Guest Post: How not to annoy your housemates

Image c/o: Huff Post

In case you
d managed to forget, were coming out of a recession, and living through a housing crisis. More of us are living in house shares than ever before - and were living there for longer, too; with the average age of a first-time buyer now 36.

This means that - like it or not - the vast majority of us have housemates. If youre lucky, theyll be people you know already, but a lot of us are thrown into a small space with a group of people weve never even met before. Luckily, communal living, even in a small home, can be really harmonious: as long as youre not invading each others personal space or disrespecting common living areas, as breaching these rules can lead to major falling out! The good news is that - to paraphrase the Neighbours theme tune - good housemates can become good friends, and living with friends can be lots of fun! But for a friendship to develop, you need to make sure youre all getting along. Weve put together some of our favourite tips for staying on your housemates good sides when space is tight.

Keep clutter free
One persons clutter is bad enough. When there are four or five of you (or even just 2!) leaving bits around communal areas, mess can accumulate quickly, especially in a small room. Getting rid of clutter quickly - even if you just put it in your own room to get it out of the way - will save space and make rooms feel much tidier. But make sure you only stick to tidying up your own mess, as accidentally throwing away something that belongs to one of your housemates is a quick way to start arguments.

Sharing is caring
When youre living with people you dont know very well, it can feel odd to share things with them - but in a small kitchen there isnt going to be much room multiple sets of pots and pans, cutlery, plates and so on. Consider putting any spares in storage - or selling them if you dont think youll use them again. Similarly, sharing shelf or cupboard space in the kitchen and bathroom instead of segregating your things into separate areas is another way to use storage space more efficiently; although not advisable if any of you are prone to borrowing!

Be considerate with guests
Sharing your already minimal personal space with a school-friend or new partner might seem like no big deal to you, but having too many overnight guests in a house-share can put a lot of stress on your relationship with your housemates. An extra person for the bathroom in the morning or someone else using up the milk can make all the difference when youre already living on top of each other, and if you have people over too often you run the risk of being asked to contribute extra to the bills as well. No ones saying you should forgo your social life, but keep overnight visitors to a minimum - and always run it past your housemates first, too.

Try and stick to a cleaning rota
If you really want to make sure everyones doing their fair share, a cleaning rota is a surefire way to get chores done. But if that seems a bit too extreme, you could try each claiming responsibility for a different chore so that everything gets done regularly. Try and always be on your best behaviour when it comes to cleaning, as your idea of acceptable mess will almost certainly be someone elses idea of a hovel.

Have somewhere to escape to
Whether its your mums house, a favourite cafe or the local library, when youre living in a confined space with a few other people its imperative to have somewhere to escape to when its all getting a bit too much. The metime will do you a world of good, and a break from your housemates every week or so will ensure you stay appreciative of them.

Liberty is a content strategist writing on behalf of Lifestyle Blinds

Into the Woods Film Review

   Rapunzel, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood together, at last, in one feature - Into the Woods is The Avengers of fairy-tale movies. Except, of course, if we decide to measure Disney's latest musical against the with, warmth and wonder of Joss Whedon's superhero marvel. In this instance, such a comparison would be wholly unfair.

   Based on Stephen Sondheim's stage show, and directed by Chicago veteran Rob Marshall, Into The Woods would, on paper, seem to boast a winning combination of parts. Yet, as these things often happen, somewhere in production the alchemy curdled - the end result is a bloated, empty, humourless and, indeed,a rare, headache inducing film.

   Within twenty minutes of the cinema curtains parting, I was praying for a higher entity to make the cast stop violently shouting at me in sharp regional accents; the show-tunes contained within do little to resemble classic Western melodies instead taking the form of voluminous, graphic assaults. One and a half hours of further blunt sonic trauma, Marshall's movie finally convinced me of something I had spent my entire life debating with myself - there is not, and cannot possibly be, a loving God looking down upon me. If there was, how could he not intervene? I asked for a Deus ex-Machina and all I got was this lousy James Corden.

