Archive | June, 2011

Amsterdaaaayum, gurl!

30 Jun
If you ever watched Neighbours a few years back, you will remember Sky Mangel, and you will remember that she was awesome. Sky determined that the Secret of Happiness™ was a combination of at least two of the following three things:

1.  Being content in your career
2.  Being content in your love life
3.  Having something to look forward to

As we know, all things in soap operas are true; one of the twins is always evil, and you always drive off a cliff on your wedding night. So it should stand to reason that Sky’s formula for happiness holds too, right?

Basically, this is all a round about way of saying that I am going to Amsterdam tomorrow. That’s nice enough on its own, but the fact that I’m flying to the Never Say Netherlands with the girls from the bookshop is even more exciting, especially as our camping trip last year looked like this:

I’m going to try to continue to update while I’m over there. However, I’ve heard that the cafés there sell some kind of magic cake that makes you dance better so I might be too tired from throwin’ shapes or something.

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Hey You. Eat These Dumbass Cupcakes.

28 Jun

Cupcakes are over,” says Michael Hogan in today’s Guardian. Apparently “bunting” is the new thing. But I doubt your “bunting” is as simple to make and also eat, sir.

My photography skills are unparalleled.

Ingredients.
90g butter
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
300g self-raising flour
125ml milk
Vanilla essence [optional]

 For the icing
Butter
Icing sugar
Tablespoon of milk

Method.
1.  Place everything in a bowl and mix well.
2.  Spoon the mixture into cupcake papers (or silicon cupcake cases, which are a lot more practical but give you naked cupcakes).
3.  Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, remove to cool.
4.  For the buttercream icing, combine soft butter and icing sugar until smooth, and a little milk which will make your icing “extra fluffy and delicious” (thanks Becci for the idea).
5.  Ice the cakes.

In conclusion, kindly shove your bunting up your c—ting, Michael Hogan. I’ll stick to baking.

Why Do Vampires Suck Now?

21 Jun

I can’t be the only girl who spend her adolescence reading Anne Rice and Bram Stoker, equally lusting over Lestat and shuddering at Dracula. But the state of vampire fiction is a sad one indeed. I’ve read the first Twilight, and the eighth book from the Morganville Vampire Chronicles (it was for a review, I swear), but I don’t get it. I don’t see what’s happened. Vampires are supposed to be repulsive. They should smell like quicklime and soil and want your gross tampons. Failing that, they should be clever and handsome and look like Brad Pitt. They shouldn’t sparkle or eat tacos or take Math.

Here is what I think should be included in vampire fiction to make it engaging again:

  • A vampire who meets some avid Twilight fans (fanpires?) and cheerfully bites off their heads, because that’s what vampires do.
  • A vampire with OCD. In old myths, scattering small items like rice or salt into a vampire’s path caused him to spend hell of time counting the exact number before trying to eat you again. This is probably why Count von Count is so educational.
  • A vampire that can change into a mosquito or a leech THAT WAY YOU CAN SQUISH HIM.
  • A vampire that does not want to date a sixteen-year-old because frankly, you shouldn’t even date sixteen-year-olds outside of your teens so being 200-years-old it’s clearly out of the question.
  • A vampire that is corpulent. Why are they all so fit? They gorge on pints of blood every night.
  • A vampire who FIGHTS CRIME! Oh boy!
  • A vampire with an addiction to Italian food who cries every five pages because he can’t eat garlic bread.
  • A vampire who is thwarted by means of a sunbed. He is named Darque Tan, because children ran.

I am always in the market for a good vampire novel, so if you think I am being too harsh and that good contemporary vampy fic still exists, recommend me some in the comments! [If you’re just gonna recommend My Immortal, though, I’ve already read it and clearly Tara Gilesbie is an unrivaled genius of prose]

Top 5 Fictional Fathers in Literature

19 Jun

Happy Fathers’ Day! To mark the occasion, I have compiled a list of five of the greatest fathers in literature. Here they are, in no particular order. [May contain spoilers]

1.Myron Krupnik – Anastasia Krupnik series, Lois Lowry

Myron is a bearded poet and professor who likes nothing better than a New York Times crossword or conducting classical music in his living room with his eyes closed. He keeps his manuscripts in the fridge (so they won’t burn down if the house does), and if that’s not bad-ass then I don’t know what is. He is an excellent father to his children Anastasia and Sam, and a loving husband to artist Katherine.

2.Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Atticus is incapable of acting against his convictions, and conducts himself with a quiet dignity while imparting important moral lessons to his children Jem and Scout. When his sister wants to fashion tomboy Scout into a ‘proper young woman,’ Atticus reassures her that “he didn’t mind [her] much the way [she] was” and proceeds to buy her an air rifle for Christmas. What a dude.

3.Saetan SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy, Anne Bishop

For a father, Saetan SaDiablo is one sexy mutha. In Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy, which many of you may be unfamiliar with but which I cannot recommend enough, he is the High Lord of Hell, High Priest of the Hourglass, and Warlord Prince of Dhemlan. One hell of a CV, amirite? Saeten is Jaenelle’s spiritual and adoptive father, teaching her in earnest, and is also Daemon and Lucivar’s dad. Though he is one of the most powerful men in the novels, Saetan is happy to serve in his daughter’s court.

4.Calvin’s dad – Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson

Initially criticised for being too sarcastic, Calvin’s father evolved to become somewhat more demonstrative of his love for his son as the strip progressed over the years. Because after all, in his own words, “Being a parent means wanting to hug and strangle your kid at the same time.”

