Holiday Post 2: Literature Appreciation Post #2

I wanted to talk about Tim Minchin, but my Internet’s so slow that going on YouTube is futile. Instead, writing this the day before I leave, I’ve decided to make a list of holiday literature.

  • Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I’ve wanted to read this ever since Life on the Murder Scene, and found it in Waterstone’s for an absurdly low price. All I know so far is that it’s written by a Scottish guy and is about drugs, so I’ll let you know how I get on…

  • Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean.  Got this on the same Waterstone’s trip. It’s supposed to be good, what with it being “the most successful graphic novel of all time”. It was written by a Scottish guy who’s done a lot of drugs, so we’re on the right track.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’ve actually already read this (I started it in Greece two years ago, then picked it back up when I got into Pencey Prep at the end of last year). Holden Caulfield is becoming a character I really, really want to have a conversation with. We agree on phonies, so it’ll be fun to flick through.

  • The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audry Niffenegger. Whose surname is wonderful to type… I started this then got distracted by Jane Eyre (which, incidentally, you should read). My mum’s copy has a TARDIS sticker on it. No Doctors so far, but we shall see.
  • Skullduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy. Light entertainment that Ellen, Bel, Ross and Maxim – the Inner Circle, as they should probably become known – love. I have yet to finish the series. But it’ll happen, damnit.
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. Mum’s been telling me to read this for years, and since it’s on my recommended book list for next year and is set in Kefalonia, I figured I should make hay while the sun shines.
  • The Umbrella Academy by Geezy Way and Gabriel Bá. More light entertainment, because I love it dearly and heard rumours (reading that back I just noticed what I did. Bazinga!) of a new installment in the next five years. Dallas is my favourite of the two because there’s Vietnam and ice-cream.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Not to reread (BUT YOU SHOULD READ IT. NOW), I just want to write fan fiction about Mayella Ewell. We’ll see how that goes…

My mum’s also talking about getting Fifty Shades of Shit Grey at the aiport.

Insert my disgusted face here.

**Update 07/08/12**

It occurred to me on holiday that while I credited the writers of the comics, I did not credit the artists. This has now been amended.

In regards to the books: I finished them all while we were away apart from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I finished about an hour ago. This is because I also read Murder Most Fab by Julian Clary, one of Isobel’s books, and took a break after Trainspotting – two days of reading crappy magazines. Mum didn’t get Fifty Shades, thank God, and my favourite story was Captain Corelli for the plot, followed by Trainspotting for its insane brilliance, and Arkham Asylum for Grant Morrison’s notes at the end.

Ahem. Read on.

**Second update 07/08/12**

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin isn’t set in Corfu, it’s set in Kefalonia. My Family and Other Animals is Corfu. This too has been amended. I am an idiot.

Holiday Post 1: Happy Birthday ‘Bullets’!

I’m sitting down to write this a week before IMCRD, because on the day itself I’ll be in Greece. I’ll also miss the London meetup, which bums me out even more. I think this is my third year of not-quite-managing to make it to a full-on celebration. I mean, last year I wrote about Amy Winehouse, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but still.

I’ve been trying to work out what to say for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Bullets ‘the music’ isn’t as relevant to My Chem as Bullets ‘the era’ is. Don’t get me wrong, I really love those songs. I have virtually no idea what half of them mean, but love them nonetheless… But when I think about it, this time nine months ago I was writing 10 Years, 10 Days and discussing the genesis of the band. In the interim I’ve finished senior school, started a website and the Census, done some exams and cleaned my room maybe four times. This time nine months ago a decade ago, a guy phoned his friends with the idea of working on a song he’d come up with in his parents’ basement. We ended up with I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love; possibly the most underrated of all the band’s work. Which is understandable, because every new album blows the previous out of the water – but sometimes I think people overlook it.

Three years ago I was getting back into My Chem after a year or so’s sabbatical listening to the Jonas Brothers. We went into town for my brother’s birthday and I went to HMV because I have the attention span of a gnat. In the metal section, nestled between (probably) a load of noise and The Black Parade, was a CD I had become convinced I would own “in the future”. I’m not sure what it’s like for newer kids now, but back in the day (2007) it was difficult to get hold of Bullets. It was the basement album, the one put together real quick amongst illness, somebody’s mum vacuuming and Frank getting high and playing Tony Hawk. I think I’d heard Sorrows and Turnstiles on YouTube when I finally bought it. Actually, that’s a lie, the whole album’s on there. But as a thirteen-year-old in 2009 with no idea how to order merch online, basking in the success of Parade and its soon-to-be-released followup, seeing Bullets was like finding a fully wrapped Christmas present in August.

