Halsey @ O2 Academy Brixton, 23/2/16

 

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Halsey at the O2 Academy Brixton.

On Tuesday, after months of waiting and planning, I finally saw Halsey. I discovered Halsey via the internet last summer, and despite her only having a five track EP out at the time, I instantly fell in love. Every song on the Room 93 EP resonated with me in various
us ways, and even outside of her music, her personal views and brand of feminism lined up with mine. In a world where bisexuals are cast aside and are rarely explicitly acknowledged and allowed to take up space, much less bisexual people of colour (Halsey is biracial also) and those who are mentally ill, it meant a lot that there was someone who was doing exactly that, and unapologetically so.

Her first full-length release, Badlands, came out just as I moved into my new flat in London, not far off starting my final year of university. I could fill this with clichés about new beginnings, but I won’t. Badlands was everything I hoped it would be and more, and although I wasn’t able to get tickets to her first two shows in London in September, I did manage to get tickets to the London show during the European leg of the Badlands tour.

Much like the album that this tour was promoting, the show at O2 Academy Brixton on Tuesday was everything I hoped it would be and more. My friend and I didn’t arrive until just before the end of the first support’s set, and although we didn’t know anything of BORNS before he came on stage, he was awesome as well. But it didn’t compare to the moment the first few notes of Gasoline played.

It’s worth noting at this point that Halsey actually fell and hurt her ankle during the very first song, but I had no idea until I saw about it on Instagram once I got home. Aimee noticed though, and when we talked about it said she just carried on. What a trooper.

Every song she played (which was every song off Badlands minus one, plus a song off that very first EP) was electric, and Halsey’s stage presence and vocal ability are both truly astounding, in the very best way. The visuals throughout the show really added to the feel of each song and the atmosphere of the show as a whole, rather than detracting from the vocals and artist’s performance, as can be the case sometimes.

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Halsey on stage at O2 Academy Brixton

My personal highlights of the show were, and I’m trying really hard not to say ‘the whole damn thing,’ were Ghost, which is arguably my favourite Halsey track, Is There Somewhere (which I totally misnamed as Let This Go the day of because I suck), and Young God, a triumphant, smoke-cannon and confetti-blasting end to what essentially felt like a spiritual experience throughout.

Right from the get-go, Halsey’s performance was exciting and memorable, and her appreciation for the people that got her to where she is was evident throughout. I’m already excited for what she does next and when she comes back this way.

Shadowhunters so far

NOT SPOILER FREE

Shadowhunters is a relatively new TV show based on Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments book series and wider Shadowhunters book universe. As someone who read and loved the first few books of the series when I was younger (City of Glass was supposed to be the final book, and by the time City of Fallen Angels came out, I had moved on), and was bitterly disappointed by that God-awful movie a few years back, I was very interested in watching it and hoping it would be miles better than the film. Twelve year old Mia didn’t care for how good quality the writing was, so I couldn’t tell you now as a 21 year old adult how great Cassandra Clare is as a writer, but I do remember how much I loved the characters, the story and the universe they were in. It was exciting and new and I really, really wanted to be Clary. Or Isabelle. So to see a poorly-executed film version of a series I loved so much as a child was heartbreaking. Hearing about the TV show being in production reignited the small flame of hope that it would be done properly, and seeing it come to Netflix in January was super exciting.

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Shadowhunters promotional image. Via fashionstyle.

For those unfamiliar with the series, 18-year-old Clary Fray discovers she is a Shadowhunter (a half human, half angel hybrid whom are usually tasked with killing demons) after witnessing what she believes to be a regular (i.e., non-paranormal) murder, and then her mother’s disappearance. The first book, City of Bones, and the TV show so far depict her coming into this new world and the hunt for both her mother and the much-coveted Mortal Cup.

Six episodes of Shadowhunters have aired so far, and although at the beginning the show came off as very cheesy and shallow (but still enjoyable: just because something is either or both of these things doesn’t make it bad by default), with some special effects that didn’t quite fit, it’s really come into it’s own in the last couple of weeks. While Luke’s alliances at the beginning of the show are ambiguous, we discover he’s actually been on Clary’s side all along, and despite not finding the Jace-Clary-Simon love triangle plot not being as cute or even interesting as I did when I was twelve, I love that it is often shown in parallel to Magnus and Alec. And that Magnus’ bisexuality is explicitly addressed! And he isn’t shown as a promiscuous immortal being with no feelings! That is worth something. One thing that these later episodes have been lacking is the friendship between Clary and Isabelle that began to develop at the beginning, but I have faith we will see more of them as the show goes on.

Overall, if you like cheesy fantasy shows that allow for real feeling and emotion as it gets deeper into the story and the character’s histories, Shadowhunters is great for that. Even if it’s not your thing, it’s still better than the film. And that is worth something, at least.

Doing Things and Being and Adult

It has been a while since I’ve actually posted here. I’ve had a bunch of stuff sitting in my drafts that I’ve either really wanted to write and just haven’t had the time, or the idea has been so… meh that just looking at the title of it is kind of disheartening. But here I am! With a post that will mostly be an update on my personal life, with your (slightly irregularly) regularly scheduled rants and reviews in the coming week.

Another reason I’ve not really been around is just that I actually have a life now. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. My final semester (eeeeek) of university started, and while I did my dissertation (albeit a shorter one) last semester, I’m still crazy busy with uni work – we have been tasked to make a ten minute short film with very little supervision from staff. In groups of three (and in one case, a group of two). So that could get interesting. Every time we think we are done editing the script (which is super cool and written by another girl who was in my screen and script class last semester), something else is pointed out to us that we should consider changing. We are *hopefully* going to look at locations next week though, so onwards and upwards!

I also have an internship now! One of my uni modules this semester is a work placement module and after a lot of applications, cover letters, emails and interviews I started one with a company based in London last week. Most of what I’ve done so far is social media and research, but I’m excited to see how the rest of the placement goes. All experience is good experience if you look at it in the right perspective.

And on top of being in university three days a week and at my internship two days a week, I also just started a new waitressing job! My previous encounter waitressing at a Thai restaurant left me (literally) shaking, crying and having panic attacks about it, and I quit very quickly. This one isn’t so bad though – being paid at least minimum wage and actually being trained has definitely helped. Also not being yelled at for not knowing exactly how that specific restaurant runs on my first day.  This Thai restaurant experience has been exponentially better. For my mental health more than anything else.

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Valentine’s Day happened too. The American did well.

So that’s pretty much it. Between balancing full-time (ish) education, essentially working two part-time jobs, having a social (ish) life and being in a long-distance relationship that is happy and fulfilling (and also a lot of hard work in terms of communication, thanks time zones), time to sit down and write anything that isn’t to do with any of those things has been rare. Now that I’m finding a balance between the four (five, if you’re counting my relationship) different things happening in my life, it’ll be easier to sit and dedicate time to writing and maybe even sift through the draft titles and decide what is terrible and what is less terrible. Maybe even read a book. Oh god, being an adult is hard and tiring.

Until next time. :*