also known as the best cast ever

The Importance of Iron in Witchcraft

So, I got a lot of really positive feedback about my post about salt in witchcraft, so here’s another one just for you about iron!

Iron, like salt, has been used for many thousands of years as a potent tool in the practices of witchcraft. Iron is one of the most abundant metals in our planet, and is also a really great metal for making into tools. It’s tough, hard, ductile and with a high melting point that makes it ideal for situations in which you might need a tool to work under extremely hot conditions. It’s also one of only three ferromagnetic metals (along with nickel and cobalt), making it an essential part of most magnets and compasses.

In astrophysics, iron is extremely important in the life cycle of stars. Iron is one of the most atomically stable substances in the universe, and it’s also unique because it’s the first element in the periodic table to require more energy to MAKE it than it gives out from atomic fusion. This is important, because when a star gets older and fuses hydrogen to make helium, helium to make beryllium and all the rest, once it starts fusing atoms to make iron, the star begins to die. So, iron is an element that signals the death of stars, and any element that weighs MORE than iron (atomically speaking) can only be made in supernovas - that is, the explosion that takes place when a really BIG star dies.

In biology, iron is one of the most important elements in mammalian, reptilian and avian blood, because it’s the element that we use in the chemical haemoglobin. This is the chemical in our blood cells that binds to oxygen and keeps us alive. Crustaceans like lobsters don’t use iron - they use copper, and instead make haemocyanin, which makes their blood blue! However, just like in stars, iron can mean death for humans as well. If we overdose on iron, we suffer from iron heavy metal poisoning; when we get crushed by a heavy object we can suffer a disease called traumatic rhabdomyolysis or Crush Syndrome, caused by vast amounts of myoglobin (another iron-based compound, found in muscles, which gives them extra oxygen to use) entering our kidneys and killing them, and as a result killing us.

Iron in science is an element of life, death, and of many points in between. But what about its uses in witchcraft?

Witchy Facts about Iron!

  1. Iron is stable. Iron’s stability, both atomically and magickally, makes it a fantastic magickal conductor, and also means that magick doesn’t seem to affect iron very much. Enchantments on iron are never as strong as on other metals, and even the best witches will have difficulty making an enchantment or other spell anchor properly. However, this has the advantage that iron doesn’t pick up negative magick from background sources, and it’s extremely unlikely that there will be issues with ritual or altar tools made from iron. Keeping your magickal supplies inside an iron or steel box, or a box that’s been nailed together with iron nails, will prevent them from leaking out and attracting spirits that might cause harm.

  2. Iron is protective. Along with silver and a few other little bits and bobs, negative spirits and fae folk cannot touch iron lest it burn them and cause them pain. Additionally, negative magicks targetted at someone wearing an iron pendant will be attracted into the pendant and then dispelled. This makes it an ideal protective charm for everyday carry or everyday wear.

    This is why horseshoes are considered lucky
    - back in Medieval times, when protection against negative spirits and magick was much more widely practiced, poor families would often be unable to afford much iron. However, a horseshoe is made of iron, and comes with holes already cast into it, which allow you to nail one over your door easily, which keeps out harmful spirits, magick, and fae, who might seek to hurt you or your family.

  3. Iron is inconspicuous. Anyone can carry an iron nail after all, and a little piece of iron wrought and twisted into a small pendant is far from a traditional witch’s item. Those secret witches who perhaps do not live with accepting families or within an accepting community or country can find great solace in the use of iron as a protective charm.

  4. Iron is cheap. Iron nails, iron rods and iron knifes are pretty easy to get hold of and relatively quite cheap. They’re versatile and not especially likely to draw attention to you - after all, nobody’s likely to question why someone has a couple of iron nails twisted into a pendant, and if they do question it, why it’s just an artistic display! And of course, easy to replace with $5 worth of string, iron and a hammer.

  5. Iron is ancient. Iron is one of the oldest protective charms out there, right up with salt and sage. It’s been used for literally thousands of years to protect people against everything from wolves to armies to poltergeists. That’s a pretty impressive history!

  6. Iron is practical! The best cookware I’ve ever used has always been my cast iron cookware set, which makes better food than I’ve ever tasted, and it’s very easy to clean. It’s also extremely hardwearing - I wholly expect to one day be able to pass on my cast iron frying pan and wok to my grandchildren, and it was already been owned by my mother and father before me. Iron knifes are sharper and cut cleaner than almost anything except obsidian, and high-carbon steel (an alloy of iron and carbon) is the best cutting edge known in bushcrafting circles, where all the best knives are made from it

I hope this helps all you lovely witches and magick users out there!

– Juniper

With an amazing cast for example: Luke Evans(actual god aka also known as bard the bowman) Emma Watson (actual goddess and secret wizard) dan Stevens (HIS VOICE MAKES ME WEAP AND HIM GROWLING MADE ME NUT) ewan Mcgregor(my pure singing Christian candle stick) josh gad(the best lefou I could imagine) Ian mckellen( my fucking gay father and FUCKING GANDALF) Emma Thompson (who is fucking nanny McPhee god bless) Audra McDonald (THAT HAS THE MOST STUNNING SINGING VOICE) and let’s not forget Alexis loizon (who played Stanley my beautiful cross dresser) GETTING TO MY POINT! who could ever hate this fucking movie??????? Because I don’t see how that is possible?????

Originally posted by royaltiana

Deep End (1970)

Fresh-faced and freshly-dropped-out-of-high-school Mike (John Moulder-Brown) gets his first job at a public bathhouse in London where he immediately falls in lust with Susan, the coworker ten years his senior who teaches him the tricks of the trade, including how to prostitute himself to middle-aged women for loose change while delivering towels and shampoo. One particularly memorable scene features Mike being molested by a past-her-prime patron played by Diana Dors while she loudly vocalises football-related fantasies, which would have been pretty sweet in 1955 but is less so fifteen years later. Mike is less-than-thrilled with his encounter with the former blonde bombshell, even if once upon a time she was frequently compared to Marilyn Monroe, as he only has eyes for Susan. Only natural as she’s played by Jane Asher, former girlfriend to Paul McCartney and one of the most gorgeous women to ever rock a yellow raincoat.

Asher is untouchable as Susan, the epitome of the cool confident older woman. Just look at the way she eats a chocolate sundae.

