“Viruses can make us ill, but fungi can alter our very minds.”
I’ve got a confession to make. I may seem like the nerd’s nerd, with my extensive knowledge of science fiction, fantasy and horror, in books, comics, movies and TV shows. But I’ve never been a gamer. Even before video games got huge, I never even played Dungeons and Dragons (I’ve tried since and hated it). To me, Zelda is stilled the wizened villainess of Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks, and I remain baffled by how any Fantasy can be Final when there’s been fifteen of them.
It’s been a funny old year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with no big tentpole blockbusters since 2019’s Avengers Endgame. We’d been used to three or four of these gargantuan spectacles a year, but with cinemas closed due to the pandemic, we comic book nerds have been left hanging.
“Marvelous technology is at our disposal and instead of reaching up for new heights, we try to see how far down we can go…how deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves!”
– Eric Bogosian, Talk Radio
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I’d thought, initially, that the pandemic would enable me to do some sort of ‘Journal of the Plague Years’ a la Daniel Defoe, but that soon faded when I realised that, when you’re locked down, there are no events to write about. Not for me, anyway. No baking banana bread or learning to crochet here. Just the endless, repetitive routine of being stuck in my tiny Barcelona apartment, with my windowless bedroom, trying as best I could to not interfere with my roommate having to work from home in our tiny living room. Continue reading “Of pandemics, social media and mental health…”
Gosh, it’s been ages since I updated this blog! A whole summer went by – I went to a music festival in the mountains of Girona, had a few weeks back in England (which felt very odd now), and started a new teaching job here in the Catalan capital. All, or some of these, I’ll hopefully document at some point.
However, I’m writing now so I can cover the events of this week, which have been pretty dramatic – especially as yours truly ended up caught in the middle of them. While the UK has been tied up in knots over Brexit, the US concerned with the possible impeachment of its increasingly deranged President, and cities all over the world disrupted by Extinction Rebellion, Barcelona has barely noticed any of that. This city’s been preoccupied with issues of its own, as the months long trial of the former Catalan leaders wound to a ghastly but inevitable conclusion. Continue reading “Barcelona, city of protest – Friday”
“India’s a home to all of us. We didn’t change when a line was drawn.”
Demons of the Punjab was another very strong historical episode, after Rosa had already showed us that this new Doctor Who can take on more than just schoolboy moments of British history. The partition of India is a powerful topic to take on, the year after its 70th anniversary; it was a tragic event that still reverberates today, but doesn’t get nearly enough coverage in Western drama.
I’ve been absent from blogging for some months now, for all sorts of reasons. Principally, none of the shows I regularly blog about were on air since the mediocre end to The Walking Dead’s eighth season, and without the self discipline that comes from writing about a new episode each week, I didn’t have much writing incentive.
I’m also still trying to put my life back together after my traumatic split with Barry, my longtime partner, which also resulted in me having to move out of the house and live on my own for the first time in my life. And I still haven’t come up with much of a plan, but at least it was summer and the weather was lovely (a little too lovely, with some rather oppressive heat) So I didn’t spend much time in the house and became a rather too frequent habitue of the local pub. Continue reading “So, I bought a van…”
This is a hard one to write. In fact, I don’t know if, in the near or far future, I’ll come back and delete this one. So bear with me – I’m not in the habit of baring my soul on the blog, but my recent post about my life was a first try, and here’s a second. A lot of what’s to follow may seem like indulgent self-pity, and maybe it is – but writing it down is helping me to analyse how I’m feeling. And maybe it’ll be an insight into a headspace that, right now, isn’t great. Continue reading “Dispatches from the newly single – chapter 1”
I’m a huge fan of Charlie Brooker. His TV criticism, along with that of Clive James, is what inspired me to start writing this blog in the first place, way back in January of 2007. It’s a great shame he hasn’t done his usual review of the year, which would presumably have been titled 2017 Wipe, but the reason is that he’s been too hard at work on the latest series of his thought-provoking tech-dystopia anthology Black Mirror. All things considered, I think that’s a pretty fair exchange. Continue reading “Black Mirror: Season 4, Episode 1 – USS Callister”
“It was the time of the Preacher, in the year of ’01…”
If you were a comic book fan in the 90s, you would have been well aware of Northern Irish writer Garth Ennis’ hit series Preacher. Politically incorrect, violent, profane, irreverent, and often hilarious, it told an ongoing tale of a disillusioned Texas preacher with a shady past who becomes possessed by a strange heavenly force, and goes on an epic quest to find God, who has abandoned his creation. Along the way, he hooks up with his criminal ex-girlfriend Tulip and a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy, and together they battle weird, warped and surreal enemies in their search for the Almighty. Continue reading “Preacher: Season 1, Episode 1 – Pilot”
“Everyone is what they are, and where they are, for a reason.”
The run of superb episodes continues in the sixth season of Game of Thrones; it’s almost as if running out of the books has given the show a new spark. For the fifth week in a row we had revelations aplenty, plot twists, pithy humour and some high octane action. We also had some jawdroppingly emotional moments, particularly in the scenes that bookended the ep. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 6, episode 5 – The Door”