tealin: (terranova)
[looks up from piles of black-and-white photos, archival documents, notes scribbled in the margins of books, logic puzzles attempting to place fragments of evidence in a timeline, recollections of academics, collections of academics, disconnected letters, maps, newspaper clippings, webs of causality all leading to tragic consequences, inventories, mysteriously missing accelerants, problematic personalities, suppressed suggestions of betrayal, suspicious deaths, and the conflict between idealistic pursuit of knowledge and self-interested ambition]

You know, sometimes I think about all the mental gymnastics I did over Lemony Snicket in the early 2000s, and wonder when I'll ever find a practical application for those skills.
tealin: (Default)
If you look for proof of something, you're likely to find it.

Pay close attention to what you're looking to prove. Why do you want it to be true? Will proof of it affect you for better or for worse?

Birdsong

Mar. 13th, 2017 07:30 pm
tealin: (Default)
I am back teaching in Viborg, and while my supposed-to-be-ten-day class is once again cut down to eight, this time it's not a national holiday or a school function but because we have a fabulous guest speaker for two days, and as I'm here I get to benefit from it too.

This afternoon he showed the classic short film Father and Daughter (warning: tears) which gave me a surprise of the kind I've come to find familiar when revisiting European things I haven't seen since moving to Europe. At about 6 minutes in, you hear a skylark, and you know that what was once water has been drained and is a field, even before you see it, because you only get skylarks singing above open fields – and this is not a happy accident, because at 6:15 you see the skylark doing its thing, so it's a decision made by someone who knows the associations of the bird.

I've always been a bit into birds – more than a bit, at some times – but I have to say European birds are a different ball game when it comes to what they tell you about the world, when you're familiar with them. I can think of a few North American birds with which I have seasonal associations: mockingbirds in the spring and summer in California, prominently, and the sing-song spring song of the chickadee; when I hear a particular regional variant of the white-crowned sparrow in a film, I know it's shot in BC. But it hardly compares to the richness of communication in European birdlife, which can put you in a place and season and even time of day more effectively than any title card. The song of a blackbird carries all the promise and fulfillment of burgeoning summer, even when they start singing in February. The wing slaps of fighting woodpigeons puts you in tall trees with fresh young leaves, the trilling of long-tailed tits in a winter hedgerow, a cuckoo into bright flowery woodland, the chucks of jackdaws down an old city street with eclectic chimney pots, and the screams of swifts belong in the bright blue summer sky with puffy clouds turning to thunderheads. (Britain's relationship with the robin warrants an entire post of its own ... )

And the thing is, European filmmakers (and radio producers) know this, and use it, because it means something to their audience, even if the audience doesn't realise it. I find it hard to imagine an LA filmmaker using a mockingbird's song to elicit the atmosphere of a warm jasmine-scented night, though it's as much a part of that as anything else. The white-crowned sparrow mentioned above is usually accidental, as the thing shot in BC is almost never supposed to be set there. But then, why should they use communicative bird sounds when their audience isn't going to get the cue either? The long-term urbanisation and population density of Europe means its people rub shoulders more comfortably with their wildlife than Americans/Canadians do with theirs, and are more perceptive of its habits; it helps, too, that European birds have such distinctive characteristics that they're more identifiable than, say, the umpteen variations on "brown thing that goes 'chirp'" which are resident in LA. But it'd still be nice to see more of that sort of attention paid to what makes up one's surroundings, and less in the vein of the quacking Canada goose in Source Code. It's not something you notice being absent from your entertainment until it becomes commonplace ...

FURTHER FEATHERED FILM FACT: I'm almost entirely certain that whatever bird sound was used for the flightless cormorant in Master and Commander was also used for an orc or orc-like creature in Return of the King, something which threw me when I saw the latter. It sounds a bit like the shag, if you want to try spotting it yourself.

Thoughts

Feb. 7th, 2017 10:09 am
tealin: (Default)
I have loads of packing and pre-travel stuff to do, but my brain won't leave me alone about these things I've been wanting to blog about for years, so I'm giving it one hour to say what it wants to say and stop bothering me. These were going to be big long thinky-posts, but I'm forcing myself to keep them to one paragraph.