Deep End is a quintessential British film, despite the fact that it was mainly shot in Munich and with much of the secondary cast made up of Germans dubbed into English, and also that it was directed by a Pole (former Polanski-collaborator Jerzy Skolimowski, now perhaps best known for playing Stepan in Eastern Promises and the guy that ties Scarlett Johansson to a chair in The Avengers), all of which adds to its semi-surreal nature (Lynch rates it). It’s also one of the best coming-of-age movies ever made. It nails adolescent infatuation and sexual awakening in almost unbearably uncomfortable detail. Like Rushmore (an obvious descendent) but less cutesy, more creepy, Deep End follows its fifteen-year-old sexual novice/budding sexual deviant in a one-sided love affair that sees him engaging in all manner of standard rom-com behaviour like following his crush and her fiancé into an X-rated movie (apparently she’s engaged to Travis Bickle) where he proceeds to feel her up from the seat behind and is rewarded with his first kiss and a police interview. Later he stalks them through night-time Soho in a sequence set to Can’s “Mother Sky” during which he also steals a nude cardboard cut-out from a strip joint of Susan’s doppelgänger (or her, it’s never really made clear), hides out with a crippled prostitute, and consumes a ridiculous amount of hot dogs purchased from a street vendor who happens to be Cato from the Pink Panther movies.

The film eventually takes this behaviour to its logical conclusion in an ending that is how every romantic comedy ever made would end if they were honest, which is both totally shocking and completely unsurprising, especially if you’ve been paying attention to Cat Steven’s “But I Might Die Tonight” repeatedly coming on the soundtrack. All the while you’re left wondering whether what you’re seeing is actually happening or if it’s all in the main character’s head. Teenage hormones are the strongest hallucinogen of all.

tolhinata  asked:

hello I saw that you read ICOS.. Can you tell us what it's about? I want to give it a try

hi there! what’s icos? i see it on your blog sometimes and i’m pretty curious

In The Company Of Shadows (ICOS) is an original LGBT series of books written by Santino & Ais. 

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Agency works behind the scenes to take down opposition groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means, even when it comes to their own agents.

Sin is the Agency’s most efficient killer. His fighting skills and talent at assassination have led to him being described as a living weapon. However, he is also known to go off on unauthorized killing sprees, and his assigned partners have all wound up dead.

Boyd is not afraid to die. When his mother, a high-ranking Agency official, volunteers him to be Sin’s newest partner, he does not refuse. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair that he’d welcome death.

In the Company of Shadows follows these two cast-offs as they go from strangers to partners who can only rely on each other while avoiding death, imprisonment, and dehumanization by the Agency that employs them.

Simply, this is one of the best stories I’ve ever read. It’s not just an action story, it’s about love in all its (sometimes tainted) forms, it’s about friendships, it’s about overcoming limits and fears, it’s about trust, it’s about never giving up even when you lost everything. 

It’s a very violent and explicit story, because that’s just how life is in dystopia.  And also because it’s written for a mature audience (18+). As I always say, you know nothing about angst unless you’ve read icos. I recommend you to check the trigger warnings, and to start with the original Evenfall, not the Directors Cut. That being said 

You can read ICOS for FREE here 

cruciferousjex  asked:

would you be willing to make a list of your favorite lesser know period dramas so people new to the genre can watch them? You post so many pictures of shows I don't know! ty love your blog :)

I absolutely would! (sorry it took me a little while to get around to this!!!! Forgive me!!!)

I’ll start with my three favourites because I feel like they’re lesser known and they are brilliant, in my opinion.

  • Harlots (2017- present) - A drama series about brothels and sex work in 18th century London. Absolutely fabulous, historically accurate in almost every aspect, include the variety of its characters. You can watch it on Hulu and NowTV as well as streaming it online. Also, the DVD of Season 1 is released tomorrow so!
  • Magnificent Century (2011-2014) , Magnificent Century: Kosem (2015-present) - Although technically two different series, MC: Kosem is a follow-up to Magnificent Century. These are two Turkish soap operas set during a period in Ottoman history known as “the Sultanate of Women”: basically a period during the 16th and 17th century where a woman from the Ottoman harem, be she a concubine, a mother or a sister, held considerable power, sometimes even more so than the reigning sultan. The first series of MC is available with English subtitles on Netflix: after that, the rest of the episodes can be watched on YouTube alongside this translation site. Same goes for Kosem, although the first episode was released officially with English subtitles on YouTube and can be watched here. The episodes are all very long: some about 2 and a half hours. But it’s such a great franchise, I love it so much.
  • Peaky Blinders (2013-present) - Set in working class Birmingham just after the First World War, it’s essentially about British gangsters, specficially the Shelby family, though it focuses most on their young patriarch, Tommy Shelby. It’s superb. The cast are amazing (Cillian Murphy, Sam Neil, Tom Hardy…) and it’s just so energetic, political and dynamic. I think I love it for two big reasons: 1) We hardly ever get period dramas about working class Britain and when we do, they’re always miserable and depressing. Peaky Blinders can be miserable and depressing but it also shows these families for what they are: the absolute backbone of this country. And 2) The Shelby family are half-Rromani. I’m half-Rromani myself so to see a representation for me on a primetime BBC TV series has been so good. They speak the language sometimes too! And indulge in some of the traditions. I recently saw Peaky Blinders on a stupid list of “Yet more period dramas about white British people” and it was ANNOYING. It’s been great for Rromani representation. You can watch it on Netflix!

That got super long, so here are a few lesser known period dramas (both films and TV series) that I have watched in my time and would absolutely recommend:

  • Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2002) - Apart from the fact this is about my favourite historical figure ever and is absolute perfection, it also has a stellar cast (Rufus Sewell, Helen McCrory, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves, Shirley Henderson, Ian McDiarmid….need I go on?)…..so if you want BBC period drama perfection, as well as a foray into the Best Period of British History Ever (the years 1660-1685 I DO NOT MAKE THE RULES), it’s a must-see.
  • Maison Close (2010) - Similar to Harlots in that it’s about a brothel, but it’s set in France in the 1870s. It’s just as gritty and realistic in its portrayal of sex work, though. It was very popular but cut short, unfortunately. Still an absolute must-see! You can watch it with English subs on Amazon Prime, and I assume it is easily streamed.
  • Bajirao Mastani (2015) - This is a Bollywood epic so it does have musical numbers but it’s also absolutely phenomenal. It’s set in the Maratha Empire in the early 1700s and is about the famed Peshwa (Prime Minister), Baijrao, and his love for a Muslim Raput princess, Mastani (who’s also a warrior and swords-woman.) Bajirao is also married to another woman called Kashibai who loves him dearly. It’s about love, it’s about prejudice and it’s about women trying to find some common ground for the man they love.
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998) - This is not necessarily lesser-known but I feel like it’s one of those films you literally have to see, especially if you like period pieces. It’s a comedy, largely fictional and tells the tale of how a young Will Shakespeare came to write Romeo and Juliet. He falls in love with a young noblewoman called Viola de Lesseps, who also happens to be an aspiring actor in a time when women are barred from the stage. Whilst the cast really blows every other cast I’ve mentioned out of the water, the highlight is probably Judi Dench as Elizabeth I. She has about….idk…..15 minutes screen time at most? But she won an Oscar for her performance anyway.
  • Elizabeth I (2005) - There are so many things about the Virgin Queen but this is my favourite since it covers the latter years of Elizabeth’s reign and focuses on both her political and personal life. I especially love her romance with Robert Dudley (played by Jeremy Irons) because usually, we see them as young people and it’s nice to see them older and experienced. Helen Mirren plays Elizabeth and….well….it’s Helen Mirren.

