Category: Pop culture addict

The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 6, My Struggle II

Dear Diary,

My struggle indeed. What a stupid non-ending to a thoroughly flawed and frustrating series. This show should have just been left dead and buried. Not only was this the worst orchestrated-pandemic-apocalypse storyline ever scripted, it also ends with a completely unnecessary and frustrating cliffhanger. The kind of cliffhanger you don’t slap on a show that just had a one-off revival fifteen years after the original and no plans for a return.

Booohooo, Mulder is dying from the evil virus and the only thing that can save him is an injection of alien DNA from our son right this moment – BY THE WAY we don’t even know where our son is. And we’re stuck in the world’s biggest traffic jam in the middle of a fucking pandemic.

WELL YOU’RE SCREWED THEN. Even if all this is meant to lead into another movie, I’m not even interested. Let them all die. I don’t care.

Instead of a review I’ll offer you a drinking game: Have a shot every time someone says “ALIEN DNA!!!” If you don’t end up in a coma by the end of the episode…WELL THEN YOUR DNA IS PROBABLY FUCKING ALIEN, TOO. Congratulations.

Seriously, I’m so done with this.

Oh and dear Chris Carter:

fuckingfucker

The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 5, Babylon

Dear Diary,

The end is near. After reaching a high with the Were-Monster episode, the new X-Files series has taken a bit of a dive. While last week’s episode was rescued by the feels of Scully’s personal story, episode 4 didn’t offer a lot of redeeming features to make up for the poor story. I’m a bit disappointed that a show as open-minded and nerdy as The X-Files went down the Great American Heroes vs The Evil Muslim Terrorists route, putting out an episode full of judgement, bias and stereotypes. Not even Mulder’s imaginary cowboy-dancing mushroom trip and the appearance of a junior copy of our two heroes could save it, although they offered a few solid laughs.

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The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 4, Home Again

Dear Diary,

Another great episode! This series 10 is shaping up a lot better than I had ever dared to hope. Although I have to say, Chris Carter is a total bastard for putting Scully through personal hell all over again – like she hasn’t suffered enough already in the original series. But I guess that’s life: not fair.

Granted, this wasn’t the most imaginative episode ever in Monster of the Week terms. The case had barely enough substance to hold the plot together, and very obviously was intended mainly as a canvas for the development of Scully personal story. But that’s more than okay with me.

So, diary, here are some thoughts on the episode, as always.

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The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 3, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Dear Diary,

This has been the best X-Files episode since 1998! I’m so happy. I don’t care if half the internet thinks it was crap, because this has been the funniest thing since Bad Blood and a beautifully scripted, acted and produced homage to all the fun and excitement that was the Monster of the Week.

What we have here is an entire episode that’s basically one big joke, where every line is a punchline and pretty much every shot is some kind of in-joke. I giggled, laughed and screamed, I actually bounced up and down in my seat with delight. It was wonderful.

Who would have thought series 10 could create a cult episode. I really didn’t expect that. But this one is way up there with Bad Blood, Arcadia, Detour, Small Potatoes, Humbug and deserves a place among the best Monster of the Week cases in the history of The X-Files.

Let’s look at a few (ahem, many) favourite moments from this episode.

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The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 2, Founder’s Mutation

Dear Diary,

You’ll be glad to hear that The Internet was right; the X-Files revival did get better after the first episode. And we’re definitely making progress towards Monster of the Week territory. I think Founder’s Mutation works very well as a bridge from the season opener into what will hopefully be a few standalone MOTW episodes now that we’ve brought everybody up to speed on the mythology.

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The X-Files Revival Diary:
Episode 1, My Struggle

Dear Diary,

The X-Files is back. I have all the feels.

I was playing it cool for the past year or so, ever since the announcement came. It was no big deal. I was totally over my teenage obsession, there was no need to re-watch all 202 episodes of the series in preparation for that. I was so over it. I was totally not the world’s biggest X-Files fan anymore.

Well, what can I say, dear diary. Yesterday at 20:59 I turned on the TV and my heart exploded in a million pieces of fangirl love. I had tears in my eyes when the voice of Mulder told the prologue. I heard four whistled notes and I was thirteen again. The X-Files was back.

x-files-revival

I had all the feels, I had all the expectations. And I was sorely underwhelmed. I read that it gets better though, so I will hold onto that glimmer of hope for next week.

Until then, dear diary, here’s a short reaction piece on Episode 203: My Struggle.

 

aliens-heads

CGI (and budget) has come a long way since the 90s…

Aliens!

What’s up with Scully’s hair? This is all wrong.

Wait. That’s the same old.

OMG it’s a conspiracy!

Same old, same old.

SKINNERRRR!

Deja vu, anyone?

Welcome to 2016. We have drones and smartphones! Oh wait, maybe I can google it! (Skinner way way ahead on that front in 2008.)

More same old.

Epic sigh. Really, do we have to do this all over again?

THOSE BASTARDS!

AND ESPECIALLY THAT BASTARD!!!

aliens-heads
 

Thanks for listening, dear diary. Until next week.

I saw Aerosmith! And they’re amazing! (Of course!)

Wow. I was trying to save this until I’ve calmed the fuck down, and then write about it properly. But it’s been two days and I’ll probably never calm down because seeing Aerosmith live – finally, after fifteen years of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or having no money – absolutely blew my mind.

I mean, what legends. To be rocking this hard in their, what, sixties? Seventies? And they still sound better live than most bands do in the studio.

Here’s a little video, just because this song means the world, and because real men play piano! (I never even knew he did. Imagine my poor old piano girl heart when Steven Fucking Tyler sat down at the piano and started playing…) And that’s the only reason they’re allowed to stand on a white baby grand with their shoes on, tsk tsk!

