All things media and comms related

A Medley of Musical Films

Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of the new film The Concert…


To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films that are based on up and coming musicians from both reality and fiction.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 


 2.The Pianist (2002) A moving film which follows the experiences of acclaimed Polish pianist, Wlad Spielzman, during WW2. He was born into a wealthy Jewish family and led a successful life until his life changed dramatically as he becomes a prisoner of war and is deported to the ghetto of Warsaw. He manages to escape and has no choice but to live in hiding moving from one abandoned home to another. The film portrays the horrific conditions of war through the musician’s eyes and depicts his struggle to survive and the loneliness he feels due to his family being taken away from him. Ultimately it is his musical gift that helps him to survive as he is forced to play for his life.



3. This is Spinal Tap (1984)  A mocumentary about English Rock band, Spinal Trap, who go on a nationwide tour starting in America to present their come-back album ‘Smell the Glove’. The first concerts begin but as the film progresses problems start to occur for the band such as concerts being cancelled and distributors refusing to sell the album due to its cover being sexist. Throughout, the film satirises the wild behaviour and musical pretensions of rock and roll stars.




4. Ray (2004) A biographical film which depicts the struggles of Rhythms and Blues musician Ray Charles who despite going blind at the young age of 7 is determined to make a success of his life.  Inspired by his mother who told him never to be a cripple he learns to play the piano and from then becomes known to all as a musical genius and famous singer. However, it is not plain sailing for the man who becomes addicted to Heroin which threatens to ruin everything for him. The story tells of the drive and determination the man has to take control of his life and not be defeated by whatever the world has to throw at him. 



5. Brassed Off (1996)  A comedy-drama about a close-knit community in Yorkshire where for 100 years the town’s men have been playing in The Grimley Colliery Brass band. On discovering that the local mine is to be shut down the band leader decides to enter into a national championship competition to give some hope to the town’s men once again but with other worries on their minds the men are not focussed. That is until pretty female flugelhorn player, Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald), returns to the town where she grew up and wishes to join the band. This sends a wave of interest back to the players and especially her childhood sweetheart, trumpeter Andy (Ewan McGregor).  



6. Amadeus  (1984) The film adaption of Peter Shaffer’s play which is based upon the life of the genius musician and composer Wolfgang Mozart told by Salieri, another composer from Vienna who is confined to an Asylum. It portrays the envy and agony that Salieri feels towards Mozart whose music he likened to the voice of God and his failure to understand why God did not pass the gift onto him instead. Throughout the film Salieri cunningly plans to take revenge and conquer Mozart. 




7. The Piano Teacher (2001) Based on Janice Lee’s novel, the highly respected and talented piano instructor, Erika, teaches at a famous music conservatory in Vienna and is known for her strict and disciplined lessons. However, outside of her lessons she has a strong and violent sexual appetite which she finds difficult to control. When a handsome, self-assured student auditions for her class an immediate attraction forms and she invites him into her fantasies and allows him to soften her.  




8. Bird (1988) Clint Eastwood directs the biopic film about saxophone player, Charlie Parker, who travels to New York in the 40’s to establish his career with his new style of revolutionary jazz music. It is a tragic story in which after finding fame he gets caught up in drug addiction and dies at the young age of 34. The film explores his life from childhood through to his adulthood and his marriage to Chan Richardson who was always by his side supporting him. 




9. The Soloist (2009 ) Another true life story in which journalist, Steve Lopez, discovers cello prodigy Nethanial Ayers living in squalor on the streets as a street performer.  Although he had attended Julliard Music College for two years and was known as one of the most gifted students his future was doomed as he battled with schizophrenia. As the journalist gets to know the man behind the mental illness the respect he has for him grows and he is determined to help Ayers gain the recognition he deserves. In order to help him, as well as the other under classed, to have a better quality of life he writes a series of articles about the extraordinary talent the homeless man has.  



10.Walk the line (2005) Based on Johnny Cash’s autobiographical works, the film traces the life of the country music legend (Joaquin Phoenix) and reveals all of the poignant moments of his life which inspired and led to his fame. It relives his troubled childhood through to his experiences in the armed forces and then his attempts to start a music career. His love life with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is of particular focus and its tragic ending resulting in his fatal drug addiction. 


