#TryPod – a podcast rec post!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?!  I’ve been wanting to do a post lately, and I figured a podcast rec post would be the perfect excuse!

1. Sword & Scale
I know S&S has been out for a while, but I only started listening about two weeks ago and I’m just kind of picking and choosing which episodes take my fancy. I think what gripped me most was the fact there are two episodes on the Johnny Gosch case and two on Morgan Ingram; these cases are so fascinating and awful, and I feel like S&S did an amazing job and even educated me a little. This is a brilliant source of information on the horrors of the real world, but Mike does it with such care and empathy that I can’t help be drawn in.

2. Accused
When Elizabeth Andes was found murdered in her Ohio apartment in 1978, police and prosecutors decided within hours it was an open-and-shut case. Two juries disagreed. The Cincinnati Enquirer investigates: Was the right guy charged, or did a killer walk free?
This podcast sucked me in so quickly. There’s so many different angles and I think we all more or less suspect the same person, but it’s up to you to make up your mind. However, the pain and heartbreak that Elizabeth’s boyfiend (and their families) went through is horrific and a classic example of the incompetence of some police work*.

3. Casefile
Casefile is possibly the best true crime podcast there is. Each episode is about a different case, some famous, some infamous, and some just downright obscure; however, each episode will leave you shocked, in awe, and so confused about this world we live in.

4. They Walk Among Us
They Walk Among Us is a UK centred true crime podcast, telling the stories of some of the most horrific and shocking crimes to happen within the UK.

5. Rabbits
From the same people who created The Black Tapes and TANIS, Rabbits is an instant winner in my opinion. When Carly Parker’s friend Yumiko goes missing under very mysterious circumstances, Carly’s search for her friend leads her headfirst into a ancient mysterious game known only as Rabbits. Soon Carly begins to suspect that Rabbits is much more than just a game, and that the key to understanding Rabbits, might be the key to the survival of our species, and the Universe, as we know it. If you like ancient mysteries, the TV show Lost and detective stories, this is for you.

6. In The Dark
This podcast is quite different to others. At the very beginning of this show, we’re told that just recently, just before the first episode, the crime (the abduction and murder of a young boy) has been solved and the killer has been caught. So, this show that was investigating the murder starts by informing us that though they’ll be taking us on the journey, the crime HAS been solved, albeit rather late – 27 years late, in fact. This show highlights the failures in the justice system when it comes to child abduction and murders, and just how badly it effects the lives of those involved.

7. Hollywood & Crime
Hollywood & Crime focuses on the murder of Elizabeth Short – more commonly known as The Black Dahlia. However, this isn’t just an investigation into one of the most infamous murders in history; this investigation encompasses the whole of Hollywood and the various other crimes and murders that happened before and after the death of Miss Short, and the possibility that the crimes are all connected.

8. Stranglers
Stranglers is a fantastic show that is not only about ‘the Boston Strangler’, but the possibility that there was more than one. I simply love this podcast as it covers so much ground and it educates you on so many other crimes that could be attributed to the Strangler(s). Another aspect that I love about this show is that a lot of focus is on the victims, who I feel tend to be forgotten about in the shadow of a criminal becoming infamous. I also like the inclusion of other investigators.

9. Small Town Horror
This docudrama is the journey of Ryan Jennings and his return to Crayton (aka Crazytown), Minnesota and the mysterious Ashtown, the disappearance of several people, and some creepy rituals and laughter. No summary I give with do this show any justice – if you like mystery, possible supernatural themes and a rather depressed host, check this out.

10. Archive 81
A podcast about horror, cities, and the subconscious. I literally cannot elaborate anymore, other than you need to listen to this and tell me how much you love Rat in season 2.

Honourable mentions to:

The Bridge
Tanis
The Black Tapes
Tunnels

I’ve listed these podcasts in the past, hence them not being in my list, but as they are some of my favourites, I had to link them!

Okay, now tell me some of your favourites!

Notes:
*in no way am I belittling the work of police all over the world – I’m merely stating that, with all professions, there is always some incompetence.

So long and thanks for all the fish

I know I am not alone when I say that 2016 sucked. It sucked so much that I don’t know if there’s anything left to suck. We lost heroes, friends, and family. We watched as our countries tore themselves apart from the inside and completely insane political decisions were made. From Brexit to Trump, we watched the two most powerful countries in the world sign their own death certificate. We saw racism raise it’s ugly head higher than ‘normal*’, and we felt more shame than we have in a long time.

