Month: July 2017

Fan Entitlement

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I’m a fan! We’re both fans. Of many things. Find us on twitter, give us a topic and we’ll talk… at length, whether you want us to or not. We love music (Panic! At the Disco, MCR, The Killers), TV (Buffy, Hex, Star Trek for Han) and Films (Jurassic World, Princess Bride, Harry Potter). We are advocates of YA (Holly Bourne, Laini Taylor and Non Pratt) and have just spent an amazing weekend at YALC.

However, we’re both upset right now. Mainly because of this article: http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/brendon_urie_wont_be_meeting_fans_after_kinky_boots_shows_anymore

I know Brendan has refused to sign at Panic! Gigs for the last few years for essentially the same reason. In 2015 I (Han), caught the set list at a Hammersmith Apollo gig and waited for two hours at the “stage door” to be told he’d been accosted at a gig in the US. He’d agreed with his body guard and not signed since.
Thanks to “fans”, people are now losing out on meeting a role model and idol. We’d normally have our bitch together if it was an isolated incident. But it’s not. And it’s not fair.

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Tom signing and posing for photos early in the Coriolanus run,

Back in 2013/14 Tom Hiddleston was in Coriolanus at the Donmar in London’s West End. I had tickets, I watched the play and then queued for SIX hours to have the honour of telling him how amazing he was. However, my anxiety is a bitch and I didn’t get to say a word to him while he signed my programme.
A month later I had another ticket to see him. Due to the restrictions at the stage door, this meant I had the chance to join the line for his autograph. I decided at the last minute to join. Only what I saw as I approached was nothing short of chaos; mob mentality ensued and the main door was so swamped that a man in a wheelchair struggled to get out. Fans refused to move in fear of missing their chance to get a photo with Hiddleston.
This alone disturbed me. However, that was before I was informed why Tom had refused to leave via the main door that evening, meaning his security was not policing the crowds.
The reason, as I feared, was fan related: two girls a few days before had crossed the line with Tom. They attempted to place their hands down his pants while he was signing for them. This ensured that for the remaining 5 weeks of the production, no one managed to engage with Hiddleston. This did not make the news. Had it been Sienna Miller, who is currently starring in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it would have made front page news. It would have been sexual harassment. However, Tom kept this quiet.

Now Brendan has had to do the same. He was doing something he loved and fans enjoyed, however warped sense of entitlement that meant the minority has spoiled it for the majority.

My reason for stage dooring or wanting to meet celebs is not to say “I’ve met Mr X or Ms Y”, but to tell them they have made an impact in my life and thank them for the performance they’ve just been in. Because of my anxiety, I find programmes for plays they’re in are the perfect prop. While they’re signing, their attention is elsewhere and I can talk. It doesn’t always work. Heck, its worse without a prop though. Upon being wingperson for a friend when meeting Domnhall Gleeson all I could muster was “My brother is really looking forward to seeing you in Star Wars”. Not the fact that I adored his recent film Frank or that he broke my heart with About Time. This was before my crush on him had fully developed too.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who thinks like this. It takes courage to open my bloody mouth. In fact I’m starting to avoid stage doors because of these sort of situations. Yet out there are “fans” who not only take advantage they have this sense that it’s okay and that the celebrities welcome this behaviour. I’ve also seen these people melt down when they don’t get what they want. Even if they’ve already had countless opportunities to meet the person.

Case in point: I went to see Lyndsey Lohan in Speed the Plow. It was an okay play, but her performance was appalling. I had a moral dilemma; I wanted Richard Schiff and Nigel Lyndsey’s autographs (By autographs, I mean I wanted to tell Schiff that I loved him in The Lost World and the Infidel. That he is an awesome actor and in all honesty I just wanted to see him smile.) but it was a three person play, Lyndsey was a full house. I was struggling to bring myself to do this as I didn’t have something positive to say about her performance in the play. I text a few people to gage their opinion about the stage door and how to handle it.

