Saturday, 31 August 2013

BJ's SOLSL: Voice of my firstborn, Fry, on Players, Gamers and Virginity

Ok, so.  The post I promised you next, some photographic art, isn't quite ready.  So you're in for a bombastic Lawrence Sterne sentence length rant from my son Fry.  If you ever wondered why he chose the name Fry, its the pizza delivery boy from Futurama.  He felt that was sort of him.  Of course, I'm his mother, I think he's so much more than Fry (even though, quietly, Fry is a much more important character than it would seem).  

I was stuck for a picture to use to illustrate this post, you'll see why when  you get reading - there is no one item, or one person, that can sum up this subject.  So I ended up picking some references I hope most of you will get: hapless wannabe player Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory.  (This isn't Fry at all, by the way, too shy!  But it is the subject matter.)  And Hank from Californication...if you've seen it, you can't help but love him - and more importantly, want to BE on.

Because Fry's shy to the point of rudeness (and he knows it), people often don't see the wordy analytical self you're about to be subjected to.  Like me, he does his best talking by writing.  He usually writes and commentates on sports blogs and sites and enjoys arguing with and taming trolls, but I, you know, made him write for my Guest Season, this upcoming post is both my pride and my fault! 

It discusses something many men are going to completely 100% empathize with; and which many women are going to get teeth jarringly irritated by.  I think Fry has a brilliant voice, dense, wordy and angry yet strangely mellow.  I wish more people could hear him talk on a range of subjects like I do.  I wish he would give in and a writer.  And lest you think I never get subjected to the subject below, at length...<throws up hands> I so do!!

(No idea how a son of mine managed to grow up this far and be so sexist in places...I apologize to all women readers for the dishwasher comment coming up! Then again, I'm one of the people who hates the existence of The Game, whilst I've been known to touch on it myself when needed, without knowing it was what I was doing.  As he defines me, I am Pool B.  You'll see what that is.)

Please enjoy Fry.  The Inimitable Fry.  Look inside his head and...well, I'm not going to tell you how to react, I'm going to get out of the way and let him talk...

The Incel Experience

“I didn’t want to write this book. In fact, it’s something I thought I’d never do. I am as embarrassed to write this as you may be to pick it up. And that’s fine. It means we’re in this together.” – The opening line of ‘The Rules of the Game’ by Neil Strauss.

Well hello there. For those of you who don’t know me, on this blog I’ve been affectionately designated the alias Fry, my supposed cartoon surrogate. Not so long ago I was invited to participate in this little practice by your gracious host, how lucky you all are (on the sole condition that I didn’t bore her by rambling on about anything sport related). WARNING: The following will contain self righteous waffle that’ll have the majority of you piercing your eyes out of their sockets to escape the trauma, save yourselves now and open a new tab while you still can. 

See what I did there? Whether it be through humour or curiosity one way or another I know I’ve got your attention. That little number was a strand of a basic psychological trick which will make a further cameo along with many others throughout the course of this piece. So, what exactly is the point of this article? A good question, though to answer it we must first ask ourselves, what is Incel? It’s a warm summer evening in Ancient Greece… (If you understood why that explanation stopped dead, we’re going to get along just fine).  The point of this article is simple, to inform and educate… lol, nah, the point of this article is because I enjoy hearing myself talk (or in this case I suppose reading myself write if that makes sense), and it just so happens this is a topic which encompasses almost every philosophy which weaves the fabric of my “wonderful” mind which I intend on prostituting out right now for your amusement. 

Many of you will have one basic question from the get go, what does Incel mean? Coming across it for the first time over the internet approximately a year ago, Incel is short for ‘Involuntary Celibacy’ and broadly defines anybody who feels the frequency of their sex life is out of their control in some fashion – being a virgin not through choice making me a terminal sufferer, and I use the phrase terminal sufferer very strategically for the moment. Once discovering this, as I thought, cleverly succinct turn of phrase describing a vastly expanding movement particularly in modern culture and our obsession with self image tying into who’s around our arm, I quickly discovered the term being used as a poison chalice to those on both sides of the fence. Those unaffected by it (i.e. people with no such worries about their sex lives) had a tendency to go on the offensive, theorising that it was merely created to excuse those who didn’t have the drive to improve their social standing through conventional methods. 

Harsh, even slight ignorant but understandable once I saw the mentality some who completely invest in this ideology undertake – speaking of it in the exact same tone as they would an illness and giving it a name almost reinforces their insecurities like a diagnosis. Being someone not opposed to adopting victim mentality, as the relinquishing of personal responsibility provides tremendous freedom, observing how some of these people relate to each other has made even me cringe. So what’s the point of this article? None what so ever, it’s merely me giving you my interpretation of this word through describing my thoughts and experiences. If by the end I’ve provoked you into coming up with your own conclusions, I win… you heard me =)

No better place to start than talking about me (general life principle, but at the moment it has relevance to boot). I’m 22 y/o, as I mention before am a virgin, and have spent roughly the last 4 years of my life obsessing over one question, why? Sometimes that ‘why’ has been spoken through frustration, sometimes through curiosity, occasionally through a desire to learn, but on the whole through a sense of segregation from the rest of the world. To this day I’m baffled by how easily those around me are able to attain what I consider this elusive force of nature – attraction. There are those around me who obtain it without even trying, those who obtain it by being genuinely lucky, those who work damn hard and are rewarded, and those who see it as one of life’s greatest playthings (one particular person comes to mind here, and he/she is laughing his/her arse off right now reading this).  As I’m discussing a largely image conscious subject, lemme give you a face to match the words. 

Since the age of 13, I’ve carried an uncanny resemblance to actor Daniel Radcliffe (no matter how much I’ve tried to change that), and when I’m focussed in concentration I bear many of the mannerisms of football manager Andre Villas Boas (not to mention we share the same ‘physical enthusiasm’ lol) and I’m currently sporting facial hair which looks like Wolverine cross bred with the Lemmy (that’s the lead singer of Motorhead for those of you sorely lacking in taste) – a look which has granted me approval from man folk everywhere, on one such occasion followed by an ironic declaration of ‘my g/f has banned me from growing one myself’. Strange as it may seem, my looks have been the least of my worries for some time. Not that I’ve got any confidence in my looks providing that envious ability to turn heads in a room, or make a woman lose all prospective on her environment as I do constantly, I just made peace awhile ago that it’s a factor out of my control. In the judgemental, deceptive world of human interaction, your facial structure and expressions are your fortress that the enemy will survey for imperfections and insecurities as they search for any hint of your potential to become a threat to them. And there’s no getting away from it, you and your face are one and the same, it’ll portray even the most committed BS merchant for who he or she really is eventually (unless they actually believe in what they’re spouting/how they’re acting of course). Your weaknesses, your inhibitions, your true desires are all lathered over your face, and this is poisonous to an Incel. But Fry, surely you must realise that women are less impressed by visual stimuli (um hmm) than men, instead being more responsive to how a man can make them feel through his intelligence and wit? Well, as you’re about to discover, that rational provides little comfort for a fella like me… for you see when I put my mind to it, I can be a very effective tool too =)