So yeah, 2016 sucked. We’re all hoping 2017 is much better, but who knows? Trump might dye his hair black and grow a moustache. Putin might put out a public cull on gays. Theresa May might try to enslave the Scots. Who knows?

My point is, we don’t know. Things could be worse, things could be better. The one thing I do know is it’s up to us to make the year what we can. At the end of every tunnel is light, you just need to keep going to find it.

This year I turned 30. I was terrified. I don’t look or feel 30, and I spent half of October convinced I was a failure because I don’t have my own house, or my own car, and I’m not married with kids. It took a few drinks and a chat with one of my best-friends to remember I don’t actually want those things. I was letting society tell me what I should be like at 30, and that’s just stupid. I was convinced turning 30 in 2016 was an awful thing because it’s been the worst year ever for most people, but it really wasn’t. A lot of good things happened, too.

Let me refresh your memory:

There are plenty of more good things I could list, including some personal goodness:

  • My brother finally got approved for HRT to start transitioning.
  • My mother continues to fight her illnesses and has been a complete rock.
  • My friends have been so supportive in my personal problems.
  • Podcasts have been on-fricking-point this year.
  • I started dating again after coming to terms with my sexuality.
  • Several friends had beautiful, healthy babies.

I’m pretty sure there are some good things that happened to you, too. It could be the smallest thing, the tiniest act of friendship or kindness, but it happened – you just need to look for the good, sometimes.

So, on the last day of what history might call the Year of Hell in the future (I’m open for suggestions), I wish you all a happy new year, and I hope that you all have someone to kiss, hug, or shake hands with as the bells chime and we all look forward to a better year, and a better future.

*there should be NO normal for racism. It shouldn’t exist, period.

Send in the clowns

I love horror movies. This is one of the main things most people that know me associate me with. I have an insane collection of horror movies, and I’ve always had a thing for the horror aesthetic. I have a haunted house tattooed on my upper arm, and I have a broken hockey mask to symbolise my absolute undying love for Jason Voorhees. So, I am extremely into all things dark and horror. However, there is one thing that I can absolutely not stand in horror films:

clowns.

Now, this isn’t because they scare me; quite the opposite, actually – I love clowns. I absolutely adore them. When I was little I had my whole bedroom decorated in Pierrot; I had figurines, statues, curtains, lampshade, bed sheets, cushions, everything. I love Pierrot (and Columbine and the Harlequin, of course). I had porcelain clown masks on my bedroom wall. When we went to the circus the clowns were my favourite act. I love the good old fashioned meaning of clowns: they’re there to make you laugh. They’re there to bring joy.

Now, the media and Hollywood have destroyed the old enjoyment that the public would derive from these fools, by their ridiculous story-lines and urban legends.

Continue reading

Gig Review: Louise Distras 14/10/16

If you don’t know who Louise Distras is, I’m disappointed in you. However, I’m also going to school you on the legend that is possibly the greatest punk lady of this millennium, so by then end of this article you better know who she is.

The lovely Louise hails from Wakefield, Yorkshire, and fought for her space on the punk rock circuit. Despite how diverse some people might argue the UK punk scene is, it really isn’t; it’s hard for a female band to make a name for themselves, never mind a solo artist.

I was introduced to Louise via my best friend, Emma, who one day linked me to the video for The Hand You Hold, and I instantly fell in love. Louise brought something new to a genre that I was beginning to get bored with. There’s not enough female led punk acts out there, at least not enough accessible ones.

Many compare Louise to Brody Dalle, but if I’m being completely honest, Dalle can’t compare (and I’m a huge fan of The Distillers). Louise is raw, real and honest; she is truly in a league of her own. Through her music she spreads awareness of the things that need to be said; she isn’t shy about speaking out against rape culture, against the media, or against any kind of discrimination. Louise is a one-woman tornado, fighting for the rights of those who need a voice.

Since 2013, Louise has toured Europe, supporting the likes of Billy Bragg, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, and The Damned, just to mention a few. Kerrang!, Big Cheese, The Guardian, and The Independent have all sang her praises, all of which this woman more than deserves.

I’ve been very lucky over the past few years to have not only seen Louise play several times, but to become friends with her; that’s just how she is, she embraces those around her, those who can connect with her music.

My most recent encounter was October 14th of this year, when Louise headlined a show in Glasgow’s Audio venue, backed by her girl gang band. The show, as always, was mind blowing, and left me grinning from ear to ear, remembering why I adore this woman so much; but I was also rather embarrassed by the poor turn out. I’m unsure why the place wasn’t packed to the rafters, but I assume it’s because Audio isn’t the most well known venue, despite being a fantastic place for live music. (The former Sound Production student comes out in me in venues like this – the sound is great in that little hall, which was formerly known as Rockers, and was the watering hole of a younger Pippa. Ah, those were the days.)

