Monthly Archives: January 2007

House Beautiful

At around 3pm last Sunday afternoon you may have heard a shrill squeaking sound emanating from somewhere in the vicinity of West London. Apologies if it annoyed you: that was me, discovering that Crowded House, my favourite group in the world, were not only reforming but also going on a world tour. By some fluke I found out within a couple of hours of the news being published in an Australian newspaper and then spent the entire day bouncing up and down like Tigger after 15 large espressos.

I never got to see Crowded House live before they split ten years ago, so this is a dream come true for me. It’s sad that former drummer Paul Hester isn’t with us to join the fun, but I’m sure he’s wishing his pals luck from the other side. I’m also sure there’ll be a sweet little tribute to him during every show. I’m guessing it’ll be “Sister Madly”, but we’ll see. In any case, I’ll be going to as many gigs as I can handle, so it’s a good job that…

…I’m actually getting work so I can pay for it all! This freelance lark is going rather well, though I’m touching wood like a superstitious freak even as I type those words. An hour ago I accepted a booking for a week-long stint on a big magazine, and that on top of my other bookings means I’m going to be busy until 19 February. There should be work after that, too: projects are merrily sailing over the horizon towards me. A fleet of ’em, you could say, if you want to extend that oceanic image even further. I’m just hoping none of the ships spring a leak or get raided by pirates.

I’m finding one thing weird, though: I thought I’d hate working from home, but I don’t. I thought I’d enjoy it at first but then I’d start to miss being around people – you know, chatting at the coffee machine, messing about with mates at lunchtime, joking over little things that happen during the day. Instead I’m discovering that working from home is the best thing EVER! I’m still seeing friends (I’m making a point of it; I don’t want to turn into the crazy hermit lady who talks about nothing but American television and how rats make really good pets), but I’m also having lie-ins and going to bed at 3am and taking breaks when I want and thoroughly enjoying life in the real world. It’s brilliant! It’s going to be one hell of a shock next week when I set foot in an office again, albeit as a freelancer. I think my ideal scenario would be to work from home two weeks of the month and do subbing shifts the rest of the time… fingers crossed I’ll get there!

Oh, and speaking of getting up late, yesterday I woke up at 10.30am (after going to bed in the very wee small hours, which I’m growing rather fond of doing) to a phone call from an agency regarding an interview. I was half asleep but somehow managed to carry on a completely competent conversation with them… until I blearily wandered into my living room, looked out of the window and saw this:

Snow! Everywhere!

I wanted to yell, “It’s been snowing!!!” but I couldn’t, because it would have meant admitting I’d only just woken up and looked out of the window. And because I really didn’t want them to think I was a lazy sow who doesn’t wake up until the middle of the morning, I managed to keep my voice level on the phone as though everything was just dandy. However, the minute the call was over I had my face pressed on the glass like a stuffed Garfield toy in full-on “I’m a kid again” mode. Later, I went for a walk in Syon Park and it was utterly beautiful. Lordy, but I love winter!

And finally, before I ramble on any more, I have to show you this:


It’s a footnote to my last post and was created by a complete stranger who reads this blog – thank you! I laughed until I got a stitch, and then I laughed some more until I unstitched.

I make a bloody scary cat!

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I’m on ur blog, spreading ur wordz…

Simply because I have nothing better to do – and because it made me laugh – I’ve just spent the last hour researching what appears to be the latest internet craze: taking a picture of something (usually a cat) and adding the words “I’m in ur…” and “I’m doing this…” to it. Hence:

There are hundreds of these buggers. My extensive Googling has revealed that the phrase comes from a computer game (probably Command & Conquer, though opinions differ) and the original wordage is this: “I am in your base killing your dOOds.” Whatever. The upshot is that now they’re everywhere…

This one cracked me up, though you need to know that “LJz” are LiveJournals, and AVOID IT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE:
And then there’s my personal favourite:

Hmm. The internet. Funny old place.

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The Siren Call Of Bruce Willis…

I forgot to post this before I left Total Film.

