swordznsorcery: (jack)
2017-08-06 09:52 pm
Entry tags:

Bacofoil in space

You see, DC, this sort of thing is why Marvel are just better. Beneath the cut, a music video of great majesty. No, honest. Featuring aliens, Amy Pond, David Hasselhoff, and dancing.

... )
swordznsorcery: (face)
2017-07-31 08:56 pm

Media Monday

I don't think I've done one of these in a while. I don't seem to have done much of anything in a while, except race about the countryside in a whirl, attempting to Get Things Done. Still, on the plus side, one of the Things to get Done is the allotment, which has just started to produce profusions of runner beans, courgettes (bright yellow ones this year!) and raspberries. So I'm tired, but also well fed.

Anyways, I'm reading an especially good book at the moment. I don't really know what it's about, although I'm more than three quarters through - or, that is, I have absolutely no idea where it's heading, or why, but I do sort of know what it's about. Something Awful just happened, and I'm frightfully annoyed, but still loving the book, and looking forward to getting back to it. Seriously, the prose is an utter joy. It's called Golden Hill, and it's by somebody called Francis Spufford. It's about a young man who arrives in 18th century New York, and it's entirely written in 18th century style - so it's a sort of pastiche, in the same way that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is, although set rather earlier. Apparently it won the Ondaatje prize (I don't believe I've ever heard of that, but Google tells me its quite prestigious). I recommend it unhesitatingly, if you are not scared off by meandering prose, and sentences that can go on for months.

Telly-watching-wise, I've now seen the first episode of Marchlands, so can claim to have actually seen our new Doctor in something. It's an ITV drama from a few years back, set in three different time zones (the 1960s, the 1980s, and whenever now was at the time). A young girl dies in the sixties, and her ghost makes friends with another young girl in the eighties. It clearly has some knock-on effect for the modern lot, but I haven't found out what yet. That will presumably come later. Jodie Whittaker is the dead girl's mother, and has dark hair, so I didn't recognise her at first. A Yorkshire accent - I wonder if she will keep that. So far it's diverting enough. If you're in the UK, she'll be on the BBC from August 8th, incidentally, in a new series. Trailer here. It also stars Emun Elliot who - after the eternal Paterson Joseph, naturally - was my first choice for the 13th Doctor, so I can amuse myself watching them both being doctors together. If I remember to watch it. Eagle-eyed viewers will of course recognise him from Paradox, The Paradise, and Los Malvados (cough).

There are probably other things, but I do not remember them. So I may just go and collapse in a heap. Albeit a slightly satisfied and accomplished-feeling one. With a nice book.
swordznsorcery: (queen)
2017-07-28 09:17 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day thirteen

Day Thirteen: A favourite song from the seventies.

Any favourite song of mine from the seventies is going to be by Queen or Bruce Springsteen, so let's just take that as read, and go for something that I haven't already waxed lyrical about on a previous occasion. This song is from 1970, which I know some people would count as part of the sixties - but hard luck, as it looks like the seventies to me. Also, I love this song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

As a fun bonus, since Paul Rodgers toured a fair bit with Queen in the first decade of this century, they sang this one together quite often. I always did get a kick out of that!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvQvkNUBsmY
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
2017-07-17 09:33 pm

100 Words

Clocks ticked. So many clocks, lining the walls, ticking and tocking away the seconds of inexorable time. Inexorable, that is, for some. Crawling through the shadows, sonic screwdriver in one hand, a hotch-potch of home-made mischief in the other, came the Doctor. The Clockmaker sought to manipulate time; to twist it to his own evil ends; and the Doctor was the universe's best line of defence. One meddlesome Time Lord, and a great deal of improvising.

Clocks ticked. Time – and so much else – moved on. And yet, mused the Doctor, as she ducked a laser beam, some things never change.
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
2017-07-15 07:09 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day twelve

Day Twelve: A song from your pre-teen years.

But all my songs so far have been from my pre-teen years! Or nearly all. I think. I'm being lazy and not checking, but it's a fair assumption. Still, taken literally this one does require something from my lifetime, so we're going for something between 1975 and the beginning of 1988. In which case I choose this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm9drIwmmU4

- and my apologies that the official upload has rubbish sound quality! Somebody's over done the bass. Adam, however, is not to be discouraged.

That is still the best jacket in pop music.

In other news, I have found out that this is a thing: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1405930055/

Look at it, and marvel at its wonder. And there's a whole series of them! Up to and including Peter Capaldi. Of course they might be awful, but their mere existence has made me smile, so that's good.
swordznsorcery: (sleepy team)
2017-07-11 09:42 pm
Entry tags:

Book meme

Memed from here and there. Bold those that apply.

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
2. You currently own more than 50 books.
3. You currently own more than 100 books.
4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.
5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.

