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I've been fiddling around with my layout again. The one that looked like it might do late last night, this morning proves completely user-unfriendly, and shan't survive the rest of the day. However, during all my messing about with colours and fonts and backgrounds, I have found out that LJ apparently has a memory for previous layouts; as soon as I select '3-column layout' as default style, it reverts back to my somewhat mournful-looking Ninth Doctor theme and header, complete with custom colour scheme! If all else fails, I could go back to that...but the whole point in me discarding it earlier this month was that I felt it was no longer appropriate -- I haven't really been involved with any particular fandom this year. I do miss it sometimes, the excitement of finding a new fic or fanvid, the looking forward to personal appearances and meeting up with other fans, the sheer indulgence of spending money on it...

Speaking of which, did you know Robin of Sherwood will finally be released on DVD in the US on March 13th, 2007? Just thought I'd mention it.

Of course, looking back on it now, 2006 hasn't been totally devoid of fannish activity on my part: in March and June I saw Depeche Mode on their Playing the Angel Tour (and bought a bag I never use from their official merchandise stand); and in October I followed Common Rotation on their mini-tour of the UK again. All in the company of my very best LJ-friends, too -- what more could anyone wish for?

2006 has also been the Year of the mp3-Player for me: from the moment I acquired it in May till the moment it went and died on me 2 weeks ago, it's not only been my favourite toy, but the one thing that helped keep me sane and keep my spirits up when the daily commute would otherwise have worn me down to nothing. I sent it off to Creative last Friday and they've promised to send me a replacement within the next 10 days, so hopefully I won't have to go back to work with nothing but my book to keep me company on the trains and busses on the way there and back again.

Actually, probably as a direct result of having my Zen with me every day, I haven't read as much as I did before. A mere 27 books have been stored in my bookcase and in my brain this year (or 26, as there was one I found totally unreadable among them):

2006 booklist )
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I've just seen my very first House: I've found myself a new fandom! Now if I can only remember to tune in again next week...What is it with me and doctors, I wonder?
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Jintian on fandom

Word.
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Looking at the pretty icons [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch made Cass, I'm rather sorry I let myself move away from the
fandom so much.
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Fortune did not favour us on Friday when [livejournal.com profile] db2305 and I were supposed to have seen Serenity with [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa and friend...only severe and very freaky storms (rain, hail and snow) raging all day threw a spanner in the works. Most services on the railways were either severely delayed or got cancelled altogether, making it impossible for me to get to Utrecht; and even if they had managed to borrow a car from someone, chances are [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa and [livejournal.com profile] witchsis would not have made it either, as according to reports, there was a total of 802 kms (ca. 500 miles) of tailbacks clogging up the Dutch motorways stretching all the way to the German border. And so, we had no option but to fall back on Plan B -- wait till the storms passed and then go and see it the next day, just the two of us.

I perhaps should explain that even though I was aware of Firefly airing in The Netherlands last season, I somehow always managed to miss it. I saw the very first episode, and bits of one or two more later on, which resulted in me coming to Serenity with very little backstory and no idea what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised.

Serenity )

By the way, although our planned outing fell though on Friday, for me the day didn't end in a total wash-out: when I arrived home, late and soaking wet, I found that a TARDIS had landed right in front of my door. That's right: my special edition box set had arrived, and now all I need is an opportunity for uninterrupted viewing.
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After some frantic e-mail exchanges and several changes of plan, it's finally going to happen: [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa and [livejournal.com profile] witchsis will be driving down to Utrecht tomorrow night to meet with [livejournal.com profile] db2305 and me, and we will all go to the pictures together! And not just any picture, either, no sirree - we are going to see Serenity, which has at long f*cking last come to a theatre near us!

I've been wanting to see this film for ages, partly because everyone on my flist has been talking and waxing lyrical about it incessantly, and partly because I've always regretted not having had much of a chance to watch Firefly when it was on earlier in the year...or was that last year? There was some talk of us CoRo groupies going to see it in Glasgow last month, but we soon realised that wasn't really an option what with the long trek back down ahead of us -- and then they all went and saw it without me! Biatches!

Too bad I have to work all day, though. I could have done with meeting up and having a natter beforehand.

