This week, Monday 3rd February 2014

Aaagh Improv Every Day

Well, almost. Last week was fairly exhausting – in a good way, if there is such a thing. Some people tell me there is, the others tell me to have a night in. Ho hum, bring on that gorgeous manic frenzy! Perhaps that’s a bad thing, but it does feel marvellous for a while. So yeah – last week I had fun improvising from Tuesday through to Saturday night. I could really do with a couple of days leave around about now. It seems I’ll have to go to work though.

The Same Faces Feb 2014 - Minefield

There has been a good deal of excitement: Tuesday gave us fun and games with the mob at Fisticuffs (we really must plan a show in sometime), followed by more teaching (which really does fix a crappy day and incipient migraine). Jamtimes on Thursday and then on to the shows for the weekend. We had a really nice turnout for MissImp in Action at The Glee Club. We deployed thirteen improvisers to do their stuff, and they did. We had a pretty swift and funny show, and had to deal with / incorporate a pair of rather drunk lady audience people who found occasion to shriek during some scenes. Strange, strange people. Parky laser-eyed them to death during The Shawshank Redemption.

On Saturday I had a rare treat: being invited to play elsewhere. In this case, to perform with The Same Faces in Leicester. I’d only ever met Tom Young, their frontman once before and I was very happy (and somewhat relieved) to find them a delightful bunch of chaps. They do an entirely shortform games show on the first Friday Saturday of each month at The Criterion in Leicester (first Friday in Northampton). We had a very funny show and I’m happy to have contributed to it. It’s also very nice to be invited!

The picture here (thanks to Nick Dunning for the action shot) is of me and Dave Gotheridge playing ‘Greatest Hits’, with Dave collapsing under the joy of watching the boys deliver ‘Minefield’ – a fusion of bluegrass and Icelandic throat singing. We played a lot of games I haven’t even thought of since watching Whose Line back in the olden days. It was a rather nice change of pace. I shall return…

This week I need to chill the fuck out.

♥ Last Week’s Scribbles

I’m still quite disturbed by the dream I had that I wrote up and posted last week. I don’t recommend dreams of death and horror. It seems to be all I dream of. Consequently I’m quite happy to smother my unconscious mind with amitriptilyne. Even when I woke up during a dream thinking it was just some complex logistics I awoke a second time when I realised we were working out how to dispose of a body.

This week, Monday 27th January 2014 – mostly a review of the quite terrible Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Pulp Pirate 19 – FC 94 Road Couch  – excellent pulp fiction podcast featuring a little bit of a story by yours truly.

Shankery – Angry Poetry For Liars – rargh, hate in super-short poem form.

Terrible Dreams Made Into Stories: The Swans – I have no idea why I wrote this down; it was horrible dream.

Media Intake

We were thrilled, positively thrilled to discover the new Lego Movie Lego Minifigures Series 12 in WH Smith’s. We now have all of them bar the lady construction worker (soon to follow!) The new construction sets that have been released so far seem utterly bonkers and promise great fun in the building.

I’m been chewing through books at my usual rate (I’m not sure when I’ve been doing this…) Notable recent reads include Christopher Moore‘s Practical DemonkeepingTerry Pratchett‘s Raising Steam and Stephen Hunt’s From The Deep of The DarkI enjoyed all three for quite different reasons. I suppose I ought to do some reviewing of all this stuff I’m consuming. Maybe later in the week.

Events and Excitement

Thursday 13th February

Gorilla Burger: improv comedy carnage

Gorilla Burger2_SQ_SM

Jam show – a chance for anyone to get on stage, and a superb opportunity to get an idea of what Nottingham improv is all about.
The Corner
8 Stoney Street
(off Broad Street)
Nottingham
7.30pm – £4

https://www.facebook.com/events/218155238365760/

Friday 28th February

MissImp in Action – live improv comedy show

MissImp_in_Action-SQ2

Thrilling all-action end of the month show sporting the best of MissImp inventing scenes and playing games.

The Glee Club
The Waterfront
Canal Street
Nottingham
8.30pm (doors open at 8pm) – £4.50 in advance/£6 on the door (£3 students/MissImp)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1419935891573539/

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Old Angel Nottingham – Horrifying Valentine’s Day Poster

What’s Wrong With This Poster?

This is how the Old Angel pub in Nottingham are advertising their Valentines’ Day event:

image

Die Die My Darling
(With a picture of a skeleton holding a glass up to a woman. Through the glass we see the skull of the woman.)
Bag A Slag, Grab A Hag
Alternative Speed Dating Friday 14th February 7pm
£1 + Free Shots for Girls Taking Part

A friend pointed this out to me last week. Initially I was torn between laughing at it – how could someone be so fucking stupid, and being angry – how could anyone be so blithely misogynistic. It’s bothered me ever since. It could be easy to dismiss this as ‘just a joke’, which is exactly what The Old Angel Twitter feed is saying. They seem to be slightly put out that some folk consider this not to be a joke. If it’s a joke, then explain it so that we can all have a good laugh.

