Monthly Archives: February 2008

Happenings

I’m now just a few days away from my long-awaited trip to Vancouver, which is currently shaping up to contain:

1) Lots of sightseeing.

2) Lots of relaxing.

3) Lots of photography.

4) Lots of me crossing my fingers about something.

5) No work at all.

6) Apart from the photography.

7) And the thing I’m crossing my fingers about.

Hmm. Was that vague enough? It’s very difficult trying to write about what’s happening in your life when you’re sworn to secrecy, even if the things you’re sworn to secrecy about aren’t actually that interesting, but your employers don’t want another magazine knowing anyway. It either makes you sound enigmatic and mysterious or annoyingly smug and irritating. Unfortunately, that’s kind of how it goes, and it was either this or I write another post about how much I love The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I just wrote an SFX column on that, so there you go.

It’s a strange old life, being a freelance journalist – or, in my case, half freelance journalist and half freelance sub-editor, as I tend to work half-and-half on each. Just this week I was double-booked and had to turn down both a set visit on a new TV show and a set visit on the new Harry Potter movie, which, as you can probably imagine, was rather upsetting. (Although I hear from the person who visited Hogwarts on my behalf that there was no Snape to be seen, so I feel better about not going.)

I also attended a preview of all the new movies being released by Fox over the next year or so, some of them coming with personal messages from the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Eddie Murphy and James Cameron (on the set of Avatar, no less, although the cameraman wasn’t allowed to show us anything). Of the selection I’d say that M Night Shyamalan’s The Happening looked the most intriguing, and I was stunned at how many of the romantic comedies were set in New York. What, does nobody fall in love in Kansas or Nebraska or South Dakota? Why does New York get all the star-crossed pretty people? And why didn’t I get star-crossed when I was there?

After the preview I was sitting in a cafe in Soho, writing a feature for SFX, when who should walk by the window but three members of the magazine itself – which might not sound amazing, but SFX is based in Bath, so it was. They were just as stunned to see me as I was to see them, and understandably very happy that I hadn’t spotted them walking out of a sex shop or anything. We ended up spending what seemed like an hour chatting inside the Vintage Magazine Shop until the guy on the desk politely asked us if he could help us with anything (shopspeak for “Buy something or bog off”).

Waving goodbye to the guys, I then went off to have a meal with a friend (unnamed for their own protection) who told me how they’d arranged an interview with Madonna and had never seen so many make-up and hair people around one person in their life; they had to fight their way through a cloud of face powder and hairspray just to catch a glimpse of her. Which reminds me: how amazing was Tilda Swinton when she turned up to the Oscars with no make-up on? I’m still not sure about the dress, but the hair and face were great. I’d like to see Madge do that!

And oh dear, I’m rambling a bit now. I’m also very tired. I’ve been working almost non-stop since the start of the year and I’m trying to get as much work as possible out of the way before my holiday, so my poor brain is suffering. It’s wonderful to be busy and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but occasionally it’s hard to think straight. Am I writing a blog entry, a review, a feature or an advertorial right now?

But I love Sarah Connor. That much I DO know. I hope you’re watching it…

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Travels In Time

I’ve spent the last fortnight doing two things I didn’t realise were closely linked until just last night, at which point I smacked my forehead and called myself a dunce.

The first? Reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

The second? Watching the whole of House season one.

I kept putting the fact that I was mixing them up down to being tired. The way that Dr Gregory House often diagnoses somebody’s illness with one glance, or susses out their entire life with another (such as informing one woman that her husband is a transvestite simply by spotting a smear of food on her jacket), seemed remarkably similar to how Holmes can sum up somebody’s life history just by looking at their hat. Or the fact that House’s best friend is named Dr Wilson and Holmes’s best friend is named Dr Watson. Or, once I’d started thinking about it, the fact that House and Holmes are both drug addicts, and House lives in flat number 221B just like Holmes.

And then I did some reading into the show and discovered it’s deliberately based on Sherlock Holmes, and so the fact they seemed similar wasn’t a coincidence.

What are the odds that I should delve into these two worlds, over a hundred years apart, at the same time without knowing they were linked? How mad is that? AND HOW AMAZING ARE THEY BOTH?

sarah-chronicle-posters.jpg

Speaking of travels in time, I’ve just finished watching the latest episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (episode five, “Queen’s Gambit”) and it’s officially my new favourite show (even besting Ashes To Ashes, much to my surprise, because I’m loving that). There are so many layers to Sarah Connor: nods to the previous films, a wink at the franchise’s background (characters called Cameron, after James, and Ellison, after Harlan) and even an upcoming episode named “The Demon Hand” after Ellison’s original story, “Demon With A Glass Hand”. Either that kind of thing drives you nuts or you love it.

Well, I love it. Almost as much as I love the whole Wizard Of Oz subtext they’ve got going on, too, with cyborg Cameron (the “Tin Miss”, as Sarah calls her) being given the surname “Baum” and Sarah telling the school counsellor that she’s “traumatised after a tornado”.¬† Anyone who thinks The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a cheap, ill-thought-out cash-in on the movie franchise should go boil their head; this is a richly textured, dramatic and bloody compelling series that deserves to do well.

I fully expect it to be cancelled by the end of May, then.

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Welcome To The New And Improved Jayne’s World!

Here’s my new blog. The font’s a little small (I have no idea if I can change it or not) but otherwise I much prefer it. I hope you do too!

And, just to be random, here are some dinosaurs:

Crystal Palace DinosaursCrystal Palace Dinosaurs 2

I went to Crystal Palace yesterday to check out their monsters.

Those Victorians were inspired!

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Change is in the air…

I’ve almost finished transferring the entire contents of this blog over to WordPress, so expect a new URL soon.

Blogger has been a fine home since 2005 but I’m frustrated by its lack of template options and WordPress is far better. Plus, I can have my name in the URL, which seems more professional. At some point I’ll also use WordPress (or possibly another site) to house my columns and more of my work.

Yes, I’ve joined the 21st century. About time, really.

Meanwhile, I’m mourning the loss of Camden’s pub The Hawley Arms, which went up in smoke last night along with a huge chunk of Camden market. I had a lovely meal there a while back with Biddy and her fiance and it was a really nice place, celebrity punters notwithstanding, and it’s also sad to see an old-style business ruined. My heart goes out to all the traders who’ve lost their shops, too. That was an epic blaze. Thankfully nobody seems to have been hurt, which is a bit of a miracle.

Today I’m off to Crystal Palace to look at the dinosaurs, during which time I’ll try very hard not to think of a) all the work I should be doing today instead, b) the fact that the Writers’ Strike is nearly over and c) the fact I’ll be in Vancouver in three weeks’ time. All these things could be linked. I have to wait and see.

And how are you guys? The good thing about WordPress is that you can leave comments even if you don’t have a Blogger account. Woohoo!

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