Archive for the ‘Uni’ Category

Good things.

September 11, 2007

Well guys, I’ve finished that MA. By now my dissertation should be in the English department’s hands, ready to be marked. Fantastic.

By way of celebration, and as a late graduation present, I’m off to LA tomorrow morning to see the excellent C of Dreaming in Red. Which will be awesome.

When I get back, I’m going to try and use this place more, do sketch dumps and stuff and well as the usual reviews and general babble.

Anyway, I better get back on with the packing. See you when I get back! :)

Not so much to report

March 1, 2007

No book review this week because I’ve not finished anything. I’ll probably whack up something on ‘Amsterdam’ when I’ve read it as that’s next on my list.

Creative wise, I’m trying to force myself out of this block, and also sort myself out physically a bit as well. As I am a bit of an absolute wreck lately and that’s not very conductive to doing anything useful.

I completely my first little script last night (Okay, it has no spoken dialogue but still, that’s a first for me as well) and Mike D and I are going down to London this weekend to make it happen with the ever lovely J. I’ve never done film work before so this should be fun. We’ve got an idea for another one that we’d like to do afterwards as well, which I’m looking forward to having a try at.

Other ‘GET STUFF DONE’ news, Mike suggested the both of us make a resolution that we have to produce at least 500 words (or some art on my part because Mike doesn’t draw) each week to crit at each other. Which seems a good idea to me. I’ve been trying to at least sketch something every day, but this will make me do something to a standard I can hack actually showing to people. I’ve been thinking that the way do get confidence back in myself is to actual do some stuff worth doing, so hopefully this will work.

Anyway, food shopping and essay research calls. (Okay, so the research is just watching Paranoia Agent again, but SHH it’s for my seminar paper and a mindmelt enough to be called work.) I’ll keep you posted.

The Meaning Of Night: A Confession

February 21, 2007

The Meaning of Night

So, this week’s book for my Book Club class is the massive 600 page hard back tome that is Michael Cox’s first novel, The Meaning of Night. This thing was 15 years in the making… and in my opinion, they were 15 years well spent. Cox’ novel is intricate, detailed, and exquisitely researched, and if probably the best thing I’ve read for this module so far. Okay, it coming along at the same time as me redeveloping an interest in steampunk, victoriana and historical stuff probably helps that, but the novel has more than enough goodness to carry it’s own weight.

The Meaning of Night is a dark tale of betrayal and revenge set in Victorian England, centring upon the life of the narrator, Edward, his discovery of his own secret past and most importantly, the way in which is fate intertwines with the poet and criminal, Phoebus Daunt. The is a heavy sense of fate to the novel, as the two men seem almost destined to be enemies. At early points in the novel Edward’s language seems to veer dangerously close to the melodramatic, and there is a feeling he may be over reacting just a bit about the wrongs Phoebus has committed… However, as the novel progresses, and the depths of betrayal in the novel are exposed, Edward’s theatrical bitterness is completely understandable. The final point of betrayal, while perhaps predictable, is heart wrenching none the less.

The narrator is a well balanced and interesting character, freely admitting his good sides and his bad. Considering that the novel opens with him murdering an innocent man just to see if he can, he has a bit of catching up to do in endearing himself to the reader, but Cox managed to pull this off, pulling the reader into the despair and frustration Edward suffers, as well as his hopes, across the course of his narrative.

If I’m going to be negative at all, I’d say that it’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever read, there are things that appeal to me more, but that is I think just a personal taste thing, because I struggle to think of anything actually BAD about this novel. Granted, my love of Lemony Snicket, which is often a pastiche of this style, made the some parts of the novel a little odd to read but that is just a minor quibble. Cox paints a beautiful dark portrait of Victorian England, with a stunning amount of detail and a very convincing voice. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and enough dramatic irony to make some of the darker moments all the worse. Edward is an interesting and sympathetic narrator, and his darkness is shown not just the be that of someone a bit morally challenged (as interesting as those characters can be) but of an honest, intelligent man having no other ways to react against his misfortune.

