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Advent Thanksgiving: Lost Girl

lost girl tv show

My Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea..

I’m going to kick off with ‘Lost Girl‘. The first series ended last Thursday (in the UK), which means I have nothing to watch tonight. Pout. Missing a tv programme is a sure sign it’s doing something right.

The show is not without flaws. It is very light, and there are often gaps or contradictions in the narrative. Characters and plotlines get dropped without notice or explanation, and even at its climax, last week’s season finale, there was hardly any tension. But I don’t care. It’s actually a welcome change to watch something that doesn’t wrench my heart and/or guts every week. Buffy broke my heart every few episodes, I rarely got through an episode of Walking Dead‘s first season without weeping, and Lost chewed me up and spat me out with no regard for my sanity. Even Eureka, previously my go-to tv for soft sci-fi storylines, stressed me out this season. Whereas Lost Girl just makes me happy.

What’s that? There’s something weird happening, beyond human ken? Does something appear to be eating people? Worry not. Let Bo, slinky succubus turned P.I., help you out. I’m sure that her wise-cracking, uber-kohled sidekick Kenzi will assist, and if they get in trouble her brooding, sexy-as-hell werewolf policeman lover is sure to help them out. 45 minutes later, case solved, all is well in fae-land, and I am struck down once more with raging lust for Dyson, the aforementioned werewolf-policeman.Though I dismissed him during the pilot as a dull Chris Martin look-alike named after a vacuum cleaner, I have since developed Strong Feelings for Mr Holden-Ried and would like him to call me. Or even just show up at my door unannounced, I’d be cool with that. Please.

dyson lost girl kris holden-ried

I'm sorry I said you looked like Chris Martin. Please call me.

Women more your thing? You’re spoiled for choice. Lost Girl has a slew of strong, interesting female characters.Lauren, Bo’s other love interest, has made a lot of LGBT viewers happy by providing a f/f storyline that rivals that of Bo and Dyson, and I predict more of that after the way Season 1 ended. Bo herself is an alright character, naive and selfish but kickass and likeable enough. The main star, though, is Kenzi. She’s Bo’s side kick and the funniest non-Whedon character I’ve seen in a while. Most episodes find an excuse to put her in a ridiculous outfit, kinda like Alias did with Sydney, and every episode gives her the best lines.

Kenzi Ksenia Solo Lost Girl

Kenzi

I haven’t yet praised the Siren, who’s a whistling black guy rather than a slutty mermaid, or how most of the stories start in the pub, like a Fae version of Eastenders. I could go on. I won’t. I have to go play Skyrim now (a post in itself, coming later this month). Here are two youtube videos for you instead – a great mashup of highlights from the first season, and Kenzi at a speed dating event quoting Ludacris. Enjoy.

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Guest Blogging for Mslexia

**Trumpet fanfare please, I’m very excited about this**

mslexia logoI’m going to be a guest blogger for Mslexia next year! I’ll be posting from January til March on what it’s like to be writing fantasy, vs literary fiction. No, I won’t just be saying the most obvious thing – Never Judge A Book By It’s Genre. I’ll be writing about the different things fantasy/SF writers have to think about, e.g. not only ‘is my character’s voice consistent’ but also ‘is this magic system consistent’. There are big pluses to being in a niche – it’s easier to find friends, get clear about what you’re about, stand apart from the crowd – but it can also be frustrating, when people take your writing less seriously because it has dragons in it. I’ll link here as my posts go up, and in the meantime you can see my tiny profile here.

If you haven’t heard of Mslexia, you’ve missed out. It’s a quartlerly magazine about writing and featuring writing. Their mission: ‘Mslexia is dedicated to encouraging, nurturing and empowering women writers to produce, publish and have their work read, with the parallel aim of improving the reach and quality of women’s literature.’

And the name?

Mslexia means women’s writing (ms = woman lexia = words). Its association with dyslexia is intentional. Dyslexia is a difficulty, more prevalent in men, with reading and spelling; Mslexia was created to address a difficulty, more prevalent in women, with getting into print… Read the article ‘Three cures for Mslexia‘ written by Editor Debbie Taylor from the launch issue of the magazine, which analyses some of the issues at stake.’

One of the first things I did when I decided to take writing seriously was subscribe to Mslexia, and I love it when a new issue arrives. I take myself off somewhere and squirrel down to read it, highlighting competitions, lit festivals, good advice. Their blog has already had some great contributors, so I am thrilled to be able to join in. In fact, I just ate another mince pie to celebrate. Hope to see you there in January.

mslexia cover

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My Advent Thanksgiving

Lego Advent Calendar

Look how cool this Advent calendar is! Though I have a horrible suspicion it does not include chocolate, which means technically it is not an Advent calendar at all.

