Category Archives: Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Haunting My Ghosts: A Novel Experience by Noëlle Blake

Just pages into the prologue, I was struck by the vividness of each scene which soon became animated in my imagination; the film reel was rolling.

The action is suspenseful and dramatic, but saddening as you feel how the burden of main character Shelby Rivers’ early life is set to potentially destroy her future. And with this combined eeriness and poignancy, Noëlle Blake thrusts you into Shelby’s very accomplished but single Sex and the City-esque life, while at the same time exposing its hollow centre.haunting-my-ghosts-2

She is a community arts coordinator who at long last feels a real connection to her work, without judgement or the stain of inadequacy. However, not even something so integral to her life i.e. her career, is safe in her quest for revenge. We meet her current friends as well as friends no longer, and read her candid internal commentary. But once you take the character away from her affluent two-bedroom ground floor apartment in ‘Sandenham’ overlooking the canal – and I imagine her to wear chiffon wrap dresses with slightly windswept hair and wedges to match – the reader can empathise with a very relatable aspect of human nature: the desire to be acknowledged and have our feelings vindicated.

Rather intelligently, Blake leaves clues dripping throughout the chapters of what will be. Minute details which I overlooked on the first read became more obvious the second time round, but nothing about Blake’s descriptions or references are accidental. No words are out of place or meaningless.

In saying that, there are parts I felt less words would’ve done. Elaborate phrasing and wordy dialogue at times felt forced and led me to question – ‘would they really say that?’ However, this novel is a beautiful literacy challenge and has set a benchmark for future readings of impactful and contemporary fiction.

Haunting My Ghosts is personally more of a drama than a thriller, but a great debut from an author whose work already shows huge promise.

Rating: 4/5

Buy now from Amazon.

GIG REVIEW: Bipolar Sunshine at the Ritz Manchester

Dulcet tones and hymnal backing vocals produced a calming sense of stillness at the Ritz Manchester last night.

Source: Chuff Media

Source: Chuff Media

Bipolar Sunshine lulled me into a trance only to rouse me from the slumber with beautiful melodies and lyrics that rang out like anthems.

It was an interesting experience, and yet somehow unexpected, despite the purposeful use of juxtaposition within his studio material and new creative direction.

Harmonic vocals ensnared the crowd and while lyrics, ‘I feel the fire’ echoed around the room so too did the rapturous applause once the last note was played. Sunset orange filled the stage for the aptly titled, Fire, and while Bipolar was quiet, the cheering continued.

Bipolar Sunshine, real name: Adio Marchant, knew exactly what he was doing on stage but yet didn’t need to do much at all. The audience were with him all of the way – phones and plastic cups of beer in the air, leaving Marchant and the band to continue without gimmicks.

Addressing the crowd near the end of his set, he declared: “I always make sure the last place I play is Manchester,” before rapping acapella in his uniquely crafted spoken-word style. Though Bipolar has made a conscious decision to step away from a sound synonymous with Manchester, you only had to look around at the indie crowd to know he’s made a mark on the alternative music scene here.

Relatable on stage without unnecessary decoration, reverberating drumbeats and synths added striking depth to his musical offerings. Magic was created when other genres like Ska seeped through and the crescendo of a four-piece band touched the soul of every person in the audience.

Performing all of the best tracks in his arsenal: Where Did The Love Go, Rivers, Love More Worry Less, I suspect we’ll be waiting until festival season to see him live again. Marking the last few minutes of his UK tour with Daydreamers, at least I have the album on my hard drive to see me through to summer.

www.bipolarsunshine.com

Originally published on Mancunian Matters