And in other news, these words from David Tennant's lips made me squee liek woah:

excerpt from DT interview on BBC Doctor Who website, not really spoilery: )
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I left for England on Friday morning, calling in sick from the airport since I'd forgotten to book the day off and knowing Jobsworth would not have let me go without 3 weeks advance notice at least. For some reason, security was tight and I only just made my plane, having had to take off my boots to show I wasn't planning on anything nefarious. Cass came to pick me up and I spent the day in the bosom of her family, admiring her new kitchen and her daughter's witch's costume for Hallowe'en.

The next morning, we left Kent for the capital and met up with [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch at the Holborn Bierodrome, where we had a lovely lunch before checking into our swanky hotel in Southwark. Lisa decided to take a room there too, and then we just hung out till it was time to get to The Blackfriar to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] frimfram and others and sort out the tickets. From there, it was a 2 minute walk to The Mermaid theatre and James Marsters's Words & Music.

He came out to adjust some chairs on the stage and the audience, consisting mainly of women both young and old(er), went wild. Steve Himber appeared on stage next to remind us of the rules -- as this was a theatrical performance, we were asked to behave as at any other play, and then James, dressed in black jeans and a t-shirt, together with an American actress called Cheryl somethingorother, launched into an adaptation of the Scottish play; basically some key scenes between Macbeth (James) and his good lady wife (Cheryl), linked in narrative style by James again.

And it was good. Except for an unnecessary (IMO) Hallowe'en stage laugh at the beginning, James put down a very believable Macbeth, despite the transatlantic American accent, expansive gestures, and looking very much like Spike on occasion. Afterwards, they took 10 minutes to discuss the play with the audience, and James told us how he thought of Lady Macbeth as her husband's equal rather than a bitch, and Macbeth himself as a warrior and a traditionalist rather than a wimp, which is how most Americans seem to interpret the roles. He also said that given the chance, he would cast a strapping young actor in the role of Banquo, rather than the comfortable older man that is so often picked.

After the interval, he returned on stage to play the guitar and sing all the songs from his cd except for Patricia. And I suppose the word to describe this part of the performance was adequate. He is not the world's best singer, but he does have rather a nice voice. He isn't the world's best guitar player, but he knows enough chords to get through a 3 minute pop song. He's not the world's best songwriter, but at least he's not afraid to go out there and perform his music. 99% of the audience thought it was fantastic and screamed themselves hoarse, giving him a standing ovation at the end again. Personally, I didn't detect much improvement since his gig at the Carling Academy back in April, and I was quite frankly bored throughout, but that probably reflects more on me and my tastes than on him. He did try, bless him and his cotton socks. But again, I would characterise his music as samey and bland, and lyrically and musically quite limited. But the smaller venue did work in his favour, I must say.

[livejournal.com profile] calove had to catch an early train back home, and so it was just me and [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch for breakfast this morning (full English for me, Continental for her), but all too soon it came time to say goodbye and while she went on her way to Finchley and her car, I took the Gatwick Express to the airport and ultimately, home.

All in all, it's been a wonderful weekend.
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Fandom's a weird thing, isn't it? For years, I was quite oblivious to it -- sure, there were bands and artists I liked more than others (I never miss a Paul Weller concert if I can help it, e.g.), but I was never taken over by it -- at least, I didn't think so. There was a time I quite liked to watch EastEnders, and through the BBC message board came to meet other people who were equally interested in the day-to-day happenings in Albert Square; and before I knew it, I'd become a member of several fan forums. I even became a full-fledged BBC Forum Friend, patrolling the boards every day to make sure trolls didn't get to spoil everyone else's fun, answering questions, welcoming newbies, starting threads...but it was all small potatoes compared to what came next: Spikelove!

For a while, I lived and breathed BtVS, or more specifically, Spike! He was the bees knees, and he became somewhat of an obsession of mine; and I had a little trouble separating Spike from James Marsters. Meeting him at a convention and seeing him on stage with his band a couple of times made me shift my fannish interest once again: onto Common Rotation.

They're not an obsession, but I do relish my CoRo fandom. It makes me feel all girlie and young again. It's allowed me to meet some wonderful people, not just the individual members of the band but the people who follow them, who love and enjoy their music as much as I do. And I make excuses, saying I'm making up for past mistakes, that I was never a fangirl in my younger days. And for a while, I really believed that. But I was wrong.

Halfway through the 70s, my sister and I were Queen-fans. We went to every one of their gigs in The Netherlands. We had sleep-overs at other teenage fans houses. We wrote letters to the music press defending our heroes when they'd gotten a bad review, or even when a journalist had misspelt a name. We were fully paid-up members of the International Queen Fanclub. We went to fan meetings. We corresponded with fans in Japan and America. Our rooms were covered in Queen-posters. We kept scrapbooks and entered every competition, even won a few, and got ourselves autographs and other memorabilia. We were fangirls. And we were scary.

