Among The Stars

Big News-TV and Film, movies, Stewart Pink, TV

Coming soon to Disney+ this six part original docuseries series follows Nasa Astronaut Captain Chris Cassidy as he prepares for and embarks on one last space mission.

With intimate footage, personal video diaries and livestream footage — stationed both on Earth and in space — we gain a rare insight into the work of an incredible team of engineers, flight controllers and specialists who take on dangerous and awe-inspiring missions that quite literally push the limits of mankind.

Following the teams’ successes and failures over the course of two years, “Among the Stars” provides raw, behind-the-scenes access to the critically important NASA mission of repairing a $2 billion science experiment, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which aims to reveal the origins of the universe. To repair the AMS, Cassidy and his team must undertake a series of complex spacewalks, but the story quickly becomes a tale about the broader team at NASA, their roles on this daring mission and the immense pressure to succeed as the mission becomes uncertain when the world goes into lockdown from COVID-19.

A front row seat on a mission to space blasting off 6th October

Filmed across the globe on location from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the European Space Agency in Cologne to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency outside of Tokyo and the Russian Space Agency in Star City, the series captures the true scale of a global effort and goes beyond the spacesuit, as we are transported to meet other astronauts and engineers from around the world.

“Among The Stars” captures the last bastion of the previous era of space travel through shuttle astronauts, gives us a sneak preview into what the future holds with NASA’s plans to return to the moon, and how new commercial partnerships are pushing the agencies and mankind further into space.

“Among The Stars,” from Fulwell 73 premieres on Disney+ on 6th October.


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The Crab Who Went to the Moon by Gary Carse

Author Interviews, Books, Stewart Pink

Aimed at 8-12 year olds, this delightful children’s book tells the story of Shelly, a socially anxious crab forced to leave the safe haven of her cave. Accompanied by fantastic illustrations we dive into an underwater world filled with wacky, wonderful characters and littered with some laugh-out-loud quips you’ll remember long after reading. 

The opening few chapters move at an exciting, fast pace and as a sea of imagination pours from the pages, readers will find themselves fully immersed in Shelly’s page-turning journey.

In a recent interview on Phoenix FM, author Gary Carse explains his debut children’s book is “really going back to how I used to feel when I was young; new people, the prospect of talking to someone you don’t know and having to make friends with a new group… it was scary wasn’t it?” “It’s really about Shelly coming out of her shell.

There is a strong, well crafted undercurrent that guides young readers to self-confidence and overcoming anxiety in social situations throughout the book as well as highlighting the effects of ocean pollution on marine life for a young audience.

The stuff that you consume when you’re a child stays with you into adulthood so I really hope that the book helps the adults in ten years time have empathy and have awareness of ocean pollution so that they can do something about it.

Now you're talking with Gary Carse Now You're Talking (Guest Interviews)

With a great deal of experience in animation (Carse & Waterman), it is no surprise that bringing characters to life is something Gary does expertly in his writing too. Even inanimate objects take on a life of their own and accents bring the dialogue of sea creatures into the real world, from geordie seagulls to hippy squids! For young readers and for adults looking to read an entertaining bedtime story to the kids, The Crab Who Went To The Moon lends itself superbly to exciting re-enactments that will be an instant favourite for both parent and child. 

As a debut children’s author, this has undoubtedly seen Gary come out of his shell too but with so much to enjoy in this story, I sneakily suspect that this first instalment is a drop in the ocean of imagination that awaits young readers. 

You can order your copy of The Crab Who Went To The Moon in a variety of book stores and at garycarsechildrensbooks.com


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Secrets of the Whales

Big News-TV and Film, movies, Stewart Pink, TV

Coming soon to Disney+ this stunning new four part original series from National Geographic premieres on Earth Day, 22nd April and is awash with never before seen moments. Produced by legendary filmmaker James Cameron and narrated by Sigourney Weaver the series sees two lifelong conservationists reunited for the first time since Avatar.

Filmed over 3 years in 24 global locations this groundbreaking new series ventures deep into the fascinating world of whales as we witness the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures to reveal life and love from their perspective. Throughout this epic journey we learn that whales are far more complex and more like us than we ever imagined.

Secrets of the Whales unveils new science and technology to spotlight whales as they have never been seen before. Featuring the expansive knowledge and skill of acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry, we witness how whales make lifelong friendships, teach clan heritage and traditions to their young and even grieve for the loss of loved ones. This is a personal story that very few are lucky enough to witness … until now.

