Special

Harry Potter Gift Ideas For Her

When you’re a massive Harry Potter fan, life is magical most of the time. But for the muggle world, it’s now the most magical time of the year. It’s a time where we’re encouraged to swap Butterbeer for mulled wine, chocolate frogs for advent calendars and broom riding for sleigh riding. Of course, there’s no chance of that happening but one thing you do have to swap is shopping for yourself to shopping for other people (sigh). So if you’re looking for a present for a Harry Potter lover, you’re in the right place! Here are my top picks to make any Harry Potter fan happy on Christmas morning.

Hedwig Funko Pop!

 

(Instagram: @funko.pop.army)

 

Ever since I first saw Harry Potter in 2001 when I was six years old, I wanted a pet owl. At the bottom of every shopping list my mum made for her trip to the supermarket, I would complete it with the final most important item… an owl. How this trickery didn’t work, I really don’t know. However, all my Christmases came at once when this adorable Hedwig Funko Pop! hit the site! She’s the cutest little thing and would make someone’s Christmas very special. Not for you? We have lots of other Funko Pop!s too.

 

Whomping Willow necklace

 

My favourite kind of merch is the kind that only true fans would know. That’s why this gorgeous Whomping Willow necklace is perfect for a Harry Potter fan who likes their merch a little more subtle. *Disclaimer* this Whomping Willow comes without the attitude.

 

Forbidden Forest – Thestral t-shirt

 

 

When it comes to t-shirts, I’m very picky with the fit. That’s why this Forbidden Forest – Thestral t-shirt is the perfect gift if the person you’re buying for likes something with a more flattering fit. And the Thestral on the font is glow in the dark… now that’s seriously cool. AND it has a hood. Okay, it’s basically just the best top ever.

 

 

I’m a Catch Golden Snitch mug

I’m a big fan of mugs (the type of crockery, not the type of people… although my love life might say something different).  I think they’re a really good way of capturing someone’s personality; you get to be thoughtful without actually putting in too much effort. Also, you know that they’re going to use them. To take your mug gift up a notch, why not get one covered in gold that would make any Niffler go crazy. This I’m a Catch Golden Snitch mug is the perfect addition to any desk or cupboard and the perfect way to boost someone’s confidence (or ego).

Hufflepuff slippers

 

 

It’s against the law not to wear slippers on Christmas morning, right? Make sure no ones ends up in Azkaban and get them a cosy pair of slippers. I’m a Hufflepuff so of course I have included these ones but they are available in Slytherin, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, too.

 

Hogwarts bathrobe

 

 

To take the comfort to the next level, add this Hogwarts bathrobe. It’s literally a hug in the form of a dressing gown. This, together with the slippers and a belly full of Christmas dinner, it will take you till the next Fantastic Beasts movie release to get up from the sofa.

 

Forbidden Forest Hippogriff shirt

 

 

This checked Forbidden Forest Hippogriff shirt is seriously cool and adorable at the same time. From the front, it has a very subtle Hogwarts logo and on the back it shows the magnificent Buckbeak standing proud. Again, a lovely addition to a Harry Potter fan’s wardrobe who like their merch less bold.

 

 

Lumos Beret

 

 

 

This next gift idea is for the fashion lovers. A Beret will always be in style and this one is no exception with gorgeous embellishments and ‘Lumos’ embroidered amongst them. A sophisticated addition to any outfit and a present that is bound to make any Harry Potter lover one happy wizard or witch on Christmas day.

 

Hermoine’s Time Turner

 

 

A staple in the Harry Potter franchise, the Time Turner is a timeless present (excuse the pun). Both rings as well as the clock can be turned to mimic the real thing down to the last detail… apart from the traveling in time part unfortunately (I know, we were disappointed, too).

There you have it. My top presents for a Harry Potter fan that is bound to have you winning points like you’ve just caught the Golden Snitch. Still not found what you want? Why not check out our gift finder tool to help you find something even more perfect. Happy shopping and I wish you the most magical of Christmases!

 

Rebecca Merry 

Social Media Executive

Movies, Special

90 Years of Mickey Mouse

Three circles. That’s all it took to start possibly the biggest movement in entertainment history. Adding magic to all of our childhoods and giving the ability to escape to worlds we wish were real in adulthood. That’s right – it’s Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday! An incredible 90 years later and he’s still the most famous mouse in show business.

