dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
Last night, Matthias and I braved the Cambridge rains and went out to see Aurora. For those who don't know her music, I can best describe her as another in the long line of fey, ethereal, slightly discordant female Scandinavian electropop singers whose lyrics are vaguely unsettling. Think a calmer Niki & the Dove, a less pointed Karin Dreijer Andersson, or a sweeter Susanne Sundfør. It's very watery music, both in sound and lyrical content.

I'm not the most seasoned concert-goer: I get really tense in large crowds, particularly if they're close enough that I'm going to have lots of strangers touching me, so I have to really want to see the act, so I'm not sure exactly where I'd rank this in terms of Concerts I Have Been To, but it was a very different experience to any other concert I've attended. It was somehow warm and welcoming and meditative, and almost magical, as if she were reaching out and enveloping the audience in a hug, or a blanket. It was interesting to me that so many of the audience — the most passionate of Aurora's fans — were young teenage girls, aged around 13-16 to my eyes. She was so gentle and encouraging to them, and I found that quite precious and moving. It was as if she could relate to them on their level and see the power of the moment — being in the same space as someone they admired and loved — without ever being patronising or minimising the depth of their emotional engagement.

And as for the music? It fed my soul, somehow. The convert came on the heels of a really trying, exhausting, and in many ways upsetting week, and being in that space, in that moment, was exactly what I needed.

My favourite songs from the set (links go to live versions, but not from my concert):

'Black Water Lilies'
'Conqueror' (in this clip, as at our gig, she engaged in what Matthias describes as 'Ronni dancing', which I'll have to admit is true)
'I Went Too Far'
'Through the Eyes of a Child'.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
As with Reading Wednesday posts, I'm not sure if this is going to happen every week, but I would like to make it a semi-regular feature. This week, I've got a couple of fics, a fanvid, and a playlist.

5 Easy Rules for the Children of A-List Celebrities by [archiveofourown.org profile] igrockspock (Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls, Aaron Echolls, Lynn Echolls, gen. Contains canon typical reference to child abuse).

What Goes Around (Comes Around) by [archiveofourown.org profile] Isis (Raven Cycle multipairing fic). This is only the first chapter of a five-part fic, and I can't wait to read more.

Still staying in the Raven Cycle, I made what started out as a Blue Sargent playlist, but morphed into something more Blue/Gansey. You can find it here at 8tracks, and I've got the full track listing here.

Finally, via [personal profile] goodbyebird, some great Festivids recs. My favourite was this one, Council Estate, which is for Attack the Block.
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
This week has been absolutely excellent for people saying brilliant, eloquent, important things.

To journey is to be human. To migrate is to be human. Human migration forged the world. Human migration will forge the future, writes Ishtiyak Shukri in 'Losing London'. This was the post of the week for me, and affected me deeply.

We already have the table of contents, but now we have the cover of Athena Andreadis's To Shape The Dark anthology, illustrated beautifully by Eleni Tsami.

I really loved this interview of Aliette de Bodard by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz: I’ve come to realize that “appealing to everybody” is a codeword for bland, unobjectionable stuff; or at the very least for something that doesn’t challenge the reader; and, just as I like to be challenged when I read, I would in turn like to do that to my readers!

Speaking of Aliette de Bodard's writing, she's put 'In Morningstar's Shadow', the prequel short story to The House of Shattered Wings, up online for free. I read it last weekend and loved it.

I liked this essay by Marianne de Pierres on Australian myths in contemporary SF, but I've been worrying away at some of its conclusions for reasons I can't quite articulate. Certainly I appreciate the recognition of Australian writing's emphasis on the dystopian and post-apocalyptic, but I worry about her characterisation of the Australian landscape as universally barren, inhospitable and predatory. Let's just say it is not so to all inhabitants of Australia, and is not represented as such in the stories of all Australians, although it is a really significant theme in Australian literature.

Sophie Masson wrote on authors in a changing publishing landscape. I smiled a little ruefully at this quote:

When my last adult novel, Forest of Dreams, came out in 2001, I was commissioned to write a piece for a newspaper on the historical background of the novel (a paid piece), and reviews of the book appeared in several print publications, despite its being genre fiction. When The Koldun Code, also genre fiction, came out in 2014, I had to write several guest posts for blogs, do interviews for online publications (all unpaid) and reviews only appeared online.