The series includes scientific breakthroughs and never before seen moments such as evidence suggesting that Belugas give themselves names so groups can keep track of each other; baby belugas sharing their moms’ call signs, 30,000 humpbacks charging down the coast of Australia towards Antarctica and using breeches to talk to each other, the first cross-species adoption ever recorded; Beluga pod adopts narwhal as part of the pod and the first ever recording of a baby sperm whale feeding.

A sperm whale calf is recorded feeding for the first time ever.

With a beautiful soundtrack composed, produced and mixed by Raphaelle Thibaut, the three-year project will also be featured in the new National Geographic book, Secrets of the Whales, now on sale, and the May issue of National Geographic magazine, The Ocean Issue. 

“Secrets of the Whales,” from National Geographic begins streaming on Disney+ on April 22.


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What’s On? New To Streaming Guide

movies, Stewart Pink, TV

To save you a few hours of fruitless flicking through the gigantic mountain of options available to stream we’ve compiled a simple list below detailing some of the new, original TV & Films coming to Amazon Prime and Disney+ streaming each month. Enjoy!

Don’t forget, you can submit YOUR review of what you’ve watched too. Click here for more information on submitting your review.

March

Amazon Prime

American Gods Series 3 

A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself “Wednesday” and who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow’s life and past.

This Is Us Series 5  

A heartwarming and emotional story about a unique set of triplets, their struggles and their wonderful parents.

Invincible Series 1– 26th March

Animated series based on the Skybound/Image comic about a teenager whose father is the most powerful superhero on the planet.

Coming 2 America – 5th March

The African monarch Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and build a relationship with his son.

War with Grandpa – 19th March

Upset that he has to share the room he loves with his grandfather, Peter decides to declare war in an attempt to get it back.

Made in Italy – 28th March

A bohemian artist travels from London to Italy with his estranged son to sell the house he inherited from his late wife.

Disney+

Wandavision Finale – 5th March

Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision -two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives-begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – 19th March

Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of “Avengers: Endgame,” team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience. Directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman serving as head writer, the series also stars Daniel Brühl as Zemo, Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, and Wyatt Russell as John Walker.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers – 26th March

In present day Minnesota, the Mighty Ducks have evolved from scrappy underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. After 12-year-old Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, he and his mom, Alex (Lauren Graham), set out to build their own team of misfits to challenge the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs culture of youth sports today. With the help of Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), they rediscover the joys of playing just for love of the game.

Disney+ Star

It’s also well worth another look at Disney’s newly upgraded back catalogue. With Star, Disney+ customers will find a huge and impressively random collection of new content. Click here for the full list.


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Foo Fighters Talking Medicine At Midnight

Artist Interviews, Interviews, music, radio, Stewart Pink

There’s no denying Foo fighters are a household name with 9 albums under the belt and more singles than I can be bothered to count. They’ve been part of our lives for over 26 years (yeah, I feel old too) but you don’t get to be on top for a quarter of a century without staying current. Foo fighters, like other great bands who have stood the test of time, have a way of keeping their signature sound yet still managing to evolve and stay fresh.

Their 10th studio album, Medicine At Midnight marks another milestone for the band and they wanted to try something new. To hear what Dave, Taylor, Nate, Chris, Pat and Rami had to say about the album click play in the box below…

Now you're talking Medicine At Midnight with Foo Fighters Now You're Talking (Guest Interviews)

There’s no denying Foo fighters are a household name with 9 albums under the belt and more singles than I can be bothered to count. They’ve been part of our lives for over 26 years (yeah, I feel old too) but you don’t get to be on top for a quarter of a century without staying current. Foo fighters, like other great bands who have stood the test of time, have a way of keeping their signature sound yet still managing to evolve and stay fresh. Their 10th album, Medicine At Midnight marks another milestone for the band and they wanted to try something new. Here's what Dave, Taylor, Nate, Chris, Pat and Rami had to say about the album…

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Twin Review

movies, Stewart Pink, TV

Kristofer Hivju, Rebekka Nystabakk, Mathilde Holtedahl Cuhra, Gunnar Eriksson


Directed by: Erika Calmeyer, Kristoffer Metcalfe

When Erik, a cash-strapped beach bum loses his home/caravan he turns to his estranged twin brother Adam for refuge. Identical in their appearance but extreme opposites in every other way, their differences soon boil over. After Adam’s wife Ingrid brings a short and violent fight between the twins to an accidental but deadly end, Erik and Ingrid’s lives change forever as they attempt to conceal Adam’s death.

