Friday, January 30, 2009

If men were objectified too (NSFW)

In my last post I mentioned that I'd found a delightful underwear catalogue for men. It's not quite an underwear catalogue but still serves my point. Oh and it's real. Visit the website here.
Seriously Not Safe For Work.

What the fuck? They look ridiculous, both the men and the pants. Yet it's a pretty accurate conversion of a lot of women's pants to the male equivalent. And the female equivalent is accepted as normal.
If men were really objectified (in the mainstream comics) to the same extent that women are, they'd be wearing stuff like that. And posed in a similar fashion.

Esme Dodderidge's The New Gulliver looked at the role of women's clothes and their purposes in a western (American) culture. It's a pretty good women's press book about a bloke finding himself in a matriarchal world, and matriarchal in the same way we currently live in a patriarchal one. All of women's and men's role and assumptions and privilege is swapped.

Still listening to Geneva - Further It really is a supremely well crafted album. If they had been around 5 to 1o years later, so 2002/2003, they would probably have been huge. As it is they got swallowed by the Britpop cheeky monkey music and weren't. Far far better than Gene ever were. I must try to track down the second album now.

Comics reviews for the week of 22nd and 29th January 2009

First off, an apology. I am well aware that the writing contained in my last few posts has been fucking awful. I’m not concerned about the Smallville ones - they were only ever about me being filled with glee, but rather the attempt at commentary posts. I have been caught up with a feeling of needing to blog but not having the time to sit down and write a well thought out considered piece. I have been writing on auto pilot without articulating, even in my head, my feeling; without knowing why I’m worked up about something; without knowing what I want to say and without thinking through the subject or providing any sort of conclusion.

So, I’m going to try and rectify that, starting now with some comics reviews. And I’ll make the effort to take time out to think through a post first, rather than hamming something together and hitting publish.

Right, onto the comics thoughts. Spoilers ahead for:

Faces of Evil – Deathstroke
Supergirl 37: Faces of Evil – Superwoman
Harley Quinn – Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes (trade collection)
Superman 684: Faces of Evil – Parasite
Teen Titans 67: Faces of Evil – Brother Blood

And I have yet another bitch about how women are depicted in comics.
May I start off by saying what the fuck is up with the slug anti drugs advert on the back of EVERY one of my comics? *shudder* I hate slugs, I have this morbid screaming fear of them, and now they are invading my comics? Thanks, anti drugs groups of America, freak me out on a continual basis why don’t you. Not what I need.

Faces of Evil – Deathstroke
A Faces of Evil book that is actually about the villain. My god. Although I guess all the one shots are, right? This is the only one I picked up so I can’t compare what the other issues are like.
I loved this story. I learnt more about Slade, both about his abilities and his intentions and feelings surrounding those close to him. It turns out he really does care about Rose and doesn’t want her to turn into him. The nightmare scenes were genuinely creepy, especially Rose taking out her eye.
Rose has a resolve of steel doesn’t she? She’s so determined and single minded, and angry (I think I make the same observations every time I review her!). The fight between her and Slade was pretty damn cool, ‘whamp’ into a window indeed. She could really do with learning how to fight without her precog though. Maybe the TT writers will develop this? Yeah, as if. Is she even gonna go back to Teen Titans? I doubt it.

The upshot of this issue is that Slade breaks out of prison/hospital, decides that he is no longer going to be a gun for hire, and instead will mete out death to those he decides deserves it. This resembles a religious conversion, and while I think it will make him scarier, because there are no controls on him now, I think I prefer the old hireable Slade - just in it for the money. You won’t know where you stand with him no he’s got a jones on for exacting his own vengeance.
On the very last panel he adopts a new girl protégé – ‘someone I can care for, someone I can love’. Hmm. This seems to be a tired old plot line and not something I care for. We’ll see. I may not even end up buying any issues with Deathstroke in.

Lastly, the art. Done by Georges Jeanty, he who did some Buffy art. I am not a fan.

Does anyone know if there has ever been a Rose Wilson Ravager doll, and if there has been, where I would find it?

Supergirl 37: Faces of Evil – Superwoman
Oh this was good. And unlike the GA/BC and Booster Gold Faces of Evil issue, we did actually see a lot from Superwoman’s pov.
I don’t quite go along with the Superwoman as evil ploy though. She’s done evil things, but that doesn’t make her evil, and she’s being blackmailed by Lois’s dad. She comes across to me like someone who doesn’t have a choice, or who doesn’t feel as if she has a choice, which comes down to the same thing when looking at consequences and actions. I’m not concerned about guessing who Superwoman is, I’m happy to wait and let it be revealed. I’ve read some guesses as to it being Linda Danvers, which I reckon is completely wrong. This woman is too tall. I know, I know, characters can be drawn in any manner, but I’d expect at least some continuity, especially when the plots are leaving clues left right and centre. I also don’t hold with Linda dressing up Kryptonian.
Anyway. Onto the good things of this issue.

I love how on New Krypton Superman’s suit and Kara’s cape doesn’t look out of place, doesn’t look odd. It helps me appreciate the reasoning behind Kal’s suit.*
The art. The pencils and colouring, particularly the colouring, juts look nice. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it fits well with the characters and the story.
An actual real supporting cast, with character traits and everything. Alura, though I may hate her, is 3 dimensional. Thara is very appealing and then there’s Alura’s snidey secretary.
Kara has been given shorts again. I wish they’d stick to that instead of occasionally giving her high cut pants (Final Crisis #6 for example).
Kara wears make up :D I‘m not sure why that pleases me so much, it just does.

I’m still not keen on Alura being mad and evil. And I’m having difficulty squaring Kara’s actions and feelings towards her mother, on an issue to issue basis.
Does anyone know what’s happened to Streaky whilst Kara is gallivanting about on New Krypton? Maybe Cassie took him in.

Overall this series is improving and will hopefully draw in more readers. The cover to the next issue is piercing.

Superman 684: Faces of Evil – Parasite
I don’t know much about the Parasite so this was interesting and we got to see a lot from his pov. The stuff with Mon-El was good.
The Guardian becoming head of the Metropolis Science Police was…commanding. I’m very intrigued by Nightwing and Flamebird meeting with Jay Garrick. If that becomes a regular thing I may have to start buying the Flash books.
Now Supes on New Krypton. I’m pretty sure that when Alura made New Krypton she banned Supes. So why is he visting and Alura not siccing the police on his ass? It’s almost like she’s invited him. Have I missed an issue somewhere? Can anyone confirm?
The art on the last few pages was particularly good, (pencils by Jesus Merino, colours by David Curiel). Kal’s shock at Alura releasing Zod, Ursa and Non and Alura’s own high and mightiness came across really really well.

