and what in the world martin's character was doing under that car

On plot holes in general

To clear the air: I’m not just talking about Moftiss. But I’m also talking about Moftiss. 

The thing about plot holes is that there are two types: ones which are unresolved plot threads, and things wherein the writers failed to show us something and assumed we would fill it in ourselves. An example of the first type would be John’s letter to Sherlock at the end of TST. Why introduce the letter if it was never going to be shown, read, or referred to again? An example of the second type is how John got out of the well and still had feet in later scenes. There, the writers could have showed us John realising that only his shoes were chained and showed him removing them and climbing up the rope, or they could have showed someone climbing down to cut through the chains. But it feels like a hole because they didn’t. 

Eurus *could* have used all of her brainwashed fellow inmates/patients to make all of those arrangements, but without seeing any of it, it feels difficult to swallow. If they’d shown even one scene of her doing some of this, we might have been more willing to extend some benefit of the doubt, some extrapolation of “oh, I guess there was more of that, then, ok”, but we didn’t see any of it. There was nothing there to explain how supposedly-dead Mary kept sending posthumous home videos. 

Then again, most Bond/spy movies do the same thing, honestly. If Bond’s credit cards were cut off, how did he rent that Aston Martin? Where did he get that new suit? Last time we saw him, he was wearing jeans and a ripped t-shirt and had no luggage with him. Has he been wearing the same underwear for the entire movie? Does he ever brush his teeth? Personally, I’m one of those irritating watchers who always wants to be shown the parts that make it feel real. I suspect that screen writers leave this stuff out deliberately for three reasons: 

1) They think it will be dull. They figure audiences don’t want to see Bond trying on shirts or going to the bank to take out cash or maxing out on a credit card. Better put in some more car chases! 

2) They’re already trying to edit things down to fit into a prescribed run time. Therefore Bond doing cardio to keep fit for all those foot chases gets cut. 

3) They actually don’t want the protagonist (or villain, as the case may be) to seem human; they want us to see them as almost super-human, so Bond clipping his toenails never gets written. 

The thing is, the day and age of willing suspension of disbelief is over. Audiences are more analytical than they used to be. We’re used to getting explanations when we want them, because information is so widely available now. When things don’t add up or make sense, we find it irritating, not artistic. I honestly think that Moffat and Gatiss think they’re being artistic by not explaining things fully (though that doesn’t excuse them by a mile for constantly underplaying the realistic emotional fall-out of the things their characters suffer), but the fact is that their audience simply finds it underwhelming and sloppy. I think it may be partly a question of generations, too, but I also know fans of Sherlock who are their age and older, who find their plot holes as irritating as fans in their teens do. Personally, the more realistic something is, the more it will draw me in. I want to know where Bond got those dry socks from to replace the ones that got wet in the rain. I want to see him jet-lagged after flying halfway around the world. I want to know how he paid to get to that island or that city without any working credit cards or debit cards. You can’t book a flight with cash, not a commercial one, at least. “He took a charter,” the screen writer says, shrugging it off in an interview. Sure, fine: then show it. 

Moffat mentioned somewhere that Sherlock delivered Rosie, which is a frankly appalling thought, especially given that there was an actual doctor in the car, and given Sherlock’s horrified face at the thought of an event involving female genitalia unfolding in his very presence, I somehow can’t picture this in the slightest. 

Part of the problem is also that their episodes span too much time too rapidly to address the questions of how their day-to-day relationships function, what those dynamics really are, etc. Too much is skipped over for the sake of advancing the plot. I would personally rather see more attention given to detail and less to unbelievable plot arcs. I expect Doctor Who to be wholly unbelievable (and even there I used to snark about dropped plot threads and unsatisfactory resolutions as well as under-handled emotional fall-out, when I still watched it). I expect Sherlock to be believable, though, and there was just so many holes. 

All I’m saying is that Sherlock is not the only show that does this. There are a LOT of holes in series 3 and 4, but my larger issue is the emotional fall-out thing and the dropped threads. (Why make such a big deal with the memory altering drug? Why was there a dog bowl that Sherlock recognised? What did that damned letter say??? What did Ella tell Sherlock to do for John? Because I bet it wasn’t “go to hell, Sherlock”, yet that’s the advice he chose to take. Why???) Yeah: we like to be shown these things. It’s not enough to explain it later in an interview or a panel at a conference. Put it right there in the canon as though you meant to all along. That’s what ticks my boxes, at least. 

Rambling aside. Back to the current fic. As you were! 

Summary:  Every person has two dates on their wrist. One is when they die and the other is when they find their soulmate. What happens if both dates are the same?

Warnings:  Angst galore but with a happy ending, I swear!  

Hope you guys enjoy, saw this prompt and I couldn’t NOT write the angst. Tbh, I kinda hate myself a little hahaha but it’s HEA, so don’t worry!

Jughead watches the city skyline from the fire escape stairs of his apartment, the smoke from his cigarette blending in with the scenery. He brings it to his mouth, taking a slow drag, enjoying the bitter taste it leaves on his tongue.

He catches sight of the numbers on his right wrist, not really needing to read them to know what they say.



Everyone on the age thirteen wakes up on their birthday with a brand new set of dates on their wrist, the first signaling the day you meet your soulmate and the second indicating the day you die. A little too dramatic and boring, in Jughead’s opinion, knowing when you meet your end definitely changed a person’s behavior… but he might be biased, bitter or both because on the morning of his thirteenth birthday he found out he would die the day he met his soulmate.

Funny, hilarious even. Of course, nothing in his life could ever be simple or easy. No, Jughead Jones and the easy way were complete strangers to each other. It wasn’t easy when his father got passed out drunk every day, it wasn’t easy when his mother had finally had enough, choosing to ran away with Jellybean… and it certainly hadn’t been easy when his father got locked up in jail for covering a murder.

So, when his thirteenth birthday came around, he was excited if not a little wary. Maybe something would turn out right for him. Jughead remembers with clarity the way his heart stopped inside his chest at the numbers, rubbing his eyes with the palm of his hands because his eyes must be seeing wrong, this had to be a mistake.

The lead weight right on his sternum had made it difficult to breathe as he let his wrist drift to the bed again. It made no noise but Jughead could still feel its phantom echoes on the now empty cavern of his heart.

The world simply didn’t want him to be happy, it seemed. Happy was uncharted. A town from which he’d been exiled, doomed to be forever wandering its edges but never really become a resident.

So, after days and weeks of brooding, Jughead decided to make something with the remaining years he had. He turned all his emotions onto his writing, the words being the only thing keeping him anchored to the real world. People came and went, but words remained a constant.

That’s how two years ago found him staring at his book, proudly sitting on the bookstore’s shelf next to other best-sellers. A genuine smile on his face, a flicker of happiness. Well, at least I’ve made a little mark in history.

His next breath comes out shaky against his will, he knew this day was coming, feeling like this was useless. He had everything ready, all the paperwork indicating that her sister would get everything he ever owned. Detailed instructions about how to proceed with his work were written on the draft of his next book series he had already written, furiously typing into his beaten up laptop, feeling the countdown on his wrist mocking him at every beat.

A part of the profits from his work would go to Fred and Archie Andrews. Jughead doesn’t really speak to Archie anymore, figuring it was best to just save him the trouble of dealing with a dead best friend at the age of 27 years old, but he would never forget how the Andrews gave him solace when he was so lost.

Jughead stays there, looking at the sleeping city that is so completely unaware of the tear that rolls down his face, his last goodbye, the last tear he would shed.

A part of him feels at peace because it all meant he wouldn’t feel hollow anymore, he would not have to wake up and go through the motions of it all, Jughead would just… finally rest. The struggle would be no more.

It’s funny, he thinks watching the sunrise, how much time one could spend talking or writing about it but usually not taking the time to actually witness it. The sky seems to be putting on a show just for him today, as if it’s bidding him goodbye, filled with deep purples, blues and the shade of yellow-orange the sun brings.

He spent a lot of time thinking about what he could do with this day. Considered not going out at all, or just wander through the city… but now that it is here, he’s not sure how to react to his impending destiny. Luckily for Jughead, the roar of his stomach makes the decision for him. He changes into his favorite clothes, a small comfort, but the beanie stays on the box meant for his sister.

The streets look the same. Logically, Jughead didn’t expect anything to change once he died, but he can still feel the resentment towards these clueless people that are just going to keep on living. He scoffs at the sudden bitterness of his thoughts.

He makes his way to this little cafe near his apartment, wanting the taste of their coffee and pancakes for at least one more time. Maybe even get a milkshake.

Jughead people-watches like he usually does as he waits for the traffic lights to turn red again. Thinking back on this moment he will later realize that if he hadn’t been people-watching, he might’ve not seen anything at all.

A little girl, big eyes and brown curly hair, is running. A big smile on her face, too lost in the innocence of the game to realize the light is still green and there’s a car approaching quickly.

“Caroline!” a woman shouts from the sidewalk, eyes wide in horror and the car keeps moving, honking.

If time had been passing slowly all day for Jughead, right now it feels as if it has finally stopped. He doesn’t understand exactly what is going on, but he feels himself sprinting across the street towards the girl before his mind can react. He reaches her, pushing her somewhat roughly out of the way, watching as the little girl falls backwards with a shocked expression, her mother screaming on the background.

Jughead had always been curious about how exactly he would die, if he was honest, and he can’t help but to think about how ironic it is that after knowing this day would come, it still catches him by surprise when the car slams into him.

His chest is on fire and he cannot breathe properly, flashes of faces come and go along the sounds of screaming and sirens. Jughead can barely distinguish words as his body is being pulled into an ambulance, or at least that’s what he thinks they’re doing.

The sound of doors closing and the bumps of the road that make him groan with every harsh movement, the wet sounds of his breathing in the small space. He vaguely notices he’s shivering even if he’s not cold, instead, he feels like he’s burning up from inside out.

Jughead hates the infinite struggle, he wishes he could just die and be done with it. He vaguely wonders why he never considered throwing himself off someplace high. Each difficult breath makes him want to scoff, remembering him of the character he wrote that gets hit by a car. If he has a chance to re-write it, he would because the agony is highly inaccurate to the simple pain he had inflicted. He should’ve George R. R. Martin the motherfucker.

The sudden movement of people lowering the stretcher to the ground, then forward, makes him cough and whimper a little at the pain that causes. In a haze, he’s able to open his eyes for a few seconds, the pristine white of the ceiling and its lights blinding, a flash of blonde hair that catches his attention before he’s unable to keep his eyes open anymore.

It feels like he just blinked but he’s under a blue ceiling now, the lights look closer and a constant beeping noise is making his head hurt badly. He distantly feels his body being moved from one stretcher to a firmer surface. His body feels numb, the wrong kind where you know you should be feeling something instead of nothingness.

His head moves to the side just before a person moves closer to him and even though her face is mostly covered by a surgical mask…

He knows.

Jughead would like to think that if he ever saw her without all the procedure stuff, he would still be captivated by her big green eyes. They’re filled with life in a way his never were. Shining upon him with an intensity that would leave him breathless if he wasn’t already struggling to breathe. 

Her hand finds his way to his forehead, pushing the matted hair back. 

“You’re going to be alright.” she says. 

Jughead closes his eyes for a second, making tears fall across his temples. Looking back at her, he thinks… I could see myself loving a person with such kind eyes. The thought makes a weird sob sound escape him as he internally curses every deity that participated in putting something so pure in front of him only to tear it away. Only to tear him away. 

He wants to tell her something, anything, but he’s too weak. He wants to tell her… 

I wish I had time to fall in love with you. 

I wish I could’ve seen your face just one time. 

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry you were destined to see your soulmate die but damn am I glad you’re here and that I won’t die alone. 

You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. 

You look like loving you would be the easiest thing to do. 

I wish we had more time. 

He thinks maybe his eyes must be telling her all these thoughts because she frowns and shakes her head a little. 

“No. You’ll be fine.” She tells him, voice firm, her eyes leave him to watch at the monitors next to him for a second. 

He smiles at her in reassurance, or at least he tries to. He wants to tell her it’s okay, he’s ready for this… he has to. 

Jughead manages to looks at her, fighting his heavy eyelids, for a few seconds more before darkness claims him. 

He doesn’t get to hear the sentencing long beeping sound.

Heaven is shit. 

At least that’s what he thinks, because his body hurts like never before and his brain feels like it’s about to burst out of his skull. Groaning, he tries to move but before he can get too far he feels two small hands on his shoulders, pushing back. 

“No, no, don’t get up.” 

His opens his eyes at the sound. There, looking down at him is the most beautiful human being he’s ever seen. Blonde hair, peach lips stretched into a small smile and the green eyes he remembers, full of emotions he can’t decipher. She looks like everything he could ever need. 

“Hi” she says, voice only above a whisper. He’s suddenly aware of the way her hand surrounds his at his side, the contact anchoring him. 

“Am I dead?” he asks, frowning in confusion, voice hoarse. If he could see her so clearly… maybe heaven wasn’t so bad. A sound between a laugh and a cry escapes her lips. 

“You…” She begins, but pauses, seemingly to gather strength. “Technically, you did die. Your heart stopped beating… twice. But we managed to bring you back. You’re still in intensive care for a while just to make sure everything is really okay. You have a few broken ribs, a punctured lung and a fracture on your left leg.” 

She says, matter-of-factly, as her eyes fill with tears. Jughead tightens his hand around her fingers a little, a spark of something flowing through their veins that makes her gasp. He’s alive and she’s here. It leaves him shocked, all he can do is follow her with his eyes as she fidgets a little, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. His fingers twitch with the desire to do the same. 

“You really scared me back there, Forsythe.” She tells him softly and he internally winces at the name. 

“Jughead.” He finally tells her. She tilts her head to the side in confusion. “People call me Jughead. Forsythe is my father.” he explains. 

The most gorgeous smile appears on her face, a little amused. God, she’s so beautiful… 

“Well, Jughead… nice to meet you. I’m Betty Cooper, I kinda saved your life.” She says and he can already feel the dopey grin paint his face.

Little did she know just how right she was.

Fictional Character Analysis: ENFJ

SUBMITTED by anonymous

When people think of the ENFJ, the first image that springs to mind is probably one of a charismatic world leader and revolutionary figure actively fighting for a better tomorrow. Not too shabby, but the trade off often being that they are seen as over dramatic and in some instances… fake. I like to think they are generally somewhere between these two exaggerated extremes. The stereotypical portrayal of a fictional ENFJ however seems to paint them in a good light, albeit sometimes in a very repetitive and restrictive manner, usually by making them this teacher on steroids who has unconventional methods and wants to make something out of their pupils as opposed to making sure they simply graduate. Think Dead Poets Society/Dangerous Minds etc.

Extroverted Feeling (Fe): The fictional ENFJ is 99% of the time the embodiment of a passionate leader. Very similar to its T counterpart except they act on the principle of “We’re all in this together” and subsequently often sacrifice themselves to make sure others prosper. Because they have big Ni aspirations, expect them to be leaders of a clan of warriors, politicians, but more humble ones, teachers in a rough neighborhood who … could probably be politicians under different circumstances. While Fe is often seen as this shallow “go with the crowd” function, luckily the ENFJ protagonist has the movie centered around them so we can see all their inner struggles and thoughts in what seems like a very Fi-ish display. Although it will always boomerang back to them being defenders of the people so no matter what personal issues they are going through, it will be resolved only when they get others in the direction they have set for them. That’s why you don’t get an ENFJ mentor/leader/teacher story arc where they find true love and happiness but the rest of their group is left in the dust. Not gonna happen. Other people’s happiness is just as important as the ENFJ’s and usually works in sync. 

Introverted Intuition (Ni): Of all the NJ types, none represent idealism more than the ENFJ. Yup, even more so than their introverted counterparts. Granted that’s probably because they are louder and work on a larger scale. In both fiction and real life, ENFJs appear dead set in leading society towards a better future to some varying degree, whether they are the next coming of Martin Luther King or simply that person nagging people to look out for their fellow men on Facebook status. A core difference with the ESFJ is that ENFJs seem to have no less than all of humanity in mind, whereas ESFJs are more about their daily people. The downside of this however is that in regards to my first point, the ENFJ will often appear too idealistic and thus, completely unrealistic. So both in real life and fiction they may appear as being way out there for the average person, to the point of coming off as delusional. Some fictional works tend to take advantage of this and paint them as underdogs who get beaten down the system for dreaming of something better but unrealistic. Although in some other cases, ENFJs can be more of the villainous nature, acting as charismatic cult leaders who pretend to care about everyone but actually have a very selfish goal in mind.

Extroverted Sensing (Se): Sometimes the ENFJ can appear needlessly over-dramatic and theatrical. A combination of Fe/Se will do this to ya sometimes. Just like the ESTP can often come off as the charming, but manipulative used car salesman (Se/Fe), the ENFJ can sometimes appear as the this over-the-top preacher/guru. But Se is a source of strength for both your fictional and real life ENFJs. It’s that function that reminds them that NOW is the time to make things happen. It’s also that function that allows them to deal with what’s happening out in the field where they put their inspiring speeches to actual use. In fiction, it also gives them their action-hero edge (see above GIF). 

Introverted Thinking (Ti): If it sometimes appear like ENFJs are a little too idealistic for their own good, well that could actually be Inferior Ti. Otherwise known as the “Yeah that’s nice and all but it doesn’t make any sense” function. Or at the very least, “But how are you going to make it happen?” function. We often see fictional ENFJs biting off way more than they can chew. Very rarely are they portrayed as dim-witted BUT yes, often their ideals leaps over how to logically get there. This is why fiction usually focuses on the ENFJ’s drive and tenacity instead of their intellectual/technical prowess. But also because it makes for better and more dramatic story telling. We all want to see the story of a teacher who tells kids to believe in themselves, not one who tells them the ins and outs of advanced calculus. 

Bates Motel series finale: Kerry Ehrin pens farewell to the show

And so goodbye…

There’s a beautiful monologue at the end of The Glass Menagerie where Tom, a young man with a crippled sister and an abusive mother, has left home because his mother is unwilling to change and he cannot help his sister in that environment. So he leaves and tries to live his life: He travels all over trying to forget his sister, trying to put her out of his mind…

“Laura, Laura, I tried so hard to leave you behind me but I am more faithful than I intended to be. I reach for a cigarette. I cross a street. I run to the movies or to a bar. I buy a drink. I speak to the nearest stranger. Anything that will blow your candles out. For nowadays the world is lit by lightning. Blow out your candles, Laura. And so goodbye.”

This is basically how I feel about Bates Motel. About the fictional inhabitants of White Pine Bay. About my Norma and Norman. I have no idea how I will escape them living in my head and in my heart. They are going to haunt me.

As the finale circles back to the pilot, I find myself circling back to the beginning of this whole journey. I remember walking to Carlton Cuse’s office on the Disney lot, wondering what in the hell I was doing working on a show about killing people. But I was excited to work with Carlton, of whom I had heard such good things, and it was a challenging opportunity but wholly new territory for me. I was scared. And I remember thinking about Norma and Norman and trying to get inside them as I walked up to that first day of work. I had some version of their hearts beating in me, even though I knew nothing about them yet. But I felt the presence of them, and there they were, already looking after me.

Writers are crazy.

