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Intro post

Hi! I just thought it would be nice to have a general 'noticeboard' post at the top of my journal, but right now I can't think of anything particularly interesting to say. Isn't that always the way?

If you're looking for my fic/vids, the links are at the side of the page and/or in my memories. I've written a lot of fic in various fandoms, but the things that I've done that seem to have been most popular to date are both vids - namely Brokeback Hospital (House MD, House/Wilson) and Cat's in the Cradle (House MD, Sherlock, Fortysomething). The vid I wished more people watched is Last Day of Your Life (Third Star, Miles/James), just because I adore the movie and that particular relationship.

I attended Oz Comic Con 2014, and have had my picture taken with the 'batch, but it was a weird thing for me to do and I'm still conflicted about it. I have issues *g*. My transcription of his (Sunday) talk may be found on tumblr here.

I generally love chatting to people on lj - feel free to drop me a comment if you think we have interests in common :)

26 May 2012 - After five years, I thought I might actually try HAVING a tagging system. Update (slowly) in progress. My memories are still the best index, for now. I'm now also on AO3.

Shows I'm currently fannish about: Sherlock, Cabin Pressure

Also currently fangirling: Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Field, Mark Gatiss, Chris Barrie, Philip Quast

Shows I watch regularly but not fannishly: Almost Human, Drop Dead Diva, Elementary, Hannibal, Hawaii 5-0, Luther, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Celebrity Apprentice.

Gone, but not forgotten...Collapse )

Media update

Wow, long time no update - still around, though, and reading lj. In the absence of studying, I seem to have taken up reading books again, which is nice :)


Saw Liza's Back! (is Broken), which was a Minnelli tribute show by Trevor Ashley, star of the comedic revues Fat Swan and Little Orphan Tr(Ashley) (quickly renamed after the original title did not go down well). He's a good performer, and the other shows were great fun, but I was wondering whether a rather good Minnelli impersonation was enough to keep me entertained for almost two hours. The answer was no. There was a sizable band - maybe ten people or so - who added class and energy to the show, but this suffered from being a solo performance rather than an ensemble one, and didn't really have a story to speak of, just Ashley-as-Liza telling anecdotes from her past, and singing show tunes.

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Also saw the NT Live screening of Richard III with Ralph Fiennes (woo!) - I was so thrilled to at least get to see a filmed version of this. It was good, but not amazing - his performance in Man and Superman blew me away, but this was just another Shakespeare production, really. It may be that I have no great love for this play, or for the histories in general - the first time I saw it was actually the Cumberbatch version, so that's literally all I have to compare it to. The play itself has a handful of great moments, but it's one of those ones I still don't get all the fuss over. Anyway, Richard the III plots to become King of England, kills a few people, and succeeds. I do hope that wasn't a spoiler.

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Don't Breathe - weirdly enough, I saw this with my mum, who likes thrillers, but had no one to go with, so I thought it'd be fun. Within about thirty seconds of the movie starting I suddenly remembered why I don't usually see this kind of thing, and ended up shutting my eyes a lot of the time and watching a great deal of the rest of it from behind my fingers. My mum was perfectly fine, by the way.

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Presto! (Penn Jilette) -
I bought this one through iTunes - couldn't find it at the library, and I didn't think it was one I needed a physical copy of. I'm a big fan of Penn and Teller, but I don't quite know whether I like Jilette or not - he's kind of an asshole, but an entertaining asshole? I don't know. I do totally relate to the jumpy, slightly defensive way he talks/writes, though, like he knows you're judging him, and he wants you to know he knows - I feel like that when I write opinion posts *g*. Anyway, the book is about his massive 100-pound weight loss and How He Did It. spoilerCollapse ) There, I just saved you from buying the book. What was more interesting to me is probably the glimpses into his life - his family, his relationship with Teller, his work, his opinions. He is a great storyteller, despite the massive amounts of name-dropping, and I enjoyed reading it. Once.