Teen Titans 67: Faces of Evil – Brother Blood
Again, a lot told from Brother Blood’s pov. Some of this tied in with Reign in Hell, so I’ve started dithering about whether I should buy the mini. Anyone else read it? Is it good? Is there much Linda in it?
This issue was pretty standard Teen Titans fare – lots of characters and lots of fights – which in my eyes is a good thing. Kid Eternity and Misfit were good inclusions and Cassie took on her leadership role very well. She’s most definitely the boss. I’m excited about the next few issues as we get to find out who the new team members are.

Harley Quinn – Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes
Trade paperback collection of Harley Quinn issues 1 to 7.
This was fun. Having not read any Harley before I was surprised by the strong romance theme running through it. The stories were all fun, harley springs the Joker out of prison, he dumps her, she pairs up with Two Face, has a girly sleepover, meets the Female Furies, forms her own gang, gets a couple of hyenas, has a run in with the Riddler and meets Big Barda. The Big Barda issue ruled, very funny.

The art in this is pretty fantastic 95% of the time. The majority of it is done by Terry Dodson (pencils), Rachel Dodson (inks) and Alex Sinclair (colours) and they manage to convey a Harley who is innocent and playful. The only problems I have is with the blatant fan service shots, e.g. Harley is bent double displaying her ass, twisted to show ass and tits at the same time, or the two women at the girly sleepover who are wearing jack-all. Granted, those two might be established characters who have always dressed that way but by god it rankles.

It’s really not that difficult to imagine a universe where the women are human beings and not rendered in such a way that their *hot* bodies become the defining feature of them, overriding everything else. It’s the fact that there’s so little non sexualised stuff out there which is a problem. It implies that women only exist for men to look at, that they’ve always got to be pleasing to the male gaze, that no matter what else we do, being hot is the most important thing. No matter our other achievements, no matter our skills or character traits, we wil only be made visible if we're hot. We have no place in these stories unless we're hot.

I know I’ve said all this before, and I’m sure I’ll be saying it again. I’ll keep saying it until this all pervading atmosphere of hot hot women stops. Manhunter wasn’t sexualised, the Huntress mini wasn’t sexualised, even that new JLA line up, with Supergirl and Green Arrow in, that wasn’t sexualised. So I know it’s possible. It’s just gotta sift through the strata and the layers until I find the good stuff. And keep reminding myself that one day this crap will stop.

Which reminds me, I found a delightful underwear catalogue for men, which does exactly for men what has been done for women over the decades. Pictures will be posted.

This week I also bought Final Crisis #7, Final Crisis Revelations #5 and Green Arrow Showcase volume 1. As the FC titles are the last issues I plan to read the full series’ in one go and digest the story properly, then come back and squeak about it.
In regards to the Green Arrow Showcase volume, I am a total sucker and it'll probably mash my brain when I read it. 1950s and 1960s stories, 500 pages of madness. I shall be having a look on the 3 hour train journey to the boyfriend’s Dad’s place we are taking this weekend.

See you all in a few days when you get to read exciting updates concerning my spending patterns.

*I’m half assedly developing a theory that all superheroes suits make sense and aren’t ridiculous, with the exception of Batman’s.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Everybody's commenting on Elizabeth Bear

Gah, even the F Word and a Guardian columnist responding to a post from Elizabeth Bear here. Yonmei has also included some links. The first thing I noticed about Bear was on Seeking Avalon: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, amongst others.

Bear responded to Willow's open letter here. Oh god, some, well a lot of, the comments are stupid. Both on Bear's site and Willow's. I don't have much more to add on this, except that I think Willow had a lot of damn good points, and yes, I side with her in this argument. Me? Not so concise or with the ability to explain right now. Especially when dealing with the stupid people. Dear god, why are some people so deliberately fucking obstructive and stupid?

One other thing that I have noticed, and enjoy, is how stuff like this gets picked up around the internet. Why is Bidisha at the Guardian so slow to blog about it for instance? I wish I could see map of how posts get commented on and reacted to.

Russian round up

Of sorts. I haven't been able to do a proper comic post because I've been reading less JLE since my laptop was making odd noises and I just haven't had a chance to write thoughts about last week's comics, (which were very good incidentally, but more of that on another date). So, here is a pile of links which I have found interesting recently:

Russian Oligarch buys the Evening Standard. Oh and he's an ex KGB agent too. Hmm. How did this not get more coverage? This can't be a good thing, he's ex KGB - I'm assuming he has a rather dodgy set of ethics. Of course, he may have changed since he was a spy, but I doubt it, I don't think people can shed personalities, habits and values that easily. The BBC article reports that the paper will "establish a new editorial committee to "safeguard the principle of editorial independence". I wonder what that will actually mean?
Of course all this kerfuffle kind of presumes that the UK doesn't have it's own spies and has never acted immorally. Which is naive of me.

Stalin nearly gets named greatest Russian in a recent poll

So when I was shocked at this I knew I was naive. The issue here is that Stalin was in the lead early on and only narrowly missed winning, so the Communists have argued that the poll was rigged. I also think it's worth noting that Lenin came sixth. The named winners are:
1: Alexander Nevsky, a medieval warrior
2: Pyotr Stolypin, an early 20th Century Prime Minister
3: Stalin
4: Alexander Pushkin
6: Lenin
11: Catherine the Great

Now, I have no difficulty with accepting that the votes were rigged in order to get Putin approved personalities to win, especially in light of the view that Stolypin seems unlikely to be rather more loved than Stalin, Lenin or Pushkin.
What I do have a problem with is accepting that that many people do actually still love Stalin. He murdered millions. Surely the Russian population know this? How can it be swept under the carpet? I know he was responsible for industrialising the country, and he did modernise Russia and did bring it up to speed somewhat, but c'mon. The terror? The polarising of society? The completely avoidable famine? The wiping out of the kulaks? The mass murders? The paranoia, the insanity? The rewriting of history? How is he still revered within the popular imagination?

