About Colleen Quill

Elle, love, kisses and pop glitter make life worth living!

Summer Reads: August…Ramble

A few months back I received a Klout perk in the form of a novel. My apartment is basically a small library- whatever you read, I’ve got a book for you. One of the money saving tips I’ve picked up along the way is to read all the unread books you have in your apartment before you buy anymore. Of course, there’s also the actual public library (for now, they might close down the one near me but then I’ll go to another one.)

Picked up this book and now I’m having a week of ‘book hangovers':

HIGH:  THRILLER: I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes. Mr. Hayes is a journalist who moved to Australia and co-produced one of my favorite films of all time – Dead Calm. This is his first novel and wow, mind blown. It’s riveting. Sometimes I don’t read book jackets so there are no preconceived notions going into a book. I only knew it was a thriller going in and the twists and turns have been completely amazing. A former head of a deep undercover pre-9/11 team (think Scandal Papa Pope’s job) who investigated the spy community, is drawn back in to locate an elusive terrorist who wants to unleash biological warfare on the United States.

I AM PILGRAM

I AM PILGRAM

There are times in life when I’ve seen reports and thought ‘Why did you show the weak points in a public location so someone could blow it up?’ This book has a few of those moments and since I didn’t read the description I was confronted with 9/11 memories of my own (insert tears), and yet, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in the thriller genre. I used to review thrillers and had to stop because I was becoming afraid to leave my apartment! I could hear the ‘dunt dunt’ of Law & Order when turning the lock. Aiya, the hazards of a writer’s imagination. This book is good enough to make me turn Mac Culkin again, but no, I read it whenever I can. The other night I was leaving a party and this guy, who had been flirting with me asked “Wait, you’re going home now (it was 1 A.M.) to read?” I pulled out I AM PILGRIM, told him it was riveting and made my exit. Doesn’t every New Yorker have reading material on them for transit time? (Okay, Candy Crushers, try reading more than a few paragraphs once in a while.)

The point is, this book is incredible. I want to write this well, this intricate, weaving together various elements that surprise the reader and keep them on edge. If you know anyone who likes thrillers, get them this book! Four 1/2 of out of five stars (1/2 star taken off for scaring the crap out of me!)

EH: LIFE ADVISER: Stirring The Pot by Jenny McCarthy - this is her 8th book. I’m going to preface this by letting you know I’m not a parent, so your right to choose and her right to choose what to do about vaccinations for kids, is not my battle. One of my friends sent belligerent tweets after I posted a photo of myself with Jenny, who was bright and charming in person, as I had known her to be pre-parenthood. (Yes, I have worked in entertainment and met her back in the day.) I privately responded to her and understand where she is coming from, but I wish she had not lumped me in there like I was supporting Hilter in a public forum. Everyone is welcome to their beliefs. That’s not what this book addresses and at least Jenny takes a stand, unlike so many watered-down celebrities.

The outgoing, bubbly blonde bombshell proves she is still a ringleader who can hold her own with Howard Stern. Reading a Jenny McCarthy book feels like spending time with that one girlfriend who you always had an amazing night out with, followed by her holding your hair back and then made you eggs and bacon to cure the hangover in the morning. McCarthy explains overcoming her fear of public speaking, mastering motherhood or at least a few life hacks to doing the best you can and not beating yourself up about it and also comes strong with TMI.

While entertaining, about 3/4 of the way through it seemed to go off the rails and I couldn’t finish it. The subjects didn’t flow naturally and were too random for me. I didn’t see the point in learning about her practically debilitating monthly periods. It wasn’t endearing, it was like, oh shit, that sounds really awful, but what does it have to do with girl power? There are fun moments that made me giggle so if you need a good beach read that even you with the A.D.D. can handle, this one is for you. (2 stars)

3. YA/SCI-FI RED RISING by the handsome (okay, sorry but he really has great eyes and that’s worth noting and he has a soap opera worthy name!) Pierce Brown is the first in a trilogy.9780345539809_p0_v1_s114x166 It took a few chapters for me to get into this book, there’s a lot to set up and take in, i.e. similiar to The Hunger Games, instead of districts, humans are given status by color *okay, yes that happens in our society but this is the future so colors are Red for Miners, and Gold for the Elite Class.

