Has it really been two months since I last posted? Blimey. I can never think of anything to write about though, and it's more interesting reading about you lot than it is writing about anything that I've been doing.

Ran out of episodes of Lucifer, and have no idea when season four is likely to appear, but The Gifted came back, which sort of filled a hole. It's been brilliant again, but it'll be finishing soon, as it only has short seasons. Cold Feet has come back too, and I recorded episode one, but haven't watched it yet. Which is awkward, as it will soon be time for episode two. Can't seem to summon up the enthusiasm though. No more Doctor Who until early 2020, but I did remember the other day that I started watching Heroes season one a couple of years back, and didn't get past about episode five. So I suppose I could go back to that at some point. I was enjoying it. It's just a question of a: remembering, and b: being bothered to get the DVDs out.

Reading-wise, I've just finished a book on Irish history, which was pretty lightweight, but interesting enough. I've been wanting to read something on general 19th century Irish life for a while, since family history research showed me that most of my family seem to have come from there. I wish the rest was as easy to read about (Slovenian history tends to be swallowed up by Habsburg stuff, since Slovenia technically didn't exist until comparatively recently, and 'modern' Alexandria, despite being a multi-ethnic metropolis until the Suez Crisis, seems mainly the preserve of literary writing, rather than historical. Italy is a bit easier, if lacking on the history of ordinary people). It's nice getting a bit of historical context. Going in an entirely different direction, I'll probably read Neil Gaiman's take on Norse mythology next.

Beyond that, there has been work, trying to get stuff done in the garden, and Fandom Stockinging. 2018 came to a complicated conclusion, and I'm rather glad to have got it out of the way. Best book read in 2018? Either The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury, or Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I would have said that the best album of 2018 was Who Sold The Moon? by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, but apparently that came out in 2017. So... As Long As I Have You by Roger Daltrey perhaps. Best film would have to be Infinity War I guess, as it's the only 2018 film I watched. Although The Greatest Showman was released in the UK on Boxing Day 2017, so that nearly counts. Damn it, it counts. That's the best film of 2018 (and I don't make my book choices be from the year, so why discriminate!) And best telly is obviously Lucifer, although many hurrahs for the Thirteenth Doctor. Doctor Who has been so good this year.

I'm not sure if the orange lump on my lap is a cat disguised as a teddy bear, or a teddy bear disguised as a cat, but either way, it makes it very hard to type! I am being kneaded and dribbled on. And now I have to go and do stuff. Fandom Stocking reveals should be later today, so have a good time, everyone. And then it will be Festivids! Huzzah.

Bye.
swordznsorcery: (lucifer)
( Nov. 5th, 2018 20:17)
I keep forgetting to do this - and when I don't forget, I never seem to have the time. But I have watched things! And some of them aren't Lucifer. For one thing, how good is Doctor Who at the moment?! I'm delighted with the new series. Jodie Whittaker feels more like the Doctor that I grew up watching than any of the other New Series takes on the character. No "lonely god" nonsense. No super-powerful being. Back to being a cosmic hobo (albeit a really, really clever one). I like her gang lots, I like the group dynamic, and I'm having fun. Also, they don't seem to be trying to make each episode BIGGER than the last, and the music hasn't annoyed me once yet. It's remembered that it's only supposed to be incidental, and not a constant cacophony of howling voices. Huzzah. So I am happy about all of that.

Also, the other day I happened to look at a TV guide for the first time in about three years, and I saw that a channel called Talking Pictures TV were showing a 1954 film called It Should Happen To You. Not a very well known film, but it was Jack Lemmon's first big role, and it also starred Judy Holliday. So obviously I had to record that. I watched it at the weekend, and it was daft and entertaining, and very 1950s. Judy Holliday was wonderful. She's almost unknown now, which is terribly sad. Primarily a Broadway star, she only made a few films, because she died young. She really lights up the screen though. She's magnetic - and with a great singing voice too. I first saw her in Bells Are Ringing (1960), the film version of one of her Broadway hits. She stars in the film with Dean Martin, and I very much recommend it if it ever comes up on TV. Anyway, It Should Happen To You gave her a good opportunity to shine, and raise more than a few smiles.

