Theatre with Felix, or, How Not To Do It

derby_playhouseI really must have a good rant about The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug at some point, if only to make lots of points about dragons in fantasy and rabbit on and on about Smaug. But since I just saw my first ever ancient Greek musical, for today I’ll rant about what it’s like to go to the theatre when you’re me. Continue reading

Thor: Dark World

thor-2-the-dark-world-posterI love a good villain. Really, I do. And I’ll be quite honest here; most of the reason I went to see Dark World was that I am an utterly shameless fanboy for Loki, as played in the Marvel films by Tom Hiddleston.

That’s not all of the reason, I hasten to add. Dark World is a visual feast that definitely merits viewing in 3D. It’s refreshingly involving for a Brit to see rampaging evil destroying dear old London for a change too, instead of some bland American cityscape. Plus I had a genuine “holy shit” moment when I realised the chief antagonist was actually Christopher Eccleston. Amazing what a few prosthetics can do (and just how far under a rock I live most of the time). But I grant you, a big part of it was getting my Loki fix.

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Skyfall: some thoughts

Promotional poster for Skyfall

Not really a review post, this, since my main response to Skyfall has been to find I’m oddly sobered and mentally absorbed by it.

I remember a summer somewhere in my late childhood when we lived without carpets downstairs for several months; the house had flooded in the spring sometime, and thanks to a protracted wrangle with the insurance company we spent July and August with bare concrete floors. I spent much of this summer holed up in the living room, heavy velour curtains drawn (and not yet shredded by the cats we would later rescue from a life spent in a shed in Somerset), watching old Bond films. I remember the concrete floor because of the way the dust would rise from it when I drummed my feet at the excitement of the car chases, settling in a thin film over everything.

The Bond of old: not a subtle fantasy.I remember watching Timothy Dalton wield a cello on a sled in The Living Daylights, Roger Moore (Roger Mortis) romancing his conquest in a space capsule in Moonraker, the blow-dried archetype of a 1980s body-fascist murdering a man with his Walkman cable in View to a Kill. I remember cheap jokes, frothy sexism, and the gentle sadness of the theme songs; they seemed to express a femininity that reached out for what Bond symbolised, but could never quite touch.

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Brass neck: Felix and the steampunks

I’ve just come home from my second trip to Steampunk at the Asylum, an annual steampunk convention held in the lovely city of Lincoln.  It’s a marvellous occasion stuffed with eccentrics in the grandest British tradition: dressing up like characters from a Victorian science fiction novel, obsessing about tea and politeness, and parading round town confusing the locals with glee.

It’s also a subculture which is increasingly fascinating me as a phenomenon in its own right. I discovered the Asylum online in time to attend last year’s event, and instantly loved it simply for the costuming angle – I’m an inveterate thesp and sartorial eccentric, and have loved dressing up since I was a child. The more I discover about the culture that’s evolving out of it, though, the more I think it’s doing something genuinely unique.

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Review: Batman – The Dark Knight Rises

I think that’s one of the most satisfying films I’ve seen in a long time.

Before anyone accuses me of fannish isolation, yes, I know about the Aurora shooting. I’m reserving comment on that, at least in part because I don’t think anything can be clearly understood about such an incident while the media circus is in full swing. I don’t arrogate to myself any understanding of American gun culture or of the individuals who commit such acts; I have no connection to the people of Aurora or the victims, other than a certain personal knowledge of what it’s like to go through sick times, and basic human empathy with their pain. Because I do know what the more perverse and cruel moments of life are like, I think it would be singularly meaningless and patronising for me to say anything about it at all. So I’m going to restrict myself to talking about a film I saw.

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