 

Where it started

 

 

 

The Mickey Mouse journey started in 1928 when Walt Disney asked animator Ub Iwerks to help him create his first very own character (characters he had created before belonged to Universal). Iwerks created cats, dogs, a cow, a horse and a frog but they were not quite right. Disney decided he wanted a mouse called Mortimer and Iwerks created the simple, three circle design. Walt Disney’s wife convinced him to change the name to Mickey (thank goodness) and that’s when the iconic mouse was born.

Mickey made his debut in the short film Steamboat Willie (grab the Steamboat Willing Funko Pop! here) with Walt Disney as the voice actor who voiced Mickey and Minnie until 1946. It features Mickey sailing a steamboat until Captain Pete takes over. They stop to pick up cargo and Minnie misses the ship. But of course, her hero Mickey picks her up with a crane and puts her on the ship. In the middle of all this excitement, she drops her sheet of music and a goat eats it (don’t you hate it when that happens!?). She yanks the goats tail and it plays the tune. Mickey joins in on percussion and by using various other animals, they create a little band. This scene was actually later removed due to concerns of animal cruelty. Captain Pete then breaks up the party and gets Mickey peeling potatoes. The interesting thing about this film is that although its the first Disney movie with sound, there is no dialog. Give it a watch below.

 

 

With hundreds of films being released from then till now, my all time favourite is Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. If you haven’t seen it, you HAVE to watch it this Christmas. It’s about three toys under a tree and each has a story. One story is about Donald Duck‘s nephews wishing it was Christmas everyday and when their wish comes true, they start to regret their greediness. Another is about Goofy trying too hard to prove to his adolescent son that Santa is in fact real. And the final story is about Mickey and Minnie sacrificing their most prized possessions for each others happiness. That’s the thing about Disney – it’s never just a story. There’s always a lesson to be learned (and a sexual innuendo to spot but those are stories for another blog post).

Mickey didn’t wear his iconic white gloves until the 1929 film The Opry House. Gradually over the years the character evolved into what we know today. He had his ears reshaped until it was decided to keep them circular no matter what way he turned.  He was only given three fingers and a thumb because of financial reasons: not having that extra finger in each of the 45,000 drawings of each short film has saved the studio millions over the years.

 

Mickey Inspired Art

 

All of the alterations and quirks has given us our legend that not only inspired us as children, but has had an incredibly powerful influence on the art world: he’s been a popular subject over the decades with artists including Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. Mickey gives artwork a sense of familiarity and establishes an instant connection to the viewer. Feast your eyes on some of the most famous Mickey inspired creations:

 

Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) Quadrant Mickey Mouse

Damien Hirst – Mickey, 2012

 

Banksy – Napalm (2004-5)

 

Ben Allen – Popaganda Mickey 

Marilyn Manson – The Golden Age of Grotesque – Helnwein

Roy Lichtenstein – Look Mickey – 1961

 

1928

When looking back at the influence this event in 1928 has had, we decided to have a look at some other things that happened in 1928 that have had an impact on our lives:

Alexander Fleming discovers Penicillin.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly the Atlantic as a passenger.

John Logie Baird demonstrates the first colour television transmission in London.

Paul Whiteman and his orchestra record “Ol’ Man River” featuring Bing Crosby.

The 9th Olympics was held in Amsterdam.

Clip-on tie was designed (very important event).

And the most important one… sliced bread was sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company, Missouri (has there really ever been anything better since sliced bread?)

 

Anyway, back to 2018… in an era of constantly changing trends and tastes, it’s quite remarkable that Mickey Mouse is still influencing our society as if he were designed last month; let alone 90 years ago. And of course since then, Disney has given us hundreds more characters to enjoy and we can’t wait to see what is created in the next 90 years.

Thank you Walt Disney for creating something so original and extraordinarily timeless.

Rebecca Merry – Social Media Executive

 

Make sure you check out all our Mickey Mouse and Disney merch!

EMP, funko pop, Movies, Special, TV

If Funko Pop! Villains had a Group Chat!