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I need not have bothered seeing as everyone and their aunt were outside; their cameras ready, sharpies poised on their Mean Girl prints. People who had not even seen the play were there, in the prime positions as well.

All I could hear during my wait were vile comments. Links to Lyndsey’s drug use past (and predicted present) and her bad performance of the play. I couldn’t help but wonder why these people were waiting let alone coveting the spaces at the front of the barrier.

After a time we were informed that Lyndsey has already left the building via a different exit. I totally understand that and was ready to get home and move on with my day. However other people did not. What followed the announcement was abuse. She was a whore, people would not watch her work again and she was worse than Satan and someone even wished her dead.

I would say about 90 percent of my encounters have been amazing, uplifting and unique. The best experience I had was meeting Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Alexander Siddig when he was performing at the Globe. I headed to the stage door and thanked every cast member who came out (cast of 25 and I got every single autograph, meaning I was able to thank every single one of them for a play that meant so much to me). There were two other women there, just hanging out for Alexander Siddig; to the point they blanked other cast members when they drew them into the conversation we were having owing to them being stood so close.

Out came another cast member and when he finished signing for me he questioned whether we were waiting for Siddig. The girl’s ears pricked up and they listened intently as I was told he would be in the bar and that if I had any issues, to tell Alex that he’d sent me.

I watch these two girls run to the bar and shadow him. By some stroke of luck he ended up beside me as I was calming myself at the bar. I was able to have a chat to him (before the women I might add) and express my gratitude for playing the character that got me into Star Trek. We ended with him asking for a hug and telling me his name. The one thing I love about my encounters is that I seem to have a way of making them forget the fan/celeb line and they introduce themselves to me as if I haven’t got a clue who they are. I mentally tell myself as I walk away “That’ll do Pig.”

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With Alexander Siddig

I have no desire to meet many of them again (Who am I kidding, there are a few I would love to see again. But in a ‘let’s go for a cuppa, put the world to rights’ sort of way.) I know I can’t improve my experience or gain them as my friend, so it blows my mind when people will actively repeat their actions, gain nothing out of it but a photo and/or autograph. How can it be fulfilling and don’t some of the more ‘devout’ fans see the look of fear on their target’s face?

What can we do to take back our fandoms my friends? I want these victimised stars to know that we’re not all the same. I also want to be able to continue to stage door without having to compete with these people who despite having 5 autographs, will step on your neck to get another. Even if you were to explain to them that you’ve never met them before.

Remembering Hex

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Today as part of our post-YALC and Kevin Smith come down, we didn’t want to leave the house. Feeling rather nostalgic and yearning for our uni days, Gem picked our go to TV show: Hex.

The show ran for two asymmetrical seasons from 2004 – 2005, filmed by Shine Productions and aired on Sky One. It contained a number of notable cast members who have since gone on to be house hold names; leads Jemima Rooper and Christina Cole have both found success in tv shows both sides of the pond. In 2016 they each found themselves on the West End in theatres very close to each other. Joseph Morgan and Colin Salmon have taken up roles in American tv shows, The Originals and Arrow respectively.

However, the biggest success would have to be Michael Fassbender. Relatively unknown in 2005, I think you would be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t know his name today. Straight from this, Fassbender was cast in 300 and from that point his career blossomed to the point that in 2011 he was cast as Magneto in Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class.

How did you first hear about this show?

G: My mum was watching it and I was back from uni. It was the last episode of the first series and I loved every minute of it.

H: Gemma literally put the dvds in my hands and told me to watch them. I think after a week, because I hadn’t watched them, she watched the extended pilot with me and I was hooked.

Why do you like it and why should people watch it?

G: I like it because it is a really good blend of fantasy and relatable YA life. I’ve watched it dozens of times and it never gets old. It’s massively quotable (“Fairy Dust Bitch”) and Jemima Rooper is hilariously funny.