One day, when I was about 14 or 15, I got hold of Freddie Mercury's home telephone number through a mate who had a summer job at BT. This was, of course, pure gold. The News of the World-album had just come out, there were plenty of reviews and articles in the music mags that we read, and plenty of things that we wanted to know about. And we had Freddie Mercury's home telephone number. As well as a smattering of English. A dangerous combination. After a while, we could no longer resist the temptation...egged on by my sister, I dialed the number. "Mercury", sing-songed a voice on the other end of the line. I recognised that voice. I dropped the phone. "Hello? Hello?"...My sister was full of questions. I translated. He was quite nice and answered them. We hung up after about 5 minutes.

He shouldn't have been so nice -- because week after week, my sister and I would be calling him with inane questions and remarks and squee, until one day, he had had enough. "Oh no, not you again!", he said, answering the phone for the umpteenth time. Chastened, I slammed the phone down, and resolved never to call him again. I never did.

A few days later, my Dad tore strips off us. He'd just received the itemised phone bill he'd requested because the bill had been so high the previous month -- what idiot had been making international calls from his phone? My sister and I owned up to the dastardly deed, and were grounded for a month.

Several years later, we actually got to meet Mr. Mercury fleetingly. We didn't dare open our mouths, let alone tell him we'd been his phone stalkers once upon a time.
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A couple of days ago, I was reading this story in the morning paper about an international gang of criminals defrauding people by posing as a Florida-based travel agency and phoning unsuspecting members of the public in this country, telling them they'd won an all expenses paid holiday in the Caribbean. All anyone needed to do to claim their prize was to punch in the numbers of their credit card on their phone. Apparently, they'd made quite a number of victims in the east of the country already. The article ended by reiterating that no one, not even employees of credit card companies or people purporting to be such, would ever have any valid reason for asking anyone for their credit card numbers/details. I shook my head, folded the paper, and forgot all about the story. So I was a bit surprised, and greatly amused, when not half an hour ago, I answered the phone and a recording of a distinctly American-sounding woman's voice said "Congratulations! You have won a free and all inclusive cruise in the Caribbean!" Apparently, not even with the police hot on their heels will these fraudsters stop their scamming.

I woke up feeling more tired than when I went to bed, and a little queasy, too. Maybe I shouldn't have finished that 2-day old curry last night...I got to the bus stop and dozed a little, until I finally came to realise that no bus had come in ages. Other people had arrived and muttered, then grumbled, and finally moved off to find other means of going in to work. I sat there debating the matter for all of 2 minutes, then got up and went straight home and to bed. From whence I was called to answer the door a few hours later. Yay! My Amazon order had come, and so I spent the afternoon reliving personal television memories watching Robin of Sherwood.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


It's been more than twenty years since I last saw it, but it was amazing how little of it I'd forgotten. It's still a great, magical story: beautifully shot, wonderfully scripted, well acted...and yeah, a bit dated, but now that only adds to the charm of it; and it's still powerful television drama. I cried every bit as much at Michael Praed's Robin's death this afternoon as I did all those years ago. And that's where I stopped watching. I thought I'd only ordered the first two series, but must not have paid attention because what I have here is The Complete Collection, and so there are 13 more episodes featuring Jason Connery in the principal role still to get through. I didn't take to him, back in the day; and frankly, I've done my best to forget all about him, so I don't know if I will watch the rest yet. For today though, getting reacquainted with the first Robin has been a genuine pleasure.

And I may be clutching at straws here, but this morning when I went to check up on Leila, instead of hiding behind the washing machine, she was sitting in front of it. I've left the door open so she can venture out if she pleases, but she hasn't moved from her spot yet. Still, she hasn't gone back into hiding, either; surely, that's a good sign? I'm not taking her to Best Friend's now, that's for sure; if I just let her be, with the bathroom door ajar, next week or the week after, she may come out on her own, mayn't she?

Oh, and 2 Imodium later, I feel absolutely fantastic.
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Let me begin by saying that I loved Nine. I loved his goofy grin, and his leather jacket. I loved his compassion. I loved his dark side, I loved his sadness, and his silliness, his jealousy and his superiority, his honest belief in his own impressiveness. I loved his impatience and enthusiasm, his seriousness and his curious nature, and most of all, his unending propensity for love and frienship, pure and simple.