And this man received more votes than Lenin? Lenin who they still have on display in Red Square? Who incidentally is very waxy, and very very awesome. I thought Krushchev had successfully discredited Stalin, to the point where his cult of personality was dismantled and not to be retrieved again at later date. Obviously I was wrong and need to go back and research this some more.

On a brighter note, damn this girl works hard. She's British and has won herself a place at the Kirov Vaganova ballet school in St Petersburg. God she's dedicated. And brave.

Lastly, there's this article on how Russia needs a renewal of the feminist movement. I haven't read this yet but it looks like it could be interesting.

I wish I could go back to Russia. My plan is to save for a 2 week language holiday, stay with a Russian family somewhere outside of St Petersburg or Moscow. God it will be wonderful. But it will take a looong time to save, because I'm going to Japan first.
On the plus side this site gives prices and it's not too expensive. Minimum of 800 quid, in Novosibirsk. But 800 for two weeks, including lessons and accommodation, is, I think, very reasonable. I really want to go. :(

Currently listening to: Lots of 90s indie - Geneva, Marion and Ash. Ahh, wonderful times. A friend is getting rid of a bunch of CDs so I rifled through them first, came home with 40 odd.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Smallville SE08 Ep06 Prey and Ep07 Identity

Prey was rather good. the plot thickens around Chloe's new paramedic friend - I'm glad they are treating this as an ongoing thing and not a villain of the week.

But oh my, Identity, now that was gripping and very high calibre.

Lois gets mugged, she turns round and starts twatting the mugger. Oh but it's good to see the women fight back. Lana never did, because she's wet and the most ineffectual character ever. Chloe doesn't fight back because she knows Clark will save her. It wouldn't ever occur to Lois not to fight back, she's so proud and highly offended that someone would try to take her down.

Erica Durance is making a cracking Lois. This episode saw more of Clark and Lois showing their feelings, not to each other but at least we're getting there. In a universe where there won't be a caped Superman Lois needs to fall for Clark, as Clark.

Ollie was surprisingly Bruce like, what with the private jet, the boozing and the ladies. And then with the swinging down to save Jimmy, and the cape and mask. Very Bat like. It doesn't suit him. More Green Arrow costume please.

Jimmy shows intelligence in working out Clark's secret, and demonstrates investigative journalism, thank god one of the cast members is showing some intelligence. And now Lois knows about the good Samaritan, she's gotta figure out the secret soon and get with Clark, hasn't she?? Although I am very much enjoying their pre relationship sniping at each other. Lois putting Clark in his place when he comments on her dress for the date, I say, ha! take that possessive boy!

Lois does a fairly good job of going undercover too. And yet again, fights back when memory stealing guy pulls a gun on her. She is great! She's not the Lois of the comics, or the movies, she might be fluffy and sometimes superficial, but at the same time she's got guts, integrity, determination, honesty and brains. That's Lois all over. She's gonna get the first interview with Clark when he goes more public. And he will do now, cos he's seen what people need, he's seen what he can be, a symbol of hope and joy. And if Ollie in a crap cape can inspire that, think how people will react when they see Clark's range of powers.

Lastly, Clark made a crack about not mind wiping people. Y'hear that DC? Mindwiping people is NOT A GOOD THING FOR YOUR HEROES TO DO.
Except then Chloe did it. Nononononononononono. I'm shocked. I guess it shows more layers and depth to Chloe, previously she's just seemed light and cherry and unflappable. Now she's ruthless. It reminds me of that Buffy episode where Giles kills someone who threatens Buffy, knowing that Buffy will never kill someone and will never let him do so, even to protect her. So he does it, quietly and secretly.

I am so buying this series when it's on DVD. I am enthralled.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank god he's out

Article on The F Word detailing how Bush doesn't care for life, despite all he says.

The next administration can't be as bad surely?

Comics of the week 15th January 2009

Criminy. I just realised it’s Tuesday and if I don’t get hurry up and write something I’ll have two weeks worth to do. Eeep!

Spoilers ahead for Manhunter 38, Green Arrow and Black Canary 16, Action Comics 873, Booster Gold 16, Final Crisis 6, The Amazing Spiderman 583.
Manhunter 38
The final issue. I would feel sadder but I still don’t understand why we are suddenly in the future. So mostly I was confused and was hoping this issue would rectify my confusion. That aside, this was a pretty damn good issue. Actually scrap that this issue was bloody great.
It starts off slow, introducing us to everyone and letting us catch up on where they are in the future. Kate has had Dylan make her a mystery something, Ramsey is graduating that very same day, Dylan and Cam have separated and we meet Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett, Todd is trapped in Bones’ body (I don’t know why). Todd and Mrs Lovett are on a murder spree, of course and have commandeered a van.

After Ramsey’s graduation ceremony they all head back to the house for the party, which is where it gets stunningly cool. Todd and Lovett turn up and decide they want to eat all the fresh meat*. Then it seems nigh on everyone gets superpowers and start kick ass. Even those that don’t have superpowers join in the fight, clanging Mrs Lovett with something metal. There’s a giant man, Obsidian, Kate of course and Cam being all light filled and explody.
The whole set up, being all the family and friends fighting as one in their back yard against the bad guys, is just wonderful.
And finally we find out what the mystery something is – Kate got Dylan to make a Manhunter costumer for Ramsey and the issue ends with them going out on patrol.

Very good, great send off. 3 different artists, but I didn’t find that a problem.

* A far classier way of dealing with cannibalism than Marvel's recent effort. Which I nonetheless find amusing, because I have not sense of taste or decencyand have seen far too many 80s slasher flicks.

Green Arrow and Black Canary 16 – Faces of Evil issue: Merlyn.
I can’t help thinking that Merlyn should be spelled Maerlyn.
I thought the Faces of Evil issues would be told from the villain’s perspective? That ain’t happened. Part of the story was told from Merlyn’s POV, but most was business as usual.
I appreciate how on the cover Merlyn’s nose resembles an arrow. Clever, I thought.
The art in this was good. Clear and effective.
The story? Well I do like this ongoing, I am enjoying all the stories, but it has yet to feel like a GA and BC comic. It feels like a GA comic where Dinah is a supporting character. And that’s not right to me. It seems that very often Ollie is in the foreground, responding to the action, interacting with it, and Dinah is behind him, (often physically placed behind him, at least in this issue), awaiting his lead. She seems more static. I know she took the lead in contacting Oracle to get the info, but she then got shot and was out of the game. She could still scream surely? And when has getting shot stopped any other hero? It just seems like she’s not allowed to be in the thick of the action, and that disappoints me.