H: It was actually Jemima Rooper who got me hooked on the show. I had recognised her from her role as George in Famous Five. I’d been a massive Enid Blyton fan and, as someone who had hair down to her arse, I envied George’s hair. In terms of Hex, I related to her character so much. I struggled with my weight and wished I could have Thelma’s outlook and positivity with food and body image.
In 2006, around the time of the dvd release, I lost my mother. I was struggling to sleep, function or socialise. Hex, along with J J Abrams show Alias kept me company in the dark evenings that I was alone with my thoughts.

People should watch it because the themes of being an outsider, relationships, LGBTQ and identity are still relevant to today’s teens. It hits on a lot of the themes seen in current YA fiction and some movies. It would be the perfect companion to some works.

Why was it such an underrated show?

G: People are idiots! Personally I never seeing any promotion for the show; there were no articles or adverts in magazine and Sky missed a trick by not promoting it on MySpace (unless I missed that). I would never have watched it or heard about it had my mum not have been watching it. (by the way, she hates anything to do with witches, vampires or fantasy normally)

H: I would argue that the network had no faith in the show. As Gem said, there was no visible promotion of the show. Also, airing on a Sunday night would not have help the show gain an audience.

Who was your favourite character?

G: Jemima Rooper’s Thelma Bates. She made me laugh, she made me cry and she made me have oufit/make-up/nail varnish goals. However, I disagree with her decision to kill Drew. I’d marry Drew.
From the very first episode, she is sent on a constant journey of development. She provides the show with its cheekiest moments and is a role model for anyone in the LGBTQ community; she is true to who she is and tolerates no crap from her peers.

H: Jamie Davis’ Leon Taylor. Series One he is a stereotypical teen; he’s all about the sex without having experienced it himself. He’s a little sleazy and rather cruel his treatment of his friends.

However, by series two, he comes into his own. Leon matures, shows emotion and becomes our eyes in this chaotic world of fantasy, demons and apocalypse. While I could have easily picked Azazel (Fassbender), or Sam Troughton’s Jez (Such a dude. I met him in the bar of a theatre and chatted to him for quite a bit – nb, he’s hot!)

What was your favourite episode or storyline?

G: The pilot. I love the angst Thelma feels towards her feelings for Cassie, and then the most awful thing happens. Despite that, it’s still funny! (The quote of Thelma saying “They’re bloody loving this – don’t be a dyke or you’ll end up topping yourself.” Had me smiling and laughing through my tears.

H: For me it was the manipulation of Cassie and the lengths Azazael goes to to fulfil the prophesy. There’s a scene that reminds me of Wrath of Khan. It still makes me cringe to this day.
The storyline comes to a head in the final episode of the first series and includes one of my favourite scenes; Azazael, fallen angel, conversing in church. The storyline deals with issues such as consent, abortion and loyalty.

What would you want to see happen after the final episode?

G: I’d love to know what happens to everyone! Mainly, I *need* to know if Thelma “survives” the events… I would love even a script or a project outline of what the writers were planning for s3 because I yelled at the tv when it finished and there was no follow up from the Last Day!

H: I had an idea for a fan fiction back in 2006. The first chapter dealt with Leon putting his and Ella’s little girl to bed, telling her a story of how brave her mother was.
Thelma was still around and acting as the best god mother and her conversations with Leon would always revolve around training and education the daughter in the dark world they now belong in.
Past that, I’d not really thought about what would happen. I guess that was part of the problem. The cast was too fluid and the people I was attached to left without full resolutions.

Favourite quotes

G: I have s sneaking suspicion my quotes will be the same as Han’s… along with “Fairy dust BITCH!”. *reads Han’s; yes, yes they are the same 😊 !”

H: “Thelma Bates, I never knew you had it in you!”

“It’s such a shame I wasn’t thinner when I died really”

“The whore on my floor”

 

How would you describe it?

G: Epic fantasy awesomeness coupled with a killer dialogue and the best characters you will ever meet.

H: Relatable YA drama given a fantasy spin. Hollyoaks meets Buffy, if it was set in a private boarding school.

Who should watch it?