So, in short, Michael Cox’s ‘The Meaning of Night: A Confession’ is a compelling tragedy that is superbly detailed, elegantly written and very, very readable.

And I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The Island

February 7, 2007

Sadly I don’t mean the slightly naff but very fun film of clones and Ewan McGregor being crap and in peril (a genre I have an irrational like for) but the Richard and Judy advocated Victoria Hislop novel.

Which instead of being about medical clones, is about family history, and leprosy.

Yeah. Cheerful.

Now, I’m not someone who can’t hack unhappy stories and situations. 1984 is one of my favorite novels ever. But the problem I had with the Island and kept coming back to it… why the hell combine CHICK LIT AND LEPROSY? The novel had some very interesting parts to it, but then would spoil itself with fluffy love story stuff that you could TELL was only being done in order for something more terrible to happen and make you feel sorry for these characters. It’s not so much tugging the heartstrings at attaching them to a truck and trying to drive away, while screaming ‘LOOK BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE IT IS SAD LOOK LOOK’ at you down a megaphone with a big :( painted on the side.

Okay, it’s not REALLY that bad but I had to stay up till 4am getting it finished for class today, so I’m allowed to be a little melodramatic. (And it’s not as if I’m any nicer to my characters. Just hopefully I’m less fluffy about it.) Just in this book you almost get the sense of ‘if nice, get leprosy’ or generally get screwed over, and it’s hard to get the sympathy or hope for the characters because you know something is going to happen to knock them right back down. It’s almost infuriating with the crushingly NICE Maria, who really must have pissed someone off in a former life because, Christ, things are cruel to her. Though anyone would feel sorry for her when you combine the girl to her sister Anna, who made me want to slap her more than most literary characters are able to.

Oh, also, she wants you to know Lepers are people too and lots of people are needlessly bigoted and it doesn’t spread as much as people think. This is very true, and well worth saying but there’s only so many times it needs to come up. Not in a sense of the plot using it, that’s fine and dandy. I mean in the sense of the characters repeating it at each other continually. WE GET THE IDEA. It’s incredibly patronising. Even if we take into account this is ‘beach reading’, even less astute readers are going to get the moral without having it drilled in so much.

Whining aside, there’s some interesting stuff to the book, and some moments that did really grab me and engage me. it’s good to actually look at the subject, but the way it was handled, for a lot of the novel, just wasn’t really for me. ‘At last: A beach novel with a heart!’ the cover quote says. And that is what this is. It’ll make you sad, but not too much. It’ll make you happy, but not too much. It’ll make you think, but not too much. And so I think the thing I found most frustrating is that while it had the seeds of something quite good, it had the potential to be just that much more.

Time for the winter frenzy…

December 3, 2006

Because, okay, so essay deadlines are after christmas now, it’s still 3 essays that are the ENTIRE MARKS for this semester, and of a total of 15,000 words. Which is quite a lot.

So, time for me to get cracking.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Interference lately, and I think I’m going to do some really heavy reworking of the setting and things. I’ve realised there’s too much in there that’s either a cop out to avoid dealing with certain things, remnants of stuff made up when I was little, or just generally there for ‘because it’s cool’ purposes rather than because it’s good for the story. Not that I’ve been getting much done with all the work that I’ve been having for uni and so on, but still. Heh, and one of the changes I’m thinking of doing makes the URL for this blog actually totally irrelvant as well… oops.

Anyway, it’s time to get something done today, so I should probably get a move on. Laters.

From the ruins of my sleeping pattern…

November 2, 2006

Because, honestly, I need to stop waking up at noon just because I don’t have any classes.