Often Ranty has a good list of The Old Angel’s defensive replies: http://oftenranty.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/old-angel-nottingham-valentines-day-event-potential-trigger-warning-for-language/. There’s a rather nice alternative poster by @Fuz_Wuz

Without that explanation (and possibly even with it), this poster reads reads to me like an invitation to rape and kill drunk bitches.

Let’s go line by line and find the jokes

Die Die My Darling

This is the title of the event. It certainly does suggest an ‘alternative speed dating’ – an event for murderers and prospective victims. The romance makes you want to cry. And with the picture… drink enough and you’ll see what someone’s really like inside. They’re bones – already dead, masquerading as real people. So you can do whatever you like to them. Like belittle them, abuse them, kill them. How loving, I suppose we could be calling for ‘the little death’ but the picture rather deflates that hope (as does the dripping-blood font choice).

Bag A Slag, Grab A Hag

It’s not exactly “find a suitable partner whom you can cherish” is it? At best this establishes that women who participate in speed dating are sexually promiscuous and ugly. I can only imagine how keen I would be to attend and be judged this way. It’s such a cruel dismissal of the individual and the choices we make as well as those that are forced upon us. It’s the same tiresome sexism of judging female promiscuity as ‘slags’ and yet encouraging men for identical behaviour.

It also has terrifying connotations of hunting women and taking them without their consent. Presumably this is because as hunter-gatherers this is entirely within our male right. Women are no more than prizes to be displayed and boasted about. It perplexes me why we would denigrate someone as a slag or a hag and yet still regard them as a prize… where is the male target of this poster’s self-esteem and self-respect?

This Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for those with zero self-esteem to present themselves for the use of unloving predatory males. Fantastic.

Free Shots for Girls Taking Part

Marvellous – should anyone still feel that they are welcome at this event they can be plied with drink for free. Hardly a responsible attitude. I know people are still frequently confused by the idea that once inebriated we still have the right to consent, that being drunk does not equal consent. Why aren’t the men getting free shots – is it more important that they retain their critical faculties so they can better judge the slags and hags? Or is more important that those suffering the sheer hatred of the event as advertised can blind themselves to the intended outcome of the night?

Oh, That’s The Joke

I see – a Valentine’s event where there is no love. Got it.

I can’t understand who would be attracted to this event other than some complete bastard with no love for themself or anyone else. The poster reads like an advert for date rape, or what we call rape. Laced with contempt and hatred for women this is just a disgusting poster. The attitudes it supports could be considered outdated, but they have always been loathsome attitudes.

It just makes me wonder what the fuck is wrong with some people. I sincerely hope The Old Angel will withdraw it and apologise for being tasteless and stupid, but that seems unlikely since the poster’s designer is a “massive feminist” – I think that’s clear from the poster. Hopefully no one will go to this and the joke will succeed in having a nice empty pub on Valentine’s Day.

I wonder how Pieminster might feel about supplying their pies to a pub with posters like this.

Update Almost as soon as I’d posted this a brief interview has appeared on the Nottingham Evening Post website. Sadly the poster designer just comes across as terribly naive, it’s all just a bit of fun.

http://www.theoldangel.com/gigguide/this-months-gigs.htm
http://www.theoldangel.com/gigguide/ALT-SPEED-DATING-MARCH-14-L.jpg

Pulp Pirate 20 – FC 95 Rich’s Chocolate Moon Pie

Flash Cast 95 – Rich’s Chocolate Moon Pie

Back again! I’m glad the Flash Pulp mob are getting back on track – so much so that I’m already a week or more behind in listening! Goddamn it don’t you hate it when purveyors of fine content keep on producing the stuff. Bastards.

So, apart from entertaining true crime stories and geeky pulp anxiety I’m pretty much alone with my little segment in this podcast. It’s part two of Alex Trepan in ‘Midnight Shopping’  – Prawn Ring this week (guess what comes up next week…) Since it’s a series and offers no explanation of the previous events Jrd’s added a ‘last time on Alex Trepan’: marvellous! I’ve received some nice feedback on the story and my reading of it, which is really lovely and provides a much needed boost. I’m getting used to hearing my real voice with this series. It seems to be okay…

Listen to it now: 
image

http://flashpulp.com/
http://skinner.libsyn.com/rss
http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/flash-pulp/id367726315

This week, Monday 10th February 2014

New Wheels, Sleeping

The Lego Movie robotsLast week was busy while not having that many things in it… I find those weeks odd. I believe it’s a combination of having lots of work to do while being acutely aware of how poor the planning is nationally. It means we’re spinning wheels only hoping they’re going in the right direction. It only confirms my understanding that project management is a total waste of time if you don’t know what you’re managing and don’t have people who actually understand the project running it. Sigh. Big sighs. On the plus side that puts me in a mini frenzy of activity which I do quite enjoy.