This issue also introduced us to a new woman who’s obsessed with Ollie. If their method of including Dinah more is by framing her in terms of the jealous girlfriend I will be so angry. I want to see Dinah kick some ass and win fights, without Ollie’s help.

Maybe I need to reread them all to get the big picture. I’ve been put off buying volume 1 of the ongoing because so far it’s only out in hardback and that’s bit pricey, but now I'm bored with waiting.

Action Comics 873 – Faces of Evil: Les Luthor
Again, not so much telling us the whole story from Lex’s POV.
This is the final part of the New Krypton saga. Aaaand I don’t know how I feel about it. I hate the treatment of Alura, I think it’s crappy and tacky. I would have preferred to see more of the magic fighters, but did love the depowering of the Kryptonians with ‘mazahs’. I’m not up to date with the Marvel family so don’t know where that came from, but I like it. I do like the New Krypton planet, particularly the panels where it was formed, but feel trepidation towards Kara’s decision to fly there. I can only hope that Kara is there to keep an eye on her mother. I’m gutted by Superwoman being evil but delighted by the return of Zod, Ursa, and the bug lump.

Booster Gold 16 – Faces of Evil: Enemy Ace
This was easily the best of the week’s purchases. Booster goes back in time to the second world war and is captured first by an American, who turns out to be Maxwell Lord’s granddad (or dad?), then by Enemy Ace.
I am not seeing how Enemy Ace is evil. OK so he fought on the side of the Germans, but he’s wasn’t shown as being a Nazi and he has honour and saved Booster and Mr Lord from torture. Not all German soldiers/airmen were Nazis, many would have wanted to fight for their country regardless of the specific political nature of their government, and I don’t see how this necessarily makes Enemy Ace any worse than an allied airman, except the fact that we won. Yes he shoots people and he did allow Cyrus to be tortured, but then again, it’s a war time situation. And I’m betting the allies also tortured their prisoners. And it’s a different time. I don’t approve of what was done, but I don’t think that makes the man evil.
I presume there’s some comic history to the character I’m not aware of.

This issue also saw Michelle and Skeets trying to locate Michael. I’m growing very fond of Michelle.

Final Crisis 6
Thank god Mary Marvel reverted back to human, that godawful outfit was hurting my eyes. I do not like Apokolipsian themed costume. Ollie is taken over by the anti life equation and Dinah fights to bring him out from it, it kinda looked like she was succeeding.
There is so much going on in this issue, it’s so dense. I can’t start to explain it, it’d take too long, so I’ll point you to Supergirl Comic Box Commentary for an in depth review.
Batman’s dead though. Hmmm.

The Amazing Spiderman 583
I buckled, I bought it because it’s the Obama commemorative issue. That back up story was daft. I did like the dating story though. But not enough to justify £2.90 on the comic! Was this issue more expensive than normal? Cos £3 for a comic is ludicrous.
Interestingly, the boyfriend, who hates American superhero comics, and American politics coverage, liked the Obama story. One of my friend’s who never reads comics also enjoyed the whole book.

This is a timely comic as not only is today Obama’s inauguration but also I got a late Christmas present on the weekend, of a Spiderman piggybank.

On the subject of inauguration, man am I glad he's been sworn in. I was half convinced he;'d be shot before he could take the oath. I have enjoyed Peter David's commentary.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Smallville SE08 Ep04 Instinct

Instinct was pretty standard Smallville fare, pretty enjoyable but not outstanding.
Clark and Lois' relationship is made kinda official, as Maxima explicitly states their attraction, that made me happy. Hopefully by the end of season 8 they will have got together? I'm enjoying Lois teaching Clark the ropes at the Daily Planet.

Less enjoyable is this show's obsession with the battle of the sexes, ugh. The comments always seem so forced. And Chloe, wanting Clark to give you away? Oh please, for a pretty independent woman can't you give yourself into a new relationship, rather than have Clark give you away? I know he's been your protector but you are way smarter than him now and will do just fine without him.

My hopes for this season:
That the Legion episode will be awesome.
That the League come back (and join up with the Legion?)
If the League can't come back and have a Justice episode, preferably as the final climax to the series ad Clark comes into his own, I definitely want to see more of the individual members.
Please make the character's relationships believable. I can see Clark and Lois. I could see Lois and Ollie. I can't see Chloe and Jimmy and I would like to have a chance to see Dinah and Ollie.
Please give us more of the pretty bird, she was wonderful.
Kara! Tough snotty proud Kara please!
Clark to fly. Oh yes. He's gotta fly. With Lois. Without a godawful poetry narration.

Holy Fuck

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have fallen by 70%. Shares in Lloyds TSB have fallen by 33%.

Fuck. I hope my bank doesn't go under, I don't want to lose my money.

Musings on female space vs male space on the radio

On, of all the places, radio 4's Just a Minute programme, today's show. It is very good incidentally.

Anyway they had a new contestant on today, Josie Long. Now I've never thought of the show as being a male space before today. Josie has not been on it before, and at one point, fairly early on, she interrupted because she hadn't had a chance to speak yet and wanted to say hello (her words). Historically many people on the show have interrupted because they want to get a word in and haven't managed to do it according to the rules of the game, and that's OK. Sometimes they are pretty arrogant about it, using it as a platform to show how funny they are (usually in that case they aren't), sometimes they are good and it works.

The way Josie did it was weird, she said she wanted to say hello, so she did, it made her sound like an outsider, like a spectator, not a contestant. Then she said she had made cakes and brought them in for people to eat. Which was where I went huh? She sounded so self effacing, and wanting to make friends with the others, and fit in, and very nice, but my god it sounded out of place.

The action of bringing in cakes, admittedly with a not-really-funny-at-all attempt to bribe the chairman or make sure the other panelists couldn't speak due to eating, framed her as being girly and female. She sounded like your pleasant middle class clad in pink mum who wanted to make sure all you're mates were comfortable when they came over but was actually just embarrassing and fussy.

And this sounded bad, and I don't think the other contestants liked it, in fact for the next 15 mins until she regained some credibility through playing the game, they sounded like they were humouring her, patronising her.

