Jan 11: scoradh: tell me more about Max.

feather
Jan 11: scoradh: tell me more about Max. :)

Max is a character in the HEAverse, a series of snippets (so far) that are gradually cohering into a story. I've not written much about him yet, though he's mentioned here, but here are a few things about Max:

1. The night in that snippet, the night of T's 35th birthday, is the night Max comes into R and T's lives.
2. It's a night of heavy snow, and stumbling home in the small hours of the morning, they find Max curled up in the doorway of their building in a thin cotton tshirt and jeans, missing a shoe, and covered in blood, which freaks them out (as you might imagine). Max is 13 years old.
3. To cut a long story short, they take him in, clean him up, are persuaded not to call the authorities (for reasons which don't need exploring at this juncture, but are crucial to the story), and, after various adventures of the major and minor kind, assume legal custody of him. 18 months later they adopt him and he officially becomes part of the House of Hearts and Spades (this will mean nothing to any of you; and possibly little to the story).
4. Max is reserved and loyal; eventually - with some prompting and a great deal of reassurance - something of a sarky brat, with zero tolerance for raised voices and poor manners, a horrible love of motorbikes and, much later, surfing. He's also an Aries.
5. This is all fairly anodyne, I know. He's not ready to come out yet.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.

Jan 10: netgirl_y2k: words and language

bathboys
Jan 10: netgirl_y2k: whenever I read one of your entries I think, Gosh, there is someone who has a remarkable way with words, so something about words and language and your relationship to them?

I don't know how to talk about this one, to be honest. It's stumped me for days. Part of me wants to go off on a whole thing about Heidegger and Die Sprache spricht - 'Language speaks itself' - but I'm not certain I've understood it enough to talk about it coherently myself. Part of me wants to go off on a Modernist tangent - make it new - because very early on I got stuck on the resonance of that as a manifesto. Part of me wants to talk about how one should make everything in writing do more than one thing at a time (something I've talked about briefly before). Part of me wants to talk about art as dialogue, and about creating (through writing in this particular example) a partnership with the audience so that what they bring to something is as important as what's explicitly there - creating a subjective experience within the objective structure you provide, populated by their own experience within the boundaries you define. The storyteller should not be the only one at work within a story, in my opinion; they can't be. And then I would digress into a whole thing about art being a desire to examine our context and communicate it, and make from the fusion of your intention and its receipt something wholly new and unique; and that one might only truly do so by telling the truth (under a definition of truth that does not necessarily include factual accuracy). I am, however, capable of articulating none of that in any way that would be both meaningful and intelligible, since I am forever frustrated with my own inadequacy of expression, my own crippling inability to express myself clearly and precisely. Argh.

(There is a very real possibility that the entire preceding paragraph is obfuscatory bullshit. None of it is untrue, but it doesn't feel entirely honest.)

Um. I write like I think, and for the most part I speak as I write, but I am almost always censored at one point or another - at thought, at word, or in voice. I expect that this does not make me all that unusual, but I am given to understand that the way I think is not all that usual. I tend to come at things sideways and sometimes this shows in the way that I write? Um. Basically I am rarely being anyone else when I write, though I have multiple modes and voices. Argh. I just gotta be me.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.
smoke rings
Jan 09: ruric asked: top five fave slash pairing and why?

Hahahaha. I don't have a hierarchy as such (and the pairings listed below are in the order they came to me, not the order of preference), but I tell you what I have realised as I started to think about this: every slash pairing I've ever loved could basically be described as 'the king and his magician'. Oh, not literally (except in the case of Arthur/Merlin or Bran/Will), but basically the man of action and the man of letters, or some permutation thereof. The King and his Magician will work nicely for now. Look at it in action:

1. Arthur/Merlin (Merlin);
2. John/Rodney (SGA);
3. Derek/Stiles (Teen Wolf);
4. Harry/Draco (Harry Potter - although, yes, technically, both are magicians, but one is heroic, and one - at least in fanon - clever);
5. Arthur/Eames (Inception - I always thought the parallels to Arthur and Merlin ought to have been addresses somewhere in fic, but I've not seen it).

The idea of the King and his Magician is beginning to explicitly emerge in my own writing, lately. Hmm. I have a type.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.
ravurian brit boy
Jan 08: rei_c said: London. Or cities in general? As specific or as general as you want. Living, as I do now, in the middle of nowhere, cowboy country, I really miss cities.

I go blind in cities. There are too many people thinking too many thoughts, pushing hard against the edges of my awareness and messing with my mojo, little bits of me flaking off as we brush past each other, little bits of them clinging to my shoulder, my sleeve, my mind. I can't always find myself. It's hard to mirror so many people at once. Occasionally - occasionally - I rediscover the trick of it, how to surf on the surface of all these people constantly wishing at each other. I have to--

It's difficult being a magician in a city. Sure, the energy's deep and it's tame, but it would take an immense amount of effort to stir it. It's mostly cancelled out by constant contradictory use - get me to work versus can't face the office today and so on. You have to be really really good to work magic in a city, and even then, you'll be lucky to do anything other than change the traffic lights. One may have more reason to use magic in a city - you want more, want it now - but it's a great deal of effort for minimal and erratic return. In the countryside it's easier, the energy's eager, but there's less reason to use it and a greater cost to trying. In the countryside, magic is feral and wild; it uses you back.

I... I am an excellent magician in the city. You should see what I can do on Anglesey, though.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.
argh!
Jan 07: ruric said: What are you most afraid of and why?

I stalled on my post-a-day thing for a bit there because I was so miserable about the inadequacy of response I managed to the last couple of topics, and that actually ties in quite neatly with this post. In fact, it's the answer to it. I posted a quote a while back, which-- Actually, let me go and find it, because it's relevant:

“We praise people for being “naturally” smart, too, “naturally” athletic, and etc. But studies continue to show, as they have for some time now, that it is generally healthier to praise schoolchildren for being hardworking, than for being naturally gifted. We know now that to emphasize a child’s inherent ability places pressure on that child to continue to be accidentally talented, which is something that is hard for anyone to control. When the children who are applauded for their natural skills fail, they are shown to take the failure very personally. After all, the process of their success has always seemed mysterious and basic and inseparable from the rest of their identity, so it must be they who are failing as whole people. When students are instead complimented and rewarded for their effort and improvement, they tend to not be so hard on themselves. When they fail, they reason, “Well, I’ll work harder next time.” They learn that they are capable of success, rather than constantly automatically deserving of it, and they learn simultaneously that they are bigger and more complex than their individual successes or failures.”
— Kate of Eat the Damn Cake, The Stupidity of “Natural” Beauty

So: inadequacy and failure. That quote says a lot of what you need to know about my childhood and my adulthood, compounded by a little bit of brain damage in my early twenties. I'm naturally very good at a lot of things, but it's a kind of magic - I don't know why or how it works when it works, or how to reproduce it when it doesn't, or how to make it happen on demand, and I am trying very hard lately to learn the individual walking steps when I am naturally inclined to either fly or sit in numb paralysis. I'm either on or off. It's exhausting. Perhaps the thing I fear most is accepting that 'perhaps it's better not to try' is a legitimate way forward?


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.
undefeated
Jan 06: I got three thematically similar asks, so I'm going to group them here and fail to answer any of them:

* geoviki: tell me about a long-ago memory from wee Ravurian days when you realized something about yourself that was both unique and amazing.
* emeraldsedai: Tell me about an important epiphany-like experience--some realization, preferably about yourself or your relationship to the world outside yourself, that changed the course of your life, even if only for a short detour.
* fabularasa: I want a moment of insight — a moment of startling, unsettling, or unexpected realization in your life, the more painfully personal and embarrassing the better.

1. I can't think of a single thing, sorry. I might come back to this, but I probably won't. Today I am a bear of very little brain, and I'm grumpy and moody and feeling quite sorry for myself.

2. See above. But: I am the world's greatest liar. Pray don't believe a single word I say.

3. i. Here's a painfully personal insight: someone I've been friends with for years doesn't like me all that much. I only just figured it out, since they're so polite about it. I've been metaphorically standing with my arms wide open saying 'be welcome in my life' and they've been saying 'no thanks, I'm fine over here, you have fun' and I feel so stupid because, you know, I've been all 'yeah, no, that's okay, maybe another time, then'. For years. Which is really not all that like me, and deeply pathetic besides. I feel like lashing out, but it's not their fault they don't love me.

ii. I've also come to the uncomfortable realisation that I am that person to someone else.

iii. If I can't be in a room with someone without choking on my own suppressed rage, it's probably not a good idea to be around them. That should be obvious, right? Except that I've become so accustomed to privileging their feelings above my own that it's actually quite a startling realisation. I've been so accustomed to making excuses for them and swallowing my responses that it's poisoned our entire relationship. I can't even imagine how it would be possible to fix this when they put our present distance down to me being me, and I put it down to hating how they constantly dismiss or belittle anything outside their own experience.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here.

Jan 05: parthenia14: Science, and magic

art thou a witch?
Jan 05: parthenia14 said: I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Science, especially in relation to magic. I am thinking of the end of 'The Golden Bough', I guess (which would be my particular take on it).

I have to hold up my hand and confess that I've never read The Golden Bough, though I'm fairly certain I have at least one copy knocking around somewhere. Do I have to read it in order to answer the question? I’m not sure I’ll live that long, it’s twelve volumes.

I suppose one might think of magic as the precursor to science - an attempt to draw order from chaos, to seek understanding of the world and its rhythms and rules, and to materially affect the world through the observation, study, and manipulation of its elements, filtered through the lens of prevailing cultural, literary, and ontological trends, and passed on through apprenticeships of one form or another. I am inclined to believe that the same impetus – the desire to understand and alter one’s context and circumstances (whether mental or physical), or the context and circumstances of others – is at the root of both magic and science, and that only time, a body of precedent, and developments in communication, empiricism and the written word really distinguishes them. Magic is largely a word- and faith-based system (on the assumption that language itself shapes and defines reality, rather than our understanding of it; the word is the thing), and science is based on reproducible numbers (the numbers describe the thing). They both seek, through knowing, to define and affect the tangible through sometimes intangible means. Ritual and repetition is important in both.

I think that magic was early science, frankly, and would probably have developed quite naturally into something recognisable as modern science at some point without the intervention of organised religion, which demonised both. In many ways it did. Although I suppose it really does depend on what one is calling magic in the first place. Certainly things once conceived as magic are now enacted through science – algorithms instead of spirits to supply esoteric knowledge upon invocation; machines instead of brooms or carpets or 7-league boots to carry us long distances at improbable speeds; satellites to carry our voice and image and written words to distant places in the blink of an eye; drugs instead of possets and potions to enhance or alter us; we can kill from a distance, kill hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, with one command; and so on and on.

Um. Gosh, this is a fairly inadequate response. I feel as if I have not properly understood the question.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here. There is still one day unaccounted for, so please feel free to nominate something :)
ravurian brit boy
I have to laugh at the seriousness with which I am taking this challenge. Only four days in and I'm already falling behind, because I want to give proper answers, detailed answers, thoughtful ones, and not answer with the sort of brisk, casual dismissal I've seen in other places. Which, you know, there's something to be said for brisk and casual, right? Not everything needs to be laborious or time-intensive. And it's entirely possible that brisk and casual is the only way that one might sustain any momentum over a whole month...

In any case, geoviki asked me to describe my five favourite places in the Greater London area, and this has proved quite challenging (not least because I got hung up on the word 'favourite' for quite a while). I'd find it much easier to answer favourite places in the UK as a whole, I think, but London - even Greater London - is difficult because I don't really see London any more. That's probably a shame. I think that for me these answers will be more about memory and association than they are about the actual locations, and for all I know that will probably be true for everyone. So, these are places that were important to me at various points, though they do not necessarily exist in the same way any more, for I am as inevitably altered as they. Here, then, is my attempt:

1. Lesnes Abbey, in Abbey Wood, Bexley. It's an unremarkable site, and certainly not worth the time to make a day trip or anything, but it's a place not all that far from where I grew up, and the Abbey and the surrounding woods hold a lot of memories for me. My childhood best friend Daniel and I used to walk the two or three miles to the ruins, sometimes trailing a sledge if it had snowed, because the hill on which the Abbey sits was the best sledging hill bar none and was horribly dangerous too. We used to have adventures in the woods, and picnics in the ruins, and years later, I made out with a boy called Simon there in the small hours of the morning. I had my first kiss with a girl there, too, I think. Certainly I've spent time there with any number of different groups of friends. For a while, I considered it My Place, I suppose. And then I grew up. I still visit occasionally, because it makes a pleasant postprandial walk from where I live now when we have visitors. Down through the woods to the Abbey ruins. Yeah. (If you do visit Bexley for some strange reason, one might also consider visiting Hall Place and its gardens which I also loved as a teenager).

2. Greenwich, though it's no longer the Greenwich of my youth (ha), which was a much more interesting place - less wholesome, less aware, a great deal more grotty and exciting, and whose famous gay pub The Gloucester (now long gone) was wonderful and terrible. Now Greenwich is much more affluent and touristy than I remember it being, but there's still plenty there to interest. There's the park (which, actually, had a wonderful sledging hill too), the market, the Observatory, the Meridian line, the Royal Naval College (which now represents all manner of period locations for film shoots, and belongs to Greenwich University), the Queen's House, the Cutty Sark, all manner of museums, the foot-tunnel to the Isle of Dogs (which is where my dad was from, and where hundreds of his relatives still live), the O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome). There's a lot there, though much of it is now very touristy. Possibly it always was? Greenwich used to have the most brilliant second hand bookshops and clothes shops, too, crammed into unsuitable old buildings like the old fire station and an old petrol garage, and there was one children's bookshop on a boat on the Thames that you reached via a gangplank, which was fantastic. The whole place was a disorganised warren full of cheap and wonderful treasures. Brilliant. Most of that's been sanitised now, though.

3. The Woolwich Arsenal. Again, this is a place that was a favourite growing up, and is not really now. Back then, the Arsenal was still MoD land I think. Certainly it was forbidden to the public - fenced off and patrolled (very poorly) by men with dogs. Inside it was overgrown and wild - interesting, exciting, illicit. We had several ways to get in, but the way we most often got in was by crawling on hands and knees along a perilously narrow concrete wall under an unfinished overpass. There was probably a gap of no more than two feet between the top of the wall and the bridge overhead, and on one side of the wall was an artificial canal, on the other a flooded underpass. Once across, it was a scramble through a tiny hole in a fence, always with an eye out for the watchmen. There was a wood on the other side - or at least it seemed so to us then - and beyond the trees, behind several artificial hummocks, was a pond (where we used to skinny dip) and all these old abandoned overgrown buildings: a forge or foundry, I think, a couple of concrete bunkers, a riverside gun-emplacement along the Thames, warehouses, and a whole exciting world of dangerous and unexplored places. We'd regularly come home with pockets full of bullet shells and the odd horse skull and other interesting artefacts. Once, memorably, with something that turned out to be a stick grenade, which caused an epic level of panic (especially since we'd been using it as a makeshift bat in a game of Rounders, using stones instead of balls). Years later we'd be smug at all the excitement when the Arsenal was declassified and zoned for development, and there was much in the papers about all these fantastic old listed buildings 'unseen by the public' or 'not seen for decades' because, well, we'd been sneaking in there for years and had had a good old look around inside. Quite a few of those buildings are worth seeing, but the kind of access we had to them was more fun, and more meaningful, since now you don't have to dodge security men and their dogs and there's little possibility of getting blown up. Ah, those were the days.

4. Covent Garden. Oh, sure, this may be a bit of a cliché in some respects, but I spent a lot of time stomping around Covent Garden and its environs in my teens. The market in the central square with its street performers, St Paul's Church (the entrance to which always felt like a secret, even if it actually isn't), the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, and outside Covent Garden proper: Seven Dials with its odd and quirky shops, the Poetry Cafe on Betterton Street, Da Mario on Endell Street, Scoop on Shorts Gardens, the Donmar. Yeah, still a favourite.

5. The Southbank. What's not to love? The Southbank Centre - The Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, the Purcell Rooms, Queen Elizabeth Hall - the National Theatre, the BFI, the Tate Modern, the restaurants, the shops, the skate park (of blessed memory?). Always loads to do and see.

And, actually, the other favourite thing: The River. You can't really talk about London without talking about the River, I think. But I am not going to talk about it here (haha). The River is arguably my favourite thing, and the thing that I am inexplicably drawn to and repelled by. I used to have a recurring nightmare about hanging off the side of the pedestrian walkway on Hungerford Bridge, something which has been cured by its replacement (luckily). I used to play along the Thames as a kid, and regularly caught a boat up and down it, or rode across it on the Woolwich Ferry, or mudlarked along its banks when the tide was out. There's a lot to be said for walking it (at least in manageable portions). The history of London is, in many ways, the history of its river. Check it out.


