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Mar. 21st, 2017

Ace

As You Wish

On Saturday, I met a friend and her nine-year-old daughter for a screening of The Princess Bride, which I had unaccountably never seen before. I'm glad I've finally ticked it off, as there's so much to like - not least Peter Falk, and the score by Mark Knopfler.

The nine-year-old and I were both very taken with Inigo Montoya, and launched into a pretend sword fight as soon as we exited the cinema. She's also very into spies at the moment, so we had a happy afternoon talking into our watches and sending each other on missions. (Her mum had to tell us off for talking about bombs in Foyles.)

On Sunday, jm_horse very kindly invited me to Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, an East London popup restaurant.

We enjoyed a communal meal of sharing dishes at two long tables, full of things I like: falafel, stuffed vine leaves, rice, and a tomato sauce with what was described as meatballs but looked suspiciously like chunks of hamburger.

It was a great end to the weekend, capped by legging it up several flights of stairs to catch the Crystal Palace train with seconds to spare.
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Mar. 19th, 2017

Muskehound

An Embarrassment of Riches

'400 Rabbits' has also been nominated for Best Short Story in the 2016 Cóyotl Awards!

Wow. People really like the alcoholic Aztec bunny gods!
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Mar. 16th, 2017

Monocle Husky

Please Enjoy Drunken Aztec Rabbit Gods Responsibly

My story '400 Rabbits', published last year in the Gods with Fur anthology from FurPlanet, has been nominated in the Best Short Fiction category of the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

To celebrate, and also in a blatant attempt to canvass votes, I've made it available online.

You can read it here!
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Mar. 10th, 2017

Cat Air

The Werewolf's Coming

'Werewolves Versus' is a twice-yearly e-zine that pits werewolves against a variety of perils, including Music, Romance and The Eighties.

I'm really pleased to have a story in volume 4, 'Werewolves Versus Space'. Furthermore, it's a story about Soviet space dogs, a subject dear to my heart.

The zine is pay-what-you-want, so you can get it for nothing or toss your hard-working creators a bone, or even get it for nothing then decide to pay for it later. Here:

WV04_20Cover
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Feb. 27th, 2017

:)

The Rain It Raineth Every Day

On Saturday I saw Twelfth Night at the National Theatre. I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and it did not disappoint.

Twelfth Night is my favourite Shakespeare, so perhaps I am easily pleased, but this was an outstanding version with a really fresh feel, a cunning set, and, most importantly, lots of good jokes.

The big draw was Tamsin Greig as 'Malvolia', and she was fantastic, sending the audience into fits of laughter with something as simple as a well-timed pause but also going all out for extravagant physical comedy, and delivering her final line in a chilling manner.

A more radical departure, IMHO, than gender-swapping Malvolio was making Sir Toby Belch the most attractive thing on the stage. Played by the unknown-to-me Tim McMullan, he becomes a rakish alcoholic who is clearly trouble with a capital T but impossible not to like. (I gather from the existence of fuckyeahtimmcmullan.tumblr.com that it's not just me.)

Both twins were very sweet, and I spent their recognition scene silently shouting PLEASE JUST HUG ALREADY. (They did.)
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Feb. 22nd, 2017

2-Way Wrist iMac

Action!

I returned from karate last night to find several huge lorries labelled FILM & TV LIGHTING parked in my road, and people with boom mikes lurking down the narrow one-way street round the back of my block of flats, so I parked up and went for a nose.

I had a lovely chat with the security guy, who was at a bit of a loose end and looking forward to hometime, and gleaned that it was an ITV crime drama, possibly called Liar and possibly to be screened in the autumn.

Crime drama. Cheek. I live in a highly respectable area!
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Feb. 20th, 2017

Ace

Show Us Your War Face

On Saturday I went paintballing at Go Paintball, round the back end of Croydon, for a friend's birthday. It will probably surprise many of you to learn that I'd never done it before, and I was terrified I'd be awful at it and cry.

