Saturday, 5 December 2009

Sage Advice

'You can't control the traffic'
That's what my mum would say
I have to think about that
At 6 pm each day.

'You cannot change the weather'
My mum's advice would be
When I forget my jumper
And the rain lets loose on me

'Some people are just cruel'
My mother will assert
That is what I've told myself
Each time that I've been hurt

'Can't always have your way'
Mum taught me in my youth
And the older that I get
The more I'm given proof

'Be pleased with what you have'
I can't forget that one
'Cause what I'm truly thankful for?
My wise, all-knowing mum!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A limerick, because I was bored.

There once was a man called Nick,
Who really was such a great prick,
He didn't like others,
Who were diff'rent colours,
So now we've renamed him Dick.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Post-Torchwood Review and the problems with the Internet.

THIS BLOG WILL CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS FOR TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT AND DON'T WANT TO RUIN THE EXPERIENCE DO NOT CONTINUE READING. GO AND WATCH IT NOW. IT'S ON BBC IPLAYER. (IF YOU'RE IN THE STATES OR ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT CAN'T ACCESS IPLAYER PLEASE IGNORE THIS BLOG AND WAIT TILL YOU'VE WATCHED THE SHOW.)

Okay, still taking a break from the poems for a mo. Just wanted to get this out while I'm feeling it.

I last posted on Thursday after a very emotional response to the 4th episode of Torchwood. I was actually concerned that after such a deeply affecting episode the final episode wouldn't live up to it. So I took a break, spent the weekend with friends and avoided Torchwood and Twitter (being very aware that it seems to have become a haven for spoiler-mongers!)

I have just watched the final episode on I-player and stand by my previous views.

This was possibly the most brilliant piece of television that I have seen in years.

The basic concept underlying the series - the world's children in danger - was truly inspired. When you watch a tv show that is meant to be tense, dramatic and shocking, the natural instict is usually to endanger the main characters. To provide the audience with a person or persons that they can get to know, connect with and then place that character in danger.

Torchwood have managed to hit on a far deeper concern that can be shared by any audience member, young or old, seasoned fan or first time viewer. Our children are without a doubt the most important thing in this world (and I'm speaking as a single woman with no children and no immediate plans for any!)

Following the huge twists and turns witnessed in the initial 4 episodes, the finale kept me on the edge of my seat, completely absorbed and truly scared. I have long been a fan of Joss Whedon's because of the fact that you cannot always expect a happy ending. Torchwood managed this brilliantly. I honestly thought there was no hope. That millions of children would be taken to a fate far worse than death. And I can't remember a time when I have been so scared and hurt for something that I knew was fictional.

The actors gave some amazing performances. I would particularly like to mention Peter Capaldi - I cannot believe that I'm even writing this but I completely felt for Frobisher and his final decision to kill his family rather than let them suffer what seemed completely inescapable. I actually thought to myself that were I in his position I would do exactly the same thing. For something as simple as a television show, a piece of 'entertainment', to make you think about such horrific dilemmas and to make you discover a part of yourself that you've never considered - that is such a powerful thing.

The direction of Euros Lyn was brilliant. Keeping such an exceptional level of tension throughout that my neck muscles are actually aching from being tensed for the last hour!

But mostly I would like to talk about the writers.

Russell T. Davies, John Fay and James Moran.

I have had mixed opinions of Russell T. Davies' abilities as a writer for some time now. I thought Queer as Folk and Casanova were excellent stories, controversial, modern, challenging and exciting. Then I watched Bob and Rose and was extremely disappointed. My views of Doctor Who are mixed. Some stories strike me as unusual, exciting and most importantly, they question and explore the basic concepts of time and space that are the core of Doctor Who (for me at least). Other storylines have seemed self-serving, shallow and in some cases clear examples of 'phoning it in'.

With Torchwood: Children of Earth (Hereon CoE) I can find no fault. This was a brave, challanging story that pushed all boundaries, broke many rules and ultimately, kept me glued to my seat, loving and hating the visceral experience I was receiving.

I would also like to specifically address James Moran's involvement from the more public forum.

All of the writer's did a superb job, however James Moran is, to my knowledge, the only one of the three who is widely accessible with an incredibly open online presence. I have been following him on 'Twitter' for several months now and have found his posts and his blog - found here: http://jamesmoran.blogspot.com/ to be amusing, engaging and interesting. He is very vocal on the day to day life of a working writer, providing insight into the processes many of us take for granted.

As the most accessible member of the writing team, naturally many fans who have been majorly affected by this brilliant show turned to James to comment on their feelings following the airing of each episode.