Carlton and I went to work, and I soon found we were both on the same page, wanting to tell a real story of a real mother and son who loved each other but couldn’t overcome their own past and issues, valiantly though they would try. A love story told with humor and heart and heartache. (And may I take this moment to thank Carlton Cuse, my partner and dear friend, for everything he has given and that I have learned from him. Carlton, I loved creating this world with you.) Being with Norma and Norman on that journey, I fell in love with them. I spent the next six years with them. Like, full time, intimately, spent it with them. I know them as well as I know any real people in my life, and much better than some. I know what they would do or feel in any situation. I know them like the back of my hand. How do you say goodbye to people you know like the back of your hand?

Looking back, Norma was the most exciting character I have ever had a hand in bringing to life, made even more exciting by Vera Farmiga’s mind-blowing performance. Norma was a kind of every woman. She wanted love. She wanted to have value. She wanted to be left alone by men who didn’t treat her with the respect she deserved. She never wanted to lose her son who was this miracle human — and miraculously, a man — who loved her unconditionally. Who needed her as much as she needed him, who would never leave her. That need to not be abandoned was her weakness but also part of her vulnerable beauty and her ability to be so present with him. She appreciated him. She appreciated the love they shared because she had not experienced a lot of love in her life.

Norma was damaged, but she never wallowed in it. She rarely felt sorry for herself. She always put one foot in front of the other and kept going. She kicked ass when she had to. She kept trying to find happiness, find peace, take care of her son. Have value in a world that did not value her. And she did find it. And although it was cut short by her death, she did get to find her heart’s desire in her lifetime, which is something you cannot say for everyone, even some people who live to be 90.

I realize now that Norma was a conduit wherein I could quietly express my own insecurities and chart my own growth; as a writer and a showrunner, but mostly as a human being. So much of what I was experiencing taking on a job I had never done before wound up subconsciously threading itself into Norma’s story: a woman who didn’t know what she was doing taking on a new life, finding out it wasn’t what she expected, taking it by the balls regardless and giving it her all, come hell or high water. When Norma died, it felt like the Phoenix: like my old self was gone and a new, stronger and more confident self had emerged.

Like I said, writers are crazy.

Norman, also, has been one of the loves of my life and a joy to help create. Crazy Norman with his loving heart and his fragile brain. Never was there so much joy in any psycho, homicidal maniac. The happiness and true contentment he felt in his mother’s love always just melted me like a pat of butter on a hot pancake. Writing the scenes where he and Norma were in co-dependent bliss was true happiness for me. (I think the longing I have for connection, forged at an early age, will never be completely quelled. Being able to live inside Norma and Norman, when they were together and happy. was always a beautiful dream.)

I also loved Norman’s idiosyncrasies. His “oopsy daisy’s” and his “well I reckons.” (Freddie reveled in those and contributed most of them.) I loved Norman when his eyes were big like a puppy and his pupils would get all dilated, and I loved Norman when he was pissy and strident and really thought he had put someone in their place (but really hadn’t actually done it so very well: “The great thing about taxidermy is it goes with everything”). I loved Norman when he was happy and affectionate, and I loved Norman when he was lost and sad and I wanted to save him.

I always wanted to save him. And Norma. I always wanted to save them.

I loved Dylan with his wounded heart and his clarity and his selflessness. His beautiful love for his family that never really totally gave him back the love he deserved. He strove to see the truth in the dark. Even though it hurt him. Even though it knocked him down. He kept getting up. He kept going forward. He is a hero of truth in my opinion. And he is the success story of Bates because he dared to look at the truth, full on in the face. And that’s why he survived along with Emma — Emma the old soul, the truth-seeker, the beating and true heart under all the madness of the world she was in. Emma, the last person who should have outlived everyone else. And yet she did.

Getting to spend these years with Alex Romero was another joy. Watching him go from completely guarded tough guy to the most vulnerable open heart in the universe was an amazing experience. Being able to write a scene with him and Norma was always so exciting and fun because they always pressed all of each other’s buttons. Their hearts were trying, very, very carefully, to get out in the sun. And they finally did, for a short time.

It’s hard to say goodbye. But goodbye must be said to all the inhabitants of crazy White Pine Bay! The broken and heartbreaking Caleb who could never escape himself. The one man Comedia del Arte that is Chick Hogan. The sacrificial lamb, Bradley Martin. The enigmatic Miss Watson. The totally f—ed up Shelby. The hilariously evil Abernathy. The tragically fabulous Bob Paris. The only woman who could fill the Sheriff shoes left by Romero, Jane Greene.

I hear the clock ticking. Time is moving forward. Things have their time on this earth.

Time to wrap this up. And yet I can’t. I feel like Norman and Norma are sitting here with me, laughing as I try to. At the illusion that I can.

“Blow out your candles, Laura…”

Thank you for going on this ride with me. For being by my side. For never leaving me alone. There’s a bonfire burning in my heart and always will be.

Good luck blowing that f—er out, my friends.

And so, goodbye.

“The last time I was at my house”

“Side by side”

“Love how Tucker Gates framed this amazing shot. Damn I’m going to miss working with these old cars. The actors aren’t bad either.”

“On the set acting out Dylan’s blocking. Vera says I should get this Photoshopped so it looks like a portrait of me on the wall — haha.”

“Chilling in the living room with Freddie and J Paul, our on-set costumer and a lovely human being. Freddie’s okay too.”

“Backstage as Donna fixes dead Norma’s hair”

“Goodbye little kitchen”

“From Norma’s kitchen. A wish for you all.”

“Last day in the house”

“No comment. Just tears.”

“The last night the set existed before it disappeared like Brigadoon into the mist”

“The universe is a Fata Morgana. Life is a dream.”

“Watching this on the monitor and crying while Max kills it in all respects.”

“Tucker Gates, I will miss breathing down your neck at the monitor, haha. Thank you for your artistry, my friend.”

“My angels”

“What to do in between killing your brother and playing dead at the dining table.”

“An amazing day in the woods”

“Me and the Psycho”

“There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.” —Tennessee Williams

Because femslash is very important to me and I know how hard it can be to find good fics sometimes. So here you are, a list of awesome fics for some of my favourite Teen Wolf femslash ships.

Allison x Lydia

  • Fall Back Together | 1.2k | T | #future fic #college #love and support | “Lydia is waiting for her in the empty hallway outside of the lecture hall, leaning against a wall. She has one glove off and is examining her nails as she waits. When she sees Allison, she straightens and looks at her expectantly.”
  • Floo Me, Maybe | 2.5k | T | #harry potter au #quidditch player allison | “Allison dug her nails into her thighs under cover of the table’s lurid pink cloth. She could feel the fake, public smile on her face drawing down into a grimace with every question out of Skeeter’s mouth. She was about to blow her lid, and the last thing the Holyhead Harpies needed was another scandal.”
  • I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You | 2.7k | G | #pining #confessions #emotional cheerleaders stiles & derek | Allison sinks her face into the comforter and moans. “Why are you insisting I be the one to do this?”
  • I Think We Should Go on a Date First | 2.8k | E | #canon divergent #future fic #domestic fluff | It is always simple and easy, the question flows right off Lydia’s tongue, “Marry me?” And Allison’s response is always just as quick and easy, “I think we should go on a date first.”
  • One More Dance to Help Me Sleep | 2.4k | M | #future fic #canon divergent #bamf hunter allison | “Allison wakes up to a familiar figure seated in the chair beside her hospital bed. She thinks she might be dreaming because it’s been four long years. And if she is being honest with herself, it wouldn’t be the first time Lydia Martin has preoccupied her dreams.”
  • “Singles Will Be Paired” | 1.3k | G | #rollercoasters #supernatural known | “Don’t worry Lydia! The sign says ‘Singles will be paired’. You won’t have to sit by yourself and panic on your own!”
  • The Joys of Academia | 3.6k | E | #human au #college professors au #pwp | “Allison has been grading papers for the past five hours. She thinks it’s about time for a break.”
  • Winning the Breakup | 1.3k | T | #college au #fake dating | “You want me to be your fake girlfriend while you win the breakup with your asshole high school boyfriend?”
  • Your Mecha Love | 2k | E | #fake dating #first meetings #human au #pwp | “She’s kind of fascinated by the freckles on Lydia’s shoulder, and she shouldn’t be.”

Cora x Lydia

  • A Night of Fire and Noise | 4.3k | E | #post-apocalypse #future fic #werewolves known | “In December of 2012, the world ended just as predicted.”
  • Baby You’re Not Like the Rest | 4.5k | T | #canon divergent #friendship #jackson returns | Lydia showed up on Cora’s front porch on the first day of school in a burgundy skirt and a sweater the color of fresh cream, her high heels digging into the peeling paint as she waited in front of the screen door.  “Well?  Are you going to let me in?”
  • Friday Night | 900w | E | #future fic #pwp | “The mattress dips suddenly under new weight, and she turns her head towards it, smiling, eyes still closed." note: could also be laura/lydia
  • Handle Me | 4.4k | T | #3a #sparring #relationship beginnings | “I think I can handle a werewolf.” The words are said without thought. Maybe that’s why it sparks something inside Cora. It’s said so casually, almost sweetly, with that cherry lipped twisted smile.
  • Hot Cakes | 7k | E | #bakery au #flirting #"utter homosexual disaster” cora hale | “Cora was just starting to enjoy herself when the most perfect specimen of female beauty rolled right up to her till and stole every coherent thought that had ever existed in Cora’s head.”
  • I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums | 5.8k | E | #hogwarts au #non-linear | “An amused look settles onto Cora’s features as she studies the girl in front of her. She’s only slightly shorter than Cora and is wearing the green and silver typical of a serpent – if Cora had to guess, she’d say the girl was a year or two younger than she was.”
  • If you don’t know the way to hold me, let me show you | 3.1k | T | #3a canon divergent #bickering | “You should go out,” Derek says as he settles onto the bed next to her – as though he’s one to talk. He hasn’t left the apartment in days, either. “See some people.” “Right,” Cora says dully, closing her eyes again. “Because I have so many friends here.”
  • Incentives | 1.5k | E | #pwp #established relationship | “Are you seriously working on your Bio homework while I’m eating you out?” a flat voice asks. Lydia spares the source a glance, pursing her lips disapprovingly.
  • I’ve Got a Mad Little Crush On You | 2.7k | T | #human au #coffee shop au #barista cora #background stisaac | A few minutes later, when the coffee’s finally made, she hands it to Lydia and says, ‘Thank you for choosing Cup of Hale, feel free to try one of the chain brands across town next time.’
  • Keep My Heartbeat Spinning | 3.8k | E | #monster of the week #canon divergent #feelings | “Look, sweetheart,” Lydia says. “Anything Stiles Stilinski can do, I can do better and in heels. So if you’re done with your little temper tantrum, I’ve got ghosts to catch.”
  • Kiss My Friends | 5.5k | T | #canon divergent #dares #kissing #background sterek | “Fine. How about this? You can dare me to do anything–non-life threatening, of course. And in exchange, you’ll ask Derek on a date. Okay?”
  • Party Favor | 700w | G | #college parties #drinking | Lydia handed Cora a cup. “All our friends are drunk,” she said, lifting her own glass up. “I think it’s time we join them.”
  • (No) More of This | 1.4k | G | #freeform #verse snapshot #mild panic attack #lydia under protection detail | “Lydia looked like she wanted to say something, but was holding back. Cora waited, watching as she held three small bottles of nail polish in her cupped hand.”
  • November Pink | 3.5k | T | #thanksgiving #canon divergent #background sterek | “Cora can barely remember what it’s like to do the proper family thing - she moved around from pack to pack for the years she was "missing”, like an unwanted foster child, and she’s experienced Thanksgiving and Christmas with families, but they haven’t been her own family in a long long time.“
  • Smoke Clings | 1.2k | T | #hurt/comfort #drinking | ”Cora only goes to the party because she knows Braeden wanted some alone time with her brother. That, and Stiles showing up at the door demanding to know why she isn’t ready yet, Lydia was waiting, they were going to do predrinks, etcetera etcetera.“
  • Steady As She Goes | 1.7k | T | #canon divergent #attacked by hunters #first aid | “I’m not healing right,” Cora says, and she’s on Lydia’s doorstep wearing a blood-stained tank top and a white face, which has never happened before.
  • Tell Me More, Tell It All, Can You Take It | 14.k | | G #haunted house #ace cora | ”Here in the haunted house with its rubbery masks and cheesy music, it feels bizarrely safe.“
  • This Fucking Town | 4.4k | E | #kidnapping #temporary character death #feral sex #violence | ”Lydia was sitting in the front seat of her car, digging through the bottom of her purse for her keys, when the door was yanked open and a hand reached in, grabbing her by the hair at the nape of her neck and dragging her from the car.“
  • Under My Skin | 7k | T | #fake dating #3a-ish | ”Cora smells her coming before she sees her. That’s not a wolf super-sensory thing, either – Lydia reeks of Chanel No. 9, Gucci moisturizer, Bumble & Bumble hairspray and god knows what else.“
  • Unfold This First | 2k | E | #human au #camping | ”The wind had torn the rainfly clean off their tent, ripped the stakes from the ground, and blown them both straight across the campground. Now, their tent was keeping more rain in than it was keeping out, and Cora was going to kill Derek.“
  • Uppercut | 1.7k | T | #au #werewolves are known #cage fighting | "Cora Hale was a winner, and Lydia Martin only had winners on her roster.”

Malia x Kira

  • (at most) I’m sleeping all these demons away | 3.8k | T | #future fic #college #bisexual kira | “Kira is woken up on her twentieth birthday by screaming. It’s not happy screaming, or even sexy screaming. It is oh my god I’m going to die I didn’t leave Beacon Hills for this screaming.”
  • Coyote in Wolf’s Clothing | 1.2k | T | #halloween #dancing | “She tilts her head at herself in the mirror, smiling at the floppy-eared hat that’s held in place by fuzzy straps that velcro under her chin. Bulky gloves make her hands clumsy and half-useless, but they’re soft, and they have fake claws on the fingertips, and she sorta loves them anyway.”
  • Delayed Gratification | 2.3k | E | #future fic #public sex | “She doesn’t rush things, she takes her time, sometimes draws things out until Kira could just scream. It’s just that most of the time, when Malia wants sex, she has a very, very hard time waiting until they are in a venue more suited to the task.”
  • Food or Friend? | 3.2k | T | #beginning of season 4 #sorting out feelings #gym class | “Kira is left wondering if this means they’re friends now and whether or not she can count on Malia not to devour her wounded carcass during a tough winter.”
  • Forty-Six. | 2k | T | #zombie apocalypse #assumed character death #happy ending | “Three minutes is all it takes. Mere seconds after Kira presses a kiss to her temple, Malia is running for her life through darkened hallways.”
  • I Want You (Do You? Want Me Too?) | 5k | E | #human au #childhood friends #confessions #first time | “Kira was finding it hard not to stare. It had been a year (okay, well, just short of eleven months, but close enough) since she’d seen her best friend.”
  • Snowball Strategems | 1.1k | T | #snowball fight #fluff | “Malia looked out of the window in wonder. The entire world was white and fluffy. It had snowed all night and a thick layer covered everything.”
  • Sweet Normalcy | 1.4k | G | #future fic #pure fluff | “It was probably bad, how passionately she loved Kira, how dependent she was on the other woman, but fuck it.”
  • The Best Use of Company Property | 6.8k | E | #office au #tech support kira #porn with plot | ‘Tech support, can I help?’ ‘How do I make italics happen?’ Kira blinked, unsure if she’d heard properly. ‘Um, excuse me?’
  • The Coyote and the Fox | 6.6k | E | #human au #sexiled #background sterek | “Okay, usually I can eat one of these all by myself. But… I kind of accidentally didn’t wait for the delivery? I may or may not have already eaten a bag or two of doritos and a whole thing of oreos,” she said, pursing her lips and looking around innocently. “So, I’m pretty sure at least half of this pizza is going to be uneaten. Unless, of course, you’d like to join me?”

Malia x Lydia

  • Best Friends or Distractions | 3.9k | T | #post 3b/pre 4 #becoming pack | “I don’t need a new best friend,” Lydia says clearly and loudly.
  • Credibility Credentials | 2.9k | E | #canon divergent #fake dating #during season 4 | “They’re fake-dating. For the good of the pack. It isn’t complicated. Lydia won’t let it be.”
  • Distractions | 1.2k | G | #locked up in a canadian prison #feelings | “Nobody fills absolute quiet with rage and accusation like Lydia, Malia thinks and wrings her hands. The shackles binding them clank, a sound that echoes in the otherwise quiet cell.”
  • Ghost of a Smile | 1.9k | M | #post 3b #hurt/comfort #first time | “She’s walking down the stairs with the crazy-eyed coach when she scents her. The one who smells like tears and expensive soap and most of all like girl. She’s intoxicating.”
  • Falling Ash | 4.3k | T | #secret agents #undercover #gun violence | She’s never been paired with another agent before. She supposes it’s to be expected given the importance of this op, even considering Lydia’s impressive track record over the past three years.

Allison x Kira

  • A Little Late-Night Tutoring | 6k | E | #hogwarts au #tutor!allison #smut | “You just need practice. Right?” It was a question, but it didn’t sound like one. One of her arms slung over Kira’s increasingly hunched shoulders. “I think I can help you with that.”
  • First Words | 1.8k | G | #soulmate au #first meeting | “They say that at least a quarter of people with soulmate tattoos have some variation of “HOLY SHIT” or “OH MY GOD IT’S YOU” etched into their skin. It makes sense, really.”
  • Luminescence | 10.7k | T | #college au #roommates #supernatural known | “It’s nice to just wander around without purpose. It’s also nice to have a friend to do that with, she thinks, turning to look at Allison, who is taking selfies with campus statues.”
  • Remember The Way That We Were | 2.2k | T | #future fic #amnesia #ace kira | Allison blinks back tears, feeling them sting at the back of her eyes, and says, “Do the doctors think she’ll get the memories back?”
  • Target Practice | 1k | T | #archery #kissing | “No, no, like this.” Allison nudges Kira’s heel with her toe from where she stands behind her, forcing the other girl’s foot forward half a step, and Kira lets her, feels herself settle into the new stance as she readjusts her grip on Allison’s bow.

Allison x Erica

  • Of the Shades | 2.3k | M | #greek mythology freeform #angst #one-sided kate/allison #hurt/comfort | “The aftermath of violent death is so much more complicated, and more closely tied to ancient mythology, than Allison would ever have believed in life. The supernatural world’s need for balance, however, seems to remain the same.”

Kira x Lydia

  • On Me | 1.2k | G | #ice cream shop au #cuteness | “Lydia likes to tell people Kira was standing on a chair, holding the mop like a microphone when she walked in, but Kira will deny that to the day she dies.”

Allison x Cora x Lydia

This is the part where I’m a self-serving asshole and add my own fics to the list (only the good-ish ones though promise)

  • Coming Home | Cora/Lydia | 5.5k | T | #canon divergent #post 3b, pre 4 #hurt/comfort | “What is that, a banner? Having you been watching Martha Stewart? Please don’t tell me there’s handmade doilies laying around too. Wait, are there people coming over for this?”
  • “Why is this my life?” | Cora/Lydia | 900w | M | #human au #crack-y #also sterek | “I can’t believe you’re having sex on school grounds! In a closet! With a student!” she cried, whapping her brother on the arm. He rubbed the spot where she’d hit him but at least had the decency to look chagrined.
  • You Owe Me | Cora/Lydia | 1.2k | T | #fake dating #feelings | “I am not going to pretend to date you!” Cora hissed. Lydia narrowed her eyes at her. “I said get over here and be my girlfriend for five minutes.”
  • The Third Floor Bathroom | Malia/Kira | 1.3k | T | #college au #roommates | “What if she doesn’t like me?” Kira asked, tugging her suitcase down the hall, phone pressed against her ear. She was almost done moving everything into her new dorm room.
    “Don’t be ridiculous,” Lydia said. “Everyone likes you.”
  • With the Band | Malia/Kira | 3k | T | #punk au #band au #drinking/smoking | The band was led by  a fiery redhead who was half screaming and half singing, sometimes bouncing around to share the mic with a pretty brunette playing the guitar. And at the back of the stage was another girl beating on the drums like some kind of wild animal, her hair flying around her as sweat dripped down her face.