I did not review this book, but I did interview Masson and review several of her YA works for print publications, where I was paid for my work. Now I retweet links to her articles and review things exclusively online for free. Oh, how times have changed!

Authors who are parents have been posting about the experience. There are too many posts to include here, but you can find links to all of them at the #ParentingCreating hashtag.

The latest of Kari Sperring's 'Matrilines' columns, on Evangeline Walton, is up. I've been finding these columns both illuminating - in terms of introducing me to many authors whose work sounds right up my alley - and disheartening, in that almost all of them were entirely new to me, instead of well-known figures in the SF canon.

I found this post by Samantha Shannon on judging a literary award to be a very interesting read.

In a departure from these posts' usual content, I have a music recommendation: CHVRCHES' new album Every Open Eye. It stops my heart, in the best possible way.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
This past weekend was just wonderful, without all that much actually happening. The weather was exactly as I like it, crisp, clear and bright, with the feeling of autumn in the air. While Matthias worked on his MA coursework, I pottered about, cooking, gardening, and making more fruit-infused liqueurs (blackberry-infused gin!).

I had all sorts of grand plans for lots of blogging, but in the end, the siren song of 8tracks was too much to resist. The result was this playlist:


All This Youth Makes Us Old from dolorosa_12 on 8tracks Radio.



(The description: We are only young and naive still. A playlist for the years full of promise, intensity of emotion, fragility and sharpness, when summers lasted forever and the future seemed very distant indeed.)

Speaking of 8tracks (which, honestly, is one of my favourite sites on the internet, because it's filled with people who think of music in the same way I do - as a story), this playlist is simply perfect.

I mentioned Those Who Run With Wolves, a new review website set up by Aliette de Bodard, in a recent linkpost, but what I neglected to say is that I will be contributing. I don't have anything published there as yet, although a review of mine is queued up and ready to go when it's my turn in the posting schedule. The team of reviewers is great, and I'm really happy to be a part of it.

Finally, I was having a great conversation on Twitter with [twitter.com profile] rcloenenruiz, [twitter.com profile] EPBeaumont and [twitter.com profile] tylluan (with brief contributions from others, and sparked by an earlier comment of [twitter.com profile] karisperring) about the importance of mentors and institutional and community support. The conversation moved too fast to follow, and I wish I'd been able to archive it somehow (Storify might be a possibility, but it was bouncing off in all sorts of different directions and would probably be hard to follow in that format). Twitter is great for conversations, but awful for keeping easy-to-follow records thereof. In any case, it got me thinking that I need to write something here on the subject, so consider this me keeping myself accountable on that score.
dolorosa_12: (teen wolf)
It's Friday afternoon Saturday morning (and I'm mirroring this from my Wordpress blog), and that means it's high time for your weekly links. Most of these were gathered via Twitter, because I follow some fabulous people over there, and they keep finding and doing wonderful things.

A.C. Wise's monthly post for SF Signal on women to read in SFF is filled with some great recommendations. This post is part of a series, so if you want more recommendations, you'll be able to find them in the related posts links under the article.

Jim C. Hines is calling for guest posters to write on representation in SFF, so if you think you fit the criteria, you should definitely try and submit something. He's already run a previous series of posts on this subject, which were collected as an ebook, the sales of which have gone to support the Carl Brandon Society's Con or Bust programme. The call for guest posts runs until today, so get in now if you want to be included.

I'm really looking forward to Aliette de Bodard's new Xuya short story. She's posted an excerpt on her blog.

This post by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz about the struggles people face when trying to speak up (or even speak at all) is powerful and important.

Kate Elliott's short-story collection The Very Best of Kate Elliott is out on the 10th February. She's been blogging up a storm recently. I particularly appreciated her guest post at The Book Smugglers on self-rejection and the courage tosay yes.

Also from Kate Elliott, 'An Illustrated Love Letter to Smart Bitches and Trashy Books', which does exactly what it says on the tin. I'm not a regular reader of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (which recently celebrated its tenth birthday), but I am a firm believer in unapoletically loving the things you love, and not shaming other people for their fannish choices, so this resonated with me a lot.

This guest post on Ladybusiness by forestofglory is full of great short-fiction recommendations that I will definitely be checking out.

