Thursday, December 18, 2014

Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible 20th anniversary gig

On Tuesday I went to go see the Manics perform, in it's entirety, for the first time, their most accomplished album, The Holy Bible.

I've been a fan for 20 years.  Some of these songs have never been played before.  This is the one thing I've been looking forward to since my son died.

They were good.   They played very well.  I was too short to see much of them on stage but I'm always too short to see much of them on stage.  They noodled a lot.  They are different musicians to their 20 years younger selves and so they played the music differently.  It was good.  I got emotional, of course I did, it's a Manics gig, I've had a pretty shit 6 and a half months and I'm a cliche.  But!  For a few seconds, for a little while, I forgot my troubles.  I felt OK enjoying the gig. I felt OK being out.  I didn't feel guilty.  This was the first time since June that I have been in such a big crowded environment and it didn't freak me out.  That's good.  I also started signing to 4st 7lbs and This is Yesterday.  I haven't really voluntarily and unconsciously signed since June.

They did 2 sets. The first was the Holy Bible in full.  Then there was a 10 minute break and then they did a mix of hits, songs from Futurology and rarely played.  And a little bit of Last Christmas of course.

I wore a leopard print skirt and a DC Roller Derby girls vest:
No one commented on my vest.  There's a distressing low number of comic fans out there.  Or maybe there were lots and they all thought I was a fake geek girl (ha!).

I didn't come out of the gig feeling elated and buzzing.  Of course I didn't, I imagine it will be a long time before I feel elated and buzzing again. But, I am glad I went.  I'm grateful for the chance to be there and I'm grateful for how I could forget my troubles for just a short while.

I recommend you go listen to the Holy Bible now.  There are various playlists on youtube, this is one of them:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wonder Woman Wednesday

I'm just going to provide a link here, to an amazing group of Wondy cosplayers doing Nubia, Artemis, Kingdom Come Di, Donna Troy and Cheetah.

Go visit this page:

You won't regret it!

Here's a picture of Nubia if you aren't sure who she is:
That's from Final Crisis 7.

Monday, December 08, 2014

A little trip to Lille

I went to Lille with work a few weeks ago and I took photos.

Lille is a strange little city. It's grey and concrete and a little bit grotty, but nonetheless has a certain charm to it that makes me rather quite like it.  I didn't get to see much of it because I was there at a work conference.  We stayed int he world's shittest hotel - it smelt of smoke, it was noisy, the temperature control was just bizzare and the sliding door to the bathroom broke so I had to really struggle with pushing it open and closed.  The shower was a tray with a curtain and at the end of each shower the floor was sodden with pools of water.  When I arrived I found this delightful towel on the bed:

It doesn't make up for the shitty hotel.  We went out to a cafe for the breakfast each morning - croissants and coffee - which was alright.  The second morning I got some street harassment - it was 7.30 am and a bloke in his 20s/30s starts walking beside me and asking me questions.  Fuck off.  I thought he was going to follow us into the cafe at one point, but thankfully he didn't.

The conference had some good stuff:

Mmmm delicious French pastries.
Artisan lemonade.  They also had pink and yellow stuff.  It was tasty.

Being so close to Belgium there was good beer:

And food baked in beer:
This was the sweetest stewed beef I had ever tasted.

We also briefly visited the Christmas market before we left:

It sold tat.  Made up gifts that only exist to fill the consumerist clamouring in our capitalist souls.  I didn't buy anything.

There was this ferris wheel.  If you look closely you can see that the cars are painte dliek Christmas puddings:

I read Raising Steam while I was there.  This page reminded me that the romantic relationships I want in fiction are those where the couple has been together several years and are comfortable with each other and still deeply in love, but also have lives outside of the relationship:

In summary, if you can visit Lille, do it.  Also read Raising Steam.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Crafty stuff

A month or so back I wrote about how I wanted to start making things.  I could link to the post but i can't be arsed.  Anyway, I made things.

First of all, I made reusable wrapping paper out of cotton fabric and a ribbon.  Et voila:

It's an elephant print fabric with a cow print ribbon.  Because I like mixing up animals.  Or more likely because I'm shit at finding matching things.  It's a rectangular shape.  I'm quite aware that the wrapping paper clashes horribly with the duvet cover.  I don't care, I couldn't be arsed to find somewhere else to photograph it.

Here's a close up of it:

Neat huh?  I had a friend help me do it.  It was pretty simple.  It involved folding over the edges twice (twice! who'da thunk it!), pinning them, ironing them them using the sewing machine to hem it.

Example of my hemming.  I can't work out how to rotate the picture.

There was a fancy technique to do the corners so they didn't end up really large and bumpy.  This technique involved cutting triangles out of part of the corners but I can't remember what it's called or exactly what we did.

The corners where the sewing machine was going over the folded fabric from the side of the folded bit worked fine.  The other corners where you run the sewing machine over the edge of the folded fabric didn't work so well as it bunched up, which you can sort of see here:
 Sewing the ribbon was also pretty easy.