I loved his aversion to domesticity, and his bafflement at and admiration for the human race, his sense of duty and his commitment to the principles of time and space and truth and right and his tireless efforts to keep the world, the earth, the universe and every living thing in it (or every living thing that wasn't a Dalek), alive.

I loved Nine, and I loved the portrayal of him by Christopher Eccleston. A finer actor never breathed life into this Time Lord of ours.

I cried when he gave his life to save Rose's, and even though I hated him for leaving us, I loved him for the nobility of his action; for the unselfish, unending love it expressed. But when the regeneration came to a close and Ten emerged, flashing a huge smile at Rose and saying "Where was I?", I took an instant dislike to him.

For weeks, I couldn't believe that I would ever truly forgive Ten for taking over from Nine. I swore that Nine would be my Doctor forever and ever. I could see myself accepting Ten only because I knew we would never again see Nine return, and I've come to be of the opinion that any Doctor is better than no Doctor at all.

Then there was the 2 minute Glastonbury interview with geek!David, and the first chink started to appear in my armour. Recently, there have been the publicity shots and press releases focusing on the new Doctor's wardrobe...which I didn't really care for in the beginning as it seemed to me to be regressing a bit to the silly suited Doctors of the 80s and 90s (Five, Six, Seven and Eight -- I never saw One, Two or Three in action; and Four I loved because he was the Doctor I grew up with, and loving Four meant loving his attire, too). But I've since had a closer look and it's not that bad, really...

But it wasn't until I saw the pictures taken at yesterday's Christmas Invasion shoot in Camberwell that I finally thawed towards Ten. Look! him and Rose -- they're holding hands...awww. How cute, heart-warming, and uplifting is that? He may just prove to be a worthy successor to Nine, after all.

See what I mean? )
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It's almost too hot to move...No, that was yesterday. Today, even though temperature-wise, it's a little cooler, and the sun is hiding behind the clouds, it's close, oppressive...Still, I prefer it to the unseasonal cold that held sway until as late as last week. Summer's finally here!

And yay! so are my Christopher Eccleston DVDs; the postie's just delivered them. Now, which one to watch first? Let Him Have It or Revengers Tragedy -- or maybe The Invisible Circus, with Cameron Diaz? It's a pity I'm going to have to wait until the end of November for my pre-ordered Doctor Who box set with 200 mins. worth of extras and a special Confidential to arrive, because really, that's all I want to see right now; but meanwhile, I'll just build up my budding DVD collection with CE films.

It's fun, getting into a new fandom again. It's like being on a treasure hunt: there's new forums and communities, artwork, fic, vids and icons to find, appreciate, and indulge in, daydreams to get lost in...but I'm waxing ever more frustrated with the fact that as a paid user, I've only got 50 icon spaces -- esp. since my being in Europe means the reserved MBs for phone posts and text messages goes to waste. So I've added my name to [livejournal.com profile] oxoniensis' petition to be allowed to use that useless space for icons, and hope we'll soon get our wish.
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50 Icons space is not nearly enough for all the fantastic (to borrow The Doctor's word) avatars (to borrow someone else's) my new fandom lets me find. Just look at this one, e.g.! Such a pity I only found out about the Permanent Account Auction when it was all over and done with...I could have had space for a hundred! There's nothing for it, though: the last of the Spikes will have to go, too.

And [livejournal.com profile] freakspawn: you have so got to come over next February (or me come over to the UK again)! Why? Because Depeche Mode will be playing Rotterdam! And you probably knew all this way before I did

07.02.06 Rotterdam - Ahoy
11.02.06 Manchester - MEN Arena
13.02.06 Dublin - The Point
15.02.06 Birmingham - NEC
16.02.06 London - Wembley Arena
17.02.06 London - Wembley Arena


ETA: ^some people's idea of a joke.
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You know you're a goner when the first conscious thought of the day is The Doctor, and how he and Rose might be doing. And when tears well in your eyes at the next thought, that it'll all be over in 3 weeks -- no more Doctor until Christmas, and no more Nine after that. Bleugggh!

My fandom priorities have definitely changed. BtVS is over and done with, Spike's gone off God knows where and frankly, I don't care if he sends a postcard or not; and JM is just an actor who may or may not appear on a television screen near me at any time in the future. Ever since Moonlight Rising last year, I've been losing interest steadily; and now it's come to that point where I've lost the ability to squee over anything he does...a fact I acknowledged during the concert I attended late in April.

