“The day that changed everything (and everything after that),”: a short story

Mackenzie’s life, according to Mackenzie, was the most mundane thing in existence. Nothing excited ever happened to her, and unlike the teenagers in her beloved TV shows, she was in herself a mundane person. She wasn’t the homecoming queen, nor was she the ugly, socially-inept nerd who never got a date to prom and wore knitted jumpers her mother had made for her in an attempt to look “stylish” and “cool”- she was merely a normal girl- an extra in the great TV show of another more interesting person’s life- the blank, unsmiling nobody who never had anything interesting to add to anything.

She was disgustingly normal.

Most days of her life were the same, with very little changes in them, almost as if things had to be switched up in order for her not to die from boredom, like her guardian angel changed the tiniest things for her in order to prevent her from going insane. However, from those days came forth the day that changed everything. Mackenzie never really understood why these events took place, but they just did. She believed she wasn’t deserving of them.

 

***

 

Before the details of the day that changed everything (and everything after that) unfolds, it must be understood that Mackenzie had a crush on a boy who didn’t know her name, but she knew him. Oh, did she know him. She felt as if she knew everything about him. She had looked into the deep depths of those amber-flecked eyes briefly as he walked down the hall during the first day of school, and from that moment she knew she made a deep connection with him. He never looked at her, or was in any of her classes, but yet she knew their souls were connected. She was in love, and she knew she was in love because every time she masturbated she thought of him, and every time she climaxed she felt herself breathe the name “David.” But on this day, her belief that they were in love was confirmed when he asked her out on the day that changed everything.

He approached her in the hallway, shadows of people walking past, kissed her lips and asked her to prom, and she, kissing his lips, agreed. On that day, she felt as if everything was falling in place. The popular girls, finding that David had asked this nobody to prom, sat next to Mackenzie’s friend group and began speaking to her almost as if they had been close friends for years. They spoke to Mackenzie and only Mackenzie, and she, discarding her old friends, fit in with her new friends like a glove. They spoke about their dresses and hair, how one girl’s father was going to drive her to prom in his own limousine. Another spoke of how dress was from a designer in Paris and asked Mackenzie if she wanted a dress from the same designer, saying her parents would pay. Mackenzie of course agreed. The afternoon passed like a flap of a butterfly’s wings. David asked her to meet him at his house at 8, and at that time they had sex on his parents’ bed. The parents were absent for all Mackenzie cared. She didn’t care. All she cared about was the fact she lost her virginity to her one true love.

On the night of prom, she entered in a glittering dress and everyone looked upon her beauty. She was no longer the boring girl no-one really noticed. She was popular and beautiful and dating David. All the girls whispered to each other, their beady eyes locked on her, saying how they wish they were Mackenzie and how jealous they were of her. All the boys just stared at her in awe, their jealousy fizzing inside of them. As she and David danced, it was almost as if the world stopped in admiration of the lovely young couple dancing in the centre of the globe. All hail the King and Queen of Prom! The rulers of the school hierarchy! The beautiful young lovers!

And then, Mackenzie woke up for the first time in a month, her glittering gown disintegrating into a hospital gown.

“Mom?”

“Yes, baby? I’m here, Mackenzie, I’m here!”

Her mother embraced her, her tears of joy falling on Mackenzie’ pallid forehead.

“Mom? Mom?”

“Mackenzie, what?”

“Where’s David?”

Her mother stopped. She let go of Mackenzie slightly in order to look her in the face.

“David? Who’s David, baby?”

“David, my boyfriend Mum! David, David, why isn’t he here?”

“Sweetheart, you don’t know anyone called David. You’ve been in a coma for four weeks!”

“Mackenzie will be confused, Mrs Schwimmer,” a cold doctor’s voice said. “We should give her some space and come back in a few minutes.”

“No!” Mackenzie screamed. “Where’s David! Where’s David! Where’s my boyfriend?”

“Sweetheart, you don’t have a boyfriend!”

“Mrs Schwimmer!” the doctor said, almost aggressively, pulling Mackenzie’s mother away from her daughter, screaming and crying tears of heartbreak from a boy who didn’t even know her name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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If “Lolita” was realistic

 

My spin on Nabokov’s “Lolita”

 

Characters

Humbert: the guy

Dolores: the girl

Charlotte: the girl’s mum

 

Time; the present, Place; Charlotte’s back garden

 

The action of this sketch takes place within a summer afternoon.