Finally, I went on a bit of a Twitter spree about cultish behaviour and abuse dynamics in fandom. These tweets should be considered the preliminary stage of a more detailed post that I've been thinking about for a while. Charles Tan was kind enough to collect my tweets together on Storify.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy Armenian teenager Vika Ogannesyan singing 'Plava Laguna' (the opera song from The Fifth Element).
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
The 'Aims Project' is a multifandom vid album, in which each participant has made a fanvid using the music of one song from Vienna Teng's Aims album. Each vid is astoundingly lovely.

I was recently alerted to the existence of 'We Are Sansa Stark', an old essay on Pornokitsch. I don't agree with every one of its conclusions - particularly that Sansa is definitely going to end up a major political player in the series - nor do I think it's helpful to criticise fandom for pitting Sansa and Arya against each other and then...do the same. But I love Sansa and characters like her, and sometimes it's just nice to see them get a bit of love.

This post by [tumblr.com profile] anneursu takes all the sneering critics of YA literature to task, and does so excellently. Read the whole thing.

'When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami' is a short story by Kendare Blake published on Tor.com. It's set in the world of her Goddess Wars series (which I hadn't heard of but then promptly reserved at the library), and is set in a mid-'90s Miami crawling with gods and goddesses, and Lost Boys-inspired vampire wannabes.

I'm a massive fan of this animated credits to Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Stephen Byrne.

While we wait impatiently for Ancillary Sword, Orbit has put an excerpt from the first chapter up on its website.

This Massive Attack retrospective sums up all my overwhelming feelings of love for this band:

British trip hop pioneers Massive Attack are one of the most celebrated acts in the history of electronic music. Their atmospheric take on hip hop and R&B, with elements of soul, funk, jazz and electronica, was an exciting new sound in the late ’80s and early ’90s. They pioneered the genre now known as trip hop and quickly became hugely influential all around the world. Few electronic acts are held in such high regard as the Bristol-bred outfit. If they had never released their five studio albums, some of today’s great artists may never have gone down the musical paths they chose. Massive Attack are more than a band, they made us rethink how music can be created, and redefined what a band could be.

I still haven't got my copy of Unmade by [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales (Sarah Rees Brennan) and thus can't participate in all the revelry, but she has some great fanart up on her blog, as well as the schedule for her blog tour. I'll be checking out all those posts once I've got around to reading the book.

'I Don't Know How But I Know I Will' is an 8tracks mix by angrygirlsquad 'for those days where you see no way through. you haven’t failed. you are alive. everything else is bonus'.

I hope you are all feeling loved by the people you love, flist.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
I saw Guardians of the Galaxy two days ago, and, a couple of quibbles with certain narrative choices aside, thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't really have much to say on the matter, but my friends [tumblr.com profile] jimtheviking and [tumblr.com profile] shinyshoeshaveyouseenmymoves have been having a very interesting conversation about it which I felt was worth sharing. Expect spoilers for the whole film.

This review of The Magicians by Lev Grossman by Choire Sicha doesn't really make me want to read the series, but makes a couple of points about writing women in fantasy literature that really resonate with me:

“When I was writing the story in 1969, I knew of no women heroes of heroic fantasy since those in the works of Ariosto and Tasso in the Renaissance. … The women warriors of current fantasy epics,” Le Guin wrote in an afterword of The Tombs of Atuan, “look less like women than like boys in women's bodies in men's armor.” Instead, Le Guin wouldn't play make-believe, and her women were sometimes vulnerable, including physically. She refused to write wish fulfillment, even the wish fulfillment many of us crave.

The first time I read the Earthsea quartet (as it was then), the stories of Tenar and Tehanu resonated with me in a way that was powerful and profound. I was fourteen or fifteen years old, and I think it was the first time I'd read stories that gave me a glimpse of how terrifying it was going to be to be a woman. They are not easy or comforting stories, and they showed a world that I was about to enter and told me truths I had at that point only dimly understood.

Here is a post at The Toast by Morgan Leigh Davies about attending the Marvel panel at SDCC. It made me deeply grateful that my fannish interest lies in characters and not actors.

This post by Mallory Ortberg at The Toast is deeply hilarious:

Far be it from me to criticize the tactics of modern union organizers, but frankly I think the world was a better place when tradesmen organized to agitate for their rights in the workplace and practice esoteric mind-controlling spells at the same time.