From the synopsis, you’d be forgiven for thinking the story seems a little far-fetched and perhaps the first episode or two may feel a little predictable. But Twin gradually unfolds over 8 episodes into one of the most memorable, twisty and brilliantly executed TV dramas you’ll see.

As Erik and Ingrid suppress the grief of their loss and go to ever increasing lengths to conceal the truth we are taken on an emotional and difficult journey that explores the real challenges of marriage, family life and loss amidst a fictional story that’s even more dramatic than it’s gorgeous setting.

Each character has their relatable and infuriating flaws yet they still command your empathy and you’ll find a bond with each of them. Kristofer Hivju’s portrayal of Erik brings this gentle giant of few words an air of vulnerability and could bring a tear to anyone’s eye in the climactic, heart wrenching church scene. Gunnar Eriksson’s determined and grief-stricken Frank breathes excitement into Twin’s investigative scenes while Rebekka Nystabakk’s Ingrid expertly balances the anger and frustrations of a struggling mother with a loving, take-charge personality.

Twin perfectly encapsulates everything there is to love about the “Nordic Noir” genre, a complex and emotionally charged story with a backdrop that’s as breathtakingly dramatic and stunning as its cast.

Filmed on location amidst the beautiful Norwegian mountains and fjords of northern Norway, Twin is set on the island of Sakrisøy and around the stunning Lofoten archipelago.

You’ll want to go as soon as you’ve seen it – click here to find out more for your travel plans.

Have you seen Twin? What did you think?


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Traces Review

movies, Stewart Pink, TV, Uncategorized

Molly Windsor, Laura Fraser, Jennifer Spence, Martin Compston


Directed by: Mary Nighy & Rebecca Gatward

While attending an online forensic course, a young lab assistant discovers that the fictitious case study has a link to her past. With the help of two professors she works on bringing a killer to justice.

Time passes, life goes on and the past dies… or does it?

Traces takes on the difficult challenge of solving two separate mysteries within the same series. As a fictitious case study unearths the demons of her past, we follow a young forensic lab assistant, Emma, on her quest for truth while we simultaneously examine the forensic investigation into the cause of a deadly fire. Returning to her hometown and reliving the trauma of her past, Emma reconnects with the memories and people from her childhood as she begins to piece together a new and disturbing picture of an unsolved historic murder.

With 7 episodes to fill, a crime drama can often drag its heels or fly through the big reveal. Masterfully, Traces seems to unravel its mystery with forensic precision designed to keep you guessing for just long enough before it drops an unexpected bombshell that practically forces you to watch the next episode.

Set in Dundee it makes for a delightful change to see somewhere other than Glasgow as the backdrop to a Scottish TV series. The dialogue is, at times, a little basic but the writers and actors still succeeded in developing their characters to tell a thoroughly engaging and emotive story with believable, relatable flaws and justifiable motives. Molly Windsor’s Emma goes through just about every emotion you’ve known with a raw vulnerability that suits her character to a tee and she holds her own in the midst of an experienced, familiar and fantastic cast. In particular, Martin Compston’s performance as Daniel has the depth to make you forget you’re watching a work of fiction.

If you’re looking to get your teeth into a murder mystery that’s complex enough to puzzle you, dramatic enough to excite you and engaging enough to move you then you’ve found it.


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Top Rock Tracks of 2020

Big News, Big News-Music, music, radio, Stewart Pink

Let’s face it, 2020 wasn’t especially great was it? Luckily, the soundtrack was still awesome.

Below, in no particular order, is a selection of my picks for the best rock singles released in 2020. If you’d like to hear what they sound like then I’d heartily recommend popping over to Phoenix FM where I’ve curated them all into a special edition of my weekly rock sermon – The As Yet Untitled Rock Show of The Year: 2020.

  • DAXX & ROXANNE – FAST LANE

The unmistakable sound of the sweetest thing out of Switzerland since Toblerone. Hard, fast and LOUD.

  • AC/DC – SHOT IN THE DARK

They’re back in black and powering up a new generation of school-age rockers. 100% classic AC/DC from the first chord to the last.

  • BUFFALO SUMMER – HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

Foot-stomping coolness with punchy lyrics and a killer riff from this Welsh band’s cracking third album, Desolation Blue.