Pop culture brings about a lot of wonderment when it comes to the characters and their everyday lives – don’t you think? Like how long does Umbridge spend watching cat videos on Facebook? How many posey Instagram stories does Hercules post in a gym session? How long does The Joker spend stalking and blocking the guys that like Harley’s photos? And the ultimate one… what might a villain group chat look like?

Although EMP love to be able to answer all of those for you, we have the answer to one: an insight into a villain group chat in the form of Funko POP!s. That’s right. We’ve hacked Voldemort’s (Harry Potter) phone and we’ve got his conversation with Hades (from Disney’s Hercules), Darth Vader (Star Wars), The Joker (DC Comics) and Demogorgon (Stranger Things) asking for advice on how to approach Game Of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen when she moves onto a shelf near him. Watch the video below:

Now they might be some of the baddest boys in the industry, but man are they terrible wing men. The Joker’s most inspiring piece of advice is telling her she smells nice… not exactly the most appropriate compliment coming from a man with no nose.

Darth Vader comes in with a less than helpful anecdote when he suggests Voldemort shares the story about how he was defeated by a small child, to which Voldemort hits back with ‘at least I wasn’t defeated by my own child’. BURN.

The banter continues back and forth until Voldemort finds the courage of a Gryffindor to approach the Queen and her dragon.

***SPOILER*** IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE VIDEO DON’T READ AHEAD!

This is when the iconic large head of a Funko POP! let’s the Dark Lord down and he stumbles and falls right in front of her. Now we all know Daenerys is used to having guys fall at her feet but we recon this is the first time a wizard has.

I think we’ve learnt from this video that Voldemort will probably have the turn to love potion after that embarrassment; Hades is about as useful as a white crayon when it comes to dating advice; The Joker has a thing for blondes; Demo G has some serious sly photo skills and being a Funko POP! is clumsy business! We would love to know your thoughts on the video and what other Funko characters or story lines you’d like to see!

 

EMP, funko pop, Gifts, Movies, Special, TV

Guest Blogger – Weasleys Book – Harry Potter Favourites

At EMP, we work with lots of talented bloggers covering all genres from alternative fashion and Rock & Metal to Harry Potter , Disney and superheroes . Now it would be selfish to keep these talents to ourselves and didn’t share them with our lovely readers!

This guest is a lover of all things Harry Potter and here she writes about her top products from EMP. Without further ado, lets kick off Shauna’s blog post!

 

A couple of years ago when my mum had bought me the Ronald Weasley Christmas jumper, I had never heard of EMP – I’d never seen about them on any social media pages and I had never come across their website when looking for Harry Potter items. My goodness, how that has changed. From my first shop in 2016, all the way to me writing this blog post, EMP very very quickly became one of my favourites, if not the favourite website of mine for Harry Potter merchandise and I honestly couldn’t imagine not knowing about them now.

 

 

My most recent haul from them has bought about what I’d consider as some of my favourite items that I’ve ever seen on their site. Most recently I had got the Golden Snitch Lamp, Niffler plush and a Time Turner keyring. The Niffler plush is one of the items that I have wanted for the longest time on EMP, and it was entirely worth the wait – if like me, you ever hesitate with certain items like this, DO NOT! I am completely in love with this plush, but the first time I went to get it, it very quickly sold out so if you see an item like this I’d highly recommend just buying it straight away! I also really love the Golden Snitch lamp – this is a touch sensitive, USB powered light and it is just absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen a lot of people posting online about it, so obviously I had to join in with the hype and get it for myself and I am so grateful that I got it because it really is as amazing as it looks online. My only issue with it is the fact that it can only be on when plugged in via USB, because the plugs that are in my house get quite hot so it’s not great to have on overnight, but I’ll still be using it! The last item that I got most recently was the time-turner keyring which I am completely in love with – I’ve always had my eye on the Time Turner keyring from the studio tour but never got around to buying it, but this one from EMP is just as great and is such a good price! I love the quality of it and the size is really great too so I’m excited to be adding it to my keys!