Humbert is the newest lodger of Charlotte, who is the landlady of a block of flats in a city. Humbert voices over the action of the sketch like a narrator in a book. This narration is illustrated with italics. His speech is illustrated like this. 

Close-ups of the flowers and grasses of the garden ensue.

 

Humbert

Lo. Lee. Ta. Love of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. She was my everything. The day I met her was the day my sensuality awoke from the depths of my heart, arising from the ashes like a phoenix. None other girl I had ever seen measured up to her beauty. Oh, Lolita, my Lolita!

 

The screen cuts to black, then the scene resumes. Charlotte is showing Humbert around the apartments, coming down to the patio and the garden.

 

Charlotte

…and here we have the garden. All the tenants share this piece of land, including me and my daughter.

Humbert

You have a daughter?

Charlotte

Yes, Dolores. She’s just out here. I’ll get her to come over.

(clears throat)

DEH-LOR-EZ!

Dolores is lying down on a blanket, watching a video on her laptop. She has short, greasy hair and spots. She wears jeans and a t-shirt with a fandom slogan on it. She takes off her earphones with a disgruntled look on her face.

 Dolores

Whaaatttt-uhhhhh?!

Charlotte

Get your arse over here! The new tenant is here.

Dolores

Why-uhhhhh?!

Charlotte

Because manners, that’s why!

 

Dolores gets up from her spot and walks over with her back slumped and arms dangling. She mutters to herself as she walks over.

 Romeo and Juliet theme plays. The camera goes blurry.

 

Humbert

Ah, my Riviera love! With those supple arms and balletic gait! It isn’t true that angels only live in heaven. They live in the most unexpected places.

 The camera goes back to normal.

 

Charlotte

Mr Humbert, this is Dolores. She’s thirteen in August, aren’t you duck?

Dolores

(wipes nose on sleeve of her top)

Yup.

Humbert

It’s very nice to meet you, Dolores.

Dolores

Yeah, ‘kay.

 

Dolores takes her phone out of her pocket and starts playing a game loudly. Her face begins to contort and she starts snorting with frustration. Charlotte talks but Humbert isn’t listening.

 

Humbert

She acts with such sensuality, such passion! Why, every muscle in her face is a work of art, each crafted by bands of angels.

 Charlotte

Dolores! Stop it!

 

Charlotte takes Dolores’ phone away from her.

 

Dolores

MUM-UHH!!!

 

Charlotte

I’ve had it up to here with you! I’m taking this away until you learn some manners.

Dolores

This is so unfair! I hate you!

 

She storms off, back to her laptop and headphones. Humbert eyes up the table and chairs on the patio.

 

Humbert

May we sit outside?

Charlotte

Of course! It’s such a lovely day, why waste it inside?

Humbert

As my new landlady spoke to me (or rather, at me) about the arrangements, I could help but gaze upon my little Lo. She would be mine forevermore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Angels,” a short story

The inspector never expected to see something like this. It seemed like such a strange way to go. A fifty-eight year old man with everything going for him taking his own life in the bath. He thought that if he were in the man’s position he would want to die surrounded by attractive women on a private ship in Monaco at the ripe old age of ninety-nine, certainly not by his own hand anyway.

He turned to the man’s son, who stood outside the door of the apartment. The son stared into an imaginary horizon, as if he was spying a way to escape the hard grip of what reality was lying through that door. A policewoman spoke at him more than with him, her shrill voice piercing the bustling air like a foghorn.

“Now, Mr Wetherspoon, can you think if there would be any motivation for your father killing hims-… taking his own life?”

There was a delay in his answer.

“I can’t think of anything. Why he did it, I’m not sure. I’m not sure… it all happened so fast.”

“That’s alright, Mr Wetherspoon. That’s alright. We’ll find out, that’s for sure.”

“I just wish I knew.”

 

***

I can see angels, and hear them too. No-one will believe me, but I can prove it. They tell me the future, and they’re always right. They tell me what the weather will be like. They tell me that my friend will phone me tomorrow inviting me to dinner. They told me that my daughter-in-law’s pregnancy would end in a stillborn. They showed me heaven. But why I’m able to do it, I’m not sure. All I know is when it began.

