Soundtrack Of My Graduation

30 09 2015

Preston Guild Hall Graduation Hat Throwing

Just over a couple of months ago, I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a 2:1 in Combined Studies (creative Writing and Screenwriting). Now while it was a big moment, graduating from University; the weeks prior and even the day before I was in no way looking forward to it. I was excited to see my friends from my course again, but I wasn’t looking forward to it for several reasons, one of the main ones being I don’t like getting ‘dressed up’. As the day went on though I actually enjoyed the whole thing and felt rather bad for not looking forward to it. Throughout the whole day though, I had a constant soundtrack going through my head. So I thought I would do a post about the soundtrack, why I thought of certain pieces of music and so on. Think of it as sort of one of those Father’s Day CD’s that gets released just before, well…..father’s day.

Preston Guild Hall

1. General Grievous theme – For most of the morning I didn’t have any soundtrack at all. When I got to Preston I had nothing much going through my mind, it wasn’t until I had signed in that I began to get nervous and shake. A little bit later I got my gown, and then tried to get a photo, but time was running out so I just went straight into the Guild Hall. It was at this moment that the feel of what was quite a heavy gown began to grip me. The grand thing of it all, and the theme for General Grievous came through my head. The grand music he has, and the fact he walks like he has a cape and walking stick. It made me feel like that and the music really helped to calm my nerves too.

2. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff theme – As I sat down and began to wonder what was coming and going to happen. A new piece of music came to my head. As I saw the stage I would walk onto, I visioned the grand theme of professional wrestler Paul Orndorff, particularly his theme from the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony in 2005. It was just like Grievous, but I felt the combination of the gown and that music really worked together, but it was more just looking at the steps and stage that I just imagined some kind of music to play when I took to the stage.

3. Monty Python’s Flying Circus theme – As the ceremony ever more neared to starting, an Organ began playing in the background. Most of the music I did not know, but then it started playing the theme music to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It was a pretty good piece too.

4. King Kong 1976 Arena Entrance – The organ playing also made me think of something else too. In the 1976 remake of King Kong, when Kong is put on display and enters the arena, this really low, deep, organ piece is played. Its spine tingling, dark and spooky. And just for a laugh I thought it would be a cool piece to play for when the Chancellor came into the hall.

5. Sting In The Tail – It wasn’t really the song that I was thinking of. I think it was when I was sitting down, but my time was coming. And I just kept imagining hearing the announcement of my name and thought of the introduction to The Scorpions at their Get Your Sting & Blackout performance in 2011. I could just hear it in my head the announcement followed by the opening riff to Sting in the Tail being played as I walked on stage. Sadly that didn’t happen. Strangely enough though, at no point during the day did I think of Rock You like a Hurricane or Wind of Change.

6. Happy by Pharrell Williams – Naturally I wouldn’t have thought of this song at any time unless it came up some other way. Basically, as the ceremony began to wrap up, the UCLan Chamber Choir; who have won several awards and appeared on TV, came up on stage and sang a pretty good version of this song. The only time I would probably say I liked the song, because I don’t really.

7. Star Wars Ceremony theme – Let’s get the next 2 over and done with as quickly as possible. As the ceremony began to wrap up, the organist decided to play the end ceremony theme played at the end of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. I was instantly able to pick up on it. I thought it was a rather embarrassing piece to use.

8. Indiana Jones theme – This was then immediately followed by the theme from the Indiana Jones films. Why couldn’t they have used Jaws or Jurassic Park?

9. Killzone 2 opening – As the day began to wrap up, after the meal at the University, I began to like the feel of the gown. It began to make me think like I was some Grand Emperor or Villain. Sort of like Emperor Palpatine. But a much stronger image came out, that in the form of Scolar Visari from the Killzone games. At the beginning of the first 3, Visari; who is the game’s primary antagonist makes great speeches to the people of planet Helghan. His speech from Killzone 2 most of all began to resonate out of my head as I began to feel the gown more, like I could make those speeches. At the end of it all though I was pleased to get it off as it was rather heavy.

10. The Hunger Games ending – As the Graduation Ceremony passed, and as me and my parents got back home, I began to feel rather emotional. I didn’t want University to end. I had been going there for 4 years, and I liked it there. I was happy. But it had to come to an end. The ending theme for the Hunger Games appropriately came on. The one where Katniss and Peeta nearly eat the nightlock berries and their time on the train afterwards. That music just kept going through my head, and for most of that afternoon, I failed trying not to cry.

11. This is our God, The Servant King – I began to get out of the emotional afternoon by playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on my PC. When texting a friend though about what I felt, she suggested doing something that took your mind off things, and even suggested some hymns. The one that came to my head was the chorus for the Graham Kendrick hymn: “From Heaven You Came Helpless Babe.” Why just the chorus? Because I couldn’t remember the verses, plus the organ like feel in the chorus came to my head thanks to the amount of Organ playing I had heard earlier in the day. But altogether it worked; it helped me get out of the emotions I felt all afternoon (it was only very recently that I found out what the hymn was really called).

