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  • Archive for January, 2011

    Cartoon Crushes

    2011 - 01.30

    I am also a fan of The Smoulder. Oh yes.

    Meet my current desktop.  It’s an awful distraction. Every time my right ring finger accidentally strikes F11, there he is, my new love: at the outset a selfish, egotistical, brigand of a man but worse of all, a damn cartoon, which is probably a good Ha Ha drop down from my life-long crush on the Doctor, but do I care?


    The cornerstone principle of fandom, according to Armilleri & Kennant, is that THERE IS NO SHAME. As far as we’re concerned, in the absence of real love in our lives, we can swoon over whoever else the hell we want. Right now, I’d quite like a Flynn Rider and the horse he rode in on, thanks ever so much.

    So yes, I enjoyed Tangled, to the slightly worrying point that I’m now going obsess over it until I have the time to see it again. Which, knowing my schedule, should be, oooo, in a month or so.


    …it’s less morally evil to Pirate Bay when you’ve already paid for a cinema ticket and have pre-ordered the DVD on Amazon…. right…?

    Trashing Trailers

    2011 - 01.30

    My kind of cheese

    So I’m at Vue between teaching spin at GymBox and hitting the flicks, and where the ambient soundtrack is starting to freak me out. Since discovering trailer-specific artists like Two Steps From Hell, X-Ray Dog, Immediate Music, Globus and Epic Score, suddenly every single film trailer sounds like a track from my spin classes. I’ve just realised that the cinema has become as corrupted as the radio, where every second song belongs in a Les Mills fitness class and you’re constantly fighting the desire to break into inappropriate exercise routines in the middle of supermarkets… malls… clothing stores… dance clubs… your car… the Home Office…

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’ve sat myself, my laptop and my daily 1,500 word objective facing Vue’s preview screen, which is a Terrible Idea as I now proceed to ‘not watch’ the trailer loop. I’m trying to use i-tunes to block out the sound of the trailers, to reduce their distraction factor. So far, not an astounding success; for instance while working very diligently on this blog post I’ve just ‘not watched’ the preview for Never Let Me Go, which I knew nothing – and still know very little – about, but feel the need to research anyway.

    *wikipedias Never Let Me Go – depressed now but still interested*

    Oh dear, there’s a film coming called Gnomeo & Juliet. Excuse me? You can just see the pitch, can’t you?

    SCRIPT WRITER: ‘It’s a comedy-caper re-imagining of Romeo & Juliet, updating this classic Shakespearean tale for a younger audience.’

    EXECUTIVE: ‘Er, hasn’t Romeo & Juliet been done to death?’

    SCRIPT WRITER: ‘Ah yes – but not with garden gnomes! And not without the death either!!’

    EXECUTIVE: ‘Brilliant!!! And we’ll call it… Gnomeo & Juliet!!!!’

    I mean it’s a family animation, what are they going to do, kill the gnomes? Or not kill the gnomes, which is even lamer?

    Ah, interesting, I just didn’t-see the trailer for The Kings Speech, which made me rather glad I didn’t see it before I saw the film either, because it has just given away the entire two hours of plot and emotional beats (crisis requiring resolution, gathering of the fellowship/friendship, fun & games, betrayal, dark night of the soul, but oh wait, everyone’s happy at the end!!). If not for the fact it was so exquisitely executed, I wouldn’t really see the point of seeing it post-trailer, to be honest.

    [If you’re interested in trailer breakdowns, the good folk over at Movie Vortex are now doing analyses of upcoming trailers, which can be seen here. Mel Gibson’s The Beaver makes for a particularly interesting conversation.]

    Now I also know hardly anything about Tangled, and having just not-seen the trailer without sound, I fear it does look awful. But HOLY CRAP there’s a smurfs movie? And Yogi Bear? Justin Bieber has an autobiographical film out? Look, I’m practically a closet fan to the point of having watched the video to Never Say Never a few times more than once, and hell, the kid is doing well, but they better hope he’s not going to go off the rails like Billie Piper, Britney et al, or in a few years this film is going to be all kinds of awkward.

    Now there’s something about some blue parrots bouncing off ladies’ ample butts on a beach. Rio? And i-tunes is playing the Voyager theme at me. While Rio bounces off ladies butts. This is frankly too much.

    Talking of too much, there goes Peter Weir’s The Way Back, which looks like an immensely bleak two hours at the cinema. The trailer talks of nothing but death and suffering – and I can’t even hear a damn thing of it through a playlist that’s jumping through Dark Knight, Scooter and Enya. There’s not even the sort of uplifting montage you get at the end of a trailer to say ‘don’t worry, there’s a happy ending’, which means you’ll probably want to kill yourself by the time the lights go up. As opposed to Gnomeo & Juliet, for which you’ll probably already be borderline suicidal to even enter in the first place.