January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here. There is still one day unaccounted for, so please feel free to nominate something :)
ravurian
Today's post is a snippet from the HEAverse, previous snippets of which may be found here. sweetnuisance said: HEAverse 2015, January 3rd. [I] am a little fuzzy on the details of the day, you'll have to fill me in.

Eh, nothing much happened. There was a storm the night before, and our bed became infested with children somewhere around 4am. Gabe appeared first, far more mobile than his 18 months ought to permit, then Nate and Hattie in a flurry of elbows and knees, and then Magda, who wasn't bothered by the lashing rain, nor by the thunder and lightning, nor by waking to find herself alone in her room in the dark, but who'd simply come looking for everyone else and decided to stay. 'It's like The Sound of Music,' she said matter-of-factly, offering me her stuffed unicorn as she clambered across me. I held it bemusedly for a few seconds, and then passed it to T, who had given up all pretence of sleep and was propped up against the headboard. 'Someone needs to sing My Favourite Things,' she said expectantly, and then, with an uncertain frown when no one immediately burst into song, 'I could go get my mum if you don't know the words?'

'My daddy knows all the songs,' Hattie said irritably, manoeuvring Nate until he was more comfortable to lean on. I cleared my throat, and Nate said, without missing a beat, 'Other daddy, daddy,' and T laughed.

In the morning we packed the car, corralled the children, said goodbye to M and L and Magda, prised Max away from his awkward teenage goodbye with a girl he'd met in Swanage town centre on Boxing Day, waved to S and J who were coming up the drive towards the house, and drove home to Wales.


Argh, that was lame.

January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here. There are still tw0 days unaccounted for, so please feel free to nominate something for those days :)
Ravurian - Lounge
Jan 02: aproposofnothin:
* Who plays you in the movie of your life?
* What do they bring to the role? How do they fall short?
* Who plays the Duchess, and other supporting cast?
* In what ways does the screenplay depart from the source material?
* What is the critical response to the film?
* Do you get a sequel?

* Who plays you in the movie of your lifeCollapse )
* What do they bring to the role? How do they fall short?Collapse )
* Who plays the Duchess, and other supporting cast?Collapse )

* In what ways does the screenplay depart from the source material?

I'll be honest, it'll have a stronger sense of narrative coherency, it will be harder to distinguish between fact and fiction, the magical shennanigans will be more obvious on screen, and I will have a great deal more drive, ambition and personal success than I do in real life. I will also be married to Teddy Thompson, who will be played on screen by Thomas Coumans, and during the course of the movie we will become parents by various means (adoption, surrogacy, theft). The main thrust of the narrative will be around this passage, which I originally posted here (where there is also a paragraph about The Duchess and Anansi and how they met, which is also relevant; see final point below):

I became something else. If we had been born in a time of war, he would have been – in all the ways that matter – my King, and I would have been his Magician. These are the roles for which we were born: Old Albion's contingencies, stockpiled weapons held in reserve against the day of need. That war never came does not diminish us, I think – I am not so modest as to have failed to spot the small ways in which we changed the world – but we were, by all accounts, a bargain the land made with itself. And by all accounts, the account is due.

The story plays itself out in prescribed ways. The world is balanced and unbalanced by us. If he and I had never met, things would have been different. Obviously. We would never have been translated, never magnified. Never activated. But we did, and we were, and so, eventually (inevitably) the story ends. He dies, and I make my way out of the world to wherever it is my kind goes to await the return of their king – to Broceliande; to Avalon; to a bare and chilly waiting room outside the world, full of grieving, failed magicians waiting for a day that may never come. And of goodbyes. Well. They are not a thing we are permitted.

My king is dead.

* What is the critical response to the film?Collapse )
* Do you get a sequel?Collapse )
golf
Jan 01: infinitemonkeys: You're on Desert Island Discs, what are your eight records and why? What's your book and your luxury?

Since I am an infidel, I had to go and look this up to see what the rules were. I've never listened to Desert Island Discs, but it's one of those things that I expect every Brit has a vague awareness of even if they've no connection to. So, the rules:

Guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music, originally gramophone records, to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Excerpts from their choices are played or, in the case of short pieces, the whole work. At the end of the programme they choose the one piece they regard most highly. They are then asked which book they would take with them; they are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work. (Via Wikipedia)


This is surprisingly difficult, and somewhat anxiety-inducing, because, you know, how LONG am I going to be on the island? What if these are the only things I ever hear again? What if I go off them as quickly as I go off other music? Oh dear. In no particular order, then:

1. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor, which has been one of my favourite pieces of music for literally years. I associate it with creativity, since it is one of the few pieces of music I can listen to while writing, and I listened to it a lot during the year I spent in Norwich doing my Master's, most often at (and through the) night, hard up against deadlines. Generally speaking I get too caught up in the rhythms and language of songs to actually do anything involving my own rhythms and language whilst listening to them (I never understood how my peers at school could do their homework with the radio on; sometimes I can't even think with the radio on), but something about this piece of music interrupts that. It sounds stupid to say so, but I always felt it made my brain work faster; I felt more clever. And really, one sometimes needs all the help one can get, frankly.

2. Human League - Together in Electric Dreams. Played loudly, and regularly, to bop around the house (or shack, if I'm on a desert island, I suppose). This is on my list of songs I want played at my funeral, but I always think of it as my fandom/online anthem - it's about you guys, right? And about an online legacy, sort of, if you squint.

3. Sam Cooke - Any Day Now. Because, listen, that guy's voice, right?

4. Bizet - Pearl Fisher's Duet (this version by Amici Forever). I always wanted to sing this, and yeah, I've sung along with it but it's not the same thing. I have vague plans with one of the chaps at work to give it a bash at some point.

5. Val Doonican - When Irish Eyes are Smiling. This is very much a question mark, but ah, nostalgia! This always makes me think of my grandmother and her sisters, so it's purely in for sentiment and because it chokes me up. Ah, bloody Val Doonican. I think I've said here before that I grew up singing songs that seemed to me and my cousins the very essence of Irishness, the legacy of our grandmothers and of our heritage - things like 'Paddy McGinty's Goat', 'Delaney's Donkey', 'O'Rafferty's Motor Car' and so on - and it turns out they were all from one bloody Val Doonican album, LOL. Still we've those, and the rebel songs, to remember them by, (though what a shock to discover that The Fields of Athenry was written in the 1970s, let me tell you).

6. Teddy Thompson - Tonight Will be Fine (Leonard Cohen cover). This, because I like the song, and because I get both Teddy and Leonard, even though it's not Teddy's best vocal.

7. Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer. 'nuff said.

8. I was half tempted (for humorous purposes only, I swear) to have Chesney Hawkes' The One & Only, because I would be the one and only person on the island. Or something like Ralph McTell's 'Streets of London', since I'd be homesick, and lonely. Perhaps something upbeat, like Fiorelli's 'Tu Vuo Fa l'Americano'? Or, I dunno, Garou's version of 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' (which, really, where is the Teen Wolf stripperverse/Magic Mike AU?) Or! Or! Something I could bounce around the island to, like Roachford's 'Cuddly Toy', which came out when I was 11. Actually, I'm going to pick that for my last song, because a) it will certainly do, and b) this has been surprisingly exhausting, and c) it's a perfectly good song to bounce around the island to.

My book would probably be the collected volume of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence. And my luxury item would be a crate of notebooks and pens.

How'd I do?

January 2014 Meme: full list of topics here. There are still five days unaccounted for, so please feel free to nominate something for those days :)

Jan. 1st, 2014

flamehead
1. It is now 2014, and this is the first post of the year. We have opened the back door to let the old year out, and opened the front door to welcome the new year in. I was the first person in through the front door, a dark haired man bearing a lump of coal, and hopefully this is sufficient to bring luck, and health, and joy to the house. I wish it, anyway.

2. Wherever you are, I wish you the same.

3. So long 2013! 2014: welcome!

Dec. 31st, 2013

ravurian brit boy
1. Guys, guys, I am headlong in crush with Thomas Coumans today. Do yourselves a favour and google him, because he is so handsome, zomg.

