personal #3 (freshers edition) 

freshers’ week is over & mistakes were made.

turns out that norwich is pretty as hell & i am living by an abandoned ivy-covered factory on a river. medieval churches here are like greggs in sheffield; you can stand at the door of one & see five more.

i live five minutes from a backrub shop.

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the actual campus is basically one big weird modern art installation.

(except also Nature & you can walk round the bloody on-campus lake how cool is tHaT)

but anyway, this week has been filled with the making of new friends

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like the ultimate softboy & knitter king will

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jamie, secret salt shaker & fic-writing partner in crime

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jo, cuttlefish whisperer, wine mom & partner in inebriation

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this absolute lad

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my wonderfully deadpan flatmate lucy a living legend

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i saw a pretty girl in the courtyard yesterday

it has featured responsible eating habits,

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responsible drinking habits,

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don’t drink tequila kids

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i ate 9 of will’s chocolate bars & painted one of his army figures green rip mr green boi

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lookin pretty smug here for someone who’s absolutely plastered

walks of shame,

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also elevators of shame

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also first blue route buses of shame

& friendly gatherings that we all remember as v. fun & yet in the photos we all look sad,

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i’m including this one bc my legs look great

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(the purple goddess is annavslife go check out her blog)

my room, which is adorable,

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not ft. the three more shelves of books in my wardrobe & the ‘i, lucifer’ soundtrack playing really loudly

days where i looked cute,

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days where i did not but here have a selfie of me mouldering away on our balcony with my harry potter mug anyway,

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my first ever life drawing class at the art society,

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i went into a transcendent state of aesthetic appreciation & then my proportions went all wonky

& some very out-of-hand group chats

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we were talking about astrology what happened

all in all: 10/10 first week would do again, perhaps with some of my slightly worse decisions removed

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u didn’t think i was gonna let u go without a parting selfie did u

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personal #2

this is a completely reasonable amount of books to take when moving one hundred & sixty miles up the country, right? 

because i’m a hot mess who applied for accommodation on the last day of the deadline & sent off my financial declaration four months late, i’ve been landed in mary chapman house, infamous for its biodiverse insect culture & for looking like an abandoned hospital from the set of saw II. this will probably be completely irrelevant during freshers’ fortnight (who said that bacchanalian revelry must be confined to one week?), which i anticipate passing in a neon-blue haze of vodka dreams, punctuated occasionally by the pop of a paracetamol packet.

in this spirit, i have tickets to three parties over three days- a block party, a paint party (paint, slingshots), & a panda party wherein everybody dresses as pandas, does panda dances, & eats bamboo. i kept saying the bamboo part to people as a joke, & then i went on the website & discovered that they do, in fact, eat bamboo. ‘uea has always been a little different,’ begins the guardian’s review of the university.

destiel & the whole queerbaiting issue

so i realise that this is one of the most stupidly thorny subjects of the entire show. i come in peace! really! i also kinda hate writing about destiel at this point bc there’s always someone who charges onto the thread & rages at everyone but what the hell, right.

there’s been a lot of accusations of queerbaiting leveled at the show & the writers et al since, what, 2010? i’ve been giving it some thought. obviously everyone knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote the cas-dean-subtext-that-isn’t-really-‘subtext’-per-se into the show, because they aren’t stupid & the show is pretty open about it anyway. i imagine, however, that they had no idea how much it would blow up & that destiel would become a ridiculous mothership on a similar level to johnlock. faced w/ shippers en masse, there were several options open to them-

a) make it canon. then kill cas very soon after. this would have been the artistically sensible option- not that we need to see more of the Dead Gays trope, but in that it closes out the destiel arc without having to change the fundamentals of the show. the obvious downside is that cas is dead & a fan-favourite character is gone, so it would have been a huge risk (aside from the obvious leap of bravery it would have taken them to make dean, masculine western hero, explicitly bisexual). wow, this whole paragraph sounded cold.

b) make it canon. cas takes on a tricky role that straddles elements of jess, lisa, & wash from firefly. he is the only winchester love interest who does not die in the immediate future. there are domestic scenes.

this was the popular vision of a lot of destiel shippers, of course (i say ‘was’; i have no idea what’s happening over on spn-tumblr these days). the issue & difficulty with this is that what the show is About would have had to shift; fundamentally it’s sam & dean’s love story, & about grief, & about men without women (in the western-archetype sense better elaborated on by people who actually know shit about westerns). it could have been done, but that kind of axis shift would have been really, really hard to handle in a way that satisfied the majority of fans, not to mention the creepy guys in suits who do the shadowy business of television networks. also, the sam-&-dean stans would have been up in arms.

c) just sort of let it boil away for six or seven seasons, never really making it canon canon, vaguely yet obviously implying lots of stuff until somehow bucklemming get landed with the arc & it completely disintegrates. in short, never actually making a decision about it. this is, obviously, the option they ended up going for. pros being that it keeps the presumed shadowy execs happy & stops the fans from killing & eating each other; cons being that this is pretty much the definition of queerbaiting. it’s not the brave option, & it’s not the particularly clever option either, but i understand the temptation. for writers, this was safe, until it wasn’t because the show had gone on longer than everyone thought it would & the cas-dean arc was suddenly a hairy, flabby mess that no-one wanted to so much as poke with a straw.

