Elliot Page, and Eight Non Binary Celebrities

Elliot Page

Elliot Page (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

The Hard Candy, Juno, Inception and X-Men film star, Tales of the City and Umbrella Academy TV star and Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee came out as trans on 1st December 2020. Announcing his new name as Elliot and his pronouns as both he/him and they/them, Page became front page news and received an outpouring of love and support from fans and backlash from bigots.

While most headlines reported that they had come out as non binary, they only mentioned being trans and that they use both he/him and they/them pronouns. Coming out can be a terrifying process which takes a while, so they may clarify their gender in the upcoming months or be content without a precise label of man, non binary etc. Either way, Here are eight famous people who are specifically non binary.

Asia Kate Dillon

Asia Kate Dillon (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

The John Wick 3 film star and Orange is the New Black TV star also plays the non binary character Taylor in Billions. They say it was a coincidence, but a fortunate one, as the character being played by a real non binary person is significant. They took pronouns off of their online presence in 2015, saying it felt really good to. It wasn’t until reading into the character for Billions, however, that they found the language to really explain who they are. Likewise, having a clearly non binary character in a mainstream programme is fantastic representation.

Tommy Dorfman

Tommy Dorfman (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/VF20/WireImage)

The Thirteen Reasons Why and Jane the Virgin TV star came out as non binary in November 2017. They told online magazine Refinery29 in an interview about clothing and its importance. They referred to a childhood of seeing clothes as costume and hating the idea that clothing is gendered. While it didn’t come up in the interview, they posted a comment on the article to reassure readers that they have no preference for he/him, she/her or they/them pronouns.

Brigitte Lundy-Payne

Brigette Lundy-Paine (Photo by Ryan Emberley/amfAR/Getty Images)

The Atypical TV star and Bombshell and Bill and Ted Face the Music film star came out in an Instagram post on 7th November 2019. As well as saying that they’re non binary, they say they’ve always felt partially a girl, partially a boy and partially neither of those. The use they/them pronouns and the same name, shortened to Brig (or Briiiiiiiiiig, on Instagram).

Indya Moore

Indya Moore (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

Before playing Angel Evangelista in Pose, they were a model who worked for Dior and Gucci, in New York Fashion Week and has been featured in Vogue España. She clarified in a tweet in September 2019, saying she is non binary and femme, and that agender fits too. At that point, they said their pronouns were they/them, but as of December 2020, her twitter bio lists both they/them and she/her.

Her role in Pose is a vitally important one, as the programme is groundbreaking in its sheer number of trans characters and the fact that most of them are played by trans actors.

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg (Photo from Hello! magazine)

The Hunger Games and The Hate U Give film star, and BET Award and Teen Choice Award winner came out as non binary in March 2016. In a Tumblr post, they talked about intersectional feminism and posed the question of how they can claim a movement for women without feeling like one all the time. In another post, in April 2016, they clarified that while she/her does not upset or offend them, they prefer they/them pronouns.

Rebecca Sugar

Rebecca Sugar (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ReedPOP)

The Steven Universe creator told NPR’s 1A that she is a non binary woman, which is to say she is isn’t entirely a woman but is okay being seen as one, but she is in herself non binary. She made the crystal gems non binary characters who look female both as representation and as a way to express her gender experience.
As another programme with central characters who are not cisgender, Steven Universe is important representation. As a children’s cartoon, it is especially important for showing children gender diversity is normal and positive.

Bex Taylor-Klaus

Bex Taylor-Klaus (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

The TV star from The Killing, Scream and Thirteen Reasons Why, came out as non binary in July 2018. Saying that they had already come out as trans non binary to a room full of people that day, and that it was time to do it on twitter, too. They also used the word enby for themself, a noun for non binary person along the same meaning as girl and boy, but not a word that all non binary people use.

Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan Van Ness (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

JVN is a hairdresser, the grooming expert on Queer Eye and the host of Gay of Thrones. He identifies as gay and gender non conforming as well as non binary. He has been femme since childhood, loving skirts, scarves, nail polish and other things which made him the target of hatred. He uses he/him pronouns and his male-assumed birthname, although he has said he doesn’t consider she/her or they/them to be the wrong pronouns either. While many see the concept of androgyny as a lack of gendered traits, Van Ness happily mixes skirts and a beard in a presentation style sometimes known as genderfuck.

Bonus Round!

While RuPaul has a terrible track record on trans topics, a surprising number of the drag queens who have competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race are non binary or otherwise not men or women.

This includes, but is probably not limited to:
Pandora Boxx in Season Two;
Jinkx Monsoon in Season Five;
Adore Delano, Kelly Mantle, Courtney Act and Laganja Estranja in Season Six;
Violet Chachki and Miss Fame in Season Seven;
Bob the Drag Queen in Season Eight;
Shea Coulee, Eureka O’Hara, Sasha Velour and Aja in Season Nine;
Gigi Goode and Crystal Methyd in Season Twelve;
Scarlett BoBo and Ilona Verley in Drag Race Canada;
Divina de Campo in Drag Race UK.

12 Ways to Protest During Lockdown (Without Being a Typhoid Mary)

There are some people who refuse to accept universal medical advice about COVID-19, and are outside putting vulnerable people at risk as a “protest”. Typhoid Mary is one of the cleanest and politest names for this behaviour, especially as the main concern seems to be “getting a haircut”. This article is not aimed at them, because the lockdown is our best method of slowing the spread of disease and keeping people alive. This article is aimed at the activists who were protesting inequality, oppression and injustice before all this, and at the people who want to protest things that have come up during this time.

Indoor Things That We’ve Always Done

Due to distance, physical limitations, vulnerability and many other reasons, not everyone can attend standard protests anyway. There are things that you can do inside, and people have been doing these instead of or as well as outdoor, gathered protests.

1 Write letters to your MP

MPs are obliged by protocol to reply to their constituents, and technically they do work for us and are employed to represent the people who live in their constituency. You can write to them at the House of Commons or email them at their government email address. Writing to them is hard evidence that real people care about a topic, and prompts them to address it in some way. The more people write, the more the pressure is on them to act – you can organise a group to all write to your MPs about the same issue.

Find your MP here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/find-your-mp/

Tips on writing to MPs here: https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/policy-campaigns/our-campaigns/campaign-toolkit/how-to-write-to-your-mp/

2 Make and Sign Petitions

The government has an official website for petitions. Only British Citizens and UK Residents can create or sign petitions, and can only sign once per petition. Petitions will only be rejected if they don’t fit the standards listed on the official site’s help page, and if any petition gets 10,000 signatures it will get a response from the government. Any petition that gets 100,000 signatures is raised as a potential topic of debate in Parliament.

There’s also Change.org, which works in a similar way but with a much wider scope. Anyone in the world can create or sign a petition, and the targets can be companies, world leaders, organisations etc. There isn’t the same guaranteed response system, but it’s a huge petition platform that has gotten solutions for hundred of petitions.

Official petition site: https://petition.parliament.uk/

Change.org: https://www.change.org/

3 Social Media Awareness

A lot of things are less about reaching the government, and more about reaching as many people as possible. You might only have your real friend and family on Facebook, but platforms like Twitter and Instagram are perfect for sharing things with hundreds of strangers. Even on Facebook, there are pages and the friends of your friends; every conversation you have online is a chance to spread a message. And unlike an in-person conversation, your points stay there forever for other people to read. It’s not just gaining allies, either, as you can bring your points to people on the fence and even debate people who so far disagree with you; you might even win them over.

Solo or Distanced Outdoor Things

4 Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is, at its core, breaking of unjust laws and/or breaking laws for activist effect. Obviously, for legal reasons, I am not recommending any of these illegal acts. Graffiti is a clear example – for every illegible name tag, there is a striking political statement. Resources online offer methods to disrupt construction such as putting sugar in cement, to disrupt businesses such as glueing locks shut, and to disrupt demolition by chaining yourself to the structure in question.