However, despite this, Louise and her backing band OWNED that stage. This was the first time I’d seen Louise with a full band and it fantastic. The energy of these three women just blasted off the stage, grrl power hitting you square in the face. They jumped, they danced, they screamed and they rocked. It was almost impossible to take your eyes off the dark haired punk lady as she howled her way through songs of the people.

It’s not just the music that grips you, though. The spoken word, the poetry, the positive messages Louise tries to convey during song breaks are almost too real. She talks about the working people, those who have nothing. She is a loud, proud supporter of the LGBT+ movement, and dedicated one of her new songs to those of us who fall under the umbrella, and with lyrics like, “fall in love, not in line,” it’s hard not to fall in love with this lady’s genius. Her latest single Aileen is already a hit among the feminist punks; a song based on Aileen Wuornos, a song about fighting rape culture and the abuse women face each and every single day. 1 in 3 women suffer from sexual abuse, and this is a point Louise tries to get across to the audience – this is unacceptable, and we deserve the same rights and support that the males of our species receives. Louise uses her voice to be a true fighter for equality and an end to the violence against women without being likened to the teenage Tumblr users who give feminism a bad name.

Louise is currently on tour in the UK until November 5th before she heads to Europe. All tour dates are here; if you can see her, you should. I promise that this is one act that you will never forget.

Pippa xoxo

Podcasts Perfect For October

We all love podcasts. I adore podcasts, and I am lame enough that I’ve got the release dates for my favourites marked in my scheduler. Yup. I take my podcasts as seriously as I take my TV shows (I take my TV shows very seriously, in case you didn’t know; I am an old cranky fangirl, after all).

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years, podcasts are like the new radio, only on the internet. It’s almost like the days of old with some shows, especially the audio docudramas (they’re my favourite). There’s millions to pick from, from every genre – chat shows, investigative journalism, history, satire, news, scary stories…everything. My own personal favourites are investigative journalism, true crime, and scary docudramas. Anything that might make me worried about the shadows in the corner of my bedroom.

So, with Halloween looming and October being the month of all things spooky, I thought I’d share the best podcasts for the witching month!

1. The Black Tapes
This had to be my first to share. If you haven’t been listening to TBT what is wrong with you?! I’ve reached a point where I don’t listen to this show in bed at night because I get a little concerned about the creaking pipes and shifting noises in the corner of the room.
In The Black Tapes, Alex Reagan takes us on an investigative journey to uncover the truth behind the mysterious Doctor Richard Strand’s Black Tapes, a collection of unsolved paranormal events, and if they all tie together in some strange way. Along the way we get caught up in Doctor Strand’s strange and secretive personal life and his missing wife, as well as meeting some interesting characters that may help or hinder Alex’s journey. This is most definitely one of my favourite podcasts, and I’m currently going mad as I wait for season 3. So, if you haven’t listened yet, get on it, because this month is most definitely the perfect time to listen to The Unsound…

2. TANIS
TANIS is almost like the sister show of The Black Tapes; created by the same team and presented by Nic Silver, the producing partner of Alex Reagan. TANIS is an exploration into the unknown. What is TANIS? Where is it? Is it a place? A person? A feeling? Nic tries to discover all of this, uncovering lost mysteries and ancient tales. We delve into the deep web, secret societies and cults, and find ourselves unsure of who we can trust. Nic’s closeness with his listeners and his interactiveness with us really brings you deep into the investigation, and it’s so easy to get yourself lost in this mystery.
TANIS and TBT fight for top spot in my favourites list, because I adore them both so much.

3. Casefile
Now, Casefile is basically an audio fact file of some of the world’s most famous and infamous crimes. The host is unknown, but his voice just seems to drift through the words like he was purposely created to narrate this show. Now, there’s 35 episodes, each a different crime (unless it’s a two-parter), so I’m going to leave what I think are the most horrifying and scary episodes for you to check out.
Case 02: The Somerton Man, also known as the Taman Shud case: a man’s body is found on a beach in South Australia with no clue to who he was.
Case 04: Who Put Bella in the Witch Elm?On the 18th of April 1943 four boys discovered a skeleton buried in the hollow of a wych-elm tree in Hagley Woods, England…
Case 08: Holly Wells & Jessica Chapman: the two missing girls from Sohom who are still in our thoughts today.
Case 11: Anneliese Michel: was she just mentally ill, or possessed?
Case 19: Snowtown: WARNING this case includes details of some horrific stories of child sexual abuse and murder. This episode took me two days to get through because it really hit me hard.
These are just some of the best, but to be honest, each episodes grips you regardless of the subject. I really recommend this podcast if you like true crime.