 

 

Over my time of ordering from EMP, I have had several Harry Potter Funko POP!s from them. As many of my followers will know, Funko POP!s are one of my favourite things to collect which means that the condition they come in is also something that I take quite seriously. Thus, a lot of people generally panic when it comes to ordering Funko POP!s online because who knows what kind of state they’re going to arrive in, but I have NEVER had an issue when buying Funko POP!s from EMP and I am super impressed every time I do order them because of the condition they arrive in. As well as them turning up in excellent condition because they are packaged so well, it makes me incredibly happy that EMP are constantly bringing in limited edition Funko POP!s to their website. I’ve been lucky enough to get two limited edition Funko POP!s that have come to the site – the first was the 2017 SDCC exclusive Luna Lovegood POP!, and the other was the 2017 NYCC exclusive Severus Snape as Boggart POP!. It can be quite hard to get a hold of these Funko POP!s sometimes, especially when there is such a high demand for them, so it is great to be able to get them from the site more-a-less as soon as they get them. It is also really handy that on all of their social media pages, EMP are incredibly good at posting in advance if they are to get certain pre-release exclusive Funko POP!s in which means it gives people chance to be ready for when they do come to the website.

 

 

Whenever I get asked by my followers what my top recommended site online is for Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts items is, EMP are always at the top of my list. Not only do they sell incredible items, but from their customer service to getting the items delivered, they are all round fantastic. As a company, they have some of the best customer service that I think I’ve ever seen. If you ever have a problem, they are always right ontop of it and their social media presence is just wonderful – special shoutout to Elena who is always liking and commenting back with posts on Instagram and Twitter, creating a personal bond with the company and customers.

I could talk about my love for EMP for thousands of pages but it’s best that I don’t because I’m sure you’d all get bored! But I really do admire EMP for so many different reasons and I feel so blessed to have been able to build up such a strong bond with them over the past year and I’m looking forward to many more years of them! YOU GUYS ROCK!

 

Shauna @Weasleysbook

 

If you can’t get enough of Shauna’s blogging (like us!), check her blog out here!

BACKSTAGE, EMP, Music, Special

Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards – An evening with Parkway Drive, Ozzy Osbourne and a lot of fire

Us metalheads have to face the harsh truth that the Grammy’s is never going to acknowledge our genre. It is true that they give out an award for “Best metal performance” but it’s usually announced before the actual show during an un-televised event where the house band introduce Megadeth with “Master Of Puppets” and the bands just show up for the open bar. Luckily the magazine Metal Hammer decided to take matters into their own hands and founded the “Golden Gods Awards” in 2003. EMP have been invited to many over the years and here we’re going to give you the low down on what happened on the 16th anniversary!

The evening started off on the black carpet. Artists and journalists alike were all excited to see who would take the awards home and were all mingling in front of the media wall sharing laughs and stories. I had the honour of once again bumping into Betraying the MartyrsAaron Matts, whom the observant EMP follower would know I interviewed a few months ago and we had a quick catch-up before heading upstairs to catch the main event!

 

 

The show started off with a hilarious MC warming up the crowd, mostly by making us yell, growl and scream in a matter that took me back to my college days studying music. After the vocal warm-up, the show started with a brilliant performance from “Carpenter Brut” firing the starting gun. After a performance with a ton of energy to make sure the crowd was in a good mood, it was time for the awards.

The time from there on out flew by! The ever so talented Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed guided us through the nominees and guest presenters brilliantly and it was exhilarating seeing bands like Wolves in The Throne Room and Code Orange getting the awards and recognition they deserved! (full list of winners at the end of the blog)

After the first half of the awards the stage was made ready for the band that would win the Inspiration Award later in the evening: Meshuggah! Meshuggah, to no one’s surprise, delivered an amazing show with great songs and a performance for the ages, showing that even though they have been around a while and are starting to get older, they have no intention of stopping! After the progressive-djent metal that is Meshuggah wrapped up their last song, it was time for an acoustic performance by Myrkur! She walked on stage with a cello and a single drum preforming a haunting song that instantly took you to the dark forests of Scandinavia with trolls and hulders – a truly a mesmerizing performance that proved she was worthy the “Best album” award. The last band before the second half of awards were Grammy nominated band Baroness. Baroness preformed a set that combined punk and sludge in a fun way and was the perfect choice to wake up the audience before the last half of the awards with heavy hitter awards like the “Icon” and “Golden God Award”!