There are definitely more, especially ones set during my favourite period (17th & 18th century) which I don’t mind making another post for. But these are some of my faves!

Sherlock Holmes has appeared on screen so many times over the past 100+ years. Because of the sheer amount of Sherlock Holmes adaptations, it can be hard to figure out what to watch and where to start.

Because of this I’ve narrowed down some of the best of the film and TV adaptations over the years. I’ve included the name, year, main actors, a brief summary, why it’s so good/important, and a trailer, if applicable. Please enjoy.

1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (TV 1984-85) [Jeremy Brett as Holmes and David Burke]

  • The Granada Holmes series remains today one of the most faithful adaptations to ever exist, and Jeremy Brett holds the title of The Definitive Holmes for good reason. This first season holds faithful to some of the best and most well-known stories that Conan Doyle wrote, beginning with Irene Adler and ending with the Falls of Reichenbach.
  • Definitely the best Holmes adaptation to date-Granada came the closest to adapting every canon story, and did so with minimal changes for the most part. Brett remains today one of the best loved Holmes’ of all time. It also casts Watson as the faithful friend and wonderful, smart man of the canon, something other adaptations would sometimes struggle with. It’s beautifully filmed and has an amazing soundtrack that fits Sherlock Holmes perfectly. A definite staple of film and tv for the Holmesian.
  • Trailer

2. The Hound of The Baskervilles (1939) [Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson]

  • The first and arguably the best of Universal’s Sherlock Holmes films. An adaptation straight from the HOUN book, with minor changes and alterations. Unlike the majority of Universal’s Holmes films, Hound of the Baskervilles is set in Victorian times instead of modern day.
  • This film marked the beginning of an era for Sherlock Holmes movies (and also for a bumbling Watson). Rathbone is sharp and truly amazing as Sherlock Holmes, playing him as cutting and cunning as ever, but still with the kindnesses of Holmes that people enjoy. Although perhaps not some of the most faithful Holmes films, these still remain classics and some of the best in many people’s eyes. (my pick was Hound simply because I couldn’t decide on my true favorite–if you like this one, definitely see the rest of the films)
  • Trailer 

3. Sherlock (2010-present) [Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson]

  • Sherlock is a modern updating of Conan Doyle’s original series, and has gotten VERY popular, VERY quickly all over the globe. Although all the cases have modern twists to them and changes, Many of the plotlines, characters, dialogue bits, and other things come straight from the canon.
  • This series is truly proof of how far Sherlock Holmes has come since the Victorian age and the date of his creation. And definitely proof of a character living way beyond his years. Sherlock is a definite masterpiece, no other word to describe it. Brilliant and clever writing, beautiful cinematography, an incredible soundtrack, utterly fantastic casting, and in the hands of two very devoted and loving Sherlock Holmes fans. The entire series is brilliant and has an amazing storyline that proves why Holmes is so popular as a detective story, but also why the title transcends the genre and becomes more about the detective himself. (My pick is definitely series one, and A Study in Pink for the best episode, but definitely watch the entire series).
  • Trailer (A Study in Pink)

4. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) [Robert Stephens as Holmes and Colin Blakely as Watson]

  • An amazing and affectionate take on Sherlock Holmes, the man behind the legend and the public image. The film’s plot starts as Holmes is being asked to have a child with a Russian ballerina (Johnlock shippers will enjoy his reply), shifts to a case of a woman washed up in the Thames and brought to Baker Street, to sightings of the Loch Ness monster, to pre-WWI spies.
  • There’s alot of information and plot strands in this film which makes it very interesting for films scholars and Holmesians alike. However, its loving, if somewhat nearly parody-like, portrayal of Holmes is very amazing to watch. It’s a long but beautiful movie and definitely an influence for many of the Holmes films that follow it.
  • Trailer

5. The Great Mouse Detective (animated, 1986) [Basil of Baker Street and Dr David Q Dawson]

  • Based on the books of Eve Titus, The Great Mouse detective is a very loving and family friendly film and does an excellent job of keeping the spirit of Sherlock Holmes while translating the characters to the world of animated mice. Olivia Flaversham’s toymaker father is taken by Rattigan (the mouse world’s Moriarty). She meets Dr Dawson and together they go along with Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to find out what Rattigan is planning with the toymaker for his nefarious schemes.
  • For many people, this was their first Sherlock Holmes movie, and they don’t remember it being so until they revisit it later in life. It is as much a perfect film for kids as it is for Sherlock Holmes fan’s. The characters are based heavily on Rathbone’s Universal films of the 30’s but also do their canon counterparts very great justice.
  • Trailer

6. Sherlock Holmes (TV 1954) [Ronald Howard as Holmes and H Marion Crawford as Watson]

  • A VERY often underrated Sherlock Holmes TV series, but an adaptation faithful to the spirit of the original canon. There are 39 short episodes in the series, each with slightly simple and often comedic plots.
  • The friendship shown between Holmes and Watson (and often Lestrade) is the real reason to watch this series. The love and affection these men have for each other is outlined brilliantly in their bickering and teamwork and banter. However silly the plots are, the real gem of the series is the characters themselves. Definitely one to watch if you want to relax and just have deep feelings for a friendship that’s lasted since the Victorian age. All the episodes are currently available on youtube.
  • Wikipedia page with episode list and summaries 

7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979-86) [Visaly Livanov as Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Watson]

  • Widely regarded as the best Sherlock Holmes and a definite fan-favorite, this Russian series is absolutely incredible. It’s very well done and very faithful to Sherlock Holmes and the spirit of the original series.
  • One of the few series to feature the meeting between Holmes and Watson. It’s a Russian series, so subtitles are a must unless you speak the language, but as always, it’s a series that the Holmesian will enjoy and should see as part of their background. 
  • Trailer

8. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) [Nicholas Rowe as Holmes and Alan Cox as Watson]

