La la la, la la la la la, la la la…


I mean, how else to start this ramble?

No, I know it’s almost been a year since I wrote anything here, but it’s been a terribly long and not particularly pleasant one, and if you don’t have anything good to say, sometimes it’s okay not to write thousands of words across the internet.

But I have a few good things to say. Mostly because I’ve started going to the cinema again, after Odeon finally decided they would introduce the Unlimited thing that Cineworld did for so long, and I could justify going to see films that weren’t necessarily going to be £15-good (what, realistically, can ever be that good?!).

I have two films to talk about. 1. LaLaLand. 2. Assassin’s Creed.

1. Now, I am not at all sure that LaLaLand is deserving of 14 Oscar nominations (certainly not those two songs – if any song in the film was good enough to be up there it was the John Legend one, that was decent), but I am very glad I went to see it in the cinema.

I’m just not quite sure I saw the same film as everybody else. Mind, I increasingly feel like my experience of life is not quite the same as everybody else, so at least it was consistent in that.

I thought it was beautiful. Really, truly beautiful and fascinating, but not at all beautiful because it was colourful, or because it was “like 1940’s coloured-in cinema”. At best, it was a cold pastiche of that, a wonky, bitter, tired pastiche of it. The song and dance routines, such as they were, owed as much to the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as they did to any Singin’ in the Rain, and trust me, no trust me, nobody has seen the Buffy musical more than I have.

Midway through Gosling and Stone’s first big number together, I got the image of Xander and Anya’s “I’ll Never Tell” in my head, and from thereon in, it was rather difficult to shake off. Same moves, same tone, same we’re-not-professionals-here thing; same influences, quite possibly, but that’s a lot of similarity.

And the relationship was very similar, too – it’s not healthy, it’s not positive, and these are not good people in any real sense of the word, but they each get something out of it.

One thing I felt very clearly about: the film hates Gosling’s character. Hates him. He’s called Sebastian, for starters, and Sebastians are rarely heroes (is the lobster one a hero? Is Sebastian a lobster? I’m trying to make a Little Mermaid reference but I’m too much of a snowflake to watch Little Mermaid so I’m falling flat on my own joke), and he is straight up awful, hideous, vile, from the moment we meet him, to the moment we leave him. I do not, cannot understand why anyone would find him to be a romantic lead. He’s a nightmare. But a useful one.

Mia, too, is a nightmare. Mia (the name of every secondary school student’s drama exam character) is tired and jaded and she’s probably a really good actress but we don’t really see or know enough of her to know, and I like Emma Stone’s voice but a lot of people don’t so it doesn’t really matter. She doesn’t really like Sebastian but he’s interesting, and interesting is enough, sometimes, because she isn’t really relying on him until she is because she wasn’t paying attention, and then that’s what happens sometimes in life: you fall into things that aren’t good for you in the long term…but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good for you eventually.

The thing I particularly like is that both Sebastian and Mia are pretty grim. Sebastian is objectively and excessively so, from the white-boy saviour of the jazz that is quite ready to save itself aspect, to the fact that he has textual experience of stalking women and insisting they will like him, because the way Sebastians live in this world is to say things are so until they are. He has precisely zero redeeming features, but Gosling is a brilliant actor of such difficult stuff, and therefore he is, somehow, still watchable.

Neither Sebastian nor Mia are intentionally, significantly awful to each other. Sebastian is self-centred and doesn’t pay attention to dates. He walks into her and doesn’t go to her play, but in his head, there are reasons for both that add up well enough. She is past caring about anything much, and doesn’t pay attention to dates, and she doesn’t like it when Sebastian seems like he might drop the one thing that kept him interesting – which is not, incidentally, his unsuccessfulness, but is instead his resolute intent to experience life at its most miserable. It is not that he makes her feel better about being unsuccessful, it is that he makes striving for the dream look a little more like the dream than it has done in a while.

It’s not particularly romantic. It’s not a great love story. It is a wonderful piece of story-telling about paths crossing at a crucial time in life, about how even the worst people can, whilst being awful, sometimes give you just what you need, and about how sometimes, you give them that too. And that, really, is fine.