Now that you have a general overview of me, in particular my self-image, hopefully I could be offered to explore one of my favourite pastimes with you in storytelling as I divulge a bit of my background. You may have noticed a potential red flag earlier in this piece, a slight plot hole in the narrative of my life, when a 22 y/o guy claimed to have taken up an interest in his lack of sexual prominence for only four years? I mean, are you supposed to believe that for the five years he spent in that jackals pit for perceived inferior men known as secondary school that he wasn’t self conscious at all before the age of 18? In short, yes, you absolutely are. My past not to be outdone by my present as an outsider, I was 100% asexual throughout the entirety of my journey through the education system. I was an unkempt, unhygienic, happily unburdened school kid, bubbling with the innocence of a pre-teen. My disinterest radiated like a beacon throughout my social circle and beyond, I’d happily nod along to my peers’ daily tales of their elaborate preferences and half baked conquests without any pressure to participate in these delusions of grandeur productions.  But while being an object of great confusion for the girls, more creepily strange than alluringly mysterious admittedly, I managed to obtain something more in those 5 years without trying than I have the past 4 years since – recognition. 

I could make a girl smile, giggle, in essence feel comfortable (though without breaking the touch barrier), three characteristics in a woman which seemed purely conceptual to me for a time. On one such occasion I received the pinnacle of female recognition with the acknowledgement of attraction in the form of a letter, a situation which I look back on retrospectively both cringing and humorously laughing at my own incompetence as I allowed that potential opportunity to pass me by without so much as a passive head nod to the girl in question. But unlike my present day persona there was no sense of self-recrimination, after all she may as well have written the letter in French, I wouldn’t have been able to empathise with her feelings at the time however she demonstrated them. But through the wonderment of my extended adolescent childhood unravels more bumps in the road for the Incel – while their face will ruin all their efforts to camouflage their desires due to the irremovable stain of desperation, the fact remains that the only efficient solution is to somehow become detached from that desperation and reach a place of acceptance for their circumstances. Almost every perspective on social dynamics can be summed up by this simple universal truth… the more unattainable, the more valuable. Within the realm of sexual politics that translates to the more distant, the more interesting and potentially attractive.

See, I said you should’ve opened another tab didn’t I? Now you’ve gotten yourself emotionally invested in my story. Come now, you were warned about the kind of guy I was when you made the decision to keep reading. Whatever your feeling right now is your responsibility, not mine to provide you with resolution and closure. But as I’m a charitable fellow, lemme offer you a failsafe in the form of a second warning. From here on out there will be much figurative fist shaking, a lot of smug hypotheses, and whisper in quietly… a bit of sexism - see if we whisper it the women won’t hear us over the dishwasher ;)

Now that I’ve discussed my identity and my background, it’s time we had some real fun and a vantage into my psychology – count yourselves lucky I’ve been given a page limit lol. To throw you an instant curveball before I proceed any further, contrary to what you may have naturally assumed, a certain amount of time ago I reached a place of solace with my Incelism, I lost my desperation aura (for the most part anyway) - so you ask, why has that not been enough to change both my circumstances (i.e. why the V plates still hanging around) as well as my attitude towards it? Excellent question, one which trumps up several different answers depending on my mood, who’s in my company, what time of day it is, etc… all ranging from lack of extensive exposure to women, lack of exposure to an environment where something’s likely to happen, an inability to take risks, an absence of any genuine motivation to change in this regard, certainly in comparison to the rest of my male counterparts. All responses which have plenty of validity to them, but the one widely acknowledged obstacle in my way is me – my mind – my psychology. 

Now of course this answer is completely wrong, but then I would say that… but I’m right, it’s wrong… or is it? Anyway, I shall now proceed with convincing all of you that it is indeed wrong, if I can convince all of you it’ll make it easier to convince myself… of which I’d have no need however because it is wrong (side note – you may think I’m joking, but my mind actually operates like this lol). Between the ages of 18-20, my psychology was that of any other teenager, namely inflexibility. There was no intention of adapting and evolving, there was only frustration, anger and mild depression. Women were cartoon figments to the point of desensitisation for their existence as an each individual entity to their own. The thought of having a relationship, any kind of relationship, with one was stuff akin to unicorns and vampires (whoops, sorry for letting that cat out the bag BJ&S) with that particular world being an entirely fictitious universe of which I was only able to play spectator piling over the layers of delusion and twisted narcissism. Thankfully, I grew past this phase to an equally compromising conundrum at the age of 20… as some inflated man clutching his glass of red would say in a deep, pompous accent, “ah, the plot thickens”.

So for whatever reason at the age of 20, emotional maturity happened and women suddenly transformed into interesting observations rather than irrelevant obsessions. But along with this enlightening change in reality came a price, the same price which accompanies all who seek knowledge in its various forms, it meant sacrificing blissful ignorance for the unnerving realisation of the truth being difficult to comprehend. Yes ladies and gentlemen, 20 y/o was the age I became equated with the little social convention cynics everywhere aptly refer to as ‘the game’. The sequence of psychological tricks we all play on each other in an attempt to gain the acceptance, approval and appeal of others – and while I’m no means an advocate of this presence in sociology, in fact I resent its existence completely, it’s been nothing but a fascination for me ever since. The theoretical power to manipulate one’s own environment, create one’s own choices, form one’s own ideal world is the very essence of what the self absorbed human psyche requires for absolute tranquillity – and for those unfortunate enough not to have been blessed with peace of mind, clarity of soul or the short circuit solution of religious belief, the game (in its broadest sense) is the only source for our own personal zenith. But out of risk of this becoming a far more expansive discussion than it needs to be, allow me to centralise it towards most people’s typical impression of what the game is – the process in which enables two people to tolerate each other’s time, attention and eventually bodily fluids. 

