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It's taken a while for the words to come.

[livejournal.com profile] furzepig is the reason I don't LRP anymore.

No. That's not quite right.

[livejournal.com profile] furzepig is the reason I know I'm not a LRPer anymore.

I've known D. for a very long time. Memory* says 'The Dome' which would place it around '95 or so; bonding over LRP and web design in a virtual room pretending to be a castle in an imaginary world. I'm aware it doesn't get much geekier than that. Though she won. My webdesign was for a university. Hers was for a comics company. Orbiting around each other at games the length and breadth of England. Always having a good word to say to each other when we did.

Then, post Millenium, I stopped going to the same games that she did. Well, I stopped going to games, mostly. She was at the first NWO game, and we had a few seconds to chat - there was far too much going on to spend time on real life interactions. And the games which did have that time, I was no longer attending. She played Maelstrom, and had a whale of a time. I took up clubbing, and it was pretty good, all things considered. But we fell out of contact.

But the modern gossamer thin strand was there. D came relatively late to LiveJournal, and then there was Facebook, and the myriad ways that it's possible to keep in touch without much effort in this modern age. I'm a great believer that friendships are sustained by trivia - if you see someone infrequently, then you get to hear of the highs and the lows, but all you know of their life is the top and bottom of the sine wave. For their life to seem full to you, for it to seem real ... for that you need to know what they're having for lunch, or that they stubbed their toe. That can be by seeing them day to day in person, or online.

So, thanks to Facebook and LJ, D and I became real to each other again.

So, LRP. D. persuaded me back. "Come to Odyssey", she said. "Play a snooty Roman. Kt and Iain will be there, and some other people that you won't have seen for a very long time. It will be fun."

And it was. I think, of all the games I've played, it was one of the best. Great company, fantastic costumes, an immersive world. The weather held, the wine flowed freely, the laughter rang through the trees. There were no strops OOC (in our group, anyhow), no hardships.

And if I can come out of a game like that with no desire to return, I think it's fair to say that this is no longer my hobby.

D. gave me a gift (as did Kt, Iain, Sarah and everyone else that game). She gave me the best possible way to draw a line under something that had been a major part of my life for 10 years, and a minor (but still important) part for another 5.

That wasn't the last I saw of her, which is of course even better than the gift of a game. She was making more effort to visit London and to socialise when possible, and my work took me to Glasgow occasionally, so we'd meet up for dinner and drinks when we could. (Even though it was a 3 hour round trip for her.) I'm not sure I could tell you now what we talked about over Glaswegian sushi, but cabbages and kings were certainly involved.

And now she's gone.

Ave Atque Vale ...

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
Since she who now bestows and now denies
Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell,
Take them, all drenchèd with a brother’s tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

Aubrey Beardsley, translating Catullus.
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Wednesday evening, my sister phoned. She'd been at my niece's dance show, and had bumped into someone I went to secondary school with, and who recognised my sister immediately. (My sister didn't recognise her, which lead to an interesting exchange.)

The upshot of the conversation and the reason for the phonecall was simple - Sophie (the old school friend in question) was organising a school reunion and hadn't been able to get in touch with me - could Nicola (the sister) pass on contact details to me?

She did, and I got in touch with Sophie - unfortunately it was with my apologies as there was no way I could get up to Telford on Friday, but to make contact more than anything else. As Nicola wasn't certain she'd written Sophie's email address down, I Googled for it and the world being what it is today, the second or third result was the Facebook event for the reunion.

My friends list on Facebook is slowly being populated with people I haven't seen for 24 years as we speak.

Its weird. These aren't people I've kept in touch with (more to do with my crapness about contact than about any desire for distance) but I'm now getting to see their virtual ghosts unfold as the venn diagrams of their lives and mine start to overlap.

There were photos taken of the reunion - a group of 40 year olds in a bar, dancing, talking, drinking, hugging. Some of them have obviously kept in touch over the last 24 years. Others have been tracked down in the last few weeks or months. Many of them have never moved away from Telford, or if they have, they've moved back.

The funny thing for me has been trying to peel back the years and see the child I knew in the adult represented on screen. Some I recognised immediately and can name - their faces matured but not really changed over time. Some I don't remember - especially the women where I don't have a clue today as to what their surname was back then. Some I recognise, their names on the tip of my forgetful tongue.

And some I remember but only recognise through the tags that someone else has added to the facebook photos. John Smith, in particular. Biffo was either an hour older than me or an hour younger - I can't remember now. But we shared a birthday, and were among the oldest in our class throughout our school years.

Biffo was one of the tallest in our class, I was always one of the shortest. I had mouse-brown hair, whereas his was so white that he was sometimes accused of being albino. We were both bright, both a bit geeky (not that we'd have used that term then) - we sat at the front of the bus rather than the back though. With Nic Hawkins, Andrew DeBanks, Jonathan Barnicott we got the same bus to school together, the same bus home.

We met in the first year of infants school, September 1974, and I last saw him in June 1986 on the day we went into school to pick up 'O' Level results. I pretty much saw him every day for the best part of 12 years, and yet when I look at the photos of him from Friday, I see absolutely no trace of the boy I knew.

I wonder what he thinks of the photos of me?
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I've been at Guy's Hospital tonight.

A very good friend of mine has a genetic condition that made it very likely that she'd need to be on dialysis in 2009.

Another very good friend of mine has just donated a kidney to the first friend. They're in adjacent hospital beds, having had the operation yesterday. They're in good health, and in good spirits.

I can't express how proud I am of both of them for their courage and generosity. I can't say how positive it makes me feel about the world that one of my friends can bear such a burden gracefully for much of her life, and that another of my friends can be so generous, so giving.

