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OUT NOW... (THE) QUEEN'S GREATEST HITS! BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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  OUT NOW … (THE) QUEEN’S GREATEST HITS! BY SANDRA HARRIS.  © Wow. I literally never thought I’d see the day, but it’s finally happened. After a whopping ninety-six years on earth (it makes me dizzy just thinking about it) , Queen Elizabeth the Second of England passed away yesterday at ‘one of her favourite houses,’ Balmoral Castle in Scotland. I just want to say that, if I owned a castle in Scotland myself, it would probably be one of my own personal favourite homes. Well, that and the chateau in France and the Alpine chalet, naturally. Oh, and, of course, the Spanish villa. But no matter, never mind my bitterness, that’s not what we’re here to discuss today. Today is the day after the day that the Queen slipped quietly away into the afterlife to be with her husband, of whom more later. For now, all we want to do is have a look at her greatest accomplishments, victories and triumphs. We’ll call them (The) QUEEN’S GREATEST HITS … 1.       In fairness to the old dear, she did

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION. BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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  HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION. BY SANDRA HARRIS. © This is the time of year when school kids are traditionally required to pen the essay on what they did over their summer holidays. I myself had the best summer I’ve had in ages, not for any major, spectacular reasons but for a load of little bitty reasons, which are every bit as worthwhile. And I normally loathe summer too, for a myriad of reasons, which makes my enjoyment of this one all the more miraculous, and baffling. Here are some of the reasons why I normally hate summer; if I have to suffer through them, then you guys have to suffer through reading ‘em... 1.       I have goth leanings, and prefer to wear black and hibernate for the whole of the winter and much of spring. Summer is usually a horrible shock to the system. 2.       Summer makes my hair do a ‘Monica-from FRIENDS in the One Where the Gang go to Barbados.’ 3.       It also makes my eyeliner melt and my deathly-white Irish skin burn on whichever parts o

ALBA. (2021) A NETFLIX SERIES ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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  ALBA. (2021) BASED ON THE TURKISH DRAMA SERIES, FATMAGUL’UN SUCU NE? DIRECTED BY PABLO GUERRERO, CARLOTA MARTINEZ-PEREDA AND HUMBERTO MIRO. STARRING ELENA RIVERA, ERIC MASIP, CATERINA MENGS, ADRIANA OZORES, ALVARO RICO, POL HERMOSO, JASON FERNANDEZ, FRANKY MARTIN, CANDELA CRUZ AND ANTONIO GIL. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. © ‘Our power derives from denying theirs.’ There are almost too many twists and turns in this Spanish psychological drama-thriller, and it could have done without maybe three of its thirteen fifty-minute episodes, but I still really enjoyed this. It reminded me a lot of the English drama series LIAR , which in turn was based on the Spanish drama series LIES AND DECEIT , as drug-rape is the main topic in all three Netflix shows. The thing I’ve noticed with very long, multi-episode series is that they run out of steam a wee bit before the end and as a result get twistier and turnier until some of the twists are, frankly, incomprehensible. Such is the case with

LIVE AID, QUEEN, FREDDIE MERCURY AND AIDS. BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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  LIVE AID, QUEEN, FREDDIE MERCURY AND AIDS. BY SANDRA HARRIS. © Do you remember where you were when LIVE AID happened? I do. I was just a kid, obsessed with pop and rock, glued to the television on which the biggest benefit concert the world had ever seen was about to kick off with British broadcaster Richard Skinner uttering the immortal words, ‘It’s twelve noon in London (also Ireland, where I was!), seven am in Philadelphia and, around the world, it’s time for LIVE AID.’ It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday in Ireland and I was super-excited about having a day of top quality pop and rock from some of the biggest stars on the planet to look forward to. The legendary concert, organised by rock musicians Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, happened on this day thirty-seven years ago, and it was conceived of after the BBC aired some horrific news reports by Michael Buerk on the 1983-1985 famine in Ethiopia. The initial Band Aid project saw the song performed by Various Artists, Do They Know

TWENTY-ONE THINGS I'LL MISS ABOUT THE LOCKDOWNS. BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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TWENTY-ONE THINGS I’LL MISS ABOUT THE LOCKDOWNS. BY SANDRA HARRIS. © Okay, so is that it, then? Two solid years of living in fear, wearing masks to cover our faces, sanitising the top layers of skin off our hands and poking people with a two-metre stick to make sure they didn’t breach our personal defences (or was that last bit just me, lol?) , and now suddenly it’s all over? Throw away your masks and your hand sanitisers and safety signs, and roll around in a big ball of humanity licking people all of a sudden? Okay, fair enough, the global coronavirus pandemic may be approaching end-game, but there are certain things about the various lockdowns- here in Ireland, we had three main ones- that will always make me feel nostalgic when I think about them. Note, by the way, that I’m not saying I’ll miss the pandemic that killed so many innocent people, every single one of them someone’s son, daughter, friend, sibling, parent or neighbour. It’s the lockdowns I’ll miss, and here are the

WHEN THEY SEE US. (2019) A SUPERB TRUE CRIME DRAMA SERIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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  WHEN THEY SEE US. (2019) A NETFLIX TRUE CRIME DRAMA SERIES WRITTEN, CREATED AND DIRECTED BY AVA DUVERNAY. STARRING FELICITY HUFFMAN, VERA FARMIGA, FAMKE JANNSEN AND JOHN LEGUIZAMO. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. © This is a superb four-part true crime/drama mini-series, but it’s the most harrowing thing I’ve ever seen on Netflix, and all the more harrowing for its all being true, and the fact that the stuff that happens to the young boys in it all actually happened. And, if it’s harrowing to watch, how much worse must it be to have actually lived through all this horrible stuff. Let me tell you the story. On the night of April 19 th , 1989 (can you remember where you were and what you were doing in April of that year, just to put the timeframe into context?), a young white woman, an investment banker called Patricia Meili, went for a run late in the evening in New York’s famous Central Park. Somewhere along the way, she was accosted, raped, beaten severely and left for dead in a bu