My impressions were that she'd created a female space and structure for herself on the show, which was at odds with the other contestants, and therefore they *must* be in a male space. I mean, there's only ever the gender binary right, one or the other??!! (sarcasm off)
It seems I still think in binary, which indicates how deeply ingrained the binary system is, in me, and I would hazard the majority of people.

I'd never thought of Just a Minute being male space before. They regularly have women on, so it's not the physical presence of the female sex, but how people use the show, how they interact with each other. It's full of ribbing and insults and badgering each other and sneaky attempts to gain more points. Roughhousing. Stuff we traditionally associate with men. Not the gentle caring supportive feelings we associate with women, which was the role I saw Josie putting herself into. A nurturing role, bringing in cakes and being all sweet about it. And I still have that impression even though she said she wanted to use it shut up the other contestants.

Why do I still have that impression? Is it because she wasn't an aggressive presence on the show? Is it because of the way the other (male) contestants interacted with her? Does this indicate that I value 'male' behaviour over 'female' behaviour? Actually the answer to that is yes. But that is because male behaviour is the default and encompasses a wide range of behaviours and attitudes. 'Female' behaviour covers a narrow range mostly concerning make up, pink , clothes, talking about boys and fretting about your weight, putting others first and putting yourself down. In actual fact, female behaviour covers just as much as male behaviour does, i.e. everything, it's just that we try and construct a little narrow box and condemn women for being un-ladylike when in reality they are just being human.

And that point of view can probably be applied to the radio show. Because Josie's behaviour was different to the norm, and because it involved baking I have labelled it female and therefore less worthy.

Or is that being friendly and supportive doesn't work in a game show setting? To answer that I'd have to listen to reams and reams of old shows and sit down and dissect the language and actions of everyone on it, taking into account the era.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Smallville S08Ep3 - Toxic. Letchy.

A Green Arrow Year 1 story. Nice. Lots of topless Justin Hartley, very nice. Yes I am a letch, but he is so damn hot.
Nice GA costume, good hood. We should have seen more of it though. We should also have seen more arrow shooting.
A plotline continuity complaint? Well, if he was on the island for 2 years you'd expect him to be more beardy. And raggedy in the hair department. Y'know, somewhat more like the Green Arrow Year 1 comic. But I guess they are going more for the teenage girl letches rather than the 28yr old-really-gotta-thing-for-beardy-men letches.

Also, it looks like Chloe is still being set up to be an Oracle type figure. But even more intelligent. now, lets just hope they don't shoot her or make her brain explode.

Back to the letch:

Smallville S08Ep 023 - Plastique

Super villain team up looming! Hurrah!
Clark in a white shirt? The first time in non Superman colours? Do not approve, looks weird.
And egads, whan Lois winked at him at the end I couldn't help but think of Sarah Palin. *shudder* That's better not ruin my enjoyment of Lois.

Later tonight will be episode 3.


I've found an easy to use streaming site for Smallville. See you all in 15 episodes..
(or untilI get restless and decide to do a comics review instead - either could happen).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

3 weeks of comics

I had a lot of stuff to pick up on Friday as I hadn't been to the shop since the week before Christmas. Unfortunately I have a cold so when reading the books didn't really take in a lot. I can't face re-reading them now as I feel worse than on Friday, and I can't face reviewing 20 odd in a week's time. So this will make for some pretty short and possibly odd reviews.

Spoilers ahead for: Superman & Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves 6, Superman 683, Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade 2, Teen Titans 66, Terror Titans 4, Buffy 21, Superman/Supergirl Maelstrom 4 and 5.
Superman & Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves 6 - can't remember much. When I re-read the whole mini I'll probably like it in a schlocky sort of way,

Superman 683 - I can't work out what the cover has to do with the story inside. A nice appearance by the JLA and the magic corps, and the art, especially the colours, is as ever lovely.

Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade 2 - Cute. Very very cute. And I've just noticed this is a mini. I've had it in my head it's an ongoing. Damnation. This deserves to be an ongoing.

Teen Titans 66 - Good. I'm disappointed those on the cover aren't necessarily gonna join the group.
Kara isn't gonna join
Speedy says she has to look after Ollie - In what sense? In the GA/BC book Mia has just gone to London, and at no point was she looking after Ollie
Bombshell I think will join under duress
I've never seen Traci13 before, but I gather she's the Blue Beetle's girlfriend - nice dialogue from Jaimie trying to convince her not to join
The Knight in Shining Armour or whatever she/he is called has taken offence to Red Devil (wonderful shot of Eddie legging it)
I can't remember about Klarion
Misfit def wants to join, please let her in!
Spoiler I was confused about what's she's doing
Lastly, Timmy is leaving the group :( But Cassie now gets to lead, hurrah! She's earned it and is now mature enough to handle it I think. Not so whiny now.

Terror Titans 4 - well the cover is wrong.
Rose's reflection in the sword doesn't match her actual hair.
I had been led to believe there would be more Terra in this one too. *scowls*

Buffy 21 - Did not like. At all.

Superman/Supergirl Maelstrom 4 and 5 - the conversations between the two of them worked very well. the set up, using Maelstrom and Kal's reasoning to get them to the red planet, didn't. I have mixed feelings about this mini which I won't be able to reconcile until I re-read it as a whole.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is Steph as girlRobin a gimmick?

And does it matter?

Disclaimer – I have only read Spoiler’s appearance in Robin and Birds of Prey. What I have to say relates to her appearances in Robin; however I would welcome feedback on her appearances in other titles.

I guess to answer this you’ve got to think about what a gimmick is, and then decide if gimmicks are a problem, and if so why.

The Oxford English dictionary* defines gimmick as:

A trick or device, especially to attract attention, publicity, or trade.

So I guess the decision at an editorial level to turn the Spoiler into Robin for a short period, was a gimmick. I wasn’t reading comics at the time, so I don’t know if the trick worked. Did they get more publicity from this? Did they get more sales? If anyone knows, please let me know, or if you know where I can find the info, please point me in the right direction.

I would imagine that sales may have spiked for a short period, and I imagine that it helped promote the Wars Games storyline. Steph was only Spoiler for a few (4? 6?) issues of Robin, so I am speculating that the intention of making her a girlRobin was to generate interest in the Bat clan comics and also to provide a lead in to War Games. As opposed to, say, generating (inter?)national publicity and awareness of both the DC and Batfamily brands, amongst the non comics community.