The Society of the Horseman’s Word was a fraternal secret society that operated in Scotland from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century. Its members were drawn from those who worked with horses, including horse trainers, blacksmiths and ploughmen, and involved the teaching of magical rituals designed to provide the practitioner with the ability to control both horses and women.


(As an aside, if you're not reading The Toast, you're missing out.)

Samantha Shannon has some good news. Her Bone Season series was intended as a seven-book series, but Bloomsbury had initially only committed to publishing three. But now they've gone ahead and confirmed that they will publish all seven. Samantha is awesome, as is the series, so I am thrilled.

Speaking of The Bone Season, I made a Warden/Paige fanmix on 8tracks. I go into more detail about the reasons behind my choice of songs here.

The [twitter.com profile] PreschoolGems Twitter account is one of the most fabulous things ever to exist on the internet.

This particular A Softer World gives me life.
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
Brace yourselves! I've just done yet another music meme.

Questions and answers behind the cut )

*You haven't lived until you've driven between Canberra and Sydney listening to my mother, sister and me belting out the lyrics to every song on one of our many 'driving CDs'.
dolorosa_12: (teen wolf)
Melissa and Haley of Permission To Live were raised in the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement. This movement teaches strict adherence to 'traditional' gender roles - women are not allowed to work outside the home, children are to be homeschooled in order to avoid 'secular' influence, marriages are arranged by parents, and contraception is to be avoided. Melissa and Haley bought into all this - Haley had a job as a pastor, their marriage had been arranged, they had four children in quick succession, and Melissa was poorly educated and ill prepared for any work outside the home. Four years ago, Haley came out publicly as a trans woman, and the two began a new life. These days, Haley is working as a hair stylist, Melissa works as a kitchen manager, their older children are being educated in public school, and the two women have a new and supportive social circle, having left fundamentalism behind them.

Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669 children during the Holocaust, celebrated his 105th birthday with family and friends, including some of those 669 children and their descendants. There are around 6000 people in the world who owe their lives to his actions.

The Everyday Sexism project is now a book. Sometimes there's a power simply in speaking, listening, and realising that you, as a woman or girl, are not alone. That your experiences are real.

One of my friends from Cambridge started a blog on Tumblr about the experiences of women in sport, either as participants or fans. She even got retweeted by Mary Beard. If you are a female sports player or fan, you might want to consider submitting to my friend's Tumblr. She would also really appreciate word about it being spread.

The 'biggest dinosaur ever' has been discovered in Argentina.

A street vendor in China caught a baby who fell from an upper-storey window. The whole thing was captured on camera.

All over the world, people have taken the time to do this to public spaces.

Your weapons are already in hand
Reach within you and find the means by which to gain your freedom.
Fight with tools.
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
I wrote a review on my Wordpress blog about Peaky Blinders, a gangster miniseries set in Birmingham in 1919.

That’s not to say there aren’t tensions. The young Shelby men have returned, traumatized, from the battlefields of World War I, only to find that the women – shrewd, tough-as-nails Aunt Polly, and angry, romantic Ada – have been running things just fine, if not better, on their own. Tommy Shelby, who views himself as the gang’s de facto leader, has to reconcile his own grand vision for the Peaky Blinders with the more limited, but safer, scope planned by his aunt.

At the same time, the gang relies on its ability to control the shifting network of alliances of the streets, contending with IRA cells, communist agitators attempting to unionize the factory workers, Traveller families who control the racetrack, Chinese textile workers who moonlight as opium den operators, and, one of my favourite characters, an itinerant fire-and-brimstone street-preacher played by Benjamin Zephaniah. It’s a complicated balancing act of carrot and stick, and when it works, it works because the various players have understood correctly the psychology, needs and fears of their opposite numbers.


The review's a bit late - the first season aired some months ago - but if my description piques your interest, it might be worth catching up, as there aren't that many episodes, and the new season is due to air soon.

This is one of my favourite times of the year, because IT'S EUROVISION TIME! I have a deep and daggy love of Eurovision, but luckily, so do my partner Matthias, and many of our friends. This time last year, we had a Eurovision party, but we were unable to do the same this time around, as most of our Eurovision-loving friends were away. Our friend B did come over, and we had a great time snarkily deconstructing all the acts. My greatest triumph of the evening? Inventing the Tumblr tag 'erotic milk-churning' to describe the Polish act. Honestly, it has to be seen to be believed. I was very happy with the act that eventually won, and a good time was had by all.