Everyone has a pop culture paintball reference. A lot of people mentioned Byker Grove, but for me it's alway been the episode of Drop the Dead Donkey where George goes berserk on a team-building exercise and shoots Henry in the face.

Our group of six was split between the two teams of the day, Red and Blue. We played eight games over four different terrain maps, each with different objectives and things to hide behind. I was on Team Blue, and I'm happy to report we won. No thanks to me.

I was the first to be shot in the first game, which didn't make me terribly happy, but I was far from the last, and I soon got into the swing of taking cover and stealthy potshots. Not for me the heroic run to the target under fire.

What I learned:
  1. Paintball guns are heavy. My arms were like overcooked spaghetti afterwards.
  2. I am the world's worst shot. I don't think I killed anyone all day. 'Provided covering fire' is probably the kindest thing you can say about my performance.
  3. It does hurt. About as much as a wasp sting initially, but it goes away in 30 seconds or so.
  4. I'm no hero. In the immortal words of General Melchett, I would rather have a cup of tea than charge naked at Jerry. And I hate tea.

What with that and a two-hour karate class on Sunday, it's a relief to be back in the office for a nice rest.

Feb. 9th, 2017

2-Way Wrist iMac

Dodgy Drawings

Red Nose Day is approaching, which must mean it's time for worldofagwu to offer comic book style commissions in return for a small donation (or indeed a large one).

If you like fictional characters and song lyrics, and you would enjoy owning a piece of digital art that combines the two, go here.

I made two requests this year, and I could not be more pleased with the results:

It’s a ravenous town for Dick TracyCollapse )
(Lyrics from 'On Every Street' by Dire Straits)

Timothy Dalton as James Bond is on the hunt, he’s after youCollapse )
(Lyrics from 'Hungry Like The Wolf' by Duran Duran)

Feb. 6th, 2017

:)

Cabin in the Woods

I'm just back from an unexpected and welcome few days in Hampshire's Blackwood Forest, courtesy of friends who had a spare room in their cabin.

It was a relaxed, low-key affair of junk food, long walks in the wood when the rain stopped, and evenings in the hot tub drinking Jägermeister and getting rained on.

The holiday camp is run in partnership with the Forestry Commission, so everything is as environmentally-friendly as is possible when you're offering cabins with underfloor heating, and guests are encouraged to take an interest in the natural world around them.

There was a board outside the visitors' centre for recording wildlife sightings, but this was not taken entirely seriously; entries included 'Elvis', 'Batman', and 'Honey G in my hot tub'.

We saw a deer and a rabbit. More interesting to me were several low-flying Chinooks, plus Middle Wallop's pet Apache on my way home.
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Jan. 29th, 2017

Casino Royale

For England, James?

The last time I attended an all-night movie marathon was over a decade ago, but the Prince Charles dangled a James Bond All-Nighter in front of me and I heeded the call. The lineup, after all, very closely matched my list of top Bond movies:
  • Goldfinger
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  • The Spy Who Loved Me
  • The Living Daylights
  • Goldeneye
  • Casino Royale

I'd have picked Skyfall over Casino Royale, but one can't have everything.

I was a little unsure, on arrival, whether I was doing a sensible thing, but it turns out that when there's big-screen Bond on the menu I will happily stay up all night and love it. For everything up to Goldeneye, this was my first viewing in a cinema, which added to the excitement, and it was lovely to be sharing the reactions of >100 other people to films we, presumably, all knew and loved.

Film by filmCollapse )

I'd never watched a film from each era back to back like this, and it was very illuminating on the evolution of the series and the continuity along the way. Goldeneye in particular draws on OHMSS in the ways it establishes that this new Bond is the same as the old Bond. The effect of an audience was energising, too, as we clapped each gun barrel.

Shortly after 11am I emerged into the West End's Chinese New Year parade, which felt very Bond-movie: struggling against the flow of oblivious, happy revellers to get somewhere important (i.e. HOME). I channeled Daniel Craig and behaved as if bad things would happen should I not get through. It worked.

IMG_0691

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