Of course, this is just speculation. DC may have wanted to raise their profile in non comic reading circles, but I can’t imagine having a girlRobin for just a few months would be a very effective way of doing so. Then again, were there any Batman movies or other media coming out at a similar time? Because that could have tied in quite well. I could research this myself but for two reasons: Firstly, I am writing this on a non internet enabled laptop. Secondly, my internet enabled pc is in the coldest room in the house and Norfolk is going through a very cold snap. I cannot stay in that room for too long, I don’t cope well with the cold. Damn Victorian draughty houses.

So. I am going to assume that Steph became girlRobin in order that a major event** could then happen. I am going to assume setting events up for War Games was more important than the wow! factor of having a female Robin.

Over the last year or so, since reading blogs like When Fangirls Attack, I have seen plenty of discussions about the treatment of Steph as girlRobin. How it was disgraceful, how it meant that DC didn’t give a stuff about their female fans, and how it demonstrates DC’s arrogance in thinking they can make a token gesture towards women readers and our desires. I’ve probably written similar posts myself.

But if you argue that the motivation for Steph-as-Robin was to set up War Games, and not to produce a girlRobin, then I think that the last two problems become irrelevant, in this context. If it was never about making it ok for girls to take on traditionally male roles, then I would imagine that what DC’s female fans wanted didn’t really figure at editorial/plotline meetings.

Which could be seen as a crushing disappointment - DC don’t care about us. Well, no, I’m not convinced the female demographic is who DC want to court. They have had some stunningly great not- sexist books out last year, but I think that’s more to do with them hiring decent artists and writers, and not specifying that boobs need to be the focus of every panel. In other words, they’ve focused more on producing good stories than on producing porn-lite. Which is as it should be. Do good stories and the fangirls will cometh. As will the fanboys.

Anyway, back to the point. Was Steph’s treatment as girlRobin shoddy? Did it show disrespect for the character (and by proxy, her female fans). In my really-not-humble opinion, to work out if she was disrespected and treated in a sexist manner we would have to ask the following questions:
Is Steph both as Spoiler and as girlRobin treated with respect and dignity? Is her character believable? Does she mature and do changes taking place make sense within her given history? Do the other characters behave, both directly towards and when discussing her, in a believable way?

To me, and this is where it is gonna get really personal and I fully expect people to disagree with me, I don’t think DC did disrespect her.

Everything I read about the Spoiler showed that she was impulsive and passionate. She was dedicated to the vigilante cause, dead serious about succeeding at it, and refused to back down even after she had repeatedly been told, by many different people, to give it up. She’d go out with Robin on patrol, he’d advise her to hold back, to watch, to gather info on a scene, and she’d say screw this and dive right in. It’s how she found Black Canary and how she convinced Dinah to take her on as apprentice. She wasn’t automatically gonna change as girlRobin.

The way in which she became girlRobin also worked. Tim had quit being Robin, Batman needed a new partner, (he doesn’t work well by himself, which is how Tim got the gig), and Steph had proved how determined she was. She’d been popping up again and again for a really long time, each time Batman met her he told her in no uncertain (and probably quite growly) terms that she didn’t belong and she had to stop, effective immediately.
There are grown heroes in the DC universe who don’t dare disobey Bruce as Batman – Guy Gardener for one.
(EDIT: Ok, I'm a dork and should read more Guy stuff. I was basing the above comment on the (admittedly not many) JLI books I've read where Bruce keeps Guy in line, Kalinara has kindly pointed out that my assumption is wrong, please ignore that and insert your own character that does what Bruce says. )

Yet a 16 (15?) year old has the courage and the arrogance to tell him to piss off and keep on doing what she loves and has got a knack for.

So yeah who else was Bruce gonna take on? He does admire courage and dedication. He’s got this need for everyone to prove themselves to him before he takes them on. Steph got the gig after making herself a fancy new girly costume, and Bruce told her if she disobeyed him even once she was out. Well she disobeyed him and she was out. She knew the score, but she was impulsive, she thought she knew better, so she was kicked out. Nothing I’ve seen so far looks out of character of her.

Of course, a relevant question now would be did the boyRobins ever disobey Bruce like this and if so what was their punishment? And if it was different, is there a suitable in context explanation for this? I don’t know for definite the answer to this, I seem to recall reading Tim disobeying orders and not being sacked, but I cannot say for sure.

In the case of Steph however, she had to be kicked out, in order for War Games to commence. She had to be emotionally hurt and so try to get back in Bruce’s good books. Unfortunately this ended in Steph starting a gang war thereby wrecking most of Gotham and getting herself killed (or so we thought). I can imagine the DC meetings where War Games was dreamt up – TimRobin would never have triggered the gang war, yet it has to be someone close to Bruce who does so. This will also mean that Bruce gets to deal with feelings of betrayal, guilt and angst after the event- even if it’s only mentioned in a couple of issues. A Robin seems ideal for this.
So, to engineer the event, they have to get rid of TimRobin. Who to fill the space? Why, the obvious choice is Steph! Already known to Bruce, already a vigilante, desperately wants to be accepted by the Batfamily, and, crucially, impulsive enough to start a gang war by mistake. It fits her character. It is believable.

I think it is worth pointing out something that Selina Kyle (Catwoman) mentioned in a War Games issue. She had found Steph-as-Spoiler in some Gotham ruins, and Steph’s guilt and anguish led her to explain to Selina what she’d done. To summarise, she found plans that Bruce had made for eradicating all crime in Gotham. This was to be done by engineering a meeting between all the crime bosses in Gotham, Batman would be in attendance in disguise as a criminal - Matches Malone. Unfortunately, Steph didn’t know this, didn’t tell Batman of the meeting, and so Batman-in-disguise didn’t turn up and a full scale gang war erupted because of this.

Anyway, after hearing this story Selina asks herself how Bruce could ever have had a Robin who didn’t know that Batman was Matches. I read this as removing all blame from Steph and placing it squarely on Bruce’s shoulders. Selina is an important person in Gotham life and in the Bat family, and I think her opinion and views carry weight. She was reproaching Bruce.

Maybe Steph didn’t need to have died – but then we’d lose a sense of the personal tragedy. And tragedy drives dramatic events. I have no problem with deaths in comics, but I love a bit of senseless tragedy and desolation. I admit that I haven’t read all of War Games, but I have seen the panels of her supposed death and the last conversations she had with Bruce. It didn’t strike me as inappropriate or disrespectful.