I’ve been coming home and having a beer, which isn’t necessarily a good sign. It does relax and calm me down a bit though. Swings and rahndabahts and all that. There’s always the delights of Lego…

Soberly Drinking

Speaking of beer, David and I had an irregular mandate last Monday and checked out two new(ish) bars in Nottingham for the first time.

Sobar Nottingham

We met at Sobar Nottingham on Friar Lane. It’s the first zero-alcohol bar in the city that isn’t just a cafe. I mean, it’s like a cafe in that there’s no booze, but it’s open at pub times. Pleasingly it’s also directly opposite that hell-dive Walkabout; whether by accident or design it’s a satisfying location. The building is lovely. I think it used to be a bank, and it retains the wooden porch entrance. Beyond that it’s all very clean and white with big chunks of secondary colours and some fun artwork (also the ceiling moulding work is gorgeous).

The staff are very friendly and offer a good range of smoothies, juices and soft drinks. I can’t resist Fentimans, and tried their cherry cola out. It was very pleasant. We ate there too, in the pleasant and peaceful ambience, shockingly lacking drunken shouting. It’s ridiculously chilled in there, though that might be in part due to the ambient dub-type music playing (I liked it). They do an excellent pulled pork burger in ciabatta and the more usual burger David had looked good too.

I very much like the idea of a pub that isn’t a pub. I don’t really want caffeine in the evening and for the sake of all that is holy I don’t want to have to drink Beck’s Blue (I won’t drink it, no matter the dehydration). I hope they do well, I would recommend the place.

http://www.sobar-nottingham.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/SobarNottingham
https://twitter.com/SobarNottm

The Ned Ludd

Food and cherry cola was very nice, but we did still want a beer… I realise that’s probably some kind of irony, but I’m sure we can enjoy both. The Ned Ludd is just slightly further up Friar Lane and I’d wanted to pop in for a while. It’s the first Navigation Brewery pub. That’s good news because Navigation ale is some of Nottingham’s finest and I’m glad to see it.

It’s a classy little place, neatly fitted into whatever used to be there before. Friar Lane’s one of those roads where the shops / services seem to change a lot and I don’t pay much attention other than to avoid Walkabout and laugh at the ludicrous prices in Forbidden Planet. The Ned Ludd feels like it’s made of wood and glass and the colour green. Some of those might actually be true. They had an excellent selection of beers on tap and what looked like an intriguing collection of cans and bottles in the fridges. I got addicted to Camden Ink a smokey charcoaley beer and a fine IPA.

Again, this is a friendly little pub where the staff are happy to chat about beer and once you’ve sat down it feels exactly like a warm living room in someone else’s house. We’ll be going back…

http://www.thenedludd.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheNedLudd
https://twitter.com/NedLuddNottm

♥ Last Week’s Scribbles

This week, Monday 3rd February 2014  – improv and wrapping up the week.

The Old Angel Nottingham – Horrifying Valentine’s Day Poster   –  just some complete idiocy.

Pulp Pirate 20 – FC 95 Rich’s Chocolate Moon Pie – Alex Trepan’s back on the best podcast in the whurld.

Misogynist Twattery

wpid-ALT-SPEED-DATING-MARCH-14-L.jpgSo… last week was also dominated for a number of people by The Old Angel‘s appallingly thoughtless and stupid Valentine’s Day event poster. Turns out that quite a few people consider ‘bag a slag, grab a hag’ to be less funny than the landlord may have thought. I was included in the unimpressed brigade (branded “keyboard warriors” by the ignorant pub management) and finally got round to expressing how I felt about it on Wednesday.

Eventually the event got cancelled after the council threatened to withdraw their alcohol license. The story has changed over the week, from the pub’s initial ‘fuck you, get a sense of humour’ to ‘fuck you, we’ve had to cancel the event’ and on to ‘sorry if you were offended, but fuck you there’s something wrong with you’. Excellent PR all round. Fuckwits. It’s disappointing and not a little ironic that a punk pub, proud of its punky anti-stereotype attitude would come up with a poster that so clearly promotes and reinforces the routine abuse of women. Way to go punk gang. Something more radical might have been ditching Valentine’s Day altogether in favour of an event celebrating people’s individuality and finding meaning and satisfaction in themselves rather than depending on a potential rapist to add value.

Their apparent apology is pathetic and it was only when faced with a harrowing personal account of sexual abuse and why the term ‘slag’ might not be empowering that The Old Angel‘s Twitter feed showed any indication of empathy. Not that that was a public apology of course. Y’know what, I’m still annoyed by these tools. May have to slap their stupid apology some more later.