  • ROYAL BLOOD – TROUBLE’S COMING

Shuffling in a new era for Royal Blood’s two piece, instantly recognisable sound – say hello to AC Disco.

  • BOWLING FOR SOUP – ALEXA BLISS

Skater boy rock vibe staring WWE’s Alexa Bliss. Three minutes of reasons to love wrestling’s golden girl and Bowling For Soup.

  • DEEP PURPLE – THROW MY BONES

Putting the deep back in the purple from the band’s new album Whoosh!

  • THESE WICKED RIVERS – FLOYD

New wave classic rock from Derby’s foot-stomping, epically bearded four piece off their album Eden. Best played loud.

  • BLACK STONE CHERRY – AGAIN

Bigger and louder than ever from the new album The Human Condition, bringing powerful choruses with reflective lyrics.

  • LARKIN POE – SHE’S A SELF MADE MAN

Title track from one of two albums rock’s coolest sisters released this year. Bluesy, soulful with lots to say and some phenomenal fretwork.

  • JJ WILDE – THE RUSH

One of Canada’s rising star’s. An anthem for the inner wild-child from debut album, Ruthless. Raw, unapologetic and very, very catchy.

  • THE ROCKET DOLLS – THE GRIP

One of 2020’s most catchy choruses featuring a fantastic riff from Brighton rock trio with lyrics we could all relate to this year.

  • THE ROLLING STONES – LIVING IN A GHOST STONE

A masterclass in why The Rolling Stones are still, after all these years, undisputed rock royalty with lyrics that utterly nailed lockdown life.

  • BIFFY CLYRO – INSTANT HISTORY

From their storming album, A Celebration of Endings, Scotland’s iconic alt-rockers have never sounded bigger.

  • BON JOVI – BROTHERS IN ARMS

Bon Jovi 2020 encapsulated our times in song but this track was packed with a feel-good, healing message and all the elements of classic Bon Jovi.

  • KINGS COUNTY – BLEED THESE TEARS

Dark, heavy and very Ozzy Osbourne. First taste of forthcoming album 2 from hard-hitting American rockers.

  • FALSE HEARTS – REMEDY

Melodic, female fronted, foot-stomping awesomeness from one of the UK’s most exciting new bands destined for the big stage.

  • RED LIGHT ACID TEST – LOSE MYSELF

Debut single from a British rock band with all the key ingredients to cook up something special with their forthcoming debut album.

  • CALL OF THE KRAKEN – SEEING DOUBLE

An intro to melt your face and a chorus certain to ruin your Dry-January. Hereford’s brightest stars guaranteed to whip up a frenzy.

  • WITHIN TEMPTATION – ENTERTAIN YOU

Heavy, feisty and hugely entertaining from a dutch symphonic metal band essential to a healthy playlist.

  • THE DUST CODA – LIMBO MAN

An instant classic for cowbell enthusiasts and a riff to rock your socks clean off from London’s new wave classic rockers.

  • THE BLUE STONES – LET IT RIDE

Just a taste of this rock duo’s forthcoming sophomore album with sumptuous riffs in abundance and shades of The Black Keys.

  • DES ROCS – THIS IS OUR LIFE

A frenetic slice of this New York pizza maker’s formidable rock style topped with experimental flavours you’ll definitely order again.

  • BOOTYARD BANDITS – HOBBY HORSE

The UK’s most wanted tongue-in-cheek bandits from wild wild Worcester launch a rockin’ campaign in favour of the Hobby Horse.

  • THE DEAD DAISIES – UNSPOKEN

Lead single from forthcoming album Holy Ground that’ll leave you rocked, rolled and itching for more. Available in two sizes; Loud & VERY loud.

  • REWS – TODAY WE’RE WARRIORS

From an album Royal Blood would be proud of, this fist pumping, anthemic track is guaranteed to heal 2020’s battle scars,

  • INGLORIOUS – SHE WON’T LET YOU GO

First taste of forthcoming album 4 from a British rock band with riffs that’ll put hair on your chest and a dangerously infectious chorus.

  • RUMRUNNERS – BURNING FOR YOU

This track combines a killer riff with spine-tingling vocals in a chorus that’ll set your stereo alight from Edinburgh’s answer to Nothing but Thieves.

  • GIN ANNIE – SAVE ME

With more hooks than a fishing lake and fretwork that’ll leave your fingers embarrassed you’ll probably never get enough of this track.