G: *Everyone* I loved it, and Buffy was a huge influence on my life at this time, so Buffy fans! But in general I feel like anyone who love YA would adore it, so anyone who was a  @YALC_UK #YALC2017 would totally heart it.

H: Anyone who feels a loss with the end of Pretty Little Liars. Those who have watched Buffy, Lost Girl or Charmed.

 

The first episode can currently be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcB-v4eGL58
Please watch it at let us know what you think below.

Love Han and Gem

Buffy Chat

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What is your first memory of the show?

Han:
The first two episodes, Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest, aired as a mini movie 30th December 1997. As we only had one TV and my father wouldn’t have allowed me to watch it, despite it being my birthday, I recorded it and watched The Three Musketeers instead.

It wasn’t until the day that the third episode was about to air that I’d remembered about the show. Everyone was in work as I sat down at 4pm, pitch black outside, to watch something that would have an impact upon who I was. From that point onward, I think I only ever missed one episode as they aired Thursday evenings, 6.45 on BBC2.

Gem:
Seeing the advert and yelling to my parents that I wanted to watch it. My parents told me that it looked shit and that I wasn’t watching it because Vampires were stupid. However, I pestered and pestered them until they let me watch it. I loved every episode and always looked forward to the next. My dad always said he wouldn’t watch it again, so I was either allowed to watch it while he was out or I was made to record it and watch it later.

What caused you to watch it?

H: I think I was looking for something, a fandom, that was my own. It was being played in the slot that belonged to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I also recognised Anthony Stewart Head from the Gold Blend adverts.

G: The advert! It looked exciting and unlike anything I’d ever seen before and I was already in love with vampires from watching the Lost Boys. Me and my bestfriend from school, Sarah Jayne, were *obsessed* with Lost Boys!

Who was your favourite characters throughout the 7 season run?

H: Giles was my ultimate favourite character. I had been crushing on Alexander Siddig’s Doctor Julian Bashir for 4 years at this point and I think Giles was a natural progression for that affection. Both were, as Jenny aptly puts, sexy fuddy duddies. There was an air of intelligence about Giles that I found attractive. I wear this crush with pride now, but 12 year old me was a little shy in admitting this. Just as I would 4 years later when I realised I watched Harry Potter in the cinema so many times was for Alan Rickman.

Seth Green in all of his ginger greatness appeared as a regular in season 2. Add in a little werewolf problem and Oz was cemented as another automatic favourite for me. Won’t deny that I didn’t like how the character finally evolved when it came time for the Seth Green to leave the show, but there were some amazing moments.

While initially, Allyson Hannigan’s Willow was my favourite female character, but I never really got over her betrayal of Oz and therefore my favourite female would have to be Faith. She was a badass anti-hero with a rocking bod that I envied.

G: Buffy because she’s kickass. Enough said!

Xander because he is the most lovely man and protector. He never fails to support everyone despite not being full of super human powers.

Spike because his character develops the most over the series. I really rooted for him and Buffy. And he was hot! Duh! He is funny, sexy and downright evil at times, yet also massively grows and supports Buffy.

Do you have a favourite episode?

H: Band Candy

G: The Musical episode: Once More with Feeling

Which season has the best episodes?

H: Season 3 I feel is the strongest. Not only does it have Seth Green as a series regular, Giles loosens up a little (arguably too lose when it comes to Band Candy) and shows his softer, fatherly side but this is the series that has the best and longest run of excellent episodes (Anne, Dead Man’s Party, Band Candy, Bad Eggs)

G: Season 6. Mainly because of Dark Willow. While I don’t like the trigger for Willow’s decent to the dark side, I love the development of her addiction to magic that leads to her big bad persona. I also really enjoy the relationship between Spike and Buffy and how it progresses and they are my favourite couple on the show. Finally Dawn is less Dawnlike; that is all I will say on the matter.

If you could recommend one episode to someone who has never watched it before, what would you go with?

H: Band Candy or Halloween.

