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Mankind has always pushed itself forward into realms of discovery. Our curious nature is what first separated us from beasts. Over the last two decades, there have been a number of scientific discoveries that have propelled our scientific understanding and technological advancement further than ever before. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest scientific discoveries that have happened over the last 20 years.   The Detection Of Gravitational Waves Gravitational waves were predicted over 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, when he predicted that mass had the ability to curve space-time.  It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists at LIGO, (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), managed to detect and record them. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, that travel at the speed of light.  All major cosmic events and collisions send out gravitational waves. For example, around 3 billion years ago, a black hole 32 times the mass of our sun, collided with a black hole approximately 19 times the mass of our sun. This resulted in a cataclysmic event that created a brand new monster black hole. All time and space were warped because of this event. This is something that we can now measure and quantify thanks to LIGO. The scientists at LIGO managed to detect the ripple in space time that this caused on January 4th 2017. This was the third time that scientists at LIGO detected the collision of two black holes. This is hugely important, as not only does it prove that the 100 year old theory of Einstein’s was right, but, it allows us to detect large-scale cosmic events in a manner we never have been able to before. This lends itself to the further understanding of the nature of the universe, and the very fabric of existence. This breakthrough has enabled us to not only theorize about it, but actually visualise gravity. The Higgs Boson, Or, The God Particle The Higgs Boson is an elementary particle that had been theorized since the 60’s, but was only detected in 2012, when scientists at CERN, in Switzerland, discovered it using a Large Hadron Collider. This was a hugely important discovery, as it essentially filled in the gaps of the modern ‘Standard Model’ in physics.  This model, prior to the discovery of the Higgs Boson, had no explanation as to why some particles are massless, (ie. the photon), while others have varying degrees of mass. In theory, without the existence of the Higgs Boson, all particles should be without mass. The Higgs mechanism creates a field that interacts with particles, and basically, gives them mass. The Higgs Boson is the particle that is associated with that field, in the same way that protons are the particles associated with the electromagnetic field. Scientists had always assumed the existence of the Higgs field, but had found no experimental evidence for it, until 2012. In order to detect the Higgs Boson, they required a super-powerful particle smasher such as the Large Hadron Collider, to produce energies high enough to knock a Higgs Boson into existence, under controlled conditions.  Here’s how it worked: protons are present in the nuclei of atoms, the most basic units of matter. Protons are composed of even smaller particles, three quarks held together by gluons. In the Large Hadron Collider, protons were accelerated at 99.9999991% of the speed of light. Quarks and gluons inside the protons collided and exploded with enough energy to create the Higgs particle. The Higgs particle has 100 to 200 times the mass of a proton and will last less than a millionth of a billionth of a second before decaying into a spray of other particles. Evidence for the Higgs particle was found in the telltale spirals and streaks left in the Large Hadron Colliders detectors by the particles it created as it disintegrated. This discovery was hugely important to the scientific community, as it solved a long standing problem in the basic understanding of the quantum mechanics of atoms, and helps us better understand the nature of particle physics. The Discovery Of Water On Mars In 2015, NASA released images showing long, dark streaks on the surface of the red planet that appear and disappear throughout the seasons. This was taken to mean that liquid water exists on Mars today. It had long been hypothesized that water had existed on the planets surface in the past, however, there had never been any evidence to suggest that any remained to this day. What we see in the pictures as dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks are known as, ‘recurring slope lineae’, and they appear to be flowing downhill. Scientists have suggested that these may have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, which would go towards corroborating this hypothesis.  The blueish color observed upslope of the dark streaks are thought to indicate the presence of the mineral pyroxene. Obviously, this is of great significance, as the presence of water could potentially mean the sustainability of life. Observations suggest that this water appears seasonally on the slopes of the martian surface. However, scientists have been unable to figure out where the source of the water could be, or if the chemistry of it would be right for supporting life, or at least, life as we understand it. T-Rex Tissue In 2005, T-Rex bones were discovered in a sandstone formation in Montana. Preserved within the thigh bone was actual soft tissue. It was the source of much controversy at the time, however, recent analysis of the tissue has gone a way to explaining how soft tissue could have been preserved for almost 70 million years. Initially, it was thought that the proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. It was assumed that the tissue had to be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued. But then, in 2007, scientists analyzed the chemistry of the T-Rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue that they found was collagen, and it shared similarities with bird collagen, which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from ‘theropod’ dinosaurs such as the T-Rex. The researchers then decided to analyse other fossils for the presence of similar soft tissue, and found that it was in fact present in about half of their samples. Some of which dated all the way back to the Jurassic Period, which lasted from 145.5 million to 199.6 million years ago.The reasoning put forward for the preservation of this soft tissue was the high levels of iron present in all of the samples. Iron forms iron nanoparticles after death, and generates free radicals. These free radicals cause proteins and cell membranes to tie in knot and basically act like formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, as many know, preserves soft tissues. This was an outstanding discovery, not just in the understandings of how bio-organics behave after a certain amount of time has passed, but also in the understanding of how Dinosaurs lived and how their bodies worked. The Existence Of Dark Matter Dark matter is an elusive and fascinating form of matter that goes toward explaining a lot of strange astronomical scenarios. It is basically the strange scaffolding that dictates how matter acts. It is thought to account for approximately 85% of all matter in the universe, and about a quarter of its total energy density. The majority of dark matter is thought to be non-baryonic in nature, possibly being composed of some as-yet undiscovered subatomic particles. Scientists began to wonder why certain things didn’t behave the way they should when adhering to the laws of physics as we understand them. For example, if you take a galaxy that contains about 1,000 planets, and you add up the mass of all of those planets, these planets should all move in a very particular way. However, this is not the case, and the way in which the planets move individually, and the galaxy moves as a whole system are different, and it doesn’t add up. The planets are moving in a manner that suggests that there is more matter contained   within the galaxy that we cannot see and cannot observe. This matter, scientists hypothesized, must be both abundant and non light reflective, hence our inability to observe it. It was called Dark Matter, and has been the basis of much scientific research for many years.  