Despite their failure to really understand what the fuss was about, it’s been an excellent opportunity for the Feminist Friends Nottingham to highlight this kind of behaviour, and get some national press attention focussed on it. While the council may vacillate and backpedal about their reasoning (though not as pitifully as the pub) and ‘free-speech’ apologists whine about political correctness instead of caring about people, it does look like some people got it.

Media Intake

Television

Well Brooklyn Nine-Nine has turned out to be entirely laugh free, despite a decent cast. Perhaps it’s because the lead character is just a lazy, crap cop and has no likeable traits. The rest of the cast seems to be running on stereotype and forced gags. The only character I like is their captain, and that’s mainly because I feel sorry for him. Happily cancelling the series record now…

On the plus side I’ve caught up with Helix – it’s pretty much The Walking Dead in a bunker, but it feels tense, mysterious and exciting. I’m perfectly content with its horror-quotient so far and I’m looking forwards to the promised revelations. Also, the intro-credits amuse me.

I recorded a couple of episodes of Falling Skies, which I hadn’t previously noticed on Freeview, though I had heard of it. I know it’s several seasons in, but it doesn’t seem great. The rubbery aliens and zombified kids feel rather samey and I’m not really being engaged by the show. That may be because I’ve missed vital character development but it has Stargate quality script and effects (albeit more recent). I’ll not be horrified to catch it again, but I’m in no rush.

Events and Excitement

Thursday 13th February

Gorilla Burger: improv comedy carnage

Gorilla Burger2_SQ_SM

Jam show – a chance for anyone to get on stage, and a superb opportunity to get an idea of what Nottingham improv is all about.
The Corner
8 Stoney Street
(off Broad Street)
Nottingham
7.30pm – £4

https://www.facebook.com/events/218155238365760/

Friday 28th February

MissImp in Action – live improv comedy show

MissImp_in_Action-SQ2

Thrilling all-action end of the month show sporting the best of MissImp inventing scenes and playing games.

The Glee Club
The Waterfront
Canal Street
Nottingham
8.30pm (doors open at 8pm) – £4.50 in advance/£6 on the door (£3 students/MissImp)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1419935891573539/

Enhanced by Zemanta

This week, Monday 17th February 2014

That’s No Moon

Skull Desk TidyWe’ve had awesome moons with streamers of twisting cloud tearing past all week. The wind driving it’s been quite powerful – not so much here in Nottingham, but everywhere else seems to have been hammered. It makes cycling especially… interesting. My cycle route to and from work is an elongated ‘S’ which gives the blustery tempest every angle of attack. I’ve gone from almost motionless with wind in my face to being skittered across the road in front of lorries: fun.

I’m working hard at relaxing at the moment. I recognise that work is getting on top of me, as it sometimes does when there is much to do, but almost no plan of what and how it needs to be done. It’s frustrating working for people incapable of planning, or even committing their thoughts and ideas to paper / email. It means everything is subject to debate, the vagaries of memory and imprecision of spoken language. This is why I prefer to make proposals and such on paper – at least then we all know what at least one of us is talking about.

Reading has been a big release from work this week, I’ve read three short novels this week! That’s felt great, I do so love being immersed in a world. That’s how I like to drift off to sleep, imagining myself in their realm. It doesn’t really matter if it’s scifi, fantasy or war – even a terrifying tale like Let The Right One In was enough to delve into and go to sleep. Lego, as always is an excellent relaxant, although it does wick the hours away frighteningly.

I also got this great skull, for work. It’s the first part of one of those exploitatively priced partworks collections – How Your Body Works. This one does look pretty cool – it’s an ooman skeleton with some organs and bobs and bits. I had fun plugging the teeth in at work. It’s now a desk tidy and I’ve shoved stuff in his eyes. I won’t be parting with £4.99 or whatever it is each week. Part One – the skull was only 99p! Next week is the top of the skull, eyes and brain. That’s only £2.99…

Improv Musing

I went out on Wednesday to see my one-to-one client for improvisation and creative confidence (a genuinely scary cycling in the wind journey there and back), which was just the thing to respark my brain after a day of spreadsheet ennui. We’re exploring spontaneity and telling stories by focussing only on what has happened so far – it’s from that information that the rest of the tale will spring. Looking ahead isn’t necessary – I think that kind of planning is a different skill and can be built onto the sort of discipline we’re working on. I like the business of analysing the information we have at each point in a story and what they imply and we can infer about the context and history of the characters and places we create. There are also strong aspects of mindfulness and the importance of attending to the present. The vitality and essentiality of the present when improvising are amongst its most valuable therapeutic benefits. The confidence and self-assurance that people develop when they commit to improvising and evolving with a group of people are enormously heart-warming.

I did not, however, get any writing done last week. I need a new plan!

♥ Last Week’s Scribbles

This week, Monday 10th February 2014  – reviews of Sobar Nottingham and The Ned Ludd.