G: Innocence. It has all my favourite characters in it, including Spike, Drucilla and Angelus. It also includes Buffy having to be strong despite her feelings. (Gemma laughed when I asked if people new to the show would be lost. Yes, yes they would… but they should watch them in order.

Which episode was your least favourite?

H: Where the Wild Things Are. It’s just a non episode for me. I’ve seen it about four times over the years, but I couldn’t tell you what happened past Buffy and Riley getting it on during a party. (Gem – I also hate this episode.)

G: Beer Bad. The acting is so cringe. Xander is the only one I like in that episode.

Were you happy with the final season/episode?

H: At the time, no. I felt like it had ‘jumped the shark’ for want of a better phrase. I had abandoned the show not long after season 6 started when it was doing its original airing and I struggled through the episodes I’d left unwatched when I did a rewatch in uni.
However, I recently went to a 20th Anniversary celebration of Buffy and alongside Once More with Feeling, they played the finally episode. I was a little bit miffed. Why that episode?
Then it played, in a room of fans. I saw it in a new light and I was very happy with where all the characters ended up.

G: Absolutely. Except for the fact that Dawn had the last line. I liked the fact that they mentioned a Hellmouth in Cleveland, which gave hope for a spinoff. I was devastated about Anya, as she had become one of my favourite characters. I loved the fact that Spike had such a victorious ending, he had become my favourite character and I truly sobbed my eyes out.

How has Buffy influenced your viewing habits?

H: It helped me get into Canadian sci-fi show Lost Girl. It did almost replicate the first series and there are cross overs of themes.

G: It’s made me feel like any other show is inferior. It takes a lot to excite me and I often find myself re-watching Buffy than getting into a new show. It set a canon for what I expect from vampire shows. It actually stopped me watching things like True Blood. I do love Vampire Diaries, but in my mind nothing is going to compare. Buffy is a phenomenal character. No-one else can compare.

What are your favourite Buffy quotes?

H: Oz: We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a-a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?

Cordelia: What’s the difference?

Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it’s chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

G:

  1. “What is your childhood trauma?” Cordelia (who I love, but who only comes into her own in Angel.”

2.“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live.”

3.“You just come to pump me for information?

What else would I want to pump you for? I really just said that, didn’t I?”

 

Who is your least favourite character?

H: Helfreck. Because I’d seen her in Grey’s Anatomy first and she was so uber happy that she pissed me off, and it was through association of Grey’s that she just irritated me and the uber happy seeped through. The ultimate type casting.

G: In my first watch, Riley. I despised him. I felt he was weak, and too controlled by Maggie Walsh. It’s taken about 7 rewatches for me to not hate him, now I realise how much he strives to support Buffy but I still root for Buffy to be with Spike. Therefore my least favourite character would probably be Kendra. I hate her voice, her attitude, her whole persona. In all honesty, I’m so glad Dru despatched her and we got Faith. (The actress however, is a legend. I love her in TVD and PLL and Witches of East End; I swear she is an actual vampire as she never seems to age!)

 

Who is your favourite big bad?

H: The Mayor. Mainly because it wasn’t about Buffy as such, he had his own agenda. He had his own set of morals. They were just a little out of whack. And hell, anyone that could be a dad to Faith is good in my books.

G: Angelus. He tested the whole Scooby Gang. Buffy had to literally give up her love to save humanity. I don’t think she ever recovered from that. As much as I am totally team Buffy and Spike, I know that first loves are everlasting.

 

Who is your favourite regular character?

H: Ethan Rayne. First of all, he was the man from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Second, he gave us an insight to Giles. Finally, he gave us two of the funniest episodes of the entire series: Halloween and Band Candy.

G: Drucilla. She’s a total nut job, I love her style and her devotion to both Spike and Angelus. She’s also way more hard core than whiney Darla.

Galaxy Quest

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Background
It was May half term holiday of 1999. I’d had a crush on this lad in the year above who I’d met in September that academic year. He’d asked me out for that holiday and we were meant to go and see Kevin and Perry Go Large (something that, to this day, I’ve yet to see). Being in the year above, he was already 15 and the plan was for him to buy my ticket.

