As you all probably guessed from my frequent 'fan-girling', I am a big fan of anything Disney because it just makes me happy. Now that I am older, I am able to appreciate just how amazing these movies are, each being their own piece of art which takes years to make. This can be frustrating as it means waiting a while until the next instalment, but it also means getting to experience these fabulous films when they hit the big screen. I think one of the reasons Finding Dory was such an exciting upcoming project of Pixars' for me is because, before I had high hopes of becoming a musician, marine biology was something I was very interested in, in fact it's something that has been a big part of my summer in the format of a short course I undertook taught by the university of Tasmania. Pixar especially is one of my favourite branches of Disney, because they tend to get every aspect just as you would hope - from the colours of the reef, to the lighting (I've attached a fascinating TED talk on this) to the story line, and of course, the soundtrack is usually my favourite part and ends up being my ring tone, my alarm, my play list of choice.
And on top of all that feel good stuff, is the even more fun element of the Pixar theory and discussing this with other fans. Sharing a project other people have made together is so special and important - this is something you definitely see at university when you find people who have like-minded interests and have seen not only some of the things you have, but have picked up on other details and ideas connected to these things that you otherwsie never would have thought of. These movies are the ones that taught me what it is to dream and to dare, and they still encourage me to do that on a regular basis - so no, I don't think I will ever be too grown up for a Disney movie or that times will ever be hard enough for one of these characters to not make me smile.
On top of all the Pixar (!!!) Laika also have a movie out at the moment. You might know them from Coraline and Paranorman which were hugely exciting for people like me during art GCSE as they are all about thinking outside the box and being creative. Being claymation, a lot of what you see has been made from scratch, with each movement taking hours of footage because it is stop motion (photos being put together) So it's definitely a good first month of summer for the cinema (plus the BBC proms - feeling rather spoiled, but it's ok because this year has been full of hard work and this feels like a huge reward)
Post Dory celebrations were also a thing! Mum and me went into Manchester to see what Disney things we could find, and ended up back at the Disney store before a trip down to the weekend food markets (which look magical in the early evening/sunset with all the fairylights - definitely somewhere to check out if you're moving to Manchester for university) where there were some very creative stalls. There was this one with cupcakes made out of different popular things like Terrys' chocolate orange and party rings - they looked too good to eat! It makes me want to experiment with some similar ones (Maybe Disney themed ones though?)
Some of my other favourites this month have been:
Now almost at 130 books out of my targetted 100 books to read this year, there have been a fair few books this month that I have really enjoyed reading. At the moment I am working my way through the BBC's top 100 books in an attempt to keep my brain working at full speed and efficiency across the summer until it reaches September again and our reading lists go out (why is it the moment I am not busy I want to be busy again?) Yesterday I finished the classic To kill a mockingbird which is definitely something I wish I had read a long time ago, but am also glad to have had the opportunity to savour - though now I am kind of in a book hang over state where I have no idea how any book will ever come close to that level of amazing. This morning I started the famous novel by Maurier, Rebecca. So far it is proving to be a book based on intrigue, friendship and a house enshrouded in mystery - very true to the gothic style and stock characters in many ways, but at the same time a sprinkling of the secret garden and maybe even Jane Eyre - the natural imagery is very well written and the A level English literature part of me is itching to begin analysing some of it soon.
And without going into every book, another of my favourites this month has been a graphic novel (not usually my style but been getting quite interested in this genre recently) called An age of license which is part auto biography, telling the authors story of a busy month globe trotting. It makes me want to see all these places first hand - especially Norway!
Working my way through a precarious pile of books seems to be the way to go about things this days, because it means you can pick and choose what you feel like reading and don't have to be put off your daily hour of reading because you aren't too fond of whereabouts you are up to. Sometimes I take a break from heavier knowledge based books, such as 50 animals that changed the world, by reading some of my favourite poetry by Carol Ann Duffy or finding out how to change the world, and sometimes if I am feeling extra sappy, re-reading my very worn copy of Romeo and Juliet.