Piracy
Media piracy is a big deal, both for content producers (such as myself) and the consuming public, but I don't feel the current conversation is the one we need to be having. There are many grey areas in which limited theft ends up being for the greater good – essentially free marketing – but money has to be part of the equation at some point. The counter-piracy argument is always presented as 'if you don't pay for this film, you're stealing from the people who made it.' That is, essentially, untrue, as very few people who work on the film get any residuals from its profits. What you are doing is preventing things from getting made in the future. The rise of the box set has seen some fantastic television being produced, but it is being produced on the prospect that people will buy the box set, or digital equivalent thereof. Studios budget future projects based on what past ones have made, so if profits from Film B are down from Film A, they have less to give Film C, or decide that they can only make Film E, instead of Films D, E, and F as planned. I have been in meetings where the effects of this cycle are presented very matter-of-factly. When you pirate films, you are stealing from yourself, because your lack of monetary input means YOU will get fewer and lower-quality things to watch in future.

Politics
People argue endlessly about which approach to government is correct. There is no correct. There is only what best reflects your priorities. Everyone has a reason for believing what they believe. You can find statistics and studies to back up any argument you want to make, on any side. What it comes down to is a matter of choice. What kind of country do you want to live in? What kind of society? What do you want to put up on a pedestal as being the #1 Important Thing? A nation's government, in a way, projects back to the nation what it values. What values do you want those to be? What sort of people do you want to be allied with, or opposed to? What consequences are you willing to take? What sort of person does that make you? Are you OK with that?

Harmony

Feb. 5th, 2017 08:58 am
tealin: (4addict)
Barely 24 hours after I post those thoughts about how A Series of Unfortunate Events challenges us to stand up for the Baudelaires around us, Radio 4 has broadcast programmes asking us "Which character in the story are you?" and referring to Yeats' "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

I joke that I'm married to Radio 4 (and Cambridge, the physical embodiment thereof), but I'm starting to wonder if the fraying of reality is making that more true than I thought possible...
tealin: (writing)
Some fandoms are pretty universally popular, and some are so niche they barely qualify as fandoms at all. Snicket fandom falls somewhere in between. Some people are passionate fans, but quite a few dislike the books or 'don't get' them; it's interesting to figure out what it is in a person that clicks with A Series of Unfortunate Events; who ends up liking them and who not.

After much mental chewing on my own small sample group, the best conclusion I've reached on the subject is this: You are more likely to enjoy Lemony Snicket if you are aware of the darker side of life – not necessarily accepting of the darkness, but accepting the awareness of it. If you haven't suffered loss, or been uprooted, or been disappointed in someone you were counting on, or simply prefer not to think about depressing things like these, you are more likely not to 'get' these books and wonder why anyone does. But if you know that, at any moment, your life might be turned upside down and everything you take for granted – even abstract things like kindness, truth, and justice – cast into doubt, you are more likely to look at these maudlin tales of misfortune and have something in you say 'yes, that's how it is.' Overblown and dressed up in a silly costume, yes, but with a kernel of truth, around which the absurdity and poignancy and tongue-in-cheek narration are built up like layers on a gobstopper.

What We 'Get' About Them )

Now we find ourselves in a world where, on an abstract level, these ridiculous tales are suddenly not so far off the mark. This series was written mainly during the G.W. Bush administration, when the culture wars were already well underway, and the idea of educated, cultured urban sophisticates being locked in life-or-death conflict with ignorant and crude but more ruthless people was an entertaining hyperbole of the contemporary climate. Now we've had a US election where those wishing to stick it to 'the elites' have won, and similar forces are in the ascendency across the Eurocentric world. Last week I flicked between the Netflix series and Twitter, with its steady stream of outrage at the smash-and-grab first week of the Trump administration, contingency plans to save libraries, and this classic: “America is a tire fire. The resistance is led by Teen Vogue, Badlands National Park, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.” ... and I thought, good grief, the ridiculous is now.