Honestly. It’s fine. He doesn’t save her. She doesn’t save him. They kick each other, metaphorically, up the artistic arse, at their last chance to have done so.

That end bit, that rehashing of what it would have been like if they really had been a romantic couple, how it could have been…I look at the way they come out of that and see two characters who are not sorry that it did not pan out that way. It would not have been roses. It would not have been better. Seb wouldn’t have had his club, and would never have been a successful hanger-on; Mia wouldn’t have been able to give herself to her craft, nor to find herself again, her old self, who, I like to presume, was happy with the relationship she wound up with, even if, for a moment in time, it was not what she thought she had wanted.

That, then, is my lengthy how-I-read-this, and it may be that I have spent a lot of my life trying, on and off, to variously achieve dreams, serve coffee, and be interesting that it resonated so much for me, but I think this is a lot more snide and pushy and sarcastic a film than all the glowing reviews I see.

I’m here for dislikeable characters and difficult conversations and I don’t need to root for anyone to enjoy a film. I didn’t feel that was a musical; I felt like jazz thrived despite Sebastian, rather than because of him, and I would totally go and see The Messengers because the keyboards were pretty cool and I liked that song more than most of the rest of them. And there we have it.

2. Assassin’s Creed. And so to a film made, as they say, specifically to delight me. I mean, really. What a joy, what an absolute joy and delight. I would have thought this anyway, but there were two things that consolidated this. a) The fact that Michael Fassbender spends a good chunk of the tail end of the film shirtless FOR NO REASON and b) the fact that they spoke Spanish in Spain and that all the past was subtitled. Note, I say these consolidated my conviction it was made for me – I probably would’ve enjoyed it anyway.

The thing with Assassin’s Creed was that it understood the source material to the extent that you both are and are not the central character. You look good as Michael Fassbender, or it’s good to look at Michael Fassbender. You don’t know who you trust, until the story decides otherwise. You’re learning as you go along.

I thought the balance between past and present was perfect for upping the genre to something slightly more sci-fi, slightly less appropriated history. I thought it danced fairly neatly past all the usual issues with large blockbuster films – not least because, and once I started looking for it, I looked for it a lot and always found it, wherever there were men in positions of power or authority, there were also women, and the gender balance was spot on. I am less of the person to make this comment, but in some senses, it was also a far more racially diverse film than I am used to seeing from the big-budget, game-adapted genre.

Marion Cotillard was as good as I’ve ever had the opportunity to see her, but never better than during the sequence where, having consistently worn only flat shoes, her character suddenly dons a pair of wedges for the denouement. Cotillard is a grade A red carpet-walker and I’ve seen her master many heels flawlessly, but she acted “oh crikey these shoes are annoying” in the most subtle of ways that likely escaped anyone who’s never experienced it, but brought a real touch of insight and authenticity to her character.

The female roles were never ~female, and the father-daughter relationship was pleasingly written – never exactly subversive, but with an edge of interest that is often missing, for there was content aplenty, here. Indeed, the characters from major to minor all had their own characters and motivations, their own stories and lives – a conversation between two characters was two lives intersecting, and that meant there was far more weight to just about everything.

Indeed, I think that’s what I loved about the film. In many ways, the content was nonsense, and the plot was tenuous. It barely held together, but I was enjoying it so much for depth and range of character, and for sheer pacey spectacle, that I went with it. I had a small epiphany on leaving, which was that, in blockbusters which feature Megan Fox eschewing outerwear, most internet critics are happy to go along with things and will leave feeling relatively entertained. Now, I don’t know whether or not I would have been quite as delighted as I was if Fassbender had remained fully suited throughout, but I like to think that there was still enough substance. What didn’t happen, though, was any female character less than fully and appropriately clothed, so perhaps a certain demographic drifted off, and perhaps the plot wasn’t tight enough for the serious story enthusiast. But. But.

My hope is that the target demographic has shifted somewhat, and that just maybe, I am it, and that there are more like me out there, who can greatly enjoy a decent bit of cinema that makes just enough effort to subvert expectations by firmly meeting my own.