According to YA novels, the future is very totalitarian and we’re heading for more overt (hello NSA and yeah, hope you love my tweets) government ruling. Yet, this novel, once engaged is hard to put down, extremely hard. The main character, Darrow is a member of the Red race (thus the title), who’s wife is executed by the government and thus, he is recruited into a rebel group aiming to take down the Gold group. You might be thinking, hey future + violence + last man standing = Lord of The Flies/The Hunger Games and you’d be right, but you haven’t read this book and it is really great. Brown has met his calling as a writer and weaves a tale that combines all these elements of survival into a heart pounding read.

P.S. the sequel, Golden Sun

is out in January.

 

Tears of A Clown…Ramble

Yesterday I was enjoying a Brooklyn rooftop view, a glass of rose in hand and the company of two sons of San Francisco while Coldplay played in the background. The news came in that Robin Williams had passed away and, being San Franciscans, they were deeply saddened by this news, as have all my friends from SF.

Normally writing about heavy subjects is something I try to avoid on my blog. A few years ago I wrote a piece that was taken as controversial, turned around on me who was, in that case, the victim of manipulation, and lead to a parting of the ways of me and a particular group of people. There was a protector who told me this person had sucked people’s friendships out of them like a hungry man chewing the last meat off of a steak bone, but they had bonded through this person’s ability to extract information and relay it.

I knew during that conversation my life was going to continue down a very dark path and my time in that group had a ticking time bomb attached to it. Now I work from home, I’m a freelancer and have slowly been in touch with members of that group. I realize I isolated myself without meaning to and had done nothing wrong. I created a new life outside of my former one, starting over after my father passed away a few years ago and surrounded myself with people who were positive, the ones who still reach out and like when I send them a card or a care package. This life leaves no one untouched. As a friend said on another rooftop, in a magnificent apartment with a spectacular view at the end of a fantastic party, no one has it all figured out, no one.

Robin Williams passing is not only proof that we all need a caring hand reaching out to us, but that life is a struggle no matter how much money you have, no matter how many people love you. Isolation of the mind is the worst isolation of all. Depression can hit people so if you know someone is having a hard time, maybe the event – being laid off, a person close to them died, they were diagnosed with an illness, someone broke their heart or they have money issues- didn’t happen in the past week or the past month, but reaching out, saying hello, showing you care about them and support them can change the course of a life.

I’m a social person. I like my alone time like any writer, but I also crave social interaction and make a point of seeing my friends. The past few days has been filled with laughter and friends I haven’t spent time with in a long while, from all different sections of my life and I’m so grateful for that. If you are the person that needs the hug, go get it. It’s close by.

Thank you Mr. Williams for inspiring us with laughter and with intensity. As much as I loved ‘Mork & Mindy’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, there was also ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’ and your smile, your talents will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to his loved ones and anyone who is suffering with depression. Don’t isolate yourself in crowd, seek the good will, it’s there I promise.

 

Bailando to Zumba…Ramble

I missed Zumba last Sunday and it threw off my week. I took up Zumba in January to shake up my exercise routine and now I schedule most activities around it. Yesterday I was able to dance once more to “Bailando” and damn, I feel so good! I went to the beach afterwards and now it’s like life is a holiday.

It’s never too early to dance:

Happy Monday!

Crush of the Week: Trent Reznor

I’ve been called ‘the teen queen’ for a long time. As a professional music programmer and interviewer of pop stars, I love the joy of pop music. Life is too short not to dance. My crush on Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, will then come as a surprise to some people.

I love to see live shows and have seen everyone from the popstars who give you an instant tooth ache they are so sweet and sugary, to the incredibly gifted YoYo Ma (I have a degree in classical music), and rock acts like Tool. I can appreciate the degree of talent and sheer performance skills in any performer, even if I’m in China and my mother is falling asleep on my shoulder while we’re in the first row at The Beijing Opera.

Friday night my friend Tina and I went to Jones Beach, now Nikon’s Jones Beach, a place I have been to many times over the course of my life as a Long Islander. (That’s Long, not Strong Island!) Soundgarden was the opener, Chris Cornell still sexy as ever, screaming rock songs, but the crowd, still a little distracted.