ARTICLE: NME, 16th May 2009 - Richey’s Final Mystery 

Unedited version from NME Blog

You’ve said that the time just felt right to use the lyrics that Richey left behind. What in particular had changed?

James Dean Bradfield: For me, personally, I suppose it was the fear of having to make music that could live up to the lyrics. There were lots of other factors, but it did start like, that there was a factor of ‘Would it be tactless to even 10 years after…?’. It just needed to feel as if the distance between the event of Richey’s disappearance and us coming to an understanding of the lyrics, it needed just to be a long time, really. You just gotta let the dust settle in a very natural way, and you can’t take a guess when that’s gonna happen. But I think the overriding responsibility was actually being able to make music that lived up to the lyrics.

Nicky Wire: I think ‘Send Away The Tigers’ was a huge help. I think if we hadn’t come back and had that success and reaffirmed ourselves as just a glorious rock band… we’re not saying it’s the most inventive, far-reaching album we ever made, but it just made us feel young again and it got us back into the consciousness of whatever it is, the NME, the radio, just all those things. If we’d done this album after ‘Lifeblood’, I think people would have said, ‘Oh, they’re just trying to resurrect their career’. But the fact is we’d resurrected our career with ‘Send Away The Tigers’. We were just in the back of a car, and James just said, ‘I think it’s time’, you know… kind of side-stepping the treadmill, to do something as an art project rather than putting us under the pressure of coming up with another gigantic hit.

JDB: I prefer the fear of pure creativity to the fear of knocking out another Number Two single.

NW: As you do! And I think the Godlike Genius award, although we’d decided before then, that did reaffirm, that did feel like it was for the four of us. It didn’t feel like there was three of us on the stage. It really did feel like that summation of our career, that gigantic part of our career, that perfect symmetry was with Richey.

JDB: I’m not saying the record company or our manager, Martin, were against the idea, but I’m sure in the back of their minds…

NW: They were worried.

JDB: …In the back of their minds they’d have rather we tried to follow up ‘Send Away The Tigers’ and particularly ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’. So we didn’t take the easiest option.

NW: (jokingly) They were like, ‘Can’t you get a blonde Swedish singer to something over the top?’… (both laugh) But when we looked at the lyrics, it was just the brilliance of the lyrics, I’d forgotten how much I missed him as a lyricist, how much of a fan I am of his intellect, and his fierce, kind of, rigorous critique of culture, and all those things made me realise I could never do what he did, and it’d be wrong for me to even try.

JDB:And finally, I do think it gave us all a chance to almost sort of act the same role in the band. Nick wrote the music to ‘Marlon JD’, half of ‘She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach’, half of ‘Peeled Apples’, and all of ‘William’s Last Words’. And it gave us chance to actually just all be, in a strange way, musicians. Just musicians interpreting somebody else’s words, even if it was somebody that we were incredibly close to and we knew very well.

When you talk about writing music to live up to the lyrics, how much did you keep it in your mind, like, ‘what would Richey have thought of this particular sound’? Or was it more living up to the lyrics in your own estimation?

NW: I think it was living up to them for ourselves. Because in all honesty, when we did ‘The Holy Bible’, James was the musical tour de force, it’s not like Richey was like, ‘Can you make this one sound like Magazine, or this one sound like Siouxsie And The Banshees?’, it never worked like that. He never came, well he did… something like ‘Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky’ which he heard before he disappeared, he absolutely loved the track. He obviously loved stuff like ‘Of Walking Abortion’, ‘Mausoleum’, ‘Faster’. I think there is elements of that on there. But it doesn’t matter, that’s not our driving force, it’s just that the lyrics had to… they dictated the mood, I think, of the record. And they’re slightly different to 'The Holy Bible’. The lyrics are much less full of utter hatred and putrefaction of the human race. And there is a surreal sense of humour in some of them as well.

A lot of the anger of 'The Holy Bible’ was quite positive, in a way, quite purgative. But some of the lyrics on 'Journal For Plague Lovers’ feel… not exactly defeated, but there’s a more sort of closed…

JDB: Serene and resigned.


NW: ’Yeah, I think there is a sense of more calm. It’s like, he’s been through this process of doubting everything and questioning everything. And the conclusions he reached, they’re not particularly happy. But it does seem like he’s reached them, he’s been through the process. There’s less railing against the world. There’s less chance of solving a problem, there’s more chance of recognising what it is, and accepting it, after this really rigorous process of ingesting everything. But then, he’s not around, so we can’t say for sure.

When you came to interpret the lyrics, in the way they were written down, when you were editing, were there any sort of ambiguities of grammar, or moments where you though, I’m not sure, by editing this, that you might change the meaning?

NW: For me the only one really was ‘William’s Last Words’, because that is probably two pages of A4, and it was obviously condensed into a very short lyric. And when you hear it now, it obviously sounds very autobiographical, and very sad and like some kind of goodbye. The original does seem to be about a character, Richey was fascinated with the film The Entertainer with Laurence Olivier, Archie, you know, the sad music hall kind of thing. There’s obviously huge analogies when you’re reading it, because it does seem to relate to him. But to edit that down… All the rest were pretty much lyrics, weren’t they?

JDB: Yeah, 'William’s Last Words’ and 'Bag Lady’ were the only two written as pure prose.

NW: But you know, Richey was a master of the lyric and he treated it as his art form. ‘William’s Last Words’, perhaps, maybe that could have been the next step that he was going for.

JDB: Along those lines, I think the only thing that was confusing was say in a song like ‘Me And Stephen Hawking’, or what’s another one, perhaps ‘Peeled Apples’, there are some verses where the intent or meaning behind the words were actually… I couldn’t unlock it. I couldn’t understand it at all. And that might be a bit shocking, because there might appear to be some lyrics on the record already which are quite hard to understand. But there were some stuff which actually seemed like the key had just been chucked away to the meaning of them.

NW: For the first time ever, it’s just not worth a debate about a lot of these words, because I just don’t… because we weren’t in that state of mind. I just wasn’t reading that much! You know, he was reading fucking six books a week! He couldn’t sleep, he had bad, really terrible insomnia, post-treatment. He just seemed like he had an utter inability to switch off, so that everything was coming out in these words. You’d need to do quite a lot of research just to spot the references.

JDB: I would think I was being intelligent just by reading a novel that none of my friends had read before, but sometimes he was just, reading like the teachings of the eighth pope. Or something that was beyond my grasp.

NW: So I don’t think we’ve changed the meanings of any of the songs, I think we’ve done a really sensitive job, and some of them only a couple of lines have gone anyway. ‘Jackie Collins…’, ‘Virginia State Epileptic Colony’ I think are pretty much exactly verbatim. So… it’s not that much different to what he always did. You know, he’s always handed us lyrics. I mean when James first saw ‘Yes’, I mean that was almost like a piece of prose in some ways, wasn’t it?

JDB: Yeah, in the past, you know, just because he would hand you some lyrics that it actually seemed it might be impossible to put music to them, didn’t mean that they weren’t written as lyrics.

NW: (cackles at length) Or that’s what you thought!

JDB: (chuckles) So that kind of process hadn’t changed.

NW: He wasn’t looking for an Ivor Novello, was he, the boy. He was looking for a Pulitzer Prize.

JDB: And strangely, I’ve never thought about it, but he was never looking to be compared to any other lyricist.

NW: No, he wasn’t, no. He just wanted to be JG Ballard.

Did you find the individual nature of his lyrics pushed your songwriting around them in a certain direction, that maybe it hadn’t been for a while?

NW: Oh definitely, James might be too humble to say this, but he definitely touches places that I can’t. And therefore, it does push James to write music in a different way. Because it’d be embarrassing if I tried to do that, you know. Became all jagged! And angular! And compounded by so many references… it’d be embarrassing if I tried to be him. But it does push you in other ways.

JDB: Yeah no, I think subconsciously we put some songs together on the record, I mean like ‘All Is Vanity’ leads into ‘Pretension/Repulsion’. And ‘All Is Vanity’ is quite self-explanatory what that deals with… that deals with just hating those momentary lapses of just falling into narcissism and then realising perhaps that even the appreciation of yourself is just useless. And then that leads into ‘Pretension/Repulsion’, which mentions Odalisque by Ingres, which talks about the idealisation of beauty, or what is ugliness. I love the way that ‘All Is Vanity’ deals with one issue and ‘Pretension/Repulsion’ seems to resolve it for me. In a strange, kind of twisted way. ‘Pretension/Repulsion’ could pretty much be another song that just said ‘I have no judgement in my eye, I cannot behold anything’.

NW: It’s one of the greatest rock couplets ever: “Shards, oh shards, the androgyny fails/Oadlisque by Ingres, extra bones for sale”. That’s never gonna appear by anyone else. It shouldn’t work, but it does.

JDB: It makes me think in a different way, but… I’m not just trying to boast round Nick, but on ‘Send Away The Tigers’ I’m just used to dealing with lyrics that people don’t have to sing, you know. The first lines of ‘Send Away The Tigers’ are “There’s no hope in the colonies/So catch yourself a lifeline/Things have gone wrong too many times/So catch yourself a slow boat to China”. You know, it’s not like I’m not used to having to pay attention to the words when I sing them. If I wasn’t used to it by now I would just be an absolute dummkopf.

So, how much do these 13 tracks represent of the whole of the notebooks that Richey left you?

NW:The original one was an old kind of Ryman’s ring-bound one that contains artwork and photos and tracts from various writers, and I’d say, I can’t quite remember but it might be 28 or 30…

JDB: 28 feels right.

NW: Something like that. And included in them are ‘Elvis Impersonator…’, ‘Kevin Carter’, ‘Removables’, which he heard, (and) ‘Small Black Flowers…’ and we demoed a couple of them and James played acoustic to them, literally the week before he disappeared. So there’s probably between eight and 10 maybe that were too impossible. Some of them are little haikus, four lines. ‘Dolphin-Friendly Tuna Wars’, that’s one, ‘Alien Orders/Invisible Armies’, that’s one. ‘Young Men’, which is quite Joy Division-y. It’s not like, um, they just didn’t feel right. We’ll probably put them all out in a book one day. There’s not gonna be a ‘Journal For Plague Lovers Two’. The special version of the record does come with the original version of the tracks on there. So you can see the editing process, if there is any.

JDB: But the thing is I do think we used the best of the lyrics?

NW: I think so, yes.

Is it true the Japanese version of the album has two extra tracks on it?

NW: No, there’s just a cover of ‘Primitive Painters’ by Felt and an instrumental, ‘Alien Orders/Invisible Armies’. So we used the title of that one, but it’s just an instrumental. Because it felt like a good title.

So, if we could go through the songs track-by-track… Starting with ‘Peeled Apples’

NW: “It starts with an audio clip from The Machinist. If there was ever a film made of us, Christian Bale is the one person who could play Richey. Maybe Michael Sheen. Both Welsh. Both mental. No, I mean, I just think the script, obviously Richey never saw The Machinist, but I just think it sets the tone.

You were talking about the lyrics being a bit inscrutable. I’ve thought and thought until I nearly broke my head, but I can’t figure out what that line “The figure eight inside out is infinity” might mean.

NW: I know how you feel…

JDB: It stands for the Scalextric of his mind. Racing around, and sometimes crashing, and getting back on…

NW: But he did always go on about, if you remember, he was obsessed with the perfect circle and Van Gogh’s figure eight and all that. It was a kind of recurring theme that he never seemed to get to grips with.

JDB: Drawing the perfect circle’s meant to be the test that has sent many an artist into insanity.

NW: But I don’t know whether we relate it to that either. It might just be like James said, the internal maelstrom. I mean, that first line “The more I see, the less I scream”, that just sums up… I mean, this was a long time ago, this was before media saturation, but even then, you know, I think he was feeling, like, ‘I’ve seen it all’.

JDB:And also, you know, I think a lot of people use Chomsky as a benchmark of their political knowledge or thought these days, and Richey seems to takes the piss out of that with Chomsky’s Camelot and riderless horses…

NW: It goes back to like ‘Faster’, “I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer/I spat out Plath and Pinter”. I love the kind of insane ambition of his intellect.

You’d never have anyone else writing a line like that.

NW:No, you wouldn’t. “A dwarf takes his cockerel out of the cockfight” – that was a hard one to sing, wasn’t it?

JDB: “The naked lightbulb is always wrong"… there are so many lines there that just kind of set your imagination off. Is that kind of taking the piss out of almost… picturesque existentialism? That’s the kind of things it brings up in your head. And then there’s more literal stuff like "falcons attack the pigeons in the West Wing at night”. I think if you sing the song along it does come together in your head as a sort of tableau of bizarrist imagery, if that makes sense.

NW: For one thing, I think Richey never did anything to show, this is the mind of a man, a 27-year-old at his creative peak. He was just saying what he thinks, it’s not like, I’ve read this or I’ve seen that. It really wasn’t about that – he just took it to heart. He had more desire and more uncontrolled desire, to be an artist. We’d never say something like that, you know, it’s not in the Manics canon to say ‘we’re artists’. It just usually means you make fucking terrible records. But I think he was, he was, y’know. He wouldn’t have said it himself, but that’s what he’d become.

There are lots of echoes to other songs… that line “The Levi Jean is always stronger than the Uzi”, that’s just brilliant.

NW: That could have been on ‘Generation Terrorists’.

Yeah, it reminded me of that line from ‘Born To End’, “Europe freed by McDonald and Levi’s”

NW:Yeah, and kind of one of our – it used to be our most embarrassing song ever – but ‘Natwest Barclays Midlands Lloyds’, became the most prophetic. That line “black horse apocalypse, death sanitised through credit”, which he wrote.

JDB: Ain’t so funny now, huh?!

NW: Yeah! And we were embarrassed when we used to play that sometimes. But, uh, there you go… I think musically it’s the nearest to why we got Steve Albini in, it has that ‘In Utero’ power. The drums are massive, menacing, it’s got the ‘Archives Of Pain’ kind of bass… it sets the tone. That and ‘All Is Vanity’ are probably the two most ‘Holy Bible’ kind of tracks. That and ‘All Is Vanity’ are probably the two most ‘Holy Bible’-ish songs.

That and ‘Bag Lady’.

NW: It is, and that’s why [it’s a secret track]. We thought it was too grim, musically. And also we wanted 13 tracks like ‘The Holy Bible’ and we wanted a secret track like ‘In Utero’. Just a petty rock’n’roll thing.

JDB: ‘Bag Lady’ was the only sound that we actually worried about from a listener’s perception of what we were trying to do. Because that is the song that just came straight away from the lyric.

NW: It’s just got the most miserable chord ever.

JDB: I mean, we just felt even though that was what came out, we just felt it didn’t suit. For people like us to come out with music like that, it was just a little, mmm…

NW: I guess that we felt maybe we were being a little bit contrived musically.

JDB: But it was at the end of the record, so we were losing our perspective at that point.

How was working with Steve Albini?

JDB: Loved it, because it was probably different to anybody else we’ve worked with, and that was the main reason we did it. We wanted somebody that was gonna… we originated trying to achieve some sort of purity, because we were working with lyrical restrictions, and we needed to embrace that, and we needed someone else that wouldn’t give us limitless possibilities as to what we could turn the song into. So we knew that he works in one take, and that he doesn’t do many takes, and that he wasn’t gonna stroke our egos and say ‘yeah, it sounds great’, we knew none of that was gonna happen. There’s an aspect there on some of the records he’s produced which we just knew might fit these lyrics. I do remember us talking about working with Steve Albini when Richey was around.

NW: ‘In Utero’ that year, and ‘The Holy Bible’… to be honest, it matched the rawness of the lyrics, that unbridled honesty. And it is a pre-digital album. Richey wrote it on a typewriter, he never had a computer. An Olivetti portable typewriter, which wasn’t portable at all, it was fucking huge, he carried it away with him everywhere. And it sounds analogue, it’s something of a time capsule I guess. And we just wanted to follow through on that. And it took a lot of our safety nets away. If you phone Steve Albini up today, he’s not going to be like ‘Wow, what a great experience, working with the Manic Street Preachers’. He might say he liked a couple of the tracks. But we didn’t want that, we didn’t want a producer saying how great we were.

JDB: We just loved the tell-tale signs about what kind of person he was.

NW: He wore overalls to the studio.

JDB… with a big E on it, some pencils, never had breakfast, never had lunch. Never on the phone, which is unbelievable for producers. They’re always on the phone going ‘Oh my god, Elvis Presley, I’d love to work with him’. And when he did settle down in coffee breaks, to watch MTV or NME TV, with Nick, I’d walk in the room and it’d be like listening to two vipers.

NW: He’s the only person I’ve ever met who’s got more spite than me, but in a very funny way.

JDB: There’s just a really good work ethic there, it’s a really good old-fashioned application of recording science. But not overdone, he just really loved microphones, and he just got the balance right. And at the end of the project, we couldn’t quite finish it, and so we just went and did a couple of tracks without him, and he sent us over a big package of Studs Terkel books, which kind of says it all really. He’s still very engaged in what you call social realist politics. Bit of the soup-kitchen vibe sometimes. He believes in the grassroots application of just being a political person rather than supporting parties.

You recorded 'Journal For Plague Years’ with Steve Albini. Was that partly because Richey loved Nirvana’s 'In Utero’ [which Albini also produced]?

Nicky Wire: There was an element of that, yeah, but it’s the whole thing of making a pre-digital album, like there’s no singles. It’s a tribute to Richey, it’s also a tribute to the idea of an album. That this is a piece of work that you can’t take a track here and think this is representative, this feels like a body of work. And Steve reflects a lot of those principles, and a lot of those ethics as well. He does records like he does because a lot of his favourite records were made that way. That’s his thing. He hates the digital drama of modern music.

James Dean Bradfield: [Impersonating Steve Albini] The digital squuaaaall!

NW: The digital squuuuuuuuaaallll…

So, ‘Jackie Collins Existential Question Time’. Best song title ever

NW: It is a good title, isn’t it? The weirdest thing is, I think, lyrics aside, a lot of it is very sweet and very pop. If we’d done it in a different lifetime with different words, who knows, it could have been a gigantic hit single. I love the way it draws you in with the softness and everything and then that last minute of rasping… pure hatred and anger kind of… spoils it all.

It’s a brilliant track. I keep singing the refrain ‘Oh Mummy what’s a sex pistol’ at bus stops and freaking people out.

NW: That is a brilliant sound. It actually sounds like a festival chant to me, I can see it… through the crowd, call and response.

JDB: [Shaking head] bizarre.

NW: But we didn’t, right from the start James said, we’re just not gonna try and write a single. We’re just not. Which, you know, after the success of the last record was a pretty bizarre thing to do, it did scare people close to us. But it just felt like the only option. Richey’s not writing these lyrics to get a hit.

