Seen it, heard it, read it: Hannah Smith

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them.

My favourite film

It has to be a classic Hugh Grant film, Micky Blue Eyes. I don’t think I’ve forced so many people to watch a movie more than this one. Without giving too much away if you haven’t watched it (which you should), it’s a feel-good film about love and a criminal family. This is the film I watch over and over again just to make me laugh, and if you disagree, in the words of Micky Blue Eyes, ‘get out of here.’

The last film that made me cry 

I pride myself on not crying over films, weird thing to be proud of, I know, but I tend not to get upset over fictional characters I will never meet. Call me heartless, but it’s just a film at the end of the day.

The worst film I saw

Man on a Ledge is 100% the worst film I have ever wasted my time watching. The film is quite literally what the title says a man on a ledge, and that is it. I don’t think we even find out why he’s on the ledge. An hour into it, and nothing has happened, and you get the feeling that you want to just push this guy off just to create some thrill or excitement. 

The first time I went to the theatre

I can’t remember the first show I went to watch. Still, I remember watching the pantomimes every Christmas as a kid and the excitement to watch them is something I’ll never forget. From Cinderella to Puss in Boots, I went every year till I was about 10 and loved every second of it. 

My favourite play

The Women in Black. This is the most simplistic play I have ever seen and the one that had me jumping out of my seat. It’s a play that played tricks on your mind and made me scared of my own shadow. What also makes it my favourite was that I watched it with my drama class and it was the last major thing we did as a group. However, I still feel the pain in my hand after the guy sitting next to me clung to me for dear life.

The film series I’m hooked on

Hands down, it must be Harry Potter. I’ve lost count on how many times I have watched them all and can recite scenes from memory. I say that I have watched them all but the first one. I watched it once when I was little, and it scared me so much that I refused to watch it again. It wasn’t the fact the film was scary, no; it was the fact a guy had a face in the back of his head. Maybe I’ll brave it one day soon.

My favourite TV show

A show that was made before I was born (typical), Channel 4’s Teachers. Don’t think there is anything better than watching a bunch of teachers running a dysfunctional school and getting drunk every night. It’s my go-to essay-writing show as you can just stick it on in the background and pick it up at any point.

My favourite piece of music

The Farm Song by David Hunter. This song came out just before the pandemic started and was definitely the upbeat, sing-your-heart-out song I needed through it all. I am always humming the song when I’m trying to think or start singing a line or two. In fact, I love the music (and David) that much my boyfriend got David to sing it, along with a personal message for my birthday.

The lyric I love

This is actually from the musical Be More Chill, in the song Loser, Geek or Whatever. “I’ve earned the right to selfishly be all for one and one for me,” I heard it at just the right point when people just wanted to walk over me, so this lyric gave me something to go by, and I still do. 

The first gig I saw

Classic girl by going to the Wanted as my first concert. I remember listening to the CDs on the drive down and the ringing in my ears for the rest of the night. Not really a fan of theirs anymore, but as first concerts go it was a good one.

The best gig I saw

Really not acting my age when I say this, but it has to be Rick Astley for the best one I saw live. Just me, my mum and a bunch of middle-aged women, and anyone would think my mum had dragged me. Nope, I was more excited than her to go and it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. 

In 2020 I watched David Hunter’s online stream concert, well of course, it was good. It’s David Hunter!

The instrument I can play

I never really stick at learning instruments, as singing has always come easier to me. Still, I can half play the piano, and recently I’ve picked up the ukulele. Not a real instrument, but I can play songs people recognise, so that’s all that matters. 

The instrument I wish I’d learnt

Not an instrument as such, but to use the very poor skills I have in playing instruments to write something myself. I always go to but then can never be bothered.

My favourite author

I stumbled across this author when I ordered a ton of books during the lockdown, Holly Jackson. I have just finished reading the final book, and I couldn’t put it down. It had me gripped to the last second. Books are meant to be relaxing and to read at night, but I was up till three in the morning just to finish it. 

The book I’m reading

What am I not reading? I have about 10 books on the go as I read a few pages and get distracted. When I have time, I will pick up the War of the Worlds again and finally finish it since I’ve been putting it off for ages.  

