Friday, 15 April 2016

Things and Stuff #22



Things and Stuff is a grab-bag of things that've been on my mind this week. In this edition: comics, Wembley, Eden, pods, eyeballs

This is going to be a fairly quick one.

Thing 1: Rat Planet

I finally read two awesome comics I've been meaning to get to for ages - Rat Queens and Bitch Planet. They are both great. Rat Queens is funny, filthy, bloody fantasy about a gang of rowdy adventurers battling trolls and trying to find out who framed them. Bitch Planet is a sci-fi dystopia about the prison planet where women are sent when they commit 'crimes' that are non-compliant with the ruling patriarchy. Both of them are NSFW and feminist and diverse. Bitch Planet particularly made me fall off my chair with horrified glee. It's not subtle, but that's kind of its charm. It takes real world sexism that we're all deeply familiar with, dials it up to 100 and throws a giant lampshade on it.

One of the more SFW bits (c) Image Comics and Kelly Sue DeConnick
It is the horrifying patriarchal dystopia of my heart. If you only read one horrifying patriarchal dystopia this year, make it this one.

Thing 2: Hello Wembley, goodbye Birmingham
I've done my Hans Zimmer gigs. They were freaking amazing.

Until they take the videos down (and they seem to be far more tolerant this time than last time actually), you can see quite a bit of it by plugging 'Hans Zimmer Live' into Youtube or Instagram. I particularly recommend Interstellar and the Lion King! I didn't know the Interstellar music at all before we started rehearsing for this and now wow, that ending, I, wow.

Anyway, here is our sort of signature moment, a Crimson Tide medley that turns into the fiendishly hard and a+ perfectly named 160 BPM from Angels and Demons.



Sadly, my last Zimmer Live gig was the one in Birmingham on Tuesday. Happily, I'm going to have plenty more fun weird choir stuff for these posts in the next few months.

Speaking of which...

Thing 3: Rowing in Eden
The next actual CEFC concert with the full 100-strong choir which we've been working up to for months and months is finally here! It's on Monday the 18th in the Barbican Centre at 7:30pm.

Also, bloody hell, look at this stunning thing, I kind of want this image framed to hang on my wall (c) CEFC

If you are in London, you should come. We're doing Poulenc's Gloria, which is fun and weirdly cheeky for a piece of classical music (one movement was inspired by monks playing football...), Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music which is gorgeous, and John Adams' Harmonium which is utterly amazing and strange and knocks 160 BPM into next week in terms of heart-pounding difficulty.

Thing 4: Bangity Bang, Hello to Jason Isaacs, Shut Up Phone, It's Just Us Here, What's Next?
I love the Cornell Collective.

Actually, I love podcasts in general. I have a real podcast problem: when I subscribe to a new podcast I like to listen to all of it. When it's something like the Nerdist, which seems to put out an episode every day and stretches back into the depths of history (like, 2010) this is a real problem. I've been working my way through the back-catalogue of the Pharos Project (Doctor Who and dirty jokes), What's The T with Ru Paul (drag, life and dirty jokes) and The Indoor Kids (video games and... wow lots of these podcasts are really filthy). Plus I'm obviously keeping up to date with the vital ones, your Wittertainments and Empire Movie Podcasts and Adam Buxtons and Answer Me Thises and West Wing Weeklys (Josh Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway rewatch and review the West Wing one episode at a time. No massively dirty jokes yet, but they're only on episode four, there's still time.)

The only drawback to my massive podcast habit is a) that there are so many more I will probably never get to (Song Exploder, The Black Tapes, even Serial, they're on the list, I just haven't had the chance), and b) that if I hear another advert for Squarespace I think I might rip my own ears off and feed them to the nearest podcaster. (Not that I am not very grateful to all the advertisers for providing me with more free quality entertainment than I could ever possibly cram into my brain, but... seriously.)

ANYWAY - this was meant to be a fairly simple rec entry, so let's just say one of the good things about the Cornell Collective, Paul Cornell's wonderful geeky creator podcast is that it's monthly and has been going for less than a year so it's possible to catch up. Also, it's wonderful! And geeky! And stars creators from the worlds of TV, film and comics, talking about geeky things and usually some Doctor Who! If you like these things, you should listen to it.

Here you go: http://cornellcollective.geekplanetonline.com/podcast/the-cornell-collective-01/

Thing 5: [Eyeball squick warning]

Jessie tore her cornea last weekend. It was awful. She's much better now, and I know where my local A+E is and how to get there, so that's a tiny silver lining. Just a word of advice, for anyone who is thinking of getting hit in the face with a tree branch and tearing their cornea: don't.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Things and Stuff #21

Things and Stuff is a grab-bag of things that've been on my mind this week. In this edition: things, people, hair, Zimmer, Bologna. 

Thing 1: 100 things
Last week was Things and Stuff #20. Here are the first hundred Things!

