concepts for a buntiful world
Thursday, December 23
Merry Fucking Christmas
Well with the festive season approaching like an elderly aunt bearing a tray of foul mince pies, determined that you should "try one" and "join in with the spirit" during this time of merriment and rejoicing [pah!] I am trying for one last blog before Christmas overtakes me and I start spending all my time trying not to shoot myself/my family/next door's dog/Carol Singers.
Ho Ho fucking Ho, as Satan might put it. Firstly, and this is aimed at all the Christians who whinge about the lack of Christian symbols on Christmas cards, shut the hell up. The celebration at this time of year is no longer a Christian one. It was never originally a Christian one, it dates back to Ancient Egypt, then over time, and as Christian warriors killed off lots of unbelievers, it became the predominant celebration, even lent its name to the major celebration of this time of year. Now in the day of the politically correct, where it is no longer permissable to kill off unbelievers willy nilly unless one is the head of a superpower country, it is no longer a Christian festival. Sure the name has Christ in it, but the word woman has man in it, and to be honest, don't we all think the feminists who started spelling it "wommun" were just a tad over sensitive? No? Aah well...If I offend, either pardon me or get off my site. Anyway, Christ is more of a mild expletive these days than anything pertaining to Jesus of Nazareth.
Secondly - I sympathise with those people who don't like it being called Xmas, or worse Chrimbo. Ugh! Just that word makes me want to puch the guy from Bo Selecta in the face. I am no Christian, as may be obvious by now, but the vast majority of people know this time of year as Christmas, and so it should remain. Perhaps Yuletide, or Advent might suffice to describe these dark and loathsome weeks, but Xmas sounds more like a skin disease one might develop from sitting in the dark for too long, and Chrimbo just makes me want to punch the guy from Bo Selecta in the face, in fact it makes me want to puch anyone in the face, even me if there is nobody else around. Winterval was invented in Birmingham, and you can tell. Nuff said.
So. A Happy Christmas to all those of you who wish to have a happy Christmas, and best wishes in succeeding to all those of you out there who don't. I know that every time someone exhorts me to be happy I slip one notch further into the haze of anger and irritability that begins to well up around me shortly after Halloween, when the shops whip out their "Celebrated Cheesy Christmas Choons"
[Hint to those who wish me to remain in a better mood this Christmas. Read the above paragraph. Now read it again. Now read it again. Do you understand it? Well then DON'T TELL ME TO CHEER UP THEN YOU FUCKING FUCKPIGS]
Right, in other news, my computer has died and been sent back to the manufacturer, who hopefully will find that the harddrive has packed in so they will give me one that sodding works.
I am currently at work, bored, but doing little except at this present moment, blogging. The boss isn't in, and I am once again bemoaning the fact that I am a temp who only gets paid by the hour and thus cannot slack off quite as much as I would like to. The phones are not ringing however, as I imagine, anyone with half a life is off work, gone home, probably snuggled up in front of a roaring log fire with cocoa and a good book if they have any sense.
The good news is that by this evening, i shall be back in the bosom of my family, curled up in front of a roaring log fire with cocoa and a good book...well ok, more likely with a gin and tonic and LOTR:ROTK:SDEE which can only be entirely translated by those in the kno. [not a typo...]
The good news is that my family are preparing for my imminent return by making sure that they will all be in filthy tempers when I get back this evening. Brother wants to go to Bristol and get some stuff from Uni, Mum has invited friends for the evening, and apparently Dad is not happy about this at all. Knowing my luck, one, two or all three of them will read this some time today and be incrdibly upset with me by the time I get home. I should therefore explain that all events and people in this are entirely fictitious, and any resemblance these or other events may bear to what you, the reader, believes is reality is entirely and unmistakeably coincidence and probably hints at a paranoia deep in your psychological makeup. Go and see a headshrinker. I don't care what that little voices say, thisa could mean the difference between sanity and a job in the civil service. Go and see a psychiatrist now. We are all out to get you, and the only people you can trust are accredited by the BPS. (Which I am, BTW, as well as being an ordinated Spiritual Humanist Minister, licensed to perform marriages and funerals, as well as Christenings and re-confirmations of love in probably at least a couple of the minor states of America. Possibly also on international waters as well, although I am not sure about that. Requests taken, moderate fees only.)
Right, what next?nnnnnnnnnnnnnnjnjnjnjnjnjnnnjnjnjnjnjnjn
Sorry about that, my keyboard became jammed.
I am sorry this Christmas, because last Christmas I had the rather sweet idea [I thought] of going round lots of random blogs, as well as those of people i knew, and leaving the message "Peace be with you." Unfortunately I hadn't counted on the slowness that is Dialup Internet Access. A phenomenon I haven't experience for some time now, and have no desire to again, unfortunately, that is what my parents have, so internet access at home is going to be a long and laborious process. It took me forty five minutes last year just to do the blogs I have linked to from this one, and then I didn't have the energy to do any more, so this year I shall leave it at the bottom of this message, and I am sure that even if only a third of my readers leave a reply I will have at least one word in the comments box.