Now I can hear the wailing cry of the doubters now, suddenly through the magic of suggestion I’ve polarised my audience into three neatly cohesive groups… Pool A understand everything I’ve written up to this point and are intrigued to see where I’m going with this from an analytical point of view, Pool B think I’m talking out of my backside and are only still here because Jeremy Kyle isn’t on for another 10 minutes, and Pool C are empathizing with me completely. Pool A are well versed at the game and they know it, Pool B is well versed at the game only they don’t realize it, but Pool C unfortunately know they’re hapless players.  Well I’m not here to cater to any of you; I’m my own group bitcha *puts hand down baggy sweats*, I’m here to do what I’ve been doing the past 2,500+ words and entertain myself (entertaining you is just a bonus). Before we get started on the philosophical element of the game and its devastating effect on the Incel population, let’s nose dive right into what many of you are dying to hear and toss out some game play strategies (apparently some people call it flirting, weirdos lol). 

There is absolutely no other place to start than with one which has broken the pop culture barrier and been utilised as a parody for the game on several occasions, the infamous Neg. For those unaware of this technique watching it in motion is quite simple, observe two women who really despise each other having a polite conversation before one breaks subtext code non-silence  – the period just before this happens the girls are negging each other silly. Neither compliment nor insult, the neg is meant to allow the subject to draw their own conclusions usually by fronting out their own insecurities, and when delivered by a light-hearted, carefree man can instantly grasp the attention of a self-assured, confident woman (negging an emotionally stunted woman, especially badly, is pointless and self-destructive). 

There’s a million variations of ‘flipping the script’, the act of saying, doing or simply being what she’d least suspect simply by reflecting back subconscious stances she’s upheld since puberty. You have Push/Pull, technique men and women alike adopt naturally, which keeps the subject in a perpetual state of intrigue, wonderment and slight frustration as their love interest will turn attentive then emotionally distant on a dime. 

Disqualification, which is essentially equivalent to banter, flirtations most commonly utilised weapon (and on a personal level, one of the most boring practices ever). You also have more specialised methods of rapport building where you give the subject the illusion that you’ve taught them something about themselves – which can be achieved just through manipulation of language ranging from so-called ‘mind reading’ to simple conversation. You may have noticed my repeated usage of the word ‘subject’, am I being deliberately patronising and provocative? Of course I am, if it provokes a reaction (particularly if it’s something controversial), it provokes a conversation with an instantaneous hook – we all love a bit of argumentative drama. But just in case the womenfolk feel left out, cos we can’t be having that can we, let’s give a mention to the female perspective in this engrossing battle of wits. The sad truth for most men everywhere is however skilled they presume they are at manipulating an articulate, sophisticated, beautiful woman into their lives and bedrooms, until a woman makes that conscious decision to let go she controls the territory on which the game’s perimeters are fought. You may be a player but you’re playing her game, jumping through her hoops like an obedient seal, and it’s the guys who embrace this fact (without literarily vindicating it, which would be the Incel’s special job) that ultimately wind up winning.    
There, wasn’t that fun? Isn’t the game great? But did anyone notice a pattern there by any chance? What I realised very quickly about the game was all it appears to accomplish is make a mockery of our social programming whether that be our need for advantage, respect, self-discovery, variety, etc… holding our pitiful dreams up to us like a distorted mirror, and If there’s one thing which eats away at an Incel’s ego it’s a lack of fulfilled dreams – the perception of failure in the face of an adversity others can’t understand. The mind of an Incel is trip wired with environmental wounds posing as defensive mechanisms, with comforting delusions covering over escape hatches – much like their arch nemesis The Prolific Player, they are made not born. They’re left to marinade in a crippled ideology which prevents them for distinguishing their identity from that of their capacity to change it – much like the compulsive gamer conversely can’t accept their identity for what it is. All of which brings me full circle to the italicised quote at the top of this article, a quote written by a self-professed Incel turned pick-up addict which touches on probably the most influential belief housed in an Incel’s make up which prevents their own salvation – thinking they’re abnormal. 

I said earlier that knowledge came with a price, but then all things worth obtaining come with a price otherwise we wouldn’t pay it. The price of becoming a student of the game was steep; it converted a mirage of a molehill into a very real mountain, leaving me with the downright annoying truth that I’d have to take what I wanted, it wasn’t going to knock at my door carrying a six pack of champagne and a funnel (if you got both that reference and why I used it, you are a grade A nerd and I salute you lol). But along with the price came the reward, an indispensible epiphany which has changed how I think and feel about Incelism before I’d even heard the term. So before I depart I shall leave you by referring back to the very reason why I’m here…

So then, as a representation of my people I finally pose myself the question, what does Incel represent to me? Are we one of life’s sad cases, doomed to live an existence of mediocrity and lost potential? Quite possibly, are we a group who got dealt a bad hand but refuse to make the best of it? Perhaps, we don’t exist in a fairy tale nor would expect that sort of preferable treatment. But despite feeling ordinary in an extraordinary world at times, we are just victims of psychology like everyone else. There’s nothing special, exceptional or shameful about our state of mind or our circumstances – we just happen to be another species of animal living within a social contrast inhabited by equally strange herds. 

The Game has taught me there’s one thing which gives us all a unifying quality as people… whether or not we are any good at it, bad at it, resent it, embrace it, all of us are foolish enough to entertain it in the first place. So as a parting message, I’d like to kick start a revolution of sorts. I say we look to abolish our own shackles of self infected oppression, cast aside all our insecurities, let go of our inhibitons, forget all we have been conditioned to expect from ourselves and others, just say no to our fractured courtship propaganda… and to this end, we march right up to the first person who holds our eye contact for longer than a millisecond and deliver a phrase which will forever go down in the annuals of time as the ultimate chat up line, a line so deviously simplistic it’ll be outlawed as governments look to clamp down on population control. We’ll tell our children of how it used to be complicated to have “the conversation” with them, but how that all changed when genius mind of his generation Fry (who sadly died at the age of 23 due to the increasing ‘drug fuelled sex heart attack’ epidemic) came up with the phrase, “Fancy a fu@k”?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Why The Evil Dead (1981) Original, is *so much better* than The Evil Dead remake (2013), IMO

SPOILERS OF BOTH FILMS HERE!  Don’t bother with this post if you aren’t into horror – you’ll probably get very bored and grossed out, and I would hate that!  Also, there are pics and clips of the film here, and they are quite a bit nasty, so don't look if you don't like that kind of thing, ok?  See you next post, non horror lovers, I promise nothing scary there - in fact I promise you loveliness from one of my photographic artist friends :-)

I love the first Evil Dead film, the original.  (I can’t stand the sequel or the 3rd one.)  The first one is a masterpiece and amongst the scariest arse films I have ever seen.  That’s my starting point here[1].  All pics here are from the first film, the original, to show you its wondrousness and atmosphere!  Behold below - I give you the film's characters, just after thy have looked in the cellar, yes, the evil cellar...

