Shhh, don’t tell anyone you saw me. I’ve blocked my emails from my phone for the Easter Weekend, so I am officially off the grid. Ish. I am supposed to be recovering from a monster cold I had last week and catching up with course work, but I’ve actually gone shopping, reorganised my Etsy cupboard and had a medium nap. HAPPY JESUS WEEKEND!
I love Easter, mostly because it’s the only weekend other than Christmas when I can eat more than I check my emails without thinking I’m losing business, but it’s also got that new year feel to it, because the new tax year is next week. I love the new tax year. It’s a fresh start! An opportunity to make more money and to remind HMRC that I am a valued member of society. Well not really because I earn a fraction of the acceptable wage for most adult humans, so I’m not eligible for income tax, but next year might be the year!
I’ll stop with the Jesus Christ Superstar gifs now, but I want you to know that I don’t really want to.
Speaking of the new tax year, I’ve got a little end of year clear out/sale thing going on over at my Etsy – there’s 10% and 15% off almost everything. Out with the old and in with the new! If I have space for the new… which is why I’ve discounted the old. It’s also the last day of the month, so if you were thinking of pledging to my Patreon to help support dragonnovel, (becoming patron number three would be seen as highly auspicious in some cultures. Not mine, but some), today’s the last day to do it before April’s cycle starts.
I’ve run out of gifs, so I’m going to have a cup of tea and stare longingly at my Easter eggs. Because Easter Sunday is Peak Jesus Day and my mother always insists on upholding Christian tradition despite last going to church circa 2010, I can’t touch an Easter egg until Sunday morning. I have no idea why I can’t break that tradition, despite being a) 22.5 years old, b) an atheist and c) hungry, but there you go. Happy Easter!
Thought it would be interesting to dip a toe into the world of audioblogging, so here is my first ever attempt… To ensure visual satisfaction I have included little additions for you to look out for at X number of minutes.
“crshchrshcrsh” means “downloaded”. I think I moved.
“COUGH for example COUGH I went clubbing with my friends” Actually that might have been more movement. This is why it takes eight years to put a post together.
They were more appealing in the dark. Also Chloe made me have one.
Turns out they are pronounced the same way… do you think the Pacific Rim people had the drink in mind in the design room?
Heeey it is! Right, done. Thank you for listening – unless you didn’t in which case why are you here? – and let me know if the quality is okay and all that!
I have graced the hallways of my school for seven entire years, roughly the equivalent of the time it takes to get to the front of a queue in the post office. Typically students bring in notebooks into which other students write farewell messages of good luck and sappy happiness. I forgot to get a notebook so I’m writing this instead, which is way more impressive because it’s in the public domain forever.
So, what was happening seven years ago?
Gordon Brown was prime minister and students could attend university without first selling their organs
Jimmy Saville was an okay dude
North Africa was full of peaceful, dictatorial regimes
Benedict Cumberbatch could go out in public
People used MySpace
Leonardo DiCaprio was waiting to win an Oscar
Well, I never said the world had changed beyond all recognition.
But still. Seven years. Part of me thinks about leaving school and is like this:
Part of me feels like this:
Since I’m a writer, blah blah blah, I thought I’d write a poem about my time in school.
A is for ageing, which we have all done
B is for bonkers, which we have all become
C stands for lots of coffee… enough said!
D is Sunday night and that sudden feeling of dread
E stands for examinations, which make us want to cry
F are the fuckin’ idiots we’ve all had to put up with in class at least once who make us want to die
G is General Studies, ironically my best subject
H stands for homework, which you shouldn’t try in public
“I is not in ‘team’!” which we learnt in PE
J are the in-jokes that make strangers want to flee
K finishes ‘okay’ which some days you are not
L is in ‘lower school’ when you thought sixth formers were hot
M is Monday assemblies, the only thing the entire year thinks is shit
N are the notices which make the assemblies such a hit
O is organisation which… wait, I’ve lost my notes
P is for school pond, where there really should be boats
Q is in ‘quiet’ which the quiet study room never has been
R is in ‘year seven’ when we were really keen
S starts off ‘sleep’ which we very rarely do
T are the teachers who are actually humans too
U are the uniform rules that have haunted us for years
V is the vast amount of bullshit we’ve sometimes put up with from peers
W is for websites used to hastily gather information
X is in the phrase “surely that doesn’t need another explanation?”