Events and Excitement

Friday 28th February

MissImp in Action – live improv comedy show

MissImp_in_Action-SQ2

Thrilling all-action end of the month show sporting the best of MissImp inventing scenes and playing games.

The Glee Club
The Waterfront
Canal Street
Nottingham
8.30pm (doors open at 8pm) – £4.50 in advance/£6 on the door (£3 students/MissImp)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1419935891573539/

Sunday 2nd March 2014

Ten Thousand Million Love Stories

image

A two person, multi character improvised longform with Heather Urquhart and Jules Munns. This is a show about love, what it means and how we succeed and fail in it.

The magnificent Heather Urquhart and Jules Munn from the award-winning Brighton improv group The Maydays bring their two-person show to Nottingham. Ten Thousand Million Love Stories is a joyous performance from two actors at the top of their game. Preceded by the Fancy Pants Jam – a performance by Heather & Jules with local improvisers.

“The perfect balance between realism and comedy slapstick, these two comfortably jumped from one character to another, without ever losing their flow. The show was as funny as it was impressive” Brighton’s Finest

The Corner

8 Stoney Street
(off Broad Street)
Nottingham
6.30pm Fancy Pants Jam
7.30pm Ten Thousand Million Love Stories
Entry: £5

 https://www.facebook.com/events/502130516564097/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pulp Pirate 21 – FC 96 Fish Ships Out

Flash Cast 96 – Fish Ships Out

Boom, three in a row. That rounds off my three parter with Alex Trepan in ‘Midnight Shopping’  – Jam & The Maiden.  I don’t think it’s the best of the chapters I’ve recorded. For some reason there seems to be more echo and stuff in the track. Annoying. Never mind! People have said nice things about the series, for which I’m grateful (thanks Rich!) I shall have to record some more.

This week has much of the usual fun banter between the Skinner Co execs as well as another great comic review from Hugh at the Way of The Buffalo podcast and one of Jay’s multiple personality audio book reviews. There’s also the last Three Day Fish film review for a while as Fish is joining the infantry. I don’t really understand why, and he seems less than thrilled, but I hope he battles through (no pun intended) and gets satisfaction from it.

Listen to it now: 

FC96http://flashpulp.com/
http://skinner.libsyn.com/rss
http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/flash-pulp/id367726315

FC94 – including Alex Trepan in Midnight Shopping part 1
FC95 – including Alex Trepan in Midnight Shopping  part 2

Lego Blog: The Palace Cinema 10232

The Agony Of Choice

Defend The CinemaBefore Christmas a bunch of us newly-confirmed AFOLs headed up to Meadowhall as a pilgrimage to The Lego Store. It was a hugely over-exciting occasion, the likes of which will be ill-understood by those whose hearts are not similarly fired by perfectly moulded plastic bricks. We spent a lot of time billing and cooing over the many assembled models, shiny boxes and the fountain of minfigure manufacturing wonder. After much debate, number-crunching (I’d prepared a spreadsheet to calculate penny per brick and brick per penny ratios), hemming, hawing, walking away and being drawn back irresistibly to the shelf full of beautiful Lego Creator modular buildings.

I was personally torn between the Fire Brigade, the Pet Shop and the Palace Cinema. They’re all gorgeous models and have a decent per brick cost. The Haunted House is stunning, as is the Ewok Village, but they are insanely expensive compared to the Creator stuff. I concluded early on that the Town Hall (also beautiful and I’ve seen it assembled since at my friend’s house) was just out of my desired price range. I’ve rarely felt so tempted to blow £500 and get ’em all. I was sensible; I felt proud of myself. I chose the Palace Cinema. Partly it’s because it looks stunning on the box, and it’s a cinema and we love films.

Assembled With Love

With incredible restraint we waited until after Christmas Day to begin work on this astonishing cinema. One of the reasons we got it was so that we could build it together. It’s really easy for me to get absorbed in Lego to the exclusion of all else. I suppose it’s much like the kids who were getting thrombosis from kneeling for twenty hours straight. I sit cross legged on a cushion most of the time, which has sort of fixed my knees until I have to stand up and realise I’ve not moved for five hours. That can hurt. I usually have a cat in my lap too.

To prevent such deleterious havoc on both of our knees we decamped to the kitchen table. That was much better. We had to modify my usual habits somewhat – I like to empty all of the numbered Lego bags out right at the start, but there’s an awful lot of Lego in this set. I sulkily assented to following the instructions…

This is a lengthy build and in the end we assembled it over six nights spread over three weeks. It turns out that co-assembling Lego is more straightforward than I’d imagined. We took it in turns to brick-seek and assemble. Marilyn proved to be highly skilled at deploying the stickers for the signs and movie posters (which are brilliant).

The Golden Age

There are many pleasing details and ingenious construction throughout the cinema. Just applying flat tiles to a third of the red baseplate was immensely satisfying. The concessions stand and the ticket office are both brilliant, and the staircases are delightful.