September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features, Portfolio | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Love Affair with Paris

Whilst working at Romley Davies Publicity over the summer I was given the task of writing a series of features to publicise the release of  the new film The Concert. Here is one I wrote about films that use the  beautiful  and romantic city of Paris as their setting…


To celebrate the release of The Concert on 16th June 2010 we take a look at the top 10 films from the past twenty years where filmmakers have fallen in love with the beautiful and intriguing city that is Paris. With its romantic atmosphere and striking architecture it is the perfect setting for so many fascinating films.

1.The Concert (2010) Thirty years ago, Andrei Simonivich  Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was the celebrated conductor of the renowned Bolshoi Orchestra. But during the communist era, he was fired at the height of his fame for refusing to get rid of all his Jewish musicians, which included his best friend Sasha. Now demoted to the position of cleaner at the Bolshoi, he learns by chance that the Chatelet Theatre in Paris has invited the orchestra to perform there. Andrei decides to reunite his orchestra and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi Orchestra. He wants Anne-Marie Jacquet (Melanie Laurent), a young virtuoso, as the solo violinist to accompany his old Jewish and gypsy musicians. If they all manage to overcome the hardships ahead, this very special concert will be a triumph. 


2. Amelie (2001) A romantic comedy in which a young woman, with a highly active imagination and sweet, romantic nature, is on a quest to fix and bring happiness to the lives of those around her. Amelie is aware, more than most, of how cruel life can be with her mother dying in a car crash when she was six, a lack of contact with a father and a heart complaint that meant she couldn’t be brought up at school. So after hearing the news that Princess Diana has died in a car crash she sets of on her mission. But amidst her attempts to please others can she make herself happy and find the man of her dreams in the romantic city?


 3. Moulin Rouge (2001) A beautiful and tragic love story between theatrical prostitute, Satine (Nicole Kidman), and English poet, Christian (Ewan McGregor). The poet has set out to establish himself as a playwright in Paris yet he soon gets mixed up in the Bohemian underworld of sex, drugs and musical theatre. The infamous nightclub setting, along with stunning cinematography, emphasises the glamour and euphoria that the film presents.


4.  The French Kiss (1995) In this romantic comedy Kate’s (Meg Ryan) fiancé is sent to Paris on business and whist there becomes obsessed with French beauty Juliette. After he calls off their wedding Kate is determined to win her lover back by travelling to France. With the help of thief Luc Teyssier, who she meets on her journey, she sets out to prove herself to her ex but it would seem that unexpected feelings begin to emerge between her and the Frenchman. 



 5. Paris, je t’aime (2006) A unique film about falling in love in which five-minute slots are allocated to some of the best acclaimed filmmakers and directors to declare their adoration for Paris, the City of Love. Each transition links to each other by starting with the last shot of the previous film resulting in a build up of intensifying emotion.





6. The Davinci Code (2006) The film begins in a Paris art gallery where a man lays murdered on the floor underneath Leonardo Davinci’s painting of The Mona Lisa Smile. The film continues with cryptologist Robert Langdon’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit to find clues in order to piece together the mystery which proves to be larger than imagined.




7. Chocolat (2000) Mysterious Vianne and her daughter move to quiet, rural France and cause a stir by opening a chocolate shop across the road from the church where lent is about to begin. Officials try to get her thrown out of the village but many of the locals begin to take warmly to her and especially her secret ingredient in her chocolate that adds a little guilty pleasure to their lives. 




8. Phantom of the Opera (2004) Set in the Paris Opera House, a hideous musical genius known as ‘The opera ghost’ gives vocal lessons to a young chorus girl, Christine, and becomes besotted with her. However, whilst he is terrorising the cast into giving his pupil lead roles she is reacquainted with Raoul who she has known since childhood and falls in love with him. In anger the Phantom kidnaps Christine and intends to make her his eternal bride. Luckily, Raoul is prepared to go to extreme lengths to save his lover. 




9.  Ratatouille (2007) Taking French Cuisine to new levels, the children’s film stars a rat named Remy whose dreams of becoming a culinary marvel come true as he pairs with a young chef with no talent who needs his help. Together they make some delicious dishes but they are constantly watching their backs…if the rat is spotted in the kitchen it will be the end of the road for both of them! 