That line comes from an actual Sex Pistols poster or flyer, right?

NW: A lot of people wore badges, you see it a lot in photos, and it’s just got ‘mummy, what’s a sex pistol’ on it. It’s just a sort of cultural reference point, I don’t know if it’s any more loaded than that. The song, I find, is pretty impenetrable, I don’t know if Jackie Collins was ever on 'Question Time’, having a bit of a Will Young moment, you know.… I have a feeling, the last bit, ‘situationist sisterhood of Jackie and Joan’. All I can think of is I seem to remember once maybe Jackie and Joan were on at the same time. And it was a bit like the Hitchens brothers but total opposite to each other… maybe 'Question Time’ or something like that. Maybe Russell Harty. I don’t know, James might have a better handle on the lyrics.

JDB: No, I just think that was the one song… I just got drawn into it when I saw it as a lyric. Most of the songs I’ve got a definite idea about what I think they’re about, or there’s a grey area, but I mainly know what they’re about. But that’s the only one where I’m very, very uncertain.

NW: Maybe you know!

The furthest I got was it being something about the breakdown of the possibility of relationships or romantic love. Jackie Collins’ novels, Jackie and Joan being a sort of Situationist sisterhood, turning normal ideas of love on their head?

NW: That’s good.

JDB: Better than either of our ideas!

It’s so tantalising, because it seems to be so loaded with meaning, and you wish you could just… get at it.

NW: I can hear it in my head sometimes, when we’re doing these interviews, his slightly nasal Welsh drone after he’s been talking all day and he’s still had this immense love to talk, and talk. He loved the challenge of doing interviews, he loved… well, he didn’t exactly love journalists, but he just thought it was a chance to get your point across. Even if they hated you, he’d never kind of back down. I can almost hear his chat.

JDB: Even the 4-Real incident, he still kept talking! Which is not something I want to regurgitate or anything, but it’s pretty remarkable.

I feel a bit like I’m in an English Lit seminar. And probably failing.

NW: Yeah (laughs). And we were listening to a lot of Pere Ubu and Skids, and even a lot of Pixies in it musically.

[This next paragraph was from a follow-up phone interview]

Reading through what we said about ‘Jackie Collins’, the mention of Sex Pistols and Situationism in the same lyric suggested the influence of Greil Marcus’ 'Lipstick Traces’, namesake of your rarities compilation. Joan Collins acted in the film adaption of Jackie Collins’ novel 'The Stud’. Maybe the lyric somehow views those films/novels as subversions of traditional romantic love, in the same way that the refrain ‘Oh mummy what’s a Sex Pistol’ line suggests subversion of innocence?

NW: Greil Marcus was a massive influence on all of us… it does seem to make some sense. The way everything seems to be connected – you could definitely be on a goer. And Jon Savage’s ‘England’s Dreaming’… 'Lipstick Traces’ was much more than just a book on music, I could definitely see that, the same idea of recurrence.

Did most of the songs suggest musical ways to present them straight away, or did some of them take longer than others?

JDB: Yeah, stuff like ‘Me And Stephen Hawking’ they felt like slightly overblown haikus, the verses, they’re kind of economic. They have the stabs, and the stops, and then they’re punctuated by something Steve Albini called the ‘Itchycoo Park’ section. And it just felt like ‘Me And Stephen Hawking’, 'Oh we laughed/We missed the sex revolution, when we failed the physical’. It was obvious that we couldn’t be going [hums ‘Ifwhiteamerica’-style crunching riff] nnn-nnn-NNN-NNN. There had to be some kind of bathos or humour in there. That line itself made me realise that the song had to be punctuated with like, mini surprises.

And then something like ‘This Joke Sport Severed’ is I think just beautiful, a really beautiful lyric about something which is probably quite sad and resigned. And I just wanted the first half of the song to be beautiful. I didn’t want things to have to be reminiscent of the riff on ‘Mausoleum’, or ‘Ifwhiteamerica…’ or ‘Of Walking Abortion’, because the words just weren’t saying that to you. It was an absolutely beautiful little lyric, ‘This Joke Sport Severed’ The ability for him to turn that kind of inner turmoil into something which is beautiful, is something you just gotta admire in him.

NW: I think with ‘Stephen Hawking’ as well, people will say, oh, well this seems like some kind of dated reference, but I think you’ve got to remember that this is two or three years before Radiohead even started to do the Stephen Hawking stuff… It’s kind of unavoidable that some of the references are of that time.

‘Me And Stephen Hawking’. As well as the obvious concern with genetic modification in the first verse, it seems like he might be trying to refer perhaps to the way those technologies are marketed in developing countries, or the way we view their struggles.

NW: I know what you mean by that, and then there’s the mad thing of Giant Haystacks, who was obviously a famous wrestler in our time. He was the bad guy to Big Daddy and this was really… ITV on a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t WWF. I’d love to know if Giant Haystacks fought in a Bombay fight and was watched by 100,000 people. Because if that’s true… no, I don’t know what the fuck it’s about. Cos then, like you said the genetic stuff, the scientific angle, seems to… I don’t know, it’s just that amazing mixture, Richey was never afraid of really low art and really high art. And that’s why it’s never elitist really, it’s just knowledge, it’s just taking something from everything.

JDB: And I also feel that it’s a precursor to how other worlds, even then in Richey’s imagination it was all becoming interconnected, and everything was having a knock-on domino effect in world culture itself. If that’s what he’s trying to say in the lyric, then he couldn’t have been more right.

NW: And the Tracey the sheep thing, every month there’s another cloning story that’s really similar to that reference. But feel free to write your own ideas on this, seriously, in the piece, because it’s nice to have a different perspective on stuff.

It’s hard at first to see how the two verses relate to each other. They could be from two different songs covering two totally different topics. And then you try and think of ways that you could join them up.

JDB: Seriously, you haven’t seen the rest. Seriously, you wouldn’t fucking believe them.

NW: I love the fact, that, looking at that, you would never think it could be sung. But I don’t think James ever sounds that awkward singing them. He’s got a technique.

JDB: It’s just enjoyable, really at the end of the day. I mean, you can overblow all that… ‘Culture sucks down words/Itemise loathing and feed yourself smiles’… it’s always the fucking same.

NW: ‘Motorcycle…’ is particularly awkward, actually, yes.

I’m sure this has been said to you a million times, but it does sound particularly attention-grabbing, as well, that the lyrics are so staccato and unusually phrased.

NW: I think the difference is, that deep in my heart, probably, I know I could never write lyrics like this, or I could never write lyrics this good. I’m completely humbled by him as a lyricist. That’s just a fact. Having said that, he probably couldn’t have written ‘A Design For Life’ . It probably would have just turned into something so complicated… and it’s very minimalist, lyrically, ‘Design For Life’. So it’s a weird dichotomy.

JDB: ‘Lowry, Hughes, working classes, matchstick man, I am Superman!’

NW: Yeah, yeah…

JDB: That just came off the top of my head, sorry. Richey’s version of ‘A Design For Life’.

NW: It definitely would have been… not that it would have caused conflict, but maybe we would have just gravitated to writing separately. But in a good way.

Where is the audio sample on this from?

NW: It’s from a film called 'The Sun’, about the Emperor Hirohito. We just felt it fitted. The actual translation is just ‘turn the radio up, turn the radio up’.

‘This Joke Sport Severed’: I was surprised that you gave this such a musically gentle treatment, considering the bleakness of it.

JDB: Well ‘severed’, yeah, the word ‘severed’, it’s one of those words that when you see it, it just describes exactly what it is. But the song it is… it did feel like a dead flower to me, because it’s got the possibility of just giving up on conjugal relationships or love, I think. And that emotion is not turned out to anybody in particular except himself. It’s just saying perhaps I’m not worthy of love, or love in relationships doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying he’s objectifying love in the sense of just saying nobody’s worthy of my love, it’s all about him. It’s just saying maybe I’m not worthy of love. That’s what I thought the song was about.

NW: I just thought it was another one that seemed to come to a conclusion after a process, you know, “I endeavoured to find a place where I became untethered”, it just feels like, you know, he’s looked at the possibilities and, like I said, a lot of the conclusions aren’t pretty or positive, but they are… rational, even? You know? It’s just nice to know I think, well, I know for a fact from the last 10 days that we were with him, that he’d reached a place where he was much ha… not happier…

JDB: Calmer.

NW: Yeah, and it was just like being like we’d always been. That eight months from 'The Holy Bible’ onwards was incredibly strained and miserable, you were just losing someone and you couldn’t reach him. But the last two weeks where we had this demo session together and everything and went through these songs, whether he’d reached some conclusions or not who knows, but he was much… the pathos was back, the smile was back. Which now I guess, obviously, has a different context, but at the time I felt like we were actually… I mean we did about seven songs, didn’t we?

JDB: 'The House In The Woods’ and stuff?

NW: Yeah, and we did the theme to [the Judge Dredd film,] 'Judge Yr'self’ as well, the Sylvester Stallone, which I think he really enjoyed, doing that. Because he loved the fucking cartoon.

JDB: Nietszchean references he could latch onto.

NW: “Blessed be the…” what is it?

JDB: “Blessed be the blade, blessed be the scythe.”

NW: “Dionysus against the crucified!” So yes, I guess that idea of conclusion is… is good.

It is bleak, but I guess no more so than many other songs he’d written a lot longer ago. I was wondering, with songs like this do you worry that people might interpret them less as lyrics, less as art, more as symptoms? Reading them too much retrospectively?

NW: It’s a good question, but I just think a line like in silken palms that tear bone from skin, that’s just poetry in its own right anyway. No, I don’t think that’s fair, I think if you take your writing that seriously, like he did, I don’t think he’s writing a diary, I still think he’s writing lyrics.

JDB: I think our main perspective, perhaps when we’ve gone through any kind of emotions when we were writing or recording these things were that it’s nice to just admire a lyricist or somebody who has poetry in his soul, et cetera. I think it’s fairly obvious that I wouldn’t want anybody to kind of challenge themselves as much as Richey challenged himself. I wouldn’t want anybody to go down that road anymore. And I don’t hear any echoes in my head or my heart about the way Richey felt sometimes. I just stand back and admire his writing. Like I said, to actually turn something that ugly into something beautiful and erudite, is something that he was trying to do all the time. And regardless of what happened in the end, it’s about admiring somebody who’s trying to process or turn personal emotion into creativity.

‘Journal For Plague Lovers’: I felt this could have been about a number of things, but the main impression I got was of it being to do with the medical establishment.

NW: Mmm. That’s good, that, actually. As in, doctors being gods?


NW: I took it more literally as just being like, a secular masterpiece like Bill Callahan’s 'Faith/Void’, but I can see where you’re coming from. [Reads through lyrics aloud] I think there’s a fair bit of doubt in religion in there as well. I don’t really get the 'PG certificate, all cuts unfocused line…’. Does that imply some kind of censorship, then? It’s funny, it’s the one track with a title which doesn’t seem to quite match the concept. 'Journal For Plague Lovers’ doesn’t seem to relate so much to the song as others. If it’s about what I think it’s about. It’s not very good, I know, but some of the stuff, we just don’t fucking know.

JDB: No, it’s alright, it’s just that through the songs, some, like I said, like 'All Is Vanity’ and 'Pretension/repulsion’ are linked together and the three songs that link together with this one are 'Journal For Plague Lovers’, 'Facing Page: Top Left’ and in a strange way, 'Virginia State Epileptic Colony’. I think it talks about how when the malady doesn’t fit the cure. And how the cure sometimes homogenises the person. And it’ll be like, 'PG certificate, all cuts unfocused’… the cure will sometimes bring a bland focus to what is a real problem.

NW: (to JDB) You think it’s more his journey, then, this? A comment of more, 'they’re all trying to change me’? Because of course, The Priory is a mixture of all pseudo-God and religious bollocks and doctors trying to cure you.

JDB: And submitting to some symbol, or God.

NW: Ripping your soul up.

JDB: I think that those three songs link together and the sense of community that you get with the people that you meet when you’re having treatment.

NW: He quickly realised, when he was in The Priory and not the NHS hospital, that the cure basically means having to destroy the entire entity that you are. And I don’t think he’s prepared to do that for the sake of survival in the modern world.

JDB: He had this amazing quote once when we went to the Priory and he was very pissed off with somebody that was trying to treat him, and he said 'they would just believe that something was wrong with me if I went and sat in the bushes with a camouflage hat on and pretended I was in some kind of war. Then they would think there was something wrong with me. Which is a bleak fact.

NW:NW: Fucking turning into a therapy session, this.

JDB: Therapy’s just bullshit, because talking never makes you feel good.

NW: It just makes you feel fucking shit. For me, anyway. But for other people, might work.

I loved the concision of that line, 'PG certificate, all cuts unfocused’. The double meanings of 'cuts’ and unfocused’.

NW: And that sung as well: Cuts. Un. Focused. It has a wonderful rhythm to it… although when he was in the Priory and Eric Clapton was there and he offered to come round and jam on the guitar, that was one of those moments where you couldn’t write anything funnier, in a tragic situation.

JDB: God bless Clappo, he wasn’t being nasty…

NW: He wasn’t. He just thought, hey, rock'n'roll musician, come on. I would love to have been there to see Richey’s polite 'well, maybe not…’ ‘Matron, bring my Strat, close the door’. And Richey’s like 'Fuck, I’m getting out of here!’

She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach’: Is there any particular story or source behind this one, do you know?

NW: I don’t know, I really don’t think so.

JDB: We’ve just got to keep quite shtum on these. I think there are some people he met when he was in one of the two places having treatment and I think he just took in, just digested other people’s stories and experiences.

NW: Especially the NHS hospital in Cardiff in Whitchurch, which was… I mean, The Priory was grim in a different kind of way. In a… not false, but just a wrong sort of way. But the NHS hospital, obviously everyone was trying really hard, but it wasn’t a nice place to be. It was, how can I put it, visiting in there, it did wither your soul. I don’t know, is this song about that? He was kind of capable of just a kind of pettiness towards any idea of marriage or love, or relationships.

There’s a deeper way, but there’s also, he just couldn’t fucking understand it, you know. It wasn’t for him. Back in university, when me and him were together, he would relentlessly, when I got dumped by a girl, he would laugh and mercilessly take the piss out of me for weeks on end. In a funny way, but in a (laughs) kind of savage way as well. And I think it’s the closest to the kind of Nirvana thing, we really went for it on this. I did a little demo of it and James changed the chorus into something bigger and more dramatic. I mean that is a really pure song, there’s hardly anything on there, is there?

There’s two guitars, a bass, a vocal and a drum, I think. What we realised on this record was that unlike something like 'The Everlasting’ where it took something like six-and-a-half minutes to put a verse chorus bridge and solo in, when we were doing it on this album it’d be two and a half minutes. And there’s still as many musical features on there. But we haven’t done that for years and years and years. And it was completely natural.

What kind of Nirvana songs did you have in mind?

I was just thinking of stuff like 'Serve The Servants’, 'Rape Me’, a sort of speeded-up 'Heart-Shaped Box’. And there’s a kind of '60s pop sensibility to the verse as well, it’s quite sweet. And again it just shows off James’ brilliance. It’s just a fantastic guitar solo. Like Steve Jones at his peak. Let the Bradfield off the leash…

The lyrics on 'She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach’ [a track on new album 'Journal For Plague Lovers’] seem to see love as a dirty trick, at best.

Nicky Wire: Yeah. I did rearrange a couple of lines to fit. And the one line that always haunted me, which I don’t know how we got in there, was 'salmon pink skinned Mary, still caring’. It reminds me a bit of the play we did in O-Level, 'An Inspector Calls’, when the girl, doesn’t she pour bleach, to kill herself, by drinking bleach? I can’t quite remember, but it might have something to do with that. I think the title is more scary than the lyric in this one. A lot of people have been shocked by the title. Once again, in inimitable and bizarre Manics way, we just never get shocked by stuff like that. Even when he was around, you know, when he gave us 'Intense Humming Of Evil’.

James Dean Bradfield: Yeah, I didn’t think 'oh gawwwd’, I though, 'cool, this is going to be difficult, but enjoyable’. Which is bizarre, because the subject matter of the lyric is awful. It’s just the way we’ve inoculated ourselves against certain realities and just got on with the creativity I suppose.

NW: It’s just our knowing ourselves, all four of us, or all three of us since Richey’s disappearance. If you’ve known someone since you’re five years old, you don’t need to go through all that bullshit that other bands do, you just don’t need to. There’s telepathy, there’s kinetics involved, you know, there’s trust?

JDB: I mean, I feel pretty embarrassed, sometimes, actually saying, articulating what I think the songs are about, because we don’t really talk like that, do we?

NW (laughs) No.

JDB: We might say one or two sentences, this or that, but it isn’t like inside the actor’s studio where we talk and talk and talk and try to interpret things, and what we would call something, it was a lot more, sign language between each other.

NW: The only time we did was around 'Lifeblood’ and we just confused the shit out of ourselves so much we didn’t know what we were doing. Trying to theorise, like I was trying to insist that there were no cymbals on the record, you know, MAKING A POINT! And it didn’t need to be like that.

Would you say this is a kind of sister song to 'She Is Suffering’?

NW: I don’t know, 'She Is Suffering’ isn’t one of my favourite songs anyway.

JDB: It’s my least favourite song on 'The Holy Bible’.

NW: It doesn’t really fit 'The Holy Bible’ anyway. I just don’t know… I think 'She Is Suffering’ suffers slightly more from sort of, the man coming to the rescue (laughs) syndrome. Whereas I think this one is different, I think it’s slightly weak.

It is that idea of female victimhood again.

NW: Yeah.

Facing Page: Top Left’: This seemed to me to be kind of about women’s magazines, or maybe magazine culture in general.

JDB: That did… you kind of have to be careful talking about lyrics, because like Nick said, we can never be sure if we’re being accurate. But there was sometimes, when we’d visit Richey in certain places, some women having treatment, you know, alongside him, that would be impeccably turned out sometimes, in the place, there would be a garish use of lipstick and very made up et cetera. And that did strike me that maybe there was something about that in that lyric.

But I still think it’s part of the little community of 'Journal For Plague Lovers’, 'Facing Page: Top Left’, 'Virginia State Epileptic Colony’. It is just about how you become homogenised under the gaze of certain doctors and analysts and how you kind of lose yourself in treatment.

NW: I think it’s so amazing, like, the original lyric, for once, does have punctuation, doesn’t it? It’s like, full stops after every fucking word.

JDB: Not every word. Just every other word. And for somebody that never used punctuation, just chucked them out of the window, it felt quite strange. 'Pretension/Revulsion’ did as well, actually.

NW: Commas. He had a lot of commas in there. But it lent itself, the one track that seemed to cry out for a kind of acoustic lament, a 'Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky’ kind of thing.

JDB: Physically the hardest song to sing, definitely… 'dipping neophobia’.

NW: Yeah, I love that line. I don’t know if 'neophobia’ has ever been used in a song before. I don’t even know if it’s a word.

It’s a great line, but I just couldn’t, grammatically speaking, make out what it meant at all.

NW: No.

JDB: Which one?

NW: “This beauty here dipping neophobia”.

JDB: Again, I just thought it was about routine. Once you get couched in the useless supposed cure, then you get caught in a routine. Which outside of that, can often be comforting to you.