6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands. (It's not so much "organisation", as "any which way that will make them fit in the shelves".)
7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
8. You read every single day.
9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.
10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.
11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.
13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.

14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read. (Social activities? What are they?)
15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book. (Noooo! Do not bath with books! It spoils them!)
17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.
18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.
19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.

20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book.
21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.

23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.
24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.
25. And you judge them. A little bit.
26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.
27. You’ve vowed to convert a nonreader into a reader.
28. And you’ve succeeded.
29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.
30. You own several signed books.
31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street. (Some of. A fair few are dead, which arguably could make them easier, or harder, to identify.)
32. In fact, you have.
33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.
34. You own a first-edition book.
35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.

36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.
37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.
38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.
39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.
40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.
41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.
42. You gave your pet a literary name. (I didn't, but my parents did.)
43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.
44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.
(I don't text. But if I did, I would be a texting pedant.)
45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...
46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.
47. You love the smell of books.

48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.
49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.
50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.
swordznsorcery: (jack)
2017-07-08 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day eleven

Day Eleven: A song you never tire of. Easy! It's not my favourite song ever, but it's one that always produces a smile, and an inevitable singalong (as long as there's nobody around. But maybe I should apologise to the neighbours anyway).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pztfZmU5iGM
swordznsorcery: (queen)
2017-07-06 08:49 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day ten

Day Ten: A song that makes you sad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rSJbkZOvo0

Queen again, leaping from happy to sad. This is the last song that Freddie recorded; and in fact he was unable to finish it. He had hoped to, but in the event he was never able to go back to the studio. It's not all sad, exactly. I think it's what it represents that does it for me - and then, at the end, when Brian has to sing the final verse, followed by that whistlestop tour backwards through Freddie's life. Brief clips of the glory days at Wembley Stadium, a montage of Queen songs, and then the first song that he ever recorded, back in 1972.

Somehow it never ceases to sound sad.
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
2017-07-03 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

Media Monday

"Media" might be stretching it a bit this week, as (aside from Doctor Who) I've only watched Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. And it has just ended again. Woe. I don't think there's anything about that adaptation that I didn't like. Even the extra bits that weren't in the book worked perfectly (I'm thinking of the short hand needed to get characters into certain places, without the long narrative sequences of the book. Strange being arrested and escaping from prison, for example). And the whole thing is so gorgeously shot. The fellow behind the adaptation, Peter Harness, is adapting War Of The Worlds for the BBC at the moment. A period production, which is vanishingly rare for that book, and apparently scheduled for broadcast next year. Rather looking forward to seeing what he does with that. It's a great story.

Elsewhere, I've been doing some quite interesting reading. I've taken to librarying, and choosing books completely at random, without reading their synopses even. It's a fun experiment, as it means that I've been reading things that I never would have done otherwise. Mixed results, obviously, but I think I was trying to recapture the lack of preconception that I had as a kid, when I really would try anything. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes...!

One experiment was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult, which is about the build up to, and aftermath of, a shooting spree at an American high school, when an endlessly bullied boy snaps. Good attempts to get into the head of a boy pushed to his limit, whilst also offering no simple explanations or solutions. Also a good sketching of the mindset of popular kids, and how some people will always be popular, and some just never will be.

Another experiment was Rabbit, Run by John Updike, which apparently is a sixties classic. Less successful from my point of view than the Piccoult book though! A rather pathetic young man, feeling that the world owes him something, drifts aimlessly from wife to mistress, hurting everybody and unable to commit. He's not supposed to be likeable, but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable (for me anyway). I can see why it's a classic though. Must have been a heck of a shock to the system for American literature at the time.

Then I read a book called Packing For Mars: The Curious History Of Life In The Void by Mary Roach, which is about the history of space exploration, and absolutely fascinating. Mary Roach isn't a scientist, so there isn't as much depth in her book as I would usually want, but she makes up for that with sheer entertainment. Wonderful, often very funny tales of life as an astronaut, and about how various techniques were developed to deal with the unique issues of space travel. Fun stuff.

Oh, and another book! An elderly couple of my acquiantance have a book called The Complete Illustrated Cookery Book by Mollie Stanley Wrench. It fascinated me when I took a quick look through it, so I went a-hunting on eBay and bought a copy. It was published in 1935, and it's wonderful! No oven temperatures or gas marks. It tells you to put things on the fire, or on the edge of the fire. No short cuts, but everything to be made from scratch. And the recipes! Brains and feet and tongues. Lots of vegetarian stuff too though, as meat wasn't as easily available in those days, and a lot of people were very badly off. Also a lot of people didn't have any means of keeping food cool, so couldn't store the stuff of course. Lots of curry and chilli still. Some things never change! Frightening amounts of dripping and lard, and cream and butter; and a remarkable desire to smother everything in mayonnaise (home-made of course!).

It's lovely. I recommend it!
swordznsorcery: (Default)
2017-06-26 08:36 pm

100 words

Title: None
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: G
Characters: Ivanova and Marcus


prompt: #047 - shadow


Half shadow, half spider, it hung before them, all sharp spikes and razor edges. Blacker than space; a darkness well beyond anything in human experience. Light seemed to slide off it; to cower from it; to skitter away, and hide itself in places unseen. Ivanova could only sympathise. And they were to fight these things? These shadows that light itself seemed to fear? Beside her, Marcus whispered something in Minbari – a prayer, she thought – then flashed her a wholly incongruous grin. She smiled back. And why not? When light itself was afraid, what else was there to do but smile?
swordznsorcery: (queen)
2017-06-26 08:35 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day nine

Day Nine: A song that makes you happy. Didn't I do this just recently? There was something about favourite songs, anyway, which I interpreted as songs that make me happy. (Yes, it was here.) So, clearly I have to choose one that isn't on that list, which makes it harder. I will therefore go with this one, because there's just something altogether fab about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI3LAgGBxqU
swordznsorcery: (sleepy team)
2017-06-22 12:31 am
Entry tags:

Music meme day eight

Day eight: A song about drugs or alcohol.

Songs about drugs and alcohol? Surely there are no such things! I have thought quite a bit about this, and have decided that, largely because it's unlikely that anybody else will have chosen it, there can be only one answer. My family used to sing this song all the time when it was in the charts, because it amused us (I have literally no idea why our mother didn't run away from home decades ago. I'm sure I would have done). It's utterly dire, so I do apologise, but that's the seventies for you.

Spodgenessabounds: Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Please.

(Oh, and apparently it was 1980, not the seventies. Sorry, it's probably the drugs and alcohol messing with my mind.)


PS: On the subject of music, you need today's Google Doodle in your life. In celebration of the birth of Oskar Fischinger (22nd June 1900), you can play with a composition thingy, and write your own bits of music. It's lots of fun.
swordznsorcery: (Default)
2017-06-19 08:20 pm

Brian Cant 1933-2017

Because life is silly - even when it's sad.

... )

To those 'of a certain age', Brian Cant basically is childhood. Thanks, Brian. It was fun.
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
2017-06-18 09:43 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day seven

Day Seven: A song to drive to.

I've been thinking about this for ages, and I can't think of anything that shouts "Drive to me!" Road To Hell, or Road To Nowhere perhaps, but that would only be wilful silliness, and not a proper answer at all. There is music that I associate with driving though, so I guess it's going to have to be some of that.

Story time: My father doesn't like music. I know, it's incomprehensible, but the only time I've ever known him listen to music is when he's driving. On long car journeys he'd put music on, so that he could ignore the rest of us; and since he doesn't like music, he seemed to own just the two albums. One was Guy Mitchell's Greatest Hits, and the other was a triple cassette of mostly pre-rock 'n' roll fifties hits. Those two albums were the soundtrack of every family holiday, and every harried roadtrip across the country to visit the grandparents. The Guy Mitchell album was fab. I copied it as soon as I had the facilities, and then years later I converted it to mp3. I've never been able to find that exact version on CD, and I rather like my faintly scratchy-sounding version, anyway. The fifties album veered from the good (Tennessee Ernie Ford singing Sixteen Tons (see Day Two); Jim Dale's rather fab Be My Girl), to the spectacularly awful (The Obernkirchen Children's Choir singing The Happy Wanderer (though in English, unlike the version on YouTube)). Oh and ye gods, I just remembered: Diana Decker singing Poppa Piccolino.

So there's your driving music. I have given you good, I have given you bad. But since I can never resist the opportunity, I shall also give you Guy Mitchell, because frankly everybody should listen to him. This song tastes of the Cornish coast. Driving along little lanes, craning out of the window for the first sight of the sea. Summer and salt wind (and driving). So here you are: Guy Mitchell and Look At That Girl.
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
2017-06-12 09:44 pm

Media Monday

Lately I have been cruelly ignoring the Kindle, in favour of proper books. This is at least partly [personal profile] elenopa's fault, as she recently went on an Arthur Ransome Society weekend, and made me think (for the hundredth time) that I really ought to give his books another try. I scorned them rather as a child, for not being "proper" adventures, in that there are no bad guys/proper peril/fisticuffs, etc, and did my best to avoid them. Grown Up Me (well, slightly) decided that We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea might be a good place to start a reappraisal, as it has (nearly) proper pirates, and actual proper danger in it. It seemed too long for the amount of plot, and got a bit repetitive in places, but it was good, and I shall probably try another soon. In the meantime I've fallen down an old book rabbit hole, and am currently two thirds of the way through Gerald Durrell's My Family And Other Animals, which I also studiously avoided as a child, probably for much the same reason. It's not such a good read. Much funnier, but suffers from the most horrendously purple prose. It's like swimming up hill through treacle, but with witty anecdotes. It has its attractions, mind. It's my mother's edition, from 1959, and I think [personal profile] lost_spook will appreciate the cover:

... )

I do like a colour-coded Penguin!

On the telly front, I'm still wandering through a rewatch of the Beeb's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I love it muchly. This week was episode four, with the King's Roads, and Edward Petherbridge as George III (looking rather older, and considerably less dapper, than when he was Lord Peter Wimsey, just about the only other thing I've seen him in). Why are there only seven episodes? It's not fair. I find myself wanting a wartime spin-off, all about Jonathan doing magic for the army; and that's just for starters.

Oh, and hey - Doctor Who this week! I know it was a bit ridiculous, but I thought it was fun, and I was greatly entertained to see Anthony Calf in it (he was the captain). In 2015 I watched The Monocled Mutineer, Beau Geste and Fortunes Of War more or less at the same time, and he cropped up in all of them, so it was nice to see him again. And, yet again, being a period army type. Still, he didn't get shot this time, which is a step up.

And I think that's all for now. Which is just as well, as if I don't produce some kibble sharpish, I will be eaten by a small ginger cat. Bye.
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
2017-06-07 07:45 pm
Entry tags:

June 7th 1917

I never had a fandom turn one hundred before! Happy birthday, Dino. You wouldn't want a fuss, but I couldn't not at least say that.

Music and merriment beneath the cut )
swordznsorcery: (methos)
2017-06-06 08:33 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day six

Day Six: A song that makes you want to dance.

I don't dance. Ever. I suppose if there were a song that might make me wish that I did dance, or could dance, it would most likely be something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8yGGtVKrD8

The Nicholas Brothers: the guys Gene Kelly wanted to be! And here they are together, in the (slightly dodgy!) musical The Pirate (1948):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiYf0L-QP_k
swordznsorcery: (Default)
2017-06-06 07:04 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Here, have a fun link: http://www.plot-generator.org.uk/.

You plug in some parameters, and it writes you a short story. It all sounds reasonable (and sane) enough when you're filling in the little boxes, but once you click "go", somehow it all falls apart...


Two Reserved Uncles Ski-ing to the Beat
A Short Story
by swordznsorcery


George Smith was thinking about Humphrey Hubert again. Humphrey was a funny juggler with swarthy fingers and blue-eyed toes.

George walked over to the window and reflected on his empty surroundings. He had always loved loud Liverpool, with its creepy, crispy confetti. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel angry.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the funny figure of Humphrey Hubert.

George gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. He was a noisy, upbeat tea-drinker, with red fingers and tanned toes. His friends saw him as a tasty, tender tiger. Once, he had even brought a hard choirboy back from the brink of death.

But not even a noisy person who had once brought a hard choirboy back from the brink of death was prepared for what Humphrey had in store today.

The wet teased like fighting koalas, making George quiet. George grabbed a flat walking stick that had been strewn nearby; he massaged it with his fingers.

As George stepped outside and Humphrey came closer, he could see the fried glint in his eye.

"I am here because I want bananas," Humphrey bellowed, in a quick-tempered tone. He slammed his fist against George's chest, with the force of 7685 mice. "I frigging love you, George Smith."

George looked back, even more quiet and still fingering the flat walking stick. "Humphrey, squeak," he replied.

They looked at each other with happy feelings, like two soft, spewmungous sharks running at a very moody barmitzvah, which had rock music playing in the background, and two reserved uncles ski-ing to the beat.

Suddenly, Humphrey lunged forward and tried to punch George in the face. Quickly, George grabbed the flat walking stick, and brought it down on Humphrey's skull.

Humphrey's swarthy fingers trembled and his blue-eyed toes wobbled. He looked sharp, his body raw like a flat, forgotten flower.

Then he let out an agonising groan and collapsed onto the ground. Moments later Humphrey Hubert was dead.

George Smith went back inside and made himself a nice cup of tea.


The End


Alas, poor Humphrey, and his blue-eyed toes - led astray by his love of bananas. The less said about the hard choirboy though, the better. Most likely.
swordznsorcery: (face)
2017-06-03 08:47 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day five

Day Five: A song that needs to be played loud.

I don't know that this really needs to be played loud, but I love it to bits, and it does sound good loud, so here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBg1xfvyG7Q. And check it out - it's modern! Shut up, yes it is. You'll never convince me that 1999 wasn't just the other day.
swordznsorcery: (Default)
2017-06-02 09:31 pm
Entry tags:

Music meme day four

Day Four: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51NAFhGDIYw