ETA: I made a new mix on 8tracks. It's called 'Love Will Tear Us Apart, Again and Again and Again', and consists of the best cover versions of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', as well as the original. Because I'm cool like that. (Bizarre story from my past: one night, my dad and I did nothing but listen to every cover version of this song, drink red wine and generally work each other up into such a frenzy of maudlin feelings that we both ended up crying our eyes out. Good times, 2007. Good times.)


Love Will Tear Us Apart, Again and Again and Again from dolorosa_12 on 8tracks Radio.

dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
It appears that I didn't write anything on LJ/Dreamwidth for the entire month of April. I'm not sure exactly why that was, although I will say that I had Matthias' family staying for two weeks, which made it very difficult to find a spare moment. His sister and her fiancé stayed with us for one week, and his parents were here for two weeks, although they stayed in their caravan in a camping site nearby. The fiancé had never been to Cambridge before, so we did a bit of sightseeing, including going up onto the roof of my college chapel, from where you can see the whole of Cambridge. To get there you have to climb this very claustrophobic, winding spiral staircase. It's worth it when you get to the roof, though.

Anyway, after they left, Matthias went to Aberystwyth for four days. He's just started doing an MA in library and information studies there (via distance learning), and you need to attend a week-long course there every year. The rest of the coursework is done by distance. I really, really dislike being home alone. I find it almost impossible to sleep and generally feel unsafe at night. I can cope with it when I live in an apartment building, or at least on the upper floor of a house, but our house is single-storey, which is just about the worst for me. But Matthias had a good time on his course, and met all the other people in his cohort, who all seem a very interesting bunch. They're mostly in their 20s or 30s, and tend to have done at least a BA (and in some cases an MA and PhD) in some kind of humanities field and come to librarianship indirectly, like him. I'm interested to see how he goes with the course, as I'm keen to do it myself in a few years' time (once I've recovered from the exhaustion of doing a PhD!).

On Friday, I went to London to hear Samantha Shannon (author of The Bone Season, the first of a series of novels about a dystopian London where people have supernatural abilities) in conversation with Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, whose film company has the rights to adapt the first book. I did a write-up on Tumblr. The event was mostly awesome, although there was one sour note. One of the main characters in The Bone Season is an otherworldly being called Warden. He's not described in much detail in the book, aside from mention of him having 'dark, honey-gold'-coloured skin. People in the audience were asked to suggest actors who fit their mental image of him. Those suggested were Tom Hiddleston and Cillian Murphy. I think you can figure out why those are appalling suggestions, but in any case, I was heartened to see that most of the fandom seems to support me in perceiving Warden as just about anyone other than a white actor. What was even more encouraging is that Samantha Shannon herself agreed with me and said she was committed to fighting against whitewashing in any adaptation of The Bone Season. I will be very disappointed if a white actor is cast as Warden, and will not see any film in which this is the case.

Yesterday, our department hosted the annual colloquium which we share with Oxford. It's for students of Celtic Studies at both universities to present papers on aspects of their research, and alternates between Cambridge and Oxford as a location. I found it interesting to note that when we went around introducing ourselves at the beginning, all the Oxford students said their individual college affiliations, whereas the Cambridge people all said the name of our department rather than our colleges. It's a subtle indication of how we perceive ourselves, I guess.

The conference was good fun, particularly as I didn't have to give a paper this year. I just relaxed and hung out with all my friends, most of whom I hadn't seen in over a month. My supervisor was there, and we were talking about my decision to leave academia and work in libraries. She asked me if I missed research, and I realised that I didn't miss it at all. Most people I know who work in academia have this drive, this single-minded obsession with whatever they research (in much the same way as authors have this drive to tell stories). I've never had it, and I guess that's another indication that I was never cut out to be an academic.

I finally succumbed to the lure of 8tracks. I'm ridiculous enough about music as it is, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I joined. If you're on there, you should add me. I've already made one playlist.


We Own the Sky from dolorosa_12 on 8tracks Radio.



In other musical news, the new Seven Lions EP, Worlds Apart, is simply glorious.

dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
As most of you know, I've been temping in a library job for the past couple of months (this is in addition to my original job in a different library, which has very erratic hours). A little while ago, the advertised the position as a permanent job, and I applied. I was shortlisted, and my interview was on Wednesday. I felt that it had gone very well - I tend to do a good job in interviews, because I find it quite easy to recognise the questions behind the questions that get asked (if that makes any sense) and know how to reply in order to present myself well. In any case, when I went into work on Thursday, I was taken aside and told I'd got the job! I was absolutely ecstatic, as I've loved working there so far, and it's a great first step on my road to becoming a full-time librarian.