I think that day was the only time I’ve ever blatantly asked my dad for money; ten quid, because the album was £9 – the other pound, I think, went on eyeliner that I used to write ‘I Wanna Be a Member of the MCRmy’ on my face when my friends and I went out on my first and only public IMCRD. If only I knew… Anyway, I ran back to HMV consumed with the fear somebody (after years of it being on the shelf) would buy the CD before I could. No one did, and I was smug at the counter. Twenty minutes later, I got Bullets out of my blazer to show my mum and the case broke. It set the tone for my relationship with the album, and I’ve been happily abusing both the CD, its booklet and case, and occasionally the music, ever since.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to get at here – I’ve been working on the Census all day and the logging’s starting to drive me loopy. Loopier. All I know for sure is that this album pathed the way for the next ten-and-a-half years. You can hear what the band’s going to do in those earlier songs, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the songs themselves. You get little hints of what’s about to happen to the world, of what these people are capable of. And while you’re at it, you get a story about two lovers who kill themselves while finding time to discuss 9/11, Peter Pan and, y’know, vampires. Some of these songs never get played live. Some do, and are just as relevent to both my ears and this band as they ever were. More so today than they were in 2002, in some ways, because we can look back and appreciate what’s changed, what’s stubbornly unchangeable and the journeys taken to get from September 2001 to July 2002 to July 2012.

Happy birthday, Bullets. I’ll make you a card and actually attend a meetup for your twentieth, I promise. If it’s not an international holiday by then, or something gets in the way, I’ll write another post. With live versions of Honey from 2017, and Gerard with green hair or something.

Oh, and for the record, I paid my dad back.

Filler Post WITH A PIANO SONG

I seriously did not mean to leave it nearly a fortnight without posting… I don’t even know why – oh, wait, the Census is overtaking my life. Or wants to. It won’t, but it will be up soon.

I have a few posts planned while I’m on holiday (I leave tomorrow), so come and hang out here when it rains! In the mean time, visit TheWebways.net, which is a really great MCRmy fansite – and I’m not just saying that because I run it. Well, I am a bit. Quite a bit. But it’s getting more and more projects, so my point still stands.

YouTube maybe works enough for one video… I’ll make an appreciation post when I get back, but for now here’s Prejudice.

‘The Morocco Diary’, Days 4, 5 and 6

The Internet on my laptop is currently not working, so I’m using my parents’ giant TV-screen-computer to post. So enjoy, in high definition.

Day 4

8th April, 2012

Yesterday was not good – except for teaching the kids the Macarena, it was very long and dry.

Today, we only have to walk 18km. It’s not great, great being under one km, but it’s a hell of a lot better than before. Apparently yesterdays 20km was the equivalent of a D. of E. weekend, but way under the time. My legs still ache.

But, today seems hotter. Mr Dell just looked up the temperature on the thermometer heat thingy, and it was 26°C. Should I mention that it’s only 7am?

I’ll tell you how the day goes later. Yusef is calling us at the mo. We’ve learnt that “alle” is Berber for “come”. Well, he told us that. It’s pronounced in a kind of all-ay way. I’m off now.

LUNCH TIME!!

We’re currently eating lunch in the second half of the Dades gorge, next to the river that we are always following. We have done god knows how many river crossings, meaning my boots and socks are soaking wet, because we can’t wear sandals or have bare feet for “safety reasons,” which to me, is a pile of bullshit. The fact that wet boots give everyone bad blisters ALL OVER THEIR FREAKING FEET is more the safety issue, but Dandruff Dave thinks a cut would be a lot more painful. Well, somebody needs to tell Dave that once you’ve cut yourself, you don’t really feel it, because you put pressure on it, and the pain goes. But a blister, a blister doesn’t stop hurting when there is pressure on it. No, instead, it bursts after a few hours of agony, and then pus goes everywhere if you’re lucky, and it will probably get infected. Joy.

Sorry. Rant over.

Anyway, the gorge is quite pretty, and it has shade, which I am thankful for. We saw what looked like a suicide note graffitied on a wall of the rocky edge cliffy thing. I would’ve taken a photo if I hadn’t been wading through water. It said though: “IF YOU EVER SAW ME SMILING, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT I ACTUALLY FELT SICK INSIDE”

2010 – 2 -12

Soo…after that depressing note, I leave to enjoy the food (salad and pan). 