It all started when my Rita died. At her funeral I saw something.

I asked my son if he saw it too, and he didn’t.

The next day I saw it again.

It was blindingly bright. It appeared to be a person, but I knew it wasn’t. It was something else. It stood next to my cooker, its wings touching the walls. I was so in awe, I didn’t know what to do. Before I could do or say anything my body gave way, collapsing onto my knees.

“Andrew Wetherspoon, if that is he?”

“Y-yes?”

White light pierced through my very soul, my very being. It was almost as if it saw through me.

“You have acquired the ability to see and hear us, we great beings of love and light! We are here to guide you…”

It breathed a great sigh, if it could even breathe. “Let’s cut it with the formal bullshit, eh? Basically somehow you’re able to see us.”

“What?” I said.

“Angels, you know angels right? Winged guardians of humanity, servants of God, blah blah blah… whatever. You know?”

“Uhh… yeah. Yes I know what you… I know what angels are. But how did–?”

“You’re asking me like I know mate. I’ve no idea. Must be a glitch in the system, or because you have had close contact with other realms. Has someone died?”

“Yeah… Rita, my wife.”

“Ah well,” the angel sighed. “That’ll be why then. Strange how you’re the only person that we know of that has acquired this… talent. So far anyway.”

“But why me?”

“Only God knows, and one thing’s for sure, I’m not gonna go up and ask Him either. We’re all terrified of Him, not ‘cause He’s a bad guy or anything… He’s just… how can I put it… intimidating, that’s all.”

It laughed at it’s own comment and threw itself down in my armchair, the light that emanated from its being glowing through the fabric. It told me that its name was unpronouceable to human beings, but I could call it Dave. It told me it was able to see into the future and as a result I would see it too because I was able to see into the realm of Heaven.

And I saw Heaven alright.

That day it told me that the kettle I had put on the stove would boil in exactly 2 minutes and 34 seconds. I grabbed my phone and timed it. It was the longest 2 minutes and 34 seconds of my life, because in that 2 minutes and 34 seconds I would know whether Dave was just a shadow of my own insanity or if what was happening was real. I needed to know. And in exactly 2 minutes and 34 seconds the kettle began to whistle. I was so much in disbelief that I began to laugh uncontrollably, almost as if what was happening was far beyond the expression of words. The fact that an angel was sitting in my chair was enough to make anyone question their own sanity, and believe me I did. Oh, I did.

I doubted it even more when it told me that my eldest son’s wife would have a stillbirth. I didn’t want it to be true, but it happened at the moment I disbelieved it more than ever. But there was something I did believe, or maybe I wanted it to be true so hard that I had convinced myself that it was real. I didn’t care. When I saw Heaven, I saw Rita, and she smiled at me and beckoned me to come to her.

And what kind of man disobeys his wife?

***

The inspector was back in the station, where the evidence was being analysed. For a moment it felt as if he was underwater, watching the goings-on in the room without having an impact himself, as if he himself had died and was a ghost watching the living go about their daily business without having any impact on it himself.

Suddenly a woman in a beige mackintosh walked into the room, and with her she brought a wave of nervous energy that wasn’t there before. She told the other police officers that she knew something vital about the case. She was the wife of the man’s son, and as soon as the son met her eyes he was drawn into her arms like a magnet and began to sob like a child. She looked up at one of the officers, and she began to speak just as he was about to open his mouth to prompt her.

“The day before I had a stillbirth Andrew told me something,” she said. “And that something has haunted me ever since.”

“What did he tell you?” the officer asked, writing vigorously on his notepad without even looking at her.

“He told me that whatever he was about to say was going to sound horrible and I would never believe it, but he told me that he thought my pregnancy would end in a stillbirth, and he was right. I didn’t believe him until it happened.”

A week later, the very same police officer wrote on Andrew Wetherspoon’s case file that his suicide was caused by mental illness caused by the sudden loss of his wife.

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

John Galliano through rose-coloured glasses

When John Galliano created his own fashion brand in the 90’s, fashion had never been so ethereal. With runway shows based on the romance of times gone by and his use of colour to create a certain atmosphere, he managed to transport the people who were invited to his shows to somewhere they never believed could exist on this earthly plane. With women draped in diaphanous materials and faces painted beyond recognition, they looked as if they were otherworldly beings, gracing the audience with their glittering presence. The designer himself is a controversial figure, and I certainly don’t agree with what he has said in the past, but it isn’t his opinions that I am going to examine with this article. It is his creations that have left me spellbound; everything else is superfluous.