NW: Which you know, does kind of hark back to 'Small Black Flowers…’ in the idea of being trapped in the zoo, the desperation of zoos. Relating that to his own condition… I don’t know.


NW: Yeah. But I think the institutionalisation of beauty, and trying to be all those things that you’re never gonna get to, and all that, the application to him seems to say, 'I’ve given up on all that bollocks’. 'I’ve long since reached a higher plateau’, I think that line from '4st 7lb’ really counts on here. I think on this album he really does reach that plateau of… the disgust has perhaps turned to ultimate realisation.

Kind of got over the disgust and [quietly] just reached a new level. [Perks up] Having said that, though, he was a brilliant at saying 'you should stop being vain’ and all that kind of stuff. But he was one for looking in front of a mirror for long, loooong periods.

JDB: Tapping his stomach, 'how many situps have I done today?’

NW: He did take weights with him on tour.

JDB: It was the Olivetti typewriter and the weights, in a suitcase. So the tour manager fucking hated him.

NW: He used to say to me, when he got a skinhead, and he came in 'oh, you should really get one, it just clears you from all the vanity, and everything’. As he’s looking in the mirror. It’s like, 'it’s alright for you, you always look fucking great’.

JDB: I did notice when we all turned up to the main photo session for 'The Holy Bible’ we all had very obviously military gear on, and he turned up to that session with one of the shirts was just black, with some badges on it, because it was his favourite shirt. He didn’t really wanna go military, because it was his favourite shirt, at the time… (sounds tired) they’re just recurring obsessions, aren’t they. Routine, lack of sleep, failure of love, failure of God.

NW: I think the vanity thing as well, I know it troubled him, but it interested him as well, that idea of being trapped within vanity and constantly trying and then thinking it’s pointless… it always just flips back and forth with him. Course, he never looked anything other than brilliant.

JDB: Except the waistcoat.

NW: The waistcoat, you’re right. It’s a rock'n'roll law, do not wear a fucking waistcoat.

What did you make of the title?

JDB: That was my favourite title.

NW: It just sounds like it could be a chapter in John Updike or Saul Bellow. It just sounds like a brilliant book title to me.

Maybe it’s a conflation of the kind of idea of how institutions change you and the ideals of perfection in magazines?

NW: Feel free! No seriously, I’m happy to explain every lyric, it’s just hard to give any kind of definition with authority. It’s a shame he didn’t leave… The idea of a journal, it’s not actually notebooks or scraps, these are all fully formed pieces that he left us. So it’s not like there’s any background information for us. There’s images with them and photos and bits and bobs, but they’re just pieces of his work really.

When you say he worked on an Olivetti typewriter, was it a proper old clickety-clack typewriter?

NW: Yeah, it was a bit more modern than that, but not much. I’ve got one now, which I still use, you can get them in London. They’re slightly smaller. Not like really old-school Joe Strummer, but still cool.

So you’d hear it clacking away, in the next room.

NW: Oh yeah, oh yes. And he loved writing as well, physically, with pen and paper. Me and him always used to say as a running joke, when people asked 'what instrument do you play’, and he’d play the pen and I’d play the paper. And the sound of a typewriter is just erotic. The sound of a computer is a gigantic turn-off.

Marlon JD’: Here at least is one that’s slight more clear what it’s about…

NW: Well, it’s clear, apart from the JD bit.

I assumed that was for James Dean.

NW: Well, a lot of people have said that. But the lyrics in all honesty, quite a few of them are stolen, well, not stolen, borrowed from the film, Reflections In A Golden Eye. Marlon Brando does actually say in it (adopts Brando wheeze): “I’d like to live without clutter, live without luxu-reee”. So um, the film itself is beautifully shot. Richey did have a fascination with the idea of Marlon Brando, with someone that was so beautiful.

JDB: He loved him because he was the idealisation in his mind of what the ideal man could be, but also because he turned to shit as well.

NW: Exactly, yeah. The idea that he walked around his island in a nappy, eating and fucking.

JDB: That’s why he’s his kind of like perfect role model, because he rejected his innate beauty and talent turned into Jabba The Hutt.

NW: And Brando is such a complicated… well sometimes he seems utterly superficial, but just all those things… combined. And he did talk to me about that film a lot, Reflections In A Golden Eye, he was really into that, and I think that Young Liars, with Marlon Brando when he’s a German officer.

JDB: I think this is one of the lyrics where Nick just proved he can be one of the greatest researchers in the world and just did great research on it.

NW: And you know, to use the sample on it as well, and I actually wrote the tune, apart from the Bloc Party bit.

JDB: And the middle.

NW: The harmonics bit! [Producer] Steve Albini didn’t do this one, it’s slightly more modern. It’s still live, it’s still done in the same way. But it’s a more Neu!, motorik kind of thing.

I must confess I haven’t seen the film.

NW: It is the classic thing where you’ve got two minutes focusing on Elizabeth Taylor’s arse and Marlon Brando staring… I mean, he loved Elizabeth Taylor as well. It’s kind of homoerotic. Well, the sexuality in the film is very blurred, it’s not homoerotic, it’s just that everything is blurred, relationships are blurred, no one loves each other.

JDB: Pain and pleasure’s blurred.

NW: The one’s that do love each other are not allowed to love each other…. I think bizarrely it might be John Huston, which is odd.

And the horsewhip across the face mentioned in the lyric, that’s an actual scene from the film, right?

NW: It is, yeah. He fucks up Elizabeth Taylor’s horse, and she humiliates him in front of everyone by whipping him across the face. There’s a lot of humiliation in the film. Private and personal and public. So I think it’s more for once, I don’t think it necessarily hugely relates to him. It’s more a kind of general inspiration and we all kind of went down that route.

Maybe more about how Brando’s role in that film relates to Brando’s whole life.

NW: Yeah, and maybe that then relates back to his admiration for him. And you know, maybe the line, 'learn to live without clutter, to live without luxury’ has a slightly deeper resonance. Cos he was ridding himself at that time, he did seem to be ridding himself of any material complications. [Very slowly] It was just books, or watching the TV or listening to music. There wasn’t really anything else involved.

Doors Closing Slowly’: There’s a lot of religious imagery in this one…

NW: I think James had the most trouble singing this one. It is incredibly sad. The first line “Realise how lonely this is, self-defeating, oh fuck yeah. There’s even a kind of pathos involved as well. Just that last couple of lines, you know, listen to the selfish ones, they are the voice of accomplishment. See, I don’t know if he’s saying there, the pressure of relationships, that’s the idealism of that, he’s never gonna get there, that idea of accomplishment is just so ugly, alien to him… "Unarmed army salvation”, that’s the hardest bit to sing.

JDB: Sally Army.

NW: Yeah. “The shadow is the cross, OK… silence is not sacrifice, crucifixion is the easy life”. It’s just a classic Richey line. That’s him pressing buttons that he knows he’s pressing. I know.

That last line is quite sort of Richard Dawkins in a way.

NW: If you apply it to religion, definitely. That kind of self-centred righteousness that if you don’t understand faith, well, you know… if you haven’t got faith then you will never understand. His religious obsession or rejection of it is quite strange.

JDB: It runs deeper than you would ever have thought.

NW: It ran really deep and its not something I just don’t think we’ve ever felt. Being oppressed by religion, it just hasn’t been a realisation in our time, in our country.

JDB: No, we’ve always thought there’s been a really good separation of church and state.

NW: Exactly. I mean, he went to Sunday school for a couple of years and he always talked about how he really hated it and didn’t enjoy it, but it does seem to have had more of an impact (laughs) than just a couple of years of Sunday school.

JDB: I just think he found it galling that the supposed beauty in religious art, like the depiction of death as being beautiful and glorious kind of troubled him and inspired him by the same turn. And again, the objectification of like, sacrifice and suffering, and how it can be always represented in some kind of beautiful tableau, I think he always found it, like I said, inspiring and disgusting at the same time.

NW: Despite that, I was always waiting for the moment when he converted to something, some obscure religion, just to piss people off.

JDB: Zoroastrianism. Worship of fire, I believe…

NW: I think this is the most stunning piece of music on the record, Albini really, it was the one time he actually arranged four bars of music. He said, 'I’m really embarassed about it, I hate doing this, I never do this, but just lay back on the first four bars and invert the beat on the intro, and then you’ve got that Harlem funeral sound’… and he called it really humble, he said 'it’s such a humble song’. I think he genuinely liked this song. Yeah, I think it’s a proper piece of music. It kind of reminds me of 'In The Neighbourhood’ by Tom Waits. Velvet Doom March, you called it, didn’t you?

JDB: Yeah, Velvet/Harlem funeral dirge.

Did he read the Bible at all?

NW: He had read the Bible, but more literature that sprang up around the Bible and related to it. But I think he did go through a stage of reading the Bible. I’m useless with all that stuff, you know 'PCP’, read Leviticus and stuff like that, I know nothing about chapters of the Bible. It’s just like listening to a neverending fucking Nick Cave record, innit. Over and over, here’s another fucking chapter…

Where’s the audio clip from this time?

NW: It’s from The Virgin Suicides, not so much because it’s a great film, but because Richey loved the book [by Jeffrey Eugenides]. I don’t think the film would have been made by then [Sofia Coppola’s adaptation was released in 1999], and that particular dialogue just seemed to fit.

All Is Vanity…

JDB: I loved that some of the lines, that 'I would prefer no choice, one bread one milk one food'…

NW: I love that.

JDB: That’s showing his slightly unfashionable side, his left-wing authoritarian side. Sometimes I’d prefer to live in a utilitarian Eastern Bloc culture where I don’t have to worry about choice and how glorious or glamorous I could be, I just wish I was restricted.

NW: And I mean, that still resonates with us so deeply today. The idea that there’s just so much choice now, that when we apply that to music, people think it’s great that there’s so much music, and that’s so obviously not the case because so much of it is utter drivel. And you know, too much choice in music has led to mediocrity. And I think it’s that kind of idea that Richey liked experts. He liked people who he though were thoroughly researched and immersed in each particular subject. And we’re still like that now.

JDB: And just the idea that sometimes your emotions are not your best guides or friends. Or desire is not your friend or guide (laughs). Which is quite an unfashionable way of thinking, isn’t it.

NW: It is.

JDB: It is relinquishing yourself to that old-style authoritarianism.

NW: I like that “makes me feel like I’m talking a different language at times”. That seems quite a pointed reference. Perhaps he didn’t even feel he was communicating with us. That everyone seemed… and it’s true, because apart from those last 10 days, it was hard to keep up with him, to understand why his mind was working so fucking fast, and the level of consumption was just so gigantic… I think he felt he’d lost his art of communication with everything and everyone, apart from his own art.

I read the line 'it’s not what wrong, it’s what’s right’ as a response to the question 'what’s wrong?’

NW: Maybe, yeah. And then, because the next line is 'makes me feel like I’m talking a foreign language’, maybe he felt like he couldn’t explain himself. And he couldn’t explain himself, at that point. People in the same situation the world over just reach a point where there is no explanation.

NW: Another night of torment now as I remember what I’ve just said for the fucking four hours…

JDB: No, you’ve been fine….

Pretension/Repulsion’: This is such an onslaught of verbs at first, it’s hard to know where it’s coming from.

NW: It is, yeah. I think it’s the other stuff that brings the lyric together, like James said. The actual use of all those words at the start really confused me at first, I didn’t know where he was going with it. But when you get to 'Shards, oh shards’. I mean 'shards’ is such a bizarre word to have in a rock song… Isn’t it shards and chards in the original?

JDB: And chard is sort of food.

NW: And slightly burnt.

JDB: Well, no…

Like, spinach?

NW: Yeah, the first draft, he had that and shards. And it was like, how can you…

JDB: ‘Leave the vegetables out of it! We’re trying to be serious, here.’

NW: Like I said to you, “androgyny fails/Odalisque by Ingres, extra bones for sale”. I just bow down at the altar of that as a lyric. That just explains the whole song for me. And 'BORN.A.GRAPHIC vs PORN.A.GRAPHIC’, I don’t quite understand.

JDB: Lumpen, useless flesh as opposed to something erotic.

NW: I dunno which side he comes out of on it, though. (To JDB) Don’t say it!

JDB: I think he was just saying, like, how long have we been having this argument for. We don’t need actually magazines like, then I suppose it would have been Loaded and FHM that captured his imagination as to the objectification of beauty et cetera, but he just was saying, this has actually been going on for a long time. Ingres was actually inserting an extra disc in the spine, just to idealise the woman’s body. People have always been obsessed with it.

NW: I really can’t remember the context, but he was always going on about those Benetton ads around that time as well, wasn’t he. That’s part of the same argument. And I’m never quite sure which… and then you get the Jenny Saville painting for 'The Holy Bible’, then you get the exact opposite.

That line, 'Shards, oh shards’ seemed to kind of reference both Yeats’ 'the centre cannot hold’ and Eliot’s 'these fragments I have shored against my ruins’. It’s so much in such a small space.

NW: And that’s the genius of it, that it’s still a lyric.

[From hereon in James and Nicky are interviewed separately]

Virginia State Epileptic Colony’.

James Dean Bradfield: I’ve said these are the three songs that for me fit together, but with this one you get the overall cynicism of treatment trying to subjugate the intelligence of the patient kind of thing. You get the overall cynicism of somebody saying, there’s not one thing you’ve told me that is gonna make me better. You get the overall cynicism of someone saying, just get the fuck out of my room and let me try and solve these problems myself. And it is heavily laced with sarcasm, the song. and that was the overriding thing, like I said before, just trying not to let anything else but the lyrics guide you, whatsoever.

And I guess again, if I came up with some kind of angular, out-of-step rhythm, it would just be wrong, it would just be wrong. And I might just be completely wrong about it, saying all these things. I might just have been over-thinking it at the time. I don’t know. But it just felt as if this needed, as if I needed to be sympathetic to Richey’s cynicism. It was as simple as that. And it was influenced by 'Outdoor Miner’, a tiny bit, at the start, by Wire. Because there’s the little piano bit. I don’t always start out with a direct influence musically but you end up finding where the things have come from that you’ve gathered into a tune. It quickly became something else. But I also do feel it’s a heavy, heavy dose of Richey just finding, doing a bit of research here and integrating it into his own experience.

Sometimes folk just go, why didn’t you find this record a more emotional or dark experience than it actually seemed for you? And sometimes I just find it inspiring that Richey can kind of find the energy to investigate these things, and to turn it into something that was vaguely constructive for him at the time as an artist, that’s what I find inspiring. I don’t always, when we’re making a record, I never find myself mired in thinking, oh, this is too much. It never ever feels like that, ever.

As John Niven said in the biography that came with the album, that Yeatsian thing of art growing out of ‘the foul rag and bone shop of the heart’.

JDB: And when he was writing these, that was his whole raison d'etre, when he was doing these things, he was trying to articulate so many things. And that bank of TV screens in his head were flickering on and off, they were never off, they were always there.

And what’s the audio sample on this?

JDB: Ahhhh (shakes head, puts finger to mouth). No clearance! I could tell you, but you would tell other people… it’s Russian.

‘William’s Last Words’ is obviously the song that most people are going to interpret autobiographically. Do you have any idea who the character of William might be?

James Dean Bradfield: No, I gotta say. And these are the only problems, when you start to anticipate how people might react to things is when you hit problems, so we resisted trying to forecast how people might interpret lyrics or songs, or what Richey’s trying to say. We had to disengage from being worried about how people might react to these songs. Which was essential, I think. Otherwise we’d get fear. And then we’d stop. And then you wouldn’t get this record. It’s important as a lyric, whether it’s semi-autobiographical or about somebody else, because you actually just get genuine traditional warmth from it.

Which is… you spend an entire record sometimes listening to Richey speak in tongues, and on this lyric, you get genuine traditional warmth. It’s almost like reading a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem or something. You get something so warm and traditional from it. And it gives you the hint that, during the process of writing all these lyrics, Richey hadn’t lost his essential humanity. It sounds overblown, but that’s the impression I get. And I tried and tried, I tried a couple of times to write music to this lyric, and I couldn’t. I came up against a blank wall on this one.

And Rich, there were two pages of prose for this. It was meant to be a lyric, because it was amongst all the other fully formed lyrics, I tried to edit it, and I couldn’t get to the kernel of how to approach it musically, and Nick finally did it. And I was just openly jealous when he finally turned it into this song. Because it was obvious it was going to be the last track. And it was obviously right, because there was a tiny bit of serendipity because I could see that there’d been an Ian McCulloch songwriter special on Sky Arts, songbook I think it’s called that series, and I’d said to Nick, when he writes music, it’s very akin to how Ian McCulloch does it, because he uses very simple chords, but he seems to get so much expression out of it.

And there was a bit of serendipity there because Richey’s first love, Richey’s first obsession musically was Echo And The Bunnymen. y'know, after I’d seen him around (primary school) in Blackwood when I was young, Richey, and I kind of knew him and played football against him and stuff, the next time I really saw him and started talking to him was in Oakdale comprehensive and he had an absolute identikit Ian McCulloch haircut. He’d walk down the corridor and you’d see someone with hair this tall… and it wasn’t just sugar and water, it was proper proper hair products, it was done properly. The attention to detail was scary.

And my first concert, Me, Richey and Sean went to see Echo And The Bunnymen on the Ocean Rain Tour at Colston Hall in Bristol. And they were his first love, he absolutely adored Echo And The Bunnymen when he was in comprehensive. So it seemed to me there was a kind of serendipity in that Nick seemed to have written something that could have been off 'Ocean Rain’. And in a corny way, that felt kind of full circle to me.

And I think this was Steve Albini’s favourite song. When we were doing that, I was doing my electric guitar on it and Nick wanted me to do something that was Jimmy Page-esque, a la, not the rock stuff, but the stuff from like 'Physical Graffiti’ where it’s almost quite erudite and quite flowery. And when we finished that song, Steve Albini was very un-Steve Albini-esque by saying, ‘I’m pretty stoked after that’.

When I got the lyrics, this was the one I was most shocked by. I never would have imagined him writing something like this.

JDB: It was the only time I ever got close to what you might call a soft-focus B-movie moment in the studio. Camera close-up: will you see a tear fall from his eye? It was the only moment where I felt I had to step back a tiny bit and be like, let’s just stay focused on this track. Because you can draw some pretty obvious conclusions from the lyrics. But we’ve just spent a whole interview trying to give you our interpretation of the lyrics.

And we can’t stress enough that it is an interpretation. In The Holy Bible, you know, sometimes I would say to Richey, what are you trying to get at here? Is it voyeuristic, is it vicarious, is it first person, is it third person? And sometimes he could explain things to me sometimes, and sometimes he wouldn’t. But for this record, we haven’t been able to do that at all. Whatsoever. So it is all conjecture at the end of the day.

Did Nicky sing on this one because he wrote the music?

JDB: He did a demo of it and it just worked straight away. I mean my description of Nick’s voice in the past has been, it’s like a mixture between Mark E Smith, Lou Reed and Katharine Hepburn. And I can’t do that with my voice. And I find that pretty galling, really. I’ve spent my life, since I was nine years old, singing in a choir, and I can’t convey that, I can’t convey what he does. Which is quite galling for me really.

