I Really Really Really Really Really Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen’s New Album!

On May 17th 2019 the world’s most likeable pop star Carly Rae Jepsen released her 4th Album ‘Dedicated’! The Canadian singer gained worldwide popularity in 2012 with her hit song “Call Me Maybe”, which became a viral internet sensation.

These days Jepsen popularity isn’t as mainstream, although she gained a loyal cult following within the LGBTQ Community after the release of her 3rd album ‘E•MO•TION”. “E•MO•TION” was full of 80’s inspired songs which was a departure from Jepsen’s previous “Call Me Maybe” sound, the songs however still retaining the catchy earworm quality of her biggest hit. “E•MO•TION” is a great pop record that I highly suggest you check it out if you haven’t already!

Album No.4 ‘Dedicated’ follows on the 80s pop inspired sound of “E•MO•TION” with some disco and modern influences mixed in. Jepsen wrote 200 songs for this album, which where then narrowed down to 15 songs with only the best songs making the cut. The album starts with the bright,electric guitar led funk/pop ‘Julien’ followed by synth led “No Drug Like Me”. “Want You in My Room” and “Happy Not Knowing” are two of the most infectious pop songs on the album and have found myself replaying them again and again, with the latter being my favourite off the album (Its very hard not sing/dance along to it!). “Real Love” is another one of my favourites, there is good balance of quieter vulnerable moments which build up to a danceable beat drop and then back to the stripped back production. ‘Now That I Found You’ is another highlight of the album which has has the most adorable music video featuring Instagram star ‘Shrampton’ a Scottish Fold cat famous for sitting like a human! All in all ‘Dedicated’ is another solid pop album from Carly Rae Jepsen, If had to sum up this album in one word… ADDICTIVE!

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Leave Your Door Open For The OA

*SPOILER ALERT – contains some spoilers for the first season of The OA*

In December 2016, Netflix dropped the first season of The OA, brought to us by the creative minds of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. After Netflix brought us the widely popular,acclaimed show Stranger Things in the summer of 2016, I was expecting The OA to be made from a similar mould. I soon realised when i started watching The OA that the shows were in fact very different, the shows do have some similarities with their sci-fi elements but tonally and storytelling wise they are worlds apart. (Absolutely no shade to Stranger Things!)

The OA revolves around main protagonist Prairie (played by Brit Marling) who arrives back home after being missing for 7 years. Prior to Prairie’s disappearance she was blind. So it is shock to everyone in her home town when they find out that her sight has also returned. Prairie (who know goes by the name ‘The OA’) doesn’t feel comfortable discussing the events of the past 7 years with her parents, instead she seeks solace in 5 strangers.

The 5 recruits (The Crestwood 5) chosen by The OA, leave their houses, leaving their front door’s open and meet at the abandoned house as per their instructions. It is here that the The OA begins her story. It is unknown if there is another reason for the ‘open doors’ aside some sort of trust exercise/showing their openness to believe in The OA. The ‘open doors’ work well as a metaphor for the show itself, as you have to go into the show with an open mind, you have allow yourself to go with the flow and see where the story takes you.

The OA recounts her kidnapping and the ensuing events, with the Crestwood 5 returning day after day to the unfinished house to get the next instalment. Eventually The OA teaches them about the movements, a succession of strange dance moves, there are six movements and if performed simultaneously with 5 other people, it will allow them to travel to another dimension! The movements might seem a little strange at first but you soon get used to them, the movements were created by choreographer Ryan Heffington, who previously did the choreography for Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and ‘Elastic Heart’ Music videos.

‘The OA’ has a fair few mysteries/unanswered questions which leave the viewer wanting to re-watch the show to look for clues or things they have missed. With the big question of season 1 being is The OA telling the truth or not? Has she just made this elaborate story up as a way of dealing with her trauma? Leaving the viewer and the Crestwood 5 both trying to answer the question of whether this character is telling the truth or if she has completely fabricated this fantastical story. Unlike other shows though ‘The OA’ does answer some of the mysteries along the way and S2 does answer some of the big questions of S1 which is much more satisfying for fans and viewers of the show than just piling on mystery after mystery with no answers in sight. (I’m looking at you ‘Lost’!)

‘The OA’ has a great cast with a lot of interesting and multi layered characters. My favourite characters have to be The OA and Betty Broderick Allen AKA BBA (Phyllis Smith), as felt like I could personally connect with these two characters most, BBA is also great at adding some comedic relief to the show! It also great to see ‘Buck’, a young trans character, played by trans actor Ian Alexander. Jason Isaacs plays the wicked but ever so intriguing to watch ‘Hap’, his scenes with The OA have to be some of my favourite in the series with their cat and mouse dynamic.

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij have created something special with ‘The OA’, the kind of story that stays with you long after you have experienced it.