And so it’s been a lovely week in the cinema, for me! I wonder what other film-based joys 2017 has in store? It’s about the only area of things I’m particularly looking forward to. Next on my list of things to be specifically excited by is Hidden Figures, which I feel I have had to wait forever for already…


because, Labyrinth.

If you didn’t see Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie before the age of five, you missed a thing.

If you were a girl in the 1980s and you didn’t see it, you missed your chance for the best female inspiration in cinema, the most imagination-awakening piece of joyful abandon, and the most…David Bowie in tights.

I did see it though. It was raining, and one of our teachers had a grainy VHS copy of it from who-knows-where, and it was lunchtime and we sat in the school hall and stared at it, silently, in awe and wonder. We were five, so figuring out the riddles was impossible. I was an only child, so I had no conception of ‘having a brother’, step- or otherwise. The puppets were familiar, because Muppets, yet scary, because Jim Henson. And the setting was otherly and glorious and the end of another world.

In my head, it mixes with Knightmare, and Charn (from The Magician’s Nephew) and Cities of Gold, and other things I came to precociously young and enthusiastic.

And then there’s David Bowie, infinitely responsible, it seems, for my unerring adoration of blond, tall, slender men, preferably curiously-clad and able to sing strange and fantastic songs in curious, low tones.

The songs are brilliant, the puppets are incredible, the sets are amazing, everything is perfect. It’s a perfect film.

Watching it back, I wonder how few great heroines we’ve had in cinema since. Certainly, for the age group Labyrinth might have been aimed at. Indeed, was it aimed? Who was it aimed at? Did they worry about that kind of thing then? Labyrinth was an epic flop on its release, yet there aren’t many things I love more in the world of cinema, nor that I’ve watched so consistently, and with such glee.

It made me so, so happy when Jennifer Connelly grew up to be such a successful actress, and to marry a man so attractive and talented as Paul Bettany. She’s never stopped being a woman I admire and hope to, in some way, emulate, and it’s a testament to the strong and wise character she played that she still means so much to a generation of women.

Sarah remains a brilliant character. She makes the best of what she’s got: she takes responsibility for what she’s done, uses her brain and the context to do everything she can to move forwards at every opportunity. She figures out riddles, listens and learns, wants to see the best, isn’t discouraged by the appearance of failure, wants to see the best in people, is loyal and kind and good, and basically always wins, even when it looks like she’s failing.

This film is the gift I’d want to give any girl under twelve; it’s the part of my childhood that I’d defend to the utmost because it’s so strong and inspirational and beautiful. It’s the bit of the eighties I treasure more than anything, and it looked like something I thought I would grow up to see so much more of. Strong female character unashamedly doing her best in the most trying of circumstances. Sensibly dressed, in flat shoes, no superpowers, just loyalty and endeavour. Maybe one day something else will measure up. I look forward to that day.

(This post sparked by the conversation: if they *had* to remake Labyrinth right now: who would be David Bowie? And we thought, Patrick Wolf, for he is the only person who could pull this off. And then we thought, if they *had* to remake this like that, with Patrick, wouldn’t that at least be a bit wonderful?!)

Watching A Girl On Fire


We went to see Catching Fire today. I am a big fan of the Hunger Games novels. Big fan. I’ve read them multiple times, and each time I get to them again, I finish all three in 18 hours, tops, because they’re so damn compelling and readable. Every time. Every time I know what’s next, there are other layers, other thoughts, all the feelings. They are the heart-and-mind successor to Harry Potter, to all manner of great literature, but recently, at least, to Harry Potter, because they take hard times and difficult life and dark things and conflict and conflicting emotions to new levels.

I love the Hunger Games because they are always Katniss’ story. She is always the story. Even when her life is pulled this way and that, used by both sides, manipulated to the extreme, she is so consistent and strong a character that she’s never lost within the will of others. She survives a love triangle by being the best thing about it. She is the goal, the object, the fascination of the whole thing. She is a joy, a pain, a problem and an aspiration in turn, sometimes simultaneously.

