Author: Gina

A night as long as a lifetime

London, 1977. The whole country is on the move. It is not only the political situation, but also hostile youth groups that add to the taut atmosphere in the UK. Terry, Ray and Leon are right in the middle of it all. They’re young, hungry for life and all working for London’s most popular music magazine. The reader lives through a single night with the trio, the night that Elvis dies and that changes the world for a whole generation. It isn’t just politics and the music scene that changes, the night steers the lives of all three friends in a new direction. Ray, the youngest of the group, grew up in a desolate working class neighbourhood. He can’t rely on his family to support him and tries to make it on his own. With a mother stricken by depression and an alcoholic father, he struggles with finding his place in the world and tries to find something to hold on to. His friend Leon, on the other hand, tries to escape the overbearing expectations …

The woman in gold

Monday evening. Five to eight. Yawning void in the cinema hall and a film that, by the sound of it, could be anything: “Woman in Gold”. An epic three hour long historical drama? A detective story? Or maybe the sequel to the mediocre horror flick “Woman in Black”? Luckily, it is none of the above. At the turn of the 20th century, Austrian painter Gustav Klimt created an iconic masterpiece: The woman in gold. Officially named “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”, the painting was commissioned by Adele’s husband Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy industrialist and lover of the arts. It was greatly admired by family and visitors until the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938 and began disowning Jewish families like the Bloch-Bauers of all their properties. Decades later, the Austrian government decides to return artworks that have been stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners. Maria Altmann, one of the last remaining members of the Bloch-Bauer family, has made a new life for herself in Los Angeles and wants nothing to do with the country …

German people casually crack nuts with their butts and spit at each other on live TV

Have you ever seen four people trying to fit their heads into a single bathing cap, someone telling the colour of pencils by licking them and a guy extinguishing candles with his tears, and all that in one place and within the course of three hours? No? Welcome to the world of German TV. To be fair, I am talking about a very special German TV show – this is not the norm. But I am also talking about Germany’s most popular TV show – it is actually referred to as ‘the biggest TV show in all Europe’. I am talking about ‘Wetten, dass…?’ Here’s the facts: It has been running for over 30 years. It has an average of 20 million viewers (which is 25% of the whole population of Germany). From Bud Spencer to Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio, basically every famous person has been a guest on the show at least once. Robbie Williams was there 12 times! And it is a show about grown up people cracking nuts with their butts …

Reviews galore

While studying at Teeside University, I regularly contributed to the student newspaper website. As an arts and culture lover, writing reviews is my way of expressing my excitement whenever I discover a new gem. These are my favourites.

Getting kids reading

One of my first gigs in London was copywriting and social media management for a small children’s bookcase business. I brainstormed many blogpost ideas that would help parents to get their kids reading. Browse them all or check out my favourite posts by clicking on the titles:  Five great ideas for decorating your rented home How to encourage your child to enjoy reading Six fun summer reads for your kids

My first pottery show

I recently participated in a show & pottery sale at my studio. It was terrifying and very successful! This was the first time anyone outside of my family and friends saw my pottery, and the first ever “exposure” for my pots. The communal studio I work at puts on a bi-annual show and members are encouraged to take part, so I thought why not and signed up.  It was so great to see everyone’s work and the different things you can make with clay. I’ve seen everything from functional plant pots and mugs to odd sculptures like a large brown egg type thing with legs.  In the weeks leading up to the show, I spent lots of time in the studio panicking about not having enough things to sell and making so much that I’m now sitting on a large number of oddly shaped bowls. Oh well, I’ll keep them for next time! That being said, I also sold a substantial amount of things which I’m so happy about – I didn’t expect to sell …

The first pots

I made my first pots in August 2018, and I sometimes need to remind myself that it’s not even been a year since I started my first pottery class. Sharing a studio with dozens of extremely skilled people can sometimes be intimidating, and it’s hard not to fall into the comparison trap. Whenever I go to the ‘finished work’ shelf in the studio, I admire the craftsmanship and creativity of my fellow potters. They make truly great stuff! It’s inspiring, but I also catch myself thinking “I wish my pots would look like this”. It’s hard not to be impatient, but I know and have been told by several teachers that pottery is a craft, and you get better at it by practicing.   It’s annoying and amazing in equal measures how making something – anything – forces you to be patient, and that’s particularly true for working with clay. There’s so many steps to follow, from wedging the clay to get the air bubbles out to making sure you don’t apply the glaze too …