Monthly Archives: October 2005

Happy Halloween!

Hmm. I bet I’m the only person in the whole damn world who calls their blog “Happy Halloween” this weekend…

I’m not really interested in Halloween, having thrown the Halloween party to end all Halloween parties when I was 12, way back in 1983. Everything since has been a let-down. Saying that, though, yesterday I popped round to see my friend Justine and ended up staying all day, unable to resist the lure of her All Hallows Eve festivities. Her house was decked out in everything from ghostly paper chains to spooky cobwebs and she was getting down with the scary vibe by making green vodka jelly shots (with chocolate maggots and spiders inside) and offering around pumpkins for her guests to hollow out.

I’ve never made a Halloween pumpkin before – they were far too expensive when I was a kid, so even my legendary 1983 party had to make do with scooped-out swedes (they’re a nightmare – you might as well hollow out a boulder). So, after my initial guilt – “There are people starving in the world and we’re throwing away all this vegetable goodness!” – I got stuck in and created a seriously wicked pumpkin.

I modelled it on Teal’c from Stargate SG-1. And I was stunned when one of Justine’s neighbours stopped by, took one look and cried, “It’s Teal’c!”

I’ve never felt so proud.

Changing the subject completely, the other night I learnt the most beautiful new word: “spiracle”. Isn’t it lovely? Spiracle. Like a cross between a spire and a pinnacle, or some sort of eyeglass, or an exotic boat heading off down the misty Nile on a mysterious adventure… Sadly, it’s actually an airhole in the side of a wasp. Not quite as glamorous.

I found this out on a quiz show called QI, which is possibly the most informative programme you could ever wish to watch. For instance, did you know that in the old days Meccano sets came in two sizes: “Box Standard” and “Box Deluxe”, and over the years these have been morphed into the phrases “bog standard” and “dog’s bollocks”? There’s a fact for your next pub quiz. Don’t say you don’t learn anything here, folks!

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Sad Leopard

Here’s the aforementioned sad leopard pic.

It won its category in the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition (“The World In Our Hands”) and I can’t believe it didn’t win the whole thing. Alessandro Bee deserved the top prize – everyone seemed to be talking about this poor kitty as we walked around the exhibition.

You know, if ever I was in a film and I needed to cry for a particular scene, I’d look into this leopard’s eyes. His expression could make a grown man blub. Don’t stare too long… he’ll break your heart…

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Tired And Emotional

Okay. I’m emotional because I’ve just watched episode five of Lost‘s second season and now I have to wait three weeks to see the next one. And I’m going to POP!

I’m tired because over the last three days I’ve done all this (deep breath):

1) Visited the Sir John Soanes Museum in Holborn and marvelled at everything from Turner paintings to an Egyptian sarcophagus
2) Went shopping off Oxford Street and bought shoes from a shop I know I will never find again if I live to be a hundred and ten
3) Spent a whole day wandering around the Natural History and Victoria & Albert museums for the second time this month, only this time I saw some creatures pickled in bottles which made me feel a bit funny
4) Checked out the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition and decided the winning photo, while being rather good, wasn’t as good as at least two others on display and frankly should’ve come third (the sad leopard pic is a killer)
5) Attended a concert at Cadogan Hall by the Crouch End Festival Choir which featured works by Handel, Mozart and some other guy I can’t remember but his stuff was dead pretty
6) Had a meal on a boat moored by Richmond Bridge and shocked the waitress when she overheard me telling a scandalous story about Tom Cruise which I can’t repeat here
7) Strolled around Kew Gardens peering at plants and howling at the glass sculptures by an eyepatch-wearing artist called Chihuly which were wonderful, reminding me strongly of either triffids or something out of The Martian Chronicles
8) Had my friend Dave formally witness and sign the deed poll stating that my name will change from Jayne DEARSLEY to Jayne NELSON – which we did, amusingly, in the cactus house so that I went in a DEARSLEY and came out a NELSON
9) Got the bus home and giggled when an old, grizzled and drunk guy climbed on board and said to the driver, “I’d like a large gin and tonic please, sir!”
10) Watched aforementioned episode of Lost and tried not to POP.