There are even companies that will send glitter parcels, embarrassingly labelled packages and rancid smelling food products, should you wish to take your protest to an individual in particular.

5 Banner Drops

Speaking of things that are technically illegal, you could drop a banner over a wall, bridge or out of a window. It takes a team but can be done with two or three depending on the size. If you have a banner big enough to need four, you can meet on-site and keep as far apart as you can. There are three parts to dropping a banner. You can make a banner out of a bedsheet or sewing together spare fabric and painting your message on it, and some next-level things to do include weighting the bottom and including padlocks to lock your banner in place for a longer protest.

Choosing your drop place and time is where the question of legality comes in. Places that can be seen or that are context-appropriate might be restricted, and locked banners can be classed as vandalism. Give yourself time to access the place and set up your banner in time for it to be seen by as many people as possible.

How To article about banner drops: https://destructables.org/node/56

6 One Person, One Sign

In fact, you can stage a street protest all by yourself, without any huge and high effort banners or breaking any laws. Make a protest sign out of a large piece of card or cardboard and pen or paint. You might already own a few, as a seasoned activist. Choose a place where people will see you, and possibly combine this with the blockage part of civil disobedience. If you would already wear a face covering to protest, get ready as you normally do to protest. If you don’t, consider it for your own safety, and then don’t forget to wear a mask or bandana over your mouth and nose.

All that’s left is to get out there and get your message seen and heard!

Some safe protest advice: https://www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2017/01/a-few-small-tips-for-attending-your-first-protest-march/

 

Virtual Things

7 Online Rallies

People are already taking to platforms like Zoom to protest during the lockdown. Over 200 people joined a Zoom rally set up by staff and students at Forth Valley College in Scotland on 1st April, almost 500 Irish protestors attended an event on Zoom to demand justice for sacked Debenhams staff on 29th April and various unions held online rallies on 1st May for the historically celebrated International Workers Day.

While these online rallies aren’t quite as effective as rallies in locations where people pass by, they can easily get much higher attendance. There’s no need to be able to physically attend, so international, disabled and time-constrained people can join in. This numbers advantage means that while bystanders aren’t as easily reached, the companies and governments being protested against do see a bigger potential impact. As a new phenomenon, news media is more likely to report your rally, as it’ll have that topical lockdown factor.

Facebook’s Portal App: https://portal.facebook.com/gb/

Skype: https://www.skype.com/en/

Zoom: https://zoom.us

8 Panels and Parties

Similarly, you can host or attend parties and panels. You can have speakers and performers on a zoom chat or party, just like you would at a physical event. Unlike a rally, which only attracts protestors and rally watchers, these ideas can attract people interested in the content itself. The bigger the names you can get to talk or perform, the bigger the viewership you can get. Themes of talks or performances attract viewers too, and a party setting can get non-activist people interested.

Event names and things like Facebook event listings give you the option to hype the event up and point to clear numbers of people interested in your cause. You can use them to raise money as well as awareness, and explore new events such as vigils, readings and skill-sharing.

9 Map Pins and Geo-Tagging

Key locations can be protested at without physically going there! The Russian equivalent of Google Maps, Yandex.Maps and Yandex.Navigator, has been used by Russian protestors to leave public messages at public government buildings. Pins can be dropped on the map and shared publicly, so whatever is written is visible to people looking at that area. Coordinated protests have led to slogans and complaints covering government buildings and routes on the map service.

While Google Maps doesn’t have the same ease of public pin-dropping, locations can be added, and geo-tagging can be used to a similar effect on other platforms. Facebook statuses can be checked in to locations, Instagram posts can be tagged with locations, and while you can’t geotag tweets you can set your whole Twitter account to a location.

COVID-related protests

10 Rent Strike

You may have seen the discourse around rent – many people are out of work, unpaid or on reduced pay, and unable to pay their bills. Many reasonable landlord companies are offering rent reductions and even non-collection of rent during this time. Some, however, are demanding full rent from their tenants and threatening homelessness during this terrifying period. The obvious protest is rent strikes, which is the refusal to pay rent with no access to the property and broadcast of the facts.

Rent Strike London and the London Renters Union are among the groups sharing the 2020 rent strike campaign, with university student unions and other activism groups encouraging people. There are template letters to send to your landlords, official demands of suspended rent and rent debt cancellation, and a movement to hang white sheet banners from home windows.

Rent Strike London on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RentStrikeLDN

London Renters Union: https://londonrentersunion.org/

Template Letter to Landlords: https://londonrentersunion.org/coronavirus-landlord-letter/

11 NHS PPE

A lot of the current protest and activism is related to the terrible situation that NHS staff has been forced into. People are clapping for them weekly and calling them heroes, but more effectively people and businesses have been donating personal protection equipment or PPE, such as masks, gloves and disinfectant. Despite UK taxpayers paying more than £100 billion a year, and the Brexit promise to spend an extra £350 million a week on the NHS, funding has not increased and PPE orders have not been filled.

A video was NHS staff explained about staff deaths and begged the government for PPE was projected onto the Palace of Westminster on 17th April. This was organised by the government protest group Led By Donkeys and could be replicated and boosted.

12 Lockdown Counter-Protest Content

The Typhoid Mary’s that this is a guide to NOT being, however, are protesting as normal. They’re also gathering and refusing to follow guidelines, and demanding businesses open and serve them. All of the ways in which they’re endangering hundreds of people, including NHS staff, don’t need to be re-explained yet again. It is possible to protest against them by making a political statement about following the guidelines.

Using hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to share your stay-at-home activities and PPE outfits is one easy way to promote helpful behaviour. Masks are not just for literal germ safety, but a visual signal that you’re following the rules. People have sewn their own, worn costume masks and worn fashion items such as bandanas. Sharing counter-protest content and advice on social media is quick, easy and effective, as is shaming all protestors and those who refuse to follow guidelines.

NHS hand-washing advice: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

Government Social Distancing Guide: www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Goldblum, Drag Race and the Issue of Us and Them

Disclaimer: I am not Muslim, Iranian/Persian, American or a woman, all of which are relevant to the comment and the issue. I am, however, Christian and queer/non-heterosexual, both of which are also relevant.

Note: Drag queens are referred to as they/them throughout this article to refer to them as the same person whether in or out of drag.


The episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race released on Saturday 26th April 2020, Season 12 Episode 9 “Choices 2020”, guest-starred Jeff Goldblum. He asked lots of questions that revealed he isn’t familiar with drag culture, including the very awkward amazement with Gigi Goode’s tuck. However, his controversial question that prompted media outrage and this very article was in response to Jackie Cox’ stars and stripes hijab and kaftan outfit:

“Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid.”

Many responses are emotional, and justifiably so, and I was angry at his semi-rhetorical question. Having slept on it and read brilliant thoughts by various Muslim and Middle Eastern people, including queer/non-heterosexual people, women and drag performers, there are many layers of racism and othering in this mentality.

Bear in mind, Goldblum was not being deliberately racist, and RuPaul has a history of problematic behaviour; this question was not addressed as problematic and a decision was made to keep it in the final version of the episode, unaddressed.

 

Islam vs Christianity

Islam has come up a couple of times on RuPaul’s drag race, with Season 11’s Mercedes Iman Diamond having an emotional discussion about being a gay Muslim and deciding to openly talk about it rather than hide that part of them. Christianity comes up fairly often, with some contestants having religious family who rejected them and some having strong faith. In fact, Season 10’s Monét X Change talked about leading their church choir in drag.

The difference is clear and very troubling; both religions have strong vocal subsets who are homophobic and misogynist, and plenty of gay activist, feminist believers who fight against that. The problem here is that the issues within Christianity are portrayed as with bad apple Christians who we defeat by being gay activist, feminist Christians, but Islam isn’t given that same respect.