To date, all attempts to successfully or definitively record the existence of dark matter have failed, however this does not disprove it’s existence. If anything it further proves the nature of it, that it does not behave in the same way as any matter that we are familiar with. It passes through normal matter on a constant basis without ever colliding with it and it doesn’t collide or interact with itself either. It is all a part of that extremely complicated branch of science known as theoretical physics, which has been the starting point of some of the greatest scientific discoveries of mankind to date. Face Transplants  A face transplant is a medical procedure to replace all or part of a person’s face using donor tissue from a cadaver. The world’s first partial face transplant happened in 2005, in France. The first full facial transplant was completed in Spain in 2010. To date, a total of 40 facial transplants have been carried our globally.  The process of a Facial transplantation is a complex and burgeoning surgical field. Up until 2005, we simply did not have the technology available to us to carry out such a procedure, despite having the scientific medical know how, the practicality and equipment simply did not exist.  It is categorized as a subset within vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA), which is defined as the transplantation of multiple tissue types often including bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and skin. To date, facial transplantation has been reserved for patients that have suffered devastating facial deformity, which is unable to be adequately reconstructed using traditional techniques.  There have been no elective transplants carried out. The emergence of face transplantation in the last 10 years is largely attributable to advances in reconstructive microsurgery, pharmacological advances in solid organ transplantation, and pioneering surgeons dedicated to improving their patients’ quality of life, autonomy, and ability to socially integrate back into society.  Water As Fuel German cleantech company Sunfire GmbH has unveiled a machine that converts water and carbon dioxide into synthetic petroleum-based fuels. They do this by utilising  Power-to-Liquid Technology. They convert water and carbon dioxide into liquid hydrocarbons which then take the form of synthetic diesel, petrol, and kerosene. This technology was based on Fischer-Tropsch process, and solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOECs) which convert electricity to steam. While still in its early research stages, this has massive implication for the future of the planet. Scientists all around the globe are desperately trying to come up with sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. The ability to successfully turn water into a fuel would mean a viable source of power that we would never run out of. After all, 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. TRAPPIST-1 In February 2016, NASA announced the discovery of a previously unknown solar system with the potential to harbour life. The name of this system is TRAPPIST-1, and it is located approximately 39 light-years away from our solar system.  It was named after its main star, which is 12 times less massive than our sun, and witch has at least seven planets orbiting around it. Three of those planets lie within what is known has the ‘habitable zone’, and it is on these planets that the potential for life exists. The star TRAPPIST-1 is about the size of Jupiter, and its closest planet, TRAPPIST-1b, completes one solar orbit (what we would refer to as a year) in just 1.51 Earth days. What is particularly curious about this is that out of all the stars known to us, Trappist-1 is considered to be a small star. This means that finding not one or two, but seven planets orbiting around it, was highly unusual. Trappist-1 is only 8% the size of our Sun, so, it is not understood at this time, how a small star like that managed to form so many planets. The Trappist-1 system is a groundbreaking discovery. Never before have scientists found as many earth-like planets orbiting around a single star, in what could be referred to as a mini version of our own solar system. In terms of intergalactic travel, 39 light-years is relatively close, and the existence of three Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone is the best chance we’ve ever had for discovering life beyond Earth. It seems that each of the seven planets discovered so far have liquid-water, so potentially, all seven could contain the building blocks for life. With new advancements in exploratory science, it is conceivably possible, and even likely,  for us to be able to detect life and confirm its existence, from right here on Earth! Now that would be cool!
Bojack Horseman first emerged on Netflix in 2014 and, five seasons later, it has built up an incredible cult following. Essentially a tale about an alcoholic horse, who is a former 90’s TV star, the show is surprisingly touching, full of depth and insight, and, often times entirely heart wrenching in its existential realness. Seriously, a show about an alcoholic horse is the realest thing out there at the moment. Its no holes barred style, and unapologetic rawness, is something that has seriously touched a nerve in today’s overly saccharine society. Here we present you with some examples of that rawness, and if you aren’t already a fan of the show, these might give you a taste of exactly what you’re missing.   The Realness Of The Opening Credits   When Cuddly Whiskers Explained What It Meant To Be Responsible For Your Own Happiness   When Princess Carolyn Gave Herself A Motivational Speech   When Bojack Reflected On Being An Only Child   When All Bojack Wanted To Know Was That He Was Still A Good Person   When Bojack Remembered The Traumatising Reason His Mother Was Often So Cruel To Him   When Holly Hock Needs To Know If Her Feelings Of Not Being Good Enough Would Ever Go Away   This Crippling Break Up   When Bojack Took Sarah Lynn To The Planetarium   When Todd Comes Out As Asexual   When Todd Lays Down The Truth For Bojack, That He Just Needs To Be A Better Person   Every Single Moment Of Bojack’s Mom’s Funeral Episode   When Bojack’s Mom Levels Him With This Devastating Blow   When Bojack Indulged In Some Serious Self Deprication   When Mr. Peanutbutter And Diane Began Realising Their Relationship Issues   When Bojack Made This Stark Realisation About Himself   The Time When Bojack Helped Diane Get Through A Depressive Episode   When Diane Had To Be At A Party With Mr. Peanutbutter And His New Girlfriend   The Realisation That It Will Get Easier The Poignant Lyrics Of The End Theme Song   So, if you want to watch a subversive and emotionally intelligent cartoon show, Bojack Horseman is the one for you. It is one of the most intelligent shows out there at the moment, and will really punch you right in the feels more times than once each episode. You will also find yourself entirely relating to at least one, maybe more of the characters in a really big way. We personally can entirely get on board with Diane and everything and how she moves through the world.