Right, I would have posted a Christmas card to both of you, but my computer which has all my pictures etc on it is dead, so I haven't. Tough.
Cheery pip and Toodle Bye.
Peace be with you all.
- posted by Buntifer @ 12/23/2004 10:49:00 am
Wednesday, December 15
Hello again - spoilers ahead
well well, I am being berated for not blogging, and so I have put this blog together at work, where I might as well do this as anything else. I am warning you now. I may try and hide some of the text to do spoiler text, but I may not, so stop reading now if you don't want to read about His Dark Materials. I am not going to try and spoil it, but I make no guarantees. I am posting this here rather than on my review site because it was, for me a major event. I have had the tickets booked for months and was looking forward to this greatly.
His Dark Materials
You should bear in mind the fact that I read these books and loved them, as a fantasy trilogy they are superb, as an antidote to Master Potter's adolescent rebellion they are refreshing, and they are without a doubt Philip Pullman's finest hour this far in his career, and I think they may remain that way.
The three books have been split into two halfs of what is really one play, and we saw them on Monday and Tuesday night respectively. The brunette was not able to attend, so it was an all male party that wended its way to the National Theatre, ready to experience what seemed to be the best piece of theatre anyone I talked to about it had ever seen.
Bear also in mind that all three of us have worked in Fringe theatre, and that two of us want to work in theatre for our livelihood. [ Iamevil, who was the third member of our party thinks he wants to be an investment banker ]
We settled ourselves into what were pretty good seats, dumped our coats in the free cloakroom and prepared ourselves to experience the true meaning of theatre.
It opens with a tree. So far, so good. Then Lyra starts speaking. It's all downhill from there.
I think you can draw a parallel between Lyra's accent and the rest of the play. Whichever famous cretin directed this blockbuster piece of theatre wanted her with a countrified ruralised accent. Unfortunately, the actress playing Lyra couldn't do one very well, and ranged from slightly american, through irish, via musicality and never properly settled. What pissed me off about this precise example, is that she didn't need to have an accent. Lyra has been brough up in one of the colleges in her parallel Oxford, and while she plays with gypsy children and street kids, she has been educated by well spoken gentlemen, and is even decribed in the book as speaking in a more proper manner than those she achooses as her peers.
It wasn't necessary.
The stage in the National is incredible, rotatiing pieces this way and that, and a huge fly, which provides a very technologically advanced way of chaging the set...Unfortunately that is all it provides. A way of changing the set that looks fancy. It should and could be more than that, and to use it so boringly is such a shame. In the second half the sets for the cave in which Mrs Coulter keeps Lyra are beautiful, and the plush internal rooms they create with it are lovely, but they are not interesting and to say that this production could not be done in most of the theatres in England is true, but that does not preclude a better production along the same lines without all the set gadgetry.
The puppetry however, makes the entire show worth seeing, just because you will be very lucky to see professional puppetry which is not simply gimmickry in theatre these days. The puppeteers work incredibly hard and often give the daemons more character than the actors, and the cliff ghasts and larger puppets are incredible. The Gallivespians are amusing, but not as elegant as I would have liked, but I imagine that doing puppetry with a figure the size of an action man must take unbelievable skill. The bears could be improved.
The bears, the bears...oh dear. Iorek is one of the greatest characters in this trilogy, a figure of might and dignity whom it is difficult not to care for, but the puppetry here fell down a little. It was difficultto concentrate on the bear while one is still able to see the human head seperate from the bears, plus the way they did them meant all the bears were one armed. Iorek lacks the gravitaas and dignity he is due, and I have read reviews which said this slight reworking of the original show makes the bear fight into one of the most impressive set scenes. I dread to think what it was like before it was reworked, it was speedy, over too quickly, badly coreographed and for me, a serious let down.
The rest of the bears are portrayed like the orcs in LOTR. Each time they come across humans they start fighting amongst themselves shouting such things as "We ain't had nuffin but stale maggotty bread for three stinkin days!" and trying to convince Iorek to let them have a leg or two, "they don't need their legs!"
I was almost surprised not to hear, at the end of Iorek and Iofur's duel a cry of, "Looks like meat's back on the menu boys!"
I found myself not minding about the cuts they have had to make, but more wishing they had cut more and given more time to significant moments within what they had. Barnabus and Iorek's meeting terminated with such abruptness I almost laughed.
"I have never met an angel before."
"Nor I a bear."
With no pause for breath nor any sign that either the angel or the bear gives a flying fuck about having met such another creature at all.
I am running out of steam here so let me summarise.
They cut bits out, big bits, but that didn't matter. What they had left they rushed, giving more time to unimportant scenes and impressive scenes and less time to the more moving scenes. They were at a "stage speak" voice level and above, where Will should have whispered "Lyra" into his shirt at the end as the knife breaks he called it out as if to acknowledge the six hundred people watching this intimate, beautiful, private moment as he mourns her, it should have been barely audible, and if that meant they needed to mike him up so he could whisper through the lump is his throat then so be it.
