Tag Archives: tv

These chickens are fish in a barrel

1. I watch both Elementary and the BBC Sherlock and I enjoy them both, and I’m not usually one to make a huge fuss over straying from canon, but in both shows I could really do without all the wishy-washy stuff about how Holmes really loves Watson deep down but has trouble expressing his feelings. Rot. Conan Doyle made it very clear (minus the psycho-babble) that Holmes is a sort of high-functioning borderline sociopath who has no need or desire for intimacy. I want my Sherlock Holmeses to be amusing non-fuck-giving assholes who solve crimes in clever ways. That’s it. I’m sorry but I don’t care how Sherlock Holmes is feeling. More code-breaking! Less soul-baring!

2. I’m the only person I’ve ever met who never plays any sort of games at all. Not at any time ever. I hate all games. I don’t play video games or card games or board games or drinking games (Jesus WHAT IS THE POINT of drinking games I am perfectly capable of putting alcohol into my mouth without bouncing a ping-pong ball into a Solo cup first). And I’m sure it’s an absolute riot but no, I don’t want to play Cards Against Humanity. It’s not just a mild aversion, either – on the odd occasion I let myself be press-ganged into playing Scrabble or whatever I’m fine for about twenty minutes and then I start to feel angry and resentful and trapped. There are just a million things I would rather be doing than arranging tiles on a board for points. Especially at social gatherings. Can’t we all just talk and interact normally? Isn’t that the whole point of us being here? Instead I have to do that and and at the same time concentrate on performing some stupid arbitrary task? NO. WHY. People are weird.

3. I very randomly ended up at a gig in Shoreditch recently and I saw these guys and they were amazing. Like, amayyyyyyzing. (They were also very gracious when I told them so afterwards.) How are they not super-duper famous? Help me correct this injustice!

4. I recently said to an English person that they had “lucked out” and they weren’t sure what I meant. They thought “lucked out” sounded like it should be a bad thing. After all these years I’m still coming across expressions that haven’t made it over the pond, or subtle differences like “blowing someone off” vs “blowing someone out”. If I broke plans with someone, I would say I’d blown them off. British people think this sounds hilariously filthy.

5. If you are a heroine in a Victorian novel who has married the wrong person, don’t despair! He will inevitably die. Here is a very abridged list of Victorian heroines whose ne’er-do-well husbands have conveniently snuffed it:

– Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch
– Mercy Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit
– Agnes Grey in Agnes Grey
– Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda
– Emily Wharton in The Prime Minister
– Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd

Don’t mess with Victorian heroines is the moral here, I guess.

Hit me with your flashbulb eyes

1. As I’m running out of true crime podcasts to listen to, I’ve subscribed to a couple of public-domain audiobooks. It turns out that when it comes to audiobooks, you get what you pay for. Awkward narration can really ruin a good book. I started listening to a recording of Oliver Twist read by an Irish guy who mystifyingly gave the characters Brummie accents instead of Cockney accents. Like…maybe he didn’t realise? Maybe he thought he was doing a Cockney accent? But a Brummie accent is very specific and hard to do. Inexplicable.

2. Here’s something I’m tired of reading on dating sites: “I’m tall enough for you to wear your heels.” News flash: women are allowed to be taller than men! My choice of footwear is not going to be affected by the worry that I am going to intimidate you or whatever!

Volkswagen even made an advert based on the whole “Uh oh! She’s taller than him! WAH-WAHHH!” bit. Remember this?

Ugh. I’ve developed my own personal version of the Bechdel test where I mentally swap the roles of the men and women in a given scenario. The more ridiculous the result, the bigger the fail.