I encourage you to watch The OA if you haven’t already and to go into the show with your metaphorical door open!

PS The S2 finale broke my mind!

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A Shop is Born – 5 Reasons Why I Set Up My Own LGBTQ+ Inclusive Business

At the end of last year I set up my own LGBTQ+ Inclusive Greetings Cards business Memeow Gifts, Here are 5 reasons why I decided to start my own business!

1.My Partner

I was unemployed and looking for work after finishing a temporary job. As any job seeker knows you can spend hours upon hours on applications to receive little to no responses! (#Rude) I was relaying my job seeking frustrations to my partner who asked if I had thought about setting up my own business perhaps with the help of The Prince’s Trust. I had considered running my own business previously but I wasn’t completely familiar with The Prince’s Trust. My partner also inspired my main goal with Memeow Gifts, LGBTQ+ Inclusivity. We had both previously struggled to find appropriate cards for each other for birthdays, anniversaries, valentine’s etc. As mainstream shops rarely cater to the LGBTQ+ market this seemed to be a gap in the market worth exploring.

2.The Prince’s Trust

I followed up my partners’ suggestion and reached out to The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Trust is a UK Charity that helps young people (11-30 year olds) with getting jobs, training or starting their own business. The Trust responded to my application swiftly and I began their Business Enterprise programme within a few weeks. Through out my Prince’s Trust journey (so far) I have found the staff extremely helpful and supportive every step of the way, from the 5-day initial business course, to helping with my business plan. Since I have now passed all of the stages of The Trust’s Business course I have been assigned a business mentor for 2 years. I meet with my mentor once a month to discuss how the business is developing and to address any business related queries/concerns I might have. I find these sessions with my mentor incredibly useful as my mentor is very supportive and helps me to progress with my business.

https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/

3.Art

Being an Artist who had studied Animation and Design, I wanted a creative outlet/job that allowed me to put my skills to good use. As many artists/creatives know, attempting to break into the creative industries can be a near impossible feat with the incredible amount of competition out there. So setting up my own business has allowed me to further explore and follow my creative passions.

4.Be My Own Boss

Having previously worked various temporary jobs, I liked the idea of running my own business to have another source of income to fall back on. I’m a big believer in a having a few iron’s in the fire, where possible. It’s true being your own boss has risks, but don’t all jobs? There are quite a few benefits to working for yourself, for example being able to work from home, flexibility of your working hours and freedom to make decisions.

5.Represent the community

Lastly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself I feel very proud to create products that represent and cater to the community. I do hope to keep adding to the collection of LGBTQ+ designs as the business grows, as I strongly believe there is just not enough LGBTQ+ representation out there currently, especially in mainstream outlets, representation is gradually improving but its still not quite there yet. My hope with Memeow Gifts is that I can make some impact on changing this!

Thanks for reading, You can check out Memeow Gifts at memeowgifts.com!

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Well Rebecca, you’ve done it now! – A Love Letter to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

*Contains some Spoilers for the series*

Since the musical comedy/drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend concluded last week, I felt I had to write a love letter to this lovely, quirky, awesome, amazing show.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Rachel Bloom (co-creator of the show with Aline Brosh McKenna) as lawyer ‘Rebecca Bunch’ unhappy with her life in New York decides after a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend ‘Josh Chan’ (Vincent Rodriquez III) to move to West Covina, California. “It happens to be where Josh lives but thats not why she’s here!” to quote the season 1 theme song, As soon as Rebecca arrives in West Covina appropriately with the first song of the series ‘West Covina’, her world instantly looks a lot brighter compared to the dull, muted colours of New York! Long story short Rebecca quickly finds a new job at West Covina law firm ‘Whitefeather Associates’ ran by the loveable but awkward ‘Darryl Whitefeather’ (Pete Gardener) , it is here she also meets her future frenemy/bestie Paula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin). Without giving too much away for people who have not yet seen the show, much of the first season is about Rebecca trying to win back the affections of her ex, while denying that he was the real reason she moved to West Covina!

“I’ve never seen a pretzel this big! 🥨”

The first thing I love about this show is that it subverts a lot of tropes, the main one being the title of the show, Rebecca does suffer with mental health issues but she is a 3-dimensional character who is not just lazily written off as being ‘Crazy’. The show approaches the topic of mental illness extremely well not just passing it off as some silly joke like other show’s might, they handle the topic with the delicacy it deserves. I’ve often found with a lot of films/TV shows which portray characters suffering from mental illness the characters often ‘cure’ their depression etc by the end of the story, where as Crazy Ex follows the more realistic approach, that mental health is something that you need to work at, there is no magical ‘I’m cured!’ moment. The fact that Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna consulted a panel of doctors to make sure they wrote an accurate diagnosis for Rebecca reveals how much love and care is put into the show.