Below are a few of my favourite Galliano collections.

Princess Lucretia, own label, 1993

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A young Kate Moss looks wistfully behind her shoulder, almost as if she is the embodiment of the mysterious figure Princess Lucretia. 1993

Inspired by the grandeur of Russian nobility, one of Galliano’s first ever runway shows showed the trials and tribulations of a Russian princess named Princess Lucretia, who escaped from her lavish yet suffocating life at the royal court to pursue her love of a young serf. There was the image of the Princess running through the dark forests of Russia, her long skirts ripping and her curled hair unbinding itself as she calls out for her love. The large crinolines the models, including a young Kate Moss (pictured above) wore contrasted with the short bodices with appeared to have ripped or come loose from the skirts themselves, making the pieces seem as if the models have truly been running through the forest, not caring whether their extravagant gowns survived, for love is by far more powerful and well-wearing than a gown, no matter how luxurious by Victorian standards could ever be. The silk that rested on top of the crinolines seems to have almost been thrown on them in a rushed, uncaring manner, giving the collection a lavish yet distinctively unpolished look.

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Backstage of “Princess Lucretia,” 1993. This picture is particularly good in illustrating the skirts and the crinoline underneath them.

Asia Major, Dior, 2003

© Fredrique Dumoulin/JAVA/ABACA. 41578-19. Paris-France, 20/01/2003. Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2003 Fashion Show
“Asia Major,” 2003. This is such a good picture for showing more than one of the pieces because like many runway shows every piece is different. Note the makeup

Inspired by his visits to China and Japan the previous year, Galliano created a salivatingly sensual collection that was a burst of colour in the fashion world. Models strutted the catwalk with their faces painted white, their lips painted red in the shape of petals, contrasting with the prismatic garments that were draped on their shoulders and piled on top of their heads. Their hair was bound with hairsticks that were decorated with ribbons and small flowers (the technical term being “kanzashi”) that cascaded down their shoulders, alluding to the Japanese geisha. Colourful fur trims, tinsel and patterned fabrics are used in a way as to symbolise not only the staunch traditions of China and Japan respectively, but also the change these countries underwent once they began to trade with European merchants, and this particularly changed the way the Chinese and Japanese dressed. The European merchants brought them different goods such as furs and cotton, and the Chinese and Japanese peoples traded silks and spices.

galliano spring 2003
Detail from “Asia Major,” 2003. The influence of Indian culture is evident here

Some even take inspiration from India, with the use of gold trimmings on the face as shown above, which links to decoration used in Hindi customs. One of my favourite pieces from another Galliano show from 2007 is similar to the oriental theme, yet seems to take upon the western world’s view of glamour more than “Asia Major” does.

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Dior, 2007. The hair and makeup are very oriental inspired and the dress reminds me of origami!

Ready-To-Wear Collection S/S, Dior, 2004

galliano 2004.jpg
A piece from Galliano’s Ready-To-Wear collection, 2004

Rosy-cheeked, lace-clad mademoiselles of times gone by and porcelain dolls were the inspiration of Galliano’s most decadent collection. Models with their hair piled on top of their heads and pearls falling from their necks strutted onto the catwalk with virginal allure, draped in frills and lace and knee-high stockings, making them appear so darling and sweet, perhaps even sickengly so. Their hair was back-combed in order to achieve the same look as the towering, powdered wings worn by members of the aristocracy of the Georgian era, Marie Antoinette in particular, who was the very person who made those imposing wigs fashionable. They would be decorated with all kinds of delicacies available at the time, even fresh fruit and model ships! The ribbons and silks are used in a way to make the models appear like porcelain dolls themselves. They are almost wrapped up in these beautiful materials in order to protect them because of how delicate they are.

2004 details
Detail from Galliano’s S/S collection, 2004. This is an example of the tear stains running down the model’s cheeks

Their cheeks are rouged, linking back to the fashions of long ago, but their eyes are darkened using purple eyeshadow, and in some cases streaks run down the models’ cheeks where tears have fallen, adding a slight edge to the collection. In a way this adds a different element to this particular collection, as it is almost as if everything not as it seems. For me that is what intrigues me about Galliano’s collections because they always seem to tell a story, and for me that is what pulls me to his designs.