We Are All The Baudelaires )

It's not too hard to find a modern parallel for Count Olaf, the egotistical entertainer who will get what he wants by any means necessary, or for those who hitch a ride on his ambition. But is that where we should be looking? )



CODA

This popped up from my favourite singer/songwriter today, which seemed relevant:

There is a kind of elegant, uncomfortable wisdom to these times too, no? We are shocked and horrified by the uncovering of hidden hatred, but dormant love and generosity and courage are also coming out of hiding. I think we are all in some version of “hiding", more or less, and in this world it’s becoming harder and harder to hide. Maybe that’s a good thing?
tealin: (writing)
Well, why not make it a thing this series.

I'm going to try to be short, because I have to get back to work. (Hah! Short.)

Immediate Impressions of the Just-Aired Episode of Sherlock, Series 4 )

Back to francophone radio for me now; have fun out there, fandom.
tealin: (Default)
Just watched 'The Six Thatchers' – first reactions –
Super Spoilery Sherlock Somethings )

And that's the point at which my recollection expires ...

Lest you think I am being too critical, I did really enjoy watching it, which to be perfectly honest I was not expecting to do. It's a nice feeling, that buzzing of the fannish nerve; I thought it might be a thing of the past. There have been so many media disappointments, and it seems prohibitively difficult to carry a franchise on this long without dropping the ball somehow, especially when it's got an enormous and very vocal fandom which is tempting and/or rewarding to pander to (or mess with). They've walked a very narrow line with this show and so far done it remarkably successfully ... we'll see if it lasts the whole series!
tealin: (Default)
Well here we are, at the end of another year, and what a year! As well as all other commonly held notions that it set out to shatter, it also disproved the idea that perception of time slows down to fit in more stimuli (e.g. why a long weekend of travel feels equivalent to weeks of sticking to your normal routine). This year was a non-stop news barrage, and my own life was filled with all sorts of things, yet it feels like just a few months ago that I was watching the last light of 2015 fade from the sky.

I have formerly been in the habit of writing a year-end blog post, but I didn't really know where to start with this one – it's pointless going over what made it a remarkable year because you were all there, too, and everyone is doing that anyway, no use adding to the pile.

In looking back over my own personal 2016 I realised that a common thread was starting things and not finishing them. This has always been something of a theme for me, but 2016 brought it to the fore, as I opened more and bigger boxes this year than in years past and none of them have been fully unpacked; some hardly started. Current ongoing business includes:
  • Ireland travel journal
  • Scotland travel journal
  • Academic article (going on two years now)
  • Something like a semi-official relationship with SPRI, only just begun
  • Lots and lots of information gathering with no synthesis or organisation
  • The Mini Big Project which took up most of the summer, which needs revisions before I can share it
  • So many thinky blog posts I've started in my head
... and that's just what I can think of right this minute. I will try to finish these before I open anything new in 2017, but who can say how successful that will be ...

On identifying that aspect of my 2016, though, I found that it could be applied to 2016 globally. It's been an awful year in lots of ways, but – hate to break it to you – lots of those ways are in fact just opening boxes of more awfulness, that will have to be unpacked and sorted in the years to come. A hurricane can sweep through in a day, but it takes years to recover, and the recovery can be harder than weathering the storm in the first place. We've had a lot of shocks this year, but the hard work is yet to come, and will require a lot from all of us.

If this notorious pessimist has any hope for the course of things to come, it's that finally the passionate, fierce, intelligent, interconnected rising generation has something to fight for and against – when things were going their way, they turned their energy on each other, but there's nothing like the unifying power of a common enemy to rally and motivate the troops. There's a lot of potential out there. Every so often humanity is tested on its progress: this appears to be one of those times. I'm no great fan of humanity, but I hope we pass.
tealin: (think)
I think I've figured it out:

Bill Wilson is basically Professor Lupin, if Professor Lupin
  • was real
  • wasn't a werewolf
  • didn't have jerkwad friends
  • didn't die a pointless offscreen death but rather one that was the ultimate consummation of his amazing and inspiring character arc
Bet Cherry wishes he'd thought of that one.
tealin: (introspect)
I've been meaning to write this post for months, but never quite known where to start, so of course now here I am right up against it, with no choice but to blunder in. Please forgive the lack of any sort of coherence ... a stew may not be so palatable as a plated meal, but I hope at least it's as nutritious.