There were lots of times that we went into our local video store, as kids, and marvelled at the impressive array of cover art on display. From the sublime to the ridiculous,  some were incredible works of art, some insane, some perfectly encapsulated the tone of the films, some captured that tone even better than the films themselves, and some had the most tenuous link imaginable! Here, we take a look at some of the coolest, grossest, cutest examples of VHS cover art from the 80’s and 90’s. The Mutant Kid A Nightmare On Elm Street Conan The Barbarian Neon Maniacs Silk The Wraith Star Wars The Toxic Avenger Monster Squad Tron Over The Top Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Jumanji Muppets Treasure Island The Pagemaster The Dark Crystal The Goonies The Never Ending Story An American Tail The Land Before Time Innerspace E.T Flight Of The Navigator Big Trouble In Little China   Most of these were amazing and inspiring works of art, which even today, will captivate the imagination, along with the feelings of excitement and wonder of stepping back into your local video store once again.
Hammer Films is a British film production company founded in 1934 by William Hinds and James Carreras. It was made famous in the 1950’s for reimagining the gothic horror for a modern audience. It was one of the most prolific movie production companies right up until the 1970’s, and produced some of the most famous, classic horror movies of all time. It also dabbled in psychological horror and thrillers, and to this day, many of its movies are considered to be some of the best examples of classic cinema out there. They utilised big names, plenty of gore and and top directors, to bring tired old horror tropes, such as the mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein, into the brave new world of cinema. In this article, we will take a look at just some of the greatest Hammer Horror movies ever made. The Horror Of Dracula This was the first in a series of movies produced by Hammer and focusing on the the story of Dracula. It was released in 1958 and was originally just titled ‘Dracula’, but was later changed to ‘The Horror Of Dracula’ so as not to be confused with the 1931 Universal Studios movie starring Bela Lugosi. The film stars Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Chusing as Van Helsing. Both Cushing and Lee were two of Hammer Horror’s major stars and would both go on to star in a huge number of their movies throughout the next few decades. The Hammer Studios version of the story is far closer to the original source material, the novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. The story follows the infamous count as he journeys from Transylvania to England. There, he ensconces himself entirely into the London night scene, and he begins to rack up victim after victim. During this time, Dracula runs afoul of his arch-nemesis, Van Helsing. This signals the beginning of a battle of wills between the two. The movie was heavily censored in Britain when it was first released, with all of the goriest moments cut out. However, in 2012, there was a definitive version of the movie released, which had all of the chopped scenes reestablished and remastered. The movie really put Lee and Cushing on the map, and paved the way for many sequels starring the two, and for many non-Dracula follow-ups with these actors as well. The Plague Of Zombies Released two years before Night Of The Living Dead, would revolutionise the Zombie genre, this 1966 offering is widely accepted as being the precursor to the the George A. Romero classic. The movie is chillingly atmospheric, and shies away from the camper element, that became the archetypal fare of the Hammer movie, in later  years. This was also the studio’s only foray into the world of zombies. The plot follows the tale of an eccentric Cornish squire, who enslaves local villagers, using voodoo curses, and using them to work in his tin mines. A doctor and his daughter soon discover the unpleasant nocturnal habits of the shambling undead slaves, and they call upon a detective to investigate. The script is a subversive commentary on the rift between the British aristocracy and the exploited working class, but despite this, the film is less a political allegory than a spooky chiller. It surmounts to a well crafted, atmospheric horror opus, that ranks among Hammer Films’ finest. One Million Years B.C One Million Years B.C was Hammer’s biggest box office hit. Released in 1967, it starred the hugely famous Raquel Welch as the main female character with special effects by Ray Harryhausen, (of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon fame). The movie is essentially a tale of a prehistoric man, banished from his home, only to find love and comfort in the arms of a different, much gentler tribe. Despite the many glaring historical inaccuracies, this movie is still one of Hammer’s greatest achievements. The movie depicts many battles between man and dinosaur, which, despite the fact that approximately 64 million years separated dinosaur kind and man, still make for thrilling action sequences. If we remove our logic hats, and watch this movie as a fantasy film, we are guaranteed to have a great time. Ray Harryhausen truly outdoes himself, with brilliant stop motion dinosaurs. With the scene depicting a battling Triceratops and Ceratosaur being a particular stand out moment. The movie also features the more standard film of a real live iguana, dressed up and made to look huge, however even this scene looks better than most of its ilk. While there is no broader social commentary in this one, it makes for a hugely entertaining fantasy epic, and the outstanding special effects cement its place as one of Hammer’s most impressive cinematic spectacles. The Devil Rides Out The Devil Rides Out was released in 1968 and stars Christopher Lee as the aristocrat Duc de Richlea. This was one of the few roles where we get to see Christoper Lee play the good guy for Hammer, and it really pays off.  We are treated to a masterful performance by Lee that could be argued as his best.  The movie was directed by one of Hammer’s greatest, Terence Fisher, and it is an adaptation of the popular 1934 eponymous novel by Dennis Wheatley.  The story is concerned with not just a brief encounter with evil, but a full-fledged campaign against it. The audience is treated to depictions of séances, satanic orgies, summonings, and even car chases. A twisting, high octane tale of high-society satanism, this movie has secured itself deep within the hearts of many horror movie fans, and has proven to be a hugely popular cult classic. To The Devil A Daughter To The Devil A Daughter is another adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley novel. This time set in modern times however, and released 8 years after The Devil Rides Out. Not as critically acclaimed as the aforementioned cult classic, To The Devil A Daughter is still one of Hammer’s great satanic tales. It is also notable for being the second last movie the studio would make for over 30 years, and was the third adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley novel. The film tells the story of American expatriate, occult writer, John Verney (Richard Widmark), who is approached by Henry Beddows (Denholm Elliott), to try and rescue his teenage daughter Catherine (Nastassja Kinski). Catherine is a practicing nun from a mysterious group called the Children Of The Lord, which is presided