12. Mike Awesome theme – This one is in here only because I listened to it on my Mam’s kindle in the afternoon. It doesn’t really have much other significance during the day than that, but I thought I would cover all pieces of music.

13. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan theme – As the evening began to draw in, the original plan was for me and my family to go out for a meal to celebrate. While we originally planned on going to a Mexican restaurant in Preston, because I felt it was too soon to go back to Preston due to still feeling rather emotional, I asked if we could just grab a Go Burrito, a burrito place in Lancaster) and eat at home with some nice ice cream to follow. Well, as the evening out with my Mam to pick up the Burrito’s and buy some ice cream panned out; I began to feel like I could have milked receiving my Diploma a little bit more. This is mostly due to seeing a couple of people who did just that. One who took a selfie half way through, and another near the end raising a fist in triumph. Well, that’s where this theme came in (another hall of fame piece). I just imagined walking on stage again, playing this theme, waving a hand, (maybe kissing the air to the audience), but sadly I didn’t think about that earlier. Well, that’s where this theme came in, and I pretty much ended the day on that one.

14. The Raid: Razor’s Out – The thing is, after all that I felt like the list of pieces of music I had compiled didn’t really have a sense of closure to it all. It was left on this uncertain note. I felt like for this list to mean anything it needed that closure. I then remembered something. Earlier this year, for a period of 2, 3 months, I could only think about The Raid. After watching it again and writing one of the best reviews I feel I have written this year, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In May, as my last Academic week with Uni approached, I decided to make the song Razor’s Out by Mike Shinoda and Chino Moreno, played at the end of the film to be my ‘end of University song’. Well, it made sense to use it for this list. It does give closure to the whole day. It’s still an uncertain future, but puts a positive-ish piece, spin on the whole thing. It’s like it’s not ending on a positive, ‘everything is ok note’, but is still saying the future is uncertain, but I am glad of what I have done for the last 4 years and feel like I am ready to move on to the next adventure.

GENEPOOL (Also during the day my brother showed this rather funny Mitchell and Webb Sketch, couldn’t stop laughing afterwards).





A Nice Film That Will Be Hard To Beat – The Hunger Games

31 03 2012

The Hunger Games

It has been a hard few weeks for me recently. The GAME store in Lancaster has closed down and I have had to work almost round the clock to get assignment work done and it has been hard to find time for me. Well that time is upon us because over the next few weeks several of the best looking films this year are released. If you saw my list of the top 10 films for this year you would see that there are many good-looking films coming out this year, but there is one film that after seeing it I wish I had included. With so many mainstream films being released it is hard to see the ones in the corner but when you spot them and see them you will wonder why you did not see them before. Nicely tucked away in the corner of the current film releases is this film – The Hunger Games.

Alexander Ludwig, Leven Rambin, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jack Quaid

Now I would just like to say a few words to fans of Battle Royale: THIS IS NOT A RIP OFF. It has some themes relating to it such as children fighting each other but this has some nicer themes as well. I have seen some of Battle Royale and that is a blood festival compared to this, technically you could count Battle Royale as a younger rip off to The Running Man.

Amandla Stenberg

Now as I have said before this is nicely tucked away in the corner and so it is not all that visible, I remember seeing images for this film in a recent edition of Empire and thought it looked interesting. It was not until I saw it advised at the UK’s Best Cinema Chain that I took an interest and then when I saw the trailer it reminded me of images from the edition of Empire. The film does have some themes and does sound like Battle Royale in some ways but it is not Battle Royale, it is something else.

Jennifer Lawrence

The film takes place in a place called Panem which is what is left after an unknown event in North America. After a failed uprising against the capitol a new form of entertainment is founded in which children from 12 districts are chosen at random to fight to the death. If they win they will receive more food and will live in well-furnished accommodation. The story then moves to the character of Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence. She spends her time hunting and looking after her sister, she is also in love with someone named Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The reaping begins where a boy and girl are chosen from each district to fight in the Hunger Games. Katniss has her name placed in the raffle several times for taking more food and oil than other people; her sister is only in once but is chosen. Katniss volunteers so her sister does not have to fight. A boy called Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is also chosen who has some link with Katniss. The two of them journey to the capitol and are then trained by a mentor, and groomed to look good for the television people as well as trying to get sponsors who will try to keep them alive. Originally they are not favoured due to them coming from district 12 but after showing off a lot Katniss becomes the favourite.