As every commentator under the sun has been saying for months now, this election has been full of surprises. The main surprise generally seems to be that Donald Trump, with his divisive, unapologetic, dare I say flamboyant rhetoric can have sustained the popularity he has done, when common wisdom has it that such talk should alienate the vast majority of calm, sensible people in the centre, who one has to win over to get a majority of the vote.

Frankly, what has surprised me is that this has come as a surprise to so many people.

I spent my teenage years in suburban Utah, surrounded by a conservative Republican society, in a house where right-wing talk radio and pundit TV were a constant presence. It was not the most benign place to come of age, but this year I have come to see beyond the damage of that experience and recognise that it was, in a way, a privilege to get a glimpse over the hedge. Thanks to that environment I understand (or at least feel like I understand) what is going on in the news, when people who didn't grow up with it are shocked and confused. For what it's worth, I'd like to share my perspective with you. It is by no means comprehensive or well-informed, but I hope that maybe by seeing it through my eyes, some of the pieces will fall into place.

This has been a long time coming. )

The lesser of two weevils )

And the painted ponies go up and down... ) You might not have known they were there, or what they thought, or why they thought it, but that doesn't mean they didn't exist. Now you know. The US is going to have to take a long, hard look in the mirror after this election, and it may not like what it sees there, but at least it will finally be forced to see both sides of its face. What it does with that knowledge is anyone's guess, but if there's any silver lining to the smoke cloud billowing from this Hindenburg, it's that breaking out of denial is the only way to move forward. Maybe. If that's what you want to do. I don't know, I'm going to bed.

Important Notes on the Bible verses )
tealin: (introspect)
Inspired by Lucy Bellwood's erstwhile Inktober theme of drawing the negative thoughts and insecurities that plague her, I thought I'd get a few of mine down on paper and out of my head, for the time being at least. It's remarkable how flimsy they look when you give them concrete words and limit them to an ink silhouette on a piece of paper.

All 31 are stuffed in this box )

I can't say this has freed me from all of them – I am, at the moment, in a happy place where they don't bother me too much, but that could change again – but it has been valuable and therapeutic to encapsulate what's usually a formless toxic miasma. And hearing from others who have to deal with the same things has removed the power inherent in the belief that these are problems only I have to deal with because they grow uniquely out of my unique failings. Strength in numbers! Only you don't know your numbers if you never mention what might unite you ...
tealin: (Default)
Next in the series of articles I don't have time to write, and so am planting in your imagination:

"A Comparison Between Irish Independence From the UK, and the UK's Independence From the EU"

Points would be:
- A sudden schism upending a pre-existing series of negotiations for greater autonomy (Easter Rising/Referendum)
- Pro-schism factions calling upon romantic notions of nationhood to trump the economic and logistical sense of remaining in what was at the time the most profitable, secure, stable economic/social/political union in the world
- The further dissolution of internal nations (Ulster/Scotland)
- Post-schism mismanagement of key sectors in the economy (Fianna Fail and agriculture/trade war with Britain; The Death of British Business about how the financial services sector has been undermined)

If someone wants to take that and write it, I would really love to read it.
tealin: (actually)
I have had a grand total of two conversations today. They have covered:
  • The American reluctance to tell sad stories to children (or indeed, anyone) and how this might engender a detached attitude to 'terrible things'
  • Who would be damaged first by a Trump presidency, the US or the rest of the world
  • Using cocaine as a topical anaesthetic for corneal sunburn during the Heroic Age of polar exploration
  • Correlation (or not) of crankiness with miniaturism
  • The atomic weights of carbon and oxygen and whether it's more humane to kill lab mice with CO or CO2
I think I'll stay.
tealin: (CBC)
My mind always turns back to Canada around the beginning of October, so none of this should be surprising. Nearly every year I lived in LA, I made sure to go back to BC for Canadian Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October), so as soon as there's a chill in the wind and the leaves go whispery, I get that migratory tingle. Like a goose.

Canada has been on my mind a lot lately; whether this is brought on by that raft of CBC-listening I did a couple weeks ago, or if that was sparked by some subconscious rumbling, I don't know. I am feeling its pull, though, in a way I never expected to do here. Is it a case of finally getting comfortable and so opening up to uncertainty? Or simply 'the grass is always greener'...? Given that coastal BC is a temperate rainforest, the grass is greener there than in lots of places – but that's beside the point.