over by Father Michael Rayner (Christopher Lee), a priest who has fallen from the true faith. Verney succeeds in intercepting Catherine at the airport, and takes her to his flat near Tower Bridge. However, Rayner has the advantage of black magic, and the ability to use it from afar on Catherine, in an effort to regain her for his own dastardly ends. The movie was a fitting end to the impressive reign of the ‘Hammer Horror‘ behemoth, and certain scenes of the movie were so shocking that Dennis Wheatley refused to allow the production company to buy the rights to any more of his novels. Not that it mattered too much to the studio. One year after filming To The Devil A Daughter, they closed down until 2007 when they reignited their creative fires to bring us Beyond The Rave which was released in 2008. The Nanny This was one of Hammer’s rare attempts at Hitchcockian suspense, and it works surprisingly well. Mostly because of the stand out performance by Bette Davis as the titular ‘Nanny’. Wendy Craig also gives a stellar performance as the mother. It follows a London family as they collect their son from a psychiatric unit he has been staying at for the last two years. In the car, with the mother and father, is Bette Davis’ Nanny.  The young son, Joey, wants nothing to do with the Nanny, and when he arrives home, he wants to do everything for himself, and seems to have a deep hatred for the seemingly caring, sweet and quaint childhood Nanny. We soon learn that the family has a tragic past, namely, the death of their young daughter a couple of years previous, for which young Joey was blamed. We also learn that Bette Davis‘ character has been the family Nanny for two generations now, and is much beloved by everyone in the household. In a creeping tour de force of psychological terror, the movie draws slowly and menacingly to its horrifying climax. It is a lesson in fear of the ordinary. Helped along massively by one of Davis’ most nuanced performances, this movie really showed that Hammer was not just a playground for schlock horror and campy monster movies. It could also house some outstanding thrills and terrifying suspense movies. Straight On Till Morning This 1972 suspense thriller follows a young girl, Brenda, as she moves to London in search of a man to father a child for her. She immerses herself in London life, getting a job at a boutique and attending parties with her co-workers. Upon fleeing one of these parties, she encounters a dog off his leash. A man is shouting for the dog, however Brenda steals it in a clever ploy to meet the man. When she eventually returns the dog, Brenda is faced with a beautiful but troubled young man named Peter, who suggests she moves in with him. What Brenda doesn’t know, however, is that Peter is, in fact, a psychotic serial killer with a deep loathing for beauty and all of its trappings. He is completely controlling of her, and the movie closely follows her descent into a torrid and disturbing love affair, and Peter’s further decline into madness. Director Peter Collinson shows these characters’ fragmented grip on reality by having his editor, Alan Pattillo, slice up the film with syncopated shots, jump cuts and pronounced discontinuities of both space and time. The result is a heady incline towards Brenda and Peter’s individual and collective derangement. The film has less of a connection to Hammer’s characteristic ‘Castle Horror’ and more to the modern suspenseful, psychotic thrills, of a Dario Argento ‘Giallo movie’. Straight On Till Morning forgoes the usual Hammer gothic motifs, and sets itself up as a contemporary classic. Fear In The Night This 1972 offering from Hammer studios is one that leans quite heavily on ‘Gialloesque’ themes, and combines them with the drab insipidness of 70’s rural Britain, and the effect is really quite chilling. The story is that of Peggy, (Judy Geeson) a young woman who,  6 months earlier, suffered a breakdown and spent some time in hospital. Now that she is healthy and out of the hospital, she is set to move with her husband to the countryside, to the boarding school he works at. Before leaving, however, Peggy is attacked in her home by a black glove wearing assailant,  (queue Giallo influence). Despite her sincerity, the people around her are more inclined to believe she’s imagining things, based on her recent brush with mental instability.  They leave for the school however, and the young couple meet with the headmaster Michael (Peter Cushing),a cold and detached character. They also meet Michael’s wife, played by none other than Joan Collins.  Things continue to go wrong, more perceived attacks on Peggy’s life leave her husband believing that she is suffering from another breakdown.  Fear in the Night does not centre around the question of Peggy’s sanity, since we are led, from the offset, to believe her, and be resolutely on her side. What it does is paint a chilling tale of intrigue, begging the questions; who is attacking Peggy, why are they doing it, and what is up with the boarding school and its very creepy headmaster? It is a subtle and measured tale of deception, and the end still delivers, despite its predictability.   As previously stated, the company stopped producing movies in 1979, after a remake of Hitchcock’s 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes, starring Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd. The company went into hibernation until 2007 when they made Beyond The Rave, a contemporary vampire story which premiered for free online via MySpace. Hammer would go on to begin shooting a new horror movie in Donegal in 2008, backed by the Irish Film Board. The film is titled Wake Wood  and stars Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthhistle, and was scheduled for release in the United Kingdom in the Autumn of 2009. However, the release date was delayed, and the movie wasn’t given a theatrical release in the UK until 2011. Despite the slightly rocky start of a long awaited revival, Hammer Horror movies are now back in production, with seven movies having been made in the last 10 years, and their latest offering, The Lodge, set to premier at the Sundance Film Festival, 2019.
We all love a good photo opportunity. We have all lined up that perfect shot with our phones or with our cameras, waited for the light to hit just right, and then snap that perfect idyllic moment. But what if that perfect moment is spoiled by one of our furry little friends ruining the shot? Hilarious photobombs, that’s what! Here are some of the funniest, and best timed photobombs by our cheeky critter buddies, that we have ever seen. Source: buzz.ie I Hippose I Will Tastes Like… I Found A Nut In My Mouth, Wonder What He’ll Find In Hers? I Always Cry At Weddings, I Simply Can’t Bear Them I’d Smile Ore, But I’m Feeling A Little Horse Seal Of Disapproval Day 66, The Humans Have Accepted Me As One Of Their Own… What’s The Problem Ladies? I Thought I Was A Ray Of Sunshine! Did Someone Say This Was A Winter Wedding? Quick…Fly! Psst…Dude…Are Those Humans Still Behind Me? It’s The No Drama Wedding Llama! I don’t Know Bro, What If I Never Find Out Who The Good Boy Is? Oh Lord, I Think Rex Got Into My Catnip Again… Ever Wonder Why I Always Look Guilty When I Poop And Nothing Happens? I’m Waiting For The Rainbow!   We wonder if these guys knew what they were doing, or are they all just happy little accidents? Whatever you think, there is no denying, animals really are the best little guys.  