I love the films because they understand Katniss’ story, but aren’t afraid to round it out. The perspective remains the same, but we get just a little more, just a touch more of President Snow, a little more of the districts, of the gamemaker, of things outside Katniss’ control and sight. Because we are lost when she is lost, and she finds the viewer, as well as the answer. Because she’s lucky…but not as lucky as she thinks. Because Katniss does the next thing, and survives the next obstacle, and barrels on through the most appalling situations…only because there is no other choice. She has something to live for, but even that is not always enough to convince her to stay alive. The fates conspire as much as everything conspires all around her.

The look of the films helps, undoubtedly. They capture the high technology and utter desolation of the outer districts perfectly. There are a few issues – mostly with the pace with which we’re forced to move through the story, an unfortunate constraint of legitimate cinematic timing, which, to be fair, I think is respectfully overcome in terms of the watching audience, and, still resonating, the fact that Katniss was racially miscast. I don’t know how much it’s my place to wonder about that, but, for all my utter and absolute adoration of the flawlessness that is Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss (and Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, more on which shortly), I still feel there was an opportunity inexplicably lost. I don’t like to forget that that happened…still, this is not Lawrence’s fault, and oh my, does she embody the strength, weakness, emotion and self-centredness of Katniss in an absolutely defining way.

And she is a magnificent actress, unashamed of being funny, of crying, of epic bitchface (I hope it’ll be infinitely in place on ONTD posts everafter), of being wrinkled or out of breath, exhausted, puffy, blistered, bright, beautiful, over-dressed, under-dressed, anything. Lawrence has a belief and confidence in herself as Katniss that makes Catching Fire in particular an extremely easy film to watch, even whilst its content is tough and challenging, or edging on cheesy or typical, or confusing, or quiet…it is always easy to look at her face and feel completely within her character. You are as within Katniss’ mind as her dialogue in the books, if not more so, for she’s much less irritating when shown briefly kissing characters than when extensively thinking about it – not something I ever hold against her, for I too have been a teenage girl; still, brevity is the soul of romance sometimes, and particularly in blockbusters.

This isn’t to forget Lawrence’s surrounding cast, which always match her. The chilling head peacekeeper sent to District 12? Just the right amount of conviction, self-belief and understated horror to be so unnerving that you only want to look away, but never can. Haymitch, and his slightly reworked, damaged, weatherbeaten, circumspect mentorness. Effie Trinket, showing that anyone from the Capital might, if only shown the truth of things, come to understand, although they’d never be willing to relinquish their hair. Cinna – the ever-gorgeous Lenny Kravitz who will apparently never age – making the most beautiful stand against anything that I can imagine. Peeta – such an important part in Katniss’ story, yet, in this film, so welcomely underplayed. Yet, if you’ve read what’s to come, you know that this part is played with such professional, even coolness that every line could, could be duplicitous. Could be a reflection of anything. Could be whatever you believe that character to be being at any point.

The biggest strength of Catching Fire, for me, was that, for the first time – and, as I said, I’ve read the books a lot – I really believed in Peeta/Katniss. I’ve understood, perhaps, but never cared for their partnership, hoped for or otherwise. But I felt the film brought the necessity, the edge that I wanted that pairing to have. I also found myself leaving with an unexpected slice of Peeta/Finnick (manipulated, sure, but hey, I’m always willing to be manipulated in the cause of attractive pairings). “I wish I’ll love someone like that one day…” – film, you make it too easy.

And let’s talk about Finnick for a second. i’ve seen the actor in a good few interviews and whatnot. I didn’t quite get his casting. Couldn’t see it. But, didn’t mind all that much. I thought Finnick a most interesting character, and worthy of a lot better than he gets in his peak sequence in Mockingjay (indeed, my biggest fault with the whole novel trilogy is Finnick’s latter storyline in Mockingjay which I had to read about three times to fully understand), but he wasn’t of my heart like Katniss. I wasn’t moved by him as much as some readers were, and he didn’t capture my emotions like he might have. And yet, and yet. Within seconds of being introduced to film!Finnick, I had fluttering heart and twisting stomach. I was genuinely surprised by his physicality, his understanding of how to play surface charm, bright, bold character with edge and heart and potential and past all there in the fewest of lines. That he came over hugely attractive was obviously at the heart of it, but as I say, I’ve seen the actor around aplenty and felt not a thing. This was the character brought to perfect realisation, for me, and there was a lot riding on the shoulders of the Finnick-casting, so again, I say gold star.