4. The Bridge
Okay, so this has very quickly become one of my new favourite shows. From the website: It’s an alternate 2016, and Watchtower 10 sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, keeping lonely watch over the Transcontinental Bridge. Each watchtower sits hundreds of feet away from the Bridge, broadcasting regular traffic reports to ensure that proper safety precautions are taken. These lighthouses (for cars) are filled with a carefully selected (and very capable) crew. Watchtower 10’s necessary personnel happen to be: a generalist DJ who spends her free time relaying folklore from abandoned parts of the Bridge, her supervisor (who’s only there because he lost a bet), an unfailingly optimistic Bridge Travel Agent, and a groundskeeper who has a thing for romantic comedies.
I feel like The Bridge manages to capture the magic of an old audio drama but with futuristic and historic touches. If I’m honest, I feel like it’s almost like Bioshock’s Rapture has collided with the Wastelands of Fallout.The communications, the interactions, the very 1950’s advertisements for sights and places on The Bridge. There’s mystery, kidnapping, sea monsters, and a hauntingly beautiful story about the Transcontinental Hotel and how everyone disappeared one night…well, everyone except a little girl…

5. The Tunnels
The Tunnels is still a very new show and is still finding it’s feet, but I’m already gripped. The show follows Robert Chauncey as he investigates the mysteries tunnels under Griffin, Georgia. How did they get there? What are they for? What are the strange noises coming from inside the walls? We discover the dark history of the tunnels as well as hear some interesting theories from the locals.
As I said, the show is still finding it’s feet and each episode is only around 15-20 minutes, but you are most definitely left wanting more; the latest episode just dropped and I’m already fed up waiting for the next one!

So, that’s five podcasts that are perfect for the darker nights and spookiest month of the year! If you have any you’d like to share, please do so in the comments!

Pippa xoxo

World Mental Health Day

I’ve spent the past hour trying to type up a meaningful post, telling you all about my experience, my own mental illnesses, but really, there’s only one thing that I want to tell you:

TALK.

Talk about the scary thoughts in your head. Talk about the voices. Talk about that sick feeling in your stomach. Talk about how tired you are. Talk about the guilt you feel over nothing. Talk about the things you think are silly, because they aren’t silly at all. Talk about the sadness, and tears over things you can’t describe.

By talking, you’re not only helping yourself; you could be giving the listener an opening to admit how they feel. You could be telling someone they are not alone. By talking, you can save lives. By talking, you’re breaking the taboo.

First Post! Self-Care

Okay, I had planned on waiting until I’d made a few other posts before sharing this, but fuck it, let’s just dive in the deep end, eh?

I wrote this post as part of a challenge on my personal Livejournal, and I feel like I should share it since I got a decent feedback on it 🙂 Plus, self-care is a very important thing to enforce these days and I like to think I’m on the front line. LOVE YOURSELF.

Now, I know the majority of my friends suffer from some form of mental illness. Some suffer from several. I think, in part, that’s what draws us together because we can relate and understand what we’re going through and offer advice and tips that have helped us and might help others. So, I thought I would post a few of my favourite self-care actions that I do to help cope with my depression.

1. A Long Hot Bath.
I don’t get how some people don’t realise howw soothing and relaxing a bath is. Whenever I feel stressed or yucky I know that I’m gonn have a warm and relaxing bath and even just the thought of it helps me. I tend to have a Lush bath, or even just use a plain old bubble bath, but I lie there with my body soaking and listen to my podcasts. I used to listen to music but over the past few months I have to have either a podcast on or an audiobook. I know reading a book in the bath is good, too, but I like to be as relaxed as possible and not have to use my brain much.

2. Treat Yo Self!
Now, I’m not saying go nuts and hit the shops on a spending spree, but there is no harm at all in a small treat, even if it’s something cheap and silly. Most of you know I do it all the time and normally it’s fandom based things, but it does help. Now, I understand not everyone has the money to do things like that, but even a trip to the local charity shop, or Poundland, or hell, even just your favourite treat from the bakery! Buy yourself something that you love.