With such a large build I’d feared it would feel rather repetitive laying down yet another row of bricks, but never did. The cinema screen upstairs is very satisfying and the chairs are rather clever. It’s a bit odd that there are windows in the auditorium… Once the floors are on top of each other it’s actually pitch dark inside, which is a bit of a shame.

If I were allowed to mod it (which I’m not – that’s been made quite clear!) I’d knock out huge holes in the back walls so you can see inside without taking floors off. I’d also put shutters on the screening floor windows or find some opaque windows instead. Alternatively, I’d love to do what this guy did with the custom lighting sets you can find on the interwebs. I might be allowed to do that.

Otherwise I reckon this set’s on permanent display now. It goes especially well with the Lego Movie minifigures.

You can have a look at all of our terrible construction photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eric_the_bewildered_weasel/sets/72157641128244853/ 

http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/Palace-Cinema-10232

Enhanced by Zemanta

This week, Monday 24th February 2014

Miss MermaidFour Day Weeks

I don’t know if there’s something inherently oppressive about working five days a week, but when I’m freed from it it make s a huge difference. I suppose in part it’s knowing that only leaves two days for fun and nonsense – a balance which screams abuse of human rights to me. It’s easily argued that we have our evenings (and the mornings before work – assuming you are able to fnction before midday) available, but really the evenings have to soothe the scars of the workday and weekends are inevitably spent catching up on sleep. I’m increasingly convinced this is just nuts. If it were easy to ditch the working day and segue into evenings of undistracted and worry-free fun then it wouldn’t be so bad. I’m quite busy at work at present and it’s harder than ever to detach. But this week and last week are both four working day weeks which feels better.
To the end of purging the day I’ve taken up Tekken Tag Team again. I may have to go all the way back to Tekken 3 (for the PS1) which is before they mixed up some of the special move commands that I’ve never adapted to. Either way it’s been very satisfying to plug in the ole’ PS2 and feel the familiar perfect design of the Playstation joypad once more. I’d forgotten what a perfect game it is, although it really doesn’t look as good on a 32 inch TV as it used to at university’s 14 inch giant television. Half an hour of relentlessly kicking the shit out of the old favourites may be my new solution to blacking out the daytime.

Lego

image

I spent my day off on Friday surrounded by Lego (and last night come to think of it…) I’ve decided to adapt the Lego Winter Village Toyshop into a Spring or Summertime toyshop. So I’m completely re-roofing it (which was the nightmare of building it the first time round, so that’s a great plan!) and rebuilding the chimney with better colour matching bricks and maybe fiddling with just about everything else. It’s going to be like that axe, you know – the one where we replaced the blade and the handle several times but it’s still the same axe. It’s proving an excellent learning process for getting surprising shapes to fit together; I’m rather pleased with the new roofs. The shot here is a mid-progress view. I’ve since replaced the window sills, added new framing for the windows and some stuff at the side. Fun!

Improv Musing

We had a really fun gig last week at The Glee Club in Birmingham’s Studio Theatre with Newton Europe. It’s a great club and a veery nice room to perform in, though we did nearly kill each other on the dinky stage (we could have removed it, but it’s useful to be elevated sometimes). It was a pretty crazy crowd of people taking their commitment to having fun very seriously. They were very up for scribbling lines for us, and I enjoyed haranguing them to write more. I’m finding that a good part of my warm up is going out and playing amongst the audience before the show starts. We had a fine time including references to the business’ process improvement work – it was a particular pleasure to be endowed with the role of a performance improvement consultant and to berate Ben for placing a bucket underneath the sink for throwing up in: it’s much more efficient to just use the sink. It all went down very well and the audience were generous with their praise. Feelgoods!

♥ Last Week’s Scribbles

I finally managed to write about the gorgeous Lego Palace Cinema. I’d recommend it to just about anyone… I need to record some more stories for Flash Pulp as well. They’re back to a weekly Flashcast again and I’m already a week behind. I’ve had some lovely feedback for the Alex Trepan story they recently serialised so I need to delve into Alex’ back catalogue and maybe even get motivated to write some more…
This week, Monday 17th February 2014  – the dubious value of partworks collectable magazines.

Pulp Pirate 21 – FC 96 Fish Ships Out  – part 3 of my Alex Trepan series mixed in with pulpy wonders.

Lego Blog: The Palace Cinema 10232 – possibly the very best Lego set ever produced.

Events and Excitement

Friday 28th February

MissImp in Action – live improv comedy show

MissImp_in_Action-SQ2

Thrilling all-action end of the month show sporting the best of MissImp inventing scenes and playing games.

The Glee Club
The Waterfront
Canal Street
Nottingham
8.30pm (doors open at 8pm) – £4.50 in advance/£6 on the door (£3 students/MissImp)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1419935891573539/

Sunday 2nd March 2014

Ten Thousand Million Love Stories

image

A two person, multi character improvised longform with Heather Urquhart and Jules Munns. This is a show about love, what it means and how we succeed and fail in it.

The magnificent Heather Urquhart and Jules Munn from the award-winning Brighton improv group The Maydays bring their two-person show to Nottingham. Ten Thousand Million Love Stories is a joyous performance from two actors at the top of their game. Preceded by the Fancy Pants Jam – a performance by Heather & Jules with local improvisers.

“The perfect balance between realism and comedy slapstick, these two comfortably jumped from one character to another, without ever losing their flow. The show was as funny as it was impressive” Brighton’s Finest

The Corner

8 Stoney Street
(off Broad Street)
Nottingham
6.30pm Fancy Pants Jam
7.30pm Ten Thousand Million Love Stories
Entry: £5

 https://www.facebook.com/events/502130516564097/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cinema Trailers – why?

The Glory Of The Off-White Screen

We go to the cinema quite a lot. I am not a terribly discerning film viewer – I like explosions, robots, aliens and spaceships. Those are often in short supply though, so I end up seeing lots of stuff I probably wouldn’t bother with. We also have the glorious Cineworld cards which slash the per film cost of visiting the cinema down to a trifling sum. Add to that the Cinime app which basically gives us free popcorn every time we go and it’s nearly cheaper to go out than to stay in.

Harrowing Indifference

Something I do notice more and more are the adverts and trailers which precede the main feature. I don’t just mean the abysmal Kevin Bacon mobile phone adverts, or the recent Harrison Ford has no soul efforts for Sky. Those are awful wastes of my vision and hearing, but they are on for every film and I can kind of block them out (my other half is unable to resist mouthing along to them). No, it’s the other ones – the adverts that some marketing person has decided are likely to appeal to the audience of a particular film.

The positive part of all these ads is that I’m clearly not part of the average viewer demographic as perceived by these PR wizards/liars. I’m also pleasingly immune to most advertising since I can rarely remember what the damn thing was supposed to be fixing in my mind. There are also the trailers for other films, frequently added at random to perplex and apathise (is that a word? Should be) the audience.

Only-Lovers-Left-Alive-

Sexy Melancholy Vampires With Huge Hair

We went to see Only Lovers Left Alive on Saturday. It’s a very slow and dry witted film directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton. If you watch it imagining that it’s Loki and the Snow Queen then it gets even better. I very much enjoyed it. The two leads are marvellous, effortlessly inhabiting their characters. John Hurt is also reliably gravelly and perfect as Christopher Marlowe (with many jokes and references for the Dr. Faustus fans out there). The film captures the brooding beauty of the idea of vampires without making them either brutal killers or sex beasts (incredibly there is something in between). The wigs are also particularly amusing. This is all by the by…

We had three trailers (that I can remember) before the movie:

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel which as far as I can tell is a gerontophile hotel caper. I’m quite looking forwards to it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bTbW70umbQ?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

2) Labor Day. I found this utterly baffling – it appears to be an everyday tale of Stockholm Syndrome… When a man who’s broken out of prison takes your son hostage what choice do you have but to fall in love with him?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxETU7WMyX8?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

3) 300: Rise of An Empire. This is just bullet time with boats and dripping blood. It looks worse than The Immortals but with slightly better CGI, placing it somewhere around Spartacus: Blood and Sand from off the telly.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zqy21Z29ps?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

So all three of those had apparently little in common with Only Lovers Left Alive… Except that The Budapest Grand Hotel features ageing beauties (just like vampires), Labor Day is about falling in love while you fear for your lives (sort of like in the vampire film…) and the 300 prequel has lots of blood (= just like vampires) and action scenes set in harbours… just like a conversation in the vampire film. They are all fiendishly interlinked – clearly those advertising folks have it all figured out.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZZMClxOhWA?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Desert Crystals – Part 27: Fragile Things

Desert Crystals Part 27 – Fragile Things

DesertCrystals7Flesh and fat hissed in the darkness. Bones cracked, sending a burst of sparks up into the night sky. The makeshift pyres would burn till dawn when the sun’s fierce heat took over. By then the scavenged wood and tumbled Skymates would be dark ash muddled into the red sands. For now the fire lit the faces of Growlbrin Taqua and Brenhitch Taqua (the latter’s surname granted by his apprenticeship to the former). Their business was precisely this, the proper disposal of mortal remains. For three years now Brenhitch had accompanied his master in his erratic, winding journeys across and around the Great Bane Desert.

In that time he’d learned rather more about survival in the sands and how Growlbrin liked his tea than he had the burning of bodies. This was no great surprise, the Taqua’s had always been wanderers, their duty the final safety of travellers rather than those whose likely places of death were towns or villages. Those stationary ends were well provided for already. The Taquas tracked lone madmen through the desert or followed the aerial paths of skyships in case of accident, attack or age. Brenhitch often wondered if there were other Taquas following them as they trudged across the blazing landscape. For now he stood watching the blaze and leaned on his long pole with its meshed metal net, pondering the death of so many aeronauts. His hand returned of its own accord to the journal he carried, its touch oddly reassuring in the face of such loss.