My beloved Top Of The Pops repeats have hit a low point - Chris de Bleurgh at number one forever with Lady In Red. Impressively, it's even worse than I remembered. And, just to make things even worse, they let him sing it live, just him and his piano. Seriously, it's what the fast forward button was invented for; although the iPlayer doesn't really do fast forward. They should look into that, just in case he's ever in the charts again. More seriously, all this means that we've arrived in August of 1986. I'm starting secondary school any time now. This is extremely disconcerting. Some things you really don't want to live through again, even obliquely.

Not reading much lately. I've been sorting through some books to see what I can get rid of, so I've been sort of re-reading a few old ones. Currently half reading Shadowmancer, by GP Taylor. It's definitely going in the jumble box!

Mostly though, I'm still watching Lucifer. Loving season three. It got an increase in episodes, and they decided to use them by going old school, and doing a bunch of standalones. It gives the support cast more of a chance to shine, and they've come up with some brilliant little detours from the main plot. The field trip to Las Vegas was wonderful, and there was also a fun flashback episode, showing Lucifer's arrival on Earth, pre-series. The internet doesn't seem to enjoy it all nearly as much as I do, as not every second of every episode is spent focused on The Ship, but whatever. I don't think I'll ever understand modern telly viewers.

I'll leave you with some Lucifer fanvids, as I found a vidder on YouTube who makes awesome ones. Probably some mild and non-specific spoilers (or possibly whacking great ones, depending on your outlook), so approach with caution if you're thinking of giving the show a go. Or just watch them anyway, as they're brill.

Bring Out The Bad (a compilation of the show's sillier side, as well as some drama):

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

A Little Wicked (a celebration of the glory that is Maze):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wu5Q0SW0yk

I Like Trouble (in which there is trouble):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmXhGaeH8IE
The final question. I've been avoiding this one, as it's the most uncomfortable one so far. Question 30: A song that reminds you of yourself. I really don't think that I would want to listen to that song. I certainly wouldn't want to inflict it on the rest of you! It wouldn't be very harmonious, that's for sure. So, once again, I'm coming at this one from a slight angle.

My brain and I have not always been very good friends. We have a long, complex history together, although age seems to have brought a slightly better understanding. Or at least, I hope it has. Bruce Springsteen has written very eloquently on the subject of depression, and although he writes very much from his own perspective, there is one of his songs that feels quite appropriate at the moment. He wrote it when his life had just taken a turn for the better, due to his relationship with Patti Scialfa, so obviously that bit of it doesn't apply. There are lines, though: It's a sad man, my friend, who's living in his own skin, and can't stand the company, for example, which have great resonance. It also has a great line which very accurately describes how it feels when you're on the up, but you're hyper-aware of the hole you've just got out of: Tonight this fool's halfway to heaven, and just a mile out of hell...

So here's Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band doing Better Days - which are things that everybody ought to have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c75TcDgRoPY
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29. A song you remember from your childhood.

Does that mean that all the other answers should have been songs from last week? Whoops. This is a tough one. I mean, that's a lot of music. This one seems apt, though. I remember it playing a lot, way back when.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJLMfFJT9ac
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28. A song by an artist with a voice you love.

There are a fair few voices that I love. Freddie, obviously, and also Roger Taylor. One of the reasons I love Queen so much is because of both of their voices. Dean Martin of course. Morten Harket. I could cheerfully produce a pretty mammoth collection of YouTube clips! But, since it's one band with two of my favourite voices in it, Queen do have a slight edge. So here they are again. Two clips, because there's two voices. (Shut up! It was hard enough narrowing it down this far!) The first is from Montreal '81, with bonus Bouncy John (looking impressively turquoise). Also featuring Freddie wearing nothing but tight white shorts and a baseball cap, because it's 1981, and rock bands hadn't learnt to be miserable yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVIbCvfkO3E

The second is from Budapest in '86. I wanted to be good and use the official Queen channel's upload of this song, from Wembley, but they've managed to upload it in lousy quality and the wrong screen ratio. So it's got to be this version instead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPLq4RY0M7k



As a bonus, here's another one from Montreal. I don't know that it's exactly showing off anybody's voice, but it is a quite spectacular noise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPZOdFwN6qI
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swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Sep. 21st, 2018 20:22)
Apparently I'm now averaging one of these every fortnight. I may actually end it this year! Although not if there's many more questions like this one.

27. A song that breaks your heart.

Another daft question. If it broke my heart, I wouldn't listen to it, would I. I certainly wouldn't want to inflict it on anybody else. This one took some thinking. There isn't a song that seems directly appropriate, but there is one that sort of is. It doesn't break my heart - quite the opposite! Maybe it's a little cheesy, but I love this song. I do wish it had been written thirty years ago though. If it had, there might have been a little less that broke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjxugyZCfuw
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26. A song that makes you want to fall in love.

Who writes these questions?! Why would I want to fall in love, and why would a song make me want to? The simple answer to this one is none. Trying to play the game properly though... I guess if I was that way inclined, maybe this one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PGpT2G05NA
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25. A song by an artist no longer living.

I nearly went for Freddie or Dino here, but it only seemed fair to look in a different direction this month - and especially today, the day of the funeral. So here's Aretha, doing as only she can:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQEuVKDJx1I
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24. A song by a band you wish were still together.

No prizes for guessing the band! It was hard to choose a clip, but in the end I went for this one, from Wembley '86, because it's just so much fun. If you're suffering from Wet Weekend Blues, then this is scientifically proven* to be just the cure you need:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq1QSpsdqLc&t=22s



*It's entirely possible that this is an exaggeration.
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22. A song that moves you forward.

This one took me a while to get, and I'm still not sure quite that I understand it. But any interpretation is valid, I guess. So, a-ha have been with me since 1985, when I was ten. They've split up once or twice, but so far they've kept coming back, and recently they came up with this song, a new take on their first hit, Take On Me. What's old is new again. I wasn't sure the first time that I heard it, but now I think it's beautiful, and the lyrics seem to have a new resonance. "Slowly learning that life is ok," indeed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB11caUeHQY

23. A song that everyone should listen to. This one! And listen loud. Just maybe don't watch too, as the video is basically the cameraman trying to crawl up her nose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ_9kun4OQo
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I decided to have a Lucifer re-watch to celebrate the show not being axed anymore, but woe is me, for I have finished season one. Season two is actually better, so it's not the tragedy that it could be - but my sister has borrowed season two, hence the woe. I shall have to wait, and stare wistfully at a screen that is sadly devoid of Luciferiness.

In the meantime though, I was looking through some stuff, and I discovered the Thirty Day Music Challenge that I started rather a long time ago (May 2017, making it a very badly named thirty day meme). So here's another bit of it.

Day Nineteen: A song that makes you think about life. Because it says a lot, and it's also pretty awesome, here's Foreign Sand, by Roger Taylor.

Day Twenty: A song that has many meanings to you. This one came along at a complicated time. I like it as a song, but also for what it's about. Also stuff. One Last Breath, by Creed.

Day Twenty-One: A favourite song with a person's name in the title. Could have come up with a dozen of these, but I decided to go with this, because it's fab. Eric The Half A Bee, by Monty Python.

Unfortunately, Day Twenty-Two is "A song that moves you forward", and I have no idea what that even means, let alone which song to choose for it. So it could well be another six months before I get to that one. I suppose I could go with Chris de Burgh's Lady In Red, as that's a song that always moves me towards the off switch? And that's usually forwards. We'll see.
swordznsorcery: (lucifer)
( Jun. 18th, 2018 21:18)
It is Monday, and - marvel of marvels - I've actually remembered to do this. I've even watched something, so it's not just books.

Reading's been a mixed bag lately. I've been reading this trilogy on and off. It's called the Riftworld Trilogy, by Raymond E Feist, and I started it last year I think. I seem to have missed out on most of the famous fantasy series, so I thought I'd try one where the books aren't nine hundred pages each. Books one and two were great, and I raced through them. Book three turned out to be a turgid wasteland. This is the first in a whole series of trilogies by Feist, which is a little daunting to say the least, especially if the others are likely to be more of the same. Still, maybe one day.