The Lady in the Van (Alan Bennett) - This was recently made into a movie (which I've not yet seen), and it was seeing the trailer that made me want to read it. As its name implies, it's the (true) story of the elderly lady who lived in a van that ended up permanently parked in Bennett's driveway. I would class this book as an extended character study - a portrait of her habits, her appearance, her relationship with Bennett, the neighbourhood, and the world. I don't think it really goes much deeper than that, but it's enough to be fascinating. I did really enjoy Bennett's eye for detail, and that he mostly keeps himself and his parallel middle-class life out of it - she is very much the focus of the memoir, and so she should be. In some ways she lived in terrible conditions, but on the other hand she fiercely maintained her independence and her dignity by doing so - I'd class it as melancholy rather than sad. A very short, easy read - more novella than novel.

Sugarbabe (Holly Hill) - an Australian memoir of a woman's time as a "sugarbabe". Having just broken up with a wealthy (married) boyfriend, and needing money to pay her rent and write her book, Hill (not her real name, although it's out there now) advertised online for a sugar daddy arrangement. This book is an account of the replies she got, the people she met, and how well the arrangements did - or didn't - work out. While the book is "fictionalised" - names changed, elements compressed or altered, it's a thoroughly entertaining read anyway. She does sound like tremendous fun to be around, and is very frank about sex and money. (I believe she went onto a career in erotic fiction, and as a connoisseur of porny fanfic, she at least passes muster *g*). I really enjoyed the Sydney setting of this book - I'm so used to reading as an outsider that it's nice to be intimately familiar (haha) with all the places she describes and get that thrill of recognition. Good fun, although something I think very few people would be able to pull off (...and suddenly everything turns into sexual innuendo). An interesting footnote is that this is the book she ended up writing rather than the book she became a sugarbabe to write *g*

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Natasha Pulley) - I read this due to a rec from flywoman, and it was absolutely worth it. I don't think my summary could do the book justice, so I'll settle for the official one.

London, 1883: Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a mysterious gold pocket watch on his pillow. When the watch saves his life from a bomb blast that destroys Scotland Yard, Thaniel goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori - a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips proves that he must be hiding something. Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry. As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control.

What is not to love? There is some serious genre-bending here - it's Victorian magical realism (steampunk) that has a mystery at its heart (who set the bomb?) and also touches on history, science, feminism, travelogue, and romance. And to digress slightly... you know, over the years I've seen the expression "just like fanfic" as a bit of a double-edged sword. It's often used disparagingly, especially in reference to canon, but I think it can have positive connotations, too. To me one of the greatest things about fanfiction is that many of the usual rules of "literature" are up for grabs, leading to some amazingly inventive work. So I'm just going to say that I would bet that the author has read (and/or written) fanfiction in her time, and while this book is firmly "literary", in the sense of meeting all traditional established criteria for a novel, for me it also replicated a lot of the imaginative and emotional feel of first-class fanfic. And I mean that in its most positive sense. Highly recommended.

The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) - another read prompted by a movie trailer. I suppose I tend to reason that if someone wanted to make it into a movie, it's probably at least a half-decent read *g*. The biggest initial surprise was that it's set in the area around London, because I was sure the trailer I saw was set in the US - and sure enough, it is. They changed it for the purposes of the movie. So the UK setting was a plus for me. A woman catches the train into London every day, past the house in which she used to live with her ex-husband, and makes up stories about the people and things she sees on the way. She's an alcoholic, and prone to blackouts and lost memories. So when a woman in her old neighbourhood goes missing, a woman she's only seen from the train window, she thinks she might know something about her disappearance, but she can't quite remember what it might be.

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Hi! I was going to tell you the course of all my woes, but let's face it, I don't want to do that, and you don't want to hear it :) So let's chat about the fun stuff I've been seeing instead.