He didn’t show. I tried to get in anyway, along with my supportive friends. No luck and we were shamefully turned away. However, I suggested Galaxy Quest as an alternative (and my secret preference as I’d never seen the Harry Enfield Show). They laughed and we went to the park instead.

During the summer of the same year my aunt had taken me to Windsor. The hotel had Galaxy Quest on the TV; for a fee. Not a chance. I was starting to feel like I was not destined to see this film.

Then, the best thing happened; my brother bought it on VHS. It was at the height of my cinematic education from my brother; Leon, Spinal Tap, the Alien franchise and Sixth Sense had all been screened.

We watched this with something else. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. I do have a sneaking suspicion it was End of Days, but I am clutching at straws.

I loved this movie more than I thought I would. Tim “the tool man” Taylor alongside the dude from Men in Black being weirder, funnier and more present and Ripley! Not looking as scary as 8 year old me remembered. Finally, my favourite guy, pre Harry Potter and Dogma crush; Hans Gruber and Sheriff of Nottingham himself; Alan Rickman. (Yes! Crush. Between Rickman, Siddig and Head… I was firmly pigeonholed in school as the girl with the thing for ‘older guys’)

Galaxy Quest was Star Trek, but better. Then my dad got a hold of the video and watched it repeatedly like a 2 year old discovering Fireman Sam or TMNT. Galaxy Quest lost its appeal for a little while. However, despite the tarnish, I always wished I’d seen it in the cinema.

January 2016, I checked my phone at lunchtime to many people checking if I was okay having heard the news; Alan Rickman had died. After I had cried and nursed my broken heart, I put on Galaxy Quest. Not Dogma, not Die Hard which was the film that kept me company on Friday nights when most people my age were entering clubs, pubs and bars.

My two previous attempts to see this movie in the cinema failed, so I was determined this weekend; it didn’t matter if anyone could go with me. In fact I wanted to go alone. I’d put so much stock into this movie that it was personal.

It has its flaws, I won’t pretend otherwise, but it still holds up more than some of the Star Treks and with more charm and grace too.

 

The Good
The cast is flawless. I could bleat on for hours about each one, so I’m going to restrict myself to three; Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalob and Sigourney Weaver.

Sam, Sam, Sam. During my first watch, he creeped me out. I didn’t know if it was the ‘tache or his manner, but I just wanted him off the film. However, a decade later he’s by far my favourite character. Rockwell represents the Red Shirt trope with refreshing ease. Trying to avoid death Rockwell brings us some of the film’s funniest lines. His development from  Red Shirt to comic relief is like he’s on a journey to Oz; he had it all along.

Tony’s Fred is weed, personified. It went over my head as a teen, but now being educated on the films of Rogan, Franco et al; Fred is a grade A stoner. While the character has only ever been surpassed by Fran Kranz from Cabin in the Woods, I truly love this almost meta approach to the characteristics of a stoner.

Fred’s oblivious responses to impending chaos is priceless, his teamwork approach is genius and there is the nice touch that I’d missed without seeing it on the big screen; he even takes a bag of munchies with him on the away mission.

Sigourney Weaver. My hero. Something I’d not fully acknowledged until recently but for me she is the strong female lead society claim we have always been missing. There’s the obvious (Alien), the funny (Ghostbusters) and there’s the powerful (Dave, Working Girl).

She often plays someone who is strong, confident and useful so it’s refreshing to play against her typecasting; blonde, ornamental and bleeding sexuality. It’s interesting that even in Alien, stripped of all her clothes, it’s hard to see it as gratuitous; the environment is too sterile and the action has purpose.

And boy, does she have fun in GQ. She holds her own, ensures she does her stupid job. She acknowledges it’s pointless, but if she’s got to do it she’ll do it well. At no point does it feel contrived. Won’t lie, I would have liked to have seen another female character other than Missy Pyle’s Jane Doe, which leads me to…

 

The Bad
While there is no doubt Sigourney Weaver represents a strong female character, there is a lack of a wider female presence. Yes, we have the ever-amazing Missy Pyle however, at no point do Jane and Gwen interact.