I’m not going to touch upon the lack of a trophy case issue – I haven’t read enough Batman books to know who he’s got a memorial too, I thought it was just Jason Todd. Suffice to say, Bruce’s explanation to Tim, regarding not putting up a memorial sucked – he suspected Steph was still alive. Really? And you didn’t want to mention that to Tim? Ever? I know I know, it’s an explanation dreamt up by writers, Bruce isn’t real etc etc, but that explanation is still going firmly in my Batdickery file.

I have written before on the importance of having female Robins and what they mean to me, as symbols of women in the real world, and women in the comics world. When I wrote that previous post I knew of the girlRobin in the Dark Knight Returns (and shock horror, I don’t believe she was a prostitute, Frank Miller, you astound me), But I was not aware of girlRobin in the Robin 1996 annual, Legends of the Dead Earth. This is a Robin who saves the lives and futures of an entire civilisation. It’s set on a vast spaceship which has lost it’s destination and ruled by tyranny. Batman is out to set things right and rechart the course. He dies and it’s Robin’s responsibility to set the right course. She does so and saves thousands and thousands of lives. Now that’s a girlRobin to be proud of.

I don’t want Steph to be Robin. She works better as the Spoiler. She’s too independent to be under Bruce’s thumb, and he’d just fuck her up. She don’t take orders and she likes to have fun – you can’t have genuine lighthearted fun as Robin. It’s better for her if she’s the Spoiler. She needs her own sense of identity and not to be dependent on another’s approval.

So I’m quite glad I’ve properly discovered her and I’m very glad she’s back. Any chance she’s gonna join the Teen Titans?

Constructive criticism welcomed.

*Yes, the Oxford English dictionary is my definitions bible.
**I know, I know, compared to today and the multiple Crisis’ crossover stuff happening, War Games isn’t very major, but lets just call it a major event for now.

Christ almighty that’s nearly 2000 words. Why did I find it difficult to write essays of that length at Uni???

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Discworld

Has anyone read any of these? I'm a massive fan and must have read some of them 15 or 20 times. They are satirical fantasy written by Terry Pratchett, he who has just been awarded a knighthood, and they number 36 books so far.

Anyway I just re-read A Hat Full of Sky, one of the Young Adult ones, and was struck yet again by how good they are. This one deals with themes of loss, finding your roots and yourself and growing up, stepping out to become an adult.

Granny Weatherwax (the most senior and powerful head witch) teaches Tiffany Aching, (our young protagonist) about witching and the difference between right and wrong, and why it's important that witches don't cross that line.

I say teaches, it's more like she points Tiffany in the right direction, because knowledge that you aint gained yourself aint worth a damn. Plus, Tiffany (whose name means Land Under Sea, appropriate because she lives on the Chalk) has already got all the power and knowledge she'll ever have, she's just gotta unlock it for herself and understand it. Now, it in't like most fantasy novels where the withes do big showy glittery magic. Most of Discworld witching is about not using your power and about helping those that acn't help themselves, and something called headology. Like psychology, but considerably less wanky. It occurred to me on this reading that witching on the Discworld is similar to old style nursing, but a damn sight more respected. Course, if you ain't got respect you've got nothing.

Can you tell a large part of my morality and philosophy comes from these books? I used to read avidly as a child, I read everything I could. Then I hit adolescence, got depressed and pretty much quit reading. For 3 or 4 years the only thing I read regularly was the Discworld books. They were very important to me and one of the few things that I could focus on and get when I was in that state. That and music. I read the music papers cover to cover every week and month, but the only stories I could get were the Discworld ones.
As I was starting to come out of my fug, I picked up books again, and now, again, all I do is read. Except lately, it's mostly comics.

Anyway, back to my original point about Mistress Weatherwax. In a Hat Full of Sky she taught Tiffany about witching. In Equal Rites she teaches Eskarina about magic and wizardry.
I think it would be really good to do a comparison of the two books, of Esk and Tiffany and of Granny's teachings. I sure as hell in't gonna do it - I know I'm not, that's too big a topic and too time intensive and I'm too lazy. Plus, I did an essay on one of the other books - Witches Abroad, at Uni, and it wasn't very good. Literary criticism was not my forte. It's possible I'm getting better and relearning the skills, at least I hope so.

But if someone else were to do such a comparison that'd be ace!

Monday, January 05, 2009

2 reasons why I like Guy Gardener

And the following, (For context – Khund aliens left over the Invasion event in 1989(?) had shrunk themselves down to finger size and got trapped by Oberon in boxes in the JLI New York HQ kitchen. When the shrinking ray wore off, this is what ensued):

Heh heh heh.


Justice league variations on a theme

I’m reading a lot of Justice League 80s and 90s stuff at the moment. I’ve just read Justice League #1 to 6, then it turned into Justice League International, which I had up to issues# 25, and then I got confused. I think that series turns into Justice League America from issues 26 to 113, and meanwhile Justice League Europe starts (68 issues).
Anyway, I read JLI up to issue 25 and have now switched to JLE. When I finish that I’ll go back to JLA. I think that’s where the Guy/Tora romance starts, so that’ll be fun. I'm also hoping there will be more Barda.

There's also Justice League Task Force to read. I’ve no idea what that is. And then lots of specials and annuals and one offs. It’s gonna be a Justice League fest for the next few months, hurrah! I do love team up books.

Other than they are pretty damn entertaining I don’t have a lot of comments. Maybe I’ll just end up posting odd random pages.
In JLE Wally is a complete arse, and I’m not quite sure why Captain Atom has been given leadership of JLE as he seems really incompetent. I guess that was revealed over in JLA… Power Girl is in JLE, along with Sue and Ralph Dibny, and Animal Man too. I’m looking forward to reading more about them.

Currently listening to: A random selection, so far we've had Snuff, Ensiferum, Al Green and Mcluskey.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Spoiler, assault, motivations and what could have been horrible clichéd, yet somehow works

As some of you more regular (ha! All 4 of them anyway ;) ) readers will know, I worked my way through the Robin series last year and I have been promising a couple of posts on the Spoiler. What with Christmas, New Year and work madness I’m only just now getting round to writing the damn things.

This first post will be looking at when Stephanie revealed her abused past to Robin, and I’m going to praise the way it was handled. Both the art and the writing, I think, did a pretty damn good job of examining what is a difficult subject area. By and large, the issue managed not to fall into cliché and was (mostly) sensible about it’s approach.
I forgot to take a note of the issue number so if anyone can confirm which issue this story is from, I would much appreciate it. It was written by Chuck Dixon, but again, I forgot to make a note of the art credits.

EDIT: Not written BY Chuck Dixon, actually written by Jon Lewis. Thanks to Nevermore for letting me know.

Now, the guy in the story is a paedophile, but I think the viewpoint given in the story is applicable to all people who rape or assault others. Not just men, and not just paedophiles, because I think all assaults are wrong and equally horrific, no matter the age of the individual victim.

WARNING: The story is potentially triggering. The guy in the story is a paedophile, but I think the viewpoint given in the story is applicable to all people who rape or assault others. Not just men, and not just paedophiles, because I think all assaults are wrong and equally horrific, no matter the age of the individual victim.

Context: Tim and Steph are out on a date, chatting and have ended up in a music store. Here follows the 7 pages (click to enlarge):

Lets look at the problems first. The 5th page, Tim’s response:
‘It’s just that you’re the second girl I’ve known who something like this has happened to! The only answer I can see is that all men are scum…’
Only two? Count your other female friends lucky then because I reckon 50% of my female friends have been assaulted at some point in their life.
And really? You think all men are scum? Do you count yourself in that bracket? Bruce? Nightwing? Ollie? Wally? Clark? Stating that all men are scum is an example of hackneyed dialogue and demonstrates a common kneejerk reaction that doesn’t help anyone or anything. I can understand why people do it, but it’s a stupid viewpoint.

Anyway, Steph answers:
'I’ve thought about that. I honestly think that men who have this… them are only a small minority. But each one who does it hurts a lot of different girls and boys.’

OK, so she’s pulled him up the all men are scum line, but in an equally crap way. I realise this could be Chuck Dixon’s personal political views getting an airing, and I’m all for seeing more politics in comics – it means I get to respond and debate. So, my response –
All the evil abuse in this world is not carried out by a small amount of evil men who then hurt many different kids. There are lots of people who do this shit, and guess what, they look normal, they look like you and I. They are not visibly monsters, we cannot easily distinguish them. I think that making out it’s only a small amount of evil men who do this ‘others’ the perpetrators and draws a line between us and them. Which is not very useful when you’re trying to stop this crap happening. Also, women rape too. But the way female attackers are treated would be a whole other topic and we could be here for days.

That simplistic viewpoint fails to take into account the structures and culture that allows this to happen. Look at the abuse in the Catholic church – someone high up made a decision not to investigate or bring to light instances of abuse, thereby giving implicit consent to what was happening. That means that everyone at every level of the church who didn’t speak up, who didn’t get the police involved, also gave consent to either what was happening, or the totally inadequate ways in which the attackers were dealt with. That’s a lot of people.

The message of ‘small numbers of evil men’ seems to be at odds with other (positive) messages in the text, that of Steph holding her Dad accountable. More on that later.

I can forgive the story the clichéd grooming dialogue provided by Jim Murray. It’s a fictional text and the comments re modelling, boyfriends etc codes the guy as a creep and lets us know what’s coming. The reaction from the man in the piano shop on the last page I can’t forgive though, because that’s just bad and lazy writing.

So now onto the good.

1) This assault is not used as a motivation for Steph becoming the Spoiler. Yes, one of her first jobs was tracking down the guy, but it has been stated time and time again that Steph became the Spoiler to get back at her Dad.
A woman’s experience of (in this case near) sexual assault was not used as a motivation for her becoming a crimefighter. Halle-fucking-lu-iah. That’s a bloody rarity.
And yes, I realise her dad was abusive, both to her and her mum, but I still think it’s worth highlighting that her near rape wasn’t what motivated her.

2) She holds her Dad accountable! She doesn’t blame herself! Damn right. I am so glad this was explicitly spelled out. There isn’t enough media out there where this happens. I am sure this is partly because she was a child of 11 when it happened, and maybe if she’d been an adult there would be dialogue surrounding the way she was dressed or acted, but that doesn’t make this specific instance any less valid.

3) She got away. She fought back and she got away. She fought back and she’s not a ninja, she was just an ordinary, scared little girl. I’ve written before how I hate the overuse of rape in fiction, it can seem like it’s a constant reminder that women are in danger wherever we go, and we should always be aware that at any minute someone might rape us. Fictional women don’t usually get away under their own steam, they always seem to be rescued (unless they’ve got powers, and even then that doesn’t always help, see Black Canary) and they don’t often seem to have much agency.
That doesn’t tally with my own experience. Women can fight back, we are not automatically gonna get raped if we go out at night and we’re not helpless.

So, for Steph to fight back, get away and take some sort of control I think is bloody fantastic.

4) Steph knew her attacker. Most people know their attacker. It’s nice for a story to recognise this.

5) I think the art and dialogue captures Steph’s terror and feelings wonderfully. From where she’s in school and hears male voices, to hiding under her bed (resourceful lass), to when she hits the piano in the store, and on the last page when we can see from her and Tim’s conversation that she has dealt with the incident and is able to move on with her life. A portrayal of someone who’s not been irredeemably scarred for life? That’s needed as much as portrayal’s of people who have been damaged for life.

So yeah, apart from the crappy evil men lines, overall I think this is a fucking awesome story and I think was handled really well. All the individuals are treated with dignity, and as well as working on a political level it also works on a story level too. Which is probably the most important plus point actually – it’s no good a story being a vehicle to showcase your political viewpoint if the story itself doesn’t flow and work. And if a story has questionable politics, well I’ll be turned off by it, offended and probably have a bitch on here. ;)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy new year everyone

Hope you all had fun. I celebrated in 2 ways - 1) a sleepy celebration as I fell asleep about 12.45 and napped for a couple of hours till ti was time to go to lame. We had a few friends over, went out for a drink first and came back for midnight in time to hear the extra bong on radio 4, noting the extra second.
2)I did a home bleach job and am now blond. I've been wanting to go blond for at least a yr and took the plunge yesterday. Unfortunately as my hair is quite dark naturally I'm gonna have to go over it again to get it white blond (and to do all the bits I missed). Still, I'm happy :)

Currently listening to: Tyr. So so good.