3. True crime all the time! I’ve been watching a lot of Homicide Hunter. It is brilliant and has all the awkward reenactments you could ever wish for. Every episode starts the same way: first, the body is discovered (“April 4th, 1989. It’s a quiet morning in Colorado Springs, and Bob Jones is walking his dog in a scenic local park. Little does he know he’s about to make a gruesome discovery.” YESSSS). Then, every time, they say something like, “Meanwhile, across town, Lieutenant Joe Kenda is [catching up on paperwork/practicing at the firing range/giving a course on identification/attending an autopsy/at the zoo/having a wank/trying on ladies’ underwear/whatever] when the phone rings.” OK, this is like thirty years ago. There is no way you remember exactly what you were doing when you got called out to every single murder case you ever worked on, and even if you did, we really don’t need this information. Let’s just assume that Lieutenant Joe Kenda was somehow informed about the presence of a dead body and subsequently attended the scene.

4. Dear colleague: here’s the thing. I’m sorry you have allergies all day every single day. That must be no fun for you. But if you’re in an office in close proximity to other human beings, could you maybe leave the room before blowing your nose, rather than messily and wetly snonking into a Kleenex every five minutes while you’re sitting two feet from me? I’m worried my face is going to freeze like this…

…or that I’m going to damage my hearing by constantly turning my headphones wayyyyy up to drown that shit out*. Gross. GROSS.

*Incidentally, should you find yourself in a similar situation, I’ve found that Arcade Fire provides a nice solid wall of sound that covers up background noise very effectively.

Boy, nothing is good enough for me, is it? No wonder I’m single. How about I talk about something I liked for a change?

5. I was in Islington the other day and passed a sign for an estate agents’ called Hotblack Desatio. I assumed that the company was founded by someone who (like all rational human beings) really really loved Hitchhiker’s Guide, but it turns out that the estate agents’ came first and Douglas Adams stole the name (it is an undeniably cool name). I feel like I stumbled across a little piece of history there. This happens to me much more often in England than it ever did in Canada, funnily enough. (I stumbled across Abbey Road when I was living in Kilburn. I’d had no idea I was living like a mile away from it.)

The bells are ringing themselves

1. So, a couple of Saturdays ago I did not have the best day. Well, most of it was pretty good – I met some friends in Cambridge and spent the evening listening to live music at the incomparable Flying Pig. I caught the last bus back to Huntingdon, which is always busy on a Saturday, and a fairly good-looking guy ended up sitting next to me. I was mildly pissed, and cute guys on the bus to Huntingdon are not an everyday occurrence, so I thought hell with it and struck up a conversation. We got on extremely well! He laughed! I laughed! And then we arrived at his stop and I asked if he wanted to exchange numbers and he made an awkward face and went “Uhhhhhhh…” and I died of embarrassment. I’m dead now. Goodbye.

So THEN I decided to go to my local to have one more drink and lick my wounds. The doors were locked but the lights were on, and there’s usually a lock-in on offer at weekends for the select few, so I knocked. There was no response, but I could see people moving around through the frosted glass window in the door, so I knocked again and leaned in to peer through the glass. Right then the landlady opened the door quite quickly (it sticks, so you have to shove it) and it bonked me in the face and broke my glasses across my nose. I guess that’s what you’d call adding injury to insult. I’m having to make do with an old pair of glasses until I can afford new ones. Most expensive lock-in ever!

2. Hell is Other People, part one million: in Subway the other day, the woman behind me in the queue was RIGHT up in my personal space. Like wayyyyy too close. My fight-or-flight was at Defcon One, or whichever the worst Defcon is. I pointedly shifted away and hoisted my bag on my shoulder a few times so that it bumped her, but she didn’t even seem to notice. Then when it was her turn to order, she kept tapping on the glass barrier with her fingernail to show what she wanted. Ugh. People are the worst.

3. I’m not too bothered by most silly TV conventions – every phone number starting with 555, nobody saying goodbye before hanging up (“Hello? HELLO?”), ‘private’ conversations taking place at normal volume five feet from everyone else in the room, people shouting “STAY WITH ME” instead of calling an ambulance – but for some reason, exaggerated sound effects irritate me. Everything has to make a noise! I’ve never stabbed anyone (YET), but if I did, I don’t think it would make a loud metallic “shhhhink”-cum-squelching sound. And you know that sort of rattling noise that guns always make on TV? My American friend (an expert of course) informs me that if your gun makes that sound, there is something wrong with your gun. I’m watching Arrow right now (I don’t know why – it’s terrible, but not terrible enough to be funny), and every time one of the eponymous arrows hits someone it makes that shhink/squelch sound, and this combined with the terrible writing and terrible dialogue (“I’m not afraid to die.” “No…you’re afraid to live.”) and the endless, tedious discussions about people’s FEEEEEEEEEELINGS are getting right on my nut. I should probably stop watching Arrow. (But I’ve started now!)