10.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) 15th Century Paris is the setting for the Disney film where puppeteer Clopin tells the story of the hunched back, unsightly character, Quasimodo, who spends his days hidden from the world in a bell tower by his evil master Frollo. During the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s gargoyle friends encourage him to go and take part and enjoy himself. Amidst the festivities he meets beautiful gypsy girl Esmeralda and falls in love with her. Throughout the rest of the film he sets out to protect her as they fall under the rage of Frollo.


September 5, 2010 Posted by | Features | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our fascination with celebrity: Is it really about the music anymore?

Last week I went to see Peter Andre at Bournemouth Pavillion Theatre, not because I love his music, but because I wanted to say that I’ve seen Peter Andre in concert. After following his break up with Katie Price in the media I had grown fond of him, often claiming that I was supporting ‘Team Andre’!

Having said that, the concert was fantastic as he really did make the stage his own, getting the crowd dancing and singing along…especially to his oldies. I even have to confess I bought his album on Itunes the following day. However, it was the brand of Peter Andre that I, and hundreds of others, had initially been intrigued by.

The crowds were full of girls wearing t-shirts stating ‘Team Andre’ and everyone went crazy when he sang ‘Unconditional’ devoting it to his three beautiful children. Displayed at the back of the stage were photos of him with Princess and Junior and an extremely emotional moment when he sang in the last chorus that it was Harvey who had changed his life. Allegedly, Katie Price has stopped him from using footage of Harvey, who he thinks of as a son, so this was his way of including him. Yes, I know this because I, like many others, are addicted to watching shows like ‘What Katie did next’. I have watched the Sky news interview where he broke down in tears and stopped the questioning due to the interviewer suggesting he might not be able to see his children. It is obvious to all that Peter Andre’s children mean everything to him. 

However, although I know so much about the star, I had only ever heard a couple of his songs before, the obvious being ‘Mysterious girl’. Yet I still went to his music concert?

Another sign that the notion of celebrity is key to being a successful musician was that the crowds were perhaps not as lively for new girl band G2L even though they were actually pretty good (maybe give it a few years girls). The crowd warmed up when Xfactor live finalist Laura White performed as they knew a bit more about her. Then the level went up again when Pete’s DJ Brother took to the stage who has been seen on Katie and Peter’s realtiy TV shows. Eventually the crowd was roaring when Peter appeared on stage to sing Behind Closed Doors. 

So what is it about the idea of celebrity that we are all so interested in? It’s not just Peter Andre that this applies to but to all celebrities. I love watching Cheryll Cole’s music videos but mainly to see what she is wearing! And when she performed on the Brits everyone was asking whether she would sing anything that would hint to the state of her relationship with Ashley. Don’t get me wrong, I love her music, but is it just because of her high media attention that she’s so successful? 

And, why is it that even when a singer stops singing, Kerry Katona for example, everyone still knows what is happening in their life?

Pete Paphides writes an interesting article about branding in music. Check out Sugarbabes… a band or brand?

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Review | , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest tunes you’ve just gotta love!

I just have to blog about the chart music at the moment that I just cannot stop singing along to. It definitely feels like winter is ending and those summery, driving in your car with windows down, tunes are making their appearances…

This song is definitely being played the most on my Iphone right now. Love it! I predict it is going to be so massive! My only complaint is…girls why are you still called the Sugarbabes? With a song like that a new name, new image, new brand could be launched and be so successful. Just a suggestion!

I just can’t get enough of Cheryl Cole! She just doesn’t stop and I’m glad of it. Who needs Ashley and a status as a WAG when you can be just as successful on your own. I loved the comment she made just before her recent split with the Chelsea football player: “I’m not a WAG, Ashley is a popstar’s husband!”

What an amazing performance at The BRITS! Florence has such a unique voice and really makes Candi Station’s song her own.

[This song is really growing on me. I’m not convinced it’s quite as good as ‘Whatcha Say’ but I do still really like it! Catchy rhythm and lyrics… Another top 10 hit from Jason Derulo?

Alicia Keys has such a beautiful voice and she is so talented. Another song to be left on repeat!