Jennifer Lawrence and John Hutcherson

The day of the games arrive and she is transported to the arena base and then enters the arena through a tube. After 1 minute passes the games begin, several people are killed within the first few minutes. Katniss opts for getting basics instead of better supplies and begins to look around the arena to survive. Every time the guns go off she knows it means someone has been killed. She continues her survival but then has to run away from a fire started by the television people and a group of other district children who have banned together. After getting help from a girl called Rue she manages to escape and collect her weapon of choice, a bow and arrows. After falling ill Rue looks after her and they become friends and work together. Rue is eventually killed and Katniss finds Peeta wounded, Rue’s death causes riots to happen in District 11. Peeta and Katniss form an alliance after rules were announced that if 2 people from the same district are the only ones left they both win. A short while later supplies are sent in and Katniss is almost killed but is saved by the other entry from the same district as Rue. Eventually the TV people send in mutant dogs to finish off the contestants and from this Katniss and Peeta overcome the final entrant in the contest. Thinking they are safe  but then the rule stating that 2 people can win is overturned. However Katniss persuades Peeta to eat some poisonous berries, just before they eat the berries the decision is overturned, they both win becoming the first entrants from District 12 to win. They are celebrated back in the Capitol and return home.

Donald Sutherland

The film has an interesting setting, OK it is based on a series of novels written by Suzanne Collins but when you see what it looks like, it is an incredible sight. District 12 is a very poor district and because I have recently read The Road you can kind of compare the two but in this case there are more people. The Capitol is a very rich place and well looked after, so you do see this struggle and how the authorities keep the country under control through poverty and fear, it is a police state in other words with lots of white guards all over the place.

The characters themselves are one of the real treats. The president of Panem is played by Donald Sutherland. His character has the underlying tone of being mean and evil but Donald Sutherland plays this in a nice way and so even though he has this underside he is mostly a nice person and his scenes are some of the best in the film. Rue’s character (Amandla Stenberg) is interesting, she is quite for most of the film and you get the feeling that she could be a potential psychopath in the games but when she speaks and becomes friends with Katniss she becomes this wonderful character and when she dies it is a real shame because you come to like her character and like several people in the contests she is just a nice person in a horrible game. The Star Attraction is Katniss though. From start to end she is a strong character and person who is only doing what she has been forced to do but will not resort to the levels of some of the other entrants and only really kills when she has to, not because she wants to, because she doesn’t. You can see a bit of resemblance between her and Jessica Biel’s character in Blade Trinity.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Biel

It is hard to forget what the contest is about, it is about the slaughter of children. It has this disturbing theme which shows the fear that the country is imposing on the people. This is the punishment for the uprising and you don’t want to get entered. When the first few contestants die they die in gruesome fashion but I don’t think it is all that bloodthirsty. But while this is the main plot of the film there are several nice sequences where it tones this down, even in the arena scenes. In the capitol scenes you get this feeling that the people are like bullies and that the way that they like the games is like entertainment for them and even when they are groomed it is like reality TV. However there are nice people and there are some scenes which represent this including the scene before the start of the games where Katniss receives her coat from her stylist and he puts on the Mockingjay badge. Even scenes in the arena where Katniss is just by herself in the trees just trying to survive have a nice style to them even the scenes with Rue have this strong nice feel to them. Scenes with Peeta and Katniss may look like the plot trying to slow down but these are the scenes which keep the film in a nice way and not a blood festival. The music helps with this as well with the end credits song showing a balance of survival and pleasantness.

 Jennifer Lawrence

The Hunger Games is an Amazing film with some nice powerful touches, A very good selection of cast and characters that work nicely together, and a story that does not get boring and all of this is brilliantly brought together by Director Gary Ross The Hunger Games has arrived at an interesting point. OK, it is more young adult than Harry Potter but now Harry Potter is not in the way The Hunger games can already enjoy its immediate success. It is a series of books as well and the sequel is already in production for 2013 so it is moving at the same speed as the Harry Potter series which means that if its success continues this could be the new Harry Potter. In fact this is better than Harry Potter. The film has only just been released and has already done very well. If you compare it to the more mainstream film John Carter which has not made profit yet The Hunger Games deserves its success. I would like to watch it again actually; I might go and read the book now. A truly wonderful film which is worth every penny, my advice to you is this, while there are other more mainstream films coming out this one is not worth missing, it is a film which you must watch. While you may not agree with its general theme it is overall a nice film and it has been a while since a film that had both an action style as well as some truly nice memorable bits was released. There are more films that I am looking forward to this year but this film is something special and should not be overlooked. To date this is my favourite film this year and with films like The Dark Knight Rises coming out (as well as The Host sequel and possibly the Legendary Pictures Godzilla film) they will have to be something even more special to do better than this. So trust me on this, go and watch The Hunger Games, it is a nice film that will be hard to beat and I am so glad that I decided to go and watch it, because it has made me so happy.

GENEPOOL (The last time a film came out and touched me like this it went straight to the top of my top 10 Non-Godzilla film list)








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