4. Good luck getting these out of your head!

Italian mobster shoots a lobster

1. I’m back to sleeping in my bedroom. It’s amazing how luxurious it feels sleeping in a bed again after a couple of months of having to haul myself up off the floor every time I needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. My upstairs neighbour is still conducting rehearsals for Stomp every night between 10 and midnight, and then again bright and early at 6 AM (the man is dedicated to his craft), but I’ve discovered that if I play white noise very loudly and wear earplugs at the same time, I can actually sleep through the noise. Hallelujah.

I bought myself this white noise machine, which gets surprisingly loud, and I use these earplugs, which are surprisingly comfortable. Of course the past few years of neighbour-noise have very effectively trained my brain not to sleep, so I have to make sure a that whole host of other variables are carefully balanced in order to make it though the night without waking up ten times. I’ve cut out caffeine entirely during the week (man, life without tea is barely worth living), I don’t watch any TV or use my phone after 9.30, and I try to stay up a bit later than I’m naturally inclined to so that I’m properly tired. If I screw up any one of these elements, NO SLEEP FOR ME. I got a new laptop yesterday* and spent a little too much time in the evening faffing around setting it up, and hey presto! One shitty night’s sleep.

*It’s a PC laptop, which I bought solely for the purposes of downloading/streaming movies and TV. I’ve had it one day and already Windows is getting on my tits. What’s with the ‘app’ view that replaces the start menu in Windows 8? I hate this so much. If I want to go to Netflix, I will open my browser and go to Netflix. I don’t need to click a bunch of extra times to use the ‘app’ version, which is next to a bunch of useless crap like ‘finance’ and ‘health and fitness’ that I am never going to use. I’ve uninstalled about a hundred of these stupid things so far.

2. Sample spotting! (There should be a name for sample spotting, like ‘twitching’ for birdwatching.)

First, 14:40 by Olafur Arnalds (skip to the five minute mark):

…and now listen to Ray by Daughn Gibson:

Incidentally, I love how Ólafur Arnalds’s music sounds like the soundtrack to an art film where the characters spend a lot of time gazing mournfully out of windows.

3. Some delightful sadist at Channel 5 decided to show Watership Down on Easter Sunday. I love this so much. I wonder how many parents were like, “Oh look! An animated film about bunny rabbits. This’ll shut them up for a few hours” and will now be paying therapy bills for the next twenty years.

4. The 99p shop in Huntingdon is closing down and being replaced by a Poundland. Bloody inflation. This means that there will now be two Poundlands in Huntingdon within five minutes’ walk of each other. I would mock this, but if there’s any place in the world that has the demographics to support two Poundlands in close proximity, it’s Huntingdon.

5. In French, the game hide and seek is called ‘cache-cache’ (‘hide-hide’). This sounds much less fun.

6. I have a new colleague who is Spanish. He’s an absolute sweetheart and great to work with, but there’s a bit of a language barrier. I often can’t understand what he’s saying, and he has trouble understanding me too, and I spend a lot of time speaking slowly and clearly (and trying very hard not to speak loudly) and I keep inadvertently thinking about Fawlty Towers, and I’m worried that one day I’m going to call him Manuel.