  • Teenage Sherlock Holmes and John Watson meet at a boarding school and are thrust into a mystery when a teacher is murdered, his last words breathed to Holmes “Eh-tar”, leading them to a secret group right under their feet.
  • For fans of boarding school/college aus, this is the perfect movie. Watson’s slightly out of character, and Sherlock has a love interest, but the casting and the writing are both spectacular. The soundtrack rings of adventure and echoes that same feeling from the original stories. It’s an interesting look at what may have happened if Holmes and Watson had gone to school together. (to this day remains my favorite Sherlock Holmes movie)
  • Trailer

9. The Seven Percent Solution (1976) [Nicol Williamson as Holmes and Robert Duvall as Watson]

  • The film takes on another explanation for Holmes’ three-year absence and the Moriarty problem, as well as delving deep into Holmes (here) drug addiction and offering a glimpse into what could have been the detective’s childhood. Based on the book by Nicholas Meyer.
  • Although not one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes films (not by a mile), it’s a very interesting take on the detective, and a very Freudian look at him (literally). The book and film are often very widely known among the Holmesian community and the film is definitely a classic worth seeing on anyone’s Sherlock Holmes journey.
  • Trailer

10. Sherlock Holmes: Baker Street 221b (TV 2013) [Igor Petrenko as Holmes and Andrei Panin as Watson]

  • Another fun Holmes series from Russia, this time very modernly done. It’s a new and different take on Holmes and Watson and their friendship, but still very respectful to the spirit of the characters, the friendship and the original stories. The two meet by accident at the scene of a murder, and from there, the story begins.
  • As far as I’m aware, there were very mixed feelings about this series, but I think it’s an amazing piece of work and a worthy addition to the Holmes Legend. Unfortunately, the actor who played Watson died, so it’s unknown if we will be seeing any more of this series. Watson is very much a fighter and a tough guy whereas Sherlock is very much more brains then brawn. (seriously good series)
  • Trailer

11. Sherlock Hound~Meitantei Holmes (1984-85) Japanese Animated cartoon; English dubbed.

  • Another series aimed more for children, but one that resonates well with Holmes fans. It shows deep affection for the original characters while making everyone animated dogs. Sherlock Hound is kind and smart; Dr Watson is loyal if somewhat clumsy. And Moriarty is nefariously evil for a children’s series, somehow behind every crime that Hound must solve. The beautiful Mrs Hudson often plays large parts in the episodes as well.
  • A definite high recommendation from me. The cartoons are very beautifully made–Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame apparently was in on the early production stages. 
  • Opening Credits | Wikipedia Article

12. A Game of Shadows (2011) [Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson]

  • Another film with mixed reviews from the Holmesian community, this is the second of (so far) two films directed by Guy Ritchie. It can be seen as a sequel to the first or on it’s own. Holmes is preparing to face his arch nemesis Moriarty, whose plans involve him having a very big stake in the first world war. It is up to Holmes to figure out Moriarty’s game and stop him. Much more action based then mystery based, which isn’t always the best for a Holmes film, but it works well here. Also of note is Holmes’ and Watson’s FANTASTICALLY played relationship/friendship, now challenged by Watson’s wife, Mary.
  • Very much in the same vein as the first film, but for me, this movie is much more in the spirit of the original stories, with much more action and violence, of course. Downey Jr may not be the perfect Holmes, but he’s a very funny and adept one, adding new quirks and mannerisms to the Holmes arsenal. Jude Law is a fantastic Watson, and for Moriarty and Moran fans, this is probably the perfect film. Very high up on my favorite Holmes adaptation list and definitely worth the watch–if not for the Holmes aspect, then simply for the pure fun and excitement of the movie.
  • Trailer

anonymous asked:

What's icos!!!! I wanna read it!!! Who wrote it!!!

In The Company Of Shadows (ICOS) is an original LGBT series of books written by Santino & Ais.

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Agency works behind the scenes to take down opposition groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means, even when it comes to their own agents.

Sin is the Agency’s most efficient killer. His fighting skills and talent at assassination have led to him being described as a living weapon. However, he is also known to go off on unauthorized killing sprees, and his assigned partners have all wound up dead.

Boyd is not afraid to die. When his mother, a high-ranking Agency official, volunteers him to be Sin’s newest partner, he does not refuse. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair that he’d welcome death.

In the Company of Shadows follows these two cast-offs as they go from strangers to partners who can only rely on each other while avoiding death, imprisonment, and dehumanization by the Agency that employs them.

Simply, this is one of the best stories I’ve ever read. It’s not just an action story, it’s about love in all its (sometimes tainted) forms, it’s about friendships, it’s about overcoming limits and fears, it’s about trust, it’s about never giving up even when you lost everything.

It’s a very violent and explicit story, because that’s just how life is in dystopia.  And also because it’s written for a mature audience (18+). As I always say, you know nothing about angst unless you’ve read icos. I recommend you to check the trigger warnings, and to start with the original Evenfall, not the Directors Cut. That being said

You can read ICOS for FREE here

anonymous asked:

What is good omens?

*adjust mic* Well dear anon… *leans in* I’m glad you asked.

Good Omens, or, as it full title announces, Good Omens, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, is a collaboration by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett that tells the tale of a demon (Crowley) and an angel (Arizaphale), who work together in an attempt to stop the apocalypse from happening at the hands of the 11 year-old Adam, better known as the Antichrist.

This is literally one of the best, funniest, and most amazing books I have ever read, and I can never get enough of it. Especially Crowley and Arizaphale know how to steal the show, but the cast is not limited to them; next to Adam we also have a handful of humans (a witchfinder, a witch, a “medium” and so on), and some otherworldly characters to join the party.

If you haven’t read this novel, you haven’t lived.

2

It’s an especially prominent week for white washing and Asian erasure. 

The casting is no news, but we’ve had our first disappointing looks at Scarlet Johannson as Motoko Kusanagi… or as EW reports, “a character believed to be inspired by Motoko Kusanagi” (emphasis mine). The article goes on to refer to ScarJo’s character by her title, Major, making it sound like the studio will be trying its best to avoid any notion that the character was ever Japanese at all.

We also got a look at the Dr. Strange trailer, where they’ve replaced a Tibetan man known as The Ancient One with Tilda Swinton in a bald cap and some monk-like clothes.  Her casting came on the heels of a wave of disappointment, as some fans were hoping for a POC to be cast as Doctor Strange himself, most notably Pedro Pascal or Oded Fehr. It seems that Marvel maybe tried to do away with the “Mystic Asian” Trope by…removing the Asian.  Outside of casting an actor of color as Strange, they were bound to run into issues and criticism for this trope. However, there were better ways to address it and in all honesty, as the initial story was from 1963, they were probably better off just chalking it up to errors of the past instead of making it worse by removing POC from the film.