The thing with this remake, was that its one of those extremely unnecessary remakes – why on earth did they do it?  It must have been those who thought the original had a great premise, but lacked the budget to realise it, or the acting talent or somesuch.  (I could actually look this info up but I’m not going to as I’m irritated enough to not actually care why they remade it.  I just think they made a mistake in doing so.)

The thing with the original, was that its limited budget and hammy acting helped its realism no end (yes, I did say realism, bear with me).  Barring episodes with pencils, plasticene in extreme and the scene with the book, the poker and the fire that was just too much altogether, the entire film was played with not a foot wrong.  I’m going to do a post one day about My 5 Favourite Films of All Time, What’s Not Wrong With Them, and Why Aren’t They Yours? – I do remember threatening this some time ago, over a year, but I haven’t got round to it yet.  The Evil Dead will be on this list – despite its flaws.  The poker scene loses some atmosphere (though not the ‘gruelling horror’ tagline the makers promised, nooooooooooooo, that’s still there – but for me, it loses the film momentum as it’s just too silly.  But the end picks it up again and the last shot followed by the creepy happy 20s music is just…chills on the spine.

Be clear: there is NOTHING subtle about the original at all.  It has a bare plot, bare but effective characterisation, rich atmosphere, wonderful camerawork – and a score that would terrify me were I not watching the film at all and only listening, and some visuals that despite the lack of budget scare the living shit out of me every single time I watch it.  There’s nothing like the “Jack of Diamonds! Jack of Clubs!” spin round reveal moment in practically the entire rest of cinema.  That moment is always going to petrify me.  The hardboiled egg eyes with that nasty hint of embryonic pink….shiverrrrrrrrrrrr.  The little girl demon sitting cross legged with her horrible apple cheeks while singing “We’re gonna get you…” in that twisted little voice, followed by that insane cackling never fails to make me want to do the Dr Who thing and hide behind the sofa (I never do, though I have been known to hide behind my fingers).

Of course, neither of these films will work for you, especially the first, if you don’t have a slight silly suspicion in the back of your head that…you know… spirits that are mean and just want to harm people …exist on some level, and want to be in flesh, enfleshed…they want to stab, to eat, to scream, to make bleed…If you don’t have that old fashioned and twisty logicked notion somewhere in your mind – these films will simply make you laugh at the effects (first one), and squirm or doze off at the torture pornishness of the effects (second one).  Since I have many silly notions, that being possibly one of them (thanks mum!), the first film works for me.

I’m not going to describe the plot of the first here, if you haven’t seen it and you like horrors, especially nostalgia horror and classics, then why on earth haven’t you??  There’s a summary here:

I’m also not going to be particularly even handed and say what was good about the remake, as I think it was so utterly unnecessary.  I will say it had clever effects; I will say that some of the demons had scary faces.  But that’s it.  (Why was there so much water in the remake – too much creek, too much cellar water, too much car crash water – what motif did I fail to understand there?)

I always watch remakes of films I like, because even if I think they are a dumb idea, I am a believer in the Variation on a Theme – that someone will take someone else’s idea, and make of it something a bit different, something else, something interesting.  Therefore I won’t be offended, as it no longer bears any proper relation to the original.  They are very distant cousins.  I don’t really feel that with this remake.  I feel they stole bits outright (the location, the cabin), and referenced other bits, but took all the soul away in doing so: what was the point in having one character say – ‘what’s happened to her eyes?’ after one of the most flat and unatmospheric scenes in film history, where very little actually happened at all…it just throws you straight back to the first one, where you were being bludgeoned with the sheer amount that was happening right in your face and you feel quite wrung out at that point?  It’s just a bad comparison.  When the character says it in the original, we are thinking the same thing, and feeling scared; in the second, we’re just thinking ‘oh, was that meant to be the equivalent of that moment?  What did I miss?’  The original character wails the phrase with fear; the new character breathes it, sounding a bit bored and confused.

What they did here with the remake was to try and give a film that effectively made itself almost timeless by giving itself so little context…a proper backstory.  Oddly, I have never seen a film killed before by the addition of depth, backstory, subtler (though boring) characterisation and a bit of place and time context.  You wouldn’t think it, would you?  You’d think it would make it richer.  Instead, whilst they managed to give the group a reason for going into the woods other than a weekend away (and the original group were never idiots – one of the girls was reading a book in the car on the way up there, for example, they weren’t your average teen horror twits), the new reason immediately made me feel irritated. They are there so one of the group can go cold turkey and detox from a drug addiction.  Another of the group wants to keep her there no matter what as she’s failed in the past.  She’s a nurse, and she’s an oddly strident and angry character.  This worthy social cause sort of element annoyed me.  Also, since the detoxing character was the first to be possessed, they could have played a lot with the idea of her seeing things and the others not believing her, there could have been some psychological work going on there with the audience vs. what the characters know…a wasted opportunity, they just didn’t pick up on it once the possession began.

The significant magnifier necklace Linda wears in the original is here worn by another character, the addict, and for her it means something: it’s made of buckwood and is supposed to strengthen your will.  That annoyed me too.  The necklace was there for what it does, not what it means; for what it symbolized and how Ash uses it in the original (something of Linda’s saves him in the end despite her death, her love helped to save him[2]).  It’s not just a necklace that is dismissed by one of the other characters as New Agey, then never to pop up again.  Obviously the new director and writers wanted to subvert our expectations of the so famous original by changing it wholesale while harking back to tease us – the end alone does so (the Ash-equivalent  character dies much earlier, heroically, the sister addict character survives, is the biggest example).

Obviously you don’t expect a remake to pick up on all the elements of an original, but if you are going to do the rape by the woods scene – why not do it properly?  Why make it so utterly nothingy?  The only thing that struck me about that scene was the cringy similarity of the odd black wormy thing to the size and texture of the odd sluggy things in Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975).  By the way, when I say ‘do it properly’ I don’t mean make it more violent or more real and exploitative – I felt it was sufficiently real in the first one without seeing too much – I mean they could have done more with the way the trees and vines moved – having the technology to do that today, if they had wanted to.  Instead they made the scene very minimal indeed, and the trees and vines seemed very static.

There were more updatings of the concept in this story that I hated: I hated the way the demons eyes were totally different and quite familiar – I’ve seen those contacts in a thousand other horrors, they are scary enough but not so dehumanising as the hard boiled eggs with hint of pink of the original. 