Everyone is familiar with Drag Queens and what they do. Cultural phenomenons like RuPaul’s Drag Race have seen Drag Queens go from being the side show entertainment at the local, seedy, gay dive bar, to being super stars in their own right. But what about the Drag Kings? Those androgynous beauties that butch it up with exaggerated masculinity for pomp and spectacle? Drag as a performance art form dates back as far as the 1800’s, where women dressed as men, would swagger across the boards of the London halls, performing songs and comedy routines. But it was their Drag Queen counterparts that became the more culturally acceptable norm. Maybe it was because the imitation of maleness is just not considered as entertaining as affected femininity, or because masculinity is a currency that women are typically not welcome to trade in. Whatever the reason, despite some amazing talent existing out there on the fringes of the scene, Drag Kings are not as widely known, seen, or showcased as Drag Queens. So, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of some of the most talented and noteworthy Drag Kings in operation at the moment. Be they performance artists or social media stars, all have something unique to offer and all deserve their moment in the spotlight. Ivory Onyx Ivory Onyx is an American King who performs in bars and clubs around the world. He even won Mister USofA MI in 2013 and 2017. Murray Hill Murray Hill is a well-known New York City  drag king and entertainer. He is the entertainer persona of Busby Murray Gallagher, he maintains this persona even in his private life. Jean Genie Jean Genie is a Californian drag king who specialises in David Bowie impersonation. He even has the naturally different coloured eyes. Rain Dove Rain Dove Dubilewski  is an American model, actor, and activist. They prefer gender neutral pronouns and are best known for their subversive fashion work, by posing as both male and female models.They are also currently dating Rose McGowan. Landon Cider Landon Cider is the Drag King persona of LA based artist Kristine Carr. Landon also performs on stage worldwide. Miles Long Miles Long is an up and coming drag star from America. Currently working the scene in the Southern California area, he is really one to watch out for. Buck Wylde Buck Wylde is a performance Drag King who does the burlesque club circuit. Known for his rockabilly aesthetic and swingin’ 60’s performances. Gage Gatlyn Gage has been performing since 2003, so is quite the seasoned king. Gage came out publicly as a Transman in 2003 and is an Activist/Advocate in the Transgender Community. He has co-founded The Gatlyn Dame Group, Inc. Gunner Gatlyn Gunner Gatlyn is an entertainer from Phoenix, Arizona who has been performing since June of 2006. Former Drag King turned Male Illusionist, he is an FTM entertainer with an extreme passion for the art of drag. Spikey Van Dykey Spikey Van Dykey has been a leading Male Illusionist & Drag King entertainer for 10 years. He first hit the stage making his debut in Birmingham Alabama at The Quest Club in October of 2000.   So, if these gender bending male illusionists have whet your appetite for some gender-role defying entertainment, check your local gay bars, burlesque bars, and scene venues, Go and support your local drag kings!!  
There are many universal Christmas traditions that are acknowledged around the world. The Christmas tree is one, decorations are another and even the very act of giving presents is another. Some of us have our own personal or family traditions that we stick to each year to make the holiday season that bit more personal. There are also many traditions that are celebrated in specific countries that never made it globally. Here we take a look at some of the more interesting international Yuletide customs. Roller Skating To Mass – Caracas, Venezuela Every year in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, you will see hundreds of people making their way to mass on roller skates on Christmas morning. The tradition is no such a spectacle that some of the city’s main streets are closed for the morning to ensure the skaters’ safety. The Yule Cat – Iceland The Yule Cat is a traditional monster from Icelandic folklore. The story goes that if you have not gotten any new clothes before Christmas Eve, the Yule cat will come and eat you. The cat is supposed to be huge and vicious, and traditionally farmers would use the Yule Cat as an incentive for their workers. If you worked hard you would receive a new set of clothes, but if you didn’t, you would be eaten. The Gävle Goat – Sweden The Gävle Goat is a traditional Christmas display erected annually at Slottstorget in central Gävle, Sweden. It is a depiction of the traditional Yule Goat, straw goat figures, that are an ancient Christmas tradition in Nordic countries. In Sweden, people regarded the Yule goat as an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were done right. A Pickle In The Tree – America One particularly weird Christmas custom is the hanging of a decoration in the shape of a pickle on the tree. The first child to find the pickle is said to get an extra present on Christmas morning. What is really strange about this custom though, is that no one is really sure where it comes from. Originally, it was thought to have come from Germany. However, this has been debunked. It is now accepted to have origination in the United States, but no one is really sure why! KFC For Christmas – Japan In 1974, KFC in Japan launched an advertising campaign that promoted chicken as a Christmas meal. The slogan,  “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas!” spawned a national tradition that still thrives to this day.  Although Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, families from all over the country head to their local KFC for a special Christmas Eve meal. Befana The Witch – Italy In Italy, on the eve of January 5th, according to folklore, an old woman named Befana visits all the children of Italy to fill their stockings with candy and leave them presents if they’ve been good. Just like Santa Claus, Befana enters through the chimney and treats are left out for her by the children of the house. The Poop Log – Catalonia Tió de Nadal, the Christmas log is a tradition in Catalonia, Spain and is made from a hollow log, with stick legs, a smile, and a red hat. Each night from December 8th until Christmas Eve, children feed the log small treats with water, and leave him under a blanket to keep him warm. On Christmas Eve, children beat the log with small sticks and sing songs including this little gem: “Poop log, Poop nougats, Hazelnuts and mato cheese, If you don’t poop well, I’ll hit you with a stick, Poop log!”. Once this ritual has been completed, Tió de Nadal poops out presents and candy. Once he has done this he is then used on the fire by the family for warmth. Perchta – Austria We have all become very familiar with the folklore behind Krampus, the Christmas devil. There have been a number of films made about him over the last few years, however there has been very little mention of Perctha. In Austrian tradition, Perchta is a demon who roams the countryside between Christmas and Epiphany to find naughty children. It is said that she would know whether the children and young servants of the household had behaved well and worked hard all year. If they had, they might find a small silver coin the next day, however, if they had been bad, she would slit their bellies open, remove their stomach and guts, and stuff the hole with straw and pebbles. She would also slit people’s bellies open if she found out that someone had eaten something on the night of her feast day, other than the traditional meal of fish and gruel.   So there are some weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world. Will you be adopting any of them yourself this Christmas? I know we might just decide to tell people a little bit more about Perchta if we aren’t happy with their behaviour over the Christmas period!