  • EVANESCENCE – THE GAME IS OVER

Ahead of their forthcoming album Bitter Truth, this track showcases why Amy Lee remains the queen of gothic rock.

  • THE HAUNT – BRAG ABOUT

Brother and sister duo carving a unique sound out of alt-rock-pop with lyrics that connect and a chorus that could get anyone jumping.

  • THE PRETTY RECKLESS – DEATH BY ROCK AND ROLL

Title track from the New York City rockers’ forthcoming album that’s every bit as hot, heavy and loud as Halestorm.

  • VIX20 – TRY AGAIN

A punchy, power pop, indie anthem for your inner cynic from a band oozing fun in-between the chords.

  • HOMETRUTHS – SOUNDTRACK

Newcastle’s progressive pop punk rockers star in this blockbuster of a single with an A-list chorus.

  • THE JACK FLETCHER BAND – CAROUSEL

A ride you won’t want to end and a heartfelt ballad from an indie-rock four piece featuring serious shades of Stereophonics.

  • THE SLOW READERS CLUB – ALL I HEAR

One of several dark, moody, dance-inducing anthems off album 4, The Joy Of The Return from one of Manchester’s finest.

  • VACCINE 7 – SILENCE

A thunderous debut single from a female-fronted, British rock band injecting meaty riffs into beautiful melodies ahead of their debut album in 2021.

  • AMONGST LIARS – BURN THE VISION

Loud and proud from these alt-rock powerhouse rockers with huge fuzzy riffs and hooks that you’ll be hearing in your head for weeks.

  • MASSIVE WAGONS – BANGIN ON YOUR STEREO

One of several bangers from the band’s latest album House of Noise. Riot inducing rock that does what it says on the tin.

  • THUNDERMOTHER – DRIVING IN STYLE

AC/DC in female form. Taken from album 3, Heat Wave and packed with thunderous riffs, pounding beats and screaming vocals to drive you wild .

  • ECHOBATS – SAVE ME FROM LOVING YOU

Debut single from newly formed, quarantine-inspired supergroup dubbed “the bats” and dripping with 70’s glam rock.

  • THE SCREENS – THE BOY WHO WAVED AT TRAINS

Title track from the band’s concept album, an inspired blast of the 60’s that’s as cool and with as many layers as a viennetta.

  • SCARLET REBELS – YOU TAKE MY BREATH AWAY

An intro, riff and solo to melt your face with a chorus that truly does take your breath away. Best served loud.

  • BLACK LESION – SINS

Mosh-pit inducing debut single with meaty riffs and lyrical chops from one of Edinburgh’s loudest.

  • DEAD REYNOLDS – BY YOUR SIDE

Anthemic single destined for a euphoric live sing-along from a five piece alt-rock band who’ve been banging out big tunes all year.

  • NUALA – ARTEMESIA

Heavy, dark fuzzy riffs with haunting and delicate vocals. Absinthe inspired poetry that’d fit perfectly in a Killing Eve soundtrack.

  • BLACK STAR RIDERS – CANDIDATE FOR HEARTBREAK

Massive production and sublime fretwork with a clever, loved-up, twisted lyric.

  • ORIANTHI – IMPULSIVE

Feel-good by the bucket load with a memorable chorus, fist-pumping, singalong bridge and customary killer solo from her huge second album O.

  • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – GHOSTS

Another instant classic by The Boss from his latest album Letter To You. Wistful, nostalgic and a musical masterclass in layering.

  • DEAD SARA – HANDS UP

Unapologetically loud with lyrics that pack a punch and a knockout chorus with screaming vocals guaranteed to lift the hairs on your neck.

  • METALLICA – ALL WITHIN MY HANDS (LIVE FROM S&M2)

Snapshot of a phenomenal musical event that saw the masters of metal re-unite with their legendary orchestral friends. S&M all over again.

  • APOCALYPTICA – TALK TO ME (FT LZZY HALE)

Apocalyptica assembled their cellos in attack formation and Lzzy Hale brings a ferocious vocal in an experiment that turned out to be a marriage made in hell.

  • NOTHING BUT THIEVES – REAL LOVE SONG (FT BUCHAREST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)

Bursting with everything there is to love about Southend’s Nothing But Thieves taken to stratospheric levels with orchestra.

  • EMPYRE – ONLY WAY OUT (PIANO ACOUSTIC)

Acoustically reimagined from this stadium-worthy rock band’s debut album. Stripped to its bare bones it’ll blow you away instantly.