I should point out that I did the Natural History Museum, V&A and Kew Gardens with Dave (my old boss from SFX magazine) and the Sir John Soanes Museum with my friend Thomasina – who afterwards was lucky enough to get into an early screening of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire at Warner Bros headquarters. She couldn’t get me a ticket, sadly, so I had to watch her disappear into the building as I stood outside and peered through the glass like one of those stuffed Garfield toys you used to see in car windows. Then I went home and sulked for my country.

(Incidentally, she says it’s the best film of the bunch – and I’m seeing it on 4 November so I only have to wait two weeks. Woohoo!)

I saw Thomasina last weekend, too, when I went to stay with her at her lovely house in a small village outside Bristol. My best mate Biddy also drove up from Torquay and we ended up having a wicked girlie weekend. I’m ashamed to say that much of our conversation consisted of us enthusing about Harry Potter; so much so, in fact, that we decided to go to Gloucester Cathedral on the Sunday to see all the bits of it that doubled for Hogwarts. Thomasina had been there during some of the filming (she’s a lucky bint, in case you hadn’t guessed) so she knew exactly where to go and what to point at. I mean, it’s easy to guess which wall was scrawled with blood in Chamber Of Secrets but it takes a real expert to point out the window the spiders climbed out of as they fled the basilisk!

She also guided us to the beautiful golden lectern at the back of the church which was used as a model for the one Dumbledore uses in Hogwarts’ Great Hall. In true Harry Potter spirit, Biddy left a sherbert lemon on it for the vicar to find later. Albus would approve.

Anyway, now it’s Sunday night and I’m exhausted. In addition to all this I’ve also worked like a bastard on the latest issue of Total Film, with this month’s deadline being the most relentless one I’ve ever known in my life. Our Art Editor worked out that he averages four days’ unpaid overtime every month, which means that I’m not far behind. Hmm… this journalism lark is wonderful, but I don’t know how much more I can take!

Then again, you do get perks. Seeing Goblet Of Fire two weeks early is my perk this month. Oh, that and chatting to Harry himself. It kind of makes working till 11pm at night a little more bearable.

Crikey. It’s just hit me. I’d love a sherbet lemon right now…

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Pottering About

Well, it’s all been happening. I go away for the weekend, have a wicked time, get home late on Sunday night and realise my lovely rat, Scamp, is desperately ill. So I head to the vet first thing on Monday morning to have her put to sleep, blub just enough to make a woman sitting in the waiting room cry too, and go straight to work, mascara smudged around my chin.

And then I do a phone interview with Harry Potter.

Blimey O’Reilly. That made me feel much, much better.

In fact, I spoke to Dan Radcliffe and director Mike Newell yesterday – Dan at work, Mike on my home phone. They were both lovely and I have officially been whipped into a frenzy over Goblet Of Fire – I can’t wait! I also, rather sneakily, got them to answer the now-legendary “Is Snape really evil?” question. Here’s what they said:

Mike Newell: “I simply don’t know. Obviously Jo is keeping all her options open until the last book, and it’s impossible for me to judge why Snape does that extraordinary thing in book six… and yet you felt, all the time, that he’s gotta be a good guy. Anybody who comes on as a bad guy as strong as that has got to be a good guy! You still feel that about him.”

Daniel Radcliffe: “Unless he’s like a double-triple-double-double-double-double-spy then he would have to be evil! He could be being very clever and not saying anything, but to me that implies that yes, he is.”

So there you go. For the rest of the interview, check out the December issue of Total Film…!


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Ricky Martyr

Jeez.

You try to play the latest Ricky Martin CD in your office and, from the response, anyone would think you’d just ripped your clothes off and danced a jig on the photocopier.

Philistines.

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Ramblings

Three pointless ramblings for you.