In a film that is overtly meta, it really is a shame that it didn’t highlight the plight of female characters in Star Trek of Old and the successful progression we have seen; from Uhura to Janeway. I’d have liked to have seen the lone female in Justin Long’s crew have a few more lines for a start.

The Nifty
The aliens on the planet with the spheres. They are perfect; the scene is brilliant and executed flawlessly. From Guy’s warnings and ominous predictions to Gwen’s fawning and Alex’s misdirection; it’s orchestrated to a beautiful, breath taking, rib tickling tune.

The aliens! They’re cute, they’re adorable and you’d want to hug them. Except under that cutesy Ewok-like exterior lies a ferocious bastard. Out come the teeth and violence. It’s a trick some other films could have done with.

Heartbreak

I'm on the way to a wedding. I'm going stag and that was always the plan. Just as I will be when I attend my brother's wedding in two weeks time.

It's strange how, in a really romantic setting, I've snapped out of my need for my ex.

Quite a few people met him. Back before I knew there were other women in his life. Back when he was the romantic, charming man hell bent on giving me everything I'd actually grown out of needing or thinking I would ever get. He said he loved me first, he said he'd be my boyfriend… only to take it back 24 hours later. He was seeing two other women and couldn't give them up.

He'd told me he was out of a 7 year relationship. It had been over for 6 months but they were still 'together' on Fącẻbøøk. That should have been my warning sign-

No, sorry… my first warning sign should have been the fact that he was known to me for 3 weeks as 'Jack'.

Turns out he was still with her when he matched with me. I'm still unclear as to whether they were still together when I went on our first date… but I know that he cancelled our first proper date to fuck someone else- he told me while drunk one evening in an attempt to be 'honest'. It makes me sick to be an accomplice in cheating. But by the time he told me, I "loved" him.

Anyway… 8 or so months of sociopathic abuse; culminating in me chasing him across Soho because after telling me he was 'in love' with a girl whom he'd had a crush on 10 years ago, took her to my sacred place on his birthday had the audacity to tell me my feelings for him were a crush; I told him that his mother would be ashamed of him! He ran off and me, being me, wanted to apologise. It didn't matter how much he'd hurt me, how many times I'd cleaned up after one of his other women (including having to ignore condoms and their wrappers), or how true what I said was; I felt guilty.

I'm sorry to those of you who think I'm stronger. Who think I'm smarter than to put up with 9 months of this shit and give up the possibility of having children to be with him.

I was scared. I was conned.

My heart is broken. But so it my soul. I changed everything fundamental about myself to be with him. I've done that before. However, this time not only was I made to believe it wasn't enough; I was TOLD it wasn't enough.

Han needs to love herself first.

I have a 40 minute commute ahead of me. I’m finding it easier to read most mornings than scoure the internet. I lose myself in other people’s voices. Their worlds wrap around me like a blanket and hug me until I’m ready (forced) to deal with the day.

However, this morning I’m struggling. The book lays dormant in my bag while I educate my foggy brain on the latest memes and become more and more frustrated with myself for not picking up the god damn book.

My need for social media isn’t as bad as it once was, but I do feel a mild anxiety when I don’t have my phone. If the battery dies?! I get it in my head that there’s a catastrophic message awaiting me when it again has juice. Jeeze; I’m my own worst enemy. And people look at me when I say I hate being me and spending time alone. I’m a total grade A bitch to myself.

Anyway, I digress. I know I’ll feel ten times better but I’m procrastinating like some sadist hooked on punishing myself. I just don’t know what for. But I make a habit of it and it ruins my reading enjoyment.