   The flaws of Into The Woods are plentiful - indeed, too lengthy a list for my sanity to revisit at any great length. In short - the music, directing and screen-writing are a notch below uninspired; the child actors deliver the two most insufferable screen performances in living memory; the narrative flows at glacial pace to places we don't wish to visit....

   Ultimately, Into The Woods has neither the charm of classic Disney adaptations, the darkness of the source material fairytales, or the wit of modern takes on fables as so winningly encapsulated by Enchanted. Marshall's movie is stunningly, depressingly pedestrian and the only emotion that can possibly be gleaned from his latest musical is crushing ennui.

   To end the review on a balanced note, here is a comprehensive list of the things that can be enjoyed in the film: Anna Kendrick.

Beyond Clueless

    Beyond Clueless is a beguiling, often contradictory film; one which hypnotises and obfuscates with equal measure.

   A patch-work, mix-tape movie, Charlie Lyne's documentary takes the form of a Mark Cousins-esque dream-scape essay to investigate contemporary "Teen" features. Yet, from the off, the thesis is entirely uncertain - what exactly is Lyne trying to identify or state?

   Fairuza Balk, the star of The Craft, narrates Beyond Clueless with a calm, measured tone which, unfortunately, does little to banish an air of aimlessness through which the film floats. During reading of selected "key texts" - including Bubble Boy, The Girl Next Door and Slap Her, She's French! - the film meanders with elongated passages which fail to resemble traditional analysis but border, instead, on lengthy regurgitation of synopses. Insight and poetry are kept to a minimum.

   Interspersed between these chapters, however, comes the segments which really save Beyond Clueless: the thematic montages.

   Splicing together clips from iconic, and not-so-iconic, moments in the Teen genre, Lyne uses an emotive soundtrack by Summer Camp to fashion together sequences which border on the euphoric. An early example includes an infinite procession of cliques striding down school corridors, edited in a weightless loop, a glistening, pulsing, throbbing, oozing, soundscape underpinning the action and offering a spectral grace to proceedings. A parade of thousands of amorphous faces, bodies and lives, glow from the screen, highlighting both the universality of the High School and the individual stories within - the experience is akin to standing in an echo chamber with hundreds of young adult stories reverberating around one's skull; an elevating experience.

   Yet, come the conclusion of Beyond Clueless, Lyne has said or shown nothing which has expanded our knowledge or understanding of the Teen movie or Teen lives. Indeed, as the clock ticks on, we're quite uncertain whether or not Lyne has even identified what a "Teen" movie actually is - few would argue that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, American History X or The Dreamers belong in a category normally associated with Bring It On. Omissions such as Angus are criminal too.

   Searching for consistency, or anything as lucid as meaning, in Lyne's experimental essay is a task most of us would fail at. Indeed, despite the positives, the montages constituting the prime examples, its impossible for our minds not to wander over the course of Beyond Clueless - when moments from Mean Girls, Clueless or Can't Hardly Wait flash on-screen, its impossible not to wish to be watching the entirety of these teen classics instead.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Review

   Alex Gibney, one of documentary film-making's most prolific talents, has told scores of tales across his long and varied career. Few, if any, are as full of the sorrow and pity on display in Mea Maxima Culpa - a retelling of broken deaf men crying out for God's healing ways and receiving nothing but sterile silence in return. This is the story of souls filled with courage to shout, and those stained by the cowardice of reticence.

   A damning and almighty "J'Accuse", Gibney's film introduces us to Terry, Gary, Pat and Arthur - four former student's of St John's School of the Deaf. During their most vulnerable years, the boys were systematically abused by the school's head Father Lawrence Murphy. They were not the first, nor would they be the last, of his victims.

   As adults, the deaf students became militarised and took it upon themselves to make certain that the public knew exactly what Murphy had done behind closed doors. Disturbingly his crimes, both in nature and extent, were well known within the Catholic Church ; a certain Cardinal Ratzinger (later taking the name Pope Benedict) was assigned to deal with all cases of paedophile priests across the religion. The Church, as always, took to institutionalised silence on such issues - their policy of "Omerta", and dealing with all issues internally, seemingly cribbed wholesale from the Mafia.