I'm also really excited for the book clubs featuring on booktube/youtube at the moment as some are really focusing in on the classics, such as this one:
2. Classical music
With the BBC proms currently on going, there has been plenty for me to research and get interested in. So far, some of my highlights other than the Elgar, have been Faure's Requiem, and today's Mahler symphony 3. Of course the proms doesn't centre entirely on classical music, but it is definitely the best time of year for all of us students to get to listen to as much as possible, from our favourite pieces but things that we might never have heard before. Plus, must call at the jazz festival which is on in Manchester at the moment as I have heard very good things from the RNCM students who have been involved so far or who have attended some of the concerts so far.
As well as listening to some awe inspiring instrumentalists, and practicing my dictation with some of the more complex poly rhythms, there have been some really interesting lectures broadcast on the radio. They focus in on different topics, but it reminded me of one I heard last year which discussed the history and introduction of German Leider into music and repertoire. It's interesting to hear how composers have increased in significance across the years, especially those who are now so famous. For instance Schumann, who is known for his beautiful, lyrical melodies. A story was recounted which stated that at a gathering, someone complimented his wife Clara (a famous pianist) on her playing, and asked her husband (Robert Schumann, THE Robert Schumann) if he were a musician too! He attempted at one point to stretch his fingers so he would have a wider playing range, but ended up damaging his hands which meant his playing career (in those days, they would have needed to be talented musicians as well as composers - not just one or the other) was pretty much over.
On the first night of the proms, there was also a talk featuring Julian Lloyd Weber and the new head of the proms which discussed the concept of what makes a good acoustic and why. It talked about how architecture and atmosphere, alongside the history of a place, plays such a big part in why people want to hear concerts there, alongside the music and artists itself. Intriguing, because it gets you thinking (or at least with me it does) about how much I see this in my own experiences and those I have heard about from others.
3. Popular music
Recently Spotify playlists have become a big part of my life (usually I carry a small CD player so I can select some music for the day and listen to a whole album) There has been so much good music recommended to me and also the current artists around us are really getting into their sound. Here's some of my July playlist:
1. Sia - Cheap thrills
2. Phil Collins - Paradise
3. Adele - Send my love
4. Vaughan Williams - Sancta civitas
5. Nat King Cole - Love
6. Justin Timberlake - can't stop the feeling
7. Here comes the sun - Beatles
8. Dodie Clark - Little room
Whenever I travel somewhere, I tend to get into the habit of picking up little traits from the language which I integrate into daily life as much as possible which always leads to me wanting to know more of these beautiful mechanisms that other people have as part of their speech and understanding of the world every day when they communicate with others. It's a wonderful thing to have so many languages, and it is also fascinating. When you go to university, you will be able to join language clubs or get to know students from other places around the globe, and this too can be another way you get interested in learning something.
So yes, as well as my standard Latin, French and German practice, I am now trying to pick up Dutch! It is proving quite useful so far as it acts in a certain way as almost double German practice because they are so similar. Something I am loving about Dutch though is, that it is a lot more of a lilting, musical sound than German which sounds quite strict, or French which can sometimes sound a little too nasal. For me, Dutch is so far proving interesting because speaking it makes me want to laugh a lot - it sounds so cheerful and this can never be a bad thing. Will update you on the progress soon!
5. Campus society
This is something I was alerted about through the student room - it's basically a website which connects university students, so that you can discuss your classes and lectures and at the beginning of the year, find out who you will be working with for the next year or so (which makes it even better a website for those who will be beginning their courses in September - highly recommended as I wish I had had something like this this, time last year!) It's a really cool place to get to know people, but also a great place to discuss anything from books to movies, to just finding out cool facts. It is something that might help you meet some of your future best friends over the next three years!
On a final final favourite note (so kind of 6 on this list?) How cute is my little teddy version of baby Dory??
If you like, you can click Here to vote for me as Blogger of the Month. Thank you