify Gaga’s return to an electro pop sound, after her previous two studio albums ‘Cheek To Cheek’ a Jazz collaboration with Tony Bennett and ‘Joanne’ which opted for a more analog/acoustic sound. Don’t get me wrong I love pretty much anything Gaga comes out with – She really can sink her teeth into any genre! But I am happy to see her exploring electro pop again, it seems like the kind of music we need for the highly stressful place the world is in right now. Its great to have a song like “Stupid Love” which cheers you up and takes your mind off some of the daily worries!
Also the iPhone shot video does not disappoint featuring Gaga as a member of the ‘Kindness Punks’ wearing a trio of fabulously camp bright pink outfits! Gaga’s ‘Stupid Love” look has been compared online to Power Rangers and Sailor Moon. All of the make up looks in the video were created using products from Gaga’s new beauty venture ‘Haus Labs’. This video is great fun and captures the energy of the song perfectly. The video is also very on brand, with Gaga’s message of spreading kindness. Gaga signs “All I ever wanted was love” as she tries to reunite the people of Chromatica in Harmony.
Hello! Been trying to get a few more blog posts out this month to document some of the shows I’ve booked for this month. I’ve so far been to see Sinderella which I covered in my last post, Carly Rae Jepsen and the subject of this post Be More Chill! I’ve also got Boy In The Dress booked which I also hope to write post about after!
…Anyway back to Chill!
On Saturday 15th February I went to see the UK production of Be More Chill at The Other Palace, London. I had been dying to see this show ever since my friend Frances and I discovered the opening number “More Than Survive” through Spotify and we were hooked ever since!
The cast of the London production consists of Scott Folan (Jeremy), Blake Patrick Anderson (Michael), Miracle Chance (Christine), Stewart Clarke (The Squip), Eloise Davies (Brooke), Christopher Fry (Jeremy’s Dad and Mr Reyes), James Hameed (Rich), Renée Lamb (Jenna), Millie O’ Connell (Chloe) and Miles Paloma (Jake).
Be More Chill is based on the novel of the same title by Ned Vizzini, the show tells the story of unpopular high school kid Jeremy who desperately wants to fit in. When we first meet Jeremy he is just trying to muddle through high school life, but he longs for more, he wants to “More than Survive”. It seems Jeremy’s prayers are answered when school bully Rich introduces Jeremy to a special pill called a SQUIP (Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor). The pill contains a super computer which when taken implants itself into the users brain and teaches them how to be “Cool”. The rest of the show is about how Jeremy reacts to the effects of being SQUIPped and attempts to win the heart of his crush (Christine) along with navigating the trials and turmoil of teen/high school life.
We were sat in the 3rd row so had a very good view of the show. I think the show works well with the smaller venue, making the audience feel they are part of the action.
One of the great things about Be More Chill is that many of the songs are group numbers so everyone gets their chance to shine. More Than Survive and The Smartphone Hour being two of my favourite group numbers, the latter is a great commentary on the social media age, while also providing us with one of the most entertaining numbers of the show. Renée Lamb nails the role of school gossip Jenna who kicks off “The Smartphone Hour” with a very engaging and funny performance. Out of all the songs I still think that Michael In The Bathroom has got to be favourite from the whole show, its a very relatable song (which you would probably not expect from the title!) and Blake Patrick Anderson does a very good job portraying Michael. I also enjoyed Scott Folan’ Jeremy and Stewart Clarke’s SQUIP (ALL THE COSTUME CHANGES!!!) the actors/characters play very well off each other.
The show is only at The Other Place until t14th June, so I highly recommend you go see it if you haven’t already, C-c-c c’mon go go!
Last week (Monday 4th Feb) had the pleasure of seeing the Adult Panto Sinderella at The Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks. The Panto stars Divina De Campo (Drag Race UK), Rob King (BGT), Stacy Layne Matthews (Drag Race), David Potts (Ibizia Weekender) and Jamie Campbell (the inspiration for the hit musical Everybody’s talking about Jamie). We opted for the VIP tickets which included a photo op, signed poster and second row seats!
The Panto was a hilariously funny, highly entertaining piece from start to finish. David Hopper does a fantastic job as a far ruder version of your typical pantomime Buttons. Buttons arrives on stage various times throughout the panto with a cheery “HIYA GUYS!” met by a chorus of “F**k off!” from the audience, who get a witty retort thrown back at them each time.
There were a few technical issues throughout the performance and I bring this up only because of how well the cast responded to these issues. Divina and Stacy had some issues with their microphones at certain points but they powered through it and still delivered an entertaining and professional performance.
Divina De Campo does a terrific job in her role as the Wicked Stepmother, she’s got those classic panto villian expressions down! She also delivered a great vocal performance, but you wouldn’t expect any less for someone who can sing in 4 and a half octaves, in 5 different languages while doing the splits???
Jamie Campbell and Troy Harris play the ugly stepsisters in this production, who both got a lot of laughs from the audience. Julie Hutchison-Alberts plays Cinderella, who is much more innocent than the other characters in show! I enjoyed her scenes with Prince Charming (Rob King) they both have some fun and impressive musical numbers. David Potts also does a good job as Prince Charming’s right hand man Dandini, forming an amusing double act with Prince Charming.
I do urge anyone who has the chance to see this production to do so. This talented cast pull of a fab show, full of laughs, solid musical performances and lots of naughty jokes!
P.S I also enjoyed the many callbacks and references to drag race, also the reference to my favourite Youtube video the timeless and iconic “Cher Lloyd by Chery Lloyd”.