It's quite a large piece of fabric so will wrap many things.  If you wrap a small thing you can use hairbands to tie the ends of the fabric into a cracker shape, which was an unexpected bonus.
I want to make a shirt out of this fabric but I am told that shirts are really difficult because of boobs and shoulders and backs and waists.  Bummer.

I also made a double sided apron for my niece:

This involved lots of measuring and cutting out of material and wooden spoons to turn tubes of straps inside out.  And lots of ironing.
We opted for velcro for the neck strap and the waist bands so she can have fun and control over taking it on and off.

I had to hand stitch some off the velcro for the waistband on and I am terrible at handstitching because I have no patience.  See:

Eek.  On the plus side, my niece is 2 and a half so she won't care about the quality of stitching.

And that is me getting crafty.  In the new year my friend is going to teach me how to make a skirt.  I want to make a Captain Marvel one.  Blue with a yellow star and some red stripes on.  I want a gathered skirt a bit like this but maybe rounder.  No idea how easy that is to make though.  I shall wait for advice from my friend.  Or just do whatever pattern my friend comes up with.  We are both in agreement that A line skirts suit nobody.  My friend is a great teacher and I'm really grateful for her help (thank you Christina!) because I would have had no idea how to even make an apron (turns out they are really simple) without her guidance.  And now I feel (sort of) comfortable with my sewing machine.

I still want a Captain Marvel dress, a bit like this one but with sleeves.  Maybe in a year or so when I am more skilled.  Or maybe I should buy a base blue dress and customise it myself.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

December can do one

Being in town with all the Christmas stuff and the shoppers is so stifling.  It puts me on edge and sets my mind working overtime and it's horrible.  I feel like I'm quelling the start of a panic attack.  I can't think, I can't browse for shopping, I can't do anything that's not pre-planned.  Even the pre-planned stuff is difficult.

I finally put something on facebook requesting no christmas cards or presents and asking that instead people to Sands, which is a stillbirth and neonatal death charity providing support to bereaved families and has been a lifeline to me.holi

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Comics of the last week in November

Spoilers ahead for this lot:
Supergirl 36
It's the new creative arc and lo and behold I actually enjoyed it. This is a good writing team. Art was OK - the first panel was a boobs and butt pose which isn't great, obvs, but the rest was OK. Kara gets full armour and it looks better than the unitard.
The comic opens with Kara working in a coffee shop, frustrated with earth tech (till machines) and a bearded Clark turns up and lectures her. I liked Kara in these scenes. She felt real.

Then she gets whisked to space and introduction d to the crucible academy. This wasn't bad. Nice to see Maxima there. I hope we get to see her back on earth though.

Aquaman 36.
I dip in and out of this title. I bought this one for for the Lego cover (also got the Lego Supergirl cover). It's a strong issue. Good plotting, good writing and good art. I like Mera's catsuit.

Batgirl 35
This is the new creative team.  It's really, really good.  I will be putting this on my pull list.  Black Canary is in it (winner).  The art is kinda reminiscent of the art from Archie/Betty/Veronica type stories.  C'est triple good.

Batman/Superman 16
I got really edgy and grumpy while reading this.  It's a tense story with really touching moments.

Multiversity 3 (4)?
These are all numbered 1 on the cover, it's confusing.  (woe is me, ect ect).  This issue had watchmen, Midnighter and marvel references.  I preferred the previous issue, it made more sense.  Then again, this is Morrison and he's not interested in writing linear easy to understand stories.  I'm sure that as a whole it will all come together.

Sensation Comics 4
Ugh, just check out the boobs and butt pose on the cover it is horrible.  It would be nice if she wasn't twisted so much.  It looks like it's aping Adam Hughes, but for all his faults he doesn't usually create spine twisters.
Inside the comic is much better.  Gilbert Hernandez's Wondy, Supergirl and Mary Marvel art make for a very enjoyable alternative story.  I'm not sure I have a view on the plot or characterisation - it;s maybe rather stilted, but perhaps that's the point - but the art makes it worth reading.
The 50ft Wondy story is quite nice, with a bit of cheeky gender bending at the end.  The final story also has good art and fat Etta - always worthwhile.

Harley Quinn 12
Good fun. Harley has a red and black Peej outfit on.  I bet we'll start seeing that at cons soon.  Peej has named Harls her sidekick and they fight a giant pizza slice then visit Manos, bearer of the infinity rings.

Jonah Hex new 52 volume 2
I'm halfway through this and it's OK so far.  I'm not a big fan of Westerns hence why it's only OK.  I would quite like to read the issues when Jonah gets plumped forward to the present day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Wonder Woman Wednesday

Another one that I can't find a source for.
I like it because Diana is skinny, and because she looks a bit Asian.  I like the simple style of the costume and I like the look in her eyes.  Like she's sizing you up to see if you are worth anything.