Y is for “WHY ME, GOD?” a frequently-asked school-based question
Z is for zoo, the place to which we might actually return with begrudging joy when it’s time for a reunion.
And by zoo I mean secondary school. Please never accuse me of lacking in appreciation for the poetic arts, ladies and gentlemen. It rhymed.
Anyway, happy end-of-school! (Unless it isn’t the end of school for you, in which case happy Thursday.)
I’m aware that the news hasn’t been brilliantly analytical lately and hopefully this will be remedied when school’s over and I have less on my plate. In the mean time:
The BBC’s got this new interactive-education-scroll-y thing called iWonder, and this one explains the history of passion plays, which range from thanks to God for having not got the Plague to everybody’s favourite musical (I’m wearing my JCS top and cross earrings today. Part of me wants to start a fashion blog based around dressing for holidays or in the spirit of fictional characters). Fun fact: John the Evangelist wrote that Jesus died on Passover because he saw Jesus as the passover lamb for all people/believers. Cool huh? Plus the town of Oberammergau, which apparently puts on a passion play a bit like how the Scots put on New Year, has NATO School.
The iWonder thinggy also has a piece explaining why Easter is never on the same day… basically if Church officials can argue over something then they will.
I just realised that there will always be a Six O’Clock News on Good Friday. Bugger, I’ll have to find actual Easter-related news next year. Ukraine’s not got a lot in common with the holiday and neither do east Asian vehicle disasters. Other than the weather – it’ll rain, surprise! – and TV – there will be programmes, surprise! – there aren’t many Easter-specific bulletins. Which I guess is kind of a relief given that the festival is two thousand years old?
Here is my favourite Easter art:
Here is my second-favourite piece, which was painted for a monastery hospital. Jesus has the same illness as the one the hospital treated, ergotism, to make the patients feel better:
So I think something like two-thirds of this year’s Oscars nominations are based on true stories – 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers’ Club, etc. (I’m assuming they’re nominated. I’ve seen them in the press, you know?!) On an almost entirely unrelated note, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Stephen Ward is closing after a handful of months. I paid vague attention – not enough, clearly – because the actor playing Stephen Ward, who was involved in basically the first contemporary political sex scandal, was in Jesus Christ Superstarwhich was flipping brilliant and it got me thinking:
If you could make a film or musical about any news story, what would it be?
Imagining them as films, they’re all up there with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in terms of ‘things I wouldn’t pay money to see again’. Which is sometimes what turns a film from ‘interesting’ to ‘brilliant’ (hello again 12 Years) because sometimes we need fiction to teach us about reality.
On the other hand, we have the funny stories. Gordon Brown calling that woman a bigot. The time a woman put a cat in a bin. That Japanese toilet system that got hacked and started spewing out sewage. These might be more GIF material… I sort of want a musical about the toilet system though. Then there are the utterly brilliant and heart-warming stories, like Canada letting a child have three parents or Endal the dog who could get his owner’s cash out of machines for him. (I’m looking at you, Fred. Fred thinks that human objects are designed to be chewed; as far as I’m aware he’s never eaten our cash but he did nick an entire kebab the other day and got it clean off the skewer leaving only an unsavoury tomato. Part of me wants to reward his tenacity.)
But thinking about it, how many happy news stories get dramatised? No one wants to see The Day the Bus Driver Let Children Board for Free or Supermarkets: Assistants Are Lovely. We want Honey, I Think the Kid’s Self Harming and Kiddiefiddlers Unlocked Part 87.