I absolutely adore Cambridge. I have never felt so at home anywhere. I tell anyone I talk to for more than ten minutes that I would marry Cambridge if I could. We've got a good thing going on, and I feel a little bit dirty even to consider the possibility of leaving, but ... I do. It would help if I had any confidence in the likelihood of my being allowed to stay – when the political atmosphere grows daily darker as far as immigration is concerned, one is not tempted to trust in the mercy of those who hold one's visa renewal in their hands, or be tempted to put down roots of any serious kind. It might also help if I had much experience with staying put – I don't think I've lived at one address for more than three years since college, and life has conditioned me to start wondering 'what next?' as soon as I start to settle in somewhere.

But I can't help wondering if there's more to it than that. I am acutely aware that I am a willing part of Canada's brain drain, and I don't like that. While it's perversely in-character for Canada to play The Giving Tree, it's a brilliant country and deserves to shine, and I'd like to contribute to that shine, if I could. I've been away as long as I lived there, now, but I still identify with its values and still operate under its cultural conditioning, for better or worse. Having been through rather a dark period in the last ten years, Canada has exploded back into being itself, harder than before, and this is exciting. The ramp-up to the sesquicentennial next year is only adding to that. It's a good time to be Canadian, and I'm all the way over here.

Now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children are off on a Canadian visit, and visiting BC at that. It'll be all over the British news for the next bit, and I'll be seeing the early-October face of BC which was the only face I saw for so many years. Cue those comfortingly familiar homesickness pangs.

Then I start wondering where I'd want to live if I moved back, do Google Street View virtual tours of places I hold in some haze of fantasy, and see that the streets are too wide and the houses too far apart and how does anyone live like this? There are no trains. Too many straight lines. It gets hot in the summer and it's a long long way from anywhere to anywhere.

I came here for a reason, and for the next couple years at least I need to focus on that, so that if I am sent back at the end of it, I will at least have made the most of my time. It is good, in some small way, to know there is a part of me that is ready to go home, so that if it does happen and I spend the rest of my days pining for Cambridge, I'll know where to pin the blame.

In the meantime, I really must find a copy of I Heard The Owl Call My Name ...

tealin: (introspect)
The 'vintage' Disney season continues at Picturehouse, now onto films which came out during my childhood. I missed Little Mermaid last week, which I have mixed feelings about – on one hand, I don't think I've seen it in the cinema since I was seven, but on the other, I have seen it on DVD and as such I am not overflowing with regret that I missed seeing it in enormous crystal-clear detail. It's a good film, entertainment-wise, but only just coming out of Disney's 1980s slump in technical and artistic standards.

Despite having seen it on the big screen fairly recently, however, I knew I had to make an effort to go see Beauty and the Beast this week. I cannot overstate the impact it made on my childhood – Hunchback made me want to become an animator (20th anniversary and still no sign of that being rereleased, alas), but purely on the receiving end, a peculiar, bookish, independent 5th Grader getting a Disney movie about a peculiar, bookish, independent young lady was a Big Thing. I probably would have ended up much the same without it, but to have that sort of affirmation at a formative time of life meant a lot. It's experiences like that that make me symathise with the push for representation of minorities in the media – if such a small thing meant so much to me, how much more would an analogous thing mean to someone far further from what's currently considered media-mainstream?