To cope with the stress in her life Rebecca has developed an interesting coping mechanism, she imagines certain moments in her life as musical numbers. The musical numbers are all original songs written for show and encompass a vast array of musical genres from Broadway,EDM,Pop,Hip-Hop and more! (I honestly think there is something for almost everyone’s musical taste) ‘You Stupid Bitch’, ‘Dream Ghost’ and We’ll Never Have Problems Again’ being some of my favourite songs from the series (I’ll have to do a top 10 post at some point!)

“We’ll Never Have Problems Again!”

Another think I really like about the show is it’s diverse cast, there are characters of various ethnicities and members of the LGBTQ community within the main cast. its refreshing to see ‘Josh Chan’ an Asian-American as the lead ‘heartthrob’ who Rebecca moves across the country for. Darryl’s story arc, where he discovers his bisexuality is another example of something often not seen on TV. Shows are often criticised for writing characters that don’t want to identify as bisexual, with Darryl this is completely subverted, there is even a song, ‘Gettin’ Bi’ which perfectly deconstructs the popular misconceptions of bisexuality to an 80’s inspired tune.

Heather played by Vella Lovell is another stand out character for me, her snarky, sarcastic delivery is always on point. I especially love Heather’s Anti-High School Musical-esque number “The Moment is Me” which she sings after graduating college, which is an example of classic Heather at her best!

I love the quotability of the show, “that was super rando!” is now very much part of my vocabulary! My partner and I often find ourselves quoting ‘We’ll Never Have Problems Again” when we encounter couples in the honeymoon phase and my best friend and I often end up singing “I Have Friends”. The way that all of these songs and quotable moments have stuck with me, convey what a special show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was/is and I look forward to re-visiting the show many times in future!

(The whole series of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available on Netflix)

PS I have recently booked tickets for Rachel Bloom’s London show (IM SO EXCITED!!)

PPS since this is a Memeow Blog post after all…

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Review- Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? – The Rocky Horror Picture Show – New Theatre Oxford

Last Saturday I went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the New Theatre Oxford, as part of their 2019 world tour.

The stage show is based on the cult 1975 film of the same name, created by Richard O’Brien. The film was quite groundbreaking for the time especially for its portrayal of sexuality and gender identity. 

This was my first time seeing the show live. Previously I had scene the original film and a live show streamed at the cinema in 2015. The live stream was very good, but I knew it would not be as fun as attending an ACTUAL live screening! 

As soon as we got off the bus in Oxford we were surrounded by people dressed in obvious rocky horror attire, maids, people wearing clothing emblazoned with rocky horror quotes and of course fishnets!

The show did not disappoint. The cast included Joanne Clifton (Janet), Ben Adams (Brad), Philip Francis (Narrator) and Duncan James (from ‘Blue’) in the iconic role of Frank N Furter. The cast did a great job with Duncan James and Philip Francis being the standouts  for me. I also enjoyed Laura Harrison’s (Usherette) renditions of “Science Fiction, Double Feature” which book end the show.

Duncan James portrayed the iconic role of Frank N Furter

The best part of the show had to be the audience participation, which is a major part of the Rocky Horror experience! Audience Participation originally started in certain showings of the movie, this then moved on to the stage show and has become an integral part ever since! Most of the participation comes in the form of shout out  responses to The Narrator eg whenever he says “Brad” the audience responds with “A**SEHOLE!”. The audience responses often change from show to show and often reflect current pop culture, this makes every show unique in its own way!

The audience in our show was very on form for this particular showing, with the members of the front row never missing their cue!
It was fun experience overall and I have to say I slightly regret not dressing up…There’s always next time though!

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Review – Pawsome place for feline fans! – Shakespaw Cat Cafe

It was a few years ago that a friend of mine told me they had recently been to a cat cafe in London, after they explained the concept to me, I had been wanting to visit one ever since. When I recently found out a local cat cafe had opened in Stratford Upon Avon, I knew I had to go!

Cat cafe’s originated in Taiwan before completely blowing up in popularity when they came to Japan. The idea behind it being that people who lived in small apartments (unable to have their own cat) would be able to enjoy cats in a relaxed setting. Cat cafe’s have become so popular recently that they have been popping up all over the world.

Last month, I finally got round to booking a table for my partner and I at Shakespaw Cat Cafe. When we first arrived we placed our order (cake and hot chocolates) and then went off to explore the cafe. We first went over to see the cats in the window sill Hermione, Viola and Puck. Hermione however was moved fairly swiftly by a member of staff as her and Viola don’t seem to get on too well!

My partner was instantly enamoured with Puck an adorable black and white cat, the youngest cat of the cafe who reminded him of his mother’s cat. We also popped briefly downstairs which mainly seemed to be where all the white cats where having a snooze on some chairs.