I hated the operatic soundtrack (borrow me the original Omen  [1976] and mix it with bog standard nowadays operatic epic theme and you have the soundtrack to this film).  There were pleasing callbacks to the original – the whole film starts with that fly buzzing sound; and freakily, if you listen right to the end of the credits on the remake, you get the original Professor from the first film reading the story of how he released the demons accidentally to begin with, and you get it with no interruption (in the original Cheryl is yelling ‘Turn if offfffffffff!!’ all the way through): curiously mesmeric and ordinary, at the same time.  (Of course, you also get Bruce Campbell saying “Groooovy!” in a stupid voice, so it serves you right for listening that long.)

What I hated the most was the demons themselves.  They DID NOT have any separate and distinct personalities.  (In the original, there was the first spirit – nasty controller Cheryl spirit, ankle stabby and cellar frothy; there was Scotty’s girlfriend, simply crazy, oddly male and very loud and violent and clingy; there was Ash’s girlfriend Linda, a nasty little girl who likes to lick and twist bloody knives and giggle a lot, and Scotty, who I must admit was simply a Zoombie, but he didn’t have much of a chance to get going…)  This was just…demons with super strength and weird eyes.  No personality differences at all.

I hated the way I could see right from the beginning I was going to be bored by them – they SWORE hugely, they swore like Mafiosos.  There was so much of a harkback to The Exorcist (1973) I was disappointed.  The Exorcist was massively – and rightly – influential as a demon film, it had a lot of powerful ideas and imagery within it, but it’s a completely different film to The Evil Dead. The Exorcist had things to say, a point of view, a narrative and a moral…The Evil Dead simply wanted to take some normal seeming people, subject them to a surreal and increasingly maddening state of affairs and for this to be it.  There was no moral (very unusual for an American horror film of the era of its making, the early 80s).

In the remake they were Judeo Christian demons, and there was much talk of hell.  That annoyed me.  I loved the way in the original, the demons were non Christian, not culture specific – they were what was it?  Gondarian?  Kandarian?  Some other cultures demon’s – they were nebulous and therefore more terrifying – they had to be dealt with by physical action rather than belief or ritual of any kind: “the act of bodily dismemberment.” They were an unknown quantity.  The remake kept the death methods and lost the lack of culture focus. They also annotated the Book of the Dead (the famous flesh covered book from the original) in case the audience was perchance too stupid to get the pictures…an annotation like ‘chop the bitch’ just shows you where we are historically now, really: in a world of luridly budgeted mediocrity.

There were references to other films I caught too, an icky scene where the remaining female is being stabbed at through a thin wall reminded me of the wardrobe scene in the original Halloween (1978); the scene where that female is brought back to life after her demonic burial (don’t get me started) by a jerry rigged defibrillating machine thing that involved some large syringes reminded of the famous adrenaline to chest scene in Pulp Fiction (1994).  These sorts of references are fine, but I feel the film had no real vision of its own – it referenced the original and it referenced many other films, without ever making me feel it had something of its own to say or make me feel.

There was an increase of tension all the way through the first film, till the scenes where only Ash remains human and is alone in the cabin.  He puts his hand in a mirror that turns to water, a lightbulb fills with blood for a reason, but it’s a silly reason, and far too much blood falls out of a ceiling pipe at him.  Doors and windows slam, camera angles woogle all over the place and zoom in and out – the filmmakers have such fun, and take us with them.  It’s almost laughable, and at the same time it’s saved from this (in my opinion – I know plenty people who belly laughed through most of the film) the sound effects. 

The last thing really, that I’ll bother you with is the sound effects.  The original film was terrifying not for its music, though the bits they picked were great – the song that doesn’t exist that they wrote just for the film, that’s used so effectively in the car journey on the way up and the editing of that scene, and not only the crazy 20s song they use near the end and at the credits.  It’s all those other sounds.  The way they processed the voices, the way the scenes are soaked by clonks and clanks and the flies buzzing - there were loads more weird and unidentifiable sounds, woven together to oversaturate the sound palette.  It was all very unsettling and crazymaking.  The way the demon of Shelly yells and yells in so many different pitches, with such a writhing intake of breath before the spewing of the milk (yes, it was milk!) to this day fills me with dread – its so endless.  It really was gruelling as the filmmakers promised – her death goes on and on – and so loudly.  Some of the sound effects really sound, to me, like bad bits of my own brain played back to me – I recognize them, they mean something…And yet the over the topness, the amateurishness, the sheer over enthusiasm of the whole film, its inventiveness (and God, it was very inventive with the sound, the editing, the camera, juxtapositions) stops the film entirely, from being too dark and scary to watch.  
It manages the trick of making the disgusting fare we’re watching both scary and silly and involving.  Just true enough, just plausible enough to hold your attention; and just over the top enough for you to laugh knowing it’s not true.  Masterful.  Fun.  Weird. 

Whereas the remake was… just another horror film.  I’m sad that was all it felt like.  Not sure what else it could have been, but it could have been something…

So, to end, here's a couple of clips for those of you who remember this mad film to either laugh or cringe at, once again.  Note I'm not linking the tree rape scene, its the most exploitative in the film - if you want to see it, go buy the film, or go to YouTube. Nuclear War, my friend - ENJOY these, and remember The Scala!

[1] I also love the way my original VHS copy has trailers for Eraserhead, Basketcase and John Water’s Pink Flamingoes before it – other crazy films if ever there were any.  Divine used to scare me witless too.
[2] Er, obviously that’s only true right till the last second of the film when those mischievous film makers just couldn’t let him get away and we know he’s doomed despite surviving the night.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

BJ's SOLSL: my friend Jan, with some Cosmology

This one is a gift for you from my good friend Jan Lee.  I met Jan Lee one day in a coffee shop (THE coffeehouse), where she was reading a most interesting looking book on an aspect of novel writing.    I chirped up as I do tend to, and asked if it was any good cos I had that book at home and haven’t started reading it yet.  (Observe my small child way of making friends that has not changed at all despite me being in my 40s.)  She didn’t seem to think I was weird for speaking to her (as people can do, sadly), and we got talking.  First about novel writing (she’s writing a brilliantly interesting sounding novel), then about allsorts of other things.  Then we met up for coffee again.  And then again.  And then regularly.  And then we saw each other’s houses.  It was lovely; things can be relatively simple even as a grown up. 

I think it was helped by the fact she’s so curious and chatty and clever; she just does not mind talking to me and thinking of answers to my often daft questions.  Every now and again we butt heads about something, but it’s usually a result of differing styles; I end up learning and having thoughts even from our disagreements.  I wish you all a as friend stimulating and funny and warm.