I am very thankful that technology has advanced to a point where we are able to communicate with people whom we admire. But in the wake of CoE I have been greatly saddened by the realisation that not everyone is as appreciative of the privilage that this communication is.

While there was, in James' own words "over a thousand messages from viewers talking about the show. The vast majority have been extremely positive." there was also a number of extremely negative, abusive, personal messages sent to him.

One of the reasons that I left the online Harry Potter fandom several years ago was the number of immature comments that would be put forth in discussions. Many of these messages were (as far as I could tell) posted by younger fans, in their early teens. I excused this behaviour as a sign of immaturity and inexperience, convincing myself that they would grow out of it.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I read some of the more negative messages on Twitter and discovered that they were written by people my age and older! (I'm in my mid-twenties.

While I doubt any of these type of people would read my blog. I would like to say this anyway, just to get it off my chest.

Grow up.

If you are incapable of seperating reality from fiction, then you should stick to watching shows like Big Brother. They were designed for people who feel it is acceptable to abuse others for no reason other than that you dislike their opinion on something.

Grown men and women should not harass and insult people like James Moran, who open a window into their lives, views and experiences. This is exactly the sort of behaviour that gives people a negative view of the internet. And worse, it is the kind of behaviour that gives people a negative view of fans.

Science Fiction has often been held up by the media as a sanctuary for geeks, freaks and wierdos. Those of us who are sci-fi fans are well aware that this is complete rubbish. Attacking writers does not do the fandom any favours. We are not nutters. We are not incapable of understanding that what is happening in that little box in the front room is NOT REAL. I have found that any writers I speak with are happy to argue points and trade views. But it has to be relevant.

To be honest, I could continue to rant about this for a while, but I'm tired and frankly, I think that James Moran has said what I'm trying to say in a much better way (which is why he gets paid to write and I crunch numbers all day!)

Please read James' Blog http://jamesmoran.blogspot.com/ and this goes out to everyone - when you post to people online - not just celebrities, everyone online. Think how you would feel if you received that post yourself. Remeber that just because it looks like you're communicating with a bunch of words, behind those words is a real person, with real feelings.

Anyway, on that note, I'm off to bed. Hopefully to a nice dreamless sleep for once!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth - A review of my Torchwood experience

Slight change of format tonight. No poems, and not a typical review. More just me ranting about Torchwood: Children of Earth and my feelings towards what has surprisingly become my television highlight of the year.

Here's the basic background with my Torchwood experience.

About 2 years ago My boyfriend of the time introduced me to Doctor Who. Other than a vague memory of some sci-fi show I saw as a kid, I wasn't too interested in Doctor Who - it was starring Billie - of 'Because We Want To' fame which was plenty excuse for me to avoid it.

But I gave it a chance (for the boyfriend's sake) and found that beyond all expectations Doctor Who was an involving, fast-paced, funny, witty, intelligent programme. So much so that I became obsessed to a level only previously given to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Then came Torchwood.

It was starring Captin Jack - one of my favourite guest stars from the Whoniverse so I had high hopes. These hopes were pretty quickly dashed upon watching the first season of Torchwood. The stories were predictable, the acting average and the dialogue laughably unrealistic. Frankly, it struck me as the closest you could come to an American version of Doctor Who without involving any Americans!

But, my interest was warily maintained when I heard that James Marsters (aka the sexiest vampire to grace tv screens) was coming onboard for the opening episode of season 2. I'm a massive Buffy obsessive so I decided to give Torchwood one more chance.

The opening episode seemed different to what I'd witnessed in Season 1. It was still a little cheesy, but a little less predictable and they finally seemed to have worked out that 'dark' does not equal 'everyone shagging everyone else'

So I continued to watch. The first 5 episodes of season 2 seemed to get better and better. Finally we had some truly interesting ideas, some wonderful storylines (My favourites being To the Last Man and Adam) and some excellent guest stars (particularly Nikki Amuka-Bird in Sleeper. It was the episode Adam that also highlighted for me the hidden gem within Torchwood's regular cast - Gareth David-Lloyd 'Ianto'. Season 2 and 'Adam' in particular transformed Ianto from a very two-dimensional office boy to a character that was capable of wit, compassion, emotional depth and a sharp mind. Some of the episodes did not impress. The introduction of Martha Jones felt contrived and seemed a weak attempt at maintaining a character who was not particularly liked in Doctor Who. Also, I considered Owen Harper to be possibly the most irritating character I've ever had the misfortune to watch, so a 3 episode story-arc in the middle of the season which heavily featured Jones and Harper nearly put me off again. Fortunately the series redeemed itself with 3 excellent episodes in the last half of the season - 'From Out of the Rain', 'Fragments' and 'Exit Wounds'

So finally we come to season 3.