Absolutely Fabulous

I grew up with this show, and still enjoy inflicting "sweetie darling" on people. I have no interest in fashion whatsoever, but Eddie and Patsy (and Saffy and Bubbles) were just thoroughly entertaining at the time. So I went in wanting to be pleased, and I was. Although to be fair, were it not for the promised Mark Gatiss, I might not have made the effort *g*. So the storyline is completely bonkers, but fun - washed-up publicist Edwina "Eddie" Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is held responsible for killing Kate Moss in a terrible accident at a fashion gala, and goes on the run with best mate fash mag slag Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Saffy's rebellious daughter Lola (Indeyama Donaldson-Holness). Hijinks ensue, while Bubbles (Jane Horrocks) parades around in a series of increasingly improbable costumes (the inflatable hashtags one is a gift to the ages, I tell you). Silly and fun, with a melancholy edge in Eddie and Patsy's refusal to grow up and/or grow old. I also adore Saffy (Julia Sawalha) and I swear she's barely aged at all.

Dozens of cameos, but Mark gets an entire scene as the editor at a publishing house, who has some rather unkind things to say about Edwina's biographical manuscript. He looked as though he were thoroughly enjoying himself. Lovely :)

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Songs for a New World

This is a musical by Jason Robert Brown (he also wrote The Last Five Years) and I think he actually called it a "song cycle" in that all the songs are self-contained and separate, but are connected thematically, and one will sometimes call back to the others. It's about moments from people's lives when they're on the brink of something life-changing - such as discovering America, or deciding to leave their partner, or discovering they're pregnant. So it didn't have the narrative structure of a normal musical, but at the same time it was consistently engaging because each song brought a completely "new world" to the stage.

I really liked the main theme ("The New World"), which was just as well since it was repeated quite often. "Stars and the Moon" was the only song I'd heard before, about a woman who meets various men offering her new lives with them, but she holds out for riches and security. I adore the song - even though if you think about it, it's like a much less cheesy version of "I've Never Been To Me". Particularly hilarious was "Surabaya Santa" which was like the Brecht/Weill parody to end all parodies - the opening chords alone are hysterical. It's the farewell lament of Mrs Claus as she prepares to ditch her loveless marriage *g*

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Sausage Party

Literally the only thing I knew about Seth Rogan is The Interview, which I loved beyond reason, and come on, the premise of Sausage Party is pretty awesome. See all the innocent food in the supermarket. See how it reveres the Gods who walk among it, picking and choosing the righteous (shades of "the Claw is my master! I have been chosen!") and taking them away to paradise in "The Great Beyond". The food even sings a hymn to this concept every morning. Of course what actually happens to said produce when it gets to said paradise is a horror movie of being peeled, boiled, sliced into bits, and in some cases, eaten alive. There is no escape. I was amused, anyway. How could it miss?

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Suicide Squad

I'd heard this wasn't all that great, but went to see it anyway. And yeah, I didn't love it, but then I'm not a superheroes type anyway. I will say that I did enjoy the focus on character rather than action, but this movie needed some serious cutting and pasting. The beginning is basically one big info-dump, which I didn't mind, but nothing actually happened. And then having worked up some momentum, everything comes slamming to a halt for some more flashbacks (that scene in the bar was absurd), and never properly gets going again. My personal theory is that this movie is actually a sequel that doen't realise it should have been a sequel. I can't believe I'm saying this, but what it needed was a previous movie where one by one, all of the characters live out their backstories (which were great) in real time, and successively go to prison. Then that movie ENDS with some disaster, and the first inkling that someone in the government is contemplating, hey, it might be a good idea to put all these criminals into the Service of Justice. And then we get this movie, which starts with us already knowing the characters and their pasts.

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Lastly, I have now started watching Once Upon a Time, years after it started It's great so far - love Robert Carlyle and it's even nice seeing Jennifer Morrison again. Lana Parrilla is fun, but totally Housewives of New Storybrooke (and I haven't watched a single one of those shows, but I still think that *g*). And I may have squeed a little at surprise!Nick Lea :)


Received this in my inbox today - if you're a vidder and haven't already seen it, you might be interested in participating as well :)

Originally posted by kimberlyfdr at It's Our Content Now - Fan Vidding Research Survey Now Open

The IRB approval / exemption just came through today, so it's time to make the survey active! As many of you know, I'm currently completing my thesis for a Masters degree at UNC-Chapel Hill in the area of fandom research, specifically fan vidding. I am conducting a 1-month survey within the fan vidder community in regards to fan creators' identification with entertainment media in visual storytelling. There will be an option to take part in a later follow-up survey to expand upon certain answers within the survey, but that is voluntary. I will be posting reminders about the survey on a weekly basis until the close date of September 13th.