3. Masturbate.
Okay, this is totally a taboo subject with girls because we never talk about it, but over the years I’ve made friends with people who are so open about these things and that’s helped me open up. I know I may be on the asexual spectrum, but I think most people love a good orgasm 😄 There is almost nothing more relaxing that the come down. I actually read somewhere (I think it might have been Cosmo or Bizarre or something) that having an orgasm (via sex or by yourself) right before you go to sleep is one way to ensure you have a restful and peaceful sleep. So you know what? Don’t think of this as ‘dirty’ or taboo – guys can openly talk about it, so why can’t we? Treat yourself to a new sex toy, or just do your thang. There is nothing wrong with self-pleasure.

4. Ensure You Have Some ‘Me’ Time.
This is just a given, but it’s something we always tell people to do then never do it ourselves. As a natural loner, I LOVE having me time, whether it’s lying in bed doing nothing, or reading, or listening to music/podcasts. Sometimes I’ll find and excuse to go to the store, just so I can have the walk as some time to myself. Going a walk alone at night is one of my favourite things, but I know that is not a safe option for a lot of people. Just make sure you can always set aside some time on your own; for example, I’m lying in my bed typing this on my tablet in a word document after re-arranging some of my room so it feels more zen. Even just tidying on my own helps me unwind because not only do I have my own space, but I’m being productive. Just do something on your own, where the only person concerned is YOU.

5. Exercise.
I don’t mean rush out and join a gym and become an Olympic athlete or anything, but exercising is not only good for your body but for your mental health too. Certain hormones and chemicals are released and that is so, so good for you. You could go swimming, jogging, walking, or even just do some stretches to start your day.  Start slow, of course; I recently bought and aerobics step and my plan is to set aside 5-10 minutes to do steps and some light weights. The past few days I’ve sucked because I haven’t felt the greatest but my mum has actually been doing it! When I first told her I was getting the step she mocked me and thought it was a waste of money but she’s now realised how helpful it is for her in managing to get a little more active again (since she doesn’t really leave the house much). So even if you just set aside 5 minutes every day to do some crunches, steps, sit ups, or lunges, it’s so good for you.

6. Talk To Someone.
If things are too much, talk to someone. I am one of the worst people ever when it comes to taking this advice, but slowly I’ve been doing it and it helps so much. If you’re like me and don’t like speaking about things aloud, text someone. Email them, or make a journal post. You don’t even need to say exactly what’s wrong, but reach out because there will always be people in your life that will listen, or even just sit in silence with you. If anyone ever needs me, I will always try my best to help you out, even if I’m late replying at times at times!

7. Take Up A Hobby.
Any kind of hobby, but something that you can get lost in. I crochet sometimes, but hand-stitching is my favourite thing to do. Recently I’ve just made patches and really bad cross-stitches, but I enjoy it and it’s therapeutic so that is the only thing that matters. Take up stamp collecting. Trainspotting. Gardening. Knitting. Anything that you can enjoy. Something that’s very popular right now is adult colouring, and even I do that. I’ve been buying people adult colouring books as presents for birthdays lately, and I plan to continue to do so because it’s amazing. I just got my dad one and I think it’s been helping his mental health by keeping him calm and focused. With all the fandom ones you can buy these days (Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, comic book characters, etc.) there WILL be one for you, so get some colouring pencils and have at it!

8. Eat Healthy (but don’t obsess over it).
I’ve recently lost some weight due to eating better and not binging the way I normally do. Of course I slip up, we all slip up at times, but try and have a varied diet. Make sure you get fruit and veg and I guarantee that not only will your body feel better for it, your mind will, too; just the knowing that you’ve done something good for yourself is enough to give you that little boost of well-being. I don’t eat meat, but that’s not to say I don’t eat junk food, because I do, and it’s okay to eat junk food, but just remember everything should be in moderation. Eating well isn’t about punishing yourself, it’s about looking after yourself.

9. See Your GP.
Okay, I know I’m the worst at keeping my doctors appointments, but never feel like you shouldn’t speak to a doctor if you think there’s something wrong. Don’t let yourself think that something is silly; if you are worried about something, whether it’s physical or mental, see your doctor.

10. Dress For You.
Make-up, shoes, clothes – do it for you. It doesn’t matter if society tries to make certain things unacceptable for a certain body type; it is YOUR body and you can do what you please with it. You like skimpy clothes? Own in. You like to cover up? Own it. You’re a plus-size lady and love crop tops? FUCKING OWN IT. No one can judge you but you. If people look, it doesn’t matter because you are showing them that they can’t tell you what to put on YOUR body.

So, those are my top ten tips! Of course there are lots of other things you can do, and I would even love it if anyone wanted to comment with your own self-care tips!