Then there are the gross stories that are just made for bad adverts. You know those parent blogs where people live post their labour? Yeah. They’d be those adverts at the cinema that never, ever seem to end.
Right, current events that should be turned into films: go!
This one was tough… A Thousand Splendid Suns, We Need to Talk About Kevin, my John’s Gospel commentary by AM Hunter…
No really, you should compare Hunter to some of the others. Little tip, scholars: when it comes to sentences, less is almost always more. That aside, I think Uncle Rick gets the prize. House of Hades is brilliant and perfect and yes aimed at twelve-year-olds but let’s face it, people, children’s books are usually better than adult ones. Harry Potter, Mog the Forgetful Cat, etc. Oh Uncle Rick, teach me your secrets.
Album of the Year
How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, by Mindless Self Indulgence. I paid for the album, I listen to the album. It is a piece of genius. That is all.
New Favourite Website of the Year
Hmm. I’ve discovered Vice, a news magazine (although someone online pointed out that its narrative voice is disturbingly similar to that of the Daily Mail, which I must say has put me off a bit), Effing Dykes, a queer blog (and so genuinely not safe for work that I’ve not quite had the courage to devote an entire post to it yet) and Tumblr. Okay so I already knew Tumblr, but I joined because it made it easy to follow nice art. That and a deep desire to infiltrate the world’s bitchiest blogging network from within.
New Favourite Artist of the Year
Viria. Her art is beautiful. Ahhh. Her work is set as my phone and iPad background. The whole Tumblr thing was also induced by Burdge, Andy and Minuiko.
Old Favourite Artist of the Year
Ruby. She made this into an illustrated story for my birthday. The individual pictures are amongst others here (I’m hoarding the finished product but don’t worry we’ve decided if all else fails we’ll write children’s books so you’ll be able to get both our work in one book. Cool, huh?).
Most Family Member-Like Famous Person on Twitter
I actually can’t decide between Uncle Rick the Troll Queen or Uncle Gerard the MCRmy’s Therapist. Genuinely, the jury’s out. Let me know your thoughts (the best Twitter moment was when someone Tweeted Gerard the Russian Mark of Athena cover, on which Percy bears a striking resemblance to G. Aha).
Most Depressing Internet-Based Phenomena
The title’s probably a misnomer because it doesn’t involve idiots talking shit behind the safety of a computer screen (that comes later!). Anyway: those of you into the whole Percy Jackson thing might remember this:
I know, it’s incredibly clever. I do others like it. It was inspired by one of Viria’s pieces – the one set as my phone background; I had the idea going up the stairs which was interesting. I originally put text on her drawing. Quite a while after I published the poster, I posted the bootlegged one on Tumblr:
I wonder which has had the better reception.
It’s a good thing I chose an artist I really love or I might have become bitter.
Live Show of the Year
I saw Jesus Christ Superstar, MSI, a ‘revue’ at school in which my friend Sarah was splendid as a 1920s hockey player, my year’s pantomime-which-I-sort-of-helped-write, an actual pantomime, an interview between two of the best children’s authors around today and a poetry reading by the bloke off Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy.. But I think my favourite live band (discounting MCR because it’s MCR) is an ever-changing group of part-time musicians who play in a restaurant I like in Greece. I understand 10% of the lyrics, make eye contact 0.001% of the times I walk past and have been known to sing along to songs that are the Mediterranean’s version of Mindless. But it’s nice, and even if I found a YouTube clip (creepy as I’m there a lot) it wouldn’t quite convey the atmosphere, if you know what I mean.
Insult of the Year
“You’re a doody head.” Enough said.
Happy Moment of the Year
When I remember it’s not June and Donnie’s still here. I like Don and Fred better than I like most things, no offense, and they are my friends. It’s like having human friends but the dynamics are different – humans tend to be more forward about nicking your food. Get a pet, seriously. Unless you are incapable of looking after one due to a) lack of money, space or permission (volunteer somewhere instead), b) lack of time or motivation or c) aversion to pets. You know who you are. Yes, I’m including those of you who get pets because you think it’ll be fun or make you look good. At times, e.g. in a field in December, it will do neither. But then they look up at you, covered in slime, and you think “I love you little dog. Now let’s go home and hope we never have to leave the house again.”