Here's the first teaser trailer for James Franco's 'The Disaster Artist,' the true story of the worst movie ever made

( James Franco as Tommy Wiseau struggles to remember his lines in the first teaser for “The Disaster Artist” A24/YouTube)
“The Room,” which came out in 2003, is known as one of the worst movies ever made. But over the years, it has developed a cult following because people love how bad it is.

And one of those people is James Franco, who directed “The Disaster Artist,” based on the best-selling non-fiction book about the disastrous making of the movie. The book (also called “The Disaster Artist”) was written by one of its stars, Greg Sestero. 

In the movie, which comes out in theaters December 1, Franco plays director, writer, and star Tommy Wiseau. His brother, Dave Franco, plays Sestero. The film’s cast also includes Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Bryan Cranston, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Kristen Bell, and many more. 

The film’s first teaser finally came out on Tuesday, and it looks hilarious. The teaser highlights Wiseau’s inability to remember lines (even the simplest ones), and features the Franco brothers and Seth Rogen. 

You can watch the trailer below:

This poster, featuring one of the most memorable lines from “The Room,” was released on Monday:

(With that hair, this is probably the role James Franco was born to play.A24)

NOW WATCH: HBO released an incredible, action-packed trailer for ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7



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spinetinglermag.com
Best Crime Fiction (and then some) of 2013

10. Gunshot in Another Room by Charles Kelly

I know, a nonfiction book might not be the best place to start a crime list, but this one deserves to be here. For me, the best nonfiction is the kind that reads like fiction, and Kelly accomplishes that in this book. I knew a few things about Dan J. Marlowe before reading this, but I know a lot of things now, and the man lead a life worthy of his fiction.

9. The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about a Woodrell novel with a historical twist. Needless to say, he proved me wrong. This is a different kind of Woodrell (it was really obvious because I’d read Tomato Red a few weeks before this one), but one I enjoyed as much as the one I’m accustomed to.

8. Low Down Death Right Easy by J. David Osborne

Osborne is doing his own thing and folks who haven’t checked out his work are missing out on a fresh and unique voice in crime fiction. LDDRE is grimy, weird, layered, and full of great passages. Crime fiction shines when dirty is done well, and that’s the case here.

7. Sociopaths in Love by Andersen Prunty

This is the crime book I loved that none of my fellow crime lovers read. Prunty’s work tends to be bizarro, but this narrative about two sociopaths learning (and failing horribly) to live together while one goes on a killing rampage reads like a sicker, weirder version of Natural Born Killers.

6. The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

This was my introduction to Nakamura and immediately made me put him on my list of authors whose new work I always want to check out as soon as it comes out.

5. Country Hardball by Steve Weddle

Short. Brutal. Sharp. Dark. I could go on and on. Country Hardball sticks with you because Weddle’s writing feels real. My only complaint about this one is that it was over way too soon.

4. The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones

Jones is comfortably nested in that violent spot where crime and horror meet and the work he produces bridges the gap between the two genres better than anyone else’s. The Least of My Scars is sharp and cerebral, but what makes it one of my favorite reads of the year is the combination of humor, gore, and psychosis.

3. Out of the Black by John Rector

This one brought together all of my favorite elements and delivered them at breakneck speed. Sure, there are guns, bad guys, violence, loan sharks, and the promises of easy money, but the narrative is ultimately about loss, and that makes the novel feel poignant above and beyond its plot.

2. Cold Quiet Country by Clayton Lindemuth

I picked this up and thought “Well, here’s another noir from some dude I don’t know.” A few pages later, I thought “Who the fuck is this guy? This is some of the best prose I’ve read in while.” By the time I turned the last page, I thought “Everyone needs to reads Clayton Lindemuth. I hope he has something else coming out soon!”

1. The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson

Outstanding dialogue, great violence, tight plot, likeable characters: you want it, The Hard Bounce’s got it. It’s also unbelievably funny. I expected something good from Robinson, but this one blew me away. This was the novel I kept recommending in 2013 whenever someone asked me what they should read next. I’ll probably keep recommending it this year.

The Nerd of Noir

Low Down Death Right Easy by J. David Osborne

This spare, off-beat novel knocked the Nerd on his ass with its originality, intelligence and unwillingness to hold the reader’s hand.

Pale Horses by Nate Southard

An incredible grasp of tension and character kept me glued to this beast but its full-dark finale gave it a place on the year end list.

Fierce Bitches by Jedidiah Ayres

Peckerwood couldv’e also made the list but Bitches consistently surprised me with its invention, dark poetry and big-ass balls.

Donnybrook by Frank Bill

Had been hearing about this novel for no-shit *years.* Even with all the hype it still made the list. That takes some fucking talent right there.

Corrosion by Jon Bassoff

Bassoff has been putting out great shit for years as the New Pulp Press editor but Corrosion proved he’s as good a writer as he is tastemaker.

Sacrifices by Roger Smith

If you’re not hip to Smith’s pitch black, insanely bloody Capetown class/race warfare tragedies, Sacrifices is a fantastic place to start.

Inside Straight by Ray Banks

Banks takes the classic downward spiral noir story and gives it a great man-child/aspberger-y nerd spin that’s fresh as all hell.

Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

A novel both incredibly sprawling and painfully intimate, The Maid’s Version is the shortest “epic” novel you’re likely to ever read.

Rake by Scott Phillips

Part psycho noir, part debauched Parisian travelogue, part brutal celebrity/Hollywood satire, Rake needs to make it to the screen toot-sweet.

The Baddest Ass by Anthony Neil Smith

The return of Billy Lafitte is something to be celebrated and this nasty ticking clock prison novel is one party the Nerd never wanted to end.

Brian Lindenmuth

Non-fiction

Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling

This was my favorite non-fiction book of the year. It probably doesn’t have a very wide appeal but I was fascinated by this slice of wrestling history.

Fiction

Last of the Smoking Bartenders by CJ Howell

This is one of those books that doesn’t fit squarely into any one genre or category, and it is better off for it. This is a book about madness that puts the reader riding shotgun in a manic-depressive roadtrip. This is also a book with the rare actual character arc.

Mountain Home by Bracken MacLeod

Mountain Home starts off with a bang, literally as a sniper starts shooting up a remote mountain diner. From there we move from tense moment to scary moment until we’ve learned about why this whole thing started. The end result is one of my favorite books of the year.

Others of My Kind by James Sallis

Odd is a word that could be used to describe the latest Sallis offering. Brilliant is another one. Sallis has crafted a real gem here with each line being an integral part of the whole, nothing wasted. This may not be a book for everyone but it is a rewarding and haunting one.