  • JEFF BECK & JOHNNY DEPP – ISOLATION

Yeah, THAT Johnny Depp. Incredible vocal from a former pirate alongside Jeff Beck in his bluesy element. Just what 2020 ordered.

  • HARRY DEVEREUX – STONE COLD HEART

A dark, moody debut single with red hot fretwork and a cool, complex tempo from an Essex based singer/songwriter.

  • HIGH/LOW – SLOW MOTION RUNNER

One of a million mesmerising bangers bursting with fuzz from Southend’s most frequently rocking rockers. Every time you blink there’s a new single.

  • OCEAN FLAWS – SPIRIT LEVEL

Another stunningly produced, spookily good belter with one foot in the 80s from Brentwood’s alt-pop, deep sea dreamers.

  • SHOTGUN MISTRESS – SAVE ME FROM MYSELF

One of several hard, fast hits leaving tyre marks all over 2020 from these Aussie rockers ahead of their forthcoming debut album.

  • LEATHERJACKS – DEJACKED

Taken from album 2, Extremely Dangerous and rammed with wild riffs and hard rock with 80’s influence from one Brazil’s brightest new stars.

  • MADAME WHISKEY – EYE CONTACT

A supremely catchy and sunny single from four incredibly likeable Costa Rican rock and rollers.

  • STANDING LIKE STATUES – STUPID LOVE

Alt-rock band storming out of Cambridge with another anthem in their arsenal from their cracking 2nd EP, Reality Checkpoint.

  • SHINEDOWN – ATLAS FALLS

Huge ballad with heartfelt lyrics from a band returning to their own chart-topping sound.

  • KING CREATURE – WISDOM TOLD

A truly epic single that builds into a masterpiece from this Cornish rock band’s phenomenal third album Set The World On Fire. It should.

  • THE MIRROR PICTURES – 3 HOUR BLACKOUT

The type of sing-along chorus you don’t want to end and a guitar solo that transcends from the gods.

  • MYSTERY JETS – SCREWDRIVER

From this beloved indie band’s protest-inspired album, A Billion Heartbeats featuring solid riffs and laced with lyrics to educate.

  • THE METAL BYRDS – LIFE IN 20

All the fears and thoughts of our time captured in a rip-roaring power-pop rock case and laced with metal.

  • NEVER APART – HOLD ON HOPE

A storming second single from these Coventry based rockers featuring punchy, driving guitars, pounding drums and a killer vocal.

  • THE JADED HEARTS CLUB – REACH OUT I’LL BE THERE

One of a series of fantastically rocked up covers from a band putting the “super” into supergroup.

What were some of your favourites? Did you discover something new this year? Leave a comment and let us know!


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Top Movies of 2020

Big News-TV and Film, movies, Stewart Pink

Like a lot of people, I’ve not found the time, tickets or tenacity to have seen anywhere near the usual amount of new movies this year. With release schedules as changeable as my local bus timetable, theatres closed for a large portion of 2020 and purse strings tighter than ever, I’ve relied heavily on the major streaming services for my source of “new” and although that means I haven’t seen a lot of the blockbusters – it also means I’ve still got plenty to look forward to watching while we’re stuck indoors again in 2021! That’s not to say the film industry hasn’t been adapting to accommodate this bizarre landscape – streaming has never been bigger and 2020 has seen some major shakeups in the way movies are released; changes likely to stay with us long after we take our masks off. However, though the pool is a small one, I thought a little about some of my favourite films I’ve seen that were released this year and listed them below; my recommendations.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

This is a film that knows what it is. The performances are about as over the top and ridiculous as the song contest normally is and the storyline is pure silliness. Right from the beginning there’s a party for the Icelandic contestants, our main characters aren’t invited and as the party boat blows up Lars and Sigrid start screaming in horror as arms, legs and body parts fall from the sky; they’re identifying which contestants they belong to as they start to realise they’re the only ones left and start celebrating. It’s horrific yet hilarious and that’s kind of what the film is! I’ve always enjoyed the random cheesiness of Eurovision and this movie captures it perfectly. If you liked Blades Of Glory, this is right up your street.