I followed that up with a Blyton, as I found one in a charity store last month, and couldn't resist. It was one of my favourites of hers when I was very small, called The Adventure Of The Strange Ruby. It's a great fun adventure about a brother and sister who go on holiday to Swanage, and rescue some kidnapped twins. There's abandoned mansions, and sinister statues, and casual racism, hurrah. I love how the children's mother has to go away and look after a sick relative, so she just pats the kids on the head, and tells them to go off and camp for a few days. Blyton is the antidote to over-protective parents - which is kind of ironic, given that the children in her books spend most of their lives a: talking to strangers, and b: getting kidnapped. But there you go.

Then I read a fabulous book called The Dinosaur Hunters, by Deborah Cadbury, about the early years of palaeontology, and the gaggle of eccentric English amateurs who first discovered dinosaurs, and invented geology and uncovered evolution in the process - much to the consternation of those of them who were also vicars (vicars had education, money, and leisure time, and were the backbone of early geology). I've been hearing wonderful things about this book for years, but have only just got around to it, and I'm glad I did. Absolutely brilliant. I've moved on to a potted history of Alexandria now, which is family history stuff. Fascinating city.

Viewing-wise, I've been catching up on RTD's A Very English Scandal. It aired on the Beeb some weeks ago, but I never remember to actually watch the telly these days. It's up on the iPlayer for another few weeks (and comes to BBC America at the end of the month), and I heartily recommend it. Terrific performances, a lovely thread of black humour, and for once Murray Gold didn't make me want to throttle him. Lovely costume and set design too, perfectly recreating the naff decor of the sixties and seventies, and also the frequently inadvisable moustaches. If you haven't seen it - see it.

Also still watching the Top Of The Pops repeats, which is highly compulsive, but frequently inadvisable. We're heading into autumn of 1985 now. I've had Feargal Sharkey singing A Good Heart in my head for the last forty-eight hours, and I may need to hunt him down and exact revenge.

And Lucifer got saved from cancellation! Huzzah!
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Jan. 29th, 2018 19:55)
How is it nearly the end of the month? Where did January go? Only yesterday there was Christmas stuff all over the place, and now it's all Easter eggs everywhere.

I haven't done one of these posts in ages, I don't think. It's probably not going to be much of one now, either, as I haven't really watched a lot. I am reading rather a good book at the moment though. It's called A History Of Ancient Britain, by Neil Oliver, and apparently it accompanies some TV series which I'd not heard of. Nicely jaunty book, anyway. I've not got very far with it - we're just coming out of the last Ice Age - but it's very promising. I suspect it's a few years old though, as Oliver says that he doesn't agree with his fellow historians' idea that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred at all, whereas we now know that they did. It's all there in the Northern European genome. Doesn't mean that it was a starry-eyed romance of course, but it clearly did happen. And that's my reading.

On the watching front, I've been enjoying (mostly!) the 1980s Top Of The Pops repeats on the iPlayer. It was 1984 for most of last year, and we've just started 1985. Last week somebody dumped a whole load of 1981 episodes there though, so I spent Sunday chain-watching about a billion of them (all right: five). 1981! That pretty much marks the time when I first got into proper TOTP watching: Shaky and Adam Ant all over the Top Ten; a very young Spandau Ballet and the Duranies; blasted Chas and Dave, and their interminable rabbits. The Cure just did their first appearance. And every other song in the top twenty being a John Lennon one. Gods, it was all so long ago!

And that's that. Other than [community profile] festivids going live! [community profile] festivids, hurrah (and thank you to [personal profile] thisbluespirit, as I always forget to keep an eye open for it). My favourite one this year is a rather nice Ladyhawke one here. It's not a very well known film, unfortunately, though it does have something of a cult following on the internet. It's based on an old European fairy tale, about a pair of lovers separated by a magic curse - she's a hawk by day, and he's a wolf by night. And there are swords, and a very big horse. The vid does a nice job of capturing the spirit and the visuals, and is very nicely done.

I think that's it now. I'm off to boil the kettle.
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swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Sep. 25th, 2017 19:17)
I'm really bad at this journal thing. More work = less brain, apparently. Still, a general catch up... )
swordznsorcery: (jack)
( Aug. 6th, 2017 21:52)
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.

... )
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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
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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.
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
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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.
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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
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