I was initially frustrated at the prospect of a mere 5 episodes, to be aired over the course of 1 week. Surely in a year where we have no full season of Doctor Who, and the specials went from being spread out throughout the year (as the initial rumours implied) to one in April and the rest at the end of the year, we should at least be allowed a full season of Torchwood?

Besides which, how could we possibly have 5 decent quality episodes if the BBC felt the show was not deserving of a full run. It didn't seem to be an exhibition of much confidence in the showrunner's abilities.

Well we are now 4 episodes in out of the 5 and I am chowing down on a rather large slice of humble pie.

I. Was. Wrong.

Not only have we been presented with the best Torchwood episodes yet, but the format works really well. It was advertised as an 'event' and it really is.

I have each night sat next to my telly counting down the minutes until the next episode airs, and at the end of each part I have found myself worked up to such a state that I find myself staying up well past my bedtime to wax lyrical about the brilliance of what I have just watched.

From this point on be spoilers

If you don't want to know about major cast changes post season 2 stop here.

Okay, here come the spoilers - no more warnings!

Having culled the two weaker members of the team at the end of season 2 (the endlessly annoying, arrogant Owen and interminably boring Tosh), we are left with a far more serious Torchwood. Rhys has found his role increased, which is wonderful because Kai Owen truly provides us with an everyman that grounds the rest of the team (and his flat out refusal to be considered part of Torchwood is wonderful, as I was briefly concerned at the beginning of the week that they were up for hiring any old joe from off the street!)

Each episode has surpassed the previous one to the point that I am now compelled to write this blog praising a show that this time last year I didn't think I'd bother watching again!

My only worry now is that Russel T Davies seems to have become rather trigger happy with his team. I have just witnessed the death of my favourite character - Ianto. I know that in the whoniverse death is rarely final, and I still keep some hope that tomorrow a miracle will occur. But a big part of me feels that what I consider to have been a huge mistake on RTD's part is indeed the end for this wonderful character.

Reducing the team to only Jack and Gwen is a bold, but dangerous move. I can't decide yet if this will affect my decision to watch the next series (which I expect is pretty much a definite if the Beeb pay any attention to their ratings!) I will say this though, Torchwood's third season has kept my on the edge of my seat all week and regardless of my feelings towards character deaths, all involved have managed to surpass all expectations and provided a piece of television that is truly original, tense, surprising, thought-provoking and just damn good fun.

Now I'm off to bed to dream of aliens, corrupt politicians and a very charming welshman!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Relaxed and Refreshed. New poem - 'Recovery'

Aaah, that's better!

Just got back from a 5 day short break in deepest Wales. Was absolutely beautiful scenery, peaceful little villages and towns and some surprisingly good food!

Realised that with all the emotional upheaval of recent months I really needed to get away. I even wrote a little something while I was there which probably best sums up how I'm feeling. It doesn't quite feel complete, but I like that, because although I feel a lot better, I know that my 'emotional journey' (yes, that's a terribly emo phrase but I think it's pretty approporiate!) is not quite complete either.

So here is 'Recovery'

It's amazing, the difference,
You get from some distance.
How you start to see,
Life the way it should be.
Who knew a short break,
Is all it would take.
Get away for a while,
Rediscover that smile.
Some fresh air, rain or shine,
Change of place will do fine.

The end... for the moment!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Rocky Shores

Same old words,
Meaningless.
Attempting connection.
Every man an Island.
Every woman lost at sea.
Hunger and thirst steer us.
Some winds blow, guide gently.
Others storm, the boats crash.
None survive.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Interstate 60 review

There is something about finding a random movie that I've never heard of before, watching it and realising that it's not just a good film, but I actually feel so priviliged to have seen it, because now I want everyone else I know to see it!

The best way to find these random movies? Always go by actor or director. I have a list of actors that I think will generally do original, unusual films that are more likely to be one of these unknown gems. Yesterday was a Gary Oldman effort (a good sign to begin with as he is my absolute favourite of all the actors in my list).

The film was Interstate 60. The setup was possibly one of the least original out there. James Marsden is Neal. a young man trying to work out what he wants to do with his life. Deep down he wants to be an Artist but finding himself constantly rejected from Art schools around the country because he's "the wrong sex, the wrong colour and his family have too much money". His forceful father has decided that Neal is going to become a lawyer. At his birthday dinner a discussion occurs as to what Neal's birthday wish was. A waiter at the restaurant convinces Neal to tell his wish. Neal wishes for 'an answer'.