The Old Guard

Based on a comic book series and released in a year that’s felt a little thin on the ground when it comes to blockbuster fantasy action, this certainly filled the Star Wars, Marvel, DC, James Bond shaped hole. I hadn’t read the comics so I didn’t know the story but I felt they gave enough background to set the scene for a newbie. Charleze Theron was a first class action heroine and although the villain and the final showdown seemed to turn into more of a Johnny English spin-off, ultimately, I liked it. Probably more for the escapism action and lack of options this year but if they make another one – I’ll be there.

The Lovebirds

This was a lot of fun. It’s obviously got a timely message in it’s storyline about racism and police brutality in America but the film doesn’t get overly “messagy”. It fights against the injustice with what it’s good at, punchlines; non-stop laugh to laugh. We’re taken on an increasingly periliess and ridiculous journey as the main characters are on the run whilst trying to solve the case and clear their name whilst also attending a party so that their friends don’t suspect anything unusual. The cast are fantastic and if you want a film that’s relatively short by today’s standards and doesn’t waste any time in getting to the laughs – this is the one. Loved it.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

A fantastic reinvention of a classic story, given a really modern twist and told in a way that I’ve never really seen before; it cleverly blends writing, narrating and shooting a scene all at once. The film portrays a young man with a tragic backstory whose path is continually shaped by the crazy, mad and bizarre characters that come into his life. The cast in this are brilliant, all of them have such off-the-wall and memorable performances that I left with a renewed sense that ultimately life is full of strange characters who make our stories what they are.

1917

Sam Mendes’ epic war film. I thought this was stunning and so immersive in what we can only imagine it must’ve been like to live and be in the trenches of World War One. It brilliantly demonstrates how fragile and thin the margin between winning and losing, surviving and dying really was in war. In the trailer there a some massive show stopping scenes but in the actual film it focuses more on the danger and peril. We follow one soldier’s journey through the film as he creeps around battlefields, abandoned villages and trenches, trying not to be seen by the enemy and I think that might’ve disappointed some people who were expecting another Saving Private Ryan. However, I thought in the same way Valkyrie leaves you with a new perspective on a particular moment in history, for me, 1917 really gives a new insight into being on the ground in war away from the Hollywood battle scenes. It’s pretty intense but wow, what a film.

What have you enjoyed watching this year?


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A Christmas Carol

Books, Stewart Pink

A book review from the music guy? What is this, Christmas? Oh yeah. 

I’ve always enjoyed Christmas as a time of year when the pace of life slows down and we can reconnect with ourselves and each other. A chance to reflect not just on the passing year but also think about our own stamp on it. What did I do and what can I be proud of? This year, for a lot of us it’ll be a difficult time for lots of reasons but if there’s one thing you can do it’s embrace a little old fashioned reflection, remembering the past, taking stock of the present and looking forward to the future – if you’ve never really done that before then picking up Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the best place to start. 

Sure, you probably already know how it goes; an old grumpy bloke has a ghostly dream about the past, present and future Christmas and then wakes up with his life in a whole new perspective and suddenly becomes the most charitable, kind and giving person in the world. It’s a classic and therefore you might never read it, assuming there’s nothing you could possibly gain from picking it up but if you’ve ever wished if only for a moment that you could be/do/help more or if you’re the person who doesn’t see the point in Christmas then I really urge you to give this a read. Light a candle and enjoy it old-school, read it in your dressing gown with a nightcap and by the end of it you might just wake up changed. 

My first encounter with this story, as a 90s child was The Muppets Christmas Carol and although I was well aware of Dickens’ classics and their impact on the world I did find it just a little bit tricky trying to get the idea that Bob Cratchet was NOT Kermit the frog out of my head. Once I eventually lost that image the story swept me away. 

School English lessons usually cover Dickens’ work, but if you’re under the illusion he’s in the same ancient, dated and incomprehensible bracket as Shakespeare then you’re mistaken. Yes, it’s a story older than anybody still alive but it’s language and the way in which Dickens relays the story, his descriptions and even the dialogue have stood the test of time perfectly. Many an English teacher will tell you that Charles Dickens paved the way for modern story telling and reading this you’ll see why. With engaging and colourful characters he paints a vivid, warts-and-all picture of a Victorian society that we know now as a classic backdrop to an old story but what was then, the world he lived in, expertly captured. 

In summary, reading A Christmas Carol opens up a portal to the past that is purely magical in the way it transports us back in time. If a little old fashioned story telling is on your Christmas list, if you’ve lost touch with what the festivities are all about or what’s important to you then making A Christmas Carol your bedtime reading will do wonders for your Christmas spirit. 


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