Paris Fashion Week F/W Collection, Dior, 2009

galliano 2009 .jpg
Galliano’s Paris Fashion Week F/W collection, 2009. The glitter in the background is the fake blizzard the models would have walked through. Note the details and wintery colour palette

This collection is probably the most theatrical of all of Galliano’s collections. Taking inspiration from the hostile wastelands of Siberia and the Baltics, the models, who almost appeared like winter faeries in floating veils and golden body adornments, walked through a glittering whirlwind of fake snow, their hair dusted with silver paint and frosted winter flowers. Their eyes and eyelashes seemed to glitter with the reflections of another world as they gazed intently upon an imaginary horizon.

2009 details .jpg
Details from Galliano’s Paris Fashion Week F/W collection, 2009. I think the makeup in this show is my favourite out of all of the others

© Bethany Edna Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bethany Edna Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The “nymphet” community and why it can be harmful

Anyone who has an account on either Tumblr or Instagram will have encountered the “Lolita” or “nymphet” community at some point. The community is more like a girls gang than an Internet subculture, and they are taking over. Donning heart-shaped sunglasses and summer dresses, they stare coquettishly at the camera they point at themselves, captioning the pictures they take with forlorn lyrics from various indie bands and quotes from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita,” sometimes without even knowing the context. The girls and women that form this seemingly exclusive community don’t at first seem to be doing anything harmful in their sugar-coated, childlike actions, but at second glance it can be said that their actions are doing a considerable amount of damage to not only to those who are most vulnerable, but to themselves as well.

Before we explore how this subculture could potentially be dangerous, one must know the definition of the word so often used by the members of this community to describe themselves- the word “nymphet.” Before knowing anything about the community, one would think that this word is just any other word people use without any grim undertones. However, according to the Collins English Dictionary that I painfully dug out of my old school bag, the word “nymphet” means “a girl who is sexually precocious and desirable.” Now, I do realise that that doesn’t sound too bad at first, but it sounds worse when this phrase first earned its spot in said dictionary when it was used in the aforementioned novel “Lolita,” which is infamous for it’s narrator and protagonist developing an obsession for a 12 year old girl named Dolores, who later becomes his stepdaughter when her mother, his landlady, tells him she will kick him out of his lodgings if he doesn’t marry her. With that, Humbert has an opportunity to become closer to Dolores, for whom he creates an exclusive nickname- “Lolita.” It is in the very beginning of this book, the book’s ill-fated (and for good reason) and dangerously eloquent narrator Humbert Humbert first describes the concept of a “nymphet.”

“Now I wish to introduce the following idea. Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as ‘nymphets.’

In short, the word “nymphet” not just describes a young woman, but a prepubescent girl, and if you haven’t guessed already, Humbert is attracted to girls around the ages of nine and fourteen. The correct term for it is hebephilia, but I just call that creepy, and in my personal opinion, I find the fact that some young girls, some of whom are at the latter and women tag their pictures with the term “nymphet” could be a way for people like Humbert to look for sexually suggestive pictures of young women, and perhaps even girls around Dolores’ age.

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The character Dolores Haze, portrayed here by Dominique Swain in the 1997 film “Lolita,” before Humbert Humbert changes her forever