He has a breathless quality to his voice and as soon as I heard the demo, I knew that I wouldn’t be singing that. And there would be a bit of Welsh bluster in what I did… It would be like (booms)“Isn’t it looooooovely”. And it would have been wrong. It would just have been wrong. And that’s the other thing about the lyric, actually, it’s one of the only Welsh references that Richey has in the entirety of his lyrics, when he says “Nos da”, which is Welsh for goodnight. And I like that. Because if you ever hear playbacks of Richey’s voice, he sounded so Welsh. People forget that (laughs) he had that real lilt to him.

Bag Lady – you said you had this as a hidden track because you wanted the same amount of songs as ‘The Holy Bible.’

JDB: The drudgery of symmetry… Even though, when the record was finished we shied away from comparing it to The Holy Bible, we wanted some kind of symmetry to The Holy Bible. With the artwork , with the number of songs on it. And for lots of reasons, I think. The record is different, but I think they’re the same…. There’s a painting by Jenny Saville on the first record, and now there’s a painting by Jenny Saville on this record. But they’re different. Because the triptych on ‘The Holy Bible’ shows the wide spectrum, there are some more, there’s a variety of topic choices on The Holy Bible.

It’s a lot more varied. There are a few more political songs on The Holy Bible than people ever imagine. And there are a lot more wide-ranging references on The Holy Bible. But obviously, this record is a lot more personal. And that’s why we chose the up-close portrait of the young girl so that represents how much more personal the record is. Essentially it was the extra track because we couldn’t have 14 tracks on the record for aesthetic symmetrical reasons. But I think Bag Lady is the most reminiscent of ‘The Holy Bible’. Perhaps that’s why we shied away from putting it on the record as well. Sonically, it actually sounds like the Bible, sounds more claustrophobic, I mean it sounds too crammed with perhaps just a bit too much stuff.

The image of walking in half view of all mirrors is strangely terrifying.

JDB: Yeah, and that’s another reason why it was left off the record, because it gives a feeling… it’s not as resolved, the lyric itself. This is the only lyric that really weighed me down, I wouldn’t wanna inhabit that lyric too much. I wouldn’t wanna sing it every night on this tour. I don’t know why, it just makes me feel like that sometimes. And the push and pull between pretension and repulsion between being vain and rejecting any notion of what is ugly or beauty, must have been exhausting at this point, when it gets to lyrics like this I think. It would be for me to sing it every night, I must say.

The rejection of morality and law and eternity, is very sort of… losing any sense of centre.

JDB: On the record it rejects ideology, it rejects God, it rejects love, it rejects possibility. There you go! The perfect album for our worst economic downturn of all time.

Was part of the reason you took so long to return to these lyrics that you were reluctant to have that very personal part of your lives picked over again?

James Dean Bradfield: There are many reasons, but they’re all tied up with the same thing. First of all we had to know what being a three-piece meant, first of all, when Richey went missing. And obviously ‘Design For Life’ helped us crystallize a vision of what we could be without Richey. Or what we had to be. And then once you realise it’s just the three of you for now, you get on with life. It’s as simple as that. But the subject of Richey is unavoidable. Although over years I got fed up of the B-moviefication of Richey.

I do sometimes get a tiny bit fed up of people trying to imagine what kind of person he would be now, or I get fed up of people imagining what he actually did, did he disappear or is he living in a monastery somewhere… and I get fed up with this kind of horrible tacky TV movie version of what the possibilities of Richey being or what he was or what he would think or what he would feel. And it was kind of, after all those years of just letting kind of those things wash over you, ultimately we’d let enough time elapse that there wouldn’t be anything tasteless about doing this.

And it was a relief to not actually trade in hearsay or myth or speculation, we could really just trade in something real. We could just say, these are his lyrics. They are typed. This is the binder, we have three copies of this book. We can trade in something real. We can try and interpret something that Richey actually did. Something he actually felt. And it’s a relief to actually, it’s got nothing to do with setting the record straight, it’s just that you actually manifested something that’s real about Richey rather than something imagined.

With all the talk about living up to the responsibility of it, it does seem like something you’ve enjoyed as well, rather than a burden or a task.

Yeah, setting the subject of Richey aside for a second, after the first three days in the studio, I actually started feeling happy that we were in a band, and we had this wishlist. And that wishlist was in front of our eyes. The first thing we said was we wanted Steve Albini, who we’d harboured ambitions to work with for a long time. We knew that on the horizon, Jenny Saville had made positive noises about saying yeah, I’d love to give you a painting, I just need to hear a record.

And the first week in the studio, we were actually like, God, we’re really fucking lucky to do this. We’ve got Richey’s lyrics, we’ve made contact with Jenny Saville and she seems open to it, Steve Albini’s stood in front of me. It’s pretty fucking good being a band sometimes. And I was able to really enjoy myself for the first couple of weeks in the studio. And then you get kind of caught up in having little arguments about whether a song’s right or not, and that’s just part of the drudgery of being in a band. Not drudgery, but it’s normal stuff to us. And after a while, you know, there were days where I wouldn’t have any loaded thoughts about what we were trying to do for Richey, we were just making a record. Some days.

And I remember when we first arrived in the studio, there was a weird moment, you know, I arrived from my flat in Cardiff. I know Rockfield really well, because it’s where we did ‘If You Tolerate This…’ and ‘Masses Against The Classes’ and I got out the car, and I walked into the studio, and I didn’t see Steve Albini in the control room, so I walked through to the live room, where they did ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and stuff like that, and he was stood there, and he had his overalls on and he had his round glasses on, and it was a really strange moment for me. Like, ‘fuck me, he actually got on the plane!’.

I didn’t think he’d fucking come. And then two days later, because the day I went to Rockfield Studios, which is a place I absolutely love, I gotta say, but the morning I woke up to go there I was listening to ‘Reel To Real Cacophony’ and ‘Sons And Fascination’ by Simple Minds. Because I love those early Simple Minds records, they’re a deeply misunderstood band, because their first four albums are just fucking genius. Because they were done in Rockfield, those records. And I was listening to those records before ‘The Holy Bible’, so I thought I’d listen to them again, just for a traditional sort of superstition thing.

And we arrived at Rockfield, and someone said, ‘Oh yeah, Simple Minds are next door’. And I was like, that’s a bit weird. And then a couple of days later, I walked into the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee, and Jim Kerr was sat there. There were just weird little echoes around the place. And I’m not a superstitious person, I’m not even that spiritual, but there were little echoes everywhere. Jim Kerr, when he was writing the lyrics to ‘Empires And Dance’, I thought it was fucking genius. Not enough people say it.

So he was sat there, and I was talking away, and I started unloading all this stuff on him, and he started getting scared because I was such a trainspotter… but there was just something that felt right about it being in Rockfield. There were just little signs everywhere that I was gonna enjoy the process. ‘The process’, as wankers say…

You said you might issue all of the lyrics as a book?

JDB: Might do, might do. It’s loose at the moment. We still wanted to make a record. There was vague talk about when the record came out, trying to do it simultaneously. But we decided that we still wanted Richey to be part of the band. We didn’t want to make him too much of an art statement, I mean, we had the Jenny Saville thing on the cover. We need to see how people react to the record first, I think. We need to see that. And I think we really used the best lyrics in the booklet. I don’t think there’s stuff still in there that could have made the album.

One of the lyrics you mentioned in the past being in the ones that Richey left you was the one about cutting the feet off a ballerina. Was that one of the ones that was too impenetrable to use?

JDB: You know what, I don’t know, and it’s because Richey made the original copy of the lyrics, and Nick got the original copy. And then Richey made two other successive versions that were a bit more photocopied from the original, and they have different covers. And there are one or two lyrics that are missing from the copies. And I don’t think I’ve got that one in my book. And I haven’t obsessively been through Nick’s to see which lyric that is actually. Because I remember Nick saying that he thought Bloc Party used that line.

They did, yeah, in ‘Where Is Home’? I assume they referred to it because they were fans.

JDB: I think the bass player in Bloc Party is a Manics fan. Of course, Nick’s version of the book, the original is all kind of perfectly spotless, where he preserved it, whereas mine is all sort of crumpled, because I kept getting it out over the years and then putting it back in the drawer because it was too scary. Like that scene from Friends, putting a copy of The Shining in the freezer because it’s too scary. And I could feel the drawer going dum-dum-dum, let me out! Let me be! But I don’t think I’ve got that one in my copy.

How did you feel about them using that line?

JDB: Oh, fine. We’ve pillaged enough from people…

Let’s talk about ‘Virginia State Epileptic Colony’.

Nicky Wire: This is a lyric that we didn’t change much at all. For me it kind of resonates back to the Small Black Flowers thing of being trapped, of the mundane nature of life. Which I think is a weird thing, that it almost seems sometimes like a celebration. We were all sort of bedroom, routine people, me and Richey especially. We had no room for chaos, we couldn’t work under chaos, we weren’t kind of classic rock'n'roll style at all. That Nietzschean ethic, if you like, of order and strength. But that seems to be falling apart, this does seem to relate much more to personal trappings.

I mean, I don’t know that much about the Epileptic Colony myself, but the Andrew Marr program on Darwin that was on recently, they covered this, because there was a huge number at this period, about 500, because they used Darwin as an excuse. It was between 60-150,000 people over this long period that were sterilised, it became eugenics, with supposed defects. I don’t know how that relates, is he saying, I wanna be sterilised, I wanna be incapable? I don’t know.

It’s been an eye-opener to me today, because that theme of doctors or institutions trying to really stamp their authority does seem to have come through, and it’s a bit of an eye-opener to me. I personally always found that sort of thing easy to resist, maybe because there’s part of me that always wanted to conform. But I never felt that Richey felt he was like persecuted in that sense. Not persecuted, but I guess when you’re under that much pressure when you’ve had that sort of breakdown, you obviously feel different.

In the booklet, which you get with the special edition, there’s a Scottish clan motto, I think it’s MacDonald [Stewart] which is something like 'The wound makes you stronger’ [Courage grows strong at the wound]. And that’s quite a big thing in this booklet, he’s got it in there. But he doesn’t seem to be so strong on this. It does seem to be that he’s feeling the pressure more, or he’s come to some more brutal conclusions. But I guess all The Holy Bible was lived before the real shit happened, so perhaps he did feel some more mental strength then.

[The song is] Genuinely authentic post-punk. I think James got a documentary from Sean for Christmas, about soldiers… and all the Russian murmurings in the track might be from that.

‘William’s Last Words’

NW: There’s two ways I look at it. Either it genuinely is about someone else, because I know we’ve said to you, I know when he was in the institution in Cardiff, he was writing a lot. And you can’t avoid it in those places, it’s not like The Priory with your own room. Either that, or as I said it’s a giant analogy from The Entertainer and Archie Rice, that kind of sadness at the end of the career I know he loved that film, and it reminds me a bit of that.

But I didn’t pick those lines out, because I wrote the music for this, I didn’t pick those lines out on purpose, it isn’t like I wanted to make it seem more applicable to the situation, I was just drawn phonetically and in terms of the music, because I write quite simple songs, and when I played it to James and Sean, they weren’t shocked, but there was a bit of a lump in the throat.

I think a track called Primitive Painters by Felt which me and Richey used to play to death at university. There’s definitely an influence of that on there. Out of tune Lou Reed vocal (laughs), a bit of Caramel by Blur. But it’s definitely from a more indie background than some of the other tracks. James added the most beautiful Jimmy Page guitar, which kind of falls like a waterfall over the whole piece. I mean the ending the wake up happy stuff, that is quite like the ending of the piece of prose.

If I remember rightly, that is quite towards the end. But there is a sense of calm in it, there is a sense of if it is some kind of goodbye, it’s like, I know what I’m doing, it’s probably the only thing I can do, I’m not insane, it’s not something I’ve taken lightly. Because I do feel that. There’s very little comfort to be had from someone disappearing, but if you do feel that they’ve done it from their own accord with some sense of clarity that there is no other way for them, I think that as a friend and a bandmate you just have to somehow accept that.

‘Bag Lady’.

NW: We did think, 'Does this sound like we’re trying a bit too hard to sound like The Holy Bible?’ Someone really shook me and James up yesterday by pointing out that after William’s Last Words the first line of Bag Lady is I Am Not Dead, as if it was meant to be some kind of resurrection! I hadn’t realised that. That is not something we contemplated.

For me, on The Holy Bible, Die In The Summertime had some of the most biting images, and this one as well. I’m kind of sure that he did say this was about someone he met in the hospital, he took a lot of stuff down verbatim. This was a comparatively long lyric, about a page. And it does seem to be about a female, quite a successful lawyer who has, for want of a better word, lost it.

I suppose the danger with all of these songs would be to assume that they’re all about Richey himself.

NW: Yeah, I think it would because in the songs and in the ones we haven’t written up as well, there was so much context, and I don’t think it’s entirely internalised. Like I said, if you’re consuming that much culture, I think he’d be pretty insane to connect everything to himself. You know… I don’t think he’s comparing himself to Giant Haystacks.

Overwatch Character Playlists

So I’ve spent the last few weeks compiling some of my favorite music to all the playable characters in Overwatch.  The playlists can be found on Spotify by clicking HERE and going to the “Public Playlists” tab.

Each playlist has 10 songs and is roughly 30-45 minutes.  Most are lyrical, although there are some instrumental songs mixed in.  Each playlist ends with a song that has something to do with the character’s ultimate ability (whether it be the song title matches the ultimate name, or the song gives off a vibe of how you feel while using the ultimate).

Below the Keep Reading tab I’ve put the track lists and links to each individual playlist.

Keep reading

“So ... let’s talk about your father.” Dean, Denial and John Winchester’s A+ Parenting, or, Why Dean still hasn’t launched a grenade.

(CW 1: This post deals with the episode “Sam, Interrupted,” which has a fairly inconsistent approach towards mental illness and neurotypical divergence. I get a little squeamish with some of the representations and approaches towards “crazy” in the episode).

(CW 2: Talking about John Winchester’s A+ Parenting, so mild suppositions about the upbringing Dean had, with mentions of neglect).

This week’s task of The Great Meta Scavenger Hunt was to tie together two randomly selected aspects of the show. When I got past tons of con pages and Supernatural books, I was left with two things I am happy to talk to you about:

The grenade launcher

Originally posted by smartiespn


Dr. Fuller (from 05x11, “Sam, Interrupted”)

Originally posted by sam-winchester-admiration-league

More specifically, Dr. Fuller and the grenade launcher are both devices by which we engage with Dean’s sharply-honed sense of emotional asceticism.

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The People We Meet At the End of the World (1/2)

Title: The People We Meet At the End of the World (½)
Author: @insanityplaysfics and @notanannoyingfangirl
Artist: @scofflawn
Beta: @lesterwillmakeyouhowell
Word count: 19,116
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Major Character Death, First time sex, heavy angst
Summary: The year is 1934, and the Great Depression is in full swing. Seven years previously, Phil Lester’s family had come to America hoping to find their fortune; what they found instead was much worse. Forced to ride the rails in search of work, Phil meets up with Dan Howell. The two brits are alone in a foreign country, separated from their families after they lost their life savings in the stock market crash. Together, they decide to find work out west - but the west has problems of its own. The dust storms are raging, and every day has become a desperate struggle for survival.
Author’s Notes: Well, guys, it’s been a long time coming, but our PBB fic is finally finished. I know that you’re probably excited to read part one, so I won’t say to much. Thank you to all of the wonderful Mods who worked so hard to organize the PBB, they did a wonderful job. Also, thank you to the wonderful artist and beta who worked with us on this - you did a wonderful job! Finally, thank you to my lovely co-author because writing with her is always a pleasure and this story would have never happened without her!

Part Two (coming later today)   Artwork (coming later today)

September 18, 1927

Phillip Lester was sixteen years old when his parents decided they were moving to America to try their fortune. The announcement came seemingly out of the blue on a cheery Friday morning:

“What do you mean, we’re moving!?”

“Things are better in America, Phil, and your father has already accepted a position selling bonds. If all goes well, we’ll even be able to send you to college!”

Keep reading


Cover Story: The Mind-Bending Benedict Cumberbatch

His obsessive fans have turned Benedict Cumberbatch into “the Internet’s boyfriend,” and next month’s Doctor Strange will only stoke the flame. Starring as another alienated genius, this one with superpowers, the actor reveals his own attraction to the edge.

When Benedict Cumberbatch was 19 years old, he got good and lost in the Himalayas. No longer a schoolboy in tailcoat and boater, not yet the internationally known star of Sherlock and one of the world’s most unlikely sex symbols, he had taken a gap year before university to get a glimpse of life beyond A-level exams and Sunday chapel.

In a hillside town near Darjeeling, he taught English to Tibetan monks, giving himself a crash course in improvisation as he conjured up instructional games. On weekends off, he would seek adventure: white-water rafting down the Kali Gandaki River, traversing the desert province of Rajasthan. (It was monsoon season everywhere else.) But the mountains beckoned.

So he and three friends caught a bus from Kathmandu. Sherpas were expensive, and they were students traveling on the cheap, so they decided, extremely unwisely, to wing it. Altitude sickness derailed them one by one: their group of four became a group of three, then a group of two. By the third night, Cumberbatch recalls, “I started to have really weird, fucked-up dreams, and felt things were happening in my sleep. I wasn’t sure if I was conscious or awake.”
He and his friend reached a spiritual fork in the road, which happened to be a literal fork in the road: up or down? They chose up. And that’s when they got utterly, hopelessly, bewilderingly lost. They ran out of biscuits. They drank rainwater squeezed out of moss, because they’d read it was safer than river water. As night fell, with their flashlights losing power, they pressed on through the thicket, until they spotted a corrugated-steel roof in the distance: salvation?
Turns out it was an abandoned barn. They threw themselves belly-down on straw and drifted to sleep. That night, they had even more fucked-up dreams, each of them convinced that someone—or something—was rifling through their bags. But when they woke up, there was no one.

The next morning, they followed the river, hoping it would lead to civilization. They nearly broke their necks slipping down moss-covered boulders. The alpine fog gave way to forest, and leeches stuck to their ankles. They found a path with fresh yak droppings: a good sign. Finally, the trees thinned, and they came to a clearing of terraced pastures and log cabins that looked like something out of The Sound of Music. Running toward the inhabitants, they mimed the international sign for hunger (fingers to open mouths) and were served the best-tasting meal they’d ever had—unwashed greens and a bowl of eggs—after which Cumberbatch immediately got dysentery.

“Ah,” the actor sighs 21 years later, “you take the highs with the lows.”

Cumberbatch is recounting this tale in the lobby of Shutters on the Beach, a five-star hotel in Santa Monica. He’s been staying here all week, doing pickups—minor shots after principal photography is done—for Doctor Strange, the reportedly $165 million fantasy film, in which he plays one of Marvel’s more mind-bending superheroes. He tosses his sunglasses and trilby on the table, then reclines on a canvas-wrapped chair in an off-white T-shirt and trousers, gazing blearily at the bicyclists and roller skaters out on the boardwalk. It’s 11 A.M., and he’s working on no sleep.

Seriously, none. He was out shooting an exterior night-time sequence until 7:30 in the morning, acting opposite co-stars who weren’t actually there, punctuated by long stretches in the makeup chair during which he struggled to stay awake. “It’s probably, hours-wise, the craziest day’s work, if you can call it a day, I’ve ever, ever done,” he says over an iced coffee. A tiny sparrow has flown into the hotel lobby and is darting around underfoot, its discombobulation mirroring the 40-year-old actor’s. He offers a very English disclaimer: “Fluidity, accuracy, intelligence, humor—all these things might be very odd today. I don’t really know who I am.”