 

The second half of the show starts of Jamey Jasta making some jokes and once again introducing guest presenters to give out awards like “Defenders of Faith” and the “Inspiration award” One of the highlights however was the “Global Metal Award” that made its debut this year, and the recipient Kaoteon from Beirut was well deserving. Kaoteon came from a world where they’ve been arrested and beaten simply for playing the music they love; they truly deserve our respect for standing steadfast and facing adversary for the genre we all love. The last award of the evening however was the famous “Golden God” award introduced by none other than Zakk Wylde himself honoring the winner Ozzy Osbourne with a brilliant speech about Ozzy’s accomplishments throughout a 50-year long career. After Ozzy received the award with a simple “Thank you, it’s an honor” it was time for the main event and fresh “Defender of The Faith” winner: Parkway Drive!

Parkway Drive is a band I’ve seen 4 times already and their shows always include a lot of fire – something which the fire department in Oslo, Norway can attest to after a show I went to 2016 where front man Winston got a bit too excited playing with flares. This show also included a lot of pyro and the stage production quality was through the roof with drummer Ben Gordon spending a large portion of the set playing upside down in a huge hamster-wheel! The set (which I wish never ended) flew by playing both new and old songs; but alas it had to come to an end and with it a brilliant evening honouring the musicians and bands we all love.

 

 

 

I must give a huge thank you to Metal Hammer for putting this together. Metal is a wonderful genre in that it’s so vast and inclusive: you could stand in the crowd and see strangers from all walks of life hugging and having a great time because at the end of the day, we were all there sharing the same passion and same love; and with that it’s okay that the Grammys might not ever properly acknowledge us. Us metalheads are a huge family with friends at every show, and that shared community is worth more than all of Kanye West’s awards multiplied by 4. (he got 231 if you were wondering)

-Alex Dante

All the winners:

Best New Band: Lovebites

Best Underground Band: Wolves in The Throne Room

Best UK Band: Judas Priest

Best International Band: Arch Enemy

Best Event: Download Festival

Best Live Band: Lacuna Coil

Best Independent Label: Sumerian Records

Breakthrough Artist: Code Orange

Riff Lord: Wes Borland

Defender Of The Faith: Parkway Drive

Inspiration: Meshuggah

Best Album: Myrkur“Mareridt”

Global Metal Award: Kaoteon

Spirit Of Hammer: Jessica Pimentel

Icon: James Keenan

Golden God: Ozzy Osbourne

EMP, Music, Special

Ghost – Prequelle: Album Review

Ghost have been going from strength to strength in recent years. When they burst onto the scene in 2010 they were more of a curiosity than a full-fledged part of the metal world, thanks to Papa Emeritus’ extravagant costumes, the fully disguised ‘nameless ghouls’ and the band’s knack for mixing blasphemous themes of death and the devil with downright catchy music and clean vocals. Certainly, they’ve never been a band that you could be indifferent about. And whilst the gimmicks might have been a nice way to get attention, it’s the music that keeps the fans there. Music which has remained of an extremely high caliber since day one (or Year Zero, if you will). So naturally there was considerable hype regarding the release of the band’s new album ‘Prequelle’ with a brand-new member of the satanic clergy at the helm.

In a way, the choice to ‘fire’ yet another Papa Emeritus (we were already on Papa Emeritus III by the third album) in favour of the significantly less intimidating Cardinal Copia looks quite a lot like a deliberate step away from their satanic image towards something which is still quirky but a bit less cumbersome. Since the satanic pope’s real identity has been making its way into the media anyway thanks to the legal quarrels between (nameless) band members, it was probably time for Tobias Forge to shed a couple of layers of papal robes and be a little freer. What does this mean for the music, though?

Whilst the band’s image and music have always been separate beasts, there is certainly something of a trend going on. When I last saw Ghost at Bloodstock festival in 2017, Papa/Forge shed most of his costume halfway through the set anyway, opting for a mostly black ensemble and a corpse-paint makeup style instead, marking a shift from the band’s first two albums to the slightly more classic rock style of Meliora. Yet another image change and (mock) personnel change looks to herald another significant shift in musical style for the band. In my opinion, it seems that they’re gradually trying to drop some of the gimmicky elements which made them famous but have gradually begun to hold them back in terms of experimentation. We can no longer expect spooky organs, satanic invocations and liberal use of slightly grammatically-incorrect Latin. Instead, the band have gone full steam ahead with the energetic classic rock with a twist that’s been part of their sound all the time, but has now come to the fore.