Despite the fact I’m writing about this certain community, I absolutely have nothing against them as people. I pay very little attention to them whenever I encounter them online. Live and let live, you know? The things they do in general aren’t particularly harmful at all, but there is one thing I object to that some who are involved in this community tend to do. The moment they begin to romanticise the relationship shared between the two principal characters of “Lolita” is when I really begin to have problems with this community. When doing my research for this article, I noticed two viewpoints on the story online. One group say that Humbert was a predator who ruined Dolores’ life and she wasn’t responsible for what was done to her due to her age, but the other group believe that Dolores was “the incarnate of the devil” (which is the opinion of one Instagram user I have encountered who will remain anonymous) who lured the innocent Humbert in with her “nymphic” charm and had “daddy issues” (taken from the same Instagram user’s words), and if I had to put myself in one of these groups, it would be the former. To agree with the anonymous Instagram user in the latter group would be sheer naivety and ignorance of the book’s plot. To say Dolores was responsible for what Humbert did to her would be exactly like saying a woman who had been raped has “asked for it.” It is nonsense. At times I have noticed times when people, mostly the girls who are involved with the community, talk about how much they want to be in a relationship similar to the one portrayed in the book and films, calling it a “forbidden romance.” This may just be me but the last thing I want in life is to be in a relationship where someone “accidently” kills my mother and repeatedly emotionally and sexually abuses me whilst dragging me across the length of the country, and I feel sorry for anyone who wants that because they clearly have issues they need to sort out. They either do this because they are ignorant of the book’s plot, just like our dear anon is, and cherrypick the details they want from the films, which are both highly unfaithful to the book, or they’ve read the book or seen the films and have completely misunderstood it’s message. The book is a warning of how one person’s sexual obsession can ruin everything, including the other person’s life. In the end Dolores ended up dying in childbirth at the age of 17 and Humbert died of coronary thrombosis while in prison. So romantic.

There is also the problem of the impact this community of self-titled “nymphets” can have on the social media community as a whole. Some of these “nymphet” accounts post pictures of actresses such as Brooke Shields and Natalie Portman when they were young girls (surprisingly) around the same age as Dolores Haze was meant to be, and tagging them with the word “nymphet” along with their own suggestive photos. Imagine how much fun a paedophile on Instagram will be having now! This kind of behaviour occurred even before the internet existed, with films such as “Pretty Baby” being made in 1978. This particular film centres around a 12 year old prostitute, played by Brooke Shields who was of the same age at the time, following in the footsteps of her mother in early 20th century New Orleans. Despite it’s commercial success, it (surprisingly) aroused controversy because of scenes of a sexual nature involving an actress who wasn’t even a teenager. This is clearly child pornography, and many people agreed. It was banned on release in Canada but was repealed in 1995. Before becoming involved with the “nymphet” community I had never even heard of this film, but once I saw pictures of the young Brooke Shields on the internet accompanied with captions saying how much of a “nymphet” she was, I was in shock to realise how young she was and how she had been exploited in the film. When the term is used in the same context as it is on poor Dolores Haze, it sexualises a child, and not a fictional one. Shields herself years later talked about how the role had affected her, and it’s terrible that these images are still circulating around without her control, just like they were taken without her control.

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Brooke Shields in a still from “Pretty Baby” (1978)

To conclude this essay, I need to add something that I haven’t already. Its probably one of the most vital things that I feel makes me able to write about this community, which is my own involvement in it a couple of years ago. The fact I did used to tag my photos with the word “nymphet” on my old personal account, which I have now deleted, is not really something I’m particularly proud of. I used to think it was alright since I had read the books, but on hindsight it didn’t really make things any better. I just liked the vintage aesthetic the community have, and in a way I was stupid to not realise it was dangerous. As a result of that men did used to comment strange things on my photos that I only half understood, and I never really knew what to do, because I was too naïve to realise they were sexualising me. I have this to say to people who are still involved with the “Lolita” or “nymphet” community- be careful what you post and with the people you’re involved with online. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post cute pictures of your outfit or your new heart shaped glasses. No-one deserves to be sexualised, no matter what community they belong to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Lust For Life” review- one small step for Elizabeth Grant, one giant leap for Lana Del Rey

After a two year hiatus, Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, aka Lana Del Rey, released “Lust For Life,” a glittering new addition to her repertoire of albums. When she announced her new album in a short YouTube video depicting her as a magical figure who lives on the H of the Hollywood sign, linking back to her references to the faded glamour of the 1950s in her other albums such as “Honeymoon,” her fans couldn’t contain themselves in their excitement. But does this album live up to Lana Del Rey’s musical aesthetic, and most of all, is it any good?

At first listen, one cannot ignore the glitzy optimism of the first track, entitled “Love.” There is the use of the minor chords and the slow tempo, which at first makes it seem like many of her other works, but when you listen closely to the lyrics, it contains a shimmer of optimism which is absent in many of her other albums. The middle eight of the song in particular shows the artist’s new-found vivaciousness, as it is simply Grant almost whispering the phrase “Don’t worry baby,” which can almost be interpreted as her comforting the listener, and perhaps even herself, that things will get better. The next track, “Lust For Life,” has very much the same hopeful atmosphere to it. The male vocals in the song, provided by Canadian singer and rapper The Weeknd, are smooth and almost songbird-like, almost calling in the new sun of the morning, a new beginning literally and metaphorically for Grant.