For the sake of clarity, I will refer to my first library job (which I'm still doing) as Original Library Job, and the new one as New Library Job when blogging about them from now on.

On Wednesday night, Matthias and I went to see Chvrches play. I've been a big fan since last year, and had been really looking forward to the concert, which didn't disappoint. Lauren Mayberry had great rapport with the crowd, the music was absolutely fantastic, and the lighting was spectacular. They played all the songs I wanted to hear, including my two favourites, 'The Mother We Share' and 'Gun', although not the song Matthias wanted, which was their cover of 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'. We'd booked the tickets almost the instant they went on sale, which was lucky, as a lot of people missed out and were trying to buy them for extortionate prices on eBay.

Yesterday we had friends - Former Housemate H, Former Sort-of Housemate J2 and her partner E, and J, who has never been my housemate - over to watch the three rugby matches. J2 is a massive Ireland supporter, and the last match was very closely fought, but Ireland ultimately won by two points, which meant that they won the tournament. We then watched Hammer of the Gods, a truly dreadful, cheesy medieval film. This group of friends consists of current and former medievalists, and it's something of a tradition to collect and watch terrible medieval films together. This one was very mockable. (It also features Alexandra Dowling, who is currently playing Anne of Austria in the BBC Musketeers TV series - a step up in the world for her, then!)

Today, Matthias and I watched the Veronica Mars film. I'm going to post a full review later, so suffice it to say for now that the film was very satisfying, and was exactly what I wanted. It means so much to me that the fans were able to work together with the cast and crew to make this happen. I made a point of watching it through legal means (and thus paying for it) because it matters to me that this film exists. I've been very fortunate in the things about which I'm fannish - Firefly was cancelled but got a film sequel, and now we have the Veronica Mars film too. Now if we could just make a Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles film happen, I could die happy! Just a note - if you are planning on watching the Veronica Mars film, be sure to watch through the credits, as there are a few extra things you'll want to see there.

I hope your week has been as fabulous as mine.
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
This weekend, the weather suddenly turned summery (or at least what passes for summery in the south-east of England). I think I was more excited about the fact that I'd be able to dry laundry in the courtyard instead of in the house than the fact that I would be able to ditch my winter clothes. I've since done two loads of laundry, and I find the sight of sheets waving gently in the breeze oddly comforting.

Yesterday I went with my friend and former sort-of-housemate J2* to a buffet lunch at Pembroke College. It's an annual event to which all the people who supervise (i.e. provide the one-on-one tutorials that are the main part of the teaching method at Oxbridge) students from Pembroke are invited. J2 invited me as her guest, and when we arrived we discovered that another friend of ours, M, had also been invited. The meal began with sparkling wine in what I think was the college's senior combination room, and then we were treated to a three-course buffet in the hall. We sat next to a very bitter physicist who spent the whole meal complaining about how academia has changed in the past twenty years (the short version: too much admin), and an interesting woman who taught Arabic language and Middle Eastern history. She bemoaned the fact that interest in her subject area only spikes when something terrible happens in the Arab and Islamic world.

After the lunch, the three of us went to a pub that lets people take drinks outside into the park near the mill pond, and we sat on a wall, surrounded by hundreds of other people who clearly had the same idea. All in all, it was a really fabulous day.

Today I've just been lounging around at home. Matthias is working in one of his library jobs, but will be back in about an hour, at which point we'll have a late lunch. This evening I've got yoga, but other than that, I don't plan on leaving the house. I've been - rather decadently - drinking white wine in the sun and reading novels. At some point I'll probably post some reviews of them, but for now, I plan to relax.

I'll leave you with a few links to stuff that's been making me happy today.

First, [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall's newest book, a children's science-fiction work called Mars Evacuees, is about to be published. She's got a couple of excerpts here and here. The second link includes a bunch of other stuff, all of which is worth reading, especially her article in the New Statesman about the gender disparity in book shop displays.