I love Calvin’s dad for his ability to explain away every harrowing experience as ‘character building,’ and for his outlandish answers to his son’s simple questions — like why babies come from (Sears, obviously), or where the sun goes when it sets.

5.Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac – The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice

Like many couples who find themselves in a failing relationship, vampires Lestat and Louis decide to have a child to stay together. Lestat ‘fathers’ young Claudia, which in Anne Rice world means ‘biting her neck til she dead.’ They play happy families for about 60 years, which isn’t really bad at all… but then little Claudia tries to kill him, which is kind of an ungrateful trade considering he bestowed her with eternal life and all.

Perhaps these two are not as moral and upstanding as the rest of this list, but they are Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise so who really cares?

And here are some dads that didn’t quite make the cut:

  • The Comedian, Watchmen. ‘Cause Laurie’s father’s a dick.
  • King Hamlet, Hamlet. Don’t tell your son to avenge your death, that boy has no clue what he’s doing and he’s going to go to the Elephant Graveyard anyway beside.
  • Lucius Malfoy, Harry Potter series. Give the elf a fuggin sock already.
  • James Piper, Fall on Your Knees. Not cool to father your own granddaughter, James. Noooot coool.
  • Nathan Price, The Poisonwood Bible. “oh hai let’s all move to the Belgian Congo and be missionaries lol”

Have I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments section!

Your Musicology is My Mythology. Featuring: Jedward

17 Jun

Since the very beginning, John and Edward Grimes have inspired worship and loathing in equal measure — think X Factor brand Marmite. You either wanted to spread them on your toast, or punch those cute quiffed little heads clean off. And you know what I did? I loved them. Loved them. Do you hear that, internet? I’m not even ashamed. I put them in my Spotify playlists. I play them at parties. And I’m going to tell you why.

Jedward are a bizarre phenomenon. They encapsulate ‘celebrity’ only in its most basic definition: the state of being well known. They are beautiful, brainless and their music is kind of rubbish – but from their first appearance on UK television, the twins have risen to stardom completely oblivious of their critics. Perhaps they explain it best and most simply themselves in the hook from their single ‘Lipstick‘:

“Here I come, here I come, dumb de dumb de dumb de dumb.”

Jedward are a postmodern comment on the fundamental triviality that is contemporary music. They hold a mirror to society and show us: this is what we have become. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BECOME. You don’t need to write songs any more to be marketable. You don’t need to be lyrical, you don’t even need to have talent. But what I love about Jedward is that they are so endearingly obvious, and so perfectly naïve in their approach towards the music industry, that one cannot help but think of them fondly. They are sincere only because they are so very clueless. They’re like Zoolander.

But for those of you who still aren’t converted, be comforted: at least Rebecca Black doesn’t have a twin.

Blog Post the First

15 Jun

Hi internet! How are you? Your hair looks nice today. I’m a little nervous – it’s always daunting trying to start a new blog. But I think I’ve found the fail-safe formula to bring traffic! Are you ready? Here it is:

  • Pretend to be a lesbian.

You may have heard of the recent kerfuffle regarding the individuals that ran the blogs ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ and ‘Lez Get Real.’ Both were posing as lesbian bloggers, both were heterosexual married middle-aged white men. Earlier this year Peter Coffin, another white dude, was in the spotlight for pretending to be his own fictional Japanese girlfriend. But hey, what’s wrong with any of that?

Oh well actually it’s fucking gross.

And if anyone can’t see why, allow me to quote Autostraddle for a moment:

CHECK YOUR MOTHERFUCKING PRIVILEGE.

How dare you, Tom MacMaster, write about being an out lesbian of color in Syria when you are a privileged MARRIED white man who can travel and study wherever you damn well please and are a citizen of America, a country where you, as a straight cisgender white man, have more privilege then we’ll likely obtain in our lifetimes.

How dare you, Bill Graber, write about our struggles for gay marriage as if they were your own when you’re happily married to a woman. How dare you write about DADT as if it was your own struggle when you’ve had a storied, unprejudiced career in the military. How fucking dare you.

Basically, blogging is not like writing a novel. You don’t get to ‘try on’ the identity of the socially marginalised. Doing so is incredibly privileged, not to mention patronising and in the case of Gay Girl in Damascus, faking a high-profile kidnapping in a country where real people have been jailed or killed for trying to implement democracy is disgusting.

You don’t have to be a lesbian to be an LGBT activist. You don’t have to be Syrian to highlight the struggles of those fighting for freedom of speech. Don’t feel okay creating an alter ego and using it to write about experiences you’ve never had and can never understand. (This goes for you too, Peter Coffin, even though you weren’t trying to highlight issues among the oppressed and are in fact just lonely and ever so slightly racist.)

I can’t really put the issue of privilege any better than Megan in this blog post, which you should read in its entirety. No matter how much you can ’empathise’ with a certain group, you can never escape how well you have it yourself. So own your privilege, Tom MacMaster. Own your privilege, Bill Graber. Own it Peter Coffin, you dick. And I’ll try to do the same.

I will never post here with the intention of representing anyone else. Sometimes I might try to use my background, education, and the fact I am privileged with the ability to speak freely to blog about Important Things. Sometimes I will just blog about Jedward and cupcakes. But I will never lie to you, internet. I will never lie to you.

Your hair still looks great, by the way.