And yet he proceeds to talk in a “Flight of the Bumblebee” sprint, like Sherlock Holmes briskly deconstructing a crime scene. (“Why, it’s obvious.”) On-screen, Cumberbatch’s motormouthed precision and dagger-sharp blue eyes can read as otherworldly, as if he were a slightly more advanced human life-form than the rest of us. If he’s been pigeonholed, it’s for playing socially challenged geniuses, people who compute more than relate: the World War II code breaker Alan Turing (in The Imitation Game, for which he was nominated for an Oscar in 2015), the WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange (The Fifth Estate), and, of course, Sherlock, whom he’s played since 2010 in the wildly popular BBC series.

Of Memes and Ben

Being Benedict Cumberbatch means living under a magnifying glass, like a fingerprint under Sherlock’s gaze. Nearly everything he does is captured, catalogued, and obsessed over by an ever widening rabble of fans. Some call themselves Cumberbitches. Or, slightly more P.C. (but not much), Cumberbabes. Perhaps it’s his accentuated Britishness—that Dickensian name, that Brontëan pallor—that renders him a kind of imaginary dress-up doll, a thinking woman’s fetish object. If Laurence Olivier had lived in the age of Tumblr, he might have been the “Internet’s boyfriend,” too.

A good chunk of the Web is now devoted to Cumbergazing, or Cumberfantasizing, or straight-up Cumberstalking. The @Cumberbitches Twitter account, dedicated to “the appreciation of the high cheekboned, blue eyed sexbomb that is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch,” has 256,000 followers. There’s a bustling Cumberbitch group on Reddit, which celebrates “ThrowBatch Thursdays.” outlined the “8 Essential Qualities of a Cumberbitch,” which include holding “an unofficial bachelor’s degree in Cumber-ology.” In 2014, The London Review of Books published a poem in which the author imagines meeting Cumberbatch at a party. He’s huge in China, where fans refer to Holmes and Watson as Curly Fu and Peanut. A baker in Indonesia makes “cumbercupcakes,” complete with edible figurines.


The Cumberfrenzy can be traced to July 25, 2010, when the first episode of Sherlock aired in the U.K., watched by 7.5 million viewers. Twitter went berserk. Something about Sherlock’s sexlessness—his nearly sociopathic focus on solving crimes, to the exclusion of normal human relations—made him that much more irresistible, as if just the right woman could turn him toward carnality.

Or the right man: the series is laden with innuendo about Sherlock and John Watson, played by a cutely befuddled Martin Freeman. Forums of erotic “Johnlock” fan fiction have filled in the blanks. (From a story called “First Times”: “All it took was a glance, and it was like the dam finally broke. They couldn’t hold back anymore. John had stopped, mid-breath, and then his lips were on Sherlock’s.”)

Cumberbatch greets the fan deluge—some of it creative, some of it creepy—with a practiced amusement. On my way to meet him in Santa Monica, I check online for the latest haul. A Twitter user has posted: “Sometimes when I’m sad I picture a shirtless Benedict Cumberbatch slowly eating an apple fritter. Try it!”

When I read this to Cumberbatch, he blushes on cue and says, “Have you tried that? It wouldn’t work for me.” He laughs, a little uneasily. “I’m glad I’m bringing a ray of sunshine to an otherwise dull day, being imagined eating fritters shirtless. But, I don’t know, it makes me giggle. I don’t look at myself in the mirror and go, ‘Yeah, absolutely! I see what they’re saying!’ I see all my faults and everything that I’ve always seen as my faults.”

Strange Days

Of course, not all the attention is so benevolent. Obsession breeds possessiveness, which can breed something darker. Last year, Cumberbatch married the stage director Sophie Hunter, and they had a son, Christopher (nicknamed Kit). “There are people who believe that my wife is a P.R. stunt and my child is a P.R. stunt,” he says, unsure if he should even be bringing this up—he knows that there’s no arguing with conspiracy theorists. “I think really it’s to do with the idea that the ‘Internet’s boyfriend’ can’t actually belong to anyone else but the Internet. It’s impossible he belongs to anyone but me. And that’s what stalking is. That’s what obsessive, deluded, really scary behavior is.”

Doctor Strange will surely add to the hysteria. The film, which opens November 4, will do little to dispel Cumberbatch’s reputation as the go-to guy for super-brains. (As he’s quick to point out, he also enjoys playing “out-and-out dummies,” like the love-struck loser Little Charles in August: Osage County.)

Created in 1963, by the same Marvel team that concocted Spider-Man, Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is a world-famous neurosurgeon whose healing hands are ruined in a car accident. Desperate to regain his skills and the material luxuries they afford, he travels to the exotic city of Kamar-Taj, where he meets a guru known as the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton. Trained in the mystic arts, he is reborn, in Cumberbatch’s description, as “the primary sorcerer on earth and the defender of our realm against other-dimensional threats.”
So much for out-and-out dummies.

If his brainiac roles have defined him, he insists that’s just because those are “the characters that pop. They’re the characters that people are in awe of, because they’re a little bit beyond us.” He might as well be describing his own curious appeal: part Mr. Darcy, part cyborg. And yet he isn’t a drag. “Benedict is an extremely nice person to work with,” Swinton says. “Engaged, quick-witted, enthusiastic, kind and relaxed, up for a giggle and properly companionable on long days, self-sufficient, concentrated, yet chock-full of fun.” (Swinton’s casting has drawn accusations of whitewashing, since the character in the comics is an Asian man.)

Cumberbatch is no comic-book geek, though he has trod in fantastical realms before, as the genetically bred Khan (another superhuman!) in Star Trek into Darkness. When some journalists at a Star Trek event told him a few years ago that he’d make a perfect Doctor Strange, he replied, “Doctor What?” He was “lukewarm” about the material at first, thinking the comic too dated: 60s occultism meets Cold War science fiction meets Orientalist pulp. But it put him in the mind of his sojourning teenage self, reading The Tao of Physics and searching for “the godhead within.”


And so, last fall, Cumberbatch caught a plane to Kathmandu, two days after finishing his panic-causing run as Hamlet at London’s Barbican Centre. (Advance tickets sold out within hours, leaving salivating fans to line up down the street.) It was six months after the Nepalese earthquake that had killed more than 8,000 people, and his first time there since his misbegotten trek in the Himalayas. This time, he was the antithesis of a man lost in the wilderness, searching for signs of humanity—humanity would now find him whether he liked it or not.

The first few days, he and the cameras passed through the city unnoticed, thanks to Strange’s “desperate caveman” look: scraggly beard, shambolic clothes. “We did a lot of guerrilla stuff, just walking through markets,” Cumberbatch recalls. The day he arrived, he saw a riverside cremation. Shooting atop the Monkey Temple, he watched “30 Tibetan women wandering around the central stupa with the all-sensitive eye in the middle, dragging their hands on prayer wheels, muttering their puja, their prayers.” It was enchanted, peaceful. But then word got out, and the crew was ambushed by locals with cameras yelling, “Benedict! Benedict!”—or, more often, “Sherlock! Sherlock!”

“There were throngs of people,” recalls Chiwetel Ejiofor, his co-star in Doctor Strange and 12 Years a Slave. “I didn’t know that Sherlock was big in Kathmandu, but apparently I was wrong.”

At one point—preserved on YouTube—Cumberbatch stuck his bearded face out of a window overlooking Lalitpur’s Patan Durbar Square and waved to the crowds; shouts of “Say cheese!” are underscored by a distinctly female group wail.

Time ran the headline -


Actors’ Actor

Nothing from his upbringing suggested that his chosen craft would inspire this level of fanaticism. He grew up in Kensington, the only child of Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, both working actors who made careers in commercial theater and British sitcoms. (Timothy Carlton dropped the “Cumberbatch” from his stage name, thinking it too fussy. His son, after starting his career as Benedict Carlton, did the opposite, on advice from an agent.) Ventham, who has a daughter from a previous marriage, was a fixture on the science-fiction series UFO and the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses. She was a stunner. “Whenever they wanted a glamour girl or someone rather beautiful, they wheeled in Wanda,” says her longtime acquaintance Una Stubbs, who now plays Sherlock’s doddering landlady, Mrs. Hudson; Stubbs recalls running into Ventham on the street and gossiping as four-year-old Benedict tugged at his mother’s dress.

Through his parents, he observed the profession’s ups and downs: “I saw the fallow periods as much as I saw when they were ticking along nicely and getting work.” Dragged to see his mother in yet another chintzy Feydeau farce, he would sniff, “If I see another one of those, I’m going to have to disown you.”

Nevertheless, his parents worked doubly hard to send him to Harrow, the elite boarding school. (His paternal grandmother helped with tuition.) Harrow was “obscenely pampering and privileged,” he says—alumni include Cecil Beaton and Winston Churchill—and as the son of actors he didn’t always fit in among the peers and princes.

But his first two years there he landed two big Shakespearean roles, both female. “The first time I stepped onstage in front of an all-male public-school crowd was dressed up as queen of the fairies, Titania, with a Cleo Laine wig and a pineapple crown.”

Playing Rugby and cricket insulated him from taunts. But in his final years he dropped sports to focus on acting and painting; his classmates, he says, “presumed that because I was into art I was definitely gay.”

After his mind-opening pilgrimage east, he returned to study drama at the University of Manchester and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He worked at a steady clip, playing Stephen Hawking in a TV biopic and earning an Olivier nomination as Tesman in a West End production of Hedda Gabler. But he envisioned something bigger than his parents’ journeyman careers: “I wanted to do things that they didn’t get the chance to.”

Now that Sherlock has made that possible, he may not be long for the role. Having filmed Season Four, which premieres in January, he does not expect to return to the character “for the immediate future.” Sherlock made him a meme; The Imitation Game made him an A-lister; Doctor Strange may yet make him a mega-star.

Role with It

Because he resembles a sun-deprived habitué of the London Library, you wouldn’t peg Cumberbatch as a daredevil, but he has always gravitated toward the edge: motorbiking, skydiving. “He’s definitely a bit of an adrenaline junkie,” says his best friend, Adam Ackland, whom he met while working on the 2008 BBC drama The Last Enemy. (Their production company, SunnyMarch, is developing several Cumberbatch vehicles, including an adaptation of the 1939 suspense novel Rogue Male.)

Acting, for Cumberbatch, is another form of thrill-seeking, a way to scale Himalayan summits of the psyche. Hamlet was a kind of Everest, one he seems to have conquered. As the Telegraph critic wrote, “Cumberbatch admirers can take heart, his female devotees are entitled to swoon: in this trial of his acting strength, he emerges, unquestionably, victorious.”

To understand his taste for the extreme, you have to go back to 2004, to a near-death experience even more harrowing than his misadventure in the Himalayas. He was in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, filming the BBC mini-series To the Ends of the Earth, and went scuba-diving in Sodwana Bay with two of his co-stars, Theo Landey and Denise Black. As they were returning at night, along a stretch of highway notorious for carjackings, they pulled over with a flat tire. Six armed men jumped them and took their cell phones and credit cards, then forced them back into the car at gunpoint and drove. At one point, Cumberbatch was stuffed in the trunk. “Ben kicked and screamed blue-bloody murder,” Landey recalls.
The robbers stopped under a bridge, where the actors were tied up with their own shoelaces, crouching execution-style. Convinced these were his last moments, Cumberbatch pleaded for his life. After several minutes of silence, he realized the men had left. The actors managed to untie themselves and wandered along the highway until they stumbled across some local women who lent them their phones to call for help.

Rather than retreating into himself, as some might after a trauma, Cumberbatch says the ordeal only intensified his lust for adventure. “I was definitely more impatient to live a life less ordinary,” he says. “I wanted to swim in the sea that I saw the next morning. If you feel you’re going to die, you don’t think you’re going to have all those sensations again—a cold beer, a cigarette, the feel of sun on your skin. All those hit you as firsts again. It is, in a way, a new beginning. But we were on our way back from the first weekend of a scuba-diving training course, so it wasn’t as if I was insular before that. I think it just made me run at it a bit more recklessly.”

The past two years have tempered, or perhaps transmuted, his need for adrenaline. When I ask where he wants to find his next thrill, he says, “It’s a sappy answer, but the truth is I want to seek some thrills at home.” He met Hunter almost two decades ago, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but it took them years to get together. After a courtship that they miraculously managed to keep out of the tabloids, they married Valentine’s Day 2015 on the Isle of Wight. Hunter was pregnant with Kit, who was born that June, two weeks before Cumberbatch began rehearsals for Hamlet. He has since given up motorbiking, to say nothing of jumping out of airplanes.

“Having a baby—it’s massive,” he says. “And on a very unexpected level. Suddenly I understood my parents much more profoundly than I ever had before.” Fatherhood gave him counter-intuitive insight into the most challenging role in the theatrical canon. “I was expecting, with Hamlet, that it might be a hindrance to be a father, because it’s all about being a son. But it’s the opposite. You understand much more about being a son, becoming a father.”

Swinton says, “My fondest impression of him is as a new husband besotted by his girl, and a new father enchanted by his boy.” She doesn’t worry that fame will spoil him: “I think he knows that he wants—and has—a life first and foremost, that his life suits and nourishes him and that it makes the world go round.”

Speaking of which, Cumberbatch has to catch a plane—back to London for a few days, before a much-needed Italian holiday with Sophie and Kit. The sparrow is still flitting around the hotel lobby, suddenly alighting on the chair behind me. “Jesus Christ!,” I yell, embarrassingly startled. But Cumberbatch, unruffled, hops up from his chair, walks over to the terrace door, and props it open with a rubber wedge.

“That might give the bird a chance,” he says, backlit by sunlight.

It seems like a metaphor for something, but Cumberbatch is no trapped bird in need of rescue. Instead, it occurs to me, I’ve just witnessed a would-be meme, a Cumberbitch fantasy in the making.

Sometimes when I’m sad I picture a sleepless Benedict Cumberbatch freeing a tiny sparrow. Try it!

by Michael Schulman. Photographs by Jason Bell. Styled by Jessica Diehl. October 4, 2016 8:00 am (x)

Secrets, Spies, and Leather: The Masterful Espionage of ‘Velvet’

When the world’s greatest spy is assassinated, it’s up to his secretary to avenge his death and bring his killers to justice. Except the world’s greatest spy is the “secretary” because, of course, the real World’s Greatest Spy isn’t the world famous secret agent, but the operative who has been hiding in plain sight for years while dismantling nefarious criminal syndicates or saving the planet from nuclear annihilation. This is Velvet Templeton, agent of ARC-7. 

Such is the premise for Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s brilliant, bloody, and beautiful Velvet, whose final story arc (for now) has recently been collected in a lovely trade paperback entitled The Man Who Stole the World. Velvet could almost be thought of as the last James Bond picture. As in, James Bond dies and Moneypenny, who turns out to be an even better spy than James, goes off on her own violent and sexy adventure to avenge him. Obviously, such a premise could never happen on screen (or in comics due to copyright laws… existing) but the world of spy fiction does not stop with the legendary screen icon that is Bond. From Cold War thrillers to pulp novels to classic films like The Third Man or The 39 Steps, well-told spy stories permeate fiction and imbue it with excitement and style. 

That style has never been more remarkable than in the pages of Velvet. Of course Bond has his own signature style that has been a joy to behold for decades. But the best design and artistic choices in Bond films have not just been the great outfits or cool cars (it’s hard to make a tuxedo-clad Sean Connery driving an Aston Martin look bad). Rather, it was the production design contributions by visionaries like Ken Adam who, with his art, turned drab offices or interrogation rooms into screen iconography. Incidentally, it was Ken Adam who designed the shadowy War Room in the classic Dr. Strangelove. In the early Bond films, Adam was a master of accomplishing a great deal with very little. So does The Third Man, turning the sewers of Vienna into a labyrinthine living metaphor for the shadowy world of spycraft and the black market, as well as gorgeous cinema in its own right. The visuals of Velvet work the same astonishing miracle, transforming Cold War office buildings, parking garages, and the beiges and browns of 1970s fashion into breathtakingly beautiful art.  

The partnership of artist Steve Epting and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser, as seen in the above image, recreate 1970s Time Square (an unclean den of iniquity if there ever was one) into a glowing monument to car chases, nights in the city, and the unpredictable thrill of life as a spy. This sort of magic is summoned all throughout the series, as the events of the story (gracefully scripted by Ed Brubaker) are anything but magical or romantic. Trust is betrayed, hopes are dashed, and years-long friendships are destroyed amid broken bones and bullets, yet the art is so beautiful that the world is one the reader can’t help but want to spend time in. This sort of push-and-pull, the romance with both the aesthetic beauty and the ugliness of the action and setting, is one of the most singular aspects of Velvet. While Soviet Bloc architecture has never seemed more enchanting than when rendered by Epting and Breitweiser, the events that take place in those buildings are rife with piles of dead men and secrets. A wonderful setting for a story but not a pleasant place to physically spend time in.

The story itself is a suitably serpentine tale of backstabbing spycraft, with Brubaker’s plotting and second-to-none character development consistently engaging throughout. Many of the antagonists are current or former ARC-7 agents themselves, trying to do their job the best way they know how in the face of their superiors telling them Velvet, a much better agent than any of them, is a traitor (which she, of course, is not). Many of them are not any more or less virtuous than the KGB goons or ex-agents Velvet encounters. The most reprehensible actors are often Velvet’s superiors, people in charge of her safety and the security of her identity as a secret agent. This makes Velvet a woman apart from the world, unable to rely on her agency’s resources for help, and totally exposed to the perils of being a spy “out in the cold.” Even allies she enlists to help her are not really allies, more like people with the skill set she requires at that particular moment, people she happens to share common enemies with. These alliances are most interesting when they are particularly painful for Velvet, as sometimes she does have a shared history with these individuals, which comes with camaraderie and even affection. The world Brubaker builds is one in which spies can’t trust anyone, live a life devoid of roots, where they know by heart the time it takes to get from London’s Heathrow Airport to, say, a covert airfield in Prague via a land route that would eschew monitoring from any intelligence agencies. When such a person is presented with what, under any normal circumstances, would be a genuine relationship but could never be so because of the perpetual mistrust inherent in spycraft, the reader feels for the tragedy of that life. For Velvet to be so resourceful, to be cognizant of the world around her both in its grandest movements and in the most minute detail, yet unable to protect those she loves (or perhaps could love in the future), makes her a remarkably compelling character. Along the way she kicks bad guys in the face in leather catsuits and crashes cars and makes bureaucratic blowhards grit their teeth in blood-red rage, but these moments are all the more impactful because the reader roots for her to win so hard

But is it worth jumping in now that the series has come to a potential end point? Enthusiastically, yes. I am such a Brubaker/Epting/Breitweiser fan that I could not resist picking up Velvet issue by issue (frequently re-reading past issues to immerse myself back into the gorgeously cold Cold War story), but now readers have the opportunity to read the entire story at their leisure. With the final story arc, The Man Who Stole the World, the series comes to as satisfying and thrilling conclusion as readers could ever ask for. Even with all the blood, explosions, and existential angst Velvet contained in its 15-issue run, it ends on what might be the most optimistic note Ed Brubaker has ever written for a series conclusion. It’s exciting, fun, beautiful, and with believable characters who communicate in terse spy-speak so effortlessly cool, it’s impossible not to smile while reading. Any fans of spy fiction, Ed Brubaker, Cold War stories, or interesting comics in general owes it to themselves to read this comic. 