The artists/musicians/actors/comedians/authors I’d have at my fantasy dinner party

I’m pretty sure I had to answer this question in primary school, and I said, Shakespeare. I don’t even like Shakespeare that much, so who knows where that answer comes from. Honestly, though I have no idea who I would invite

Overrated

The Tiger King, most people’s favourite, but it was so overhyped, and I got bored so fast. It was the weirdest show I have watched, and it’s hard to believe it all, but each to their own, I guess. 

Underrated

BBCs Robin Hood, this was a staple show when I was growing up, along with Merlin. It amazes me though, at how little people have actually watched it. It’s the perfect show with a bit of action, history and romance, a feel-good show. Well, till someone gets killed, that dampens the mood.

My guilty pleasure

Old music and I don’t mean Oasis or the Beatles. I have a side playlist that is full of songs from people like Bernard Cribbins and George Formby. Those little songs you hear your nan singing every now and again, yes, those songs are songs I love to listen to. Think I was born before my time. 

Seen it, heard it, read it: Lauren Sadler

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them

My favourite film

I would say Spirited Away. It’s such a beautifully drawn movie, with such cute details it’s impossible not to love it. The plot is good, and it has a happy ending so it’s never going to be a bad watch. The scene where Chihiro holds her breath crossing the bridge stresses me out. I always try to see if I would be able to hold my breath the entire way. So far, I don’t think I’d make it.

The first time I went to the theatre

I was in primary school and we were a little group of ukulele players. We must have been around 6 or 7 I think. They told us if we brought our own ukuleles we could perform with them on stage. So I did, but they wouldn’t let me as they hadn’t tuned it. I couldn’t understand and I was scared I was going to lose mine (which I was attached to emotionally). As we’re all sat on stage waiting for the curtain to come up to perform for our parents, I’m just sobbing. I think they realised I wasn’t going to calm down, so they quickly tuned it in the wing, and ran over and gave it to me before the curtain came up.

The TV show I’m hooked on

Without a doubt, Squid Game. I’m a sucker for any anti-capitalist media. Plus, the lead character, Gi-Hun, is attractive, so is Ali and Sae-Byeok. It’s so gripping that I couldn’t stop watching the minute I put it on. As evil as Sang-Woo is, he’s hot too. Apart from the attractive few characters I like, (and got attached too, damn you Sang-Woo), the visuals are amazing. You can easily tell how much effort went into this show. Especially with any behind the scenes content, they show you what they did for it.

My favourite TV show

Apart from Squid Game, I would say, Pretty Little Liars, I watched it when I was about 15 and I wanted my mundane life to be like theirs (minus the murder and kidnapping). Mostly because the main characters are all pretty, plus their bedrooms are all cool and mine was a tiny box room.

My favourite piece of music

Puberty 2 by Mitski. I could go on about her for hours. This album, to me, is the best one she has made so far. Every single song is so good. Be The Cowboy, her next album, was obviously good too, but no song hits like Once More to See You.

The lyric I love

The lyrics I love would be from Mitski’s First Love/Late Spring, the line is “Mune ga hachikire-sōde”. It is in Japanese so I didn’t know what she was saying, but when I found out, it hurt. As far as I’m aware, (though I did find out from the internet) it’s supposed to mean that her heart feels like it’s exploding. With my first love, I felt exactly like that. She put into words just how emotional I felt.

The first gig I saw

The first gig I saw was the 1975. I was 17, and as soon as they came out I started crying. It’s embarrassing to think about but I was just so excited and overwhelmed. Plus they played my favourite song of theirs, undo and somebody else, so it was pretty good.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt

I guess the violin. I learnt a little bit when I was younger but then I gave up after a year and never bothered with it again. I struggled to read sheet music, I still do to be fair. 

The book I’m reading

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I watched the movie and liked it but the book portrays Bateman far worse than the movie does. So far it’s good, and easy to get into.

The book I wish I’d read 

Great Expectations. I think I got a couple of chapters in, then just forgot about it. I remember enjoying it but I just didn’t have enough time and its existence completely slipped my mind.

Overrated

Drake. I get people who have different music tastes, but he is a very questionable individual. 

Underrated

Rico Nasty. Her style and her songs bring something new to music. She’s an amazing artist and doesn’t get enough praise that she deserves. Also the same goes for Rina Sawayama. They’re both incredible

My guilty pleasure

The Smiths. I hate to admit it, but some of their songs are enjoyable. I really like Back to the Old House and There is a Light That Never Goes Out.