1: a painless edit (it was The Last Apprentice 3: The Painted War!)
2: Iron Man 3
3: this blog
4: Alexandra Palace's lottery funding
5: ironic Blogger spellcheck issues
6: The World's End trailer
7: Liz Lemon
8: trying to move house
9: Clara's role in Doctor Who
10: Empire (the magazine)'s Cannes Videblogisodes
11: prop-making for Empire (the LARP)
12: Karen Ball's Guardian sewing blog
13: Skulk edits
14: martial arts and fatness
15: The Name of the Doctor
16: what makes a bestseller
17: CEFC on The One Show
18: The Iron Price nailvarnish
19: gay girls in Gunnerkrigg Court
20: Crystal Palace get into the Premier League
21: Malorie Blackman, Children's Laureate
22: the Red Wedding
23: CEFC Coronation concert
24: bad blogging
25: kids' toy-based TV
26: exposition
27: Once
28: spooky dreams
29: prop-making for Odyssey (badly)
30: a picture of a fox
31: a skulk
32: a rabble
33: a conspiracy
34: a horde
35: a cluster
36: no editing
37: Much Ado About Joss Whedon's Garden
38: Cleolinda's Hannibal recaps
39: penthouses
40: Skulk artwork secrets (it was the logo!)

Thing #40 (c) me, technically, because Strange Chemistry very kindly let me have the rights to use the Skulk and Rabble artwork when they went under. <3 
41: Final Fantasy VII
42: Beren and Luthien
43: rereading 2013's Nano novel
44: Elle me Dit
45: too hot
46: The Drowned Man
47: alcohol
48: ARCs
49: moving out of London
50: Welcome to Night Vale
51: Skulk blog tour
52: Game of Thrones soundtracks
53: quoth the raven
54: Netgalley recommended Skulk and called Meg 'superb'!
55: JL8
56: more Skulk blog tour
57: lost my voice
58: Skulk reviews
59: the Great British Bake Off
60: my copies of Skulk failing to be delivered
61: fetching my copies of Skulk from the delivery place
62: Skulk launch party
63: geek wedding
64: more Skulk blog tour
65: Meryl Streep in a tree
66: finally moving house
67: the first draft of Rabble
68: very bad blogging
69: KITTENS
Thing #69 aka Midnight (c) me

70: graffiti herons
71: the end of Strange Chemistry
72: Disney songs in their native languages
73: Wimbledon and the World Cup
74: Victorian research (aka Hetero Interlude)
75: my cats are really cute
76: Colditz tabletop
77: secret writing clues
77: Carmen
79: writing-spot reviews
80: Spotify
81: a secret (I can exclusively reveal this was A BOOK COVER! Cannot reveal what book it was, though.)
82: CEFC Rachmaninov Vespers
83: Hannibal
84: researching a villain
85: Morning Pages
86: Undiscovered Voices 2016 opens
87: Sense8
88: 50 Shades of Flashheart
89: Pride
90: TOO HOT
91: Only Ever Yours
92: reading
93: glassblowing
94: everything is flammable
95: MsTabularasa's Shut Up And Dance vid
96: more secrets, more clues
97: Instagram
98: Bury Your Gays
99: UV2016 launches

100: Sanjay's Super Hero Squad

Thing 2: The People I Meet On The Way To Work
Apropos of absolutely nothing except that I noticed there were a lot of them, I made a photo album of some of the names I encounter when I walk to the WP office from the station. 

Thing 3: NEW HAIR
It's actually not this colour any more - after a couple of washes the light purple has faded into a lovely kind of pastel blue colour. I love it so much. I need to win the lottery and/or strike a deep vein of book royalties so I can change it even more often. Cosmic karma make that happen for me please. Cheers.

This is the second selfie I've taken and put on here, this is very strange to me, I normally don't go in for selfies very much but like how could I not show this off? It's PURPLE (c) me
Thing 4: Hans Zimmer Live
I'm going on tour with Hans Zimmer next week, nbd.

Lol jk it is a huge deal. 

I am in this video! Back row second sop from the left. You can't really miss me because there are only 24 people in the choir. That's NOT VERY MANY FYI. (c) Hans Zimmer Live


I'm so excited. Some of my favourite music ever from some of my favourite movies, some of my favourite people (Hans, it turns out, is a really nice dude) and based on the gigs we did in Hammersmith Apollo a couple of years ago, some of the most fun/and challenging performing experiences I've ever had. There is a click track. There is strobe lighting. There are hundreds of bars of 7/8, a couple of top D sharps, chord progressions to make you lie down on the ground and weep with joy. And it's all the sweeter given that for a while I thought I wasn't going to be able to do these ones. That's how it goes, sometimes - but I am beyond chuffed that in fact, in this instance, this is how it's going instead.

The tour is epic and Europe-spanning and I'm doing two of the dates, with a tiny number of other Crouch End Festival Chorus singers - Wembley Arena (eee) on the 6th of April and Birmingham Barclaycard Arena on the 12th. If you are there, you will see me! I'll be the one in the middle of the sops with the violet hair trying not to weep.

Thing 5: #BCBF16
The Bologna Children's Book Fair is next week! Here's hoping that all of the publishers, rights people, agents etc survive all their meetings, sell all their books, drink a silly amount of Prosecco.