If being a Christian drag queen isn’t a clash of ideals because of homophobia and misogyny in the church, but instead a beautiful backlash against hateful Christians, shouldn’t the response to Muslim drag queens be the same?

 

Islam and the Middle East

In the runway voiceover, Jackie Cox explained the message behind the stars and stripes hijab and kaftan as not only celebrating their own Persian heritage but illustrating that people who are Middle Eastern and Muslim are still Americans. Pairing the US flag with traditional clothing, with a red and white striped kaftan and a blue hijab with the 50 white stars, made this outfit not only a stand-out look but one of two political statements. In fact, it was sad to see both Cox and The Widow Von’Du in the bottom, as they were the two who took the patriotic theme as an opportunity to make bold statements. Von’Du wore a black and white dress with a perfectly spherical afro and black activism pose.

Kaftans are widespread, part of traditional clothing in Russia, Western Africa, much of the Arabic-speaking world and are even common in Jewish populations from Slavic and Arabic influence. The word hijab refers both to the type of veil or scarf and the practice of Muslim women’s modesty clothing. Head coverings are common for men as well as women in Abrahamic religions and hotter, sandier areas. The nun’s wimple, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox mantillas, orthodox Judaism’s tichels and tallits are all religious examples, whereas the loose dupatta shawl is worn in India by women of various faiths and both keffiyehs and agals are common traditional Arabian men’s head coverings.

There is nothing exclusively or intrinsically Muslim about the outfit Jackie Cox wore: Goldblum’s first question was whether they are religious, to which they said no. Whilst deliberately mentioning the validity of Muslim Americans, the outfit itself was about Cox’ Iranian heritage and the combination of two nationalities and cultures. To equate all Middle Eastern tradition as Islamic is a major issue that gets overlooked.

 

Iran vs America

The theme of the runway was stars and stripes; the USA flag. All seven queens were celebrating the USA, colloquially referred to as America. By calling out Jackie Cox’ Middle Eastern representation as complicated due to the area’s religious homophobia and misogyny, especially in this challenge, completely ignores America’s exact same issue.

Whilst sex between people of the same gender is illegal in Iran, all extra-marital sex is illegal and gender-related medical transition is part-funded by the government. Iran was a progressive country in terms of feminism until the 70s, where a fundamentalist religious group took power and moved women’s liberation back. While there are serious problems in Iran and the Middle East, there are queer activism, gay activism and feminism movements.

The history of LGBTQ rights in America is similarly a fight for rights and against oppression by law. While same-gender marriage is now legal, getting that was a battle and there are still barriers and discrimination, with serious problems with transphobia. Just like Iran’s Islamic Revolution, there is no guarantee that the current status is permanent. Feminism is likewise a battle in America, with the President of the United States perpetuating misogynist ideals and boasting about committing sexual assault.

To question Cox celebrating their Middle Eastern and Iranian heritage as a queer/non-heterosexual person and as an American because of the area’s problems is very one-sided. After all, the entire programme’s premise was celebrating American citizenship without question as queer/non-heterosexual people despite the country’s problems.

 

Patriotism in RPDR

RuPaul’s Drag Race is sometimes ridiculously patriotic. For an international viewer, the connection of flags, military and national identity is intense. Where the closing song used to be “To the Moon” with the lyrics “to, to, to, to the moon!” it is now “American”, with the lyrics “I am American, American, red white and blue. […] I am American, just like you”. This episode’s stars and stripes runway theme is just the latest in a series of patriotic challenges – they’ve had two military drag challenges and filmed a patriotic message for US soldiers, had two separate “Presidential Debates” and filmed Presidential campaign ads, had a Patriotic Drag runway theme, and written verses for the RuPaul song American. That’s a lot of American patriotism without much criticism of the country.

While citizenship is not a requirement, it seems that living in the USA is; all but eight contestants have been living in the USA, with those eight from Puerto Rico, a US territory. Sometimes their heritage or previous nationality comes up, but as a second to their American-ness: African nations are treated as racial and Canada is often treated as a joke, such as Jackie Cox’ own performance in the Presidential Debate challenge.

Just as the RPDR contracts requires contestants to be positive about sponsors, it seems America must come first in terms of national identity. Other countries, when brought up, haven’t been questioned as incompatible with American identity, however.

 

Jeff’s Outsider Status

Regardless of Jeff Goldblum’s intentions, it was an inappropriate question and he asked it very clumsily. That inappropriateness is heightened by Goldblum being outside to the issue; he is an apparently heterosexual man in a room with women and gay men who dress like women, making him the only one in the room not directly affected by either homophobia or misogyny. He’s also a white man with a Jewish background, asking a Persian person with a Muslim background about issues in the region and faith as if they would be unaware.

He awkwardly showed himself up as entirely new to drag culture throughout the episode, with the previously mentioned fascination with tucking putting Gigi Goode, RuPaul and indeed the whole room in an awkward position of being unable to answer in much detail on an international television programme. If the question was to be asked at all, he was the last person qualified to ask it.

 

Us and Them

All of this boils down to the same issue as most prejudice, which is the separation of “Us” and “Them”. Here, the Us is Christian Americans, and the Them is Muslims and people from the Middle East. To ask whether they are compatible is to make one the “other” to be potentially excluded. It isn’t just what Goldblum asked, it’s the separation that his question comes from and that it fuels.

Jackie Cox was trying to make a statement of unity for a Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans, and just by asking this question the importance of that statement is clear. The fact that that question was left in the show, answered only by Cox and unaddressed as problematic by anyone in charge, completely undermines that statement of unity.

Five Easy, Last-Minute Hallowe’en Costumes

It happens every year. You have an amazing costume planned, you work on it and get all excited, and it’s just not ready by the time Hallowe’en rolls around. You have an idea, but you can’t find the thing you need in time. You just entirely forget until two days before Hallowe’en. You could throw on that same lazy vampire costume you wear every year, or pull a “serial killer: they look just like everyone else” normal clothes ‘costume’. You don’t need to! You have a day or two, you can do one of these easy costumes that will still say “I planned this and I love costume parties” to everyone else.

 

One: A Sim

There are levels to this, and all you actually need to buy or make is a plumbob head piece– the green diamond that floats above a Sims head. Greet people with “sul sul!” and occasionally say nonsense or fail to interact with a chair and you’ll really sell it.

At the most basic level, you can wear literally whatever you like. By now, the Sims have near infinite clothing options. Plain tops, t-shirts with nonsense writing or generic images, and slightly odd outfits like pyjamas or a sports outfit are best for that Sims feel.

For a really top-level costume a knee-length strapless red dress, flat shoes and straight dark hair makes for a spot on Bella Goth outfit. Her look varies from game to game, so accuracy is flexible. If you have a little more time and craft skills, another impressive Sim costume is nude Sim. Make yourself a large board of skin-colour pixels and find a way to hang it or attach it to you, and leave your arms and legs bare.

Two: Beanie Baby, Build a Bear, etc

You’ve got an animal costume, but it’s a bit dull and overdone. Spice it up and give people a laugh by turning yourself into a Beanie Baby, a build a bear or other recognisable brand of toy! For the beanie baby costume, just throw on your lazy cat costume or penguin onesie and make your label. Take thick card or cardboard and cut it in a heart shape, colour it red with a big white “ty”. An optional bonus to the label is the yellow “ORIGINAL BEANIE BABY” part, whether the star shape or the bubble text version. Tie it round your neck or to your costume ear with red ribbon and you’ve turned a cliché costume into a funny pop culture reference.