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Grant expresses her new-found love of life through a smile gifted to us in music video for “Love”

 

However, Grant’s hopefulness for the future and optimism seem to disappear from “13 Beaches,” “Cherry,” “White Mustang” and to an extent “In My Feelings.” It is almost as if she returns to her wistful, almost lethargic self, ignoring the fact that she ever did have a “lust for life.” The songs in my opinion seem rushed, almost as if she didn’t have enough songs for an album so she wrote them at the very last minute. However, all albums seem to have “filler songs” in them in order to balance out the more successful ones and to give a different feel to the album, and for me this is what Grant was attempting to do. With “God Bless America (And The Beautiful Women Who Live In It),” Grant links back to songs such as “American” and “National Anthem” from her earlier album “Born To Die” through it’s patriotic, anthem-like atmosphere. This could indicate that Grant is not only optimistic and continues to be enthusiastic for her own career, but for her country too.

However, the thing I find the most interesting about this album is that Grant has begun to introduce a political slant into her music which she has never before. With “Coachella- Woodstock In My Mind,” Grant explores the idea of having fun when the world around her is in such a dire situation, and how she wants to escape that. This becomes obvious when she at first sings, “I was at Coachella, leaning on your shoulder”, which at first sounds optimistic, but she then adds later on, “And what about all their children? And what about their children’s children?”, almost lamenting the struggles of others. She also adds a historical slant on her work in “When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing,” which is a link to the US’s position in World War 2, since whilst the Allies of Britain and France fought the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy and Japan, the US’ film industry boomed, along with it’s culture and fashion. She may not know that’s what she has done, but like everything in this review, it’s just my interpretation. I think this is one of the great successes of this album, since 1) Grant has never done this before in any of her previous albums and 2) it’s a fascinating idea that I personally haven’t really heard any other songwriters in the modern pop industry do.

Even though Grant has changed the way she writes her songs immensely, there are some elements I have noticed that she has kept as a part of her personal style, such as adding her signature siren-like sensuality. “Groupie Love” is a sultry account of a band’s female superfan (a groupie) having a sexual relationship with one of the band members, and I think this is very faithful to the flirtatious femme fatale persona that Grant has created for herself. The “edgy” aspect of her style is something she has also carried on into the “Lust For Life” era, and “Summer Bummer” is one of the prime examples of this. In this song heavily influenced by 90s hip hop, Grant almost raps the lyrics, and the addition of A$AP Rocky’s harsh style of rapping in the middle eight of the song almost makes it appeal to a wider market other than just her faithful fans, who could be dubbed her “groupies” in reference to “Groupie Love.” “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” and “Heroin” both follow suit, with Stevie Nicks’ nasal vocals adding a certain “edge” to the former, and the theme of drugs for the latter. I also think that “Heroin” is similar to many of the songs in her previous album “Ultraviolence”, since the song of the same name seems to glamourise power imbalances, and perhaps even violence, in relationships (“he hit me and it felt like a kiss”), and for me this is a reason why I dislike that particular song. However I did like the next song in the track, entitled “Tomorrow Never Came,” because it was an almost humorous mix of major chords and sad lyrics, and its pessimistic mood contrasts from the earlier songs. For me, “Change” and “Get Free” were saved for last because together they are a match made in heaven. They are both very similar in atmosphere, and perhaps could even be considered non-identical twins musically, since they sound very much alike, but in the best way possible. “Get Free” is perhaps the more joyful sounding one, whereas “Change” sounds sadder because of the amount of flat notes, but both are united in their dream-like atmosphere.

In conclusion, I believe some aspects of “Lust For Life” are clearly stronger than others. Grant explored parts of songwriting she had never attempted to before, such as adding her own viewpoint on politics and history through songs like “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” and “Coachella- Woodstock In My Mind,” and the fact she has done this makes this album more successful than it would have been otherwise. The notes alternate from major to minor chords, which is different from the other albums she has written which I find all have one distinct “mood” to them, and her style has changed somewhat to cater to a wider audience, such as adding more “modern” aspects, such as rapping, to her songs.