(Two of them rather sexist and smutty – be warned)

One
I had a text conversation with Biddy as I sat on the train to work yesterday. I was thinking about the two new episodes of Lost I’d watched the night before and texted her to say I think I’ve got the hots for Sawyer (Josh Holloway). I’ve resisted his allure for ages because I like Sayid (Naveen Andrews), but I’ve finally crumbled. I think it’s the fact that he spent a whole episode soaking wet with his shirt open.

“Hmm,” Biddy replied. “Sawyer strikes me as being very swarthy for a blond.”

“He’s not a natural blond,” I returned. “At least, I don’t think so. Hang on, now I’m sitting in a crowded carriage thinking about his pubes. This is weird.”

Biddy texted back: “I’m making tea for everyone in my office and thinking the same.”

I’m glad I didn’t have to drink that tea.

Two

One of my co-workers walked in on me the other day as I was making myself a cuppa in our office kitchen. He looked me up and down thoughtfully.

“You know, I’ve been watching you,” he said. “Watching the way you do things. I really like the way you act.”

I frowned at him. “Huh?”

“You’re really methodical,” he continued. “You set your mind on a task and you don’t stop until it’s finished. You have everything organised – your desk, your work, the way you make a cup of tea. You don’t rush. I like it.”

I grinned. “Well, thank you.”

“In fact, you remind me of someone.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Jason Voorhees from Friday The 13th. He never rushes. He stalks his victims methodically. Single-mindedly. You know that no matter how fast they run, he’ll never run after them. He takes his time and you know he’ll get there in the end. A bit like you.”

I had absolutely no idea what to say to him for the rest of the day.

Three

As I write this, Ricky Martin is on TV talking about his new album. “It’s a global journey,” he’s saying. “It’s about the singularities and the similarities of cultures.”

Man, he’s dull. But he’s wearing very tight jeans and sitting with his legs open.

I love Ricky so much.

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Namedropping

I went back to work today after six days off and thoroughly confused my co-workers by announcing I’d changed my surname from Dearsley to Nelson over the weekend. I swear, if one more person asks me if I got married I’ll go all Scanners on them – SPLAT! Still, can’t blame ’em really; a wedding is the logical thing to assume if a woman changes her last name. I’m sure it won’t be long before the mail starts arriving addressed to “Mrs Nelson”. Sigh… I feel old all of a sudden.

Anyway, to beat my back-to-work blues, I had two nice things waiting for me when I sat down at my desk this morning: over 80 emails in my inbox – largely from SFX readers who want to know if Snape’s evil or not (see below if you haven’t checked it out yet!) – and a little white envelope from Nick Setchfield, my former SFX workmate. When I ripped it open, out fell a Serenity trading card containing a picture of Nathan Fillion topless.

Nick, I thank you from the bottom of my libido.

That’s not the end of it. By some unbelievable, galactic coincidence – and I still can’t quite believe this – less than two hours later, the trading card in question was sitting on my desk… with Nathan Fillion’s still-drying signature on it.

Yes, I got it autographed. Autographed! While I was at work! I never even left my desk!

Sadly, I didn’t meet the lovely Nathan; he was doing a signing at HMV in Oxford Street with Joss Whedon and Summer Glau (Serenity opens today, don’t ya know – go and see it, it’s fabulous). I found out about the signing and immediately whinged to my friend Vanessa, who works two floors beneath me, that I couldn’t go to it. She mentioned it to one of her co-workers, who swiftly darted out of the building – stopping along the way to pick up my trading card – and hot-footed it down to Oxford Street. He got my card signed by Nathan, had a Firefly box set signed for Vanessa and arrived back at work less than 45 minutes later, out of breath but happy as Larry cos he got to see Summer Glau in the flesh.

So Nathan’s fingerprints are now on the trading card on the wall in my kitchen and I can’t stop staring at them and his lovely chest in the photo. What a bleedin’ fluke! Thank you, Gillen. Never spoken to you in my life but you got me something touched by Captain Tightpants himself and I’m eternally grateful. I most definitely owe you a drink or two, gorram it!

And, as though the day couldn’t get any better, I’ve also just watched the first two episodes of Lost season two. No spoilers – but man, cliffhanger city! Say no more…

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