If your costume isn’t a full animal, opt for Build a Bear! Those toys come with clothing and costumes, so the possibilities are nearly endless. Whether you have a full bear costume or cat ears and tail with a princess dress, as long as you have a paw-like glove and a BAB heart-print on it you’re a Build a Bear. The hand logo is a heart shaped red paw print with “BAB” on it in white.

Other brands you can impersonate include Steiff, who have a distinctive yellow label in the bear’s ear, or Hamleys, who have a red ribbon with their name on tied in a bow around the bear’s neck. If you can recreate the label, you can dress as the cuddly toy.

Three: Easy Film/TV Characters

Raid your wardrobe and get your cosplay thinking hat on. A black dress and plaited pigtails equals Wednesday Addams; a shirt and a moustache equals Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation; a little black dress and some nice accessories equals Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Got a leather jacket and some hair styling products? White tshirt and jeans and you’re Danny from Grease or the Fonz. Black leggings and some blonde curls and you’re Sandy from Grease. Some sunglasses (if you’re muscular) and you’re the terminator. The list goes on, Marlon Brando in Wild Ones, Charlie Sheen in the Breakfast Club, Mad Max…

There are incredibly easy group costumes in this category. Three friends in red, blue and green plain dresses are the Powerpuff Girls. A green t shirt is a rubbish costume unless you have a friend in a purple dress, a friend in an orange sweater and a friend in a white top with a red scarf, and suddenly you’re the Scooby Doo team!

You could even be as lazy as possible and turn up to the party in a dressing gown. If you grab a towel, you’re Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and if you grab some milk you’re the Dude from the Big Lebowski.

Four: Tourist

All you really need for this one is a camera or a map, but there are some nice tourist stereotypes to wear if you have them. The most obvious is a Hawaiian shirt and beige shorts, but you can swap those out with I heart NY t-shirts or a top with a landmark on it. Just pop down to your local tourist area and grab one of the t-shirts there, or even dig out one you bought on your own holiday and never wore again.

Accessories are what takes costumes like this from half-baked to last minute winner. With socks and sandals, a sun hat and a bumbag (fanny pack to Americans) it’s obvious what you are. Give yourself a sunburn or some tan lines with make up and take a selfie with a selfie stick and you’ll impress people.

To really sell it, stay in character just like with the Sims costume. Pose for photos, take selfies, maintain a general feeling of confusion and awe. If there’s more than one of you dressed as tourists, go on a tour of the party!

 

Five: Fruit

It’s not spooky, it’s not pop culture, and it’s not funny, but it is a costume and it will pleasantly surprise people. Get as accurate or stylised as you like, and stick to the most visually obvious fruit. You can wear it again at a non-Hallowe’en party, too.

Solid colour outfits are best here, with a hat or headpiece turning it from clothes to costume. Make a green leaf hat and you can mix and match for multiple fruits! A yellow dress is now a pineapple costume, pink or red with polka dots is a strawberry, and wearing all orange makes you a carrot.

Give yourself a round shape and any colour is a fruit. Red apples, orange well, oranges, yellow lemons, green limes, blue blueberry or purple grape. Get a pear shape to your costume for a pear, and get the sharpie out to dot yourself a pink watermelon top. A little fabric paint and you can make a group citrus slice costume, with orange, lemon and lime.

For top notch fun, a bunch or purple or green balloons makes you into a whole bunch of grapes, or a tall yellow hat with a long yellow dress makes you into a banana.

A Dyspraxic’s Thoughts on Doctor Who’s Dyspraxic Character

Note: there are some mild character spoilers, but I’ve tried to keep spoilers to a minimum; no plot details or details on any other character!

As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I’d been waiting for this season and the new female Doctor with baited breath. Unlike a lot of naysayers, I had high hopes and one episode in I’m already thrilled. However, Jodie’s performance and all the other new and exciting things aside, I feel a special connection to a certain non-Doctor character. In his introduction, the 19-year-old Ryan mentions that he can’t ride a bike and says it’s because of a condition the listener already know about. We, the audience, don’t know what condition but my immediate reaction was ‘imagine if it was dyspraxia!’. I myself can’t ride a bike, so it was a very relatable confession, and my cause is dyspraxia.

Later another character confirms it as such, and I almost yelled at the television! Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder, is a condition that affects physical and mental co-ordination. The most obvious symptoms are the issues with ‘gross motor skills’ and ‘fine motor skills’, which as basically larger body movement and smaller precise movements – balance, hand-eye co-ordination and things like posture or gracefulness. It can even effect speech, planning and your internal sense of time.

There are a lot of symptoms and issues, and they vary from person to person. Symptoms, separated into groups, are listed on the Dyspraxia Foundation’s Adults page [http://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-adults/]. People with dyspraxia don’t all have exactly the same issues to exactly the same extent, but it’s a very good resource for understanding dyspraxia in yourself or others. The large movement issues are the clearest and easiest to show, which is why the bike riding and ladder climbing were a good choice for his introduction.

The struggle of bike riding is a common one and a strong visual to introduce him. His feeling of failure and determination to succeed in this task spoke to me, and inspired me to try harder in my own bike riding. Another character’s outburst about his capability also feels familiar; whether the criticism from other people or my own feelings of inadequacy, dyspraxia is an invisible disability and the idea that you’re lazy and useless does come up. For me, as I don’t have an official diagnosis, the idea that it’s an excuse does feel like a familiar insult.

While I don’t have a diagnosis, I am part of a few forums and Facebook groups for adults with dyspraxia where many members do. While there were some that didn’t like his character, no group is a hivemind and the general consensus was positive. His most obvious problem is my own most telling issue, and others felt various levels of connection to it – some felt it a bit stereotypical. Others felt his mountain edge seat was unrealistic enough to break their belief, as they would be too afraid of getting so close to the edge.

Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees on one thing, though, and that’s that having a character with dyspraxia is fantastic representation! Being an ‘invisible’ disability and not a particularly well-known condition, telling someone that you have dyspraxia almost always needs an explanation of what it is afterwards. Ryan is potentially the first ever character with dyspraxia in main stream fiction; I can’t think of a single dyspraxic character and Google searching only brings up a handful of lesser known book that seem to be about dyspraxia. Being able to say “like Ryan in Doctor Who” can take the explanation of your condition from a long conversation to a single sentence.

However, representation by itself isn’t the be-all and end-all. If, as the rest of the series continues, their representation of Ryan and his dyspraxia doesn’t go beyond balance or is portrayed only as a problem, that would have negative effects for dyspraxic people everywhere. Being the first mainstream character with dyspraxia is a big responsibility for positive and helpful representation. There are nine more episodes of this series, and I’ll wait and watch on the edge of my seat to see how it unfolds.

One concern brought up in a dyspraxia group was whether the actor or writer are, themselves, dyspraxic. So far, it doesn’t appear that the actor who plays Ryan, Tosin Cole, has dyspraxia or any related condition. The new writer, Chris Chibnall, said in an interview that his decision to have a dyspraxic character was influenced by his nephew with dyspraxia. With non-dyspraxic people writing and portraying him, there is a risk that this will be an unrealistic, outside view of dyspraxia. One episode in seems good to me, though, so it seems a good amount of research has been done.

Having a dyspraxic actor play Ryan would be fantastic, but it isn’t a visible condition so it isn’t necessarily mandatory. How many actors with dyspraxia there are isn’t easy information to find, and Doctor Who may not have had anyone dyspraxic audition. Dyspraxic actors and dyspraxic roles are not as urgent or vital an issue as – for example – white washing, able bodied actors playing characters in wheelchairs, or transgender women being portrayed by cisgender men.

One actor who does have dyspraxia but would be wholly inappropriate for the role is now twenty-nine-year-old white Daniel Radcliffe! Celebrities with dyspraxia are few and far between, with the only other one I’m aware of being singer Florence Welch. Having a fictional character to add to this sparse group to look to makes a huge difference. The social media conversations about dyspraxia this will spark could also bring more famous person to mention their own experiences and diagnoses!

Doctor Who has always been a show with aspirational characters, and the big character for this in the new season is the female Doctor, letting girls have their chance to want to be her. Plenty of girls and feminist groups have been talking about their excitement since Jodie Whittaker was announced. Her appearance is also accompanied by a mostly non-white companion team, what appear to be other genuinely strong female characters and this character with an invisible disability. Some great characters for plenty of people to look up to! As well as another great series of aliens and adventures, the Thirteenth Doctor could bring some fantastic representation and conversation starters all round!

Just Fab, or Just a Scam?

JustFab is yet another online shop, offering discounted shoes and other clothing items. They’ve been advertising on television as well as on YouTube, really making themselves known. The screaming women are excited about the shoes (SHOES!) and excited that they’re just so cheap. The adverts state that you can get shoes from as little as £7 and that they have VIP memberships. That seems great, but is it too good to be true?

The first issue I had with JustFab was delivery. The estimated delivery days came and went, and no tracking information; bear in mind that shipping is not free. When I chased up my order I just got excuses; they’re pretty backed up, and they’re sending it out today. Why not update the delivery details? Who knows. Hermes, the courier company JustFab use, eventually marked the parcel as “delivered to neighbour” on their tracking website. No note was put through my door to tell me about it and I had no way to know which neighbour had it. Knocking on every door in the neighbourhood is unrealistic, so I chased it up with JustFab again.

As I paid through PayPal, I requested a refund. It was immediately marked as having a response from JustFab, but there did not appear to be any message. I waited a day, but it wasn’t delayed. It would appear they have an automatic blank reply to all PayPal disputes, meaning that you can either escalate it, keep trying in vain, or mark it as solved. I escalated it. With no response from JustFab in the two-week period, PayPal gave me my money back.

Ironically, not long after that, a neighbour I had never met before brought the parcel round once she realised that she still had it. We thanked her and apologised, explaining that we hadn’t been told where it went. I thought this concluded my annoying experience and wouldn’t have done anything more than simply avoid using JustFab in future.

And then a £35 charge was taken out of my PayPal.

Despite the fact that I did not consent to this payment (having simply signed up for a basic account) the fact that I had paid for one pair of shoes apparently qualified me, and auto-upgraded me, to a “VIP” account which costs £35 a month. This charge was the first I know of the supposed upgrade. On checking the website, I found that there is no way to edit my payment details or change the level of status of my account. In fact, aside from thanking me for becoming a VIP member in a small text box, there was no way to view the cost of my unwanted VIP membership!

What’s more, there’s no way to cancel or delete a VIP account on the website at all. There’s just a very difficult to navigate series of FAQs along with mention of a “live chat” with zero links to access it. The only information is that, to cancel, call their cancellation phone number between 8am to 8pm. On calling 6:05pm I was met with answer; it rang but then just beeped. Call rejected?

I queried the payment on PayPal; I received another automatic blank response, so I just escalated it immediately. I messaged JustFab on Facebook and phoned again the next day. While Googling for their live chat at the same time, I found a lot of blog posts and some article links calling out JustFab for their shady charges. I eventually found the live chat. Although I had now had my call answered, I was on hold, so hung up as soon as I got a response on the live chat.

Despite claims that it is a live chat with a staff member, it felt an awful lot like a bot. After giving my account number, I asked to cancel my account. I was told I was a VIP member and had VIP points, am I sure I want to cancel? If I just want to skip a month I can just go to such-and-such a page and click “skip”. For an already convoluted process, this script was like pulling teeth. Yes, I told the ‘not-a-bot’. I double checked that it was done, and as soon as it allowed me to I cancelled my whole account.

Apparently, without a VIP account and paying £35 each month, the price offers are not available to you and you instead pay “retail prices”, the unadvertised £20+ prices the entire point of the site is to get a discount on. This is not made clear in their advertisements and is not made clear at any point during shopping, purchase or at all; I did not realise this until the live chat was trying to talk me out of cancelling.

This high monthly fee is not only already the price of buying a pair of shoes each month, but also means that to actually be saving more money overall you would need to be buying at least three pairs of shoes a month. Even the most extreme of shoe fanatic would be hard pushed to be buying a new pair of shoes almost every week. The kind of person that is, is probably not that concerned about saving money and is going to be spending well over £500 on each pair of Louboutin’s, Jimmy Choo’s and Steiger’s.

Using an unreliable courier is one thing, but this monetary practise is shady at best, and has all the ‘red flags’ of a scam. To advertise as a discount store and then sneak in exorbitant background ‘fees’ for access is disingenuous. To hide the details about the fees and force the customer to jump through hoops to cancel or even change that paid account at all? Deliberately nefarious.

Save your time, money and piece of mind, and avoid JustFab like the plague.

Film Mistakes That Might Not Be

There are plenty of articles and videos and even TV programmes dedicated to showing you mistakes in films. There are plenty; even big budget Hollywood films with entire job roles dedicated to continuity and accuracy, perfection is an incredibly high standard to demand. Mistakes get made and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, there are some mistakes in films with enough evidence to point to them being deliberate and clever details.

Bear in mind there are some spoilers ahead!

Pulp Fiction’s bullet holes

A pivotal scene in Pulp Fiction involves a man springing out of a bathroom and unloading a gun at Jules and Vincent. Unharmed, they shoot him and look in amazement at the bullet holes behind them. The mistake is, the bullet holes were there the whole time!

This works perfectly, though. Some are even behind where the two were standing so couldn’t have been misses. It makes much more sense that the gun fired no bullets and the characters simply hadn’t looked at the wall behind them yet.

It’s Tarantino; he wasn’t a huge star at this point so mistakes would be easy to make and hard to fix, but also he’s known for complicated points and being a film genius who might put in small details like that. Either way, it’s amusing to think of Jules’ religious epiphany about a bullet-bending miracle actually being caused by a lack of bullets entirely.

The Shining’s geographical weirdness

Kubrick is famous for not making sense and not giving a single damn about it. The Shining is no different, with most of the plot’s event happening without much explanation. While people are content to argue about WHY Jack/Johnny goes mad in the first place and needing multiple close watches to even understand the title, the geography often gets called a mistake.

The maze that is a major part of the end is huge and right beside the hotel doesn’t show up in earlier shots of the hotel. The window’s in the Torrence’s suite mean the room has to be a corner room, but lo and behold when Danny climbs out of the window we see that is isn’t. The huge ballroom cannot feasibly fit into the hotel.

Considering the other impossible geography such as rooms that would overlap and windows in impossible places, they’re almost certainly deliberate. The main goal of The Shining was clearly not to scare the viewer in a way they can logically think through, but to give an incomprehensible sense of wrongness. The impossible layout could be a series of oversights but still gives a strong feeling of the Overlook Hotel’s paranormal qualities.

Inception’s borrowed totem

In Inception, the team have personal ‘totems’ to help them know when they’re in a dream and when they’re in real life. No-one else can touch the totem or know how it works; this ensures it works differently in dreams than it does in real life. Cobb tells the viewer (via telling Ariadne) that his totem is the spinning top, and it belonged to his wife Mal before she killed herself. The mistake is that his totem won’t work because it’s not really his, and it’s clear that it falls over in the real world and spins forever in dreams.

This, of course, could be a mistake he is making in-universe, but it could be a deliberate diversion. Cobb is clearly paranoid; he checks his totem more than any other character and is continually worried that what he thinks is real life is a dream. For someone who misses his wife so much, it makes sense that he’d keep as much as he can of her, and for someone so paranoid it makes sense he’d keep not only the way his totem works a secret but even what it is.