And so I've deleted all the files and folders with pictures and articles of/about Spike and JM, BtVS and AtS, given up trying to catch up with unread fanfic, and will -fingers crossed- soon be saying goodbye to my present lay-out.

But I don't want to sound ungrateful: I still appreciate JM, for everything he, as Spike, has brought me: hours of fun and enjoyment watching his adventures in Sunnydale, finding others who were equally fascinated by the character and the show, getting onto LJ, forging friendships, and taking a trip to the States that led to my discovering the folky/rocky music of Common Rotation for myself -- a new fandom is born from the ashes of the old!

And another is born from my newfound interest in television: the Ninth and Rose have taken over as my OTP of choice, and even if it comes with a definite expiry date, I'm determined to enjoy their journey through time and relative dimensions in space to the last -- till Christmas at least.
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I'd been eyeing these bright yellow, green and cream Quick lace-up boots for a week or two...Yesterday, they finally came home with me. My Dad nearly choked on his ice tea when I showed them to him, they're that bright; and this morning, some of my co-workers shaded their eyes before commenting on my latest acquisition. In other words: they're a huge success. I think I might take them with me to Moonlight Rising, see what JM thinks! Maybe they'll inspire him to finally ditch those awful white trainers he seems so fond of wearing all the time.

Suzanna came in with a new do this morning, which has inspired me to scrape together all my courage and put myself back in the hands of my hairdresser again, because at the moment it just looks horrible. And if I can make an appointment with Juan, I'm sure he can salvage some of what his assistant ruined last time I went in. I know that sleek is all the rage these days, but my hair never wants to stay that way, and I'm too effin' lazy to bother with styling...plus I hate all those sticky gels and stuff.

As usual, my weekend was far too short to fit in all the things I'd like to do, but at least I managed to watch and discuss Winding Roads with [livejournal.com profile] db2305 on Saturday. We got so caught up in the discussion, of WR, of JM, of AtS's recent cancellation, and of fanfic, that I never got around to inspecting her fashion purchases. Luckily, she remembered at the very last minute, and doubled back to show me her new pinkish/tan flat-soled sandals, which I'm sure will look marvelous on her this summer.

Kraftwerk are playing Amsterdam tonight. Unfortunately, I found out about it too late to get a ticket...and besides, I've got an elsewhere to be. Pity; I'll just have to make do with my CD-Rom drive today.

Nagging JM

Mar. 10th, 2004 02:44 pm
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I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt I was JM's personal assistant, and apparently my job consisted of me advising him what to wear. We had the following altercation:

GAMIILA: "What you're going to wear? You woke me up to ask me that? Wear what you bloody well please!"

(JM mutters something unintelligible, goes away and comes back a minute later in his ubiquitous T-shirt, jeans and trainers)

GAMIILA: "That's what you've chosen to wear? Please tell me you brought the kilt! And wear some Docs with it this time!"

(JM changes into the kilt, and promptly falls down the stairs).
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Two of the ladies of the Women's Institute that want me to do a series of lectures/Art History course for them came round to the flat last night to discuss their proposal with me in more detail...I'll have to mull it over for a bit. For now, I've given them a tentative 'yes', but I'll have to see what I may be able to cobble together on such short notice and how I'm going to juggle this with work and other obligations. I'll also need to dust off some of my old address books and see if I can still impose on several people for favours.

Stayed up far into the night, unable to put down [livejournal.com profile] sadbhyl's excellent More Than Strangers, with the result that I'm about ready to curl up and fall asleep behind my desk -- but that would be setting a bad example and we don't want to do that, do we?

And to make matters worse, my close colleague Allan, who's a sweet guy really but nevertheless can be quite trying, insisted on engaging me in a conversation about funeral insurance just now. Reminding me that I'll need to think about sending off for some brochures for myself one of these days. But not now, eh?

On the plus side, though: I'm King Arthur and a book no one's heard of! )
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When I came home late last Friday, I found that [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch's package had arrived. Yippee! Tired as I was, I wasted no time in inserting the video in the slot, sat back to watch Winding Roads...and had a hard time not falling asleep before 2 minutes had elapsed.

The word "dire" does not even begin to describe this film. Rarely have I watched anything as unashamedly soporific as this flick, and this despite the best efforts of one of the best actors around at the moment. Although, best efforts? JM's clearly trying, but this performance isn't his best by a long shot.

