cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
I read The Dark is Rising (the novel) a few years ago because it seemed right up my street: Christmas, folklore, mythology, Christmas-specific folklore and mythology... you get the idea. My feelings about it were mixed (see below) and I gave away my copy, which I later regretted, so I was happy when R turned up a slipcase with all five books in the sequence. This Christmas I decided to read them all in order, and while my feelings are still mixed, I enjoyed the series more than I'd expected to, and it's given me a lot to think about.

To start with the first two books... )
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
I feel like I'm crossing some sort of Rubicon by cross-posting from Tumblr to DW/LJ, but I had a thought after reading Elizabeth Hand's review of The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice, and it turns out to be something I don't want to mislay in the giant overstuffed handbag full of odds and ends that is my Tumblr. Apologies to those seeing it twice...

This is interesting in that it’s a negative review of the second Wolf Gift book, written by an author who’s a fan of the vampire and witch series. I think it might be the first intelligent critique of either book that I’ve seen outside fandom, and certainly the first to show insight into AR’s writing generally. Caveat lector: I haven’t read either book yet, though I’m keen to because I’m always interested in what Anne Rice is doing, even when I suspect it may not work very well...

That thing where her books keep circling around the sexualisation of children. TW for... well, what you'd expect, in that light. )
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (comic: "I'm going to YEE!")
This week the writing mojo has not been with me, and since I'm currently encumbered by stomach pain, it comes without imagery. But [personal profile] teylaminh, as ever, brings screencapping flair (much needed in a fandom whose heyday predated the DVD era) in her recap:

In which my wildest speculations turn out to be correct. Sort of. )
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Police: So Lonely)
It's entirely my fault that the Grand Jonathan Creek Rewatchathon has proceded glacially slowly. Thanks to [ profile] teylaminh for her patience, and you can check out her half of the recap here.

Jonathan Creek: person or narrative conceit? )
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (GoT: Brienne)
This post's been a long time coming, and as it turns out, it's long and rambly and bullet-pointed. Coherent, beautifully formed meta essays remain the dream, but until then, here's what's been on my mind. This post contains spoilers for books (and GoT seasons) one and two only; please don't go any further in the comments, as so many people are at different points in the series...

Sometimes the knights are the monsters, Bran. )

Next week (I know, hark at my ambition), A Storm of Swords, or at least volume I of it. And as [ profile] somebraveapollo will be happy to hear, the meat of my thoughts on Tyrion... and Jaime. Because this was also the book where Jaime began to get interesting...
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
"Don't you dare go back to sleep, you lazy sow, now come on! You've got three seconds before the saucepan lid!"

Maddy, Maddy, Maddy. You make so much sense to me. You're the kind of person who can't find the motivation to drag herself out of bed... but can and will build an elaborate Ferris Bueller-esque multilayered alarm system in order to counteract that tendency. One involving crashing saucepan lid sounds. I understand this intimately. I am lucky enough that the phone I have now comes with an alarm that inexplicably includes a very loud sound effect of horses' hooves, but before that... well, if I'd only had the wit to do the saucepan lid thing...

Read more... )

cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
Edit: since the cut situation is sorted, I've edited this to reinstate the intended pics. Thanks, DW Support!

"What's with that "Mmmmmm," and that irritating crinkled look that says there's more to this than meets the eye?"
Jonathan's irritating crinkled look: an expression we will be seeing a lot of )

Somehow I had forgotten this show's habit of opening with ridiculous sight gags. Clearly that business with the paintings last time was not a one-off! Here, Jack Holiday, "legendary king of slapstick" and obvious Norman Wisdom analog, is advertising Tonga bananas in the style of a Carry On movie. It has to be politely explained to him that "the image of a bike parked between a girl's buttocks" is not quite the thing these days. Proving that a shit day will generally get shittier, he then discovers that Alan Rokesmith, the supposed killer of his first wife, has had his conviction overturned.

Enter: Maddy, who's doing a press conference with the innocent man and his family... and is disappointed to see a cheque for his life story being ripped up. "Do you think any of us is interested in money?" asks the man's wife. "FFS YES!" say Maddie's eyes, but she's meant to be the crusading investigative journalist, so she's not getting a look in. Alas. Also alas: do you really think that this guy is going to get his chance to "breathe in the freedom" in a peaceful seaside cottage as he plans? Fuck, no.

Maddy watches the money leave the building.
Jack Holiday turns up dead in a locked underground bunker - an understandable suicide, but a teensy bit implausible given the arthritis in his hands - his famous banana ads required him to have a stunt banana peeler. Guess who's going to be getting a phonecall from Maddy?

And naturally, when he does get said phonecall, Jonathan acts all faux-matey-casual and "Ooooh, tomorrow... I'll just look at my diary." His diary is so little-used that he has to lift a boombox off it in order to stare at the cover (which says "1997", the year before this episode aired - that might be due to the ep having been made in 97, but I'd like to think it's an intentional lampshading of the desert that is Jonathan's social life).

At Holiday's home, Jonathan gets shown around by Jack's former-secretary and second wife. She enthuses over an outfit Jack wore in a movie and Jonathan becomes a condescending dick ("The actual outfit!"), which is a not-so-subtle impression I'm already forming of him on this watch-through. The woman explains how Jack's trousers were all weighted around the waist so they'd fall smoothly to his ankles (if they stopped halfway it wasn't funny), and Jonathan gushes, sneeringly (you think it can't be done? You haven't seen Jonathan do it!) about how people don't realise "the scientific precision involved!" Whereupon I call bullshit, since it's hardly a million miles from the illusion stagecraft that is Jonathan's own bread and butter.

He never met a lock he couldn't pick. She never met a brain she couldn't pick. They fight crime!

R points out that Les Dawson is in the background of this story: like Holiday, he was part of a generation of comedians that came up through music hall - and like Holiday, we all remember seeing his second wife interviewed after his death, navigating the presumable emotional minefield of celebrating her husband's life while including the context of his first wife. I feel like it's one of those real-life tropes I've seen in more places when entertainers get biographies, too.

Anyway, the thing that makes this show so watchable AND rewatchable is the wonderfully casual, snarky, as-if-they've-known-each-other-for-years ping-pong of Jonathan and Maddy's conversations. Each, in their own way, is averse to suffering fools gladly. Maddy's getting more used to Jonathan and is quick to come up with her own surreal but logical explanation for how Holiday's suicide could've been accomplished - even if Jonathan does swiftly shoot it down by pointing out that the method didn't require Holiday to lock himself into a bunker left over from the Cold War.

A moment most evocative of Jonathan's social life in general.
The case progresses haphazardly - the moreso when Jonathan wakes up to find a melon with a large knife stuck through it on the pillow next to him. Subtle. And yet, it'll make a lovely breakfast.

Maddy: "I could've come in here and found you with your throat slit!"

Jonathan: "Yeah, I think I saw one of those little sewing kits in the bathroom for just such an emergency."

If you hadn't seen the pilot, The Wrestler's Tomb, this would be a really good, representative episode to start with, showcasing as it does the classic style in which Jonathan and Maddy communicate, and possessing a very satisfying locked room mystery. Only Adam Klaus is missing, presumably because they were still recasting after Anthony Stewart Head's departure for the Buffyverse. (His scarily grinning face does appear on a poster in Jonathan's windmill, however.) This also the episode with the dramatic toilet cross-cut that has been so celebrated on Tumblr, thanks to unicornbandages.

You can't really ask for more, can you? As ever, the rewatch continues at [ profile] teylaminh 's place:

Pics credits:,,


cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
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