Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Phantom of the Opera


The Phantom of the Opera (French: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra) is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialisation in Le Gaulois from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Initially, the story sold very poorly upon publication in book form and was even out of print several times during the twentieth century; it is overshadowed by the success of its various film and stage adaptations. The most notable of these were the 1925 film depiction, Ken Hill's 1976 musical at the Theatre Royal Stratford East followed ten years later by Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical that in turn inspired the 2004 film adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher.

The novel opens with a prologue in which Gaston Leroux claims that Erik, the "Phantom of the Opera", was a real person. We are then introduced to Christine Daaé who with her father, a famous fiddler, travelled all over Europe playing folk and religious music. Her father was known to be the best wedding-fiddler in the land. When Christine is six, her mother dies and her father is brought to rural France by a patron, Professor Valerius.

During Christine's childhood (which is described retrospectively in the early chapters of the book), her father tells her many stories featuring an "Angel of Music", who, like a muse, is the personification of musical inspiration. Christine meets and befriends the young Raoul, Viscount of Chagny, who also enjoys her father's many stories. One of Christine and Raoul's favourite stories is one of Little Lotte, a girl with golden hair and blue eyes who is visited by the Angel of Music and possesses a heavenly voice.

On his deathbed, Christine's father tells her that he will send the Angel of Music to her from Heaven. Christine now lives with Mamma Valerius, the elderly widow of her father's benefactor.

Christine is eventually given a position in the chorus at the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier). Not long after she arrives there, she begins hearing a beautiful, unearthly voice which sings to her and speaks to her. She believes this must be the Angel of Music and asks him if he is. The Voice agrees and offers to teach her "a little bit of heaven's music". The Voice, however, belongs to Erik, a physically-deformed and mentally-disturbed charismatic genius who was one of the architects who took part in the construction of the opera and who secretly built a home for himself in the cellars. He has been extorting money from the Opera's management for many years. Unknown to Christine, at least at first, he falls in love with her.

With the help of the Voice, Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers' retirement. Her old childhood friend Raoul hears her and remembers his love for her. A time after the gala, the Paris Opera performs Faust, with the prima donna Carlotta playing the lead. In response to a refused surrender of Box Five to the Opera Ghost, Carlotta loses her voice and the Opera's grand chandelier plummets into the audience.

After the chandelier accident, Erik kidnaps Christine to his home in the cellars and reveals his true identity. He plans to keep her there only a few days, hoping she will come to love him, and Christine begins to find herself attracted to her abductor. But she causes Erik to change his plans when she unmasks him and, to the horror of both, beholds his face, which according to the book, resembles the face of a rotting corpse. Erik goes into a frenzy, stating she probably thinks his face is another mask, and whilst digging her fingers in to show it was really his face he shouts, "I am Don Juan Triumphant!" before crawling away, crying. Fearing that she will leave him, he decides to keep her with him forever, but when Christine requests release after two weeks, he agrees on condition that she wear his ring and be faithful to him.

Up on the roof of the Opera, Christine tells Raoul of Erik taking her to the cellars. Raoul promises to take Christine away where Erik can never find her and to take her even if she resists. Raoul tells Christine he shall act on his promise the following day, to which Christine agrees, but she pities Erik and will not go until she has sung for him one last time. Christine then realizes the ring has slipped off her finger and fallen into the streets somewhere, and begins to panic. The two leave. But neither is aware that Erik has been listening to their conversation or that it has driven him to jealous frenzy. During the week and that night, Erik has been terrorising anyone who stood in his way or in that of Christine's career, including the managers.

The following night, Erik kidnaps Christine during a production of Faust (by drugging the gas men and switching the lights off, he spirits Christine off the stage before anyone turned the lights on). Back in the cellars, Erik tries to force Christine into marriage. If she refuses he threatens to destroy the entire Opera using explosives he has planted in the cellars, killing them and everyone in the floors above. Christine continues to refuse, until she realizes that Raoul and an old acquaintance of Erik's known only as "The Persian", in an attempt to rescue her, have been trapped in Erik's hot torture chamber. To save them and the people above, Christine agrees to marry Erik. At first, Erik tries to drown Raoul and the Persian in the water used to douse the explosives, stating that Christine doesn't need another. But Christine begs and offers to be his "living bride", promising him not to kill herself after becoming his bride, as she had both contemplated and attempted earlier in the novel. Erik rescues the Persian and the young Raoul from his torture chamber thereafter. When Erik is alone with Christine, he lifts his mask a little to kiss her on the forehead, and Christine allows him to do this. Erik, who admits that he has never before in his life received or been allowed to give a kiss – not even from his own mother – is overcome with emotion. Christine gives him a kiss back. He lets Christine go and tells her "Go and marry the boy whenever you wish," explaining, "I know you love him". She leaves on the condition that when he dies she will come back and bury him.