Moments later Neal is knocked out and wakes up in a hospital. Here's where the story takes a turn to the fantastical and where it really begins to set itself apart. Neal finds himself seeing billboard signs that aren't there. These signs lead Neal to a mysterious man, with a rather suspicious delivery job. Neal takes the job and begins a cross-country road trip down the unmapped, unknown Insterstate 60. A cavalcade of strange and unusual characters appear on this journey, beginning with the exceptionally odd O.W. Grant - the 'waiter' from the restaurant. Grant informs Neal that this road trip is his wish come true. Throughout his Journey Neal comes across a town where raves and addictive drugs are legal, a town filled with nothing but Lawyers, the Museum of Art Fraud and a variety of other strange places and people.

The script is witty and Neal comes across as a guy who, despite seeming filled with indecision, is actually very clear on his views and who has a moral code that in this day and age seems almost as exceptional as the magical Interstate. Oldman manages to give Grant a whimsical charm, mixed with an underlying sense of danger and the supporting cast all exhibit extreme, odd characters in such a way that you actually recognise many facets of humanity found in everyday life. Chris Cooper in particular stands apart. A former ad exec with strict views on telling the truth and a disturbing way of ensuring compliance from those who don't share in those views.

This film was great fun to watch, hugely involving and inspiring in that it's ultimate message seems to be less about attaining dreams and more about the experiences you get from following them. The ability of the Interstate to experience multiple times and events that occur, don't occur, will occur and could have occured leads to a third act twist that really backs up the idea that any decision can have unexpected consequences. It is, naturally, this twist that really forces Neal to reevaluate his life and make 'the right choice'.

Some films shove morals down your throught, some avoid messages and rely solely on spectacle or quirky ideas. Interstate 60 manages to be both inspiring, amusing, exciting and thought-provoking, whilst appearing to be little more than a few quirky ideas thrown into a road trip movie.

This was a perfect film to help me cope with that morning after feeling as it didn't have a confusing storyline, but it did keep me guessing and the intelligent humour definitely cheered up my day!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Going where many have gone before...

Great weekend. More specifically, great trip to cinema. So great that I thought I would right a little review.

I saw Star Trek on Sunday evening and I've gotta say... I may have been swayed a little. Alright, a lot.

Firstly, for a film to get me interested, having an explosion in the first 5 minutes really doesn't hurt!

What really surprised me by Trek was that along with suddenly being thrust into a massive space battle, you're also very quickly thrust into a highly emotional moment. I expected a few things from Star Trek, but tearing up during the opening sequence was not one of them.

Abrams is clearly a man who knows his action sequences, as if we couldn't tell from the excellent Alias and Cloverfield. That is why, whether you are a Trek fan or not, this should keep any sci-fi / action movies fan happy. There is little in the way of dragging, expositional scenes. instead, when the action drops, drama rises and tension flows from the screen almost continuosly (apart from the occasional comic relief, provided, unsurprisingly, by Simon Pegg and also through the rather engaging relationship between Kirk and Bones. Their close, gently mocking friendship plays beautifully and provides a sense of fun that would be desperately needed were we to be left with only the antagonistic relationships between Spock/Kirk and Uhura/Kirk.

The one draw back was that with such a varied, large cast of key characters, combined with a surprisingly complex storyline, a few people did get left behind, with only a handful of scenes between them.

Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) suffered mostly from this, as did Scotty (Simon Pegg).

However, everyone had their moment (I had a Star Trek fan on hand to explain the sly nods to the original series / actors) and all the lines that even I know were included.

Pine gave a solid performance as Kirk, but to my mind this film really belongs to Zachary Quinto as Spock.

While Kirk ticks every box in the 'How-to-construct-a-hero' list (Dead parent, rebellious attitude, ladies man etc.) Spock is a character that simply demands your attention. Quinto manages to imbue Spock with an underlying sense of fear and uncertainty that are in direct confliction with the outer quiet confidence he allows his shipmates to see. Combined with the rarely referenced relationship that he has with Zoe Saldana's Uhura Spock is a constant mystery. He manages to switch from calm, practical and closed-off, to a complete explosion of fury and pain in nanoseconds during one key confrontation with Kirk halfway through.

All in all, I am very much hoping for another film with these actors and Abrams back in the Director's saddle. Who knows, I may even go back and watch the original series. I'm told they're rather good...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Just Another Cliche

You sit me down and give me a look
But you’re no longer an open book
I can’t take it in
My brain shuts down
It’s all a blur as I look around.
You didn’t mean it
I misunderstood
This can’t be real
Don’t know how you could.
Can’t sleep,
Can’t eat,
Can’t breath,
Can’t think
Can’t see beyond,
My next drink.
I’m dying, but nowhere near quickly enough.
I’m trying, but I forgot how to be tough.