We all have that one show that we obsess over. That TV show that no matter how many times you watch it, still fills you with joy and you find something new in it each time. Many of us also like to theorize on what certain aspects of the show could mean, what connections it might have to a broader world, or even, if what we are being shown is really the full story. Here we have some fan theories for some of the most beloved TV shows from the last few decades, some of them make so much sense they might even be true! Friends – Phoebe’s Imaginary Friends This one is a real tear jerker. Fans of the beloved 90’s sitcom have theorized that, rather than being a part of the close knit group of friends, that Phoebe is in fact, a homeless addict. She lives on the streets and stares in at the rest of the group of friends, as they meet for coffee each day in Central Perk. Each of them has got different names than what we are shown, different lives, different personalities. Everything we have watched was merely the imagined life of a down and out. The theory even goes so far as to offer  an alternate ending to the show, a scene where we see the camera pan out from the group, and focus on the bedraggled Phoebe, she looks on at the group as one of them says from inside the coffee shop, isn’t that the crazy lady that always stares at us. The camera follows her along the street where she looks into a mirror in a shop window, she stares at that for a moment, the camera pans up to reveal the shops name to be ‘Ursula’s’. We then see her bedding down for the night on the park bench where she sleeps every night. Thankfully the shows creators have denied this is the case, but it would make a really interesting twist. The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air – The Prince Is Dead This theory claims that The Fresh Prince is actually dead and everything we see is his heaven. The show ran from 1990 to 1996, and each episode has the famous theme song that states: “There’s a couple of guys who were up to no good, starting making trouble in my neighbourhood, I got in one little fight and my mom got scared she said; you’re moving with your auntie and uncle to Bel Air”. Well the theory goes that he never made it out of that fight alive.  He died and the Bel-Air mansion is all a part of his own personal heaven. The cab ride described in the song too, is important, as the cab driver is supposed to be God, transporting him from one world to the next. With fans theorizing that the reason we see his parents so infrequently is because he only gets to see manifestations of them every time they visit his grave. Murder She Wrote – Jessica Fletcher Is A Serial Killer Murder She Wrote is everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure. You know those jokes you hear about never trusting a jogger because they’re the ones who always find the dead bodies. Well, what would you say about a crime novelist who always happens to be at the scene of murder. There were 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote and that equates to almost 300 killings that Fletcher encounters. Surely that amounts to much more than a coincidence. So there is a theory out there that suggests that Jessica Fletcher is in fact a crazed killer who murders as a research for her stories. The Flintstones – Takes Place After The Jetsons Everyone assumes that The Flintstones are in the past and The Jetsons are in the future, but what if The Jetsons are in the future, and The Flintstones is set in a further ahead future than that? According to a fan theory first put forward on Cracked.com, The Flintstones exist in a post-apocalyptic world that takes place after the The Jetsons. The post-apocalyptic theory suggests that a nuclear war destroyed the world which led to modern society being wiped out and replaced with a primitive form of culture. After several hundred years, the Flintstones, residents of Bedrock, and the surrounding cities are what humanity has managed to rebuild. Thus, the Jetsons’s world might have even pre-dated the Flintstones’s world – that is, all the futuristic technology, robots, and rockets of the Jetsons’ world have collapsed, leaving the Flintstones with the remnants of high-tech devices, but with none of the fancy trappings.It is also suggested that the dinosaurs we see in the Flintstones are mutated lizards from the nuclear fallout. Also, this would account for the super intelligent animals that are able to run devices such as record players and televisions. Breaking Bad – The Breaking Dead A theory exists that Walter White’s crystal meth from Breaking Bad was what caused the walker outbreak in The Walking Dead. The theory first examines a time when Walking Dead character, Merle Dixon,  bought some Blue Sky, something we see on screen for ourselves,  in an episode in season 1.  Another fact the theory leans heavily on is the car that Walt buys for  Walt Jr. in Breaking Bad season 4. The car is identical to the one driven by Glenn in season 1 of The Walking Dead.  There is even more evidence where the car is related, when Walt brings the car back, he brings it back to Glenn’s Car Lot.  Furthermore, AMC has recently seemingly confirmed the connection. In an episode of spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead, attentive fans would have heard the song “Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg” playing in the background, the same track which was featured in Breaking Bad, season two . Fear the Walking Dead showrunner Dave Ericksen confirmed its intentional placement. Stranger Things – Eleven Is The Monster Any fan of the show already knows all about the powers that Eleven possesses. But what if part of her powers was to manifest scary creatures to help her deal with all of the bad things that were happening to her as a little girl. We all know that the Upside Down is a sort of duplicate of the real world. Could her Upside Down doppelganger actually be the Demogorgon? This could explain how she is able to recognize both Will and Barb in pictures up in the real world—because her monster duplicate has seen them in the Upside Down. The fact that the monster resembles the Demogorgon from Dungeons & Dragons could be a clue to this being true.  According to the game, the Demogorgon is a two-headed creature that is in constant battle with itself. This suggests that while neither like one another, they need each other to survive. This is something that we see come to fruition in the finale of season 2, where it looks like Eleven defeats the monster, however in the next clip we see that the Upside Down is actually still there. Rugrats – The Babies Don’t Exist This theory states that none of the babies are actually real. They are all just figments of Angelica’s imagination and she invented them on account of her parents’ neglect.  Chuckie died with his mother, which explains how much of a nervous wreck his father was. Tommy was a stillborn baby, which explains why his father, Stu, was always in the basement making toys for the son he never had. The DeVilles had an abortion. To compensate for not knowing the sex of the baby, Angelica invented twins in her head, one boy, one girl, so: Phil and Lil. Susie is Angelica’s only friend, and plays along with her hallucinations so she doesn’t take away her only coping mechanism. Dil was the only baby who couldn’t speak like an adult because he was the only baby that wasn’t a figment of Angelica’s imagination. Saved By The Bell – Bayside High Is Zack’s Dream World Saved By The Bell was one of the greatest TV shows of the 90’s. At least, that’s what we all thought at the time. Before Saved By The Bell,  Zack Morris, Screech and Lisa were all in a Disney Channel teen sitcom called Good Morning Miss Bliss. After a 14-episode run, Good Morning, Miss Bliss was re-made for NBC. Some of the characters stayed on, while others were cast aside. The location changed, from John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indiana to Bayside High School in California. That’s not all that changed, though, since Zack’s character changed somewhat from one show to the other.  Because of this, the theory exists that Saved By The Bell is nothing more than the escapist fantasy of Zack Morris. In Saved By The Bell, Zack is the coolest guy in school, when he originally was a complete dweeb. Fans think he made up an entire dream world in California, where he was popular, cool, charming, and a real hit with the ladies.
Ah Christmas, the most wonderful time in the world. Sleigh bells, family, home cooked meals, presents, twinkling lights, warm fuzzy feelings and general good vibes. That is what most of us think about when we think about the holiday season, but, what if all the saccharine, holly jolly nonsense gets a little bit too much for you? Well, we have just the remedy: a Christmas horror movie marathon! That’s right, there are plenty of horror movies out there that are based around Christmas themes and traditions, and provide the perfect antidote to an overdose of holiday cheer. Read on to discover some examples of some great, cheesy, scary, Ho-Ho-Horror to really send a tingle up your jingle-bells. Black Christmas Black Christmas tells the story of a group of sorority sisters who are all about to go on winter break. Before they all leave for the Holidays, Jess (Olivia Hussey) and party girl Barb (Margot Kidder), begin to receive anonymous, lewd phone calls. One by one the girls begin to turn up missing, and they soon realise that there is a serial killer stalking them. Sint Sint depicts the legendary Saint Nicholas as a murderous bishop who kidnaps and murders children whenever there is a full moon on December 5th. It is a 2010 Dutch movie and was one of the most talked about films in Belgium the year of its release. Silent Night Deadly Night Silent Night Deadly Night was released in 1984 and follows the story of Billy, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after witnessing his parents being brutally slain on Christmas Eve. Years later, after an abusive upbringing in a Catholic orphanage, Billy finds a job in a convenience store, but the impending Christmas holiday sends him on a murderous killing spree. Christmas Evil This is a super low budget 1980 slasher movie. A toy factory worker who revels in the Christmas spirit suffers a mental break when his work is met with cynicism. This leads him to go on a yuletide murderous rampage. A Christmas Horror Story A Christmas Story is a 2015 anthology horror movie comprising of 4 interconnected tales of yuletide terror that takes place on Christmas Eve. Each tale is told by a festive radio host, DJ Dan, (William Shattner): a family brings home more than just a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes a young couple lost in the woods and Santa slays in the ultimate good vs. evil battle. Krampus Krampus is another 2015 horror movie. It depicts Max, a young lad who is struggling with his belief in Santa Claus. When his rambunctious relatives come to visit, Max’s mean cousins find his letter to Santa and tease him at the dinner table. In a temper, Max rips up the letter and sends the pieces out into the night. This brings on the the dark shadow of St. Nicholas, known as Krampus. A strange blizzard descends over the street and the house, and Krampus begins to terrorise the neighbourhood. Silent Night A vicious killer hides in plain sight during a small town’s holiday festivities. Donning a Santa costume, a crazed lunatic murders local townsfolk on Christmas Eve in this loose remake of Silent Night Deadly Night. Jack Frost Not to be confused with the 1998 family movie of the same name starring Michael Keaton, this 1997 Jack Frost follows a serial killer on his way to his execution. After a car wreck and a bizarre dip in some sort of genetic material, Jack is mutated into a murdering snowman hell-bent on revenge for the sheriff who caught him. Rare Exports On Christmas Eve in Finland, Santa Claus is unearthed in an archaeological dig. Soon after, children start disappearing, leading a boy and his father to capture Santa and, with the help of fellow hunters, they look to sell him back to the corporation that sponsored the dig. And then there’s Santa’s elves, who are determined to free their leader. Santa Claws Another extremely low budget slasher romp. This movie follows an erotic-horror movie actress, who is being stalked by a deranged fan, hell bent on claiming her for himself. Elves A young woman discovers that she is the focus of an evil nazi experiment involving selective breeding and summoned elves, in an attempt to create a race of supermen. She and two of her friends are trapped in a department store with an elf, and only Dan Haggerty, as the renegade loose-cannon Santa Claus, can save them. Better Watch Out   On a quiet suburban street, at Christmas time, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion. A gritty home invasion thriller with a huge twist.   These are but a few festive frights that exist in the sub-genre of ‘Christmas Horror’, so if all of the Christmas caroling and pudding eating is getting a little overwhelming, stick on one of these movies at your family gathering, and watch merrily, as their Christmas cheer turns to Christmas fear. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
The holiday season is all about lounging about in your fluffy PJ’s, munching on festive treats and indulging in hours of Yuletide programming. There is nothing quite like the warm fuzzies you get when watching the Christmas special of your favourite TV show. So, with that in mind, we have put together a small selection of some of the greatest Christmas TV specials, and themed episodes of the last few decades. Bob’s Burgers – God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Mannequins When Bob’s Uncle Ernie dies,he leaves Bob a storage unit in his will. Ernie once owned a department store and when the Belcher family goes to find out what is inside the unit, they find Chet, (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). Chet used to work in Uncle Ernie’s department store and is convinced he is a shop mannequin. The family takes him in, only to discover that he has a talent for creating seasonal window displays out of mannequins, in which he also poses. As Christmas approaches, Chet becomes increasingly unstable. He tells the family of his lost love Nadine, (another store mannequin, this time a real one), and how he despairs of her loss. It is everything you would expect from a Bob’s Burgers Christmas special, and despite its weirdness, is full of festive, feel good cheer. Ally McBeal – Silver Bells Christmas was always an exciting time for Ally McBeal fans. Each year the series would focus at least two or three episodes around holiday themes, with lots of seasonal parties and plenty of Christmas songs being sung by the wonderful Vonda Shepard. In Silver Bells, a smart, intelligent threesome, go to court in a bid to win the right to have a three-way marriage legally recognised. Initially dubious of the whole thing, Ally soon begins to notice similar parallels between her clients love-life and her own. Also in this episode, there is plenty of Christmas cheer to be had as we watch Richard Fish, as he busies himself organising the office Christmas party. South Park – Hankey The Christmas Poo Christmas has come to South Park, but Kyle feels left out because he is Jewish, while virtually everyone else is Christian, and celebrating Christmas. He tries to convince everyone of the existence of a piece of poo named Hankey, who comes to everyone at Christmas time. No one believes him, and he is locked in a mental asylum, until Mr. Hankey eventually shows himself to everyone else! Elsewhere in the episode, the town is in an uproar trying to put together the most politically correct nativity play ever. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Amends Every 90’s teenage girl was obsessed with Buffy. It was rare for the show to do a Christmas themed episode, so this was a real treat, even though things do not go smoothly for the Sunnydale residents. Tormented by ‘The First Evil’, who poses as all of Angels victims from when he was Angelus, (the evil version of Angel), he descends into madness. ‘The First Evil’ tries to convince him to kill Buffy, but instead he decides to kill himself. Ultimately, as it always does in Buffy, everything turns out OK in the end. The episode is full of Christmas themes, right down to an unexpected snowfall in the usually sunny, Californian town of Sunnydale. American Dad – The Most Adequate Christmas Ever the underrated little brother of Family Guy, American Dad is another Seth MacFarlane masterpiece. The show has quite a few Christmas episodes in their arsenal, but this one is one of the best. In this episode, we see Stan return from a mission for Christmas. The family has decked the halls with boughs of holly so to speak, but Stan is unhappy with the decorations. He wants it bigger and grander. In an attempt to find the biggest and best Christmas tree, Stan ventures into the woods and is killed by a falling tree. His soul lands in limbo, and he has to fight both heaven and hell to prove it is not his time, so he can get back to his family in time for Christmas. My So Called Life – So Called Angels My So Called Life had a tragically short run of just one series. It introduced the world to Jared Leto and Clare Danes, and followed the life of high-schooler Angela, as she traversed the tumultuous landscape of 90’s America as an angsty, forlorn teen. In this episode, Christmas has arrived in Three Rivers, and Angela’s good friend, Rickie has spent the night on the streets, after a fight with his abusive uncle. Angela tries to find him, and is helped by a mysterious, guitar playing, homeless girl. The episode was aired on December 22nd 1994, and still stands up today as an important commentary on the true meaning of Christmas. The Simpsons – Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire The Simpsons turn 30 in 2019, and there have been many, many, Christmas episodes over its impressive run. The most iconic of which is the very first episode of the very first season, that aired on December 18th 1989. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire sees the family struggle through a rather frugal Yuletide. Mr. Burns cuts Christmas bonuses, Bart gets a tattoo that has to be removed, and Homer gets a second job as a shopping mall Santa. Full of cheer and typical Simpsons good humour, this episode really set the bar for a show that would go on to (so far) span three decades, with no signs of slowing down. Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo Friends has recently enjoyed quite the comeback thanks to its recent inclusion to the Netflix library. One of its greatest episodes is The One With The Holiday Armadillo. Ross, being Jewish, wants to introduce his son Ben to Hanukkah. Ben is obsessed by all things Christmas, and when he hears that Santa has nothing to do with Hanukkah, he wants nothing to do with the Jewish tradition. In an attempt to spark an interest in his son, Ross rents the only costume they had left at a costume store: an armadillo. Posing as ‘The Holiday Armadillo’, Ross tells Ben all about Hanukkah, and the Festival Of Light. Chandler also tries to help by arriving in a Santa suit. Meanwhile, Phoebe and Monica plot to convince Rachel to move back in with Phoebe, and out of Joey’s apartment, but their attempts fail. Family Guy – A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas This episode from the third season of the show focuses on the Griffins as they spend Christmas at the local mall. Peter accidentally gives away all the family’s Christmas presents to a needy children’s charity. Seemingly unfazed by this, Lois insists that they all go to the mall to buy new gifts. Back at home, Brian nearly burns the house down while watching the Christmas turkey, but luckily, escapes with only minor burns. However, the interior of the house is destroyed, and all of the decorations have been burned to a crisp . Lois so far maintains her calm through all of this, but when Meg informs her that they have no more paper towels left, she finally flips and goes on a rampage throughout the town of Quahog. Alan Partridge – Knowing Me Knowing Yule With Alan Partridge Knowing Me Knowing Yule was the Christmas special of the BBC comedy: Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge. Alan is a fictitious television show host, who has been given his own BBC chat show. Each episode follows him through various capers, and cringe-worthy bungles. In the Christmas special, Alan has been given one last chance with his show, and has been allowed to produce his own Christmas special. Things inevitably go hilariously wrong, and there are lots of festive laughs to be had, mostly at Alan’s expense. Futurama – Xmas Story Futurama, Matt Groening’s other show, follows the life of Fry, who falls into a cryo-tank in the year 2000, and wakes up in the year 3000. He is a delivery boy for Planet Express, a company owned by his Great, Great, Great, Great Grandnephew, Professor Farnsworth. In this episode, Fry learns that Christmas is a very different deal in the 31st century. Santa is no longer the jolly old man in the bright red suit, he is now a 7 foot tall robot, hell bent on slaying (sleighing?!) anyone who has made his naughty list. As it turns out, because of a malfunction, everyone is on Santa’s naughty list. The Planet Express team must find a way to defeat the evil robot Santa, and save Christmas, or rather Xmas, as it is now exclusively known.   These are just a few festive goodies to get you in the mood for Holiday season! All of these episodes are readily available to stream, and would make a great ‘Christmas Eve viewing marathon’ for the whole family. There are many other amazing Christmas specials out there too. These are just some of our favourites.       #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}