Indifferent Ignorance Commenter of the Year
Jacki, whose wise words you will find if you scroll down a few posts. Getting people to comment on work is like pulling teeth (remind me that I have a piece of work about that to show you), yet is the best way of differentiating readers from spam-bots and ‘glancers’ – people who have a click and a scroll then go somewhere else. But it’s like being the first person to take food from a buffet: no one wants to be that person, though once someone has taken the leap they’re comfortable joining the queue. Weird. Anyway, Jacki comments a lot and for that I am grateful. Please accept this garbled post as a token of my appreciation. Ta.
Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award
Maria suggested this category and I love it. Who to choose? Tony Abbot the Australian Prime Minister, who revoked equal marriage rights after people had got married? The guy whose work I heartily abused when Tom Daley came out? The parents of a child I saw a few years ago who had dressed their eight-year-old in a t-shirt with an arrow saying “I think he’s gay!”? People who stopped reading – or stopped their children reading – Heroes of Olympus when they found out about Nico?
His site used to have a thing where sites that had discussed the post were lined underneath and the one I did was there. I guess too many people were discussing the arseholery though because the layout’s changed…
Okay I think that’s everything I said I’d put in. If I’ve forgotten something or someone please let me know.
That’s called asking for a comment, ladies and gents.
I hope 2013 was as happy and safe as everyone wished it to be; if it wasn’t then I wish you happiness and safety for 2014. Even you with the pet you shouldn’t have bought, reading Forney and nodding in agreement.
Maybe not but I’ve been on a lot of cold medicine and perhaps the Christmas spirit of forgiveness is shining through.
I was going to say that this week has been pretty quiet compared to Friday but then I remembered that on Sunday I nearly set the house on fire when a nice long safety match splintered as I struck it and the lit bit flew onto a nearby patch of carpet.
But it’s okay, because my fingers didn’t get burnt.
So it’s December, which means chocolate at weird times is good and this is suitable to sing loudly. On a scale of one to Poseidon getting it on with Medusa in Athena’s temple, how inappropriate is it to play the following at inter-school parties?
And this, which for some reason won’t embed. Very tempted to make a band just to name it after a book.
School has been hard lately and I’ve had to be careful about my arm so when Waterstones outdid themselves and delivered House of Hades a day before its official release, I spent most of the afternoon reading (it counts as independent study for Latin, yes?).
Uncle Rick, you are a genius. A trolling, cliffhanger-creating genius. Between Annabeth, Piper, Hazel, Reyna and Hermione Granger, I don’t know how young girls even consider looking up to bikini-clad airheads. I even warmed to Jason. I love Bob too – and Nico… was Nico always Nico or…?
Last night (well ‘tonight’ in terms of writing this because I’m bored on the train) I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at the O2. Before I start chatting let me get one thing clear:
I like Jesus. I am also, until further notice, an atheist (or agnostic if I’ve not watched the news). I also like politics and a good theatrical rock show.
Jesus Christ Superstar is a secular-theatrical-colourful-rock ‘n’ roll-interpretation of the Passion of the Christ and I love it. C’mon, man, there’s sparkles and dancing girls and everyone’s favourite atheist comic musician and did I mention it’s just as relevant now as it was in 1973 as it was in 90AD when John wrote his gospel?
Yep, I’m calling a trip to London Religious Studies work. Anyway. The centrum of the matter is that you don’t have to like ITV to be grateful that they found a dude who can sing like this. You don’t have to believe in the proposed divinity of a story to learn from it and if you wear your second-highest heels to London then your feet will hate you the next day.
Yesterday’s version of Gethsemane was better than that, by the way. As in, my ears hurt it was so good. Ah. I’m off to write about the downsides of globalisation. Do you think I could get this in there somewhere?