I’ve spent the last 9 months miserable and in a relationship I was convincing myself I wanted (and in the end, needed. I was more concerned with ‘fixing’ and making it ‘work’ than gaining something from it other than emotional scars). Why did you put up with it? My friends would ask once they’d discovered the truth (I’d stayed with him long after the expiry date and kept my contact secret). The Hannah I know would have walked away if anyone said that, why didn’t you? I was questioned when I recounted just some of the problems we encountered.
Because I felt I deserved it, I believed it was all the ‘love’ I would ever deserve or be granted. Mostly, it’s how I treat myself so I thought ‘it’s the best it will ever get’ or weirdly so ideal match.

I’m 31 years old and no one told me that they loved me before. Fuck, none of my boyfriends would ever say they liked me, let alone lower themselves to love. Who cares if it wasn’t real? Who cares if it was taken back when I *thought* I was at my weakest. (That came later when he took ‘you are beautiful’ back and replaced it with ‘you’re ordinary to look at, we don’t get people that look like that’ when talking about his deep seated crush and lust for a co-worker.

Gawd!!! That was deep.

Fuck this shit. I want to be loved. I want to meet a man, fall in love and have a family. But most of all, I want to be loved.

I don’t need a man for that. I can love me. I should love me. I need to love me.

So I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking 40 minutes out of my day to indulge in the reading of a book.

WBN 2013

Spine- Dark Blue
Key:
Own WBN
Own non WBN
WBN I gave out
Read
Notes

The Reader
Last Night Another Soldier
The Knife of Letting Go
Casino Royale
The Island
Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal?
Me Before You
Damage
The Script Scripture
Noughts and Crosses
Little Face
Red Dust
N# 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Treasure Island
Girl with the Pearl Earring
The White Queen
The Road Home
A Little History of the World
The Eyre Affair
The Dark Judges
It was the first, and I believe only, year that they released a comic as part of WBN.

WBN 2012

Spine- Green
Key:
Own WBN
Own non WBN
Read
Notes

How I Live Now
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
The Remains of the Day
Room
The Damned United
Misery
I did have two copies of this book, but to get over someone last summer I burnt it in effigy. I hate Stephen King with a passion and the guy in question had raved about King. Misery might be good, but it will be on the bottom of my list of books to read.

The Book Thief
Good Omens
The Vanishing of Esme Lennox
Rebecca
Time Traveler’s Wife
Notes From a Small Island
Sleepyhead
The Alchemist
The Player of the Games
Someone Like You
Harlequin
A Tale of Two Cities
Small Island
Pride and Prejudice
The Road
The Take
I Capture the Castle
Let the Right Ones In 

WBN 2011

Spine- Dark Blue
Key:
Own WBN
Own non WBN
Read
Notes

Life of Pi
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime
Love in the Time of Cholera
A Fine Balance
Stuart, A Life Backwards
I did own this as both WBN and non WBN, but I gave them out and never got them back.

Case Histories
Fingersmith
Rachel’s Holiday
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Killing Floor
Cloud Atlas
The World’s Wife
Agent Zigzag
Beloved
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
A Life Like Other People’s
Dissolution
Northern Lights
Toast
One Day

Charity Shop Hunting- WBN

So, I’ve taken up an old hobby of mine. There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a book you’re looking for to complete a collection while looking in charity shops. Firstly there’s the thrill of finding that needle in a haystack. Then there’s the knowledge that it’s going to a good home, at the fraction of the cost while helping other people in need.

In the past it was Faye Kellerman’s Decker saga which currently runs to 24 novels, of which I own 17. That was back in 2006 when I had an excess of time and a need for distraction.

Today my focus is on something a little bit more niche. World Book Night is a UK based charity with the aim of getting books out to those who don’t normally read. As they changed the way they roll it out this year, I fear it wasn’t as successful as they had hoped.

My aim is to own every single book, with its special WBN cover. It could be done easily; they’re being sold on Ebay for £35 and whole boxes of individual titles for as little as £10. But where’s the fun in that?!

So, I’ve written out my lists and highlighted the ones I already own. I’ve even made a list of charity shops so that I can pop in whenever I have time on my way home.

Let the fun begin.