Being an old acquaintance, The Persian is told of all these secrets by Erik himself, and upon his express request, the Persian advertises Erik's death in the newspaper about three weeks later. The cause of death is revealed to be a broken heart, and as promised, Christine returns to bury Erik and give his ring back to him.

Character in The Phantom of the Opera
-Erik: The "Phantom" and "Opera-Ghost".
-Christine Daaé: A young Swedish soprano.
-Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny: Christine's childhood friend and love interest.
-The Persian: A mysterious man from Erik's past.
-Comte Philippe de Chagny: Raoul's elder brother.
-Armand Moncharmin and Firmin Richard: The managers of the opera house.
-Madame Giry: The suspicious caretaker for Box Five.
-Meg Giry: Madame Giry's only daughter, a ballet girl. Later becomes Mme. la Baronne de Castelot-Barbezac.
-Debienne and Poligny: The previous managers of the opera house.
-Joseph Buquet: The chief scene-shifter.
-Little Jammes: A friend of Meg and also a ballet girl.
-La Carlotta: A spoiled prima donna; the lead soprano of the Paris opera house.
-Mercier: The acting-manager.
-Gabriel: The superstitious chorus-master.
-Mifroid: The commissary of police called in for Christine's disappearance.
-Remy: The manager's secretary.
-The inspector: An inspector hired to investigate the strange affairs in Box Five.
-Shah and the sultan: The two kings that tried to kill Erik after he made them a palace.
-La Sorelli: the lead ballerina and woman with whom Comte de Chagny spent time. Also labelled Annie Sorelli, though this is questionable.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the esthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.

Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity, or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required. Here are a few tips how to be elegant and simplicity.

1. Be confident. Tell yourself you're beautiful, intelligent, and that you know what you're doing.
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2. Focus on your look. Keep it simple and classy! Don't go out in pants hanging around your knees or shirts that don't fit. Wear neutral colours or colours that look good on, in simple styles that fit you well.

3. Jewelry should be simple. It should go with what you are wearing and doing. Don't wear chandelier earrings while you're working out!

4. Don't act dumb just for the sake of it. Often times, people act dumb to stand out. While you may stand out that way, it won't be in a way you want! Be careful also not to act like you know everything about every subject. Talk about subjects you truly know about or say you don't know much about the topic. Your honesty will be appreciated.

5. Interact with everyone. Being elegant is all about being mature, which means no arguing with people and no bad-mouthing. Be nice and friendly to everyone. Make the effort. Don't swear.

6. Be real and be yourself! Don't try to be something you're not just to prove to people how elegant you are - it will backfire.

7. Have good table manners. You must have impeccable manners. Don't slurp any kind of liquid. Keep the napkin in your lap when you're eating. USE your napkin though, whatever you do don't suck on your fingers one at a time. It may be okay at home, but it's not acceptable in public. Don't talk with your mouth full. Get a few books on manners from the library. Miss Manners is the most popular series.

8. Compliment people. Don't take it too far and compliment everyone on something, but do comment if you think Mary's new handbag is gorgeous.

9. If you want to be elegant you are going to wear very little makeup. Only wear concealer if you need it, a dusting of powder to keep the shine down, some mascara, and pale pink lipstick or lipgloss. You do not need foundation.

10. Good choices for nail polish are pale pink, clear, or a french manicure. But remember that any colour can look elegant, it all depends on how you carry it off. Don't rule out any colour - including black - unless you don't like it. Look at some photos of celebrities' nails at events. They wear all colours, including black, green, and orange, and many of them still look elegant.

11. Don't do anything stupid, like drinking too much or agreeing to do drugs because someone tells you it'll make you more popular. Have morals and stick to them.