The space was used to its full potential once, and only once, in the land of the dead. The authority's forces were bumbling and hurried, lacking the quiet deadly dignity and they darkly pompous righteousness the church should have to appear truly a formidable foe. Jopari was frankly weird, lacking any mystery, except for the mystery of who dressed him in a tribal indian poncho, and lacking any feeling for his son at all, even to the point of not looking at him. The witches were scantily clad and exposition heavy, take that as you will. Lord Asrael was good, although a trifle single level, Mrs Coulter was better, although shorter than Lyra. Will was good, Lyra was good, bar her accent. The subtle knife looked as if you could bludgeon someone to death with it, they should have either used the illustration from the book or built something beautiful, it look about as subtle as a naked hooker at midnight mass. The amber spyglass was all but ignored and the alethiometer should have been read flat, parallel to the floor, don't hold it up, it isn't a mobile phone.
The harpies were excellent, the Gobbler's lab was a trifle like something from a scary Carry On film, all green rubber and big switches. Lee Scoresby's texan accent sucked ass, and his swaggering was ridiculous. The plot went the high road and I had a nasty feeling that the director hadn't read the damn books.
That all said, the puppetry is amazing, incredible, pick your favourite superlative and insert here. It was fucking superb, and was worth watching the show for. It was nice to see the puppeteers get as much if not more applause than the rest of the actors, although I was disappointed the set didn't pull back and show the backstage crew, as I had been led to believe it would.
Go and see this show, you will never see anything like it, some good, some bad. Then come back when I direct a version that I adapted from the books, because that will be so much better.
- posted by Buntifer @ 12/15/2004 11:51:00 am
Friday, December 3
Another post from work
I thought I would spill some more brain dirt into the blog, having left it barren for a while. I do recommend the two previous links - very funny. Albinoblacksheep is a site i have no idea about, but I found it on the nano forums and thought it was funny.
In the mean time the blog world seems to be being kept alive by Bron, bar Greg, who is the blog equivalent to a revenant - he's just going to keep going until he falls over and crumbles to dust. I see that Spice's bloke has changed his blog name more frequently than he has posted in the last three months, and our American cousins occasionally pop something up for our delectation.
Well I had my brain drain during November and am happily empty and awaiting the onslaught of Christmas, which is shaping up to be as dull and hideous as usual.
A Christmas party would not be complete without resurrecting Old Christmas Tracks that Refuse to Die though, and so I am pleased to announce that DJ Dr Jez will be presenting "Dancing Through The Decades", a compilation to get all toes tapping.* If anybody has any special requests for choons they are guaranteed to hit the floor to, please send them to the censor** Lindsay as soon as possible
Was the invitation to my work Christmas party, which I regretfully had to decline. Much as I like toe tapping "choons" that refuse to die, I would rather be being chased by face eating zombies who also refuse to die. Given the choice between the two, I wouldn't be running.
I would like to point out, for the edification of various people, and in the hope that an annoying person I met at a party recently will listen and understand, that the correct term for people who profess to worship Our Lord God, father of Jesus etc etc is Christians, when being referred to by atheists/agnostics and normal people, not Xtians. Xtians cannot even be used to describe them if they are commercial Christians, or Christians in the same belief categroy as Dubya. Xtians is what Satanists call Christians, and unless one is a Satanist, which I belive is becoming a reasonable occupation these days, one should not refer to Christians as such.
Talking about Satan, I came across this description of a cappuccino given on the coffee machine at work.
A decedently full measure of froth whitener, flavoured with coffee and topped with chocolate
Now since when has a measure of froth whitener been able to be described as decadent. For that matter what the fuck is froth whitener? It made me shudder, as did the taste of the coffee. Which was vile. The hot chocolate is bearable, but funnily enough, it is the decadently full measure of froth that makes it more drinkable. The actual liquid reminds me of something one might find on the Heart of Gold, it tastes almost, but not entirely unlike hot chocolate.
Speaking of which when is Hitchikers Guide coming out, when is the full trailer coming out damnit, and how the fuck do you spell damnit?
and don't say dammit, because that looks wrong and may be presumed to be incorrect on those grounds.
I would like to give a big hug to all my readers, in fact, all three of us could share one couldn't we?
ooh - and I don't know whether his site is up yet, but at the very same party where the tosser was talking about xtians, I met a friend of mine whom i hadn't see for far too long. He has recently started doing professional photography, and while I can't give him a plug, because I know less than nothing about photography, he has some very beautiful and interesting pictures and I said I would link to his site, so that he might get some extra business. His site might not be up and running yet, but I figure that when it is all of my readers will flock there and if only ten percent of them actually go to him for their photography needs he would get (rounding this up) NO new customers.
Still - here it is - give a big hand to the photographs of MAXARUSH
- posted by Buntifer @ 12/03/2004 10:01:00 am