Then it was time, the stage was almost entirely empty. It looked like after a show takes place, being broken down, just a green screen and a lone microphone in the middle of it. Strutting out on to command the stage, one lone man dressed entirely in black with shitkicker boots on, grabbing hold on the mic, commanding attention. A keyboard appeared, music bounced through the night air while the song built and other musicians joined Trent, building. Throughout the next several songs the set took hold, changing and morphing with lighting and staging throughout the performance, Trent growing more magnetic with each song.

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The whole vision was incredible, riveting, rendering me speechless. Thank you NIN, thank you Trent, thank you Tina for taking me. If you get a chance to see NIN live go, even if you think it’s not your taste, go, you know more songs than you think and the sheer artistry of the entire night is like being part of an art installation.

Book Review: Melt…Ramble

Melt by Selene Castrovilla (Release Date: November 6, 2014)

I’ll stop the world and melt with you. I’m glad that song is referenced in this brutally violent tale of love and abuse. Melt reminds me more of Romeo & Juliet, than The Wizard of Oz, which is meant to be the backdrop to the story. Perhaps, that is because the author’s favorite writer is Shakespeare. The family strife, the forbidden love, the two souls loving each other so much they hurt and nag the other person to protect them from pain, and the self-doubt of that fragile love is definitely akin to Shakespeare’s tale. It’s a story I’ve never liked very much, even as a hormonal teenager. Replace the deaths in that story with violent abuse in this one.

This was an extremely hard book to read, tales of abuse are not what make it to my summer must reads, but I was given an ARC and found it a fast read. Perhaps, it’s the way the prose are used to express the Joey, the main character’s point of view, that make the book both intriguing and disturbing. He’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks kid, who’s family has been held hostage his whole life by a cop, his father.

Dorothy, named after Dorothy Parker, is the strong, but also self-righteous main female character, who holds herself above the new friend, Amy, she has made, because she grew up in Manhattan so she will do whatever she wants in her new home in the suburbs. She wants Joey, allows her hormones reject any of the obvious warnings of his darkness, his own violent tendencies. She wants to save him but she comes off as being a nag to me. She gives Joey a copy of Catcher and The Rye for his birthday because Holden Caulfield reminds her of him. Aside from the economic differences between Joey Riley and Holden, it’s a huge insult. I would never give that book to someone I was in love with – we all know Holden is a broken mess.

Joey, of course, hates the book but reads it because she gave it to him.

Overall I found this book used the poetry device well, but it drove me crazy the amount of times the word “melt” was used. We get the point. Would I have picked this book up on my own? No. Did I find it interesting? Yes. It’s a dark tale. I liked the Joey and dated a guy like him. When guys tell you they are bad news and they are not going to change, they usually don’t, which is why I found Dorothy’s nagging him after he was upfront with her so annoying. The last guy I dated manhandled me once, we’re done. He was a fireman with more than a foot taller, with 50 pounds on me. It’s not okay to grab a woman. That’s real life, in this fictional tale, based on real life, Dorothy still pines for Joey. Naturally she would, he was her first love, but she doesn’t learn, she inserts herself again into harm’s way for a front row seat to more violence.

Dorothy likes to think she knows more than other people at sixteen, more than her parents, which is typical, but the first serving she gets of violence shatters her. Is this book advocating not giving up on someone? Saving someone who doesn’t want to be saved? There can be no positive ending to this tale in life or in fiction. No one is innocent, but inviting violence into your world because your hormones are on fire is avoidable and irresponsible for your own safety.

Am I happy to move on to Daniel Levine’s adult fiction novel Hyde next? Absolutely. Take me to Ole London Town to hear another kind of monster’s tale.

Summer Reads For Everyone…Ramble

I read. A lot. As a writer you there’s a saying ‘you can only write as well as the best book you’ve read’. I’ll read any topic matter as long as the story interests me. Here are my suggestions for summer reading:

FOR HIPSTERS/INDIE MUSIC LOVERS (redundant) and LITERARY LOVERS:

Wonderland by Stacy D’Erasmo – a densely literary ode to the life on a rock tour, D’Erasmo’s vivid descriptions of creating music, the intricate characters who feed off the industry and the struggle for the main character to make a comeback as an artist, is inspirational. I’ve personally written a chick lit (oh I can feel the daggers of your judgement publishing industry) manuscript (I have several interested parties in publishing, not everyone wants or rejects the same thing), about a rock star manager, and found this a realistic portrayal of how an artist’s brain works. Sex is something that comes naturally, love is always complicated and not enough. Living up to her famous father’s artistic imprint, the main character Anna is in her 40’s, taking one last shot for breaking through the indie scene into the mainstream. Anna reminds me of a red headed version of Liz Phair who’s “Exile in Guyville” was well-received and commercial pop was widely rejected. If you like music and don’t want to read another biography, this is really amazing and well written.

FOR HISTORICAL ROMANCE READERS & THOSE WHO LOVE GREAT BANTER:

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloise James is charming. The seventh in her Desperate Duchesses series, (they stand alone), the extraordinary Ms. James builds tension between the two main characters to the point of extreme delight. Thorn is a ‘bastard’ and Lady Xenobia, left an orphan of a free-spirited Marquis. Forced by her circumstances to raise her own dowry, Lady X became an interior decorator. She decides it is time to retire and marry, but accepts her final job to transform Thorn’s new estate, as well as him, into the ideal English Gentleman’s prize in order to win approval for marriage to the sweet, dimwit, Lala. The banter between Thorn and Lady X will have you laughing out loud. It’s like indulging in your favorite dessert and finding out the ingredients are more beneficial to your body than vegetables (sign me up for that).

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO ‘LEAN IN’ WITH A SPOON FULL OF SPICE

#GIRLBOSS by  Sophia Amoruso is her memoir of her rise from a shoplifting dumpster diver to heading up a multi-million dollar fashion company, Nasty Gal. She keeps it real, and you won’t be able to stop laughing. While other career books tend to be dry, Amoruso shows off real-world tips that will help you achieve becoming your own GIRL BOSS!

More tude than Iggy

 

Soundrop launches Show.co, a kind of About.me for digital music promotion

grrlgenius22:

Tons of streaming services- do you pay attention to new ones or just say ‘great, time to turn on INSERT WHATEVER SERVICE you use’?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Norwegian digital music startup Soundrop launched a new service called Show.co that wants to help musicians promote their latest releases and grow their email lists. Show.co is kind of like an About.me for digital music – a very minimal and clean site with a basic player that gives visitors access to a track right away.

Once you hit play, you gain access to additional cards that offer access to additional content in exchange for an email address, prompt you to subscribe to a YouTube (S GOOG) channel or follow the artist on Soundcloud, Twitter (S TWTR) or Facebook. (S FB)

Artists can also redirect users to streaming music services like Spotify or Deezer or offer an option to buy digital downloads on iTunes, (S AAPL) Amazon (S AMZN) or elsewhere. Show.co can be used as a standalone mini-site, or embedded into other websites. Check out a Show.co embed below:

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Show.co…

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Darling, It’s Time To Enjoy The Hamptons…Ramble

Summer is upon us, and though technically we have a week before it officially begins, the season kicks off on Memorial Day Weekend. If you are looking for wild nights, then you’ll want to head to The Hamptons on the weekends. If you are looking to relax, enjoy the beach and the wineries The Hamptons area has to offer, then I’ve got a plan for you.

My friend and I decided to take a ‘dogcation’ to The Hamptons, planting ourselves in Sag Harbor. Zooming out to Sag Harbor to the dog-friendly, Forever Bungalows, we arrived to find the hotel had been taken over by Camp Kate Spade. Kate Spade has a new store in East Hampton and redecorated the bungalows. It took a few extra hours for our bungalow to be ready and in the mean time the Kate Spade staffers were unbelievably sweet, saying hello to our three dogs, giving us a bottle of Wollfer Estates Rose. Well, hello then, we’re happy to wait. The Forever Bungalows staff was also quite sweet and knocked off the extra dog fees and gave us a Bungalow upgrade free of charge. Well, hello Darlings, this is why I love The Hamptons, people are top drawer.