So if Mal’s spinning top is a red herring and his totem is secret – adding another layer to Cobb’s character – what is his totem? It could be his wedding ring, which isn’t always visible; it could be Mal herself, as her being dead means she can only show up in dreams; it could be his children’s faces, which he doesn’t see until the very end. It could even be something he hides from the audience…

Jurassic Park and the Inaccurate Dinosaurs

Firstly, while the dilophosaurus is from the early Jurassic period and the brachiosaurus is from the late Jurassic period, the velociraptor, triceratops and tyrannosaurus are all from the late Cretaceous period. This millennia time gap aside, the dinosaurs don’t even look like the ones they’re supposed to be. Worst is the velociraptor, which is styled after the bigger, earlier deinonychus. While whether or not tyrannosaurus had feathers is still a hotly debated topic, the fact that these supposed scientists don’t blink at the blatant misnaming of species is odd.

Even the Jurassic dinosaurs are overtly uncharacteristic, brachiosaurus rearing up when it’s always been known they wouldn’t have been able to or dilophosaurus spitting venom despite that idea being a complete invention of the film. Further than this, DNA degrades over time and would, even in ideal conditions, only last a maximum of six million years. The enormous extinction event that killed the late Cretaceous dinosaurs was… sixty-six million years ago, long enough for perfectly maintained DNA samples to degrade to nothing eleven times other.

The theory is that the dinosaurs being cloned is a big fat lie, not from the movie makers but the park owners in universe. Cobbling together the DNA of various current animals, they created brand new animals that matched the publics idea of what certain dinosaurs would be. Easily named, big ticket dinosaurs like tyrannosaurus and triceratops. The scientists aren’t even there to check the safety of the park, but to check the believability! If the awe-inspiring idea could stop real palaeontologists from putting the facts together, the park’s creations would definitely trick the public.

Many films’ fainting henchmen

There are so many film mistakes that are henchman in group fights just falling down unhit. The background actor or stunt actor, skipped in the fight or in the wrong place, knows they need to die but won’t be hit and just fall over. There’s one in a Batman film, for example, as well as smaller budget films where there isn’t time to reshoot. There’s at least one in the Bond franchise.

While this is obviously not a deliberate decision but a best-of-a-bad-situation compromise by an actor, it might be that the character themself is falling down without being hit too. Consider being a henchman at the edge of a fight, slowly realising that you’re all fighting a legendary hero or surprisingly amazing fighter. Your coworkers are being smacked unconscious or even killed, and you have no chance or doing any better. You just fall down when you hope the hero isn’t looking, and hope to claim being knocked out by the hero later, if you even have a boss to answer to later.

This is referenced in Austin Powers when his father fights the henchmen and tells one, who hasn’t even got a nametag, that he should just lie down without a fight. He does. It’s a funny scene and, with the sheer amount of self-aware action films being made, there must be at least one film with a deliberate falling-unhit henchman for this reason.

Are there any others you’ve noticed or been told are mistakes, that you have a theory or explanation of them as not mistakes? Do you know a film where a henchman character falls down without being hit and it’s clearly supposed to happen? Do you just want to rant and rave about one of the films I mentioned? Leave a comment.

5 Things Cinema Staff Want You To Know

1: No, we cannot and will not let young people into age-restricted film without ID

The film is a 15; you can tell me you’re fifteen all you like and beg me to allow you in, but if you haven’t got ID then I won’t let you in. It’s the law, and if I let an underage person in I could be fined or even go to jail. Your wheedling might be because you’re a Secret Shopper testing our practises, or someone who sees might report me.

If you’re plenty old enough and feel offended that you get IDed, take a look around. Some people look much younger than they really are and other people look much older than they really are. If there’s any doubt of your age, even a tiny part, staff are required to check ID. If you’re old enough, bring something with your photo and date of birth; you can just take a photo of your passport!

 

2: Take your rubbish with you, or at least don’t stuff it in hard to reach places

The ushers have to clean up after you when you leave. It’s one thing to sweep up tonnes of spilled popcorn and pick up all the drink cups and popcorn buckets after a popular film, especially a children’s film, but it’s disgusting to pick up your dirty tissues and time consuming to tug large items from under chairs.

When you’re leaving a screen, take a millisecond to consider the human being cleaning up after you. If the ice cream cup is the same size as the seat’s cup holder, how is the usher supposed to get it out? If you push your rubbish under your chair, the chair folding up will make it harder to reach. If you have sweets wrappers and a popcorn bucket, it saves a lot of time if you drop them in it rather than presumably tossing them out like ticker tape. We love the people who pick up their rubbish and bin it, we like the people who stack their rubbish up in clear view, and we hate the people who make our job harder for no reason.

 

3: Don’t complain about paying too much for the popcorn and drinks if you aren’t even going to eat and drink them

Everyone complains about the price of the concessions, and the two arguments of why they’re expensive and how they aren’t compulsory are for another article. So, they’re expensive and people like to complain; enough people still buy them and are annoyed if there’s a delay or an item has sold out.

However, staff know from cleaning the screens that almost half the people buying popcorn and drinks don’t finish them; a ridiculous amount of cups and buckets just sit there at the end of the film, untouched. It’s annoying to know people fuss at the till about the cost of concessions and then just put them on the floor and leave them. Just stop whining and eat up.

 

4: When it’s incredibly busy, there’s nothing that can be done about the crowds or queues

When a popular film comes out, the school holidays start or its discount day, it’s going to be incredibly busy. There’s nothing that can be done about that, so if it’s too busy for you your best option is just to go home and come back another time. Somehow, people don’t seem to notice the sheer amount of people or somehow can’t comprehend that the reason they’re there is the same reason everyone else is too.

For some reason, people seem to think we’re hiding staff out the back doing nothing, or that staff are purposefully low, and have a go at the staff they’re served by as if the queues are deliberate. It’s incredibly annoying for people to walk through a massive crowd, queue for more than ten minutes and then be incredulous that the popular film they want to see is fully booked.

 

5: It really does make a difference to us how rude or nice you are.

A pair of small children who picked up all the booster seats in their screen not once but twice in one day were the talk of the cinema; such a lovely thing to do made all the ushers’ days and we made sure to thank them. A man who argued about age restrictions and shouted at the manager he made me call made an already stressful shift even worse. The seniors’ special is the best day to work, as they’re quite friendly and chatty.

This is another case of remembering that staff are humans. People don’t work in retail or customer service for fun, they do it because those are the jobs going, jobs pay money, and money can be exchanged for goods and services. Before you act like the cinema staff are you personal servants or even robots, think about how you would feel if you worked shifts in a high energy role and had to keep a happy friendly face on. There’s no need to for to take out your day’s problems on the poor person who sells you popcorn and the ticket to the current superhero movie.

101 Tips For Home Chores

Laundry

  1. Most people know to wash white, black and coloured clothes separately, but washing each colour separately (or even by shade as well!) keeps your clothes brighter for longer.
  2. Put pillow cases and duvet covers on easily by starting with them inside out, then putting your hands in to each top corner. Hold the corners of the pillow or duvet, and shake the case right side out onto it without letting go of the corners.
  3. Get your sports injury or menstrual blood stains out by soaking your clothes in vinegar before washing as normal.
  4. Never lose socks in the washing machine again by washing them in one of those mesh bags for washing ‘delicates’ in.
  5. Jeans, designed to only need occasional cleaning, don’t need fabric softener and last longer without it – there are often denim settings for doing separate jean washes.
  6. If you’re the type to avoid washing your jeans, vodka elements odours and putting them in the freezer keeps them cleaner and darker longer.
  7. Sitting or crouching in front of the washing machine, if you can still see the back of the drum it’s not overfilled.
  8. Hanging t shirts, jeans and sportswear to dry prevents them getting wrinkled and saves ironing things that just need to be smooth.
  9. Clean your washing machine by putting a mixture of two parts vinegar, half a part bicarbonate of soda in as detergent on an empty, hot cycle.
  10. Hang brightly coloured items inside out to prevent colour fading.
  11. Avoid outdoor line drying if you have asthma or hay fever, as pollen and other things stick to the fabric.
  12. Dry items that might stretch, like sweaters, on a flat surface.