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

Woodrell is a writer worth waiting for. This is another work where there isn’t a single wasted word and every word is essential. The Maid’s Version is also that rare work with a distinct voice.

Low Down Death Right Easy by J David Osborne

LDDRE is a lean, mean, noir machine. This is a sleek and nasty and minimal noir that isn’t for the faint of heart and the more rewarding for being so.

Peckerwood & Fierce Bitches by Jedidiah Ayres

Peckerwood had the rare distinction of making last years best of list even though it hadn’t been released yet. Peckerwood is a gritty story about family and crime in a small town. Even though it is a dark story I think that Peckerwood has the potential for a wider audience as there is never darkness for darkness sake, just darkness in service of story.

Fierce Bitches was one of my favorite reads this year. For the first part of the story I felt comfortable in what kind of story I was in and where it was going. Then Jed yanked the rug out from under me over and over again. It was a thrilling read because I had no idea where it was going. Then once it got there I wanted to start from the beginning and read it again. Jedidiah Ayres may just have one of the best imaginations in crime fiction and this wholly original novella helps that claim.

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent

The Outcasts seemed to be marketed as historical fiction but it is really a western. This is a great story, with alternating and slowly converging story lines, fully developed characters, dark moments, and fantastical moments that would have entered into the western mythos had they really happened.

HNIC by Albert “Prodigy” Johnson

I’m a long time fan of street books and a lot of them feel like they could benefit from at least one more round of editing (especially copy editing), even fans of the genre have to admit that. HNIC does not have this problem. This is a fast paced revenge novella in parts of the city that most mainstream crime fiction doesn’t visit.

Grind Joint by Dana King

I had a couple of thoughts while reading Grind Joint which I’ll try to link together (probably poorly so be warned). The Friends of Eddie Coyle is highly regarded as one of the best crime novels ever (the movie is a classic too) but Higgins’s fiction has seemed to have fallen out of favor some. Writers now aren’t talking about his work in the same way that they talk about others. Also a certain kind of crime fiction seems to have fallen out of favor too; fiction with a bigger cast of characters on both side of the law, usually has some mob focus (think Higgins, think Dead City by Shane Stevens). In fact, a well known publisher has “Books about organized crime aren’t our thing.” in their submission guidelines. It seems like there are a couple of writers that are influenced by Higgins and have written or are writing these types of books. Grind Joint is one of them. Grind Joint has cops, small town mobsters, a PI, an old spook, and many others. We see all of these characters deal with a murder case, turf wars, political machinations, home invasions and so much more. King has said that he’s been influenced by The Wire (itself a visual fiction of the type talked about above), and it shows.

Night of the Furies by JM Taylor

I don’t know who JM Taylor is (I have a guess though!) but this one surprised me. It landed on my Kindle, I started reading it, and I just kept right on going because it grabbed me right away. One of the interesting things here is that you have a complete and total asshole of a protagonist in situations that should make him more likeable. That he retains his hate-ability is a brave choice that may shake some readers but remember, this is a noir. So when does get his eventual comeuppance (this is a noir so this isn’t a spoiler) it makes it so much sweeter.

The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson

Big Daddy Thug’s novel has been floating around the industry for YEARS. The Hard Bounce is a hardboiled series in the vein of the Hap & Leonard books. There is a mystery to be solved but really you are reading for the interactions between the two life long friends, Junior and Boo.

Nothing Save the Bones Inside Her by Clayton Lindemuth

Lindemuth’s debut noir novel, Cold Quiet Country, seemed to come out of nowhere last year because he didn’t come up through the noir ranks of online zines like so many tend to do. It blew my hair back too. Nothing Save the Bones Inside Her is a stark, rural, brutal book with a distinct voice and a story that goes in unexpected places.

Flushboy by Stephen Graham Jones

The main Jones releases in 2013 (Flushboy, The Least of My Scars, Sterling City) are all of a type. They all feature fantastical and highly imaginative events filtered through a tight perspective and a limited setting. They are all also highly recommended. Flushboy is about a teenage boy who works in a drive through urinal. But really it’s about the relationship between a father and a son, a guy and his girl, life in a small town, and chasing your crazy ass dreams.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, Year of the Storm by John Mantooth, American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

These were my favorite fantastical books of the year. They all feature great characters, creepy moments, great writing, and mysteries at their heart that keep the pages turning.

Honorable Mentions: The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones, Gravesend by William Boyle, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, My Pet Serial Killer by Michael Seidlinger.

Collections & Anthologies: American Death Songs, Fish Bites Cop, Booked, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled 2, All Due Respect, Steel Heart, Kwik Krimes, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, Staring into the Abyss, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives.

Favorite movie: Mud

Shout outs:

CV Hunt – I discovered the work of CV Hunt this year and have greatly enjoyed everything of hers that I’ve read so far. Highly imaginative, a certain daring, and a sense of not knowing just what in the hell to expect.

Broken River Books – Great new crime publisher to keep an eye on.

King of the Perverts by Steve Lowe

This was one of my favorite reads from the year but was published last year. After reading the synopsis I was unsure. It’s simple for a premise like this to go awry. So I downloaded a sample to my Kindle and found the tone lighter then I expected. It was also laced with a crude black humor resulting in laugh out moments. That was enough for me to take a chance on the rest of the book. And I’m glad I did.

Yes, this is a vulgar book and is not for everyone. But it’s also surprisingly warm and winds up as a love story. There is also a biting commentary on the cynicism of reality TV, not the least of which is because it isn’t hard to imagine a show like this in real life. One of the sex challenges is down right laugh out loud funny, you wouldn’t ever think you would laugh at something like this but clearly Lowe has a great comedic touch.

Feeling adventurous? Give this one a try.

Best Crime Fiction of 2013 courtesy of Brian Lindenmuth and Spinetingler Magazine

APRIL’S UNITY DAYS WRITE UP

Day 2 (January 14th)-this one is going to be long so I’m splitting it into two parts:

When I tell you guys this day was JAM PACKED, I am not joking around. There was so much to do, especially if you had one of the higher ticket levels (Grounder or Delinquent), there was literally no way you’d be able to get it all done. 

We started off our day by going to Cora’s for breakfast, where I had an amazingly delicious waffle and then we hurried off to London Drugs (like a Walgreens) so I could purchase a Voice Recorder with which to record the panels. 

I missed the Welcome Panel, where they introduced the entire cast (save Lindsey, who was filming reshoots for 411), but made it back in time for the Arkadia Boys Panel which featured Bob Morley, Richard Harmon, Jarod Joseph and Sachin Sahel. This panel was one of my favorites for so many reasons. 