(Photo credit: www.rocksins.com)

The album opens with a creepy kids’ nursery rhyme which introduces the theme of the Black Plague / apocalypse that loosely ties the album together, then plunges straight into the lead single ‘Rats’. Straight away, you can recognize that typical Ghost sound, with the characteristic vocals and keyboards, although with a more simplistic structure and a slight 80’s touch, especially the OTT backing vocals. Is this a good direction? In my honest opinion, this isn’t one of the best tracks they’ve ever produced, which is a shame, although it’s certainly on the catchy end of the scale. As with any band, over the years the style does change and some will be more or less happy.

Faith’ kicks in with an utterly epic metal riff, which unfortunately doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the album. Whilst Ghost have never been extremely heavy, I sense the metal elements dropping away – none of the songs here have the heavy edge that, say, Mummy Dust did on the previous album. I’d have liked to hear a bit more of that riff, for sure.

Unfortunately there are one or two weaker moments on this album, especially ‘See the Light’ and ‘Dance Macabre’. ‘I wanna be wit’ you in the moonlight, I wanna be wit’ you all night’, Forge sings on ‘Dance Macabre’, a track which wouldn’t be terribly out of place on an Abba album. They are fellow Swedes, after all.

For some reason the most interesting stuff was left for the end of the album. Both instrumental tracks have left space open for Ghost to try something new musically and flex their creative muscles. ‘Helvetesfonster’ in particular has a slightly medieval sound and picks up on some of the musical themes earlier in the album, gradually seguing from classical melodies into energetic progressive rock.

My favourite track is probably ‘Pro Memoria’, something that would probably sound a little ridiculous coming from many other bands ‘don’t you forget about your friend death’… but when Cardinal Copia sings these lyrics over a background of perfectly executed keys, it ends up being a rather anthemic pean to death, which almost makes the idea of dying seem rather cheerful and fun. The final track, ‘Life Eternal’ isn’t bad either though, albeit it on the power ballad side. Forge has always had an uncanny ability to awaken the emotions, which he does here almost as well as on epic tracks like ‘Cirice’ on Meliora. It’s something that should almost be cheesy, but just because it’s Ghost, it isn’t.

Prequelle is probably never going to be my favourite Ghost album, but I can see the value in their maturing away from the satanic gimmicks and costumes and developing their style into something more universal. Whilst moments hark back to the 70’s or 80’s, others look forward to a new era of Ghost, which will definitely be something to keep an eye on.

Can’t get enough of Ghost? We have lots of Ghost merch to feed that obsession!

Alex Turner

BACKSTAGE, EMP, Music, Special

Venom Prison – UK Death Metal at its Finest

Venom Prison formed in 2014 and in the space of 4 years they have become one of the leading up and coming UK death metal bands.

In April, they embarked on a European tour supporting Trivium and I caught up with vocalist Larissa Stupar and guitarists Ash Gray and Benn Tomas before the show at London’s Brixton Academy speaking about all things Venom Prison and gaming:

 

After the interview, Venom Prison got ready to hit the stage and I went into the venue to get ready for the aural assault that they were about to unleash upon us. Brixton Academy is the biggest venue on the tour and when they appear on stage, they bring with them a wall of technical death metal that is not only played super tight (no easy feat) but with also so much energy that any newcomers to the band can’t help but be impressed.

Circle pits appear and Larrisa is dominating the crowd as Ben and Ash lay down riff after riff of technical brilliance. They are clearly on top of their game; I’ve seen them before and they were awesome but this show… this is something special and I cannot wait to hear what comes next from them. Like they said in the interview, a new album is being recorded in July so keep an eye out for that but in the meantime check out their debut album “Animus” and more band merch if you haven’t already!

Sam Kelly-Wallace
EMP Events Managers UK & IE

Venom Prison socials:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/venomprison
Instagram & Twitter: @venomprison