One of the things we talk about a lot, is cosmology.  Its part of what she’ll be exploring in her novel, aspects of it.  It’s such a huge subject – and there’s so much to say and think and ponder on it…so I asked her to write a tiny quick teaser bit, to get you all as interested in this vast subject as she is.  If you’re all good, I’ll ask her to write a follow up bit, where some of the ideas get explained a bit more – as this article is but the start of your exploring of this subject…It will send you off to the library, to Google, with a crunched up concentrated face, to find more, more, more…

Musings on the nature of reality

I had a lot of trouble deciding what to write about here.  My first thought was the Big Bang theory, and how similar it is to the story of Genesis (reader reads religious nut), and how that might be an expression of the borders of our ability to understand the universe.  As in, maybe we just don't have the equipment, because we're built for the natural, three-dimensional world throwing lions at us.

Then I thought about parallel universes, all the unexplained experiences people have (reader catches a whiff of joss sticks), or interconnecting dimensions, etc.  But I'm woefully ignorant in this area. 

So, then I thought I'd look along philosophical lines... existentialism and nihilism (reader visualises fat, angry angels, hopping.) 

But I've got to start somewhere, and the thing that most recently piqued my interest was this:

And what makes me take it more seriously than I otherwise might, is this quote from Max Planck:

"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness."

- Max Planck (Founder of Quantum Physics, Nobel Prize Laureate), As quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)

I don't even pretend to understand it, but it got me thinking, ooh, about lots of things.  Like how only a fraction of the universe is made of the kind of matter that we understand..., naturally, we can only view things in terms of our understanding of the 5% that we currently have at our disposal, otherwise we step outside the established scientific boundaries and might find someone passing us the Prozac.  Taking comfort from Max Planck's words, though, I'll press on.

It got me thinking about consciousness and how it surges through our brains in three-dimensional energy waves.  For some reason, I imagine this as a superbly choreographed Mexican wave running right through a stadium (instead of just around the edges), with layer upon layer of tiny people standing on each other's shoulders.  It also made me wonder how we have come to view the near-death experience as a by-product of the oxygen-starved brain, rather than as our experience of the reality of the point of death.  Which got me thinking about probabilities.  Which is the more likely?  That near-death experiences are a kind of sugar-rush, or that our consciousness experiences leaving our body?  We can see the same pattern repeated in every brain, and we can talk to the survivors and ask them what they saw and heard while the brain was emitting that pattern.  But then we have to leap one way or the other, and where does the weight of evidence lie?  I know two people who have died (and survived, obviously), and they both had a full-on awareness of the process.  One of them was a Man Of Science, who didn't believe in anything he couldn't hit with a stick, but he took his experience to be an absolute reality.  Their journeys, though very different in some ways, were fairly typical of the bulk of reports.  It changed their entire outlook on life.  So, having the physical process of death described in terms of the pattern in makes in the brain doesn't help much.  Douglas Adams springs to mind, because wherever you might sit on the meaning-of-life question, knowing that the answer is 42 doesn't really cut it.

“At the end of Life, the Universe and Everything, the third book in the series, Arthur encounters a man named Prak, who through a significant overdose of a remarkably effective truth serum has gained the knowledge of all truth. Prak confirms that 42 is indeed the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, but reveals that it is impossible for both the ultimate answer and the ultimate question to be known about the same universe. He states that if such a thing should come to pass, the universe would disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable. He then speculates that this may have already happened.”

- Encyclopedia Uselessia

The probability thing got me thinking about the multiverse, and whether we can ever point to the moment that a parallel universe branches off, given that it happens at every instant, given that it happening is what the world looks like just going about its business.  I imagine the multiverse as a  disc galaxy - fat in the middle, where all the highest probability outcomes come to fruition, tapering off to the more improbable around the edges.  It doesn't look anything like that, of course, because my imagination is really quite limited and the multiverse must be (in our terms) effectively infinite.  It might be that human imagination and consciousness evolve as new things are discovered or created, but we aren't there yet.  Which brings us right back to how the Big Bang theory came to have so many elements of the Genesis story – and how our current Big Sleep theory looks just like nature giving us one last dream before we go. 

The parallel universe thing reminds me of all the other dimensions that, theoretically, populate the universe (if the concept is still current after the decline of string-theory).  How it could be possible that they do not interact with us at all, ever?  Except for one that might have something to do with gravity, maybe.

Then there's the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, not to be confused with the Observer effect (although Heisenberg himself is reputed to have confused the two on occasion).  It seems to say that in order for the wave-function to collapse into reality, our consciousness must interact, fundamentally,  on the quantum level.  Is that right, or did I end up confusing the two?

Anyway, as always, there are more questions than answers.  I think I'll just skip the bit on existentialism and nihilism.

By Jan Lee, August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

BJ's SOLSL: My friend John, with some Football History

"John Lovett who enjoys writing and sometimes updates his blog" is how he wants me to introduce this.  This is very typical and succinct of him.  So it can stand.

Mr Hooting Yard is the link here; he introduced us via cyber some time ago, and we seem to have got along very nicely ever since.  I’ve no idea what he sees in BJ here, but I find Mr Lovett a fount of friendly and sudden information; I am happy with his brain.  I love his blog – which he just does NOT do as often as I would like him to – because every time I go there I learn something I didn’t know before.  Usually about something I was under the impression I didn’t give a toss about.

Take this post he has written for me for instance.  When he first suggested it, I wanted to say – ‘but I hate sport! I don’t care!’, but then I read it, and I was interested.  By the end I was hmmming and thinking about…football.  (Fry will be laughing, he’ll think my blog has hit perfection now it has a football post on it.)

So, my lovely Readers – learn something, and then visit this blog and learn some other stuff too (there's posts about Mozart, Polari, BMI diets and lots of other things you wouldn't put together...):  and

Enjoy this spot of Football History (and never say I don’t give you variety on this blog…occasionally):
A brief history of changing colours
It is that time of year when the football season kicks off around Europe. Which many people find a bit on the dull side. One of the issues that has come to the fore over the last couple of years has been the colours that teams wear. This is down to teams changing colours for reasons of sponsorship or luck. So lets have a look at teams that have changed colours and why. 

The obvious place to start is Cardiff City. The Blue Birds will be in the Premier League for the first time this year. Playing in Red. The team are owned by Malaysian born businessman Vincent Tan whose money saved the club from administration Tan decided that changing the teams colours to red, a lucky colour in Malaysia it might bring luck to the team. The change happened before last season City won promotion. A plan to rename the team the Cardiff Red Dragons was put on ice although a dragon is now the dominant image on the club crest the blue bird is still on there but a lot smaller. 