Ah, well. I was in love with Steven Tyler when I was 15, still in love with him now.

steventyler_claphamcalling
(Not sure whether he’s just high or also mad, but he’s doing it right.)

re:View – Patti Russo’s UK tour /
Why you really, seriously need to know about this singer

Those who know her have probably been telling you for years that Patti Russo has one of the most gorgeous voices on the planet. And maybe you went, “Patti who?” because even though she has been on the world’s biggest stages and on every major radio station, she never made the jump to headline act.

For twenty years Patti Russo has lent her power vocals to projects by the likes of Meat Loaf, Queen and Cher. Now – just in time for her 50th birthday – she has made a bold decision, assembled a band, planted her high-heeled boots firmly in the centre of the stage and is giving us a taste of her own music on her first-ever solo tour.

patti-russo-oxford-2014-tour-02

And this time, it’s personal – for everyone involved. Patti has described this tour as a “personal triumph” in the aftermath of a severe blow dealt by her former boss and friend Meat Loaf, who last year brusquely informed her via email that, after twenty years in his band, she was no longer required. And it’s just as personal for her fans and friends, many of whom have followed the singer for said twenty years. You can tell by the atmosphere at her gigs that for these people, seeing Patti step into the spotlight ranges somewhere between a musical dream coming true and the pride of witnessing your insanely talented friend proving to the world just how good they are.

And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I am one of these people and to me it means all that.

patti-russo-oxford-2014-tour-11

With the UK tour nearly over and an EP out for sale, we’re told a full album can be expected within the next year. Patti’s own music, much like her voice, effortlessly jumps from rock to soul and back again. The songs showcased on this tour are bursting with a raw energy that is characteristic of the singer: she never stands still for two seconds, she speaks her mind, she swears with abandon and she certainly lets it all out on stage, packing an amount of power into every performance that leaves audiences stunned and sometimes sobbing.

She can sing the tears, legendary songwriter Jim Steinman once said of her – and the same is certainly true for the rest of the emotional spectrum. She’s also pretty damn good at writing those tears down.

Most remarkably, after a rollercoaster career and at an age where too many established female artists are pushed to the sidelines of semi-retirement by the scores of airbrushed teenage pop princesses flooding the industry, Patti Russo is putting her music out there and she’s staying true to herself. Like the tiger-legginged, big-haired ’80s rock ‘n roll glamour of her on-stage persona, the music oozes pure, old-school rock and soul class.

If this sounds like the kind of nostalgic stuff that is increasingly being driven to extinction by the auto-tuned pop dominating our decade – well, the UK tour certainly proved that her music is drawing a diverse audience ranging from old-school rockers to twenty-somethings, with the occasional eight-year-old in the front row gearing up to introduce this hidden gem to the next generation of music lovers.

She might be looking back on half a century, but Patti Russo is just getting started. You might want to watch this one.

www.patti-rocks.com

I’ve found the perfect man

And he lives in a book, of course. Damn my life!

The beastly Huns! They stood between him and Valentine Wannop. If they would go home he could be sitting talking to her for whole afternoons. That was what a young woman was for. You seduced a young woman in order to be able to finish your talks with her. You could not do that without living with her. You could not live with her without seducing her; but that was the by-product. The point is that you can’t otherwise talk. You can’t finish talks at street corners; in museums; even in drawing-rooms. You mayn’t be in the mood when she is in the mood – for the intimate conversation that means the final communion of your souls. You have to wait together – for a week, for a year, for a lifetime, before the final intimate conversation may be attained . . . and exhausted. So that . . .
That in effect was love.

(From the Parade’s End series by Ford Madox Ford. I’ve never been so in love with a book. Except when I’m reading Edith Wharton.)

I need Christopher Tietjens to be real, so I can marry him. And this isn’t helping AT ALL!

And I didn’t scream or faint.
(Almost not at all.)

Question: How do you give Girl With A Pen multiple fangasms?

Answer: Just put Gillian Anderson, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Rhodes, Neil Gaiman and assorted other Awesome People into a room. With books.

Exactly this happened a few weeks ago. Letters Live, a night of Awesome People reading brilliant letters. And by some miracle I managed to get tickets about five seconds before the Cumberbitches found out about it and the whole thing sold out within minutes.

So, for the first time ever and after waiting for about sixteen years, I managed to be in the same building with my biggest celebrity crush / role model / Woman I Want To Be, Gillian Anderson, and watch her do amazing acting stuff live on stage. I also have tickets to see her in A Streetcar Named Desire next year which I probably won’t survive. And what can I say, other than she’s fantastically good at what she does, as well as being gorgeous and utterly charming. Yes, I’m fangirling and I’m not ashamed.

Gillian Anderson

Here’s Gillian reading a very entertaining letter by Dorothy Parker. (YouTube)

Then there was James Rhodes, my favourite living pianist, reading and playing Beethoven. Turns out he is just as gorgeous on the microphone as he is at a piano. Such an inspiration. I need to get myself to one of his gigs. Yes, still fangirling.

Other things I learned that evening:
a) Benedict Cumberbatch is really unnecessarily attractive as well as breathtakingly good at acting. (Seriously, how’s a girl supposed to cope?!)
b) I would really like for Neil Gaiman to read every single one of his stories and novels to me, and
c) I need to listen to more Nick Cave.

And I also got some Cumberbach reading a love letter. Quite gutted I didn’t catch the steamy parts on video.

I’ll stop fangirling now and will get on with the pictures.

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And finally, the best bit of dialogue from the book auction that ever occurred. (In the world, ever.)

Gillian Anderson: “£3800 for a bit of Benedict Cumberbatch!”
Neil Gaiman: “…also licked by Gillian Anderson!”

The book eventually sold for £5k. Caitlin Moran bought it, because she has five grand to spare and I haven’t. Not bitter AT ALL.