This review of the recent TV series of Dracula, posted in [community profile] ladybusiness, is making me rethink my decision to avoid the show. I find Jonathan Rhys Meyers almost unbearable to watch, and that is why I originally chose to give the show a miss, but if anyone who has watched it has an opinion, feel free to weigh in and convince me one way or the other.

Fantasy author Saladin Ahmed has started a really cool side project, tweeting the Husain Haddawy translation of the Arabian Nights.

I'll leave you with some music. Yesterday, in honour of International Women's Day, I posted a bunch of feminist music on Tumblr. Assume a broad definition of the word 'feminism' here that has room for Christine Anu singind about migration and identity, Lucinda Williams singing about loss and grief, and Ciscandra Nostalghia demanding listeners worship her.

I'm really into the music of The Daysleepers at the moment. This album and this album are simply fabulous. They sound like summer in Sydney - all diving under waves and bobbing out beyond the breakers, the glare of the asphalt hurting your eyes, jacaranda trees, standing on a roof and watching the fireworks on New Year's Eve, mangoes, cherries and grilled fish and sparkling wine - in a way that I cannot properly articulate. Just gorgeous.

Finally, Matthias and I watched the last stage of Melodifestivalen for the first time this year. We both would've been much happier if Alcazar had won.



Seriously, is that not the most Eurovision song ever?

___________________
*By which I mean that she lived in a sharehouse with my partner Matthias during the year I lived in Germany, so she was my housemate whenever I visited him.
dolorosa_12: (sleepy hollow)
I passed my viva!

I will have quite a few corrections to do, but I have basically cleared the final hurdle to becoming Dr Dolorosa!

I'm sorry for neglecting people's comments over the past couple of days - I will reply as soon as possible (probably tomorrow). All my time until now has been tied up with revising.



It's time to dance indeed.
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
[personal profile] wehappyfew indirectly gave me the idea to redo the music lyrics meme with pairings instead of characters. I had so much fun the last time that I jumped at the chance.

Choose fifteen characters pairings. Then put your playlist/music library on shuffle. Your first song with lyrics is your first character pairing, and so on. For each song, choose lyrics that resonate with the corresponding character pairing.

1. Nick Ryves/Mae Crawford (The Demon's Lexicon trilogy)
2. Allan 'Allyman' Manne/'Presh'|Wai-Chan (Galax-Arena)
3. Isidore Orbus/Babylonne Kidrouk (Pagan's Daughter)
4. Marcus Novius Faustus Leo/Noviana Una (Romanitas trilogy)
5. Anji/Mai (Crossroads trilogy)
6. Willow Rosenberg/Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
7. Mario Ferrone/Elaine Taylor (Space Demons trilogy)
8. Emily Fields/Maya St. Germain (Pretty Little Liars - TV series not books)
9. Asterion/Noah (The Troy Game series)
10. Arcturus Mesarthim/Paige Mahoney (The Bone Season)
11. John Connor/Cameron Phillips (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)
12. Ichabod Crane/Katrina Crane/Abbie Mills (Sleepy Hollow - TV series)
13. Nahadoth/Yeine Darr (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms)
14. Scott McCall/Allison Argent (Teen Wolf)
15. Will Parry/Lyra Silvertongue (His Dark Materials)

Songs and lyrics behind the cut )

It's clear from this that I listen to Florence + The Machine and The Naked and Famous way too much.
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
I love music memes, and in particular I love music memes which involve song lyrics and stories, so this one, which I found via [livejournal.com profile] msdillydally is pretty much perfect for me.

Choose fifteen characters. Then put your playlist/music library on shuffle. Your first song with lyrics is your first character, and so on. For each song, choose lyrics that resonate with the corresponding character.

1. Babylonne Kidrouk (The Pagan Chronicles)
2. Catelyn Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones)
3. Emily Fields (Pretty Little Liars - TV series, not books)
4. Allan 'Allyman' Manne (Galax-Arena)
5. Noviana Una (Romanitas trilogy)
6. Mae Crawford (The Demon's Lexicon trilogy)
7. Pagan Kidrouk (The Pagan Chronicles)
8. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
9. Marcus Novius Faustus Leo (Romanitas trilogy)
10. Asterion (The Troy Game series)
11. Jane Lane (Daria)
12. Lyra Silvertongue (His Dark Materials)
13. Domick (Obernewtyn series)
14. Persephone (Greek mythology)
15. Sarah Connor (The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

Songs and lyrics behind the cut )
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
So this week, despite being in June, is May Week in Cambridge. On Tuesday, Matthias and I went to what will probably be my last chance to go to the May Ball at my college.