This is what happens when you play the very first Die Hard 4 trailer on an office computer: every man in a 30-foot radius comes running.

Notice the distinct lack of girls.
We were all too busy working.

*grin*

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An American Geek-Out In London

Sometimes you have to cram a whole year’s worth of conversation into a single day.

I spent yesterday with my friend James White, who many moons ago was the News Editor on Total Film before flitting off to settle among the bright lights and smog of Los Angeles. I hadn’t seen him since last Christmas and we did so much talking in our eleven hours together that we’d both gone a bit croaky by the time we said goodbye. I’m happy to announce that of those eleven hours of chat, at least ten-and-a-half were spent talking about TV and film. Aha, it’s that SAMEBRAINITY again.

We discussed Heroes in the John Soanes Museum. The merits of Joss Whedon in front of the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. Doctor Who – naturally – by the London Eye (James: “Look, it’s that Nestene transmitter!”). Eventually we ended up at my place, brainstorming ideas for a future SFX column I’d been pondering, while Angel played on the Sci Fi Channel and James laughed at my framed photo of me and Vecchio and the Mountie from Due South.

As far as geek-fests go, it was a doozy.

I did wonder if, after two years living in California, James might’ve gone a bit Hollywood. You know the thing – if he’d picked up an accent or said “sidewalk” instead of “pavement” or generally couldn’t remember how to use British money any more. I’m happy to say he was relatively unspoiled, if you excuse this small hiccup in Starbucks:

Me: “Could I have a large latte please?”
James: “Could I have a grande white chocolate caffe mocha with peppermint syrup and hold the whipped cream?”

I mean, honestly.

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Simply The Best

Well, yesterday I hit the wall at the end of The X-Files’ second season and couldn’t watch any more, which meant I spent today getting my freelance life organised and not sitting in front of the TV. Hurrah! I also found the time to watch the film Transamerica, which I loved, mostly because it made me laugh like a drain but also because it was just so kooky. But not kooky in a “look at us, we’re being so whacked!” manner, just… kooky. Loveably kooky.

It is The Kook.

(To digress a little… it’s funny how I’ve started calling things “the” something-or-other. It began with me saying, “That is The Awesome!”, which I picked up off the internet, and then I was using it all the time.

“That is The Weird!” “That is The Crazy!” “That is The Sex!”

The internet-speakers I copied also spell “the” like this: “teh”. Which I’m NOT going to do, because it is Teh Wrong.)

I recently sent SFX my list of fave things from 2006 for their SFX Reader Awards. In case anyone has a yen to find out what I thought, the list is below. Have you done yours? No? Well, it’s too late now because voting has closed.

That is The End.

Best Film: Superman Returns
Best Film Actor: Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Best Film Actress: Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Best Film Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men)

Best TV Show: Heroes
Best TV Episode: “Devil’s Trap” (Supernatural)
Best TV Actor: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Supernatural)
Best TV Actress: Yunjin Kim (Lost) (Incidentally, I regret voting for her now because I think I should’ve voted for Grace Park – Sharon from Battlestar Galactica. But there you go.)

Best Novel: It’s Superman! by Tom De Haven
Best Non-Fiction Book: Superman: Cover To Cover by DC Comics

Best Game: Don’t play any!
Best Comic: Civil War or Wolverine… darn, I’m torn! Oh, make it Civil War, then.

Sexiest Woman: Yunjin Kim (Lost)
Sexiest Man: Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)

Hall of Fame Award (please nominate an individual who’s made an outstanding contribution to SF in 2006): Everyone on Battlestar Galactica.

Hall of Shame (please nominate an individual who has brought shame to SF in 2006): Nobody. Think positive!

The Life On Mars “Shut It” Award – who needs to be gagged?: Nobody. See previous answer.

I still can’t believe I put Heroes as my favourite show and not Supernatural, but it just edged to the front because it is, quite simply, magnificent. Hiro Nakamura is also the greatest single creation in the world of SF/fantasy this year. Hiro rules!

Wait till it airs over here. You’ll see…

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Anyone care to perform an intervention on my behalf?

I need help.