What's wrong with this movie? Well, it rambles. The storyline's simple enough (woman who makes table tops agrees to marry a guy, then falls pregnant; her moody cow of a friend dies and woman decides to leave town and have baby on her own) but the characters are flat, the dialogue is far from brilliant, deep, or even mildly amusing, and the camera's trained on people far too bloody long. And the soundtrack! The soundtrack is both the longest (check out the end credits!) and the most annoying in the history of motion pictures!

Luckily, the next night was [livejournal.com profile] db2305's and my not so regularly scheduled Angel-night, in which she shares with me her DVD-downloads. This time, we watched the episode in which Lindsey (so that's Lindsey! I thought he only had one hand?) puts Spike up in an apartment with a single bed, and says it's not as if he's going to be sharing it with anyone any time soon (??) and Angel's lying about with a jellyfish stuck to his chest; followed by Damage (how lovely to see Tom Lenk again!) and the final Cordy ep. Wonderful viewing. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I love Spike. Have I mentioned how much I love Spike, this year? Because I do: I love Spike.

I love Andrew, too. Especially when he launches into the retelling of his epic Slayer of the Vampyre-speech. And chokes on his pipe. The scenes between Spike and Andrew were the best I've seen so far.

And it's not true that DB can only do one facial expression (constipated): I swear I saw him do panic -fleetingly- when he looked down to find a whopping big blue jellyfish attaching itself to his chest! In another scene, he also managed to convey 'clueless' quite well. And I think I actually saw him smile at the resurrected Cordy.

BTW, I loved that Cordy episode. A worthy send-off for a beloved character. Very well done.

Then yesterday night, it was time for the BAFTAs. I couldn't stay awake to see all of it, but one thing I feel I must say: what was Emma Thompson wearing? It looked like a soft pink satin sheet held together with safety pins at strategic points, which is fine if you're still sophomoric enough to go to toga parties -- but someone should have told her that a) that colour did nothing for her and b) she really is past the age where she can go braless and get away with it. Very, very unflattering!
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It was [livejournal.com profile] db2305 broke the news to me yesterday, when I went round to hers for dinner and another night of Angel-watching, that this current season is the series's last. We agreed that it was a pity, but not the end of the world.

In my case: I never cared much for Angel or his crew to begin with, and only started watching this season's offerings because Spike had come into the mix, and Spike was the reason I'd watched BtVS previously. In recent months, I have enjoyed Angel for more than just the Spikey bits, though; and I did think the series had improved a lot...so: bye-bye Angel, thanks for a wonderful season, and hope to catch you on re-run soon.

As for Spike: I expect I'll not miss him too much, not as long as our talented fanfic writers carry on writing and publishing stories about him -- and with the demise of the series, there's no end to where their imagination may take us. I don't expect the fandom will peter out any time soon, and I'm sure I'll keep in touch with all the wonderful people I've met and connected with through my interest in two very enjoyable TV series over the last year and a half. I love you all.
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And so we get right back to the beginning and the basics...what does the soul mean in the Jossverse, and could Spike have achieved redemption without one?

When I first started to look for discussion groups and message boards for people with an interest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer a year and a half ago (already? blimey!), this was the first discussion I became embroiled in. And it looks as if I now may have to dive into it again, as my name has been put forward for participation in a panel that addresses that particular question at MR in June.

Problem is, I'm like a vampire: I like to talk big -- or maybe it's just that I like to talk. I don't feel particularly qualified to make any pronouncements on the subject, but that's hardly enough to stop me from trying to formulate an opinion. So, I've more or less agreed to do it.

Which means that yesterday, going home on the train, I was suddenly inspired to jot down a few thoughts on the question of souls, morality and how the notion of Theory of Mind might tie in with it. Haven't thought much about redemption yet, haven't even defined what it means (is it simply to be rescued from sin and its penalties, or is it something much more exalted?), but if I had to decide if Spike was being redeemed without his soul right now, my answer would be a resounding yes!yes!yes! If I was looking for an argument to support that theory, I would say that in 'Hellbound', it was clearly stated that the soul on its own wasn't enough, because if it had been, Spike would never have been seen fading in and out of the Underworld. Same with Angel: he's still had to spend his time eating rats for 90-odd years and 'helping the helpless' for at least 5 since acquiring his soul -- and IMO, his redemption is still a long way off. Actually, I would think Spike had a headstart on him there, because he gave his all to regain his soul, and seems to have adjusted so much better than Angel has in a 100-plus years of enforced soulfulness. Of course, I fully expect the writers to change that point of view around at the end of the show, because it is after all, Angel's show -- and I'll have to deal with it when it comes.