    *Wikipedias The Way Back: right, now that’s proper Shakespearean tragedy*

    Well would you look at that, it’s now time for Tangled. Total word count on the rewrite? 365 words. That’s tonight totally knackered. But for now… bring me Disney.

    Once more with feeling

    2011 - 01.30

    Back in the day – a day in January of last year, to be exact – I said I’d write a book by the end of the year.

    On 29 November 2010, while sitting in a pub in Wincanton listening to folk band Lavington Bound and digesting a conversation I had just had with Terry Pratchett, the extreme magnitude of my failure hit me.

    So I wrote a book in December.

    It’s called The Sinless Sword. It’s a teenage/YA fantasy novel about a boy who goes searching for his destiny, finds it, runs the hell away from it but has his ass kicked by it anyway, because Destiny is a right old sod.

    Well, I wrote most of it in December. The target was 80,000 words, of which 72,000 of book were writ along with 10,000 words of diary (I write to myself. Mostly as a method of keeping sane – and I’ll leave you to decide the success of that exercise). So that’s 80,000 words written, right?

    This was not me. I did not kick ass.

    There were also 40,000 words written earlier in the year and written off so badly by a friend that I stopped writing. For almost a fortnight. Yeah, precious, I know, hand me that violin and I’ll make your ears bleed.

    A small digression: I backed myself into a corner a few weeks ago telling some writer friends that the critique ‘made me feel…[insert self-defeatist metaphor of your choice]’. They pulled me up with a sharp ‘hang on: who made you feel like that?’ A writer tripping myself up on my own words: for shame, I should know better.



    2011 - 01.15

    Applying family therapy to scripts: in reverse.

    Which turned into Applying Adele’s Script to Investigating her Psyche.

    All in another interesting afternoon at BAFTA…

    Ok, so it's not a *real* constellation, but pegasus is cool.

    I have a script which can be accurately described as stuck. Hell, I have two scripts and a book in various states of stuckedness, but Life in Me is categorically in a State of Stuck.

    One of the reasons, as pointed out by a friend in several pages of notes and 20 minutes of protesting over the phone (I was blissfully unaware of all this, you see), might be that I’m warping the narrative of the story out of shape by assuming that it’s Sienna’s story… when maybe, just maybe, it belongs to Rael. The Batman comics and films sure as hell ain’t called ‘Bruce Wayne’ and for a damn good reason.

    Am I telling the wrong story by using the wrong protagonist? Is that why I got through draft after draft and still can’t get the wretched thing right?

    Picard has the highest number of google hits for Face Palm pics :)

    So I’ve had this dropped on me and while I commit an ongoing face-palm and wallow in creative despair (which is a place dark somewhere between self-loathing [I’m an idiot, I’ll never be able to do write anything worth a damn, you need actual talent for that, blah blah blah self surrender blah’] and self-doubt [maybe this is just rubbish, always has been, always will be, and perhaps I’m just wasting my whole life and will fail as miserably as a writer as I did as a dressage rider woe is me et cetera]) Pippa randomly sent me a link to a workshop called Scripts Unstuck.

    That’s like, fate or something, right? You’ve got to sign up for something like that when writing has devolved from a work of genius into a car crash in front of your disbelieving eyes.


    I (won’t) Surrender

    2011 - 01.12

    Life lessons learned from kicking ass

    This is not me. Although I sometimes pretend to be Rachel, this is the real deal.

    I’ve just started teaching Body Combat 46, which features Cadence’s I Surrender. It’s the last power-training track, the finale where you storm your class home in a furious battle of adrenaline vs fatigue. It’s a stompingly epic track, all the more so for instructors because of the performance given by Combat program director Rachel Cohen.

    For the uninitiated, the Les Mills body training systems (Combat, Balance, Pump, Attack, Step etc) are ‘relaunched’ every quarter with new tunes and choreography. Instructors are provided with the music and a masterclass DVD where the program directors present the new moves.  Across the Les Mills training systems the DVDs presentations vary from cheese-tastic to cringe-worthy to inspirational. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you watch between your fingers and never show the damn things to anyone else, ever – and sometimes you watch these masterclasses and think: I have the best freaking job in the world. How did I get so lucky?

    In Combat 46 Rach gives an inspired performance. She doesn’t talk technique; she doesn’t talk Body Combat/Les Mills PR crap. She just relates what she’s doing on that stage to her life, to all of our lives, in very real terms. She’s a role model to thousands around the world: to the instructors who model their teaching on her or through those instructors to the people who pack out exercise studios every day of every week in 75 countries around the world.