i get the love for destiel, but it’s not great queer rep. or, rather, as part of the show’s portrayal of dean’s sexual ambiguity it is arguably good rep of sexual complexity, if not queerness exactly, but the arc taken alone? nah. there is certainly better elsewhere in the show. charlie, who is possibly one of the best-treated & least-sexualised lesbian characters i’ve ever seen in the media; ‘the chitters’; also the whole of ‘sex & violence’, i think, though maybe that comes under the ‘sexual ambiguity’ heading & is also a meta for another time. because it seems i’m back to writing meta now. i did not see that coming.

anyway, that’s my two cents. a well-written arc is not quite the same thing as a well-structured arc, & an arc that is excellent for four seasons or so before collapsing like a nightmare souffle is not the same thing as decent representation. it wasn’t an easy situation for the writers’ room, & it was poorly handled in many respects; they essentially wrote themselves into a corner & never really managed to write themselves out. i like the ship; in itself it’s deep & funny & moving. but it seriously makes me cringe when people act like it’s the holy grail of gay pride. come on, guys, the writers didn’t know what to do so they didn’t do anything. it’s hardly the price of salt.

 

 

spn beauty appreciation: bloody mary

‘Bloody Mary’, AKA that one where Phil Scriggcia made Jared and Jensen stumble around in a pitch-black void for the entirety of the episode, because Ambience or something. It’s fucking gorgeous, actually. There’s lush ridiculous pools of shadow everywhere. Also, this got really repetitive and kinda derpy, and I think next time I do one of these posts I’m going to have to get really, really pissed first, because then at least I’ll have a excuse for essentially saying ‘look at all the DARK’ over and over again for fifteen pages.

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I bingewatched the first eight seasons over February 2015, when I was a young, fragile horror-movie-virgin, and this shot made me scared of my own house. We have this creepy light switch on a string in the bathroom and, like. Have you ever seen a light switch swinging eerily back and forth in the dead flat light of two in the morning. I’m serious, it’s horrifying.

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I love how the dots on the windshield speckle their faces, and I love the fact that both of them look like absolute shit in this scene.

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All that gorgeous dimness. Also, I have a suggestion: rewatch the show. Every time Venetian blinds show up, everyone takes a shot. Last one to go blind gets the honour of winning.

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Silhouettes; the inversion of the idea of Sam-and-Dean as heroes.

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I love it when the show uses fadeouts. They’re so rare and so evocative when they do. Like the one in ABHL part one.

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This shot reminds me of Citizen Kane. I have never seen Citizen Kane. Possibly this is a memory from a previous existence.

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Give me all this noir shit.

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This lighting is so good! You can see right through their eyes!

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I kinda love the dreamy, blurry backgrounds in this scene. It’s almost too much.

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I might make the next appreciation post a drinking game. Take a shot every time eyelash shadows. (Getting drunk might help me upload faster, too.)

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I love all the shit with mirrors in this episode. It works with the whole doppelganger theme and also it just looks really really good.

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Did… did electric lighting not exist in 2005, or…?

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RIDICULOUS CRYSTALS OF LIGHT. (I think this photo’s out of sequence, but if I try to move it WordPress is going to throw a bitch fit, so never mind.)

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I kind of like this shot because everything just looks a tiny bit out of focus, and that open door is all skewed and creepy, and VENETIAN BLINDS, and that thing Sam’s holding looks like a fucking black void into the floor and hello, House of Leaves.

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I love this. It’s all chiaroscuro and grimy and PORES. I love it when the dirt and the sheer grubbiness of their lives is visible like this, in details.

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Just. Black pits of shadow. Ridiculous.

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What a shot, holy shit. Like- the stairs and the blocking and just. PHIL.

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Yes yes yes blurriness and clarity and reflections.

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This is also just an amazing shot. Also, everything is kind of bleached and off-colour in this episode even when it isn’t super dark.

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And this is just super dark. They look like shadows. It’s subversive.

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Eyelashes. And you can only see half of her face. Everyone is fragmented, or doubled, or reflected; nothing is seen cleanly. That won’t change.

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They look marooned. Which, I mean. Everyone’s lost at all times on this show.

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This might actually be the most gorgeous scene. Silvery glittering rain. Again: shrouding them, concealing them.

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Oopy oop more mirrors.

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This is weirdly pleasurable in that most of the frame is just darkness and also how often is it that we see a chandelier and a Winchester in the same frame. And there’s a sharpness to the cut of those shadows.

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Give me all the weird lampshade silhouettes.

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God, I love this, and it’s symbolically resonant; Dean as the shadow going towards the light, etc etc.

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This is just so cool and it actually makes me excited because you can see all the individual chips of glass what the fuck.

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More dreamy weird sunrise lighting!