This wasn’t protocol. Martin had been briefed for the first time only last week, but he’d read the book cover to cover and he was certain that there wasn’t a situation written down which allowed them to summon one of the very creatures they were specifically trained to oppose.

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The Basics of Writing

I haven’t seen many posts of late that deal with the most basic aspects of writing. As such, I’ve decided to drag myself out from under the crushing workload of NaNoWriMo, University and what is the always hectic schedule of a freelance WriteDemon (*cough*hack*cough*) to sum up some of the most elementary parts of the writing process.

The most basic of the basics

In any good novel or story you’ll find, I think, four basic components and they are;

  1. Plot
  2. Structure
  3. Style
  4. Characters

Over the course of this post we’ll go into each of them in a little detail and I’ll provide you with resources where I can. Every good story, novel and, yes, poem that you read will have these elements.

  • The Green Mile- by Stephen King deals with the wrongful imprisonment of John Coffey with a fairly small but diverse cast of characters, a steady but retrospective structure and a style that I wouldn’t hesitate to call a “King-ian” style. Because, let us always be honest, Stephen King has mastered his own voice.
  • The Pedestrian- by Ray Bradbury is a short story and yet it too has a plot, more subtle, it’s true, and concerning the reliance of man on new technology but it is there. The structure is rather more rhythmic and tight, being a short story, and focuses on always moving the reader and the lone protagonist forward. As with King, Bradbury has his own style.
  • The Old Astronomer- by Sarah Williams is a poem which perfectly displays these elements. The story of an elderly scholar on his death bed, telling all to his assistant. It has a lyrical structure but one that, nonetheless, tells a story concerning the society in which it is set, not just of the two mentioned characters. 

Though these examples are limited, they explain the concept and I firmly believe that you get the idea. 

Plot; what, how and the LOCK system 

In the interests of starting at the very beginning;

The dictionary defines Plot as being “the series of events that make up the main body of a novel, play or film, presented by the writer in a sequence" 

A plot is easy enough to create; 

John lost his car keys and had to search for them. He searched the whole house and eventually found them in the freezer. 

This is a simple plot and a poor one at that, but it is a plot because, at it’s very base this is what a plot is; merely a series of events that follow from each other. Making a good plot, however, is much harder.

James Scott Bells LOCK system gives you a simple formula to make plotting a little easier and it goes like this;

Lead; your main character- they can be a ballet dancer or a lawyer but they have to be interesting! Give them flaws, perks and desires like any human being.

Objective; what does your lead want? A new job? To escape? To get married and have kids? In other words what’s pulling them through the story, what are they driving towards?

Confrontation; Put obstacles in their way, make it hard for them to get to their objective.

Knockout; tie it all together and give the people the knockout ending they want!

In other words have a character, drive them up a tall tree, pelt them with rocks and then help them get back down with or without broken bones!

This is, of course, basic but it’s as good a place to start as any.

Structure; basic, retrospective, clashing timelines and the George R.R. Martin

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Celebrities really suck, and here's why.

Before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I definitely enjoy movies, television shows, and music as much as everyone else. The actors, musicians, artists, and performers who contribute their time and energy to these aspects of popular culture are inarguably talented, and the content they create is (to put it simply) awesome. I’m not trying to undermine the value of their work by any means, and I’m not trying to put any of them down as individuals. This post isn’t intended to demean celebrities as people, it’s simply meant to express my confusion and frustration with the fact that most people voluntarily place themselves at a lower “tier” than a very small faction of the population for literally the worst reasons. It’s extremely unhealthy for both groups, and honestly needs to be changed. Hopefully, if anyone even reads this, I can sway at least one viewpoint on Hollywood. 

I don’t get the hype with celebrities. To say people put them on a pedestal is a huge understatement. The way they’re talked about and treated annoys the living hell out of me. These are human beings, and people act as if they’re demigods. Biologically and behaviorally speaking, they’re exactly like everyone else. The only difference is that they appear on TV or in magazines, etc. Because of this reason alone, society has literally placed a higher value on them than other “average” people. Their lives matter more than yours or mine, and I think that’s complete bullshit.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, look at the Paul Walker crash. There was another living, breathing human being in the car who was killed in the exact same way. Can you tell me his name? I highly doubt it. Where are his thousands of tweets and Facebook posts? And if you’re thinking that the only reason for this was because Paul Walker was an actor and therefore was widely known, then why were there shockingly more posts after his death than after Nelson Mandela’s?? The latter literally changed lives, and some people didn’t even know who he was, nor did they care. Paul Walker was good-looking, rich, and appeared in movies that lots of people watched. People who had never met the man acted as if they had lost a lifelong friend. I can’t even tell you how many posts I saw that mentioned how great of a guy he was. How do you even know? You never knew him. He might have been the best person ever, but you have no basis to say that since you’ve only seen him in interviews or in movies. The line has been sufficiently blurred between the persona an actor takes on in movies, television, etc. and their real identity as an individual. 

Does anybody realize that by placing so much value on these people, you’re giving them immense amounts of power over you? By making Kim Kardashian famous for literally just being good looking and rich, you’re doing nothing but solidifying the idea that people who meet certain standards of beauty or who have huge amounts of money are actually worth more as human beings. The average young adult could tell you more about Josh Hutcherson’s life than they could about the bills being passed in Congress right now. People have stopped caring about relevant things because everywhere they go, they’re bombarded with the idea that the only thing that matters is being rich and beautiful. People are so enamored with trivial things that they can’t be bothered to think about things that genuinely matter. We’ve developed a shallowness and vapidness as a society that Huxley would scoff at.

How many of you could tell me who wrote Game of Thrones, Marvel Comics, etc? A number of you could name those people easily, but the vast majority of people enjoying these stories give no notice to those who actually created them. There are no t-shirts or posters of JRR Tolkien, Gene Roddenberry, Stan Lee, or George R.R. Martin.. However, I could find five websites in under a minute that have pictures of Chris Evans shirtless. If him and Stan Lee were standing in a room, people would be flocking to take pictures with Chris Evans and would be competing to get a chance to talk with him about how much they “loved Captain America” while completely ignoring the brilliant mind responsible for creating the character in the first place. 

People who are good looking are better than you are because society has made it that way. Hardly anybody cares who wrote the stories they love, they care about who looks good acting them out. We’ve placed creators underneath actors, and that’s baffling to me. 

Why do people wait for hours outside of Justin Bieber’s tour bus in hopes of even getting a glimpse of the guy? Is he really so high above you that you’re willing to waste huge portions of your time in order to hopefully get even a millisecond of his? Why do young girls make Twitter pages dedicated to the guys in One Direction and post tweets begging them to follow back? It’s just degrading and humiliating, to be honest. You don’t know anything about these people. You just like them because they were fortunate enough to get good genetics and a record deal, and those are no reasons to literally grovel for them to tweet you back. 

On top of this, famous people are scrutinized relentlessly. Being famous both adds and, in my opinion at least, severely detracts from their quality of life. Those who fall into this category can hardly leave the house without the Paparazzi in their face or fans flocking to them for autographs. I’m sure Emma Watson doesn’t appreciate going to the grocery store in sweat pants and then seeing a picture of her show up in the next issue of People magazine under some ridiculous caption like “Is Emma Watson Letting Herself Go?” Why are we so fascinated with everything these people do? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with learning about the world we’re living in than we are with finding out who’s dating who in Hollywood? Why should pictures of celebrity weddings sell for thousands of dollars? Why are we, as average citizens, surrendering our own value by placing so much more on celebrities? 

This close attention gets especially harmful when these people (emphasis on the fact that they’re people) make a mistake. They mess up once (as human beings are wont to do) and suddenly it’s front page news and the world is analyzing every detail of what they did. They have to sit there helplessly while thousands of strangers make horrible comments and pass judgement, sometimes even going so far as to blame them for being a “bad influence.”

Take Dylan Sprouse for example. So he took naked pictures and sent them to someone. I hate to break it to you, but tons of people do that literally every day. Why is it such a big deal when he does it? The guy’s what, over 20 years old? Who are you to judge him and to blame him for “being a bad role model” for your kids?? Why don’t *you* be a good role model for your kids instead of putting that responsibility in the hands of a stranger who happened to be on a TV show they liked? “But since he’s famous and popular with a particular demographic, he should know that his actions are judged more heavily than those of an average person and should act accordingly,” you might say. That’s the most bullshit rebuttal I’ve ever heard, no offense. Because he enjoys acting and was successful in Hollywood, he now owes it to you to be on his best behavior at all times since your kids look up to him? The entitlement in that argument is baffling, and yet I’ve heard it so many times. You should teach your child that television stars are just people. You should also teach them that one should choose who to emulate based on qualities that are more important than just looks and fame. I’m sure Dylan Sprouse would probably agree, as would all of the other “horrible Disney stars” that got older and did things that older people tend to do. How dare they?

I don’t know about you, but when I eventually/maybe have kids, I’m going to make sure they understand that people in Hollywood are human beings, just like us, and are therefore no better than us. I’m going to do my damnedest to teach them that there are much more important things to value in yourself and others than just looks. I’m going to teach them that there’s a difference between a character someone plays and that person’s real identity. I’m going to do my best to get them to see the value of literature, of learning about the world, and of caring about things that matter in the grand scheme of things. I want them to know who Nelson Mandela was and why it was such a tragedy that he passed away. I want them to know to model their behavior after the behavior of people they *actually* know. I hope that they would get more excited about Neil DeGrasse Tyson following them on Twitter than Miley Cyrus, for the reason that maybe they could discuss ideas with the former and learn something from him. 

I just feel like this obsession with celebrities is distracting and is one of the factors that’s “dumbing down” society. It’s created this barrier between the “average” person and famous people, and has made people okay with the idea of placing themselves beneath someone else. If young people looked up to teachers, parents, politicians, or authors the same way they look up to celebrities, our country would be in a completely different place and our generation wouldn’t have the reputation that it does.

Obviously I can’t do much to change the situation, but if anyone actually read this and understands where I’m coming from, then that’s good enough for me.

My thoughts during Teen Wolf 5x11

It has been WAY too long since 5x10 and I was not emotionally prepared for what I went through this night.

  1. Thank GOD you’re back Teen Wolf!!
  2. Seriously, I sat on my ass watching the last 2 episodes to refresh it’s been so damn long
  3. Oh god, why is Lydia wading in the water under the MURDER BRIDGE
  4. That thing has TERRIBLE JUJU
  11. Ooooooooooooo Canima Tracy!!!!!
  12. Woooooooooo!!!
  13. WOAH
  16. Weeeellllllllll FUCK
  17. I miss Kira
  18. Is Kira gonna come back and play soon?
  20. SAVE HIM
  22. Damn Scott
  23. That looks like it hurts…almost as much as BEING IN A FIGHT WITH YOUR SOUL-BRO STILES
  27. There should be some kind of “Stiles Sense” to warn the pack of any pain the prince may be in so that they may go to his side
  28. Ummmmmmmmm…….Parrish these Lydia sex dreams need to stop
  30. IN A CAR?!
  31. You were having a creepy shower sex dream WHILE YOU WERE DRIVING?!
  36. OH MY GOD
  37. NO
  39. I REFUSE
  41. There are several characters that are not allowed to die
  43. So was Allison…….AND I AM NEVER GONNA LET THAT GO
  44. Liam…
  45. Thank God Snowflake to the rescue AGAIN
  46. Snowflake is the true hero of this story
  47. I’d follow Snowflake into battle
  48. OH SHIT
  49. Liam doesn’t know Hayden rose again
  51. Oh this is gonna fuck me up emotionally isn’t it
  52. Dude…Scott…let your mom check that out
  54. OH NO
  58. Awwwwwwww Lydia’s mom
  59. STILES!
  60. WOAH
  61. Why is Mama Martin blaming Stiles?!?!
  63. Of this list of people who need to be allowed in the room right now Stiles is at the TOP
  67. “He’ll come to me” ……..THAT. IS. NOT. A. GOOD. THING. STILES.
  69. Satan himself has arrived…..and he can step over mountain ash…FUCK
  70. Wait, Lydia’s mom is sending her to Eichen House!?!
  71. Literally the LAST place you should be sending ANYONE
  72. Yeah Thea, evil villain monologue your heart out
  73. Tell us everything you know you stupid little toenail
  74. “Ok, let’s find the Nemeton” -because it’s that easy Liam
  77. “What about his heart?” WHAT HEART?!?!
  78. I REALLY don’t like Stiles’s lack of Jeep mojo
  79. #BringBackRoscoe
  80. Stiles locking Scott out of the car is the closest we have come to sass between the two in SO LONG AND IT HURTS
  83. “We could just make a copy of-” *RIP*
  84. Snowflake bless your too pure for this world heart
  85. How offended he was when Liam defaced that book spoke to me on a spiritual level
  86. MALIA!!! Oh how I have missed you too!
  87. It hurts me inside that Stiles is on bad terms with everyone he cares about
  88. Ok so wait, who is this kid running from the doctors?
  89. I mean…same, kid, same….but I have no idea who you are
  90. “There were like 800 extenuating circumstances” -bless your eloquent comforting Snowflake
  92. The next time someone can’t find something, I am going to tell them it’s cause they’re looking with their human eyes…..see how quickly I can lose all my friends
  93. Ahh yes, the tree stump garnished with corpses…always a treat
  94. Awwwwww Malia
  95. “Yeah we kind of broke up too” OH MY GOD
  96. Just rooting around the roots covered in corpses….SHIT
  99. HAYDEN WHY!?!?
  101. Oh….oh god
  102. That had better not be what I think it is
  105. “You still got me” NOBODY TOUCH ME
  106. Annnnnnnnnnnd it’s time to run
  107. That clicking sound is going to haunt my nightmares
  108. Scott and Malia are possibly sacrificing themselves for Stiles’s dad and I just……*SOBS*
  109. OH FUCK YES
  112. WOAH…new kid…that is some Wolverine style nasty ass shit
  113. Hmmmmmm……your name shall be Zombie Wolverine
  118. HE’S OK!!
  123. My roommates are in the other room
  124. They can hear me
  125. I don’t even care anymore cause PAPA STILINSKI IS OK
  126. Oh crap
  128. Ewwwww don’t…don’t put your finger in his shimmery body mercury Theo that’s fucking gross
  131. Oh fuck that’s right they went to go get Lydia
  134. Canima Tracy!! I want to hate you but you’re so badass I can’t
  140. Wait…IT’S OVER?!
  141. GOD DAMN IT
  144. So, is it wrong that during the season promo, the two images that had me freaking out were Coach’s return……and THE RETURN OF THE JEEP
  145. I guess I’ll just have to continue to sit on my ass and watch this new show…for TWO HOURS?!!?! Jesus that’s a long time.
  146. I mean….Imma do it…but still…..

Until next time…

Dark Marks AU: Dean O’Gorman - The Book Keeper 

Dean O’Gorman was born in Montauban, France, in 1950. He was the second son of English muggles, who’d retreated to the French countryside after their home of Coventry was left in ruins following the Blitz of World War II.

He was an incredibly sweet child, the fair sky born to contrast the burning fire of his older brother, Luke. For where Luke was boisterous and loud, Dean was more reserved, more grounded; thinking before acting while Luke just barrelled onwards recklessly. He was patiently selfless, the imbuement of all things good and honest.

When Luke received his letter, the shock in their household was enormous. Dean’s parents, still shaking from the memories of the Second Great War, were hesitant, almost reluctant to let Luke attend. But Luke had always blazed far brighter than any of them, and they would never dare put out his flame.

Magic fascinated Dean, he was enthralled and enchanted by it; and for two long years after Luke’s departure, he had to wait in the clawing hope that perhaps he would get to go too. For Luke and he shared different fathers, Luke’s own having died in a car accident when he was less than a year old, and it would be the first drop in the string of bad luck in Dean’s life that he’d be left behind a muggle as Luke lived his dream. Luke had no such doubts, and would hold Dean’s hand as they sat under the duvet during his holidays and tell him about all the things he’d learned.

Beauxbatons was everything Dean had dreamed it would be and more, the chateau filled with sparkling light and magic whispering through its halls. He excelled in charms, the strain of magic so full of the wonder Dean had always dreamed of. But Dean was perceptive, and he was not naive. He threw himself into the art of learning defensive magic as if he could sense the dark cloud that was headed their way.

Dean was ambitious, but had always found himself slightly lost in the world. Where magic had been his comfort through school, when it was over, he floundered, unsure what to do with his gift when his world had been structured around dreams he could not fulfil. He’d had distant dreams of becoming working with dragons, or travelling the world and having adventures, but there was always something holding him back. Some tether that he could not bring himself to break. He wondered if it was cowardice, if it was seeing the shadows of ghosts in his parents’ eyes that stilled his feet and tied his heart to their home.

It was a broken letter that shattered everything.

Luke had left for England in 1967, while Dean was still in his final year. He’d received an offer to train to become an Auror in the British Ministry, and Dean could not help the seeds of envy that his departure had planted. Their relationship became somewhat strained for several years, as Dean remained at home and lamented the discourse of his own life. But when the letter came, a scrawl that spoke of shaking hands and stains of splattered tears, it was like his whole world became rent in two. The fear he’d always held for himself had come to light and it devastated him that it had befallen Luke instead.

He hated that it was the spark the fuel in his heart had been waiting for.

He packed his bags almost immediately, fought with his parents intensely, before leaving to London to take up in Luke’s old flat and join the search. Luke had been officially declared missing, but Dean read the papers and knew of the war that had begun to rage in Britain. He knew that hope was potentially futile, but he could not bring himself to believe that Luke’s flare could have been snuffed out.

His parents cut him off, destroyed by the loss of both their sons and with so much fear in their hearts it was easier for them to turn away from the pain and live their lives in dark denial. They hoped it would bring Dean home, that he’d have no choice but to return to them. But Dean was more resourceful than even he himself believed, more courageous than he ever thought he could be. Luke’s landlord, Martin Flourish, offered him a job in his store, and strapped for cash and with nowhere to go, he accepted, and steadily settled into life in London. He identified himself as a half-blood, when the need arose - Martin having friends in high places who were able to forge fake papers for him - and for the first few months he traced every step of the investigation, hunted down every lead so he could see for himself the spot where it ran cold.

He became cunning, almost; his gentle nature slowly twisting as despair run amok and he watched as the streets grew ever darker and the anarchy began to rise. But eventually he grew tired, the investigation halting and his own life descending into a rut of dusty books and boredom. He was weary of the darkness in the world, and he wondered what goodness there could be possibly be left to find. He resented that his life had been fated in such a way; that he would forever remain a secondary character in his own story; a tale marked by tragedy and moments of insignificance. And as the constant smokescreen surrounding the attacks in London grew ever thicker, and Dean found himself just as lost as he had always been.

Edit made by the wonderful @damnitfili

Ok a few people have asked for my thoughts in the WWII stuff in No Sanctuary, so I’m throwing this out there. It’s a mess so don’t take anything too seriously. It’s just my mind and the fact that my mind is daft.

So I’ve had some thoughts and theories knocking around in my head for a while since the premier and charityowens post on the cross symbolism inspired me to share. This isn’t a meta, it’s just speculation based on the very obvious WWII and Holocaust themes we saw 5x01.

I’m going to put this under a read more and also provide a trigger warning. World War II and the atrocities committed in and out of the camps are extremely disturbing subjects and I really don’t want to upset anyone. 

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