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Issue 10

Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations

This book written by comedian, actor and former host of The Late Late Show Craig Ferguson features some of his most witty and thoughtful writing till datenarrated in a Scottish accent no less. If you’re a huge fan of his hilarious yet poignant late night show stint, with his trusty skeleton robot sidekick Geoff, then this book is the natural next step. If you’re unaware of The Late Late Show then do yourself a favour and jump down your nearest Youtube rabbit-hole of old interview clips from the show for a good laugh. I’m biased towards his interview with the late Robin Williams, which features just two good friends, who also happen to be incredible comedians, catching up. 

That’s what most interviews on his show felt like: just fun conversations without any of the glamour, pretence or hyperactive games in late night TV today but plenty of self-awareness and just a hint of self-loathing. This book is also like a conversation with an old friend: about his childhood crush and the huge pimple he sported one school-day, his brush with alcoholism and his sobering experience of rehab alongside tidbits from his comedy career and a brutally honest tell-all of certain American television networks. There’s an emphasis on the audiobook because there’s something oddly calming about a Scottish American cursing and recounting his past experiences to you as you run errands, do some laundry, or peacefully fall asleep.

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noderivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis).

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Issue 10

Atypical

Atypical is a show on Netflix about 18-year-old Sam, a boy on the autism spectrum, navigating his way through life and becoming more independent. Well, yeah, the show is brilliant, the writing is immaculate, the actors are phenomenal and the story is gripping, but, what stands out is the way all the characters have their own stories and struggles, yet their lives are completely intertwined. Not once do Sam’s struggles overshadow the other characters’ in the show and that’s what makes Atypical so captivating. 

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Issue 7

Someone Great

Directed by Jennifer Robinson and starring Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, Someone Great is a 2019 film that at once encompasses humour, friendship and love in a breezy 90-minute movie. It is set in New York City, the home of three girlfriends in their late-20s, navigating their careers and loves, all the while holding on to their cherished friendship. The movie revolves around the protagonist Jenny Young’s (Gina Rodriguez) recent breakup with her long-term boyfriend. While at first sight, the movie might seem like another light break-up watch filled with peppy songs and quippy one-liners, it touches upon the less-talked-about aspects of heartbreak and moving on.

Instead of going the conventional way by focusing solely on the protagonist’s broken heart, it attempts to explain the nuances of a complicated long-term relationship, the troubles of emotional attachment and the pain of moving on. Through the film, the protagonist is shown as actively coming to terms with the break-up, moving from blaming her boyfriend to admitting her own faults. It ends on a bittersweet note, with Jenny realising that while her time in the relationship was beautiful, the ending was also justified and all she can do is look forward and wish her ex-boyfriend future happiness. This attempt at understanding and achieving closure is perhaps the highlight of the film

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noderivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis)..

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Issue 7

The Beginner’s Guide

Conventional notions of the intentional meaning behind creativity is challenged in The Beginner’s Guide. An interactive, narrative-based game developed and narrated by Davey Wreden, it follows the player exploring a series of short games developed by an individual named Coda. However, it isn’t Coda who introduces the player to their creations, but a narrator, named ‘Wreden’ after the game’s developer, who was once Coda’s close friend. The game follows the tumultuous journey of Coda’s creativity, depicted in the games they built before their sudden disappearance from Wreden’s life. 

Wreden walks the player through a variety of Coda’s games, highlighting signs of Coda’s deteriorating mental health due to doubts about their abilities and dissatisfaction with their ideas through recurring symbols and subtle allusions. Coda’s games provide elusive messages to the player to piece together the cause of their disappearance. The games represent Coda’s creative range and usage of his games as a means of communication with others. Through inescapable prison sequences, endless staircases that becomes progressively difficult to climb, and a cabin in the middle of nowhere that requires repeated cleaning with no sight in end, it becomes apparent that Coda’s games mean more than just creative expression to him. 

Davey Wreden’s games are best experienced without much explanation–they are always more than what they seem. At its core, The Beginner’s Guide effectively makes its players reevaluate what creativity truly entails, and understand the consequences of an insatiable desire for searching for meaning in creative products, even when there isn’t any. 

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noderivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis).

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Issue 7

This One Summer

This One Summer, by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel that tells a coming-of-age of two ordinary friends. The book explores the ups and downs of adolescence in this sweet summer novel, set in a lazy beachside town. What really captured my attention was the art style that exquisitely revives the bittersweet nostalgia of summer, heightened by the monochromatic moody blue color palate used throughout. 

The prose that accompanied the illustration is warm enough to bring out all the little things that happen over the summer. The story of this graphic novel follows a young girl Rose, who goes to a beach town for a summer break with her parents and befriends another girl from the town named Windy. As the story progresses, we see Rose go through struggles of growing up as a girl and keeping up with the changes in her life that this vacation brings in the form of troubles in her parents’ marriage, and her own life.  The language used in the book is rather interesting as it very well captures the dilemma through the eyes of Rose, who is old enough to understand what is going around her but not mature enough to care or significantly contribute or even comprehend the troubles and trauma she is going through. 

The attention to detail in the illustrations, coupled with the delicate prose makes this combination of panels a beautiful story that weaves together a story of two girls who try to navigate their way through a repulsive adult world filled with domestic drama with teenage troubles, in what is an otherwise languid summer. 

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noderivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis).

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Issue 6

Women in Music Pt.III – HAIM

Image by Universal Music Operations Limited/Haim Productions Inc.

HAIM’s third studio album, released in June 2020, features songs that fit right in the band’s wheelhouse of indie pop and soft rock sounds. This time around they have added jazz and folk tinges and it all makes for a great album. The trio, consisting of three sisters, based this record off of personal experiences: the death of Alana’s friend, Este’s struggles with diabetes and Danielle’s partner’s cancer diagnosis. 

The album’s lead single, Summer Girl, is one of the highlights of the album. Its pensive saxophone performance by Henry Solomon is a clear standout. In Hallelujah, Haim’s trademark harmonies come together for a stirring moment, perfectly echoing the song’s sentiments about reflecting on one’s blessings in sisterhood and friendships. In Man from a Magazine, the sisters take a folk, Joni Mitchell-esque turn as they sing about their experiences in the male-dominated music industry. 

The album has been nominated for Album of the Year for the 2021 Grammy Awards. If the band wins, it would be their first win and a well-deserved one.