Bob and Jarod both came out and ran around the Ballroom, greeting everyone. Bob seemed to make it his personal mission to touch as many people as possible, he shook hands (his grip was super strong and he made sure to look you in the eyes when he shook!) When I told him my name, he repeated it, smiled and then said it was a great name, which made my day. 

After they’d done their greetings, the cast gathered on the stage:

Sorry Richard’s blurry, but look at Bob’s smile!

When Sachin came out he did this thing where he grabbed Bob’s nose, because Bob wouldn’t say hello, lol. 

Here they are all settled down. Pictures weren’t allowed after the first 5 minutes of each panel, but I like the ones I did manage to get. 

The Boys Panel was super fun, you can really see how much they all love each other. I said it a lot during the Con, but it’s almost like they just can’t help touching and teasing one another, they really are a family and you can tell when you have the opportunity to talk to them or see them one another.

They joked a lot about Ian’s hair and how he’ll sit and just run his hands through it after hair and makeup gets done with it (which frustrates the crew), they called him “GQ Jesus”, which I got a kick out of for sure and Bob joked that there is a scene where Bellamy and Kane just play with each other’s hair. 

We discussed character growth through the Seasons and Sachin said he likes that Jackson has become a braver man, Jarod (who is super snarky) said that he enjoys having any direction (everyone laughed) and then he said he enjoys that Miller is becoming more of a leader. 

Bob said that he actually enjoys (in a sadistic way) acting out Bellamy doing bad things, because he likes the challenge of then making those actions forgivable. He says if people hate you afterwards, it means you’ve done your job, you’ve made people feel something. 

When asked about the relationship between Brian and Miller, Jarod said that there were definitely still things they need to work out and that it’s not necessarily a happily ever after story. 

Sachin remarked that he’s glad it’s not just one person who went into the City of Light, that they’ll need to see and discuss the effects it had on everyone. He joked about needing a CoL support group. 

When asked about the relationship between Raven and Murphy, Richard said it would be difficult for Raven to trust him at all considering Murphy caused her physical issue. He later said that everyone will need to put their differences aside because it’s a do or die type situation. 

There is a apparently a lot of BTS Bob/Richard fun times (aka Murphamy). Richard says the show is better with Murphamy because he and Bob have great chemistry together.

Richard’s favorite episode is Episode 8 (this is the same episode Luisa coined in her Meet and Greet-so I expect great Memori in this episode.) Sachin said the entire Season was just so great to film. Jarod said he enjoyed Episode 1. Bob did not answer this question.

Sam asked what it’s like to play male characters who don’t fit traditionally male stereotypes, and we didn’t quite get the answer we expected, but Sachin did say that “ Across the board it’s not about masculinity or femininity. Its about people being people. Whoever is the best at that thing will handle it.” 

Richard says he always calls Murphy “John” when it’s in reference to Emori/Memori (again-Luisa says the exact same thing-she smiled and laughed a bit when she said it). He said that he’s glad for Emori that she got to meet someone like John, feels like he’s helped Emori really accept who she is.

Jarod said that hope on this show looks like having a future at all (the cast heavily implied that this Season things get really dire.) and said that the message of hope is heavily enforced this Season. 

They talked about who’s the smartest and Bob said that Bellamy and Clarke were the best at classes (it’s a back story built into the scene in 3x02-where Bellamy and Pike “meet”, it’s why Bellamy looks so happy to see Pike). He said that unfortunately a lot of Bellamy’s learning was stopped when Octavia was discovered and that the Ark kind of forget he was human. 

He and Pike relate to one another because they came down for the same reasons. 

When asked how they felt about the impact the show has had on people, 

Jarod said: “ You see people that love the show and each other working with each other. It feels unbelievable (to make a difference).”

Richard said: “ To know that on this show we’ve had that bit of magic, to tap into people, its amazing”

Bob said he lives by this quote when acting: “ “The more personal you are, the more universal you become.”

When asked which superhero they’d like to be, Jarod said John Stewart/Green Lantern, Sachin said Superman/Clark Kent, Bob said the Hulk (something I find interesting, as he picked another character who has a lot of pent up anger.)

END OF ARKADIA BOYS PANEL SUMMARY

After the Boys Panel, the Unity Days Fam (literally almost all of us) had a Meet and Greet with Jarod-in fact there was only one woman who was not in the Fam at our Meet and Greet. 

Jarod is super cool, very personable, very friendly. He was kind to all of us and most of our meet and greet was really just a regular conversation. We got a few tidbits for Miller’s journey in Season 4 (he’s going to be working really hard to make his dad proud and we learned that Dad Miller is back and better than ever!!!

Jarod was asked why he thinks Miller always seems to be “OK” and he said it’s because he keeps his feelings below the surface, he’s strong because he has to be. He thinks Bellamy is the same way. 

He also said they’ve been asking for more Millamy scenes because they’re best friends! Don’t know if we get them in Season 4 though. 

He joked that in Vancouver he was known as the “Serial Guest Star” before he was cast as Miller (a role that was also only supposed to be one episode.” 

He actually doesn’t like Vancouver, he says it’s not exciting and there isn’t a lot to do there, he does enjoy that his friends are there and his job is there, but when he’s not filming he lives in San Fran. 

I asked him how he feels playing a black LGBTQA character and if he knows how important that is, and he said it’s not his first time actually, he previously played an Out Gay lawyer in the hip hop world, who was dating a rapper who was still closeted and he feels like overall the ability to portray those characters is so important because being black and gay and in an interracial relationship are all really taboo things and he likes being able to show that being gay doesn’t change who you are or make you effeminate (a HUGE stereotype in the black community), it’s all about just being able to be who you are. 

END OF JAROD JOSEPH M&G SUMMARY

After we left the M&G we hurried back to the Panel Ballroom for what was supposed to be the Princess Mechanic Panel, but became the Clarke Griffin panel because Lindsey was still at work. 

Eliza is a sweetheart, she’s really pretty, but she’s actually much skinnier than I thought she was (which is NOT a bad thing-lol), I just thought she was bigger, because he boobs are GREAT!

Eliza’s panel was pretty much just a wlw love fest, lots of women (including myself) thanking Eliza for playing a bisexual woman and discussing how important that is for us. She plans to release more of her music on Youtube, loves Nadia very much and said that this Season Clarke’s grieving process will be more constructive than destructive. There will be more Clarke and Kane scenes in the Season 4, she said that Clarke feels a lot of grief and guilt for all of the people that she’s lost and that we should expect to see some breakdowns this Season. 

When asked a question about whether or not we should be worried about the safety of any of Clarke’s future romantic interests (here the asker coughed and said Bellamy), Eliza smiled and laughed a little and said that she couldn’t answer that question “yet” (sound familiar?!)-this is a huge change (in my opinion) from her answer at SDCC. 