Back. It was all good. So was food. The highlight of my day has to be the oranges. Oh, and Mr Dell’s and Franki’s farting competition was pretty funny. They’re the Fart Patrol now. We spent dinner in a Berber tent discussing boyfriends, boys, and Mr Irvine’s Butt.2 Mr Irvine was my Irish Year 8 English teacher, the one that said “porn” instead of “poem”. Because of his accent. And “Cher” instead of “shower.”

Anyway, he is also sharing a house with Mr Dell, and Mr Dells’ brother. But he has a huge butt. It’s very noticeable. And now Mr Dell is going to take a look. Euurrrggghh, I’m really tired though, so I’m gonna sleep.3

Day 5

 

9th April 20124

HALF WAY THROUGH!!!!

Yaayyy!!! Half way through our trip. I am enjoying it so much, but I can’t wait to see a proper bed, let alone sleep in it. And the luxury of being woken up by an alarm clock at 6:30, rather than the prayer call at 4:30. Still, when I’m home, it’ll be hard not to speak French, and I won’t be able to stop calling bread “pan”. Can’t wait to see everyone though. Especially to show off this non-existent tan. No, wait, I lie. I have a watch-strap mark, – and god is it sexy.

I forgot to mention the campsite yesterday. We got there, and there was two guys, sitting in the middle of east Jesus nowhere, selling fizzy drinks. I got a coke, and it was the best coke ever5. However, when we looked at it, it had 4 e-numbers and way more sugar than your standard English bottle. It had 64% of the Daily Recommended Allowance for sugar in. Think that’s bad? Rhianna got the last Fanta orange, and it was a radioactive fluorescent orange colour. It really was neon, and had 8 E nos. in, and even worse, was 72% of the RDA for sugar. It probably made her hyper, and then everyone wanted one. But, well, she got the last one.

Franki also had some Dextrex, so she was hyper over dinner. She did the same tonight.

Back to today’s news. We only walked 12km, but it was worse than the other days. It was mainly all uphill, on a rocky, crumbly surface. Loads of people fell over (strangely enough, I haven’t yet, which is unusual for me), but no one is dead yet. Thankfully, as we ascended (posh, I know), it got a bit cooler, and there was a hint of a breeze. The view was good, and I like the atmosphere up here, despite it being overly colourful. Not. Everything, and I really do mean everything, is the same colour as the rock, orange. It all blends in. Have these people not heard of paint??

As I write this, I can hear the mules sneezing. It is very funny. The best bit of today, was definitely the food.

For lunch, we had pasta, bread, lentils (carbs, carbs, carbs!), sardines and, OMG, CHIPS!!!!! We went crazy, and possibly scared the guides. But then, it gets better, because when we got to camp, which was an empty house thing in a small village, with land around it, they had food for us, that wasn’t mint tea and biscuits. They had this sweet bread stuff, with a cream and hazelnut spread – which really is to die for. It was better than Nutella, and completely different. The bread, I need to make and eat back home. It was made from flour, water, milk and sugar I think. I got Rhianna to ask in French. It is the best.

Thinking about it, there is loads of stuff I have forgotten to mention.

Firstly, on Day One at the airport, I was responsible for the random drug search Laura and I got.7 We were waiting for Rhianna’s bag to get searched, and I was saying something like “It’s not like we’re child drug smugglers or anything.” And then at the same moment, a security dude was passing by, and Laura saw him speak into his radio thing, saying “These two on the end.” We were sitting on the end of the end bench, so er, yeah, it’s us. Then, alas, as we were walking away, some woman was standing at the exit staring at us, and as we got there, she was like “Excuse me, we’d just like to do a random drug search on your hand luggage.”

BAM – we were screwed. Obviously not, because as I said in the first place, we are not child drug smugglers. Tip for you all: never mention drugs at an airport. Anyway, we were all clear, except for the hand sanitiser Rhianna left in her bag.

Okay, next thing, on Day 4, our campsite was near the river. So, Laura, Rhianna, Ridhi, Katie, Natalie C and I all went down to wash hair, or as it turned out, each other’s’ hair, because we used bowls, as we didn’t want to make people’s water supply soapy. It was SO good! Pretty refreshing. Freezing cold, but nice. And we had to do a lot of back bending. What made me feel better is that everyone else had greasy hair.