2. I have discovered M. Coumans because today I watched a short film called (heh) Headlong (Corps Perdu) (link goes to the official webpage). The film's synopsis is: On the occasion of a dance competition a young ballet dancer is in a foreign place. Alone in his hotel room loneliness overpowers him, until he meets a stranger on the run. I'm telling you, this needs to be made into a full-length feature film RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. Someone get this up on Kickstarter, please. In the meantime, I need someone to write a novel-length fic immediately. (And because I insist you all watch it, I have located d/l links for you all, which can be found online here.) Trust me on this, okay? Watch it.

3. The two lead actors in Headlong are in another film I've been meaning to watch: North Sea Texas, which I shall now bump to the top of my To Watch list.

4. In other news, I have no especial plans for seeing in the New Year in company. I have a vague sense of dissatisfaction about this, but it's my own fault, frankly. I've still time to do something about it, of course, but the questions is: what, and with whom? Silly boy.

5. And speaking of New Year: a wish that 2014 is fruitful and transformative for you all, and that it bring you health and joy. Good luck!



(And, because I am not above begging, I still have 8 slots unfilled on the January meme. Help a cousin out?)

Dec. 30th, 2013

Ravurian - Lounge
1. It is New Year's Adam, and I am sitting at the dining table in the House of Slamming Doors watching the trees and bushes in the garden dance like chlorophylled flames. It's been a bit blustery here, and wet. It rained like a year's worth of grief bursting forth from the clouds, but there are glimpses of blue up there this afternoon. I can just see it through the window.

2. This morning I had a chap in to clear the drains. This is not a euphemism. And then I fixed one of the fence panels which had blown awry in the wind. The Duchess thought it a perfectly reasonable idea to try to burn some old papers in the garden despite the rain, but (astonishingly) this proved problematic. After several hundred matches and quite a bit of cursing, I decided I had better things to do than watch her expand her vocabulary and get wet, and so left her to it. After a bit, I discovered that I did not, in fact, have better things to do, and so I went and took over. There is now a pile of ash where once a lovely pear tree grew, but all the papers are gone. So is much of the lawn. And the shed.

3. Actually, those last three sentences are lies (apart from the bit about the papers; they are now ash on the gale).

4. We had a lovely Christmas here at the House of Slamming Doors, just the Duchess, my brother Judd, ruric, and I. Good food, good company, good conversation, and much laughter. We all sat aghast over the trainwreck of the Dr Who Christmas special, which had only a nod to Christmas and was only special in the sense that it was 'specially awful. I hope that things pick up with Capaldi aboard the Tardis, but I fail to see how with Moffat still smugly in charge. I would like to make a special request to the internet that from now on, when one meets Moffat in the wild, one simply places a finger to ones lips and says softly 'shh'. That's all I want. Every time he goes to speak, one ought simply say 'shhh'. Because really Steven, it is now time to let silence fall.

5. I have ironed all the things in the last few days, and while doing so I have watched the most recent series of Homeland (a good show to iron to) and a series called The Wrong Mans (which I highly recommend; utterly brilliant; more info here). Not much else to report, really, except that I find ironing very therapeutic.

6. I have still got tonnes of slots available for the January Meme here. Please ask me about something, or ask me to write something, or some such. Don't make me invent shit to talk about, because I just won't, okay, and then I'll be sad. Thanks.

7. Hope you're all well!

Dec. 17th, 2013

Ravurian - Lounge
1. I am still soliciting discussion topics over here, if you should feel so inclined (and I'm hoping at least some of you will feel inclined, since otherwise I have only 5 days-worth). Hit me up!

2. I have been avoiding a THING at work all week so far, and it is looming at me. It is, quite possibly, the only thing I have to do this week, and I DO NOT WANT. I should probably just do it instead of side-eyeing it shiftily every few minutes. But! I don't wanna.

3. I just got an email with the subject line 'Dementia Challenge 2014 Conference' and I thought: I'd ace that, today.

4. Typically, there is no thing #4.

Dec. 16th, 2013

ravurian brit boy
Since work has slowed down somewhat today, I've found myself investigating the contents of my draft email folder (76 items). Some of these drafts are blind items now, since I didn't bother including a subject line or email address when I started composing them. I don't even remember most of them. Sometimes I come across things like:

This makes me sad for you, for your mum. This reeks of the inadequacy of language and the toxicity of resentment. You write her as trying to find some point of entry into your life, and yourself as desperate not to permit it. Your disappointment in her must be immense. It's interesting as an outsider to read your interpretation of her visit as a power play rather than the desire to be with you during one of the most important times in your life and share it; that would be the traditional reading of this narrative, as an opportunity for rapprochement, the chance to find common ground in this little boy, her son's first child, your father's grandson. Stripped of the context of your history, her hopping on a plane seems a perfectly natural thing to do. Given context, it seems a natural response, too, since otherwise it sounds as if you'd layer obstacles and barriers and conditions to constrain or prevent her. Your reaction speaks volumes about your experience of your mother. It saddens me that you have been so hurt, and that your instinctive need is to shield your family from anything to do with her.


And I think: but who was it for? What does it mean? What happened? Was it even an actual email, or an excerpt from a story? Who knows?

Then there are a couple of paragraphs of HEAverse things (allied to the 2020 snippets here). Here's one from 2011Collapse )

Anyway, that's quite enough of that.

I've been considering trying to write more here again, and as it happens there is a timely meme designed for just such a thing. Since December is a wash-out, let's try for January. Snagged from everyone, but most recently from netgirl_y2k:

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want. They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject. Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet.

dates!Collapse )

5/31

hugh dancy
1. I spent my conscious hours - when not with the out-of-hours GP - lolling around watching TV. Nothing much happened otherwise.

2. I can see this post-a-day thing growing enormously tedious for you guys unless I come up with a more interesting life to feed it. Hmm. I'll get on that.

3. In the meantime I found another notebook, which I'm slowly reading through. Here, have something context-less:

The fact is, it’s easier than you think. You get in the habit of it young, before you realise, back when you begin to notice that there’s something weird about your reactions and the questions you ask – nothing huge yet, but something askew enough that your friends and your parents look at you askance. You begin to compensate. You allow an extra beat between thought and action so you can react in the same way that everyone else does. You flatten your tongue to the bottom of your mouth before it can curl into speech, and when you release it you let go slowly and with care. You move stiffly because you’re not fine-tuned enough for a natural sort of control yet, just aware that your body moves differently if you let it. You learn to hide. You’re not even sure why.

You refine the mask constantly; you get more practiced at distance; you learn to smooth that beat between thinking and doing to a nanosecond width so it doesn’t show. You must not be different. Whatever the difference is, you don’t want it. You want to be like everyone else. You don’t allow anyone too close in case they realise that inside you’re still the same person you were when they looked at you sidelong and suspicious. You watch their eyes to make sure you’re doing it right. You watch the way they talk to people, the way they touch people, the way they move. You listen to the way they speak; you learn the things they like. You study them. Before you’ve realised it, you’ve learnt to lie. You’ve learnt deceit. You’ve learned obfuscation. You can look right at people and tell them anything you like, and they’ll believe you. You’re not even 8 years old. You feel powerful.

You lie to your friends, your parents, your teachers, yourself. You lie about things even when the truth would do, just because you can. Your habit of hiding is as instinctive as breathing. Everything that appears on your face, seeps out through your body language, comes out of your mouth, is deliberate. It looks natural; it feels natural to you. This is the thing that gives you away; you never slip up, not ever. Puberty reveals you. You’re controlled where everyone else is foundering. You walk along the surface while everyone else is sucked in and spat out by the undertow. You don’t even remember how to just feel things. You cannot undo that space between thought and action – it becomes a gulf that you can’t bridge. You’ve broken something. You are grateful for it, because the things that you feel are things you need to hide more desperately now. Before, you were different; now you’re wrong.

4/31

flamehead
Still back-dating, but only because I want to wish oursin a belated happy birthday. Hope your day was marvellous, oursin!

3/31

argh!
Back-dating already ravurian? Yes! But I have a good excuse: I have been more or less unconscious for 36 hours with fever and hallucinations and so on. Fun times! All I can think is that the infection I had was so deeply entrenched that the antibiotics had to unleash hell in order to tackle it. I never knew how grateful I'd be to sweat. But anyway. Yeah. Not dead. Undead? Possibly.