Serious, professional help.

I can’t stop watching my X-Files DVD box sets.

Total Film gave me HMV vouchers as a leaving gift and I took the opportunity to fill in the blanks in my collection, buying seasons two and three to add to the others I already had. I stormed through season one in a week, and yesterday I watched a whopping 14 episodes from season two.

I think I’m broken now.

Random observations from re-watching the show, from the start, for the first time in years:

1) Mulder mentions Elvis a lot.

2) Scully’s hair improves considerably after Gillian Anderson had her baby.

3) Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman, looking ridiculously young, gets a nasty worm in her ear in “Ice”.

4) The West Wing/Studio 60‘s Bradley Whitford has astonishingly big arm muscles in “Firewalker”.

5) Krycek. Hallooooo, nurse!

6) Mulder always falls asleep on his couch in front of a B-movie. I kind of remembered this from first viewing, but it bears mentioning again because it’s rather sweet.

7) Skinner keeps doing this pouty thing with his mouth that can only be described as a “bitch face”.

8) Remember the cable car Mulder takes up to Skyland Mountain in “Ascension”? The one he ends up dangling from? I’ve been on that! In reality, it carries you up to Grouse Mountain with a spectacular view of Vancouver. Glad Krycek wasn’t at the controls during my trip, though.

9) The early ’90s were full of men and women wearing round, Harry Potter-style glasses.

10) I’m getting dizzy playing “spot the actor”. The X-Files is littered with guest stars from Stargate, The Dead Zone, Dead Like Me, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Smallville and a million other shows shot in Hollywood North or Toronto. It’s unbelievably distracting… “Hey, look, the shrink Scully’s pouring her heart out to is Delores from Dead Like Me! That nurse who just got attacked by a ghost is Doctor Frasier from Stargate! And the brother-in-law of the reincarnated bank robber in “Born Again” is Callum Keith Rennie, the second Ray Vecchio from Due South, and he’s also a Cylon in Battlestar Galactica and the forest ranger guy from the second episode of Supernatural and he played Shalimar’s boyfriend in Mutant X and Dana’s ex-squeeze in The Dead Zone and he also plays a gravedigger in season two of The X-Files because they obviously decided he was too good to just use once, and then there’s that woman who…”

Kill me now.

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Foxes 2, Jayne O

I’ve spent the last few days surrounded by foxes.

Outdoors, I’ve been loving and hating my new neighbours, a family of vulpes vulpes who are noisy – barking, yipping and howling all through the night – and are freaking out not only the local cats but also the local drivers, who have to keep swerving to miss them when they parade through the streets. Most of all, though, they seem to enjoy digging holes in all the rubbish bags in my shared front garden, which meant that I spent over an hour today cleaning up after the buggers and picking up my neighbours’ rubbish while trying not to retch and wishing the lady on the ground floor (who, incidentally, is both a fashion model and a news camerawoman who apparently won an award for covering the invasion of Iraq) would use rubbish bags instead of carrier bags. How hard IS it to buy a bin bag? Then again, after broadcasting from a warzone I suppose such domestic trifles mean nothing. She’s probably a “bigger picture” kind of gal.

I still love the foxes, though. Mangy, dirty, noisy, messy beasts that they are, they still make me smile because they’re just big ginger dogs with funny tails.

Indoors, meanwhile, I’ve been snuggled up in front of the TV, slowly working my way through the X-Files season one DVD box set I bought six months ago, reliving all things Spooky and Scully. I’ve been struck by two things: that Mark Snow’s score was actually bloody good in the show’s virgin season (my hatred of his work since has become somewhat irrational and twisted), and by how on Earth anybody EVER thought the name Fox Mulder was even remotely feasible.

I mean, come on. Imagine if Kojak’s first name had been “Bear” instead of “Theo”? Or Starsky & Hutch had hit the streets with the names “Dormouse” and “Penguin” rather than “Dave” and “Ken”? Or Inspector Morse had been lumbered with “Platypus” instead of the far-more normal-sounding, uh, “Endeavour”…?

Oh, you get the point.

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