There are odd parts of Catching Fire – it’s always difficult to do crazy monkeys without coming over all Return To Oz, say – but the actors hold it perfectly at every single moment. No-one ever lets up their game. When the writers explain things, it’s only so you can watch the film (how does the clock work, what’s the forcefield), never to let you into things you’re better unearthing in the text of the novel (how does the Capital work, what’s the point of the Games). The faith in the audience is absolute, and the willingness to take them on a real ride – tough, uncompromising portrayals and teasings-out of the real violence, the real horror of the system – is admirable. The sequence in which Cinna is beaten against Katniss’ capsule whilst she, helpless, is lost as she begins to ascend to her own greatest challenge…utterly breathtaking in its unpleasantry, in precisely the way that a 12A can be, should be, when it deals with the consequences like Catching Fire does.

This is why I loved the book. It’s the greatest sequel, in terms of consequences of the actions taken in the original, that I have ever read. It isn’t simply a continuation: it’s cause and effect. It’s z because y because x. It’s think before you speak. It’s mass media, state persecution, rebellion, control, defeat, hope, desperation and despair, brought together like very few novels can. It’s got points to make about almost anything and everything, and it’s got a lot of whatever you want it to be saying right in there.

Catching Fire lets you start any conversation you want to that will take you to almost any kind of issue. That’s no mean feat. It’s a door to bigger problems than cinema, It’s a way to start thinking about how revolutions begin, and what they do and don’t mean. It’s a way to analyse the hard things, to get into that state of mind that lets you see the worst (and, rarely, best) of humans, and how and why extreme situations bring these things to the fore. The film is the perfect version of everything in the book.

I am in awe, frankly, of how beautiful and strong a viewing experience it was. My brief logistical issues aside, it is a perfect realisation of the novel, which I found to be a pretty perfect novel. Given that I am not the greatest fan of the third book (despite my utter love of the conclusion of the series, which I think is completely, perfectly spot on…l just feel there are content and editing issues with the first two thirds of it), I await the remaining two films with intrigue, hoping that they can distil the essence of Mockingjay and make the best of the brilliance assembled for Catching Fire, and behind the scenes. These are momentous films, for some of the greatest storytelling of our time, and how fortunate we are that its protagonist is an utterly real young woman whose faults and excellences are treated with complete evenness throughout.


Thaumatropes, Cats and Quotes – How to Accessorise This Autumn

Legend of Sleepy Hollow Thaumatrope Witches Cat

You may or may not know that I am the minion of the Mymble’s Daughter, and, as such, it is my duty to publicise and promote her glorious creations, an undertaking I find to be utterly joyous, for her things are beautiful, affordable, expertly crafted and designed, and, basically, the best thing you could give another human, or, indeed, yourself. So! I’ll be doing a few such posts over the next couple of months because seasonal shopping is a thing, and because I love to share, and because variety is the spice of blog.

So! Here are some starters. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow thaumatrope is an old favourite, and what with there being a TV series (should I watch it? Is it good?) it seemed like a great time to bring back some old classics. You can see all our many Sleepy Hollow-inspired things HERE, do do that! And I haven’t even started on the quotation collection, but perhaps another day I’ll do a more collection-based post.

Finally, what with our over-10,000-sales of Etsy expertise, one of the other many things I’ve meant to do over the years is a collection of some of the Lessons We Have Learnt because Etsy-selling can be a wonderful thing, but there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and the actually getting stuck into it can be daunting, tiring, or plain weird, so it’s always good to have, I think, a bit of hand-holding on the way if you’re new to Etsy, or indeed to any online selling at all.

Finally finally, speaking of new online selling, have you seen our NEW Mymble’s Daughter @ Folksy shop yet? If you’re an old friend of our shop you might find all sorts of old favourites popping up there – for a limited time, we’re running it as an archive of all kinds of designs! See all our Alice in Wonderland pieces, for example, with more to be added over the coming days!

Anyway, may your Tuesday be bright, and, if it isn’t, why not treat yourself to a thing to make it brighter?