ETA: As it turns out, it wasn't the infection that caused mayhem with my system but the antibiotics. I've had every single one of the 'possible side-effects' listed in the accompanying notes, which I'd've noticed if I'd been with it enough to read them. Argh.

2/31

ravurian brit boy
1. Oh dear, Agents of Shield actually got worse. Why do none of the cast have chemistry? How are the storylines so imaginatively impoverished only two episodes in? Why is there no dramatic tension, or varying of pace, or genuine sense of jeopardy? Why is the dialogue so awful? Why is the writing so lazy? I said yesterday that I thought the writers don't respect the audience, but I think they don't respect the concept, either. Early cancellation, please, or a vast and rapid improvement immediately.

Sleepy Hollow, on the other hand, continues to be charming despite its flaws, and it's full of spark. I'm enjoying it almost despite myself.

2. Did not meet infinitemonkeys for lunch today as planned, but we have rearranged for Monday. Or, wait, I'm pretty sure I confirmed for Monday. If I didn't, this is me confirming for Monday. (I'll make sure I confirm this confirmation).

3. There are a couple of things I quite fancy seeing at the theatre. Dracula at Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping (a stunning venue), and The Pride at the Trafalgar Studios. I could provide links, but I'm lazy. Google is your friend. They both look interesting. When I have brain space I'll look at tickets.

4. I cannot wait to head up to Wales with ruric in three weeks. I need a break.

5. That is all.

1/31

Ravurian - Lounge
1. I am not enjoying today. It's not just that the sky outside is low and grey, it's that the sky inside my head is just as low and just as grey, as inviting as a warm bed in a cold room at the end of a long day. Come down into the dark, it says, only close your eyes for a moment, for a minute, forever. I could.

2. A thousand internet years behind everyone else, I recently read freece's Captive Prince books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Hers is a success story of an unusual sort - published chapter-by-chapter on her LJ as she wrote, she also made them available as ebooks on Amazon. Somewhere along the line they Got Noticed, and are now to be published and reissued by Penguin Books. That's fantastic, no? And somewhat astonishing considering the M/M content. The first two books are still presently available in their original incarnation on her journal (for free), but only until the end of today (I think). Hie thyself over to her journal and help yourself before they vanish. The third book will be released some time in 2014.

3. Last month I said to a few people I'd be doing another post-a-day for a month, but I sort of couldn't be bothered, and I sort of forgot, and so I didn't. I've already done it once this year, right? Don't need to do it again. Except I think I probably ought to do it again. I should try commenting more, too. That's a thing we do, right? Ugh.

4. In an astonishing turn of events there is a Thing 4. It would be a whine about my job and boredom and anxiety and so on, but really, who has the inclination to read that? No one. It's tedious enough to live through it, never mind hashing it out again online. I don't want advice anyway, so would serve very little purpose to mention it. Except, I clearly am mentioning it right here. Argh. I am not enjoying my job at all. Except when I am (which is infrequently). Bah.

5. I thought the pilot for Marvel's Agents of Shield was terrible, but I understand in some places it was adored. I shan't harsh anyone's squee, but if it continues as it began I shall not be following it. Sleepy Hollow has had some moments I've enjoyed, but it's very stupid. I think it has the potential to be a good bad show (as opposed to a good show, or a bad show, or a bad good show), but so far I feel that the writers do not know or respect their audience. That could equally apply to Marvel's Agents of Shield, at that. I wonder what a show written by people who automatically assume that their audience is at the very least as clever as they are would look like? I mean, I know there are shows out there that do not feel the need to simplify and pander, but they are few and far between.

6. rei_c has finally made her SPN series Fundamental Image available on AO3, which is a cause for celebration in my opinion. You can find it here: http://archiveofourown.org/series/57986. I'm a sucker for stories that plunge deep into the shallow well of canon and draw forth such layered, complex riches. I'm hoping that she uploads her other work, too (HINT HINT).

Sep. 13th, 2013

Autumn
newredshoes has just discovered Being Human, and after having a chat in comments with one of her friends I went back to watch the Pilot. As some of you will know, I adored the Pilot. My impressions of the series were rooted there, and though I liked the Series' cast, I never quite got over their predecessors. Watching it now, it's every bit as excellent as I remembered, but what is surprising is how much of the Pilot!Mitchell resurfaces again later in Hal. His position and influence in vampire society, his mannerisms and expressions, his character quirks. It's interesting to me because I thought something similar when Hal first appeared, but was so disenchanted with the writing in Seasons 4 & 5 that I never actually stuck around to see how it all ended. But this Mitchell, the Pilot Mitchell, gosh, that would have been a performance worth watching. I like Aidan Turner, but he's at best a competent actor - he doesn't do subtlety. This guy - I must find out his name - God, he's nuanced. And I'm not even as far in as Annie, yet! I love Original!Annie! Can't wait!

Sep. 12th, 2013

mirror


These chaps are going to be playing in London on December 5th at Heaven. Anyone fancy giving them a try? I'd never heard of them until today, and though I think, wow, what an arsehole the POV voice is in that song (really, you're heaping recrimination on someone you profess to care about that they didn't notice their other half was cheating on them? Is that helpful? Wankers) they do sing it rather well. gingerpig? ruric? infinitemonkeys? parthenia14?

Sep. 11th, 2013

bitches!, Hold up
1. Thanks to seperis I have today tipped head-long down a youtube rabbit hole listening to Norwegian band Ylvis and their crazy, crazy exceptionally catchy songs. Witness exhibit A:



You're welcome. What does the fox say?

2. Today I took delivery of my new boots, which I ordered at the weekend. I... look, something weird is going on with my feet, okay. I was a size 9 from the time I was 17 until I turned 28, and then suddenly I was a size 8. These boots are a size 7. My feet are shrinking. What's up with that? As I said to the lady in the shoe shop, I sincerely hope that what they say about the size of a guy's feet is not true, because, Jesus, apparently mine are getting smaller.

Sep. 10th, 2013

Ravurian - Hatband
1. As it turns out, the rain outside my office window was not responsible for the inexplicable Samba rhythm the other day. It was, instead, a faulty fan-belt on the extractor fan from the Anatomy Lab downstairs. Apparently the build-up of Formaldehyde fumes and the Samba rhythm caused all sorts of dance-related hijinks. In the living, rather than the dead, of course. The cadavers were up to no hijinks. They remained as still and quiet as the grave, which is a good job as people were attacking them with knives. Or, well, not attacking, as such. And scalpels, not knives. They were dissecting bodies clinically and unemotionally. And actually, there was no dancing, either. So basically I made most of this up, except for the fan-belt and the Samba rhythm and the build-up of Formaldehyde fumes. There are corpses downstairs, though. And students. So.

2. Somewhat relatedly, it is apparently not unusual for students dissecting cadavers to find that they get hungry while doing so. I've not researched this, it just came up in conversation, that sometimes your mouth will start to water and you will suddenly be ravenous while you're cutting open dead people. It is, according to my sources, highly recommended that you keep beef jerky in your bag or pocket for when you're done. Um. File that under things you may someday need to know?

3. I've been offered a tour of the Lab, but I've not yet found time to go. I should definitely do that.

Sep. 9th, 2013

friendship
Happy birthday ruric! Wishing you the most splendid of splendid days, and an interesting and exciting year ahead.

Sep. 9th, 2013

ravurian brit boy
1. The rain outside my office window is drumming the most incredible rhythmic tattoo against the wrought iron fire-escape. I'm sure I've heard the patterns at carnival some such. I could dance the Samba to it, if dancing the Samba were the sort of thing an Englishman might do. I'm half tempted to close my office door, put my feet up on the desk, and just listen. I think in retrospect that having my back to the window was a mistake. I should look into reordering my office.

2. I had meant to do the post-a-day thing in September, but I forgot. Whoops. I have a dearth of interesting things going on at the moment, sorry.

3. I saw a really good movie at the weekend: Chronicle. Trailer here. I'm not sure I could do it justice in review, but it's the story of three friends who discover some sort of artifact beneath a field and are altered by it, and how that plays out (apparently I can do it no kind of justice at all). Anyone else seen it?

Sep. 1st, 2013

Ravurian - Lounge
My notebooks reveal that I am kind of an arsehole, which is no great surprise.