Have you ever wondered why West Ham’s shirts are identical to Aston Villa? Well it has to do with a man named Bill Dove. Dove had been an internationally renowned sprinter and was working with the West Ham team when they traveled up to Birmingham to play a cup tie against Villa in 1889. Some of the Villa players bet Dove, by now in his 40s that they could beat him in a race the length of the pitch. Dove won. The Villa players, unable to pay up, were able to give Dove a set of shirts instead.  At the time West Ham were still an amateur club while Villa a league side. But there is no real evidence that this ever happened. In fact Villa and West Ham did not wear the same colours till 1903 and the team that played Villa in 1889 was Thames Ironworks a predecessor club to West Ham. No one is sure what really happened. 

Talking of contrasting sleeves. That brings us to Arsenal. Apparently in 1933 Herbert Chapman the clubs chairman saw his gardener wearing a red pullover over a white shirt on a misty morning and thought that look could help players pick each other out on the pitch. Before then Arsenal played in Red shirts. So he had some white shirts and pullovers made up for the team. These were not popular and soon they switched to red shirts with white sleeves. Of course some doubt this story of the gardener. 

Another team who play in white and red are Dutch champions AFC Ajax Amsterdam. But it wasn’t always so. When the team formed they wore all black with a red sash tied round the waist. Then they changed to red and white striped shirts and black shorts. However on winning promotion to the Dutch top flight in 1911 they had to change again. At that time there were no change kits and if a new team had the same colours as an existing team in the league then the new boys had to change. Sparta Rotterdam already had dibs on the red and white stripes with black shorts so Ajax adopted a white shirt with broad red stripe and white shorts. They still wear these colours today and now that change kits are allowed Ajax regularly revive the original all black look. 

Keeping the Dutch connection Blackpool FC are famous for playing in Tangerine. This came about when a club official Albert Hargreeves refereed a match between The Netherlands and Belgium in 1923. He was impressed with the Dutch colours and suggested it to the club who soon adopted it, although in the late 30’s they switched back to light and dark blue stripes, the clubs original colours. That said before switching to the tangerine they played in all red and at the end of the First World War played a season in black red and gold to honour the Belgian refugees who were billeted in the town. 

Of course some teams change colours to be like a more successful side. Many of the top teams today wear colours that echo the dominant team when they first formed. Leeds United are the exception to this starting out in Blue and White stripes, they switched to Blue and Yellow in the early 30’s to echo the colours of the town crest. In 1961 they changed to all white to mimic Real Madrid. Then a dominant force in Europe they were not quite the only ones. Tottenham Hotspur play in white shirts and blue shorts and socks and have done so since 1900 but since 1961 Spurs have played in all white in Europe to echo Madrid.
Talking of changing colours to mimic another team Juventus in 1903 wanted to replace the pink shirts that they had been using up to that point and asked an Englishman John Savage to help. Savage wrote a friend in Nottingham who got hold of a set of Notts County’s black and white striped shirts. Juve still play in these colours today. Of course Newcastle also play in black and white stripes and when fans were angry at the owner Mike Ashby a few years back a section wore Juventus shirts, to still show the colours but not give and money to the hated owner. 

Perhaps the most surprising colour change of recent years is Luton Town. Many assume that the hatters switched from White and Blue to Orange and Blue after all of their money problems as part of a deal with EasyJet the new sponsor whose colours are Orange and Blue. This isn’t the case, the club wore orange and blue in the 70’s when they played in the top flight and orange and blue are the colours of the crest of Luton and the fans voted for a return to orange and blue before EasyJet came aboard; the airline based at Luton use the colours of the town as now do the club.

There are many more odd changes that have happened. Although strangely throughout team sports it is the teams that rarely if ever change their colours who have the best winning records.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

BJ's SOLSL: HOOTING YARD is the opening post!!

So, in case you wondered what on earth BJ's SOLSL was at the beginning - get used to it, it refers to the previous post where I said we'd be having a Season of Guest Voices of People I like.  Since then I've widened it a bit, in that I am having a couple of visual pieces too, also people I like...obviously.  So you know there are pictures coming too.

To begin then!  As you all well remember as though it were yesterday and we were not all so much older and more cynical now - were it not for Mr Hooting Yard nagging me something relentless to start a blog, you would not be here with me today, suffering as you are.  To thank him for this honour, chore and general wastage of our time, I thought who better to begin my Season of Late Summer Love of Voices I Like, than the man who brought me here??

If you haven't already perused his legendary website, please do (see my blogroll).  When I go on, as I woesomely do, about life not making any sense and boiling my head and feeling overwhelmed; Mr Hooting Yard is approaching the whole quandary in a completely different way.  He is simply and gently mocking the whole thing, loving the whole thing, and having fun with it all.  Via words.  Some people say what he writes is nonsense, joyful joyful nonsensical waffle.  Other people find it incredibly soothing and aren't sure why.  Some people (myself included) find themselves laughing out loud one moment and wandering why he doesn't write polemic in the next.  (I think he slips into serious sometimes when he's not aware of it, and while still talking in humourous code).  Its nothing in particular, ad infinitum, in detail, and I have always loved it.  It cheers me up.  He has books too, so you should go to his website and buy them; then you can be amused on the Tube.  And then there's the podcasts...

I've known Mr Hooting Yard some many years now (along with his Esteemed and Wondrous partner, the Ms Pansy Cradledew), and I think he uses words to cope with life a hell of a lot better than I do.  His words make smiles, laughter and relieve pressure.  Also, his posts are way shorter than mine so you have the added bonus of not having to get camped out before you start.  Once you read one, you'll want to read more, so dip your dusty toes here, then go to the website and smile for the rest of the afternoon, while your insides get a polishment of happiness and amusement...

Here in a previously unpublished (and indeed only composed on Friday!!  Excitement!!) post, is a taster of the World of Mr Hooting Yard:

The World of Breakfast: POPTARTS
It is an exciting time in the world of breakfast. I learned as much last week, when I had the good fortune to be invited to a new product launch. The do took place in a swish and sophisticated hotel, and as I am neither swish nor sophisticated I was a bit worried that I would be thrown out on my ear, if indeed I was allowed in at all. I decided that I would cut something of a dash by wearing spats. Unfortunately, my footwear adviser misconstrued what I said, and I arrived at the swish and sophisticated hotel wearing galoshes. But I need not have fretted. Such was the atmosphere of new-breakfast-product excitement and hubbub that I made my way into the throng without incident.

And what a throng! The hotel ballroom was packed to the rafters with the great and the good, the movers and shakers, the glitterati, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4 News. I grabbed a glass of aerated lettucewater from a tray held by a minion, and leaned against a mantelpiece in what I hoped was an insouciant manner.

After a series of speeches from big names in the breakfast world, the new product was eventually revealed – smokers' poptarts! After we had oohed and aahed at the gorgeous packaging, we were treated to a demonstration of how best to prepare this toothsome breakfast-related snack item. Apparently, you remove the smokers' poptart from its greaseproof-paper wrapping, pop it into a toaster, and wait. It was rather unfortunate that the toaster used at the launch was a 1972 model from the former Soviet Union, for it malfunctioned, with a lot of buzzing and hissing noises, before a billow of black smoke rose from it and choked several celebrities standing nearby, one of whom I think may have been Yoko Ono. The smokers' poptart itself was burned to ashes, of course.

By this time we were all growing very peckish, and had been looking forward to munching this delicious new breakfast product. Instead, the hotel chef rustled up a vast quantity of bubble and squeak. It was rather like the miracle of the loaves and the fishes (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15), except with bubble and squeak rather than bread and fish.

By the time an oompah band started up, we were all stuffed to the gills, albeit not with smokers' poptarts. But we accepted our brochures, information sheets, and balloons with good grace, and it was a reasonably happy crowd that spilled out into the hotel carpark. Interestingly, the carpark was pitted with puddles, oh! puddles innumerable, and all the great and the good and the movers and shakers and glitterati got their shoes and socks soaked through. I thanked the Lord for my galoshes, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy thanked the Lord for his galoshes, thoughtfully provided by an unpaid intern from Channel 4 News.

As I wended my way home through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells, I resolved to buy a carton of smokers' poptarts for my breakfast at the earliest opportunity. Alas, I have yet to see them on the shelves of the local poptart shop. As Jagger once observed, you can't always get what you want.

Monday, 12 August 2013

BJ's Season of Late Summer Love...coming up shortly...wait for it...

This will be one of my bittier posts.  Really its to say (a) oops, sorry, I vanished for ages – this was due to loads of ebay listings (so much more troublesome than Amazon listings to do, and I’m still at it), and (b) a sudden absolute brick wall in terms of what to say.

I mean…I have plenty to say, and here I am wittering, albeit about nothing, but nonetheless, here I be.  No, I have about 7 half written posts I have lost interest in.

Then I had a Really Cool Idea.  It was partly from something Mr Hooting Yard (see blogroll) said to me ages ago – he said, you don’t have to produce content for your blog all the time; you can post bits up from books you like, and have guests in sometimes.  To break up the old sameyness of BlackberryJuniper and her overheated head.  I listened, and occasionally have had guests in.

But you know what?  I have not been thinking big enough here, with the guests thing.  I thought back to those BBC2 seasons of horror films they would have on in the summers of my teenageriness (ahhh, I was simpler then).  I thought of all the friends I am envying who have gone off on a summer holiday this year.  I thought of all those music festivals people keep telling me I’d love if I went to (don’t they know me AT ALL????[1]).  The summerish vibe in general.  The fact we are HAVING a proper summer this year (right down to the thunderstorms).

And I thought: Blackberry Juniper’s Season of Late Summer Love.  Henceforth referred to as BJ’s SOLSL, because that isn’t a mouthful at all, is it?  What it is, is: I’ve asked some members of my family, and some of my friends, and some of my favourite bloggers I read to contribute a piece to the blog.  They can write whatever they like (except one, who I specifically asked to write to a certain topic, cos I really wanted to hear what she’d say about it).  What I want, is for you all, Readers (she says grandly), to hear in their voices, what I hear in their voices: all different, all different concerns, but such intelligence and life.  So far, most people I have asked have said yes. (Astonishingly.)  I reckon 2 people are going to make me wait eons before I see a dickybird from them.  I reckon I can count on 2 people to give me something within the week (as they are both as anal as me, and as organized as I wish I was).  Another 2 will maybe gift me within the next fortnight.  And 3 are so far silent…I reckon they might not want to do it and are umming and ahhing about telling me cos they don’t want to hurt my feelings.  That’s very lovely of them, if so.  I am indeed, a delicate flower.  We’ll see…

I’m hoping this will be a nice Season of Voices I Adore (alternative name for the season – it sounds a bit more, um, technical somehow; but I like the first name better – the first name implies lying about in fields with the sun on your face andcool glass of something in your hand, don’t you think?  Blankets, voices on the breeze?  Is there a big outdoorsy cinema screen in front of you, or a sound stage in the distance?  Or do you just hold a really good book, and when you look up, your partner is next to you, or your friend, snoozing in the afternoon sun?)

I definitely like summer best of all the seasons.  I am usually to be found here-ish, when in my head.  On the Lands, somewhere, sitting or walking in the sun.

But this is to confuse you.  The Season’s posts won’t be about summer (as far as I know).  They won’t have any theme at all; the only link between the posters is that I like all their voices very much, and their thoughts always interest me.  I told them to write whatever they wanted, their usual thing (be it political or life thoughts, or spiritual subjects, whatever) or not – to take a holiday and write me something different.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what pops up from them, and in what order (it would be great if the posts made some sort of unintentional pattern that I can see, wouldn’t it?)

Anyway – between these posts, if I should actually end up finishing one of my own, or having Something To Say (drumroll), I will go on and post up.  Otherwise, between me and my guests (fusses around, tidying the blog and sweeping the moodiness deeply under the carpet and sofa edge), I expect the BJ SOLSL (that does so trip off the tongue, stop disagreeing with me, humpf) to go on a month or so, maybe 2 months.

So.  I will look really stupid now if no one I have asked writes me anything, won’t I?!!

[1] Ok, music festivals, like Glastonbury etc.  Problems for me: (a) 24 hour a day *people*, (b) not being able to be alone and especially SLEEP uninterrupted whenever I really need to, (c) NOISE, and I don’t mean the music, though that thumping in my chest would get old even if I adored the music, (d) what if I get sick – stomach, migraine etc?  I would ruin everyone’s party with my little (legal) pharmacy and insisting on going off to lie down till I feel better, what a princess I would seem, heh, (e) do not get me started on the unhygienic-ness…I couldn’t keep everything (and ME) as clean as I would like…so I’m sorry if all this makes me come off as rigid and un-fun, but hey: I am as I am, and I don’t make you come to The Proms or the Museum of London with me when I occasionally go, do I?  I don't make you sit about and read books constantly, enjoying the peace and quiet, do I? Shoo, shoo, off to your festie with you!   Enjoy!