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I’ve never been much for typical romance. I’ve never seen Dear John, or The Notebook, and I giant teddy bears creep me out. But with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’m done denying that I’m not a romantic…I’m just not romantic in the ways that perhaps others are. When thinking of the films to pick for this list I was tempted to include Natural Born Killers…you know, the film about the serial killing couple banned in some countries. The scene where they perform their own wedding ceremony on the bridge is so beautifully romantic to me – but don’t recommend me a therapist just yet – as I’ve actually managed to find five romantic dramas that I actually do enjoy, and these have a lot less murder.

 

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Last night, once again attempting to decide what I should watch on Netflix, I noticed that season three of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ had been released. An anthology series of speculative fiction that’s usually dark and sometimes even ‘bleak’, as Brooker claims himself, Black Mirror is just up my street. It’s satirical themes that question and examine modern society and present to us thousand’s of plausible ‘what if’s’, Black Mirror is not only exceptional original writing, it’s visually great to watch, and is layered with symbolism throughout.

Nosedive is the first episode in the new season. Starring Brice Dallas Howard who plays Lacie Pound, we follow her through her day to day life in a future that seems not too distant from one that we live in now. Everyone is obsessed with image and how others perceive and rate them, not only figuratively, but also literally – everyone has a visible rating that you can see by looking at someone (with some high tech program fitted into you eyes). Everyone is incredibly nice. So nice, so sweet, it’s enough to give you diabetes just looking at them interact with each other.

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Jay-Z’s book ‘Decoded’

When I was at college studying English Literature, we were tasked with writing an essay arguing for the inclusion of a piece of literature, song or poem to be included in the literary canon. The western literary canon is a rather outdated collection of literature, music and art that scholars accept as the most important and influential when it comes to shaping western culture. Of course the canon is seen by most people as widely restrictive and noninclusive of work by authors and artists from different racial backgrounds and genders, as most of it’s included works have been created by white, European men (but really, what did you expect?)

My time at college was also the time where I really developed my love for hip hop and rap music. As a white girl who grew up on her Dad’s punk rock music, and her Mum’s eclectic mix of 80’s pop and Elvis, rap music was rather unknown territory for me back then. Around this time I had discovered a lot of rap artists, but my favorite had soon proved to be Jay-Z, arguably one of the most well known hip hop/rap artists since the 90’s when he first emerged onto the scene. Getting tasked with this essay at the time I was becoming obsessed with rap music was really a great way to explore and learn about the history of rap, how it came to be, and why I had suddenly fallen in love with it. I decided to do my essay about Jay-Z and his music, the meat of my argument being that rap music was poetry in another form and highly influential to a huge group of people.