Having watched the video to the point of memorization, seeing this movie again was almost an opposite experience to Jungle Book. I could write about surprising details or things I know now about the production that colour my viewing, but the latter you can find in Dream On Silly Dreamer and the former via an attentive eye and a Blu-Ray player. I'm coming to the end of a short lunch break so I will keep it to this: As much as Beauty and the Beast was a trip down childhood's memory lane, it was also a re-acquaintance with people who were role models and then colleagues. People love to point out how characters are designed and animated to reflect the actors providing the voices, but when I watched this film I was seeing the animators. Anyone who's worked with Ruben Aquino would find him in Maurice, and there is an undeniable Nik Rainieri-ness in Lumiere; somehow Philippe is Russ Edmonds despite being a horse (Russ also animated Phoebus in Hunchback, you may note the similarity), and Glen Keane is all over the Beast if you know what to look for. Most bittersweet of the reacquaintances was James Baxter, though – he supervised Belle when he was quite young, but his scenes stand out by a mile, and it was so good to see his 'handwriting' again. He animates in CG for Dreamworks now and does a very good job of it, but CG smooths everyone out, so that joy of finding the really special sweet in the candy bowl is a thing of the past. It made me a bit wistful to experience it again, but at the same time, there are so many really excellent up-and-coming 2d animators that I hope it will be a future joy as well. It's become clear to me in teaching and animating here in Europe that the sky is the limit and there are dozens if not hundreds of keen and talented people out there raising the bar every day – it's a little personally dispiriting to see it pulled so quickly and so far out of my reach, but fantastically inspiring all the same, and I'd rather be inspired than smug any day.
tealin: (introspect)
2000 - 2008: Too Disney
2008 - 2013: Not Disney enough
2014 - 2016: Too Disney

I've got too much I want to do to take a couple years out and relearn everything, but I kinda feel like that's what I have to do.

Jungle Book

Sep. 4th, 2016 03:23 pm
tealin: (Default)
This afternoon, thanks to Picturehouse's current 'Vintage Sundays' series of animated film screenings, I got to see Disney's 1967 Jungle Book on the big screen for the first time.*

I remember watching it on video a fair bit as a kid, though I don't remember particularly liking it. There was something unsatisfying about it; in retrospect I think it may have been how it was just a loosely assembled collection of episodes strung along a 'must return Mowgli to the Man Village' throughline rather than anything that builds drama or character. I liked the tune of the girl's song at the end, but I didn't like her or her unsettling coquettishness (she's what, eight? even as a small child I knew that was wrong) and I didn't understand why Mowgli had to go live with the humans when anyone would be better off with animals. I also didn't understand why there was jazz in the jungle, or the Beatles, or why the animals had English accents and Mowgli sounded like Beaver Cleaver. And I thought the art style rather too anaemic for depicting a jungle. I think the last time I watched the film all the way through was in high school, but it stuck with me so little I'm not sure.

In the intervening years, I've learned a lot about animation, worked at Disney and learned about its history, and picked up the requisite historical pop-culture background knowledge, as well as some awareness of uncomfortable racial undertones, the British presence in India, and Kipling's motivation for writing the stories. On watching the film again, this did help – though I also wondered if perhaps I knew more about the latter two than the people who made it did.

I knew that coming in with this adult perspective was going to change the film for me; I also knew that seeing it in the cinema would make a big difference, though I didn't know what to expect from that. Here is how it went )

Luckily the emotional side, which had left me so cold as a child, has been saved by an external force: not to deliver any spoilers, but the finale of Cabin Pressure makes allusion to Jungle Book, and because the former handles character arcs and emotional lives so much better than the latter, all I had to do was graft in the feelings as instructed and voilà! Some semblance of depth. Pure pixie dust.

Next week is The Little Mermaid ... I actually know people who worked on that one, should be interesting in an entirely different way ...


*Perhaps not strictly true: I was born at the end of the era in which Disney periodically re-released classic films, and I know my parents took me to a few of those, though I don't particularly remember Jungle Book being one of them.
tealin: (think)
Is it just me, or is social media feeling increasingly pointless?

I mean, no offence to the friends I keep in touch with through various online channels – you guys are great and I would not want to swear off social media because that would mean losing you, and that would not be OK. But as far as the wider world of social media, that great big cloud-sourced stimulation machine and distraction engine ... it doesn't ping the 'reward' neurons like it used to. Is it that the people I follow for entertainment rather than personal purposes are getting wrapped up in their own lives and not posting as much? (This is true enough for me.) Or are they still posting and I just don't care enough to notice? I fell out of fandom post-Avengers, when I realised I could not summon the enthusiasm even to pretend to care about the Marvel Universe; since then everyone's gone off on things I am not remotely interested in even investigating. But my Tumblr feed has even run dry of posts about whatever the 2016 equivalent of Hannibal, Game of Thrones, or True Detective might be, so something is up. Someone I talked to recently said that everyone was leaving Tumblr for Instagram – I'm not chasing the fickle crowds onto another platform, especially not one that's even worse for conversation and serendipity than Tumblr is! It's not like I've ever seen a penny from all the hours I put into my 'online presence'. Why all this migration anyway?