Lucky for us, MINI Coopers are abundant so we fit right in with the locals, and who doesn’t want to be a local in such a plush, fabulously relaxing seaside community? There is a lot of driving to do in The Hamptons because it’s a suburb, so have patience and expect drives from 15-30 minutes as part of your time, during which you can soak up all the lush, farm stands offering fresh veggies and fruit, as well as find yourself in the midst of the six-mile wine trail. Oh, do we happen to be pulling into Channing Daughters Winery for a flight of wine? Does that happen to be Chris Tracey the winemaker chasing his dog Remy around the vines? Is that really an entire wall of Roses showcasing grapes from Merlot to Syrah? Yes to all of the above, I’m falling in love.

Highlights include:

1) DOG BEACH: Taking our fur babies to the dog-friendly Road D in South Hampton (can you believe that name? It’s worse than ‘Blank Street’ – these people may have funds but they are not creative when it comes to street names- I’m talking to you Upper and Lower 7th Street.) Tip: Before going to any beach with your dog check the rules, they vary wildly in South Hampton let alone the other beaches. Road D is off-leash heaven and has 30 parking spots. We went on a Monday morning at 8 A.M. and we were the only ones there. Pre-season is the bomb dot com Dolls!

2) CAFFEINE: Jack’s in Amagansett- I’m mentioning this early because I was super cranky trying to get some decent cold brew. I hail from the land of Hipsteria, there are coffee shops on every block (see my prior post on my 10 Favorites in Brooklyn), so several times I did comment “Doesn’t this place have any hipsters? We need CAFFEINE!” and we did make it to Jack’s on our last day. Tip: Buy a bottle of the Cold Brew there for $20 so you have it on-hand for your stay. It’s worth and it’s fabulous. Leave the t-shirt shopping for elsewhere because there are better things to spend your money on than an uber soft beach bag for $185.00, like their pressed juices, treats and bags of coffee beans. Jack’s is a treasure trove.

Locals also hit up The Golden Pear, which has some delicious fresh food and is right next to a juice store.

3) WINERYChanning Daughters Winery – for a mere $10 you get a six wine tasting, extremely great conversation on wine, and a beautiful spot to enjoy it. There is a ‘horse and dog crossing’ so drive slow when you turn up the enchanting driveway. It gives one an immediate desire to press the gas pedal down, so as to enjoy the wine and surroundings as quickly as possible.  You might also like to take one of their Yoga classes. Yes, Yoga – In. The. Vineyards. I told you this was The Hamptons Darlings, weren’t you paying attention? We like being outdoors and being one with all things zen. BTW, there are also three Soul Cycle studios (East Hampton, the original mothership my fellow Spinners; Bridgehampton and Watermill) and two Fly Wheel studios (Sag Harbor & East Hampton). Yeah, yeah Crossfit, Babydolls we are being fab, not chiseling our bods during a relaxing holiday.

Other wineries of note: Duck Walk, (Water Mill right next to The Parrish Art Museum – start there and then you might just happen to find yourself enjoying a few bottles at Duck Walk.

Wollffer Estates, which also offers Yoga onsite. BTW, they have a winery and a drive-up tasting site. If you are lucky enough to drink the rose “Summer in a Bottle” and bring it to dinner, it’ll secure you on the dinner guest invite list for fall and winter because your host will know you have excellent taste. Local tip: Drink Rose in the summer, just like white it’s gosh to drink after Labor Day, so enjoy this refreshing wine from local wineries, they do it right. Rose week is June 22-29th!

4) BAKERY: Oh, Dear, Tate’s is no mere bakery, it’s the very reason a dream was filled. If you happen to drive 90 miles to be in South Hampton, you will fulfill your own dream to eat at Tate’s Bakery in South Hampton on North Sea Road. That green and white building has outdoor seating, a tempting bread pudding, ice cream sandwiches with chocolate covered chocolate chip cookies holding it together, cakes for days, bakery items, frozen pies to bake at home, and of course, the very reason you happen to love it, COOKIES in abundance. Tip: Skip the healthy cookies, they are awful and that’s not why you came to Tate’s, the Tiffany of Bakeries.

5) FISH & CHIPS & LOBSTER ROLLS: If you want to go local, hit up Dock House (8 Wharf St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963). It’s packed out and limited seating, but then you wanted to go outside to sit and watch the boats go by anyway, didn’t you? You’ll see plenty of dogs on boats going by, happy as can be. And if you want to go more upscale, relax you high-maintenance city folk, right next door is Ritchie Notar’s Harlow.