The Marvel of Study

I discovered Coursera a couple of weeks ago. It’s true, distance learning has been around forever, and there are plenty of archives around and about where you can access whole glorious degree courses of everything from all over the world, but I’ve never quite got a handle on the discipline of following an entire course like that on my own. I like to be spoonfed things, to have organised access to stuff, and, preferably, to be tested on what I’ve learnt throughout. So it was like a half-dozen Christmases at once to find this little selection of wide-ranging courses from all over the world here that cater to my exact and super-specific educational requirements.

It’s difficult for me not to sign up for everything ever, but I started out with three courses. The first is on Kierkegaard, from the University of Copenhagen, and it starts with lovely, concise, introductory video lectures which show me the Copenhagen I could never quite envisage right when studying Kierkegaard as part of my Philosophy degree, and it reminds me of things I remember back then I had earmarked to think about more later in life, and so I’m thrilled to come back to that. The second, I haven’t really investigated yet, but it’s on a series of classic sci-fi and fantasy novels, almost all of which I’ve read multiple times, almost all of which I love. And the third, which has taken up all of this evening, is a course that’s already a couple of weeks in, which I’d dithered about joining, for reasons shortly, on comic books and graphic novels – the whys and wherefores, the what are they and how do we read them.

Already, I am utterly entranced by the videos for this course. The enthusiasm, the passion, that reminder of being taught something that gives your brain a new method of thinking, a new tool for understanding, the feeling that there’s something you did already know, but had perhaps forgotten how to do, or, indeed, to do at all. It’s like when, in the middle of a crazy stressful day, a friend takes your arm and reminds you that you can breathe deeply, and slow your heart down, and everything gets just that bit clearer and brighter. It’s like that, only the starting point was neutral, rather than negative, so it makes for a considerable slice of happiness.

Great lecturing on any topic, and considered, enthusiastic giving of context and storytelling within the education…these things will always make me happy, but to have that level of attention paid to something I have wanted to learn to read, to understand as much as the comic book, well, it’s like being taught a language in a way you’ve always wished you could be, the way that you have long been certain would make it make sense.

I have worked fairly hard to learn to love comic books. I’m so used to reading text quickly, to loving ploughing through paragraphs – the more dense the better – that I couldn’t understand how to take the time to get everything out of a graphic novel, I didn’t know what to look for, where my eyes ought to go, or how much attention I needed to pay to things like what the characters were wearing…all sorts. But, my love for the X-Men franchise eventually convinced me, a couple of years ago, to go and look properly at the comics, and so I did, as many as I could. I have a pretty reasonable X-Men collection now, with many more to read, but I think I’ve covered the major arcs, and a few of the sidestrings that have fascinated me. From there, really, only to a few other Marvel things, some Avengers, Iron Man, etc, and then Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and that’s about it. But that’s also enough to have experienced a wide, wide variety of styles and traits and plots and characters; all manner of panelling and thinking and telling, and it’s exciting, it’s been exciting, and knowing that I’ve only scraped the surface of the available comicry is thrilling enough, never mind what’s always been my favourite part of reading anything – the reread.

So, at this point in my comic appreciation, I’m thrilled to have access to this fascinating course, for, just as studying English at school gave me tools to criticise and contextualise and analyse regular novels, or as studying music allowed me to parse and phrase and ponder Mozart in a way I never could before, so I hope to get some new handles on the reading of comic books, to catch up on the techniques and thoughts and understanding that people with lifetimes of comic book reading have put together, and to, eh, be more enthusiastic about more things I love, and find new ways to love them further still.

The thing that did make me resistant to signing up for the course is that one component of it is to design your own comic, and, yeah, you won’t meet anyone less graphically-minded than me. I really struggle to create anything, anything at all visual. Although I am excellent when it comes to interior design. I can tell you the story of a room, sure. But I really have issues with drawing anything, or, worse still, attempting to storytell through visual means, because I, as you might have noticed, am all about the words. So, yeah. That’s a very daunting, almost upsetting idea to me, to volunteer myself to create something that seems as un-me as a comic.