 

Bedroom

  1. Getting out of bed with some leg kicks not only wakes you up, but straightens the duvet out for making your bed.
  2. Fill your drawers like a filing cabinet rather than stacking things, to help you find things easier and quicker, and prevent making a mess by looking for certain items.
  3. Open the window while you tidy, even if it’s cold, to get fresh air circulating in the room and prevent that musty feet smell that can build up.
  4. Sit on the bed to change the duvet covers; there’s space for the duvet so there’s space to change the covers properly.
  5. To remember to change your sheets once or twice a month, line it up with the first of the month, payday or another monthly event, or any fortnightly event.
  6. It’s best to change your duvet and pillows with the seasons, so having a box under the bed with the light summer set, heavy winter set and regular autumn/spring set to swap makes it easy to wash (and remember) each change.
  7. Sort any clothes on the floor, bed or side into dirty and clean, with the clean pile sorted by type. Putting it all away at once, when you’ve finished, will make the task feel quicker and easier than putting things away as you find them.
  8. Dust plastic and wooden surfaces, and hoover fabric surfaces regularly to keep dust and dust mites at bay, as this is the room you’ll be breathing in for up to 8 hours straight.
  9. When you sort out your wardrobe, be ruthless. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit, that you don’t like, and that has damage that you won’t or can’t fix. Bin things you know people wouldn’t want, and take the rest to charity shops, boot sales or friends and family that would want them.
  10. Make your storage part of your décor. A neat shoe rack at the end of the bed looks like a feature, not clutter; keeping things in a hang-rack on the back of the door looks nicer and is easier to use than a pile of things on a bedside table; putting your jewellery on an upright display shows them off far better than a box or tray full of bits and pieces.
  11. Keep a hamper or basket in your room and throw clothes you don’t want in it as soon as you decide it. Putting them in the wash with regular clothes or putting them back in the drawer to sort later just means you’ll forget you decided to get rid of them.
  12. Keep your mattress fresh by patting it down with a sponge, and laundry detergent in water. Dry it with a blow drier to stop it getting musty.
  13. Organise your bedside or getting ready table and keep it minimalist. This means you don’t accidentally keep things that are broken or out of date, and helps you find what you need quickly.

 

Bathroom

  1. Keep your toilet brush holder half-full of soapy water, so the brush is cleaned every time it’s moved or used.
  2. Avoid smudgy, smeared mirrors by rubbing them dry with newspaper.
  3. Wrapping vinegar soaked kitchen or toilet roll around metal taps to make wiping that grime and cloudiness off easy.
  4. Pouring cola down drains can help to unclog them when they’re draining slowly.
  5. Wiping your tiles off with a squeegee after a hot bath or shower to stop moisture build up and mould.
  6. Likewise, keep a spray bottle next to your bath or shower to give them a quick spritz after every use.
  7. Fill a plastic bag with lemon juice, tie it around the showerhead and leave overnight to get the residue off.
  8. Power clean the bathtub or tiles by attaching a scrubbing brush to an electric drill.
  9. Kitchen storage works fantastically in the bathroom; spice racks are great for your lotions and shampoo bottles, and those multilevel cake stands are fantastic for vertical storage.
  10. One way to clean the scum from your bathtub is by sprinkling salt on a grapefruit and using that to scrub the stains away.
  11. Get that mirror clean and perfect with black tea. Brew some nice strong black tea, multiple bags worth, and use it as your cleaner liquid. Go ahead and have a nice cuppa, too.
  12. Save one of your old toothbrushes to clean all kinds of things around the house.
  13. Give your no-slip bath mat a good clean by unsticking it and running the bath with laundry detergent. After a good soak, hang it to dry.

 

Kitchen

  1. If you have wooden chopping boards, get the ingrained dirt out by rubbing them with coarse salt and scrubbing the salty board with a lemon half.
  2. Lining the grill or toaster oven with tin foil before using it stops it getting dirty as quickly. Roll it up and take all the fat, spillage or other food mess with it to the bin or recycling.
  3. Clean the blender by ‘blending’ soapy water, rather than try to clean the sharp blades normally.
  4. Clean cheese graters by grating some raw potato, and just rinsing it off afterwards.
  5. Make it easier to clean food out of your microwave by heating a cup of water and chopped lemon first.
  6. You use the washing up sponge clean the plates you eat off of and cutlery you eat with, so give it a quick minute in the microwave to kill off dangerous germs.
  7. Designate a space next to your sink or near your dishwasher for dirty dishes, to make washing up and dishwasher loading quick and easy.
  8. Before you do your big shop, clear out the fridge and cupboards of old food and wipe down the shelves to make a clean space for your new food. It also helps you know what you need to buy!
  9. Even if you don’t feel like washing up right after your meal, run the water and put the pans and trays in to soak, wipe down the surfaces and scrape off the plates, so there’s less work when you do wash up.
  10. Don’t fret about cutting yourself cleaning up broken glass, use a piece of bread to safely pick up the tiny sharp shards.
  11. Empty the dishwasher or clear the draining board while you brew your morning tea or coffee. It’s time you’d just be standing and waiting, and it’s better to find a clean cup and tidy than to get one from the cupboard and leave the clean dishes to pile up.
  12. It’s easy to forget how dirty the tea towels get when they dry off our plates, but remember that they get warm and damp with every use. Swap them out every day if you can, to keep your cutlery clean.
  13. If you have a dishwasher, set it going before you go to bed. It’ll mean there are clean, dry dishes in the morning and not take any time out of your day.

 

Living Room

  1. You can buy microfiber cleaning cloths in high numbers for low prices. Don’t just use them to clean your specs, but wipe down your phone and computer screen too!
  2. If you have a ceiling fan, a pillow case is a nice easy way to dust the blades.
  3. To get rid of cobwebs on the ceiling or dusty ceiling lampshades, a regular broom will do the trick. If there are more fiddly parts, tie a fluffy tea towel to the broom.
  4. If you can’t realistically remove the sofa and chair covers to wash them, use carpet cleaner or a shampoo setting on the vacuum cleaner.
  5. Books, DVDs and the like can seem like clutter. Arranging them neatly in a good space, like next to the TV or beside the sofa, makes them seem more like they’re on a shelf.
  6. Using throw blankets and rugs makes cleaning quicker, as you can just pick them up and wash or shake them, leaving the carpet and upholstery underneath cleaner.
  7. If you have children, incorporating storage boxes and larger toys into the room’s furniture keeps tidying up to the same room.
  8. Baskets are the best thing to add to your living room. Suddenly the last few weeks’ worth of magazines are a tidy collection, the evidence of your stationery addiction is a useful stationery box, and your annoying amount of remote controls never go missing.
  9. Keep carpets clean if you have them by creating a ‘shoe space’ between the front door and the living room, and designating house shoes or slippers to keep your feet warm.
  10. Take everything off the shelves, dust or wipe them clean, then clean everything as you put it back. This not only gets everything very clean, but gets the shelf more organised and reveals anything that’s broken or unwanted.
  11. Keep a recycling bin in the living room so you can throw newspapers and magazines in there as soon as you’re done with them, to stop them piling up.
  12. Plump up cushions whenever you stand up to keep them fluffier and give the room that just-tidied look.
  13. Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet half an hour before vacuuming to get it extra clean. A spritz spray of vinegar or vodka helps with odour, too.