I would greatly appreciate if you would redistribute this survey to your social media circles, friendslists, fellow vidders, etc. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the study or the survey. Thank you!


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Project Title: Fan Creators’ Identification With Entertainment Media In Visual Storytelling

Principal Investigator: Kimberly Lynn Workman

IRB Number: 16-1907 (This submission has been reviewed by the Office of Human Research Ethics and was determined to be exempt from further review according to the regulatory category 2.Survey, interview, public observation under 45 CFR 46.101(b).)

Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this research study is to gather information about fanvidders' engagement in fandom as a result of their fanvids, the vidders' interactions with media owners, the extent to which vidders align their identities with the media they are vidding, and what reactionary steps vidders take when identification with media goes astray.

Overview: You will be asked your opinion about the target areas listed above, as well as completion of a section to self-identify and/or consent for follow-up questions.

Duration: This survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

Statement of Confidentiality: Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may cease completion at any time and your answers will not be saved until your final submission. You have the option to provide an email address for follow-up questions, but this section is not a requirement for completion of the survey. All data collected from this survey will be reviewed by the principal investigator only, accessible through a password-protected site where all survey data will be stored. The information will be summarized for use in infographics as part of a Masters thesis project, as well as later utilized for academic publication. No identifying information will be used without consent.

Qualifications: In order to participate in this study, you must be a fanvidder above the age of 18. Fanvidders are defined as those who have participated in the act of vidding, creating music videos that combines source content from popular media through video and audio materials and re-purposes it in a new way.

Questions: You are welcome to ask any questions about this research, the study, or the follow-up interview questions at any time. Please contact Kimberly Lynn Workman through her official UNC-Chapel Hill email address (kworkman@email.unc.edu) or her fandom email address (kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com).

Survey Link: https://unc.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_08stoviTmwzALM9
I almost forgot to post this - I feel like everything's moved to AO3 and tumblr nowadays...

Status: Complete
Fandom: Sherlock
Characters/Pairings: Mycroft Holmes/John Watson
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 9,100
Warnings/contents: missing scenes, slash, d/s themes, dinner
Notes: I started this over eighteen months ago and got stuck, but I really wanted to finish it as best I could, even if it is a bit, um, random. Pure self-indulgent fluff, because I really do want Mycroft to be happy once in a while. Honest.

Mycroft consults John on the outcome of the Irene Adler case, and then invites him to dinner. In all senses of the word. Sequel of sorts to Resolutions, but the backstory is pretty obvious.

Read at: AO3.

Philip Quast: In Conversation

esteven contacted me and asked for more information about the Philip Quast night, so I thought I'd do a proper write up for them and anyone else who might be interested :D

Philip Quast: In ConversationCollapse )

For the rest of you, here's Philip having a bath on Play School, and Javert looking unimpressed.


Election weekend in Canberra *facepalm*

We had a general election last weekend (July 2nd), and I was thinking, "well, at least it won't be like Brexit or Trump, how bad can it be?". The sentiment still holds, but four days have passed, and we don't actually have a new government yet. The tallies are so close (not helped by the huge rise of the minor parties) that the electoral commission thinks it could be a month until they work it out. It'll probably be Turnbull, but I can live with that - by right-wing standards, he seems pretty moderate. And sane. On election night I mentioned that I didn't want to go take a shower, because the second I did, they would call a winner. Just as well I gave up and went *g*

Coincidentally, we were actually IN Canberra (the capital of Australia, and seat of government) over the weekend for family stuff, nothing to do with the election. But we did visit Parliament House on July 3rd, where the guides studiously avoided talking about politics, at least in that sense. I did the obligatory school visit as a kid, but that was to what is now known as Old Parliament House, so hadn't seen the shiny new one.

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Also visited the National Gallery. I really liked this sculpture - I can't remember the name of it, but I think it was meant to evoke the idea of 'empathy'. I just think of it as 'man with blobfish'.

National GalleryCollapse ) 

I made a special pilgrimage in the rain sans umbrella just to see this plaque, which is outside a shopping centre *g*. And yes, DAAS are originally from Canberra.

DAAS plaqueCollapse )

Also visited the Royal Australian Mint, had dinner at a fabulous Japanese restaurant, and went to the Dinosaur Museum on the last day.

Prehistoric Bison SkullCollapse )

En route, we also paid a brief visit to the Big Merino at Goulburn, which is part of an Australian fixation with "big" things. And people think we don't have culture...

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I'm finally done for the semester (and hopefully, the degree) but am feeling wrung out. Have been sick for literally a month which hasn't helped. I don't know what's going on there - I think it was possibly the flu followed by three or four successive colds, so nothing serious, but always just a little under par with some spectacular coughing fits. Not in the writing mood at all, but at least getting some reading done :)

Read The Fireman by Joe Hill, which I was looking forward to, but it's probably the novel of his I've liked least to date. His earlier ones were quite compact, but this was a 700+ page epic that imo showed signs of needing a good edit. And this is an odd thing to say, because I don't think I've ever really said this about a novel before, but I didn't 'believe' his characters. I mean, I've read books with protagonists capable of virtually anything and everything and not turned a hair, but I've never read a protagonist I've found so... idk, detailed, yet internally inconsistent? Read more...Collapse )

But it was very readable, and engaging, so I guess that's still a good thing?

Saw a few things at the Sydney Film Festival, which has just ended. First there was High-Rise (Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons) which was visually stunning - in many ways - but otherwise not my thing at all. I thought it did quite accurately capture the spirit of the book in that I disliked almost everyone in it and found the plot both illogical and annoying. But it looked great, and stylistically did have that 70s groovy schlock-horror vibe to it, and there was a lot of sex and screaming and gratuitous violence if you like that kind of thing. Normally I would, but eh. All very arty, but not very satisfying if you want story rather than set-pieces.

Then Ten Years, which is a Hong Kong compilation where five young film-makers were asked to make a short film about what life might be like in Hong Kong in ten years' time, with most showing particular emphasis on life under Chinese rule. Unsurprisingly, the film opened in HK, and was then pulled from cinemas by the PRC Government, in the finest traditions of irony *g*. Read more...Collapse )

Also Under the Sun, which is an odd combination of film and documentary. A Russian film crew were invited to film a documentary about an 'ordinary' North Korean girl and her glorious journey towards becoming a member of the Children's Union on the Day of the Shining Star (Kim Il-Sung's birthday). However, this is not that 'documentary', but rather a combination of scenes that were filmed, coupled with footage of things that happened during the shoot. So it shows Korean handlers instructing the family what to say and how to act, and details how the father, who is actually a print journalist, is shown in the 'documentary' as being the brilliant head of an exemplary garment factory, while the mother, who works in a cafeteria, is shown to be a worker at a factory producing soy milk. Read more...Collapse )

Theatre-wise, saw the wonderful Philip Quast 'in conversation', which was such a joy. I think he has my favourite musical theatre voice in the world, but I haven't heard him sing live for years - he was based in London for so many years (winning a record three Oliviers for best actor in a musical), and then mainly did acting roles once back in Australia. He's getting on in years, but has retained both his amazing falsetto and earth-shaking baritone. Just incredible, especially at close range (we were in the second row). He had some fun stories, too, such as baking Ian McKellen a cake for his 70th birthday when he attended La Cage Aux Folles with 70 guests and complained that it apparently takes two straight guys to play a gay couple (Quast was starring in La Cage Aux Folles with Roger Allam - my god, the entire theatre must have vibrated with those two) *g*

Lastly saw Heathers (the musical) at the Opera House which I thoroughly enjoyed, much more than most of the musicals I've seen recently. Loved the movie - whatever did happen to Christian Slater? -  but had forgotten just how dark the comedy was, and the 80s nostalgia was fun to visit all over again. The songs were well done - properly integrated into the story (for a change) and with some very clever and funny lyrics into the bargain. Good singing, great acting (admittedly tuned to High Camp), and interestingly pared-back but effective set design, with movable banks of lockers being used in versatile ways. Might need a movie rewatch...

Except for the book, that was all in the space of the last week and a bit, which was not ideal timing, but couldn't be helped. Now I just need to stop coughing *g* (In case you're wondering, I managed to not actually cough during performances - it seems to be triggered by changes in temperature and position, so as long as I'm warm and sitting still, I'm fine. LOL.)

Media update

Just popping to say hi - where has the time gone? I haven't even been seeing that much, but here's what I have been:

* Saw Pennsylvania Avenue at the Opera House starring Bernadette Robinson. I've been a casual fan of hers for a long time - she's an Australian cabaret-style singer who has a knack for accents and impersonations, which I enjoy very much. In this one-woman show she plays an assistant at the White House on the brink of retirement who looks back at the Presidents she's served under, and the celebrities she's seen passing through. The show opened with her amazing Marilyn Monroe (vocal only) impersonation, "Happy Birthday, Mr President" and went on to tell the story of her character's life, intermingled with glimpses into each Presidency, ending with Clinton. Along the way, she performed songs in the style of singers like Eartha Kitt, Bob Dylan (accurate and hilarious), Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jnr, Maria Callas (amazing), and a few more. Really enjoyable just for the sheer talent on display - she also used a variety of American accents to emulate her various supervisors and successive Presidents - but at the same time, as an Australian, I was somewhat bemused by the entire concept. I don't know whether other countries use the term "cultural cringe", but as Australians, we often automatically think other countries are somehow "better" - more interesting, more important - and this felt like another iteration of that. I do think, however, that if she were to take it to the US, it'd go down very well.

* Oooh, speaking of Australian things, I stumbled across this ultra-low-budget locally-made web series that I found hilarious, and which may appeal to some of you. Now, I'm not a big fan of superheroes, but the thought of Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Bruce Banner (yes, he knows it's the wrong franchise) sharing a house just makes me laugh in general. That's the premise of The Justice Lease. Superman does the ironing, Batman is obsessed with his tragic past (and his various movie portrayals), Aquaman is trident-happy, and nobody can stand Banner unless he's angry. And they're all apparently and inexplicably Australian. Just go with it. Oh, I remember how I found it now - Philip Quast has a cameo in the second series as Commissioner Gordon *g*

* Then I saw the remnants (their words *g*) of the Doug Anthony Allstars at the Enmore Theatre, which if I'm honest was lovely on one hand, but also an odd, bittersweet experience on the other. As many of you might know, my username is a tribute to them, and Tim, Paul and Richard were a defining influence on my late teens and early twenties. DAAS split up in the mid-90s for reasons which were not disclosed at the time, and although all three of them went on to subsequent TV and radio work, for a long time there seemed to be bad blood between Paul+Richard and Tim. As it turned out years later, Tim left the group because he'd been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it had become simply too exhausting for him to perform at the level required for the shows. Of course, he didn't TELL anyone about this (dare I say, typical male) - he just quit.

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I still love what's left of them, and I'm glad I went, but it was a vivid reminder that time moves on.

* Made time to watch Margin Call at last, which was quite gripping. I think if you're already financially inclined, it's much more enjoyable than The Big Short, but then it's really a different genre. The global financial crisis as tense thriller rather black comedy.

* Oh, and today I went out to see The First Monday in May, which is a documentary covering the 2015 Met Gala (China: Through the Looking Glass), that big fashion do put on by Vogue and Anna Wintour. I... don't really have much interest in fashion, but it seemed the best thing that happened to be on at the movies that I hadn't already seen. I think if you're into fashion you'd really enjoy it, though. This is probably blatantly obvious to most of you, but when they were going on about fashion being "art" rather than, well, clothes, that was seriously a minor revelation to me (oh, do shut up *g*). I really had never quite understood why people would design outrageous clothes that couldn't actually be worn under normal circumstances. But okay, as art it makes perfect sense. Which I think shows you how much of a non-fashionista I am. I like to look presentable, and I do like a bit of style and colour, but am relentlessly practical above all else *g*. As an art display, the clothes were, admittedly, gorgeous. I felt like I'd gone on a museum tour, except in this case the museum had come to me. And I also belatedly realised that Zoolander is a satire of the fashion world in the same way Dilbert is a satire of large corporations - that is, not at all. OMG. These people cannot be real. Must read The Devil Wears Prada now *g*

* Lastly, saw last week's The Hollow Crown (Henry VI, part II), which was surprisingly great. I'm not a big fan of the Histories, and began half-watching it while net surfing, but it ended up drawing my whole attention. I do feel they must have cut quite a bit - I was pleased that I had no problem understanding what was going on even without ever having read the play, but really, can this be called a spoiler?Collapse ) What on earth happened there? Anyway, I enjoyed seeing BC, obviously, but I wasn't entirely convinced by his performance. I thought he was great in the ensemble work, but tended towards being OTT in the soliloquies... which was weirdly the opposite of how I found him in Hamlet! Huh. Queen Margaret (Sophie Okenedo), on the other hand, was cool. Looking forward to Richard III tomorrow (for me).

So, what did you all think?

Massive media roundup

Wanted to do another holiday post, but am feeling a bit uncommunicative. Nevertheless - media roundup! This one goes back about three weeks.

- Finally saw Victor Frankenstein (on the plane, to which it was perfectly suited). I do think I would have been disappointed if I'd made a trip to the movies specifically to see it, but as a gap filler it was fine. Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is a hunchback who works in a circus, but has a flair for medicine. Victor (James McAvoy) rescues him, straightens him out (literally) and we're on our way. I don't remember much of it except that there were shots of twitching flesh, bolts of electricity and cries of "It's alive!" - so, pretty much like every other retelling of Frankenstein, ever. Obviously this one was made a little different by the takeover of the Sherlock cast - Andrew Scott as an suspicious policeman, Lou Brealey as... someone (I think she was a girl in a bar, but whatever) and Mark Gatiss as... someone in the lab. IIRC, he had one line: "AAAAAAAGH!". And that was the movie *g*

- Also saw Clue on DVD, something I'd been meaning to do for a while, mainly because 1) I adore Tim Curry and 2) for that infamous Madeline Kahn "I hated her sooo much, it, it, flames... flames on the side of my face" gif which I also love. Yes, a movie based on the the board game. Six guests gather at a mansion in response to a mysterious summons, people are murdered - whodunnit? It was incredibly cheesy, sure, and packed to the hilt with cheap jokes, but they were thoroughly entertaining cheap jokes, and the movie was surprisingly well-structured. Tim Curry was glorious, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Would watch again someday.

- Saw Eddie the Eagle in an open-air cinema while on holiday, which was a lovely experience - deck chairs under the stars. The movie wasn't bad, either. Based on the true story of Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, who competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics, qualifying as the first British ski jumper under quite unlikely circumstances. Sure, he kind of sucked compared to the others, but he also did his country proud by getting there. Eddie was played by Taron Egerton, who I remember from Kingsman, with Hugh Jackman as his coach-with-a-dark-past-who-is-dragged-unwillingly-out-of-retirement (whose arc I suspect is heavily if not entirely fictionalised). While I am not a fan of Jackman, I thought he was fine here, and Egerton was that kind of hilariously bumbling character who nevertheless has a spine of steel (not literally). He was an easy character to care about in his seemingly impossible journey from bespectacled, clumsy schoolboy to the Winter Olympics, and I did. Enjoyable, but not life-changing.