Prior to the last few days it had been a full year since the wandering pair of master and apprentice had come across a death. That last had been a man they’d tracked from out of Gross Nigh at the base of the mountains. He’d set off with just a pack of supplies and a Candy Beetle to carry him. There had been little doubt he would die, and the locals had supposed that was his purpose in setting out so wilfully unprepared. Still, he’d survived for five weeks, using the Candy Beetle’s uncanny ability to locate sweetmeats of the desert to maintain himself and his mount. At times the Taquas had followed just hours behind him, tidying the burrows and roots unearthed by the beetle, returning them to their natural buried and hidden state. It would not do to have the desert’s bounty laid waste by its scouring winds.

One evening the Taquas camped just a dune’s breadth from where the man had erected his lean-to. He had set it out in the desert way by stretching a canvas between the legs of the beetle and allowing the Candy Beetle to half bury itself in the sands with the traveller beneath its shiny belly. Growlbrin had been content to take his tea and retire to his bunk inside their Caravan Beetle. Brenhitch had been left awake as the sky turned purple and orange, gazing at the emerging stars. As he lay on their beetle’s broad shell a man’s voice rose high and strident from across the dune. The words themselves were lost in the constant susurration of the sands but Brenhitch was young, bored and awake so he scrambled up the sandy bank until he could lie above the man’s camp, and listen.

The man paced unsteadily upon his docile mount’s flat back, feet slapping on the huge coloured swirls that characterised the beast’s curious appearance. He was either drunk or sand-mad by his swaying, as well as that he was fairly bellowing as he read from a slender leathery notebook. It was poetry, of a sort, filled with anguish and shame. Brenhitch lay for hours listening to the fellow’s story of his life, expressed in verse, tears and angry shouts. Finally he nearly fell from his steed and in doing so realised he was standing in the darkness, declaiming his tale by starlight to an uncaring desert, not to mention to those predators that haunted its night. He shambled within his tent and Brenhitch returned to the caravan.

Next day they found the man dead. His camp was where it had been the night before, save that the Candy Beetle, sensing its owner’s death and responding to its own instincts had unearthed itself and begun its gruesome task (from which it was named) of flensing the corpse for its sweetmeats. Growlbrin burst over the ridge with a roar and rattling his staff of bells and screeching Song-Ants. The cacophany of brass and insect startled the Candy Beetle from its business. In a sudden panic it tore loose the bags and canvas that hung from its limbs and fled into the desert. The poet (as Brenhitch now thought of him) was scattered, a neat pile of skin and fat separated from the bloody bones awaiting the beetle’s further attention.

Brenhitch set to work making a neat stack of the dead man’s possessions, piling clothing, canvas tent and travelling writer’s desk and the ephemera of life on top of each other. The remaining water bottles and provisions he transferred to their caravan. He found a tiny empty bottle in the blankets, which sharply burned at his nostrils when he sniffed it. Growlbrin abruptly slapped it from his hand, murmuring “he may have chosen to take his own life, but he’d no plan for denying you yours.” Suitably chastened, Brenhitch added the phial to the meagre pile. While he was unattended he slipped the dead man’s notebook into his pocket.

Meanwhile Growlbrin drew on his claw-tipped black leather gloves and peeling apart the glistening meat of the man’s disarrayed corpse, peering into organs and beneath bone. Finally he grunted with satisfaction and withdrew from the man’s throat. Between two black claws was a marble-sized, golden bead. He cleaned it of blood and dropped it into one of the dozens of tiny bottles that chattered against each other on the bandolier that wrapped about his broad chest. Growlbrin took pen and ledger from an inside pocket to record the man’s place and date of death and the colour of his bead. Finally he scrawled a matching number onto the bottle and gestured to his apprentice. Brenhitch dragged the man onto the makeshift pyre and wrapped him up in the walls of his tent. That night they ignited the canvas.

Now, a year later Growlbrin watched the remains of the crashed airship burning, its fallen crew laid atop their own bunks and wrapped in the garish balloon that had apparently failed to keep them aloft. Fifteen men and women had met their end up in the skies. Though he’d said nothing to the boy, the ship’s hull showed signs of violence and the man they’d found first had clearly been shot in the chest. The manner of their death didn’t affect the Taquas’ duties however, though he’d record his suspicions and the name of their vessel, The Golden Zephyr. Brenhitch stood by his side, also staring into the flames, watching for the glint of the crew’s soul-beads in the fire, ready to scoop them out. He thought it likely they’d be sifting through ash in the morning.

Next Week: Part 28 – Easy Ways to Die

In the same series:

Enhanced by Zemanta