Here, have some terribly obvious comments I've made to other people about writing. Not that I'm setting myself up as any authority or anything, but they may be useful to someone:

re: dialogue:

[..] it is perfectly acceptable – and useful – to use indirect speech: ‘she asked how he was, and he replied that he was fine, considering, waving a hand to indicate the weather, the view, to encompass the whole weary world and his weary place in it.’ etc etc. You don’t actually have to tell us everything they said, or even show it, in order to convey the sense of it. It’s sometimes useful to elide the action that way, to slide from one bit to the next without having to go into too much detail, particularly where the detail is irrelevant but the sense of it is not. You need only give us the important dialogue as dialogue, not all of it, and any dialogue should be used in service of the story, or of character, and should move the plot forward.


(re: description 1):

[...] there is something beautiful about spare and specific prose, but I think that what works in fanfic - where you're relying on an already existing body of canon, fanon, and with audience familiarity with location, structures, time period, costume, character description and quirks - does not work in original fiction, where you are creating those things for the first time. One may go on about leaving things to the reader's imagination, but in all honesty that's not their job. They inhabit and populate and interact with the structures you create. You can sketch things out and leave the rest to the imagination; that's fine. What you can't do is fail to supply the framework to hang the story from. That's your job, and building the world and communicating it is your responsibility. It's a delicate balancing act[...]


Relatedly, re: the physical description of characters in original versus fanfic:

When you say that you want to leave [description to the reader's imagination], you are demonstrably only doing so with regard to your male characters ([Character A] notwithstanding, but you - like [Character B] - appear to think of [Character A] as the 'wife' of their partnership, which permits you to describe him in detail). This is another side effect of fanfic, in which the male canon characters are most often the ones you're writing about (and with whom your readership will presumably have some visual familiarity), and any female characters are often written with a greater degree of specificity and care to offset potential accusations of Mary Sue'ism. [...] I think possibly what you mean is that you're only describing those characters you'd consider OCs if this were fanfic. But it's not. And your lead needs to be a real boy. He can't be the least defined and most uninteresting person in the story.


This last is all too frequent in fanfic writers gone pro, I find. I can think of one very successful writer who chose the closing pages of their first novel to tell us that their lead character was blond and blue-eyed. If that information was germane, then it should have come earlier before one had mentally remedied its lack.

Right. First post of September: done.

Aug. 27th, 2013

Lord of the Dance


Chaps, chaps, never say I don't do anything for you. Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is on a US Tour. Dates and venues here: http://www.new-adventures.net/productions/sleeping_beauty/venue_tour.

Aug. 27th, 2013

flamehead
1. I took some notebooks with me to work today, five of them that I'd discovered in various places, and in lieu of work I've been reading through them. I found a draft of a letter I wrote years ago, and never sent. It said:

The truth is - and I know you've wondered - that I was so hurt I couldn't even meet your eyes. I couldn't even look in your direction, but I was trying very hard to get past it for both our sakes, and I might have pulled it off if it hadn't been for the Christmas card you brought with you, from Anne. I still have it somewhere. She wrote... Well. You don't need to know what she wrote, except that it confirmed what I was feeling. It gave me the courage to look past your confusion and meet your eyes and say goodbye, knowing that I meant it. Anne did that for me, and I wish I knew how to thank her. Laura too, actually, for reminding me of that strange mixture of passive aggressive contempt with which you treated her in almost exactly the same circumstances. I discovered quickly that I didn't miss the way you made me feel about myself, and I didn't miss you at all, although I do often think of you.

The same year - eight months of mutual silence later - you sent me a birthday gift through the post, and I cried with fury and hurt. It sat unopened in a corner of my room for months - years, possibly - and then one day I opened it. It was beautiful. It hangs on my bedroom wall, now, and I'm reminded every time I see it that love is its own thing, separate from like, distinct from history, and it is not enough.


2. Another page, another fragment from a brief travelogue:

Just now, looking out from the window of the passenger's lounge, I noticed that there were two suns in the sky. Curious and unsettling. I watched until the clouds burnt away and the suns merged into a single unbearably bright disk, then turned away.


3. And a story fragment:

After - after I had washed my hands twenty-seven times in rainwater from the barrel in the garden and treated the cuts on my feet with salt-water and crushed aspirin - I limped into the bathroom and took your favourite knife to my hair.


4. Another:

Evelyn was the inoculation. We carried fragments of her around inside us, after: little defeated plague cells of memory, cynical antibodies that fought against emotionality, defended us in chance encounters with romance. The first time I met Duncan, he said 'You come down with it suddenly, and it lays you low for weeks, months sometimes. Years, even, with some people. But you'll never catch it again. Not so completely or so violently.' And I thought I knew better; I thought myself in love with his wife, after all, and fancied myself the object of her regard rather than a recent curiousity. I was unbearably turned on by the press of his thigh against mine, the warmth of his palm on my back through my shirt, the chill of his glass resting against the inside of my wrist, and so I leant into him on the bench like a cat. He settled me comfortably beneath his arm and we watched her work the room.


5. So there you go. I will be picking up the post-a-day for 30 days again in September, I think. Who's with me?

Aug. 19th, 2013

ravurian brit boy
This is how 35 dies: at a desk in an office with little natural light, alone in a suite of offices on an empty floor, while summer unfolds outside.

36 will be born tomorrow. Today, Braxton Hicks squeeze all satisfaction from the day. I wish to be somewhere - anywhere - else. Tomorrow I will be.

Jul. 22nd, 2013

ravurian brit boy
1. Time saunters, and then it runs. I keep thinking that I should go back through my journal to see how often I've used that phrase to open a post; I suspect it's a lot. It's true though. It will likely be my epitaph, nicely rounded off with 'and then it runs out'. Not that I'm being maudlin. Dear god, it's far too hot to be maudlin.

2. I had Friday off work and pottered in the garden. Then I brained myself on the corner of the garage door, whacked into it so hard that I have a dent in my forehead and a nicely persistent headache, and the craziest dreams. My friend Rachael asked if I cried, but in all honesty all I said was '...oh' in a really surprised, very British sort of way. I manfully repressed the reflexive urge to apologise and instead put the lawnmower away and staggered blindly back down the wrought-iron steps to lie face down on the dehydrated grass and breathe through the pain. I might've stayed there indefinitely if I hadn't formed the desire to seek out sympathy. Alas, the nearest person was The Duchess. (She is famously amused by the injuries of other people. Years ago Anansi accidentally drilled through his hand, and she laughed until she wheezed even while staunching the blood with a tea-towel. She has a really unfortunate and vicious sense of humour, sometimes.) So that was nice.

3. Saturday night I went to a friend's birthday drinks. Sunday, I went out for lunch, and then to masque101's house to hang out.

4. So, in conclusion: you've missed nothing very much at all.

Jul. 10th, 2013

ravurian brit boy
Nope. Do not go to see 'Ender's Game' at the cinema. Do not funnel more money at Orson Scot Card to gift to homophobic organisations fighting against equality. Do not legitimise his stance on 'tragic genetic mixups' and how homophobic laws should remain on the books - or be reintroduced - by supporting his work. Just don't. You may argue that the work should be viewed independent of its creator, and I would broadly agree if the proceeds of that work weren't being used to campaign against the rights of my gay brethren in the US.

If you want to illegally pirate a copy of the movie because you liked the book - well, go ahead, knock yourself out. But don't give him another penny.

Jul. 8th, 2013

winter
1. After work this evening, I met up with my friend the Noted Novelist (seriously, long-listed for the Booker a few years ago with his first novel; English is not even his second language), and we talked life and stories for a couple of hours in the beer garden of the Horseshoe Inn at London Bridge. It was lovely, and rare enough these days since he no longer lives in the UK. He thinks I need to write more, write harder. He thinks I have something to say, but that I need to worry less about expressing my ideas and more about letting them bloom organically in my writing. He's right, of course. He also thinks that what I think is a short story should be a novel; that what I think is a TV show should be a novel; that what I think is a novel is probably a bible of some description and may lead to cult-like behaviour, but should definitely be a novel first. In short, he profoundly wishes I would just get on with writing one of the fucking novels. Oh sure, I said; I'll get right on that. Yes birather, he said; do.

2. I told him about my recent missed opportunity to sojourn in Knollary, and he said: but that stuff used to happen to you all the time - don't you remember how you went out for a walk when we were at university and came back with pockets full of snow even though it wasn't snowing anywhere nearby?