As, in a shocking twist of fate, I am actually a couple of books ahead in my reading for my MA, no work today. Okay, maybe a little, because the books I’ve got afterwards are interesting too: ‘Transmission’ by Hari Kunzru (Some kind of social drama centring about the internet. Nice prologue but could go either brilliant or horrible), ‘The Long Firm’, by Jake Arnott (Hardboiled british crime, of course I’m going to like it) and a couple more crime fiction novels by American women writers.

However, if I can suppress my reading mode (and I’ll give some reviews of things I’ve read lately soon, I think. I want more content on here) I’m going to try and spend today on writing, critting and excavating my room from the untidy mess that is has become. As it is covered in amazon boxes, class handouts and empty glasses and so on again, and to a silly extent…

What, ‘I have to tidy my desk’ is the most tried and tested procrastination method. Shh.

Of course there is that tricky ‘lack of food in the house that is mine’ issue aside from all those instant noodles, so I better go and deal with that as well.

I’m thinking of doing some storyboard-like sketch collages to help get the story organised, get in touch with the mood again after having such a long hiatus, and also kill my artists block that is preventing me from finishing any of my drawings lately.

Anyway, that’s enough wasting time on blog nonsense. Time to quest for some socks and get on with the day.

Speedy sketch thing for 24/03/06 (edited again: 4 pics)

March 24, 2006

Two today, one done mostly yesterday though.

Guy with the spikey twotone hair and thing perched on his shoulder is Lament, a character from Sacrement which is a project I’m working on with my good freind Martin Davis.

The two in the other image are Estaban and Cereus, here in their teens in theory though I’m not totally happy with how it came out. Still geting to get Cereus’ face shape right, especially from the side. E looks nice though. They’re from Project Hat, which I’m working on with the awesome Spon. (Click for full versions)

Lament Estaban and Cereus

P.S. Got a 74 in my Continental Philosophy essay, which is a very good first. Win. :)

Edit:
Another pic, based on one of my fellow joint Philosophy students, a dude called Robin. Who looks exceptionally cool (though not really that much like this.)

Not actually Robin

Also, I got my terrifying Wittgenstein essay back, which I’d been dreading… and it was a 70. Combine that with the Continental one I’ve has so far, as they’re each 50% of their modules and that makes the equivalent of module that’s 72 as well now. Hurrah! *WIN*

Oh, and 2001 is awesome.

Second Edit:
I seem to be in a sketching mood. Another pic of Vio from Interference for you. Because I like her a lot.

Vio

Hmm.

February 12, 2006

Stuck in apathy again.

Need to edit, and because I’m having to go to the wrong seminar, my reading pattern is all off. Grrr.

Tired and lost again, don’t really know what I’m doing. I need to kick this before Paris, I don’t want it getting in the way of having a good time.

Pendulum’s mix of Painkiller by Freestylers is really good. I want a copy of it outside the BBC mix. As is Madder by Groove Armada. (‘WHEN I NEED A LITTLE INSPIRATION, RIGHT ABOUT NOW’S WHERE I LOOSE MY PATIENCE’)

Now I do some editing, then read Magic Toyshop. It BETTER be good. I’m not in the mood for dicking about wading through a boring book today.

Mm, ‘Hold Your Colour’. I forgot how good this stuff is. (And the goodness of the music makes up for said song’s rather emo lyrics.)

Get on with things.

(Karemara frowned as he watched his collegue swing the crude pendulum he’d fashioned over the spread of cards, looking at the diagram drawn in biro next to them.
“You can’t seriously be doing this. You can’t believe in this stuff, not you. You’re far too rational for this.”
“When exactly did I tell you everything I believed in?” The younger man asked, sharp green eyes still focused on the swinging fragment taken from the Machine. “You’re forgetting something, David,” he turned over a card, then shuffled the deck again, “rationality only works within a certain set of rules. We’re breaking the rules, that much should be obvious, so how can the old rationality really apply? And besides…” he flicked the pendulum’s string up and caught it, holding it gently in his fist. “When you open a door, you don’t have to walk out of it in straight line.”)

No really, get on with things.