When you rock and roll with me

1. I don’t remember ever crying over a celebrity death before, but I had a proper ugly-cry about David Bowie. Musically he was my north, my south (Robyn Hitchcock is my east and west – I nearly sent him a message through Twitter this morning to make sure he was safe and well. I couldn’t handle losing them both in close proximity). I’ve been listening to Bowie since primary school. He was the first artist I officially considered myself to be a ‘fan’ of, and the first record I ever bought, age twelve, was Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, which I found in a charity shop for $2. I used to lie on my living room floor with my eyes closed and play it over and over again as loud as I could get away with (sorry, Mom and Dad). I bought all his albums (even Never Let Me Down, which nobody likes but me), and tracked down stuff like Philip Glass’s ‘Low’ Symphony and the soundtracks to Christiane F and The Buddha of Suburbia. I saw him play live back when I lived in Ottawa, and I’m so glad I did. More than any other artist, he’s been the soundtrack to my life. Man. It seems surreal that he was even mortal. Surely DAVID FUCKING BOWIE can’t just DIE, can he?

One of my favourites from the criminally underappreciated Lodger.

2. A Lidl has opened in Huntingdon, right on my route home. This is big news. The second the doors opened the entire population of Huntingdon was in there like a shot, myself included. The prices are worryingly low. Surely in order to produce a 39p tin of soup you must be doing something terrible to the environment or Malaysian child labourers or both. Morals are expensive, though. I will eat my surprisingly tasty 39p soup and try not to think about it.

I’d never shopped at a Lidl before. It’s a strange experience. The store itself is very no-frills. There are no automated checkouts (which means I have to speak to other humans, AAAUUUGHH) – not even an express checkout queue. In some areas, instead of shelves they’ve stacked crates on top of each other, and in addition to selling food, there’s a central aisle which is just a row of big tubs full of the Deal of the Week, which so far has included thermal blankets, bird feeders, storage heaters, air beds, neck massage cushions, karaoke sets, ceiling lights with built-in Bluetooth speakers, and electric planers. I appreciate the Soviet randomness of it all.

3. I enjoyed the BBC’s new production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It was sort of a gritty reboot, because by law everything has to be a gritty reboot these days (it’s strange to see characters in an Agatha Christie story shagging and swearing), and starred Aidan Turner, who is so ridiculously hot that it hurts to look directly at him. I nearly fainted when this happened:

Aidan Turner

There was no real reason for this, plot-wise. All the other characters were wearing dressing gowns, but he just stood there all HELLO TORSO for like ten minutes, burning holes in my retinas. Clearly the BBC knows which side its bread is buttered.

4. I just finished reading What She Left by TR Robinson. I hated it. The story was fine, but the writing annoyed me so much I started dog-earing the worst bits so I could make fun of them for you. You’re welcome. One of the characters was meant to be a pompous professor, but the prose came off like a first-year creative writing student was trying to make a character sound pompous by having him refer to himself as ‘one’ all the time and swapping ordinary words for longer ones:

It wasn’t exactly ‘research’ I embarked upon, not in the traditional sense. That’s too grandiose a description and alludes to a more methodical approach than I was able – or inclined – to apply. ‘Obsession’ is a word others were quick to use and perhaps there was some verisimilitude in that.

‘Verisimilitude’ means ‘the quality of seeming real’. It is a not a synonym for ‘truth’. Just say ‘truth’. And then this, from another character:

Dr Edwards, my tutor, … reckons I’ve got – and I quote – an extremely mature appreciation of Austen’s work. ‘You’re a sensitive reader, Alice,’ he told me. ‘You’ve also self-evidently got a soft spot for doomed heroines.’

First of all, something that is ‘self-evident’ can be understood to be true without explanation or proof. You mean ‘evidently’ or ‘obviously’. Also, there are no ‘doomed heroines’ in Jane Austen’s novels. Every single one of her protagonists ends up happily married (what else could a woman possibly want??).

Richmond uses the word ‘scuttled’ about six times, and ‘transmogrified’ twice within three pages (again, you mean ‘transformed’. Or better yet, try ‘changed’).

This is all stuff the editor should have caught, but it gets on my nerves, especially since the book was plastered in rave reviews. Book reviewers get paid to notice these things! Why won’t anyone pay me to notice these things? I’m a natural born nitpicker.