Some may dislike the fact she has introduced these influences to her songs, but I believe the fact that she continues to experiment with different harmonies and techniques is a good sign that she and her work will continue to be successful in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Why are people so obsessed with the Kardashians?

Unless you have been living under a rock, which has made you unable to follow the various escapades of today’s beautiful and famous, then you will have heard of the Kardashian-Jenner family. With their bronzed perfectly sculpted and contoured faces and their designer attire, it can’t be argued that the Kardashians have not taken the world by storm. Adore them or despise them, they have had an immense influence on both the fashion and the media of today’s appearance-obsessed world. But the question on the minds of many middle-aged dads and sensible people who are too scared to ask is, why have so many people fallen head over heels in love with one family, who, before their TV show was created, were just a normal American family?

 

One reason they are popular might be due to their hit TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which in its ninth season racked up an incredible 3.3 million viewers. The show was created in 2006 after Kris Jenner, the mother of the famous Kardashian sisters, voiced an interest in being in a television show with them. The people who worked at the TV channel E! knew that the reality TV show “The Osbournes” was a huge success which focused on the lives of the family of heavy metal rock star Ozzy Osbourne. It was, and still is, an addictive Hollywood equivalent to “The Simpsons,” the only difference being that the Kardashians are extremely wealthy and feed off of the Western world’s obsession with fame and capitalism. The family have a solid foundation of mutual love and respect whilst engaging in a few squabbles minor enough to be entertaining, but still meaty enough to be sheepishly intriguing, possessing the sort of appeal that leaves you exclaiming “I can’t watch!” while half-opening one eye so you can still follow every tidbit of drama unfolding. The leak of Kim Kardashian’s sex tape in 2007 helped the family’s rise to fame since it was released a couple of months before the first episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” aired, gaining her a lot of media attention, more than she was given when she was personal assistant to fellow socialite Paris Hilton.

 

Once the Kardashians had rose to popularity, they realised they were able to complete a Pokémon style evolution from a family to a fully blown brand reaching out to multiple demographics. The Kardashians™ have made millions selling clothes, makeup and even mobile games. In June 2014 a game called “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” was released on iOS and Android by mobile game developers Glu Mobile. The goal of the player is to increase their reputation and fame, surprisingly enough in the glittering, cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Hollywood, and unsurprisingly the game was immensely popular. They have been able to extend themselves to various industries, due to Kim Kardashian’s adventures in business, and the Jenner twins’ efforts in fashion, makeup products and modeling respectively.

 

The OJ Simpson case could also be mentioned as a reason why the Kardashian family has become prominent. The OJ Simpson case is probably one of the most controversial court cases of US history, managing to split the United States, making it as un-united as ever. Many were swayed by Simpson’s reputation as a successful football player with many falling at his feet, in awe of his golden, unbreakable persona, the unstoppable ‘Juice’, who had many people believing, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, that he did not murder his wife and her lover and he was an innocent victim of police racism. Simpson was defended by a group of lawyers later known as the “Dream Team,” Rob Kardashian, the father of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and ex-husband of Kris Jenner, being one. Along with his colleagues, the father of the now unstoppable Kardashians was propelled into a whirlwind of media attention, taking his family with him.

 

There are a great many ingredients to the Kardashian cake of fame. From something as serious as the OJ Simpson case to a mobile game, the Kardashians have involved themselves in every event that has had any influence on anything since the late 20th century, and they show no signs of stopping. Despite receiving a great deal of criticism of deriving fame from people’s obsession with materialism and conning their way into people’s wallets and hearts through fabricated story lines on their TV show and empty lip kit boxes, it is an undeniable fact that in some way they are clever in fulfilling their unquenchable desire for fame, and who can blame them for wanting fame and fortune in a world which measures the worth of a person by how many followers they have on Instagram or how many designer brands they wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise, (2017-). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to B.E. Adams and Sinner’s Paradise with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

my first blog post

Hi! Before posting a few things I’ve already written, I should probably introduce myself.

I’m a 18 year old British girl who lives to write all sorts of things, most of which is rubbish until I actually write something good, which happens once every blue moon! This blog will be where I’ll rant about things I’m passionate about and maybe post a few of my short stories if I think they’re worthy to see the light of day.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I will writing it xoxo