- Then as soon as I got back there was Ghost: The Musical, which... yeah, it's based on That Film. Which I actually did see, all those years ago. I mainly saw this because it starred Rob Mills (Sam), who I really like, and Jenna Rix (Molly), who has a lovely voice. I think probably everyone knows the story - Sam and Molly are in love, but Sam can never bring himself to say "I love you". Then he's killed, but finds himself hanging around on Earth to unravel a conspiracy around his death and protect Molly. In this endeavour he's reluctantly helped by a fraudulent psychic, Oda Mae Brown, who is surprised and not entirely happy that she's not quite a fraud after all. I'd say it's still a really solid story, and the staging was interesting, with a lot of use of projection to evoke the New York environment, plus some nifty stage magic to produce some "ghostly" effects. The singing was enjoyable, and Wendy Mae Brown (playing Oda Mae Brown, which did made me double-take) ended up being a major highlight who pretty much just walked away with the show. Nothing could stand before her or her character. But... much like the musical Kinky Boots, I found the musical aspect entirely pointless. The songs were pleasant enough, but so uninspiring that I was mostly waiting for them to be over so they could get on with the plot. I still did begrudgingly ended up enjoying it, but that was as a result of the storyline and the talent on display. Unchained Melody remains the show's most memorable song. Musical or not.

- A week after that there was the NT Live production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Christopher Hampton), which remains such a fabulous play (yes, I know it's based on the book). But I was impressed with the writing all over again. I did see a stage version with Hugo Weaving about four years ago which was brilliant, so I wasn't sure this would live up to it, NT cast or no, and I have to say that it had an entirely different feeling to the Sydney Theatre Company version, partly because that one was done in modern dress. This one was full period, as you'd expect. But I think with the change in costume came a certain change in style as well - the Sydney production was very sleek, almost minimalist, and there was a certain clinical intellectual quality in the games and sparring between Valmont and Merteuil. Whereas the NT production was extravagantly OTT in sensousness. So the Sydney one seemed to emphasise love as a game, while the NT focused more heavily on the decadent sexuality of it. I suppose it's telling that on the whole I did prefer the Sydney interpretation, while also appreciating this production. Another major difference was the vibe of the ending - the Sydney one seemed to echo the movie interpretation (for me) where Merteuil has won, but she's also lost everything that made the game worth playing. But in the NT production I felt like it hurt her terribly, but she lifted her chin and kept on going full steam ahead, because she's a survivor. I think both aspects are implied in the ending - but again, with different emphasis.

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- Lastly, there was Sherpa, which I'm now sad is the last item because I'm tired of typing, but it was the best of the lot. Amazing, incredible, all the superlatives. Everest is one of my pet interests anyway, and this documentary follows the 2014 climbing season, which was the deadliest in history, with 16 Sherpas killed (in case you're not aware, the Sherpa are actually an ethnic group, but because they're so acclimatised to altitude they have become synoymous with Everest guiding). This obviously devastated the Sherpa community, who demanded better working conditions and government regulation around the industry, and who effectively brought the entire climbing season to a halt by refusing to work the rest of the season. I read a review describing it as the world's most picturesque industrial dispute, which... yes.

What I loved about this film is the focus on the Sherpas and their families. Virtually all Everest-related stuff focuses on the "foreign" climbers, but very few of them could have climbed Everest without the support provided by the Sherpas. It was particuarly entertaining to see the first summit of Everest recounted with the focus on Tenzing and his media appearances and the impact on his family and community, with Hillary effectively relegated to a sidenote. Because let's face it, even Hillary said it was an equal partnershp, but we all know who the Western media typically focus on. Anyway, I knew intellectually that the Sherpas did all the heavy lifting, but actually seeing what they did was both amazing and terrifying.

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If you have the slightest interest in Everest and the industry surrounding it, this is a must-see imo.

Ah, crap, that isn't even the last one, I completely forgot that I saw Captain America: Civil War yesterday. LOL. Um. You can tell I'm not really a Marvel fan. It was fine, and I liked it better than The Avengers, because the plot was more plotty, and the action less... action-y. Robert Downey Jr. continues to give Academy-Award-level acting in a superhero franchise, which I continue to find amazing. I wanted to find Spiderling annoying, but was charmed despite everything. I like Black Panther a lot. William Hurt! Martin Freeman contributed very little (sorry), and I kept thinking of Fargo. I actually managed to keep track of all the superheroes and who they were, so that's something *g*



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