I remember it differently. There was snow. A lot of it. It came down so heavily, so unexpectedly, so fast and cold that my eyelashes snapped under the force of it. And yes, my pockets were full of snow gradually returning to water, sufficient to drown my mobile phone, my keys, the lone fiver wrapped around five pennies. I remember tipping snow out on the table in the pub and attempting to dry my hair with a bar towel by the fire. I don't remember that it wasn't snowing nearby, but I like the idea that it hadn't been - that I came in out of the dark bearing the breath of winter like a trailing scarf, dripping snow and ice from my shoulders and from my lopsided and sodden attempt at a quiff, and that I stepped from a personal Arctic landscape into a mild spring night and confused the fuck out of all of them in their hoodies and tshirts.

3. I like vodka.

Jul. 7th, 2013

Autumn
(Backdated, inevitably)

Lazy day. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy day. Full of sun and open skies and a barbecue on the back steps, under the fruit trees. The Duchess is off to visit Doriana Grey, so I shall have the house to myself until Tuesday. I declare that no pants will be worn in the House of Slamming Doors until the advent of her return. An emergency pair will be hung on the back door handle (NAE) in case of casual callers, but I may have to rig some sort of tin-can alarm for the back gate because otherwise there might be no warning at all*.

* Seriously, that time when we were having the bathroom done and had to wash at the kitchen sink was fraught with small pant-related emergencies.

Jul. 6th, 2013

Hugh @#?!
1. This is so fucked up. The headline: 'South American Football - Referee beheaded by fans for killing player'. It took me a moment to parse that sentence properly.

2. I was telling The Duchess about it, and her absent response was: once you get outside London, the whole world is mad. That's all you have to say, Ma?

3. Summer has finally arrived. Not a cloud in the sky, and I am already freckling. Alas, when I tan at all I go the sort of brown that makes me look like I need a wash, not the healthy glowing sort. Mind you, both kinds end in wrinkles and skin cancer. Great.

4. I have not forgotten the icons I promised, I just haven't got round to all of them yet. PS is pissing me off to be honest. Every time I go to save something it shuts down, losing everything I've already done. Bastard thing.

Jul. 5th, 2013

shirt off
1. In London the sun is shining and all the colours of the day are made more vibrant and intense. The inherent British conflict between optimism and pessimism is everywhere illustrated by people in shorts and tshirts looking smug at their red-faced and sweaty confrères carrying jumpers and overcoats over their arms, brollies swinging futile and heavy at their sides. I am somewhere between the two: in jeans and trainers, shirt sleeves rolled to the elbow, collar open at the throat.

On the green outside my office building there's a beautifully pointy strawberry blond guy stretched out, reading. I would like to say to him: hi, I'm just admiring your legs and the bare vulnerable soles of your feet. I like the way the sun turns the hair on your forearms into a halo, like you're being hugged by light. The way you trap your lower lip between your teeth so that only the corners of your mouth quirk up when you smile at the page makes me smile reflexively in response. And in conclusion, is there any chance that you're single, homosexual, and possessed with a bizarre attraction to slightly overweight bespectacled gawkers? Also: are you independently wealthy, do you own a publishing house, and how do you feel about marriage?

2. You will have noted that I said 'slightly overweight' in the previous item. On the 21st June I moaned a bit about being beef to the heel like a Mullingar heifer, but in the intervening two weeks I have miraculously lost 6lbs. I'm only mentioning it again in case there's actually some magic inherent in whining publicly about one's equatorial girthage. If there is, then I hope to confirm it in two weeks time. Watch this space for updates about banishing those extra pounds via online whinging and witchcraft!

3. It's Friday!

Jul. 4th, 2013

ravurian brit boy
1. I had an 8am meeting this morning, which is cruel and unusual given the otherwise emptiness of my work day. Because of transport woes, I was 15 minutes late. Great.

2. Happy Independence Day, USAians.

3. Someone was wrong on the internet today, and I was so cross I couldn't even enumerate the ways.

4. Wow, the quality of my posts has really deteriorated.

Jul. 3rd, 2013

Ravurian - Lounge
1. This morning I somehow misread 'England' as 'Knollary' on a bottle of liquid-soap on the bathroom windowsill. Made in Knollary, I thought. Wow. Where's that?. And then my eyes refocused. Half an hour later, on the bus, the automated announcement had two additional stops between the regular ones: 'Marble Crown/Axeman's Lane' and 'Wicker Path', neither of which exist. The bus didn't stop at them, just carried on its usual route. I looked around, but no one else seemed to have noticed. Weird. It left me just the slightest bit uncertain whether I was awake.

2. I absolutely adore the new TV series Dates, which is presently airing on Channel 4. It's a 'witty, sexy and emotional drama series about the complicated and hilarious ways that strangers interact on dates in their quest to find love' or at least that's what the official spiel is. In practice it's all those things and more, too - it's about identity, about not just growing up but being a Grown Up (or not), about figuring things out and taking chances, and it's (thank Christ) not about teenagers coming of age, but about complex adults with histories and opinions trying to make a connection. It's also unexpectedly funny. There's not been a dud yet (although it came perilously close with Katie McGrath's odd acting choices; unfortunate in an otherwise excellent episode). Highly recommended.

3. I saw a post on tumblr recently that had some amazing pictures of tattoos, a couple of which I will place beneath a cutCollapse )

That second one is awesome. I mean, I could imagine having something similar done myself, but on a smaller scale, maybe on the inside of my wrist or something? Amazing. The rest can be seen here: http://ravurian.tumblr.com/post/54216599527.

Jul. 2nd, 2013

monsterlord
Okay, so maybe I will say one other thing about Teen Wolf 3x05: FrayedCollapse )

Jul. 2nd, 2013

11 begins
1. I posted a little while ago about Alicexz's cinema-inspired solo show at the Bottleneck Gallery in NYC, and one of the first things I did on getting paid was to buy a print from that show. This one, in fact, which you can see an image of below:

Something Extraordinary by Alice X. Zhang photo ThePrestige_alicexz_1024x1024.jpg


And because I have impulse control issues, I also bought the other one I liked: A Moment of Absolute Clarity, inspired by the film 'A Single Man'.

If you've not been across to have a look at her work, I highly recommend it. Though most of the paintings are a little too specifically and explicitly related to their source material (in my opinion) and do not entirely stand on their own merit, they are all exquisitely executed. I liked these two in particular because they had their own stories to tell independent of that source material. They didn't merely display their origin, but had something in them that gave them a new context. Or at least I found something in them to inspire new stories in me. There was something a little generic and pandering in the others, something too specific, and not nearly enough of the artist herself.

2. I had a look at some of the other work on sale at the Bottleneck Gallery, and it all seems to be of a pop culture/fannish bent. Which is no bad thing, just not really my thing. Having said that, though, I really liked this Game of Thrones-inspired piece by Ben Huber: Fire and Blood, which has something very cool about it in a contemporary-retro sort of way (if that is an actual thing).

3. Another poster/print that I liked - a 'minimal movie poster' by Chunkong Art of Stephen King's The Shining, which I covet like crazy.

The Shining, minimal movie poster by Chungking Art photo no094-my-the-shining-minimal-movie-poster-chungkong-art.jpg


I may treat myself next month. Not that I've got any place to hang it, of course, but it might look good up in my office at work. Good, and subtly threatening.

4. Since I apparently have #4s these days, a final print that I liked which, if I ever have the money might do nicely in the dining room: Evening Harvest, by Chris Bushe (available from the Creative Arts Gallery).

Evening Harvest, by Chris Bushe photo CDB02-jpg-HRKC-Evening-Harvest-original.jpg


5. I was going to say something about this week's episode of Teen Wolf, but basically it boils down to: none of you arseholes thought to check? And: Scott got the last slash in; that makes him top dog, right?

ETA:

6. A final final print that I liked (and which, though grossly inaccurate in every possible sense, makes me think of f4f3 and his Anna): Feral, by Noelle Stevenson.

 photo 3099241_2569464_lz.jpg

Jul. 1st, 2013

argh!
Christ on a cracker I'm bored. JFC.

Jul. 1st, 2013

ravurian brit boy
1. June is over, and I have made an entry - sometimes two - for every day. Let's see how far this goes.

2. I read a couple of good short stories over the weekend, which may be found online here:

a. The Specialist's Hat, by Kelly Link
b. Prudence and the Dragon, by Zen Cho

Sometimes short stories are exactly the right length, and sometimes they expand the further into them you get, like worlds unfolding from the interstices between words.