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Just… haunting. The tree full of coins, too.

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I’m officially out of things to say. But I like this shot. So whatever. Next time I’ll get drunk.

big gay novel things #1

-i’ve been working on this beast since november 2015; it is now 160k, with assorted trimmings.

-actual current working title is ‘the false martyrdom of theodore arkwright’

-BASO

-it’s set in this snowy alternate version of 19th century britain. all the cities are named after angels & culture is deeply divided between extreme decadence & extreme asceticism. also there are tunnels under the country stretching waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down deep into the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark

-it’s focused on a bunch of ridiculous bohemian students at a university in a city called samandriel.

-it’s also super fucken gay.

-there’s old gods. there’s fae. there’s random creatures i’ve just made the fuck up (like spine-birds). there’s some creepy shit with an empty suit sitting in a chair.

-it’s turned into a giant, sprawling monster about sanctity & corruption & shit like that.

my cast:

theodore arkwright-

my baby. he’s basically a hot mess. nineteen, dreamy, silly. a total sweetheart. v. threadbare. the youngest child of a practically mythical ancient family of aristocrats- he was brought up in a village called hollowing, in unhealthy isolation with his creepy family. he’s obsessed with mythology, he wants to get out of the city. he’s a romantic, just a little bit naïve. he’s also a total slut. he attracts, he repulses, he is desperately beautiful. he is incredibly provocative. he is androgynous. he carries History, he carries Aristocracy w/ him like a dim glowing cloak. he is la belle dame sans merci. he is Other. he is every straight guy’s nightmare. he is sexual fluidity, personified. he loves beasts & monsters & big shaggy dogs & can drink just about anyone under the table & has nerves of goddamn steel & under his bed is a large, ancient, elaborate book full of pornographic drawings. he is kind & funny & gentle. he is moody. he is wanderlusty. he has dreams. he is quietly achingly sarcastically in love w/ melchior. he is a myth, a scandal, a cautionary tale, & a terribly vulnerable human being w/ curls & delicate wrists.

melchior collins-

huge intimidating cynical dude. twenty-five. strong moral convictions that he can put aside in a heartbeat for someone he loves. quiet, confident, mild-mannered; also, sarcastic as fuck. reserved, dislikes being the centre of a crowd, finds people vulgar. has a protective streak. v. scary when he’s angry. loves music & colour. a monastic foundling; raised by monks just above the village where theo was born. his real mother is an old god who lives deep in the tunnels.

melchior is essentially a very interesting slab of granite. he is immoveable. he walks within his own inner silence. he’s built like a brick shithouse. when he loves, he loves deeply. he is prudent & cautious but never cowardly. he is slow & deliberate w/ a sort of meticulous, instinctive intelligence. he would make an excellent surgeon; he is an exquisite painter; he is a marvellous pianist. he understands that Listening is a verb. inevitably the smartest person in the room. he’s incredibly well-read, he wears the most beautiful suits, he has an intimate understanding of colours, he is conservative w/ words, he has his own rhythms of speech, a ritual formality. he knows what people need. his religious convictions are profound in a different way to theo’s. he is difficult to anger, fearsome when angered & if you hurt someone he loves, well, god probably ain’t gonna help you. & he has freckles on the backs of his hands.

(i love melchior. he’s so dead inside.)

he’s forced very conventional desires upon himself- he’s determined to marry his girlfriend, be affluent & respectable & normal, so he’s mildly dismayed to find himself getting mixed up with theo.

elizabeth hester dark-

my main narrator. she’s v. small & sweet & the youngest of the dudes. she’s shy as hell, that never changes, but she starts out as her cousin’s cowed, passive sidekick, & eventually is revealed as the strongest character in the whole thing. for her it’s kind of a coming of age. she’s vastly in unrequited love with theo & eventually gets conspiring with melchior; the alliances shift, they all have secrets.

swallow-

theo’s best friend, flatmate, & unofficial lover. exquisitely ugly. lovely selfless passionate dude. has a jealous streak & very much dislikes melchior. more than perhaps any of the others, he’s driven by love; he’s practical, he likes taking care of people & he values things that he can hold in his hands, but he’s also a big damn romantic. he didn’t have the soft-edged upbringing of the others; he was born into poverty, on a bare floor with his brothers, & now he’s careful & patient & reliable- except, sometimes, when it comes to theo, wherein he is volatile.

jezebel phaxday-

melchior’s (official) lover; frequently gets off with theo; she & elizabeth eventually develop a vague unspoken romantic attachment. angry, pragmatic, occasionally vicious; sarcastic; protective. she’s probably the least romantic & most sensible of all of them. red-haired, self-possessed, rather queenly. constantly exasperated by theo’s silliness & melchior’s silence. there’s a sort of core weakness to jezebel, like there is to theo; she can be sarcastic & reactionary with the best of ’em, but she’d rather pretend a danger doesn’t exist for as long as she possibly can than turn round & face it, the way elizabeth & melchior would.

so, yup, they’re my kids & i love them all.