12. Be confident. Spread your wings and talk to people. If you want to know someone better, just introduce yourself. Try to find something about them that you can talk about. Say that you liked the point they brought up in class or at a meeting, or talk about a piece of jewelry or clothing they're wearing.

13. If you are talking to someone focus on what they're saying, even if it's boring. Gently try to change the subject as soon as you can, but never tell them "this is boring, let's talk about something else"

14. Use your manners on the phone, too. Don't answer and say "What do you want?" or be rude to them at all..

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Colour Blocking. Antara Fenomina dan Malapetaka


Jika kita mengikuti fesyen dewasa ini colour blocking menjadi satu trend ikutan remaja-remaja di jalanan sehinggalah ke pentas catwalk. Beberapa fashion house baik didalam mahupun luar Negara menjadikan colour blocking sebagan taruhan dalam membina satu fenomina baru. Lihat sahaja di butik seperti H&M, philosophy-men, Top Man dan sebagainya, baju-baju plain adalah berwarna terang serta seluar-seluar bertona terang berlambak-lambak untuk dipadankan. 

 Namun apakah  itu colour blocking ? Colour blocking adalah satu gaya yang bermain dengan beberapa tona warna yang terang. Namun, risiko untuk mengaya diri dengan colour blocking adalah sangan tinggi. Kesilapan menggayakan diri anda akan menjadikan anda kelihatan seperti COURT JASTER ataupun BADUT.

 Sebenarnya tidak salah untuk mengayakan diri dengan warna-warna terang. Ianya mampu menaikan aura si pemakai dan mennjolkan lagi identiti si pemakai di khalayak ramai. Mulut-mulut disekeliling sudah pasti akan bercakap-cakap tentang si pemakai itu. Namun yang membezakan adalah sama ada mulut-mulut itu memuji ataupun mengeji. Jadi jangan biarkan diri anda menjadi mangsa kejian mereka-mereka diluar sana. Berikut adalah beberapa tips sebagai panduan dalam mengayakan colour blocking. 

1. Combine with the right colour.
Jadikan colour wheel sebagai panduan. Padankan warna dengan warna yang kontra bagi menaikan aura si pemakai. Minimumkan kepada tiga colour sahaja supaya anda tidak kelihatan serabut ataupaun pelangi. 

2. One shade of colour
Pilih satu warna sebagai latar belakang atau identiti utama anda. Kamudian tona lain yang bersesuaian sebagai campuran warna bagi menaikan tona utama.

3. Pair with white shirt or T shirt
Sekiranya anda memilih untuk memakai seluar yang berwarna terang, untuk kelihatan selamat, gayakan dengan baju putih. Begitu juga sekiranya baju anda adalah berwarna terang, gayakan dengan seluar putih. Untuk maklumat putih adalah tona penyelamat untuk semua colour. Namun jika anda konfiden  untuk memilih tona selain putih, teruskan namun berhati-hati supaya tona itu nampak sesuai dengan gaya anda.

4. Use solid colour shoe
Elakkan memakai kasut yang berjalur-jalur ataupun bercorak. Gunakan kasut yang solid colour. Tips pengayaan, sesuaikan kasut anda dengan tali pinggang ataupun beg mahupun rantai supaya kelihatan tidak serabut.

5.      Do not over do it
Penggunaan lebih dari tiga colour ketika diluar adalah malapetaka besar dalam dunia fesyen. Hal ini dikecualikan sekiranya anda berada dipentas catwalk. Penggunaan colour yang banyak bukan sahaja menjadikan diri anda seperti BADUT namun mampu menyakitkan mata-mata yang memandang dan anda akan menjadi mangsa kejian mereka-mereka diluar sana.

6. Highlight
Guru fashion saya selalu mengatakan perkataan ini. HIGHLIGHT. Ianya tidak perlu besar namun ianya membawa impak yang besar dalam pengayaan. Ianya ibarat sekuntum mawar merah ditengah-tengah dinding putih. Mata-mata akan tertumpu dikawasan itu ketika memandang si pengaya. Highlightkan kasut, tali pinggang, beg, rantai ataupun mafla. Highlight adalah pelengkap gaya anda.

7.       Less is more
Semakin kurang tona dipakai, semakin selamat diri anda. Berpegang prinsip ini dalam memperagakan diri dan anda akan selamat. Telalu banyak yang anda pakai akan menyebabkan anda dilihat serabut. Pastikan diri anda just nice.