She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake

1. Because I will watch anything with a murder in it, I’ve been working my way through Forensic Files. It has all the true-crime goodness you could wish for: gruesome crime scene photos, brilliantly awkward re-enactments (you really couldn’t find anyone who could cross the street convincingly?) and narration aimed at an audience with kindergarten-level education. The narrator speaks in a slow, overly exaggerated tone, like he’s reading a bedtime story. (“Once upon a time, there was a dissatisfied wife…”) In one episode he explained what DNA is. In another he explained what pollen is.

In general the show reminds me why I prefer fictional murderers to real ones (besides the fact that they are less dangerous): namely, real-life criminals are dumb as hell. If you’re going to fulfil all the clichés in the world and kill your husband for insurance money, maybe wait a little longer than a month after taking out the shiny new life insurance policy to poison him? And maybe also don’t sign books about poison out of the library under your own name and leave fingerprints all over the section on cyanide?

2. When I came back to work after my week off, my voice was literally husky from lack of use. Which means I had a proper holiday. Apart from an internet date the first Saturday (he was nice enough but had weirdly small hands) (I am going to be single forever), I pretty much only spoke to cashiers in shops. I watched a lot of Law & Order and Deep Space Nine. I did not do my hair or wear proper trousers. It was great. And now I have another week off between Christmas and New Year! I’ll just go put my hairbrush in storage, because I will not be needing it.

The most exciting thing that happened during my holiday was when I rescued a sheep. I was walking through Portholme Meadow (the largest meadow in England, meadow enthusiasts!) and I spotted a sheep that had managed to get itself stranded between a fence and some trees on the far side of a creek. God knows how it got over there – something must have frightened it. And whatever it was must have been more frightening than me, because me wading across the creek (IN DECEMBER) did not frighten it enough to bolt back across. I had to pick it up and carry it across the creek, LIKE JESUS, only much less dignified. I ended up soaked and muddy and smelling of sheep, and sheep do not smell good. But the sheep seemed fine, if ungrateful.

3. The new job is great. A lot of it is batch-processing photos and preparing files for print, but I’ve been doing some practice custom design jobs as well. It is awesome, awesome, awesome to get paid to do what I enjoy most in the world (besides reading in the bath. Are there any bathtub-reading jobs going? I am the world’s best bathtub reader).

4. I watched all of the first season of Jessica Jones in two days. I liked it so much that I actually bought a leather jacket off eBay in the hopes that it would make me look like a hard-drinking PI who can punch people through walls. I’m not sure if it has the desired effect, but it’s a cool jacket.

5. Yesterday I got a Christmas card from my new landlord. I’m not sure if he’s even the same species as my old landlord. Speaking of, I just heard back about the dispute over my damage deposit. The bastard has been ordered to pay back every damn cent. God bless us every one!

Happy fucking Christmas, y’all.

He is whiter than white and cleaner than clean

1. I’ve been rewatching Star Trek Voyager over the past few months. I’m coming to the end of the final season, and I’m really going to miss it. I love the Star Trek universe. It’s so comforting. Humanity has overcome greed, pollution, discrimination and conflict, and is peacefully exploring space, rocking their unisex jumpsuits and showing the rest of the galaxy how to get shit done.

Here is the plot to every single episode of every Star Trek show, pretty much: a Starfleet starship answers a distress call (they never learn with these things). An initially friendly encounter with a new alien race (English-speaking humans with Silly Putty on their foreheads) turns hostile when the aliens exhibit unpleasant behaviour (usually a reductio ad absurdum of some characteristic of a historical or non-Western human culture), leading to some sort of crisis. The Starfleet crew are aghast but behave diplomatically, ultimately saving the day with their pluck and determination and teaching the aliens a lesson about cooperation or compassion or table manners or whatever.

(The other plot is when someone goes into the holodeck and either falls in love with one of the holo-characters or one of the holo-characters becomes sentient and turns off the safety parameters and goes on a rampage, or both. Why is it even possible to turn off the safety parameters in the holodeck? The thing is a death trap.)