 

Crush of the Week: Maleficent The Magnificent…Ramble

We’ve all checked in to the Heartbreak Hotel. Some people sabotage the other person, others prefer to take action but hold the root of the betrayal close to their hearts because it is too painful to voice the actions out loud. Maleficent suffers from the former predicament, betrayed by the man she considered her true love. 

Angelina Jolie takes on this role as a villain/hero, a complicated character who addresses some real life concerns. How far would you go for revenge? How much can you give yourself over to a broken heart, spreading the despair to everyone around you, until fear replaces the love and laughter you once shared? What would it take to get over a betrayal so unspeakable, it causes others to weep while you wreck your havoc, losing a piece of your soul with every action? 

I went in with little expectations, after seeing headlines saying even Angelina couldn’t save this clunker. Oh critics, how wrong you are and how wonderful a film it is. Strong females, betrayal, madness, revenge and, of course, the truth about ‘true love’. How marvelous. 

The Coldplay ‘Ghost Stories’ Campaign…Ramble

Yes, I’m a huge and I mean huge Coldplay fan. I don’t like them ‘ironically’ as one recent fellow I dated (see that’s past tense) remark. However, that doesn’t preclude me from being able to analyze their campaigns. Their sixth album ‘Ghost Stories’ is a beautiful and haunting in honesty. Note, I was not a fan of ‘Mylo Xyloto’, though a few songs grew on me, and though I loved ‘X & Y’ it was about three or four ballads too long, a fact that is also noted by the band.

When I first heard the lyrics to ‘Magic’ about how ‘I just got broken, broken in to two, still I call it magic, when I’m with you’ red flags started to wave in my head. Of course, I ignored them because the lyrics were all too relatable to me. March saw the debut of other new songs from ‘Ghost Stories’ during their globally broadcast performance as part of the iTunes Festival at SXSW. “Another’s Arms” told the tale of having broken up and the oddness of moving on, still wishing for the person already gone. Now the red flag was as large as Russia’s, and my heart was concerned. The following week GP and Chris Martin announced their ‘conscious uncoupling’, which is also brilliant timing from a marketing standpoint of an album launch.

Woah, is that cold? Fair enough. You can say that but the moments I took to mourn their relationship, also produced even greater depth to the lyrics of ‘Ghost Stories’. Friends commented I might be rushing out to buy the album but they were sure Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t listening to it. I disagree since Chris told the BBC’s Zane Lowe in an exclusive interview it was the most truthful album they have ever made. The word ‘true’ appears in several of the songs. It’s also really about heartbreak, not being over someone who was ‘True Love’ but having to move forward. Even in “A Star Full of Skies” he mentions in out of all those stars “I think I saw you”, do you get more literal? Or on “Magic” when he sings “and with all your magic, I disappear from view.” Well damn.

The global Coldplay campaign didn’t need the press of a breakup because it included hand-written lyrics for all songs hidden in libraries all over the globe, hints given away via Twitter, TV shows including Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon in the US (let alone the countless ones overseas), and The Voice, as well as live shows in five major cities globally.

Tickets in NY were hard to come by unless you work in the music industry or are willing to pay scalpers.

Personally I’d rather shell out a few extra bucks for the deluxe version at Target, a multi-million dollar campaign #MoreColdplay across social media, television and in-store promotions. The fan incentive? Signed paper stars from the adverts, which also were part of the set dressing for their SNL appearance.

Let’s not forget the continued support of iTunes post-SWSX which included a pre-order, an exclusive track, immediate downloads from the pre-order, social media support and dedicated newsletters and homepage banners.

What I love about Coldplay is the imperfection of it all, the inclusion of fans and the music, of course. I once got into a discussion with a senior level exec at Sony about why Kings of Leon, also releasing their fourth album at the time, were not as successful as Coldplay. He said there was no way and then that album turned out to be KOL’s most successful album and he had to buy me an expensive dinner. Music, when it’s brilliant can still go unheard if it is not marketed properly. Team Coldplay always delivers some new way of connecting with the music, making it fun and inclusive of the fans. Look for their TV special as well: