Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Twitterball 46: Endorsed by MacGyver

This week on my Twitter feed there's some more theatre announcements to keep me busy when I'm not passing judgement on TV. Or making fun of how Taylor Swift's entire song output is about her being a big ho. I also have a couple of job hunt-related panic attacks but hey, we're keeping it light eh?

I don't know why Emily and Evil Niall are so worried about The Initiative. Buffy destroyed that YEARS ago. #revenge
12:14 AM - 23 Jan 13

I kind of expected more surprises in the RSC announcement than just the Tennant Dick 2, which wasn't exactly a secret.
12:15 PM - 23 Jan 13

And only one Shakespeare in the season is an interesting statement of intent. I do like the "complete works over 5 years, no repeats" idea.
12:16 PM - 23 Jan 13

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Book review: Peter & Max

What with going to the theatre all the time and then writing about it, I don't read as much as I used to, as you can probably tell from the infrequency of my book reviews. My reading of comics has pretty much disappeared completely, but I did used to like Bill Willingham's Fables series, which recast famous fairytale characters in the real world, against the backdrop of a war across multiple worlds. So it was fun to revisit the Fables universe for Willimgham's spin-off novel, in prose (with just the occasional illustration by Steve Leialoha,) Peter & Max.

It focuses on characters who didn't figure much in the comics (so shouldn't be particularly alienating for anyone who isn't familiar with them,) Peter Piper and his older, evil brother Max, aka the Pied Piper. The story alternates between the Mundy (real) World in the present day, where Peter discovers his brother has returned to wreak havoc, and decides to take him on before he can do so; and flashbacks to their childhood in the Fable Homelands, and how and why their relationship turned into a deadly rivalry, and Max into a monster. I really enjoyed this, it's a separate story from the main Fables arc but a few familiar characters do turn up as well - not in a way that required prior knowledge though, if anything it might be a good taster for people not sure if they want to read graphic novels, to get an idea of the twisted spin Willingham puts on familiar figures. The final confrontation between the brothers ends rather abruptly, which at first I found a bit of a let-down, but on reflection it felt like the very simple, obvious and inevitable culmination of the story up to that point, and had a poetic justice to it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Twitterball 45: admire and/or worship

This week on my Twitter feed it snows, but I don't make too much of a fuss about it. Except when I have to go out in the stuff.

Good job I'm back to insane amounts of theatre again from tomorrow. Multiple evenings at home alone don't do much for my sanity.
10:00 PM - 16 Jan 13

Seriously, I just said hello to one of the kittens when it came up to the kitten cam. I need to be out passing judgement on theatricals.
10:11 PM - 16 Jan 13

Gym's gone all hi-tech with personalised wristbands. Sad thing is, this probably WILL make me go more often because gadgets are shiny.
11:45 AM - 17 Jan 13

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Twitterball 44: You're not Madonna dearie

This week on my Twitter feed I get retweeted by an air conditioner, and continue to tweet about rubbish reality TV.

Tube map Google doodle!
12:08 AM - 9 Jan 13

Wait, Cee Lo Green was Gnarls Barkley? Am I the last person to figure this out?
10:03 AM - 9 Jan 13

@stevenperkins @merseytart obviously now I need a Muppet chicken cover of "Crazy" to exist.
10:09 AM - 9 Jan 13

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Twitterball 43: 10,000

This week on my Twitter feed I reached 10,000 tweets. Not that I noticed, someone had to point it out to me. The tweet was the kind of tasteful witticism you'd expect from me so I've highlighted it below. Elsewhere, January means terrible ITV1 reality TV shows where "celebrities" hurl themselves at water of both the frozen and unfrozen varieties:

The "if you should happen to die while doing laundry, hey, that's not our problem" disclaimer is always vaguely disconcerting.
9:59 AM - 3 Jan 13

"Barry Cryer writing new Sherlock Holmes adaptation." Thank god someone finally spotted that particular gap in the market.
6:48 PM - 3 Jan 13

Hey, bloke casually walking down middle of road! Did you know, just because your suitcase has wheels, it doesn't mean you're a car.
10:11 AM - 4 Jan 13

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Book review: Death Comes to Pemberley

Apparently loads of people have written sequels to Pride and Prejudice over the years. Can't say I've ever wanted to read any of them myself but I thought I'd give P.D. James' effort, Death Comes to Pemberley, a go. This being P.D. James she's changed the genre from Jane Austen's original romantic comedy to a murder mystery - a few years after the end of Pride and Prejudice we rejoin Elizabeth and Mr Darcy at Pemberley, preparing to host a ball when the Wickhams arrive suddenly, announcing that Mr Wickham's best (/only) friend Captain Denny has been murdered in the woods. Soon Wickham is arrested for it, but continues to protest his innocence throughout the trial, and despite the bad things he does know him capable of, Darcy believes him.

This is a really disappointing, irritating book. The actual murder mystery itself is fairly dull and predictable - the middle section of the book is a pretty straightforward courtroom procedural, with occasional reminders of an unrelated subplot about the servants that is blatantly there to provide a last-minute solution to the mystery. And as an Austen sequel it doesn't even try to be witty or have any interesting exchanges between Elizabeth and Darcy - in the few scenes they actually have together they mainly discuss household matters. Gripping!

But surely the most annoying thing must be James' recaps of P&P - not sure how necessary the lengthy recap that opens the novel is at all, I guess a few murder mystery fans who haven't read Austen might need it, but I would have thought the majority of the audience for this would be people who were fans of the book or had at least seen one of the many adaptations. Even if it was needed, there's no excuse for how heavy-handed it is: People have been spotting Austen's subtext easily enough for centuries, they probably don't need P.D. James to laboriously spell out that Elizabeth only fell for Darcy when she figured out quite how nice his house was. And at the end of the book we get even more of this, as, for reasons that don't particularly matter too much to the mystery we've just had solved, the exact circumstances of Wickham and Lydia's hasty marriage are dredged over in great detail. Death Comes to Pemberley uses the characters from Pride and Prejudice but doesn't really have anywhere near enough connection to the original's atmosphere to be called a proper sequel.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Twitterball 42: A person in a suitcase. A Chimney. A Bag For Life.

On my other blog I got into the habit of recapping my tweets every week, partly in the unlikely event that anyone who doesn't actually use Twitter might want to keep up with them, but largely because Twitter's really hard to do searches on if I want to check something I posted ages ago. These weekly roundups feel a bit pointless now but I'm a creature of habit, so this week on my Twitter feed:

How did Will & Grace run for so long when actual Will and actual Grace are So. Awful?
10:01 AM - 26 Dec 12

You're noticeably quieter than this time yesterday, Twitter. Feeling a bit delicate? I SAID, ARE YOU FEELING A BIT DELICATE? #smugteetotal
11:19 AM - 26 Dec 12

Going through old theatre progs at Mum's. Turns out I saw Amit Shah as a child actor in AYLI, & Emma Pallant was in the year above me @ uni.
12:53 PM - 26 Dec 12

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Cold front

A week late with my Doctor Who Christmas Special review, but then it took me that long to get round to watching "The Snowmen" for a second time, and you know I like to  give Doctor Who a second look. Obviously, despite that second look I continue to be distracted from the actual programme by the credits and TARDIS redesign. Both of which I like, and with the anniversary looming it's nice that the opening credits have acknowledged that the iconic 1970s titles weren't the only titles the original series ever had - although I preferred the slightly sinister, previous Moffat/Smith era titles to the Davies/Eccleston/Tennant ones that came before it, they were both basically exactly the same idea. Whereas while these new ones do reference the 1970s Time Vortex titles at the end, they're mainly a modern version of the 1980s flying through space titles, and there's even the odd moment reminiscent of the original 1960s/early 70s expressionistic shapes. And, of course, there's Matt Smith's face in the credits, harking back to all of those eras and something we've been waiting to see revived for a long time - I thought the way it worked out in the end, with his face just briefly visible, avoided the trap of looking cheesy. And a modern-looking sequence that calls back to all those that came before it is exactly what you'd want in an anniversary season that looks set to do just that.

Blogbusters Part 2

A fresh start for my personal blog as I move it from the frustrating Livejournal to blogger (which I'm sure will now suddenly turn frustrating as well just to spite me.) For now this is where So anyway, is going to be housed, but if you want to find any of my personal blogging between 2006 and 2012, or my theatre reviews up to the end of 2011, here's where to go: