C.Hay Versus J.Kay

C.Hay Versus J.Kay

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Spoilers ahead.

Duh.

You have been warned.

I am a Harry Potter fan. I was a little younger than Harry when Hagrid brought him his Hogwarts letter when I started reading the books. I grew up with the trio. I laugh with them in the common room. I froze at the sight of Dementors. I cried with them at Shell Cottage. I was extremely vocal about casting choices for the films and had a little crushes on members of Dumbledore’s Army and the Death Eaters. Seriously, Mr Isaacs, stay blonde. For me, Nineteen Years Later was closure. I craved more but accepted that happiness and balance had been restored. There would be no more from the Wizarding World.

UNTIL!

We have prequels and sequels everywhere, though we can’t call them that. Fantastic Beasts is ‘inspired’ by the textbook that was created many moon ago for Comic Relief. I think everyone got a slap on the wrist for calling Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a sequel. If we can’t call it a sequel, I think we should call it for what it is: a thought experiment. What do we want? Nostalgia! When do we want it? Yesterday today! My tickets for the Cursed Child were booked back in 2015. I did my waiting. Eighteen months of it. I brought the script and wrapped it up. I avoided reviews. I avoided social media. (That one was hard.) Now that I’ve witnessed it for myself my opinion is this: What was the point in that?

Having seen several internet videos on my favourite boy wizard, namely A Very Potter Musical and Harry Potter; How It Should Have Ended, I couldn’t take the plot seriously. Yes, it’s pretty to look at but time travel, really? Not only that, I’m upset because JK Rowling has done it better. When I speak of time travel, I hold Prisoner of Azkaban up as the gold standard. Almost twenty years ago, Harry James Potter’s name was pulled from the Goblet of Fire. (Counts to ten, trying not to get furious about Dumbledore charging across the trophy room.) But what if someone else won? Alternative realities, really?

What we have as a ‘continuation’ of our children story is over five hours of magical Back to the Future. The offspring of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy (not together, it’s pretty much fan fiction but not that kind of fan fiction) go back to the Triwizard Tournament to save ‘the spare’. They cause drastic ripples that give the audience possibilities they could never have fathomed. The smallest changes saw the subtle Nazi nuances of the books be practically rammed down our throats; our favourite characters cease to exist and our favourite villains live. Am I terrible person for asking: why bother?    

I’m not normally full of short or snappy ways of describing things but I think I summed up my feelings perfectly during dinner between Parts One and Parts Two: It’s nostalgic, not progressive. I haven’t learnt anything new about the characters or the current state of the wizarding world. There are some jokes to lighten the mood that give us a glimpse into being Harry Potter in his late thirties, for example, they too are doing that no sugar thing. Albus and Harry have a troubled relationship. Albus is reserved and hates being under his father’s shadow. James Jnr, apparently, loves it and resembled the Weasley Twins more than his own mother and father. How did that happen? Lily and Rose were in there somewhere too. All but three characters are underdeveloped and only used to further the plot. There is nothing new. There is nothing in the now.

I hate myself. I was the same with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I wanted to be memorised like everyone else but I was dismissive. (An angry black cloud, that would never happen.) I crave more from JK’s imagination but I’ve imposed my own rules as to what is possible and impossible. It’s her world! Who am I to judge! If Squibs can turn into angry black clouds, then they can turn into angry black clouds. If they go back twenty years and create alternative realities, then get the blackboard and let’s figure out when Biff got the sports almanac. Going forward, I will be grateful. I will open my mind. I will keep the wonder and excitement 11 year old Charlie had.

Turn it off and turn it on again…

Turn it off and turn it on again…

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Right. 2016 was a right off. It doesn’t count in any way, shape or form. Some have been amended. Some have been deleted. Seven is the magic number.

 

  1. Visit two new countries/cities.
  2. Read 70 books.
  3. Write one million words.
  4. See theatre once a month.
  5. Be a tourist in my own country.
  6. Run a half marathon and beat last year.
  7. Be the female Captain America: be good and be buff.
Who am I running for?

Who am I running for?

In just over a week, I run the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles making a half marathon 13.1 miles. That’s a round 21k. Sorry, I should have warned you, this paragraph is going to be quiet maths-y. Before I signed up to the half, the furthest I’d run 7.8km. On the 30th May, I did a 10k. It was tough. I did it in one hour and fifteen minutes. The half was looming and I kept telling myself the half was just like the 10k: I just have to do it twice. To date, the furthest I have run is 15.5k in two hours. I just have to do another 5k on top of that. 5k is my short route that takes me about half an hour. So I can do it in two and a half hours, right?

 

The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon starts and finishes in the stunning Hyde Park. Runners take part in the route through Central London, taking in the spectacular sites of the capital and the beautiful Royal Parks. On that day there will be 16,000 runners and me: fat asthmatic me who is not as ready as she wants to be. I could be fitter and I could be thinner. I know I’ll run quicker if I was lighter, less to carry. But I also let myself eat more because I go to the gym five times a week. Most weeks. I never forget I am doing it for a reason.

 

The Princess Alexandra Hospital Breast Unit is a charity that has raised over £1.9 million over the past 10 years. “This money is used to fund specialist clinical trials equipment, introduce new initiatives and support further research. Breast cancer clinical trials improve our understanding of the disease, leading to new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat breast cancer.” Thankfully, I haven’t experienced cancer first hand. I’m rather fond of my boobs. I’m going to do what I can to protect them.

 

I’m running for a charity. Rather, I’m raising money for charity by running. I’m running for me. I want to prove to myself that I can run 13.1 miles. I want to prove to myself that I’m fitter than I think I am. I’m more than a fat asthmatic mess. I can be a superhero. I want to be the best I can be in every sense of the word. My mind to be the best and my body to be the best. Maybe then I can live forever.

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who fought brave battles. He defended the innocent and sought to banish evils from our land. The brave prince was a bastard child of a rock star making him of slightly noble birth. In this century, fame is a form of nobility. One day, the Prince with pubic like locks had his leg blown off and he had to return to his kingdom of London. He still fought. He still banishes evil. With the help of a plucky squire by the name of Robin, they fight crime. They watch cheating spouses and occasionally catch murders when asked. Our tale begins when the killer invites them on quest into the Prince’s past by sending his squire a severed leg.

Well, that was a fun way of describing the plot of the first two books and the opening of the third: The Career of Evil. When Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott receive a leg in the post, it’s clear someone is out to get Strike. To quote BBC’s Sherlock: “People don’t have archenemies.” Sherlock should consider himself lucky to have the one, Strike thinks it could be one of four people. Despite this plot looking into Strike’s past, I felt as though this book was more about Robin. I found it a breath of fresh air to read about an ‘assistant’ on equal footing with the ‘teacher’. Robin is eager to learn and comes into her own. She is really blooming as a character. She takes the fact the leg was delivered to her rather personally, who wouldn’t. She is driven even though her personal life is crumbling around her.

Despite my positive comments about the characters individually, they are slowly forming a relationship that goes beyond the dynamics of a normal partnership, colleagueship, friendship, whatever you want to call it. I speak for a lot of people when I say, no one wants THAT to happen. Can we have a story where the two main characters of the opposite sex don’t sleep together? I honestly don’t feel like I’m asking for a lot. That was the one thing that frustrated me about the book; it feels like it’s laying down the foundation for a night of passion. The other frustration of course being not being able to figure out the killer that sent the leg. I love these books. They are always a fun crime read. I feel as though Robert Galbraith lays out the clues and we’re all too stupid to see. As always, I look forward to the next but if Robin and Strike sleep together I will burn that book.

 

Watch my video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgET8QlAKi8

Morbid Fascination

Morbid Fascination

Like any good commentary, let’s start with some definitions:

Morbid: too interested in unpleasant subjects, especially death.

Fascination: the fact of finding someone or something fascinating.

Example given by dictionary.cambridge.org: Mass murders hold a gruesome fascination for the public.

 

It’s a thing! Don’t judge me for my love of serial killers, murder and all things psychotic. I’m curious about these things despite my hatred of blood. I can’t see it but I can read about in my true crime books or listen about in my new favourite podcast: Sword and Scale. Hosted by Mike Boudet, this hour-ish long podcast covers the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions. Calling it one of my favourite podcasts is a bold statement as I have only listened to six; but I’ve already encountered the most prolific female serial killer, a state wide child prostitution ring and familicide. Familicide was a new one to me too, it’s when someone murders multiple family members. The more you know.

 

The thing I’m really curious about is: how can this fascinate me? Why do I actually want to listen to this? Sword and Scale gives a 360 account of these terrible acts. They have first-hand interviews with serial killers such as Aileen Carol Wuornos and a mother placing a 911 call after her son admits to killing a 10-year-old girl. I’m not a complete monster, I had a little cry after listening to that particular recording. However, I’ve listened rather passively listening to all this. My emotional response is similar to psychopaths: emotionless. Psychopath and sex offender, Robert, talks calmly and methodically about grooming a child to be the ‘perfect mate’.

 

I’ve been listening to all this and the only thing that’s kept me up at night since I began was a creepy little girl ghost I got in my head and couldn’t get it out. For me, my morbid fascination comes from two thoughts; I could never do that and what if I could do that. I hope I fall into the first school of thought. On the other hand, we all joke that we would kill our families. ‘If my sister steals my hairspray one more time, I’ll kill her.’ We’ve all said it. Curiosity is defined as an eager wish to know or learn about something. That something could be ourselves. Can we be the monsters we love?

The Long Walk by Stephen King

The Long Walk by Stephen King

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At the end of it, you get whatever your heart desires for the rest of your life. First, you must walk. Before The Hunger Games and before Battle Royale, there was “The Long Walk”. On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race. A race might not be the right word. The boys must walk the length of America, the last one standing wins. There are rules and if you break those rules, you get a warning. Three strikes and you’re out.

The story was originally ‘written’ by Richard Bachman, we know him today by his true identity: Stephen King. I consider myself a fan having only read a small spattering of his books. I like to think if I’d read the majority of them and read Richard Bachman, I would know it was Mr King. There’s something so immediate and sensual about his writing. It breaks convention to make you feel every moment; feel the pain and the fear. I run and after reading this book it’s not the same. Even walking, I have never been more aware of the movement of my feet, the muscles at work and know exactly how they would feel after walking nonstop for days.

There was much discussion about the book in the office, it was read for the book club I initiated. What did the walk represent? Was the walk reflecting war? Walking and marching towards a better future. I don’t think so. Was the walk reflecting life? The sense of direction but not necessarily purpose, we are only given so many chances before we’re out of luck. For me, I think it’s about greed. At the start, one hundred boys talk about riches, material things and women. That’s what they want when they win the walk. At the end, the skeletal like remains of the boys dream of the end. Their heart’s desire is to stop.

Watch my video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T1NGyk9Fpc

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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I had written this book off. I thought I knew how it was going to go and how it was going to end. Boy meets girl. They’re such opposites. It’ll never work. Until it does work. And they all lived happily ever after. If that’s what you want, watch a Nicholas Sparks film. This book had more depth that I expected. It is brave. The girl is one Louisa Clark; she’s not terribly outgoing, except when it comes to colours, and will take any job to support her family. Any job stops at Will Traynor, the boy. He is rude and obnoxious. But she can change him, can’t she?!

It does start out that way but my feelings for Lou and Will went from 0-80mph in 1.9 seconds. (Exactly the same acceleration speed of Stealth at Thorpe Park.) I connected with the characters but it did take time. They appear two dimensional to begin with. Lou is unambitious, unadventurous and can kind of be a bratty younger sister to Treena; she’s quite the opposite to Lou and has ‘real’ struggles. It goes without saying but Will is ambitious, adventurous and ruggedly handsome. Once the facts have been established, the true plot and drama of the book begin.

It’s not going to win any writing prizes. Jojo Moyes’ writing, for this novel at least, is basic. It’s a vehicle for her characters and plot which is what you as the reader really care about. It made me cry. There are moments of comic relief. Awkward British bumblings were known for and a, forgive me for this, a natural banter between Lou and Will. They have a rapport and a rhythm when they finally start communicating to each other. This book was written with a lot of love but it makes a statement and takes a stand. I respect it for that. I’m grateful for my friends for making me give it the chance it deserves. The film is alright.

Watch my video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJYD_M67qNk