But now that I'm pondering the question of soul and redemption, a related one (in my mind) pops up as well: what is evil, what does it mean in the Jossverse? We've seen the First Evil to be a big, ineffectual wuss, and we've seen all kinds of characters, ensouled or not, running amok...

If I'm going with the definition of 'evil' as 'morally bad', then I've seen plenty of examples where ensouled creatures meet the criterium with ease, e.g. the stupid frat boys who in their quest for power and riches feel no compunction about offering their dates up for sacrifice to a snake demon. Unless they had sold their souls to the demon before they started feeding him girls?

Because if I go with the definition of 'evil' as 'morally bad', and of the soul as the divine spark that connects us to God/ultimate good, then severing that connection by selling or losing the soul would result in a disconnection from a sense of what's morally right. And by that reasoning, a vampire having lost his soul, would be evil. And then in that strict sense, it would follow that Spike is evil while he goes around soulless.

But in the eyes of the beholder (this beholder?), his actions during at least part of that time seem to belie that theory, so there must be more to the notion or perception of a creature being evil than it simply being cut off from or having trouble with the concept of morality.

When the Scoobies discuss Angel going evil, they mention his past penchant for nailing puppies to doors -- so that would imply that their notion of evil is not just morally bad, but morally bad with cruelty mixed in. His evil nature comes to the fore not only in the killing of innocent little puppies as well as men, women and children; but perhaps even more so in the apparent pleasure he takes in what he calls his 'art', of torturing his prey/victims.

Some people argue that vampires are like animals, predators, without a sense of right and wrong, only the sense of an empty stomach. For which reason they attack other animals, kill and eat them. Yet we don't think of predatory animals as inherently evil. We excuse them on the grounds of them not possessing Theory of Mind: they know not what they do, i.e. have no sense of the pain and anguish they're putting their victim through because they have no sense of self and cannot empathise.

That seems to be the case as well for most of the Sunnydale vamps, esp. the fledglings that we see. All they seem to think about, if they can be said to think at all, is their stomach. As a result, they're far too stupid and careless to pose much of a threat to the Slayer. But of course, these vamps were once human, and humans -and quite possibly certain species of apes- do possess Theory of Mind; is this ability then erased in the process of becoming a vampire?

But both Angel and Spike, pre-soul, seem to have retained it; and Holden Webster, even if he was newly risen, seemed to have all his intact as well. So once again, if I take evil to mean 'morally bad and cruel', then I can only conclude that Joss is right and Spike is evil. But maybe I can qualify that by adding: 'only for as long as he has no need to question his purpose and place in the food chain.' Because I do believe that he shows signs of improvement way before the soul was added to the mix.

I'm going round in circles and I can't make head or tail of it...but it's almost 5 o'clock now and my yoga class awaits, so for today at least, I'll think no more. But I can see that I'm a long way from cobbling together a bloody brilliant hypothesis to support the idea that Spike could have been redeemed without his soul, if I'm going to take part in this debate!

Yes or no?

Jan. 9th, 2004 04:22 pm
gamiila: (Default)
As you may or may not know, I will be going to a fan event this June. It will be held at the Split Rock Resort, in PA somewhere, and a number of the BtVS cast members will be there to smile, shake hands, sign autographs and do whatever else they're wont to do at such gatherings. And they're also doing photoshoots. For which tickets will become available on Monday.

JM is going to be there. And he's going to be doing a photoshoot, too. For which there will be 200 tickets available. Which means that if I want a picture with him and me in it as a souvenir of the occasion, I'm going to have to decide pretty damn quick.

Now, the question is whether I can set aside my usual snobbish attitude for 2 minutes and allow myself to sign up for it; or chicken out entirely and end up kicking myself when I'm there, having travelled halfway around the world to see him in the flesh.

Thankfully, there is a possibility of having more than 1 person in the picture with him. Maybe even as many as 3 people, although that has to be cleared with the organisation first. But as luck would have it, I'm going to be there with [livejournal.com profile] julchek and [livejournal.com profile] calove, and if I can get them to agree to the idea, then maybe I will come away from this convention with a memento yet without my friends and family thinking I've gone barmy and calling for the ambulance.

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