Cameron/Chola (Do I need to kill you now?)
I have all the feelings about these ladies together and Sabrina Perez’s silence.
Cameron/Chola (Do I need to kill you now?)
I have all the feelings about these ladies together and Sabrina Perez’s silence.
Please, I’m trying to win a bet with my friends
20? I don’t believe it
I believe there should be a Sir in there somewhere.
Of course he was knighted for his talents in
Saw him and Ian McKellen doing Waiting for Godot live on stage. *buffs nails on shirt* Simon Callow, too.
Reblogging mostly for the gif from “Jeffrey”.
The most fabulous man alive is who he is.
Why are so many of us (alright me) so worried about being clingy/a drag on other people’s time that we work excessively hard to make sure we’re at the opposite end of the universe from demanding? Is it because we’re just really aware how busy life is and how much everyone has to do? Is it because someone taught us a really bad lesson about not being clingy one time and we’re still carrying that around? Is it a combination of the two? How healthy can it be to always be trying to be the person who doesn’t need anything from others? And how much further up the scale of need do you think we could all really go if we just let ourselves without coming close to being a burden on the people around us?
Hey draculasnemesis, remember when I sort of vaguely said I could write a world war reading recs list? Well, turns out I’m actually following through. Growing up in Britain, and picking Literature and History whenever those educational choices were available, meant it was difficult to avoid learning a bit about the world wars even though I’m not really a modern history kind of gal. Taking a History A Level involved a WWI module and I had a WWI lit course in college, both of which I look back on with great fondness because they gave me a genuinely interest in the period which has led me to a lot of interesting stories. A lot of these recs are a direct result of those courses and as such are quite British-centric, but hopefully they’ll still give anyone interested in WWI some new avenues to explore.
The Regeneration trilogy - Pat Barker: It is essential that everyone read these and then come talk about them with me (although I should probably re-read them again; it’s been a while). What I like about Barker’s WWI books is that she looks at aspects of the war that aren’t often discussed by standard world war media (psychological treatment, conscientious objection, what it was like to be a gay or bisexual soldier). And her writing is lovely – she’s got a great sense of flow and rhythm.
‘Life Class’ - Pat Barker – Pat Barker: In ‘Regeneration’ Barker fills her story with the war poets of WWI. In ‘Life Class’ she again shapes her story around the lives of creative characters, this time looking at visual artists who ended up participating in the war. I’m very attached to ‘Regeneration’ and I’d go so far as to call it a defining text about the war, so I tend to judge all Barker’s other books by ridiculously high standards but I did like this one too.
‘Oh What a Lovely War!’ (film adaptation): A strong piece of anti-war satire about the management of WWI. There’s singing and Maggie Smith.
‘Black Adder Goes Forth’ (TV): Blackadder captures the absurdity of the orders coming to the men in the trenches and is just as funny as other Blackadder productions. The ending however is so poignant you’ll never get over it.
‘Dreamers’ - Siegfried Sassoon: This is my very favourite poem written by a WWI soldier. It’s not a very original choice I know but the mix of the ordinary and the trenches, as well as the simplicity of the things Sassoon’s soldiers dream about, gets me every time. If you want to know more about WWI I absolutely recommend getting an anthology of the war poet’s work - perhaps someone can suggest a good collection?
‘My Boy Jack’ (TV): I found this a little slow, but hey there’s Daniel Radcliffe - amIrite? On a less shallow note it was really interesting to see how a parent, brought up in such a patriotic atmosphere, might react to their child going to war and David Haig is giving a great performance.
‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ - Erich Maria Remarque: The war from the German perspective. I really need to read this again, but I remember it being very interesting and well written.
‘The Village’ (S1) (TV): The further into the series you go the more of the war you see. I thought episode five was especially good (although genuinely distressing even for a disconnected lover of violent media like myself). The last episode asks how useful the establishment of Remembrance Day would have been for people whose relatives were shot for desertion, which is a subject I have never seen addressed before. I love stories that bring out new aspects of often used historical events.
‘War Horse’ (film adaptation): Yes I’m a sucker for emotional horse films. Sure it’s sentimental but it also simply heart warming and fraught enough to make you care about even the minor characters.
Ana will mostly certainly be able to rec you many more great WWI non-fic than me, so I definitely recommend making puppy dog eyes at her if you want more of that. Other fiction recommendations welcomed : )
And just because once I get going on list making I like to make excuse to keep going (yay lists) is a related list of WWII recs. I tend to read more things about civilians than front line soldiers when it comes to this period, but maybe you’ll be interested in that?
‘Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman’ – Friedrich Christian Delius: WWII from the perspective of a German civilian. This controversial idea is sensitively handled and never trips into being apologist.
‘The Night Watch’ - Sarah Waters: My very favourite WWII novel so far. This book has got a really interesting structure and I loved reading about ambulance drivers in the Blitz, but the main attraction for me was its focus on LGB lives during the war. After reading it I wanted all the WWII novels to include fascinating LGB characters. And, no kidding, I was seriously dissatisfied with books after finishing this because I just liked everything it was doing so much. Read it and come tell me who your favourite character is.
‘The Outcast’ - Sadie Jones: This book focuses on the psychological after effects of war and self-harm, as well as troubled father/son relationships.
‘Alone in Berlin’ – Hans Fallada: Another novel about Germany during the war and one of the most powerful, if depressing, books I’ve read this year. It’s all about the usefulness and purpose of resistance in a society that’s running scared.
‘The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society’ – Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows: I love books made up of letters generally (there’s something about the conversational aspect of a letter/email exchange that makes the time fly by for me). And I knew very little about the occupation of the Channel Islands before reading this book so I enjoyed expanding my knowledge a bit. If anyone wants to recommend further reading about Jersey and Guernsey during the war please do.
‘Memphis Belle’ (film): Kind of sappy and silly, but I love the plot (a bomber crew have to fly this one last mission before completing their tour of duty – suspense and danger built in) and the cast are all adorable.
‘The Diary of Anne Frank’: An obvious rec but that doesn’t make it any less good.
‘Mare’s War’ - Tanita S Davis: Yay, this was so good. It’s a YA that tells the story of Mare’s time in the African American division of the US Women’s Army Corps during WWII. Again a subject I knew nothing about – don’t you love when novels teach you new things?
‘Flygirl’ - Sherri L Smith: Girls learning to fly and being friends! This is another YA novel and it follows a group of women who train to be pilots as part of a ‘free up a man to fight’ initiative. The main character is African American and the book deals with her attempt to pass as white so that she can fly.
So, hope that gives you lots of things to explore. Does anyone have other WWI or WWII media recommendations?
It’s My Friend Amy’s birthday today and I thought I’d dash down some words about the first episode of ‘The L.A. Complex’, a program Amy’s been wanting me to watch forever, as a last minute birthday present. It’s not cake but it is… something!
In the opening episode of ‘The L.A. Complex’ Abby Vargas, the young singer who has just moved to L.A. from Toronto, is taken to a party at ‘The Lux’; a cheap hotel perfectly priced for actors and singers currently working as baristas and waiters. The small courtyard and pool of the hotel are both crammed with people and the drunk guy in charge keeps trying to tell war stories about his theatre career. This jammed party in a dilapidated hotel gets across just how detrimentally crowded the performing arts marketplace is in L.A.; instead of being an inspiring wonderland of creativity, so much potential and talent appears drunk, directionless and squashed into a tiny, run down space.
The collaborative creative atmosphere of ‘Nashville’ this ain’t – this is L.A. and any character that wants to make a living from their talent in this program will have to forge their way in a highly competitive creative environment; one where being good gets you nothing and excellence is simply expected. In this land of high standards, a character must have exceptional levels of talent to be deigned basically competent by those in power. And even though that character may be judged worthy of an audition, or a call back, because of their high level of talent, it’s likely that they still won’t get the job they’ve gone out for. In this L.A. excellence guarantees most characters nothing beyond a chance to enter into constant rounds of rejection, loss and derision.
Alicia, a dancer who lives at ‘The Lux’ personifies the idea that highly talented people can fail to make it big in L.A. simply because they are up against extremely large numbers of talented competition. Alicia sticks to a strict training regime, despite living in what looks like party central, and she displays real talent and dedication in an audition for a spot on the Usher tour but her efforts don’t bring her any tangible results. Sure, she almost makes the tour line up – almost. Wuhu, but almost doesn’t pay the hotel bills. Moving on to the final round of auditions is great in theory when you’re starting out, but standards change the longer someone like Alicia works at her dream and the ‘You did really well to make it this far!’ affirmations must be losing their sparkle.
In this first episode, ‘The L.A. Project’ gets busy exploding the idea that an individual can control their destiny if they just work hard, reminding the viewer that talent and hard work aren’t enough to guarantee that someone’s dreams will come true in our creatively saturated environment. The program sets up a variety of struggling characters, giving each a different reason for their current lack of success, and through their stories explains why it is unrealistic to believe that all creative jobs are filled through a system of objective meritocracy. Alicia, as I mentioned, finds her talent is swamped by the sheer number of other talented dancers she’s up against. Raquel, despite having had a hit role, finds road blocks like the television industry’s obsession with age getting in the way of her career. Abby is a great singer, ham strung by her poor financial circumstances, general bad timing and, I’m guessing from the little we see of him, the fact that she can’t afford a more stable, effective manager. Tariq is kept down by a system which uses eager young people to fetch and carry, rather than encouraging them to create.
Interestingly, although the program allows for the impact of others subjective judgments and the impact of circumstances, on each character’s career it does so without suggesting that genuine talent is an unnecessary component in making it big – there are no bought roles in this first episode. And then there’s Nick. Nick is the one we’re all afraid we really are, right? Maybe that’s just me. In the first episode it seems he might be the Kevin of ‘The L.A. Complex’, the one who just doesn’t have that spark of talent to create and ends up badly aping the steps. Gah, Nick’s disastrous comedy flop - sometimes second hand embarrassment is so strong you just have to hide from your TV and do the flail hands of PLEASE STOP. After watching Nick’s “joke” about plastic bags I certainly get that talent is necessary to make it in ‘The L.A. Complex’ even if it doesn’t back the idea that talent is a totally leveling factor – without it characters like Nick get humiliated by industry professionals. It’s just that talent alone isn’t enough to get you everything you ever wanted in this city.
Alicia’s rejection, despite her clear ability, highlights how much self-belief the characters in the program will need, and maybe just how slightly delusional they’ll need to be, to ignore that they can’t control whether they make it in L.A. and just keep trying anyway. At the end of the first episode I’m left asking, why does anyone try to launch themselves into this kind of environment knowing just how many people they’re going to be up against and how monumental the standard of talent is? When every service industry worker is yet another actor/singer/songwriter, why does someone like Abby feel she can only launch her career in this town full up on talent? I guess that’s what I’ll find out as the series continues and as I see more of Connor - the one character who has already made it. Will L.A. bring him anything that will make it all seem worthwhile?