I love it unreservedly. I’ve watched so much Star Trek: TNG, Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise (but not the first Star Trek series. Too camp) that I’m sort of half convinced that holodecks and photon torpedoes and Jefferies tubes and phasers and transporters and replicators are real, and I have this semi-serious longing to be a Starfleet officer. I can speak fluent Trek tech-speak, too:

Captain, we’re venting plasma from the starboard nacelle! If we modulate the phase variance of a gravimetric torpedo to emit a sustained tachyon burst, we may be able to disable their weapons array!

See? I’m qualified.

I’m beside myself with excitement about this, naturally.

2. My new landlord is the diametric opposite of my old landlord (I raised a dispute over my damage deposit more than a month ago, and still not a peep). I recently had some minor repairs that needed doing in my flat, but I put off reporting them to the landlord for ages because he tends to come straight round and do the repairs himself, providing a detailed running commentary the entire time. I really shouldn’t complain – it’s lovely that he’s so responsive – but I now know way more about toilet flushing mechanisms than I ever hoped to.

3. The new flat has a bathtub. My last flat did not have a bathtub. I have been making up for lost time, bath-wise. After 9.30 every evening I basically live in the tub. Since moving in I’ve gone through nearly two large bottles of bubblebath, and probably a hundred tea light candles (it’s not a proper bath without candles). My skin is getting really dry and itchy but I DON’T CARE. IT’S BATH TIME.

4. A thing that I hate is when some chat apps (Facebook, Whatsapp) change my text emoticons into graphic smileys. It took me ages to come round to using smileys at all. I’ve resigned myself because sometimes you need a smiley, especially if you are being nearly continuously sarcastic (I inadvertently insult people like all the time). I already feel undignified using them, but at least a text smiley has a modicum of minimalist dignity. When I type in a semicolon-bracket and it turns into a giant gurning yellow smiley face it makes me cringe.

5. As of now I’m off work for a week. I’ve treated myself to a bottle of wine, and I will now commence binge-watching season 3 of The Bridge. Every day in every way, I wish I was Saga Noren.

Why must you record my phone calls

1. I have to read this poem five times a day at a minimum. Among numerous other issues, it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of an omnipotent deity. God comes across less like the motivating force behind all reality and more like a horticulturally-obsessed psychopomp. I always want to send it back with ‘THEOLOGICALLY INCONSISTENT’ written across the page in red pen.

2. I think I need to go on a date or something because the other night I had a bit of a naughty dream about Peter Capaldi and now I’m traumatised. I wish I could say he swore at me continuously, Malcolm Tucker style, but apparently my subconscious wasn’t creative enough to make that happen.

3. I’m currently obsessed with Engrenages (Spiral). I watched a bit of season 1 some years back when they first started showing it in the UK, but stopped after a couple of episodes. I remember thinking that it seemed a bit silly and melodramatic. Looking back, though, I suspect that I got that impression because they used to do this super-fast DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN! camera zoom at important moments, like a Mexican soap opera. Anyway, this nonsense stops after season 1, and the show is actually fairly gritty and realistic and I love it so much.

Laure in particular is great. She spends all her time on the verge of a mental breakdown, screaming at her subordinates and singlehandedly disproving all the stereotypes about French women being stylish. She looks like she’s wandered off the set of The Walking Dead. She’s my hero.

My favourite thing about the show, though, is the fact that everyone is a complete asshole, both personally and professionally. To demonstrate this, I give you…Engrenages Bingo! Print off a bingo card and play along!

Engrenages Bingo

4. I met someone recently who I now have to deal with on a regular basis and I’ve taken an instant, irrational dislike to them. It would be impolitic* to say more, but I’m surprised how quickly my playground instinct has kicked in. I want to push this person off the swings. Into a mud puddle. And then take their lunch money. I’m working hard to be extra nice but I’m worried that my inner Mean Girl is showing through.

*Someone used this word in the BBC’s excellent Wolf Hall and now it’s my word of the month.