Photos behind the cut )

There have also been multiple garden parties (with two still to come) and a cocktail party at my friend M's house (where I managed to fall down the stairs - due to clumsiness, not drunkenness - and seriously bruise my arm). In other words, this week has been wonderful.

I have some cool links for you. First up, Tansy Rayner Roberts' post about The Mists of Avalon. I have a complicated relationship with that text. I like that it puts women front and centre in the Arthurian story. I find its lack of historical accuracy really irritating. (This is my problem with Juliet Marillier's work too. I can quite happily read stories set in Ancient Rome, because I haven't studied it. Medieval Ireland - especially twelfth-century Ireland where scribal families aren't Christians (what the hell?) - is another matter.) But Rayner Roberts' post reminds me why I liked Avalon the first time I read it.

There’s something incredibly refreshing about epic fantasy told from the point of view of women – it’s not that it’s a better way to tell a story but it’s different, and considering how many times the Arthurian cycle has been retold, anything new is good. It’s still a story about war and politics and danger and men, we just don’t have to see the world through the eyes of those men.

The internet is not killing music. It's just forcing musicians, managers and promoters to try different ways of interacting with fans. This interview with Mr Suicide Sheep, who is essentially a very, very popular uploader, goes a long way towards explaining this new paradigm.

My channel has been active for over three years now. For two of those years, I did not receive any money for running it. As it grew, I was approached by various networks to become a partner, and as I do this full time, there is no way I could support myself and not get paid for it. I know a lot of people are against this, saying “I only upload other people’s music”, and I completely understand where they are coming from. They have to realize though, it’s all about promotion. If an artist can not successfully promote themselves, they approach me. It’s a similar concept to a label really. They also distribute other people’s music and make money from it.

Precisely.

These photos of women writers at work are lovely, poignant, inspiring and bittersweet.

This xkcd says everything I ever wanted to say to those yearning for a lost Eden.

That's all for now. Have a happy Friday, everyone!
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
These are all happy links! I've been feeling really down recently, so I think it's best under the circumstances to focus on the things that have been making me feel better for now.

First up, I was thrilled to discover that [livejournal.com profile] upupa_epops is hosting a meta comment-a-thon over on LJ.


FREE-FOR-ALL META COMMENT-A-THON!
(click on the picture)


You can get there by clicking on the icon.

On a much smaller scale, [community profile] fem_thoughts is hosting a comment meta about female characters, with some really interesting posts already up and running.

Those first two links are thanks to [personal profile] goodbyebird. The next link I encountered through [community profile] metanews, and is a really excellent analysis of Buffy Season Six by [livejournal.com profile] gillo. You can find it here. For a taste:

The point here, I feel is that nice guys do turn into nasty people. Nobody starts out life thinking of themselves as a jerk, but some people turn into jerks even so. And we see, step by step, how that happens – the losers are not losers when they are together. They can rejoice in their technical skills and arcane knowledge of films and TV which matter to them but not, as far as they know, to anyone else. Loners, they want to forge a sense of being part of something bigger. They need to feel adequate in the areas of life which peer pressure has marked out as important – making money, achieving targets, finding partners of the opposite sex. That need to feel adequate subtly shifts into a need to feel they excel. Warren goes the furthest down this dark path, and pays accordingly, but all three of them share that need to be not just good enough but actually important. When you are a child you assume all grown-ups are important – and when you get to be one it can be a shock to find out the truth. In this, as in so much else, the Trio echoes Willow - who also started off as nerdy in a sweet sort of way. You could draw a lot of parallels between Jonathon's increasing need for acceptance from Earshot to Superstar and Willow's need to be in control from advising Cordelia to hit the Deliver key through to riding that big truck.

It's brilliant stuff.

Still on the Buffy theme, Foz Meadows has been doing a rewatch, and has come to some interesting conclusions. I would recommend all her posts on Buffy, but in particular this one about the romantic relationships. I'm not quite sold on her interpretation of Angel, but she's spot on in every other regard, in my opinion.

This gif set on Tumblr is kind of adorable. Be warned, it contains massive spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

Finally, have a link to the Soundcloud page of Seven Lions, just because it is fabulous, fabulous music.

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