 

Office

  1. Keep your long term documents such as birth certificates, passports and contracts in one folder, by person, easy to find when needed and not cluttered by other documents.
  2. Keep everything you need for budgeting and tax in one place, easy to go through and in date order, so you can work quickly and without confusion.
  3. You only need bank statements, receipts and similar for 3 months, so go through them every few months and throw away old documents to stop them piling up.
  4. Clean keyboard with sprayed air. There are cans designed for this, with narrow plastic nozzles, but anything that sprays clean air like a bellows will blow dirt and dust from your keyboard keys. One thing that works is a condiment bottle.
  5. Empty out all your pens, check them on a piece of scrap paper, and bin every one that doesn’t work. Put the working ones back in a pen holder, and find a new home for anything else.
  6. If you have an overly cluttered desk take everything off of it, sort it though it all, and find desk and non-desk places to put everything. Even having neater piles of things on your desk will make it feel less cluttered.
  7. If you have a craft or art table, arrange it with the ‘in reach’ system. Lay everything out around a clear work space in the middle, with the most used things loose beside it and storage containers in height order.
  8. Take everything that isn’t work related out of the area; you wouldn’t sleep in the bath or cook in the living room, so don’t bring non-work activities into your office.
  9. Sort any physical work things into a classic “In” “Current” and “Out” filing system, so you don’t forget to do things, misplace finished things, or have too many projects on the go at once.
  10. If you use a lot of post it notes and make endless lists, collate them in a to-do notebook or even download an app or programme to type up your notes and lists in.
  11. Keep screen cleaner and a microfiber cloth by your computer screen, and clean it regularly. Use that time to clean your phone, glasses, and other screens too.
  12. Empty out your school bag or work bag every weekend, and repack it. It will mean you always have the things you need, won’t forget important things in your bag for weeks, and stops your bag filling up with unneeded items.

 

Pets

  1. Tape is great for picking up cat hair, saving time and preventing fluffy sofas and clothes.
  2. Sprinkle baby powder on your dogs matted hair to loosen it up so you can brush it out.
  3. Get fur and other fluff out of the carpet by using a squeegee, the thing you dry windows and mirrors with.
  4. Avoid ammonia based cleaning products, as its urine-like smell can stress pets out and cause them to spray and mark their territory.
  5. Dab out ‘accidents’ with equal parts water and white vinegar, then spray a little dishwashing liquid on the area.
  6. Vacuum pet beds before washing, and add baking powder to the washing machine to neutralise the odour
  7. Wash your pets’ collars with some pet shampoo and hot water.
  8. Use a spray-cooking-oil to make it easier to wash bowls out.
  9. Wash your dog sooner rather than later to stop the dirt on them getting all over the house. Use this time to trim their nails if they need it and remember to dry them off properly.
  10. Change any litter areas as soon as they’re pooped in, and keep air freshener nearby to stop smells lingering. Sprinkling baking soda in there reduces smells, too.
  11. Soak collars and toys in a pet shampoo and water mix to give them a deep clean, then rinse them off and leave to dry.
  12. Keep pet supplies near a designated space. Keep the food near the bowls, the litter near the trays and the spare bedding by the cage. This way they won’t get lost or spread unwanted pet mess into other spaces of your house.

 

Miscellaneous

  1. First thing first, get yourself in a motivated mood; put on music that makes your feel productive, roll up your sleeves, wear a headband or do anything else that makes you feel like you’re in cleaning mode, and don’t be doing anything else at the same time.
  2. Dust and even mop the floor with socks! Cheap fluffy socks make for great floor cleaners, picking up dust when dry and making a no-bending down mop. You will have to change them after mopping, though.
  3. Put some baking soda in your trainers after you wear them to freshen them up, pouring it out just before putting them on again.
  4. Get your trainers shiny white again by using some toothpaste to clean them.
  5. Take out the trash when you leave the house in the morning. You’re leaving anyway, so it takes an extra chore off the list.
  6. Clean your hairbrushes and combs with liquid dish soap mixed with water.
  7. Acetone-based nail polish remover is perfect for getting glue off of scissor blades and other non-painted things that might get all gummed up.
  8. Keep on top of your housework by setting aside a regular time to tidy. Ten minutes every day, half an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, an hour every week; however you sort it out make sure you keep at it to stop mess and dirt building up and overwhelming you.
  9. When you’re throwing things away, remember the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
  10. Separating the ‘get rid of’ pile into bin, donate and sell type piles makes it easier to get rid of things. It’s not a case of keep or throw away, it’s a case of keep, donate, sell, or throw away.
  11. Keeping any bags or boxes that you need to take to the dump or charity shop in the way of your routine means you can’t forget about them, and you’ll have to take the time to take them there to stop them annoying you.
  12. Leave any sentimental items aside until last; trying to tidy up your gifts or photo albums is sure to distract you, and you’ll stop and look through, so do it after the other stuff!
  13. Take a step back when you’ve finished and admire the difference you’ve made. Appreciating the fruit of your effort and the way a cleaner tidier home makes your feel more motivated to do it more often.

Roger Deakins Needs to Get an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 because it’s About Time He Got One

Roger Deakins is a prolific and obviously amazing cinematographer and Director of Photographer. His IMDb page is a long, long list of films that are visually stunning and effective. He’s won 3 BAFTAs and been nominated for 5 more, won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers and 4 Best Cinematography awards from the British Society of Cinematographers, and won countless more awards (see them all on his IMDb). He’s been nominated for a whopping twelve Oscars, all for his outstanding cinematography, and not won a single one.

Shawshank Redemption was beaten by Legends of the Fall in 1995, Fargo to The English Patient in 1997, No Country For Old Men to There Will Be Blood in 2008. Okay, so he also lost out to the visually brilliant and still praised Titanic, Inception and Life of Pi, but we’re talking about a career full of masterpieces and no Oscar statuette on his mantelpiece.

The films he was a part of are all a treat for the eye, including the gritty, old feeling True Grit, the bright and somehow simultaneously muted The Big Lebowski, and the above mentioned Shawshank Redemption, who’s visuals cemented the sheer reverence it commands.

His latest offering to our eyes is the worth-it sequel to paradoxically massively popular cult classic Blade Runner. Keeping its predecessor’s rainy neon city scenes, there is a real feeling that this is the same place, many years later. Deakins not only makes the film feel visually matched to the first, which he was not involved with, but brings his own touches. The rainy, high tech city contrasts but compliments the dusty, abandoned opulence in the desert.

Now, the Oscars are all decided individually; not only are the nominees’ awards histories not supposed to be a factor in the award decisions, but the other award categories are not supposed to be a factor. Whilst a cinematography Oscar is going to depend purely on comparing this film to whatever other ones are nominated, public opinion does take everything into account. Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar?

Of course, Directors of Photography are not as visible to the average moviegoer. You see the actors’ faces in each film. The Director is the big name in the credits, too. The DoP, however, might be making the huge visual decisions but isn’t a role that non-filmmakers are as aware of. It’s easy to think through all the films you’ve seen Harrison Ford’s face in, and directors with multiple hit films under their belts are well known as mini-genres; Tarantino, Spielberg, the Wachowskis… But, if it isn’t the kind of thing you’re specifically interested in, you probably can’t name another director of photography.

Remember, a quick run-through of Deakin’s resume includes Barton Fink, The Secret Garden, The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, A Beautiful Mind, The Ladykillers, The Village, Jarhead, No Country For Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, True Grit, Rango, Skyfall, Sicario and Hail Caesar!. There are seventy-seven films under his cinematography section on IMDb. And he hasn’t won a single Oscar.

With its October release, Blade Runner 2049 has missed the 2017 Oscars, so there’s a wait for the next nominations. Hopefully, it won’t be too far off to include it. Regardless of how many amazing films come out before then, and how many other Oscars it gets nominated for, this film should get cinematography. Deakins ought to have at least one Oscar on his mantelpiece