(A/N Guess how things are going with the 'wonderful boyfriend' I recently mentioned!)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Just the Good Stuff

You’re all I want
You’re all I need
Don’t make me cry
Don’t make me bleed

When life gets tough
You’re on my side
Don’t feel I have
To run and hide

You’ve been my friend
For all these years
You make me laugh
You ease my fears

You hold me close
And stroke my hair
Give me that look
That shows you care

You’re all it takes
To keep me calm
You’ll never let
Me come to harm

And when they ask
“Why choose that Guy?”
Don’t need to think
To answer why

Life’s real good when
He’s by my side
His smile makes me
Feel so alive.

He’s all I want
He’s all I need
Don’t make me cry
Don’t make me bleed

Public Service Announcement #2 Excuses, Excuses

The last few weeks have been filled with drama for me. So I haven't had time to post but I have done lots of writing.

I've been to New York (which had some very cool parts, but frankly, reminded me a lot of London!)

I've been to a wedding (and if a wedding doesn't inspire even some poetic thoughts / feelings then you are officially dead inside), thus forcing me to sit in a church for over an hour - something that always gets me riled up and gets the contemplation running at 11.

It was my birthday (and I'm the wrong side of 25 to tell you how old.) My birthday was heaven because my wonderful boyfriend indulged me in a terribly romantic day out (Picnic by water, sparkly presents, good wine - you get the gist.)

So all in all, I've been very busy hence the rather lengthy break in posting.

Plus I'm crap at sticking to anything resembling a timetable!

Anyway,

That's my blathering done. Don't think anyone's reading this anyway, so no harm no foul! I just like to amuse myself.

On with the dodgy poetry...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Eng. Lang. RIP

I just can’t face Facebook
I’m all Twittered out
I’m scared of forgetting
What speech is about.

All those people that chat
With me in Myspace
Are people that haven’t
Even seen my place

I don’t feel too social
Sat here all alone
But I still don’t speak
When using my phone

With letters disappearing
To help type with speed
Soon zero’s and ones will
Be all that we’ll need

So I’ll say goodbye in
The best way I know
C U l8r Eng. X
Sry u hv 2 go :-(

Saturday, 14 February 2009

High-Flyer

High as a kite

When I’m bathed in your light

And I don’t wanna fight

But I fear that I might

Hold you back

Pull you down

Keep you stuck on the ground

You’re my night sky

My star

You know just

Who you are

But I’m earthbound

So far

Pulling back to the yard

Now I’m yours

Which is fine

But you’ll never be mine

You are that Mac

Song. Jumpin Jack

On speed and back

Here it’s just me.

Baked, but not freed.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Can’t Find The Exit

Turned around
Upside down
Inside out
It’s all about
Finding some peace
Finding at least
Some kind of love
(Not from above)
Something to stop
This mental block
Run that way and this
Still manage to miss
I dream that I’m flying
But no points for trying
To get what you need
You’ve got to succeed
Can’t cope with the pressure
It’s too much to measure
Need a Jack and a beer
Need to get out of here
I’m tired and so alone
But can’t find the way home

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Happy Poet

A great artist must suffer, they say.
I’m afraid that’s just not me.
All the problems that I face in life,
Are often solved too easily.

I’m not in the least bit oppressed, or
Dying or gay or extreme.
The only adventures that I have,
Are the ones that I have when I dream.

I tried emo, that didn’t suit me,
The angst was too much hard work.
Plus I know I ain’t no great poet,
Cause I can’t always find rhymes that work.

I’m far to happy to aspire to Plath,
Dickinson's simply too mild.
Can’t seem to go quite as dark as Poe
Not sarcastic enough to be Wilde.

So now it’s abundantly clear to me
I could be a great artist, except
I’m far too content, far too happy,
That’s something I have to accept.

Public Service Announcement #01 - A Brief Disclaimer

May as well be honest, this is little more than a plea for attention.


I write - it's mostly self-indulgent but occasionally I write something that I'm actually quite pleased with.


As it would be pretty cruel of me to force my nearest and dearest to read my scribblings and feign admiration, instead, I'll let the internet be my judge, jury and executioners.


It's pretty basic:

If you like it, say so.

If you don't - and are capable of constructive criticism - please feel free to give your honest opinion.

Flames will be used to heat my flat, as I can't afford coal right now.