Thirdly (is that a word? My sense of English has gone. Lost forever. I think it’s a word though), on Day 4, we also played football with the locals. The outnumbered us, and were about 6-8 years old. The Arabic guides though, who I believe go by the names of Yusef, Hassan, Husain and Syed joined our team, as well as the one Arabic girl. We lost. But then again, we were in sandals/flip-flops. Actually, that’s not really a valid excuse, because they were in bare feet.

That’s it for then really.

Tonight we were in the mud hut bit of the campsite for dinner, and camping in tent in the “garden”.  We also played a game of “Duck Duck Shoe” with the little girls from the village. It was only girls, and for some reason unknown to most of us, the boys were kind of forbidden to play. Maybe religion, or maybe typically violent male children. It was like Duck Duck Goose, but you dropped a shoe behind a person, and they had to run at you and touch you with it.

Overall, a good night. Off now. I crave a proper bed. And a mattress to go with. And normal milk instead of powdered. That’s all.

X

Day 6

10th April 2012, 10:38pm

Thank the Bloody Lord!

Today we completed our trek, finishing with a spiffing 20km again.  I had huge sweat patches (don’t worry, no bigger than everyone else’s), a dodgy non-tanned patch, and a need for jelly beans.

Leaving the campsite, we spotted two sheep skulls, five hooves/legs, three jaws, and a strange furry lumpy thing. The sheep round here look really healthy though, so god knows when the sheep massacre happened.

No river crossings today, which is good, but instead lots of rock climbing.

*Insert unpublishable paragraph of bitching about certain people here*8

Tonight, we are in a hostel, all in one big room. The guides leave us now, and I will be sad to see them go. It’s like losing your map in the middle of the desert. To finish our journey with them, we danced and sang English and Berber stuff.

Apparently I went a bit hyper when we got back to the room. I appear to have created a dance for losers of the Tarzan game. It’s really good. And then I went around I did some Russian Rasputin Dancing, and Just Dance dances including Ring My Bell. Now everyone thinks I am crazy. Especially as after my hyper fiasco, I sat in the corner, half crying, half hysterically laughing, and then stared at Laura for a while. Yeah…… It was probably the jelly beans. They still contained lots of sugar. And maybe I ate too many…..

As I write this, It’s just me and Caffa up, and Katie is deep breathing. I also have toothpaste on my spots, as does Laura and Franki, because according to Sophie and Sarah, it actually works. We will see.

I’ve got to say, the sun and Vitamin D is clearly getting to our heads. The debate on double dipping continued today, as well as creating and solving scenarios where we are faced with a pride of lions in the middle of nowhere – this is a serious question – Who will be eaten first, who will be allocated what role in our survival mission etc.

Katie has moved on and is talking now too. I keep hearing “I don’t know” and “Olive”, and occasionally “Hmmmm….No”.

The conversation over dinner tonight was generally about Hana’s love life, and how she calculates whether a boy likes her or not. Not very is well is the answer. She said because this guy she knows, also called Yusef, passed her the bread, he is deeply in love with her. The scary thing, is that she is serious. Mr Dell is worried now, seeing as he just passed her the tea…

Washed hair again today too – we had a mass shower of 5 people. I know it sounds extremely wrong, but the room was huge, we didn’t have a lot of time, and we were in bikinis/swim stuff. We went first, and it was me, Laura, Rhianna, Franki, Sophie and I. However, the shower was freezing cold, but we told all the other groups it warmed up nicely. It was funny to see their faces when they emerged, shivering and wanting to kill us…

What else today?

I don’t know right now. My legs ache a bit after 70 odd kilometres of walking, but if I think of anything, I’ll add it in.

Nighty night, as Agnes would say.

X

1. So this bloke, as well as being suicidal, can fly. Or owns a bloody big ladder. Both things are profitable, so someone will have talked him down. Hopefully.

2. I’m not sure whether ‘Mr Irvine’s Butt’ is supposed to be all capitalised, but it can stay there. ‘But’. Haha.

3. If Mr Dell, Mr Dell’s brother or Mr Irvine would like me to edit that out, do let me know.

4. Gerard Way’s birthday. Yout thought I couldn’t squeeze an MCR reference into a diary about Morocco? Never underestimate the power of the MCR fan.

5. I’m not sure if ‘coke’ should be capitalised, but that can stay there too. ‘Coke’. Haha.

6. Not falling over is unusual, as anyone in last week’s karate lesson can attest.

7. Actually, I’m responsible. So’s my dad. Because we are dark, and therefore not trusted in airports. Isobel knew this and talked about it. You’re welcome, Laura.

8. I’m supposed to decide what is and isn’t publishable. Let’s pretend I edited that out.