But, as per previous entries, this time in my life is known as The Time of the Brave Tiger (I can’t tell you how glad I am that Katy Perry decided to provide me with a soundtrack for this time) and brave tigers just get on and do the stuff that scares them. Just in case it turns out they liked it after all. I think this used to happen to Tigger, actually. So it’s all got a good basis in fact.

So that’s a little story about another one of the many things making me extremely happy. And, if you’ve a bit of spare time, an interest in this course, and any loose comic book curiosity, just go and sign up for it and watch a couple of the introductory videos, particularly ‘What is a Comic?’ and see if you’re half as cheered by them as I am.

Top Five Lists of ALL THE THINGS

We needed to do something but didn’t want to move, so here’s this. Feel free to share your thoughts/attempted corrections!

Bored on Saturday things, Biscuits, Birdsong, Pencils, Queen songs, ’80s kids TV shoes, Buffy episodes, Divine Comedy comedy songs, Divine Comedy beautiful songs, Fictional Horses, Fictional Birds, Cabin Pressure episodes, Final Fantasy VII Characters, things we’re supposed to be doing, blond male vampires,

    Top Five Things To Do When Bored on Saturday

1. Chase your partner/dog/someone else’s dog/your shadow around a park.

2. Draw the clouds. If there aren’t any clouds, imagine clouds and draw them.

3. Draw stick men being more interesting than yourself.

4. Come up with a random pitch for a new kind of quiz show and start sending it out to people. Who knows…

5. Make top five lists of everything.

    Top Five Biscuits

1. NICE biscuits.

2. Party Rings.

3. Malted Milk.

4. Bourbon biscuits.

5. Jammy Dodgers.

Highly commended: Custard Creams, for their iconic shape and nom filling.

    Top Five Birdsongs

1. Skylark.

2. Blackbird.

3. Robin.

4. Wren.

5. Blackcap.

    Top Five Pencils

1. Staedtler Noris HB.

2. Palomino Blackwing.

3. Staedtler Tradition 4B.

4. 1989 Pencil from Tower of London Gift Shop.

5. 1904 Teddy Roosevelt Promotional Pencil with Brass Bear Atop It.

Highly Commended: Farley’s Rusk Pencil.

    Top Five Queen Songs

1. Innuendo.

2. Killer Queen.


4. Breakthrough.

5. I Want It All.

    Children’s TV Programmes of the 1980s

1. Mysterious Cities of Gold

2. Knightmare

3. Thundercats

4. She-Ra, Princess of Power

5. Ulysses 31

    Buffy Episodes

1. Once More, With Feeling

2. Band Candy

3. Lover’s Walk

4. Doppelgangland

5. New Moon Rising / The Prom (split decision)

    Divine Comedy Comedy Songs

1. The Frog Princess

2. Something in the Woodshed

3. I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party

4. The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count

5. The Happy Goth

    Divine Comedy Beautiful Songs

1. Sunrise

2. Tonight We Fly

3. Neptune’s Daughter

4. Timewatching

5. Everybody Knows

    Fictional Horses

1. Renti

2. Shadowfax

3. Hwin

4. Artex

5. Rapide

    Fictional Birds

1. Master Chalk

2. Archimedes

3. Gwaihir

4. Kokapetl

5. Wol

    Cabin Pressure episodes

1. Ottery St. Mary

2. Limerick

3. Uskerty

4. Rotterdam

5. Xinzhou

    Final Fantasy VII Characters

1. Sephiroth

2. Vincent

3. Yuffie

4. Cait Sith

5. Rufus

    Things We’re Supposed to be Doing

1. Email

2. Listing things that need selling on eBay

3. Preparing photographs for things

4. Writing

5. Tidying

    Blond Male Vampires

1. David (Lost Boys)

2. Lestat

3. Eric (True Blood)

4. Spike

5. Marius

The Greatest Kind of Gift

I *adore* sci-fi novels. Anything from the Victorian age to about 1965, and then in its own way, 1965-1985, and then you end up in the ’90s and it gets a bit cyberscifi and that’s great too, I love it all. BUT. There’s a kind of paperback that’s particularly close to my heart. And, for Christmas, I got a massive stack of them. See how beautiful?