February 27, 2010 Posted by | Review | , , , | 2 Comments

Review: X Factor Live at Wembley Arena

Photos captured by Caitlin King

My boyfriend eventually received his Christmas present last weekend. Yes, I had bought him, well us, tickets to X Factor Live show at Wembley Arena. Like millions of Brits, we had spent our Autumn Saturday evenings watching the X Factor. I was supporting the winner and lovable geordie, Joe McElderry, whilst he was supporting Essex boy runner-up Olly Murs. As this year’s X Factor had been bigger than ever, I had to get hold of tickets to see the contestants live…

Lloyd Daniels opened the show making all the teenage girls go crazy and was followed by the other finalists who took it in turns to take to the stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Presenter Jeff Brazier got the crowd lively throughout the concert by praising them for being the best crowd and starting off a mexican wave around the Arena. Contestants also had a brief interview with him. Joe thanked the crowd for voting  him to be the winner. My favourite interview was when second runner-up Stacey, known for her ‘dippyness’, giggled ”This is so amazing, I was never even chosen for the school play!’

Olly- Twist and Shout

My boyfriend absolutely loved it when Olly came on and even tried to imitate his unique dance style. Tried definitely being the right word to use! But Olly really did have a way with the crowd as he worked the stage with ‘Twist and Shout’  and ‘Fool in Love’. It must have been such a close call between him and Joe for winner.

Jedward- Ghostbusters

However, it was cheeky twins Jedward that the crowd really went crazy for as they ran, jumped, flew through the air and, just about, sang and danced! Their performance of ‘Ghostbusters’ was so theatrical with a massive blow up ghost on the stage and the boys pretending to destroy it with water pistols…you’ve got to love them, haven’t you?

Stacey Solomon- Who wants to live forever

There were also stunning performances from Stacey and Lucie and a particularly moving moment when Danyl began playing the piano and singing ‘I’ll get by with a little help from my friends’.

He was joined by Jamie and Olly as the chorus kicked in. What a fantastic experience these, once ordinary, people are sharing together.

Joe- The Climb

The best act was saved until last as Joe came on for the last half an hour of the second half. He appeared on the spotlit stage in the centre of the arena, was lifted into the air and flew to the main stage singing his debut single ‘The Climb’. He sang favourites such as ‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word’ and ‘Don’t stop believing’. He has such a beautiful voice and really did deserve his title as the winner.

You are not alone

The concert finished with all the finalists on stage singing their number one charity single You are not alone. It was an amazing night proving how true stars can be found in talent show contests. I wish them all luck in their future careers.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Picture Story, Review | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sarah Mason’s quickfire Q+A interview


Undergraduate Student Sarah Mason

In a Twitter style interview, Sarah Mason is challenged to answer my questions in under 140 characters. I discover why she chose to study at Bournemouth University, her career prospects and who she will be supporting at tonight’s BRIT Awards….

Why did you choose to read BA Communication and Media at Bournemouth University?

I wanted to study something media related and BU’s Media school has such a good reputation.

And what exactly is your course?

My course  covers a range of media practices such as journalism, pr and marketing. Over the three years you can focus it to the area that interests you.

What career are you looking to pursue after graduating then?

I’m interested in writing and have just started a blog. So possibly a career in journalism or publishing.

On your blog you have a link to your twitter account. Who are you following?

Yes, I’ve only just signed up to Twitter but so far I’m following BBC News, NME and Q Magazine.

Oh, so if you are interested in music I bet you are looking forward to the BRIT Awards tonight?

I am so looking forward to seeing British talent recognised by the music industry. Although, I do get annoyed that only the big names win awards and small bands are looked over.

Who will you be supporting?

Florence and The Machine! I love her album as she has a genuinely good voice. She’s nominated for 3 awards.

Anyone else?

Also, Muse ‘coz I’m going to see them this year.

So, possibly a career writing for music magazines?

Maybe. I do always have an opinion whether it’s the right one or not!

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Q&A Interview | , , , | Leave a comment

My favourite ways to browse the web!

Here is a selection of my top 5 websites that I use regularly and rate:



Itunes– Music singles, music videos, film rentals, iphone apps… I am constantly browsing this website and especially as I can access it easily on my iphone.

Facebook- Whilst at University this social networking site allows me to keep in contact with friends and family at home…as well as distracting me from my studies!

River Island– My favourite high street fashion store online…You can have a look for ideas before going into town.

BBC Iplayer– Watch TV programmes and films that have been on the BBC in the last month… and you don’t need to worry about remembering to record them!

Linkedin– It’s not what you know but who you know! This website is great for networking with professionals. A CV like profile can be created and groups can be joined to meet new people in your field of work.

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Review | , , | Leave a comment