Eliza’s favorite Clarke outfit is the Season 1 outfit, she says it seems the most like Clarke, and then confirmed that the City of Light outfit is Clarke’s Season 1 outfit. Her favorite Clarke line is “Life should be about more than just survival.” which excited part of the audience. 

She said that when you play a character the end result is 80% you and 20% what’s on the page. 

END OF CLARKE GRIFFIN PANEL SUMMARY

We had a brief lunch at the hotel.

And then had several photo ops!

END PART ONE OF UNITY DAYS WRAP UP DAY 2

Okay but like Scream is such a good show. It has the best cast ever and they aren’t like super popular overly known people, so its giving these newer actors a chance to shine. And they are amazing actors, because you have to remember that it’s supposed to be what’s the word… like it’s a horror movie as a TV show so of course the characters are a little slow. And the characters themselves are beautiful like Audrey Jenson is this hot bi curious girl who is badass but also has a soft side and Noah Foster is the funny sidekick that’s also smart and just perfect and Brooke Maddox is the ‘slutty’ queen bee with a heart of actual gold and adorableness and like they all fit into a character mold and the stereotypes but then they break it and set it on fire and I’m just in love with this show. It’s a slasher but you get attached to them and when they get brutally murdered it hurts and you are invested in more than the mystery but speaking of the mystery damn. Like s1 was a little predictable with an added plot twist but s2 is like I have no clue who the killer is and I just….
This is my favorite show on the air right now and in my top 5 over all because it’s just so amazing and it breaks my heart to think that it could not have another season…

2

Savas Abadsidis: What can we expect in Season 4?

Jeff Davis: With several cast departures and a darker-than-ever end to Season 3, we decided that we needed to return a healthy dose of fun and adventure to the show. We focused on getting back to scenes of high school in the first few episodes, as well as more humor scenes with Scott and Stiles. We also bring back lacrosse and focus on a central mystery to the season that brings in a powerful new threat in the form of an enemy known simple as the Benefactor.

SA: Stiles and Scott have been described as the best bromance on television, and Stiles has been described on comics sites as the best sidekick ever. Was that intentional, or has that developed over the course of the series, taking into account the involvement and chemistry of the actors?

JD: That was absolutely intentional. One of the first ideas we had when developing the show was to give it an opening that was a kind of an homage to Stand by Me – kids going out into the woods to find a dead body. The friendships portrayed in that story, and in numerous Stephen King novels, like Itand The Stand, were a huge influence on the show. However, the real-life friendship that developed between Tyler Posey and Dylan O'Brien was the key to that relationship really working onscreen. I remember, before the pilot was shot, emailing Tyler and saying, “You guys are supposed to be lifelong best friends, so it might be a good idea if you two hung out a little bit before shooting started.” And Tyler told me they had already been hanging out. Before we knew it they were the best of friends.

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The most difficult decision I will ever make

As many of you will know, I live in Scotland. Scotland occupies the northern half of the British Isles and has a population of 5.5 million people. Scotland is a country soaked in myth legend and history and has an international identity that is distinguishable through it’s proud cultural identity, its whisky, its tartan, its poetry and prose.

Scotland has produced some of he greatest inventors and thinkers in world history. Voltaire once wrote “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”. Our inventors provided the world with the steam engine, the bicycle, the telephone and the television. We have provided the world with penicillin, radar, insulin, ultrasound and many more. Some of the worlds best loved fictional characters were imagined by Scottish authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.M. Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson.

307 years ago, the Scottish Parliament was dissolved and Scotland as an independent nation ceased to exist following the Act of Union in 1707 marking the creation of the country that exists today as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In the past 307 years the union between Scotland and England has achieved much as has been described as the most successful union in history. As one nation Britain created the largest empire in history on which “the sun never set” and became known as the “father of modern democracy”. Together we have achieved so much that Britain is an international brand. All over the world the Union Jack has adorned pillows, posters, coffee cups and clothing. Britain is one of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and is known to have one of the best special ops squads in the world, the SAS (also a Scottish creation).

Some of you will wonder why I am writing this and many of you will know why. Tomorrow, I along with the rest of Scotland will cast our votes on the most important decision in British history to date and we will answer, with our ticks or crosses, the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. 

For me, this is the most difficult decision i will ever make. 

I was born to English parents who grew up in the most English area of Britain, Kent, on the south coast of England. If i were to ask my parents their nationality they would reply “British”. I have grown up and lived in central Scotland, not too far from Glasgow and Edinburgh in an area known as the Central Belt. A very ‘Scottish’ area. With that i find myself struggling to decide which answer i wish to give to the question i answer tomorrow. My passport tells me i am British. My family are spread throughout the country and my parents are British. I have spent my entire life living in Britain and when i go abroad i tell people i am British. Yet i find myself unable to state for absolute certainty that i am a 'No’ voter. I am British, yet i have grown up in Scotland. I find myself, on being asked my nationality, following the British with “but from Scotland.” I am proud to be British and i am proud to be Scottish.

For me, this vote is not about party politics or an emotional hatred of all things English; it is more than that. For me this vote is about the basic principle of self-determination. Scotland as a country is a very liberal and to an extent, socialist country and through our devolved powers Scotland provides free healthcare, free prescriptions, free university tuition fee’s along with a multitude of other social policies, all paid for through tax. This liberal social outlook has put Scotland at odds with the Westminster, which has an increasing conservative and right-wing outlook. If i had the choice i would not be facing the decision to dissolve this 307 year old union, but rather to change it and to change the way the British Government works. Perhaps in that case we should be voting on the independence of Westminster from the UK. However, I digress. 

Tomorrow i will have to decide whether i want to remain a part of the 307 year old Union or whether i want to return to the days of an independent Scotland. Tomorrow i will have to make the most difficult decision of my life. If Scotland becomes a sovereign state once more, who knows what will happen? If we remain in the Union, who knows what will happen? All i know is, that tomorrow, the history of these isles will change and the United Kingdom will be changed forever. Will we see the dawn of a new United Kingdom, or, will the sun finally set on the greatest country the world has ever seen? The days of Pax Britannica are well and truly over and honestly, i’ve never felt so unsure.

The cast thus far for this year's NIGHT OF ZERO LAUGHS

Assembling a panel for The Night of Zero Laughs is akin to being a master chef - you need to find just the right ingredients, and mix them together in just the right quantities. Also you need to see who’s free and then also hope they see the charm in public access television.

Luckily, we are in the process of assembling a high quality grouping of people who shall bring the world of silent, no-laugh comedy to great new heights.

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