   Gibney's film is a helacious, systematic assault on the Catholic Church, showcasing the acts of pure evil perpetrated by the institution for the sake of public relations. Generations of children can be abused by men of God but the wellbeing of victims is of much lower priority to the Church than the men who commit such evil and the reputation of the institution too. It is a sickening state of affairs.

   Yet, for a film featuring such perverse and grotesque actions, Mea Maxima Culpa also boasts images of radiant beauty. As Terry, Gary, Pat and Arthur tell their harrowing stories, their faces and hands captivate us - Gibney's movie has illuminated his subjects so as to capture the profound brilliance and honesty of sign language as their features state more words than their mouths ever could. This is the story of supreme evil clashing with voices which do not tremble, voices which will not be hushed.

The Fives (Deuo pai-i-beu) Review

   The Fives (or Deuo Pai-i-beu) is a Korean crime movie which left this writer with an even greater appreciation of the British NHS and of our police force than I had ever previously thought possible.

   The revenge thriller, another example of the sub-genre stemming  from the country, centres around Ko Eun-ah  (Kim Seon-ah) a woman who is the sole survivor of a massacre in her home.

   The perpetrator, "180cm tall.... soft features that girls like", wouldn't look out of place in a particularly hunky K-Pop band. We soon learn that his murders take place on something of a regular basis; quite literally, the brooding antagonist is a lady killer.

   Yet, for reasons which are never fully explained, the local police don't seem too bothered about uncovering his identity - media storms must blow over relatively easily in Seoul as the detectives are too tied up with making takeaway orders to track down a brutal criminal.

   With the law of the land apathetic to her plight, Eun-ah takes the decision to gain her own revenge. That her assault has left her wheelchair bound, and with the crazy-lank hair style favoured by mentally traumatised vengeance seekers (see also Oh Dae-su in Park Chan-wok's Old Boy), matters not; Eun-ah has a cunning plan to hunt down and kill the man who has taken away everything from her. Alas, she cannot do this alone.

    As Eun-ah dreams of revenge, she plots to put together a crack team of souls as anguished as she; this is not so much the Fantastic Five - or even the Hateful Eight or Dirty Dozen - but much rather the Desperate Five. Despairing over long waits for medical aid, unable to queue jump like the rich and powerful in a world of privatised healthcare, the group Eun-ah have put together all desire the only thing she can truly offer to them: her body. (This is not meant in a sexual manner but in the more graphic, literal way - her organs are to be spread amongst those who need them once they have offered assistance in vengeance).

   On paper, The Fives does very little to separate itself from an already over-crowded market of "B"-movie style Korean thrillers and often, in plotting, finds itself taking asinine detours with overblown twists and turns; Jung Yeon-sik's debut film often plumps for the over-sensational rather than the sensible. This does not mean, however, that there is nothing of value to be found in the often by-the-numbers thriller.

    Kim Seon-ah's return to the big screen (after a number of years starring on television) is a welcome one - her nuanced turn, bitter and hate-filled, is captivating and provides an engaging lead performance. Like Kim Ha-neul in Blind, another Korean thriller about a mass murderer, Seon-ah is also able to make the most out of portraying a character suffering a disability in a rounded, human manner.

   Whereas Blind saw our hero struggle through with impaired vision, The Fives sees Kim Seon-ah's character seek revenge whilst consigned to a wheelchair - a refreshing take on the classic horror tradition of disabilities or disfigurements belonging exclusively to villains. Here, the murderer has sculpted abs and a face which wouldn't look out of place in 2AM - we're asked to give our sympathies not to an aspirational pretty boy but those on the bottom wrungs of society.

   A schlocky thriller it may be but, ultimately, The Fives asks questions of a healthcare system which can lead to the most grotesque of scenarios in a culture obsessed with looks and status.  

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