Technically, Advent has already started. Or so Wikipedia says. In my world, though, and maybe yours too, if I’m not yet allowed to rip back that cardboard & eat cheap chocolate for breakfast, it ain’t advent. Which means it’s not advent til tomorrow and thus my series of advent posts isn’t late. Phew.

Kinda inspired by all the ‘I am thankful for’ posts that Americans got to post on their blogs last week, this month I’ll be posting about things from 2011 that made me glad, made me lustful, made me dance, made me head of a guild of thieves with a fighting horse and magic gloves*, and made me grateful for my wifi and my local library. See you tomorrow. I’ll probably start with lust 😉

*January Edit:  I didn’t post about Skyrim in the end, because Paul Cornell did it so well on his blog that it eclipsed anything I would have said. The bastard.

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My Muses, aka I love Kristin

I don’t remember my first kiss. I don’t remember my first drink or first cigarette (though I do remember my first Marlboro. I nearly fell over, and had to pretend I was deliberately leaning against a wall, all nonchalant like a cat pretending not to have done anything it didn’t intend to). But I do remember my first gig, my first nightclub, and the first time I heard Throwing Muses.

 

Mark & Lard’s Graveyard Shift radio show in the ’90s was responsible for the majority of my taste in music; two hours of mind-expanding excellence, four nights a week, during my most impressionable years. Like a cool older boyfriend, but without the seediness or leather-jacketed heartbreak, they took me by the hand and turned me on to Nick Cave, Belle & Sebastian, The Flaming Lips, Stereolab, Tindersticks. But they could have played crap non-stop and I’d forgive them it, so long as they still played Dizzy that one night, the night I turned the radio on and heard Throwing Muses for the first time.

Poppy and fun, Dizzy is very different from the darker tracks that became my favourites. I guess it was my gateway drug to their close-to-the-bone, raw-edged other songs. The view into darkness that I got from their music was important, because when the black dog came to rip at my own throat few years later, I recognised it. I’d seen it in books, heard it in songs. I knew that some of my heroes had been pushed to the edge and made it back. I knew that they had experienced the walls closing in and the ground falling away, the same way it was happening to me.

It wasn’t anything as conscious as that at the time, and I don’t mean that the music I listened to glamourised mental illness or that my experience was as intense as Hersh’s bipolar disorder. That’s not how it works – it’s not a game of Snap! where only people who’ve had the same experiences can understand or help each other. I listened to stark, lost music not to wallow in how I was feeling, but because it comforted me to know that other people had felt that way and managed to return to centre in the end.

Hunkpapa, along with PJ Harvey’s Dry and, later, Bjork’s Homogenic, became my first aid kit, applied whenever I get fragile and frayed.Even before I had my own frame of reference, there’s something visceral about those albums, an honesty that makes them compulsive.

Muses songs are also damn good fun and sound fantastic played as loud as possible – don’t let my reference to depression give you the wrong idea. Screeching along to ‘Mania’ is one of the most invigorating ways to spend 3 minutes 2 seconds, and I challenge anyone to get 2 minutes into ‘Rabbits Dying’ without bouncing around. Watch this video for ‘Not Too Soon’ and witness perfect pop.

Tuesday night was another first – the first time I got to see the band play live. I’ve seen Kristin play solo lots of times, and seen her play a whole set of Muses songs, but the sound with the whole band was always going to be different. The gig was breathtaking, even better than I expected it to be. I don’t think I blinked once, especially not in the last part of the show when the pace of their early material was especially intense. I’m not a music writer and I’m sure people who are will describe the set better than I can – I’ll put links here when I come across ‘proper’ reviews.
If you’re a fan and you want to know what it was like, just imagine them playing a selection of their finest songs (the tracklisting of their Anthology would be a good place to start if you lack imagination) for two hours in front of a rapt, reverential audience. ‘Pearl’ and ‘Furious’ from Red Heaven were highlights for me (cos that album will forever remind me of being 17. Plus, Bob Mould. Nuff said). Otherwise, ‘Soul Soldier’ and ‘White Bikini Sand’ were (and could only ever be) gorgeous ways to start and end the set. If you’re not yet a fan, buy that same Anthology cd and get started, eh? There’s a wealth of genius to catch up on.
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