3. I do NOT want to be at work today, but I'm not sure what I'd be doing instead.

Jun. 30th, 2013

Sonic Screwdriver
'Macbeth' is a very silly play, really. I'm not sure what the point of it is, except, you know, to say Some People are just Fucked in the Head, here are some examples and Murder is seldom a good idea. A lot of Shakespeare's plays rely on people being stupid, and I suppose that's a valid observation - people can be. Mind you, that's true of drama in general. And literature. And the news. So I oughtn't to grumble.

As longer-term readers of this journal will know, I am very much of the opinion that Shakespeare's plays make a great deal more sense if imagining them as the 'Dawson's Creek' of their day, populated by overwrought and not entirely rational teenagers (something I'd like to explore as a director, if I were, y'know, a director), and this is no exception. Most of them benefit enormously from a mental recast of the majority of characters as being between the ages of 15 and 17, because suddenly all the hysteria and ridiculous plans seem legitimately plausible as something one might come up with under the influence of fluctuating body chemistry, an unstable and evolving self-image, and insufficient life experience. Shakespeare: Solved!

Anyway. Upon realising that a trio of witches had identified him by his title, had news of his accession to a new title before he knew himself, and predicted that he would one day be King, his response wasn't 'gosh, I should spend more time in the market; the commoners always know things first' or 'seems legit, I'll look forward to that' but 'ZOMG I MUST MAKE THAT HAPPEN RIGHT NOW', which seems like a waste of energy to me since the second part happened all on its own. It does presuppose that a King is something worth being (couldn't be bothered with the paperwork or the media intrusion, myself), and that it is an end in itself, not a means to effect something further - social change, financial stability, power, safety. Perhaps it was the production I saw last night, but there seemed nothing to indicate why Macbeth would want to be king, nor what he thought the position would afford him, nor why it would be worth the cost of getting there, nor that he'd do a better job of it than the present incumbent. I should read the play and find out how much of it was cut and whether he was given some sort of motivation that didn't make it on-stage last night, but as it stands I'm left wondering. Did he think Duncan was doing a bad job? Did he think Malcolm would do a worse one? Would Macbeth's actions make more sense in the context of PTSD? What was the point?

The more interesting stories, I think - and I can't imagine that this is a novel idea (though it would make an interesting novel, I think) - are those of Lady Macbeth, Lady Macduff, and the three witches. Lady Macbeth, it seems to me, is clever, analytical, politically astute, clearly immensely capable, full of fury and ambition and utterly trapped and thwarted and frustrated by her gender and position. I suspect that she has not been treated kindly by men, frankly, and that was something that was demonstrated quite subtly in last night's performance, I thought - her derangement not necessarily a consequence of the murder, but rather something of the reverse. If old King Duncan had been played with a bit more lechery, I could certainly see that as a motivation for both the Thane and his wife to go all out to get him. Her magnificent soliloquy following receipt of Macbeth's letter - in which he detailed his encounter with the witches - seemed to me to be in large part about being given the opportunity to act 'outside her sex', to take agency and power and action, and she phrased it so by invoking a spell to 'unwoman' herself, which is the second act of magic we see in the play (though I do not think it is commonly seen so).

Lady Macduff had less to do, but in 19 lines she has plenty to say, and the mind that articulates it is interesting, full of caustic wit, humour, insight. What she has to say about fear making traitors where actions do not is made particularly apt by the personal betrayal of her husband's flight. It didn't even occur to him that he might have placed his family in jeopardy by fleeing until Malcolm points it out, by which time both wife and child are dead. His wife lays this all out - reason, accountability, consequence - quite carefully to her son, and then is slaughtered anyway. I wish I knew more about her; her story would've been very interesting. I think I'd've allowed her a little more agency in the performance of the role, though, particularly given her bit about the wren vs the owl.

And the witches, let's talk about the witches. The chief unexamined theme in the play is their motivation. What were they about? What was their goal? What did they gain by manipulating the events of the play? Did they have an agenda, or were they just offering simple facts? How did they benefit? And if they weren't the primary agents of it all, what did their 'Master' get from it? I'd very much like to see a version of the play where the witches were actually a disguised Lady Macbeth, Lady Macduff, and the gentlewoman trying to effect a political regime change and coming a bit unstuck along the way. Now there's a story.

ETA: On further thought, having Lady Macbeth as one of the witches lends itself to further intrigue and significance with regard to the sleepwalking/sleep-talking scene. One could ramp up the dramatic tension enormously if one could a) play upon the cost of magic, or b) play upon the consequence of political manipulation (particularly with regard to women living vicariously through their husbands achievements, thank you oursin), or c) play it as being about spiritual/demonic possession. The first two have more agency than the third, of course, but any of the three would be really interesting to watch.

Jun. 29th, 2013

Ravurian - Lounge
And so to today.

1. Spent time battling the garden and chatting with random strangers who have apparently noted and approved of my recent efforts and seemed glad of the opportunity to say so; that was nice. I have picked up the beginnings of a tan, or a sunburn. It has not yet decided which to be.

2. Went out this evening with sweetnuisance to The Globe to see 'Macbeth'. Enormously tedious and quite depressing on all fronts.

3. I am struggling a bit at the moment. I have the horrible sense that I am very boring, which is substantially reinforced by the realisation that very few people seem to listen to anything I say, and even when they do, far fewer of them seem to hear what I have said. I have begun to wonder if there is any point speaking at all, and have been testing this theory. I suppose that it may just be that I am surrounded by people who are either utterly full of themselves or enormously excited by the events in their own lives, but it hardly seems likely that this would be the case universally. In a general sense, I am usually very interested in other people and what is important to them, and I ask questions and pay attention and retain information about their interests and enthusiasms and what affects them physically, emotionally, and intellectually, not just because it is useful and expedient to do so, but because I like to hear about these things. But I have become increasingly aware of how infrequently that interest is returned, and it's begun to irk me a bit. I mean, even if you're not actually interested in the answer, isn't a 'how are you?' usually common currency in conversation? I don't even know if I'd answer with anything more than a generic 'fine', but the opportunity to find out hasn't presented itself in quite a while. (N.B. This is not an invitation to respond to this post to ask how I am). I have one friend who frequently starts talking over the top of me when I'm mid-way through a word, and I have taken to continuing to speak until the end of the sentence in a calm and even tone until they realise - always with some surprise and a palpable sense of confusion - that I am still talking. This isn't a new habit, but I've just stopped deferring out of politeness.

Since I am the common denominator in these interactions, it does suggest that the fault lies with me, in something I'd doing or not doing. I've either got to become a great deal more interesting to the people who clearly think they know me so well that there is no possible avenue of conversation or enquiry to which I might contribute, or meet some new people. Or both, I suppose. The one might lead to the other, of course, in either direction. I don't intend to whine indefinitely about this or anything, but Jesus Fucking Christ I am so fucking pissed off right now.

Anyway.

4. Today was Pride in London. I missed it. Given what occurred last year, it's probably for the best.

Jun. 28th, 2013

Reboot Universe
1. This is a back-dated post, since I didn't actually get around to posting on the 28th itself, and I need to get through this entry to post the next one, which is about today.

2. I didn't post on the 28th because I didn't feel like it though, broadly speaking, I have enjoyed posting on a daily basis. I like to think I mostly found things to say that some of you found interesting to read on your f-list, but if that's not the case I don't want to hear about it. Let my illusions persist, please. Thank you kindly.

3. The 28th was another day in the office in which not very much happened, something that is less a surprise than it is an inevitability. The problem with my job is that there are no deadlines. Stuff can happen 'whenever', which just means that there's no urgency until someone arbitrarily decides that it is suddenly urgent. Things bleed out slowly. I am bleeding out slowly.

4. I got paid, which was nice. I got paid incorrectly, which is not so nice. It will, however, be sorted in my next pay-packet.

5. Note to self: take tool-kit to work on Monday. It will make you look manly and handy, and will come in useful putting together some of the shit you bought for the office.

Jun. 27th, 2013

crow window
Nothing happened today, either.

Okay, so that's a lie, but I don't feel like talking about it much. However:

1. I plan to spend some time over the weekend making icons for those of you who commented to the other day. I'm looking forward to it!

2. I had completely forgotten (if I ever knew) that it's Pride this Saturday in London. I should probably go along to that for a while before I head to The Globe with sweetnuisance to see Macbeth in the evening.

3. I will be really glad when this week's over.

Jun. 26th, 2013

Autumn
Nothing at all happened today.

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