Alone above a raging sea

1. My job is insane these days. INSANE. Working in the funeral service industry (which I sort of do, tangentially) really brings home the fact that people die in the winter. They die and die and die! Funeral homes must be stacking corpses like firewood. On top of this (pile of corpses) I’m trying to train a new starter. I am terrible at this. I’m good at my job, but bad at giving coherent verbal instructions. Sorry, new guy. Anyway, MAN. I’m sleepy.

2. Reading eulogies all day makes me think of the many, many things that will not be said at my funeral. Here is a small sample:

– Selfless
– Generous
– Good-natured
– Cheerful
– Always a kind word
– Lived for others
– Never complained

My eulogy will have to be all tactful, like, “She had…definite opinions. And she always…kept the care home staff on their toes.” (Read: miserable old bitch.) If I was a different sort of person this knowledge might make me want to live a better life, or something. But I’m not. Get off my lawn.

3. At the moment I’m reading nothing but French detective novels in an attempt to put myself through a vocabulary crash course (so I can talk back to Radio France more fluently while I’m cooking supper, I guess?). Detective novels (called “polars” in French, oddly/charmingly) are good because they’re generally light going and it’s easy to get caught up in the story, which makes it easier to concentrate. However, the words I’m learning tend to be along the lines of “poignardé” (stabbed) and “objet contondant” (blunt object). I will probably end up speaking French like a forensic technician. Which obviously would be awesome.

4. Speaking of detectives, remember how I said there should be a show about the Pinkertons? It turns out there totally is one! It started just a couple of months ago. I’m not sure how well it’s doing – I can’t find it to download anywhere, and there aren’t even any photos on IMDB. That can’t be good, right? I will be so sad if it sucks.

5. Music time! First, some sinister, stripped-down techno from Shxcxchcxsh. Calling yourself ‘Shxcxchcxsh’ means that you give exactly zero shits about radio play or word-of-mouth publicity, and amuses the hell out of me. (When asked during an interview how the name is pronounced, they clarified that the Hs are silent.)

And thanks where thanks are owed for the introduction to The Clean, Kiwi psychedelic jangle indie lo-fi groundbreakers. I love them so much. And you’re about to.

This is the day your life will surely change

1. I started watching Spartacus because I was in the mood for something historical and bloody. It’s certainly bloody. Plenty of slow-motion arterial spray. And so much beefcake! Such tiny, tiny man-panties! It’s like the producers were under some sort of legal obligation to ensure that at least three quarters of the characters onscreen at any given time must have a minimum of 80% of their flesh exposed. In theory I am on board with all of this, but the show is so overly earnest and the faux-archaic language is just too silly (especially coming from the mostly Australian cast trying unsuccessfully to hide their accents). I gave up about two episodes into the third season. I have, however, starting using “Kill them all” as a farewell expression. “Take care now! Kill them all!”

2. I have been mad busy these past few months, as I’ve started taking in freelance proofreading work evenings and weekends. Doing that on top of proofreading eight hours a day, five days a week has made my brain feel like a coddled egg. I don’t even know where I am right now! Who are you? Are there biscuits? The idea was to eventually work from home part time so I could try to develop a client base. To that end, I asked my manager if I could reduce my shifts to four days a week.

And he said yes! Pants-wetting terror ACTIVATE! Have I condemned myself to even-more-abject poverty? Almost certainly! I’m living hand to mouth as it is. But I need to get out of the nine-to-five routine. I’m just not temperamentally designed to spend all day with a huge crowd of people. Although I’m not ideally suited to the freelancing lifestyle either, due to my tendency to catastrophise and give way to panic when my circumstances become even marginally less than secure (see above). I’m not really cut out for much of anything, come to think of it, except maybe spending long hours completely alone in a dimly-lit room surrounded by books. Not much of that going at the job centre though. Anyway wish me luck! It’s all go as of the end of the month.

3. “Speaking of taste, waiter, another gin and tonic. Don’t look at me that way – Teutonic thirst is chronic.” I love these guys.