Nevertheless I still keep getting stuck in my virtual rounds, even though it takes half the time it once did to catch up on it all, even though I finish a round and think 'what did I even see?' It's become so much a part of the rhythm of my day I almost do it without noticing. What would I do instead? What should I do instead? Cultivate a longer attention span and focus for longer periods on what I'm doing? (ha, ha!) That did serve me very well when I was in high school and we only had the one shared computer. But it's one thing not to have the distraction engine available, and another to have it an outstretched finger away but voluntarily refrain from using it, even if I'm only using it to confirm for the fifteenth time today that no, there's nothing online ...

On the other hand, this is exactly what happened with TV for me, over ten years ago now, so it's not unreasonable to hope I may be weaning myself off the Internet the same way. But the people I know who don't bother much with social media are the people who have an engaging social life in the real world, whereas my giving up social media would leave me in what is, more or less, a social vacuum. And I'm not the most gregarious person, but I've had enough isolation in my life; I don't want to go back to that.

So I leave you with this little puddle of thought, and excuse myself to go back to drawing dead guys. Maybe that tells you all you need to know.
tealin: (Default)
A rather cursory basket for you this week as I haven't had much opportunity to listen. As always you are welcome to browse the Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra schedules yourself and see what else you might like.

DRAMA
The Victorian in the Wall - A bit of domestic renovation introduces a struggling writer to a Victorian who'd been stuck in his wall, somehow. A cute and energetic production which expires in a few days so listen quick if you fancy ...
Roald Dahl: Served With a Twist - Grownup stories from the 20th century's master of children's fiction.
The Voice of God - Simon Bovey's acoustic weapon story set in the Australian Outback, featuring his usual Full House of compelling story, brisk pacing, strong female characters, and unusual perspectives.
Night of the Triffids - It's like someone read Day of the Triffids and thought, 'I like it, but it could be more Michael Bay ...' But it's a nice tight radio movie, which is sadly infrequent these days.

COMEDY
Dilemma - Sue Perkins puts her guests through the ethical wringer.
The Horne Section - With the news being a perpetual source of angst these days, why not listen to the children's show for grownups instead?
John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme - A pleasant reminder that there are four whole episodes available right now, and another airing Friday morning, so if The Horne Section still hasn't got the taste of news out of your mouth, have a go at this.
Talking and Not Talking - 30 minutes of barmy sketch comedy, with a pinkish picture of a woman!
Concrete Cow - 30 minutes of barmy sketch comedy, with a pinkish picture of a man!

FACTUAL
A Gremlin in the Works - Gerald Scarfe tells of the Roald Dahl story that Walt Disney almost made into an animated feature film. Almost.
Out of Armenia - In these times of Migrant Crises, a look at what became of a nation fleeing genocide in 1915. This episode focuses on the Armenians in Paris.
The Invention of Childhood - A great series for anyone who thinks it was better in The Old Days. (It wasn't, they just had nicer production design.)
My Teenage Diary: Chris Packham - This episode made me at once joyful that there are still nature nuts out there, and despairing over how one might ever meet any.

SPECIAL MENTION
The Last Prairie Home Companion - Garrison Keillor's variety show was my first radio love. I remember my parents listening to it when I was small; when I got older I inflicted it on them until I got a radio Walkman and a stereo in my room on which I recorded episodes compulsively. Before Martin and Douglas and Arthur In Black-And-White Times, it was Dusty and Lefty and Guy Noir who kept me company while I drew or tidied or whatever. I suppose I 'grew out of it' well before finding Radio 4, but it continued to send ripples through my life, whether through musical exposure, or an early taste of radio comedy, or even just painting a picture of an America that could be, in direct opposition to the America on the news and in my face. It was bittersweet to listen to the last ever episode from my room in Cambridge: So much of my life has been getting as far as possible from the life from which Prairie Home Companion was such a gratifying escape; listening to those familiar voices was both comforting and upsetting as they dredged up old feelings that were better left behind. But it's a good send-off, and if the show has ever meant anything to you, worth a listen, if only to hear how much it's meant to other people as well.

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