We returned to our table upstairs for our ‘Unicorn Hot Chocolates’ and slices of cake. The ‘Unicorn Hot Chocolate’ was a lilac colour topped with whipped cream, sweets and wafer for the horn. All of the staff seemed very friendly and enthusiastic on our visit, it seemed like they especially enjoyed making the ‘unicorn’ drinks.

Paws off my man!

At one point a member of staff pulled out a laser pointer for the cats to play with and everyone who was seated enjoyed watching Viola and Bottom chase after it. Viola at one point jumped up next to me and starting to try and look for light underneath my leg!

Viola on her laser quest

It was an interesting experience being in a cafe surrounded by other feline fans, watching their faces light up when the cats would come and visit their table. Have to say that Bottom did seem to be the star of the show, being the most sociable out of the cats (Bottom came and visited almost everyone’s table!)

Bottom visiting our table

Overall my partner and I had a very enjoyable time at Shakespaw Cat Cafe and highly recommend it to any fellow cat lovers. We will be back soon!

PS: Highly recommend the Peanut Butter Stack – purrnomenal!

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Now That I Found Mew!

Popstar Carly Rae Jepsen has unveiled the new video for her latest single ‘Now That I Found You’ and what a purrfect video it is!

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Wut? Wasn’t me 👀 #flopbod

A post shared by Shrampton (@shrampton) on

‘Now That I Found You’ is the second single off Carly Rae Jepsen’s upcoming 4th album, the single was released 27th Feburary as double release with the song ‘No Drug Like Me’.

You can check out the feline-filled video below!

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I Blog just for you!

I recently attended Troye Sivan’s Eventim Apollo concert in Hammersmith, with my partner. This concert was part of the Europe leg of The Bloom Tour for Troye’s Sophomore album ‘Bloom’.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to the concert was the amount of LGBTQ people/couples in attendance. Being gay myself, my partner and I often refrain from PDA when out and about due to fear of getting attacked or judged. Something as simple as holding hands in public is still a real issue for LGBTQ folks, even though the world is slowly changing and becoming much more accepting!

However in this atmosphere, surrounded by many other members of the LGBTQ community, Troye’s concert felt like a safe space. It’s a hard feeling to describe to a non-LGBTQ person, a kind of fitting in/belonging that I haven’t really experienced before. I haven’t attended any pride events yet but I’m guessing a very similar feeling is experienced at them. I will soon see if this is the case, as I have stall booked for Memeow Gifts (my LGBTQ inclusive greetings card business) at Warwickshire Pride in August! 😁

… Anyway back to the concert!

Troye Sivan’s frequent songwriter/collaborator Leland was the opening act, who has also written songs for artists including Selena Gomez and Allie X. I wasn’t previously familiar with his own music but was very impressed with his voice/performance and  have since been streaming his songs (I recommend Middle of a Heartbreak, Run Into You and Mattress).

Then it was Time for Troye! Troye opened up the concert with Seventeen, which is also the album opener for ‘Bloom’. Troye gave an energetic performance throughout the concert, as soon as the curtain dropped after ‘Seventeen’ he burst into the bouncy high energy ‘Bloom’ followed by ‘Plum’.

The highlight of the evening for me was when Troye sang ‘Heaven’ a song about coming out, while also trying to reconcile your faith/belief, “Without losing a piece of me, How do I get to heaven?”. Unbeknownst to Troye some dedicated fans had placed envelopes saying “Open Please” on every seat in seated areas, which each contained a paper flower. There were 6 different coloured flowers distributed around the venue. The instructions included with the flowers said to place the flower over the torch on your smart phone when Troye started ‘Heaven’.

To Troye’s surprise, when he started singing ‘Heaven’ the venue before him transformed into a rainbow sea. This was a lovely moment, pretty much the whole audience was involved and it looked AMAZING!

Troye also performed versions of his recent collaborative songs ‘1999’, ‘I’m so Tired…’ and ‘Dance to This’, which he managed to pull off without the assistance of his collaborators (Charli XCX, Lauv, Ariana Grande).

Troye came across as very genuine and down to Earth throughout the show, getting the audience to sing Happy Birthday to a fan in attendance and exclaiming how he felt like he was in the ‘Lizzie Mcguire Movie’.

Me and my partner had a great evening at the concert, which came to a close with the tracks ‘Youth’ and ‘My My My!’.

It was awesome show all in all and really refreshing to see the concert of an unapologetically queer pop artist, something we will hopefully see much more of in future, To quote Lizzie McGuire “Hey now, Hey now, This is what dreams are made of”.

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We’ve only just begun …

Welcome to the brand-spanking-new Memeow Blog – the purrfect blog for LGBTQ news, reviews, pop culture and cats! We hope you enjoy your visit and check back in over the coming weeks as we add more content to the site. In the meantime, you might be interested in connecting with us via our social media links and checking out our LGBTQ inclusive sister site: Memeow Gifts – the purrfect place for greetings cards and gifts!

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