I have no words, and yet I want to sing from the rooftops how lucky I am that I know such people, and that such love and generosity exists in the world.
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It was mentioned at the crew brief last night, so I think it's fair to publically applaud [livejournal.com profile] maleghast who is now one of the official Planet Angel photographers - well done, sir :-)
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I rarely get tagged in LJ MeMes - I'm not sure why; perhaps it's a sign that I need to write more. Anyway, just as I was thinking "Here's another meme that I won't get tagged in", both [livejournal.com profile] boglin and [livejournal.com profile] hekai tag me. I think that means I get to change two questions ....

1. What is essential for your happiness?

Time to myself and the company of friends. Something to read. That's about it, though music makes the world sweeter.

2 What clothes are you wearing at the moment?

Hawkshead boots (green), greenish gray cargo pants, a very old band teeshirt from when I was a student in Manchester, a blue jumper. What was the rule about blue and green not being worn?

3. What games did you recently finish?

Mind the Gap. An Unknown Armies / Neverwhere / Guy Ritchie crossover. Subtitled 'Geezers, Shooters, Monsters' it ran for 4 sessions and was okay, but like most of my more experimental games, needs some serious work before I run it again.

4. What is your favourite scent?

Coffee. I have a very bad nasal memory (if that makes sense?) and not a great sense of smell either.

5. What is your favourite recent memory?

On the train up to Shropshire last weekend, with mist in the fields. The train tilted as it was going round a corner, and something weird happened to the landscape to the port side. There was this moment where it felt like the train was perfectly level, but the land was just dropping away from it. It was like looking over a cliff. A magical moment, and one I'm not doing any justice to with this description. I laughed out loud with joy on the train.

6. What books are you reading at the moment?

Eric Meyer's More CSS. Cobra Trap by Peter O'Donnell (The last ever Modesty Blaise book and one of the few I've not read before.)

7. What do you drink the most?

Almost certainly black coffee, but less than I used to.

8. Do you trust easily?

Yes. And I'm trying to do so even more. People repay trust with trust, in my experience.

9. Who was your first big crush?

Probably a girl called Nicola Maiden at school; she was very cool and very very pretty.

10. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A monk - specifically a Franciscan. Then a librarian. Which I am, sorta ....

11. Do you have a good body-image?

Mostly, though it's taken a long while. I could still do with putting on about half a stone, I reckon, and I really need to work on my grip and upper body strength for climbing, but they're not things I beat myself up about. Generally, I'm happy with how I look.

12. What are you looking forward to at the moment?

My first training course of the year on Tuesday. A set of lectures that myself and a colleague are giving over this term - we've not done anything like this before. A friend coming to stay at the end of October. Planet Angel in November because I get to party instead of work. Going to Ireland next year with my Dad.

13. What websites do you visit daily?

LJ, Facebook, Planet Angel, Boing, UCL's pages and a few others

14. Random pet peeve?

I'm doing better at not letting the small stuff bug me, but people who meander on the Underground, especially if they haven't got their ticket out and ready for the barrier as they approach it are still pretty good at getting through my shield of zen-like calm.

15. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

[livejournal.com profile] boglin was someone I knew of through photos of her at Whitby long before I got to know her in person. She's lovely. I respect that she holds certain beliefs very strongly, but doesn't exude that oily superiority that some people do when they're standing on the moral highground. She looks great in a pink stetson too.

[livejournal.com profile] hekai - I only really got to know Pete when writing for the final NWO game, and it's fair to say that we butted heads on a lot of points about that game. I'll hold my hand up and say that it wasn't one of my finest moments. But Pete is a warm and friendly person, very intelligent, and very passionate about things. And once the game was running, I realised that I really liked and respected him, once I'd taken the Quaesitor stick out of my arse. We shared a beer at the end, and realised that when we said to each other "we'll have to agree to differ" we actually meant it; it wasn't just shorthand for "I can't be bothered arguing with you any more".

16. What's the last song that got stuck in your head?

I tend not to get songs stuck in my head, because more often than not I have music playing in the background, so that fills that gap.

17. What's your favourite item of clothing?

Either my Jed Phoenix tailcoat or a big grey snuggly wooly jumper, depending on how I'm feeling.

18. What do you like to give and what do you like to receive?

I like training people, which is giving advice, I guess. I get a real buzz out of getting someone to understand something that they don't, but really want to. I like receiving cuddles and hugs. I have very easy to satisfy tastes.

19. What's the book you've read most times?

Lord of the Rings; specifically the Scouring of the Shire chapter. I re-read that chapter a lot, even if I don't read the rest of the book.

20. Is there anything you want so bad right now?

Nothing that I can't easily satisfy.

21. What should you be doing right now?

Having a shower. Going to see [livejournal.com profile] ingenue_the and [livejournal.com profile] harold_chasen. Phoning my mum.


22. Whats the meaning behind your LJ username/name/nicknames you go by?

It's my initials. I've never really felt the need for a more complex nom du clef.

So - who to tag? Surely everyone who's likely to respond already has? Maybe that's why no-one ever tags me ....

I know! I'll tag [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife, [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife, [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife, [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife, [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife,[livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife, [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife and [livejournal.com profile] liz_lowlife!
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It seems like a while since I've written about Planet Angel; the downside of working at the club, I guess. The trials and tribulations of putting on a good night tend to disappear as the party unfolds, and I tend not to want to dwell on any minor niggles anyway, because generally, I'm talking to people who've been there, and who've had a good time. And that, at the end of the day, is what matters.

But September's party was a blinder.

From a personal point of view, there were a load of people there that I have a great deal of time for, and while it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, it was really lovely to see them there. There were celebrations and re-unions, and lots and lots of smiles.

The music was what really did it for me, though. We've switched the rooms around, so the trance is now getting played in a lighter, more friendly room, and the breaks and beats are going on in the larger but darker, more introspective room. And it's worked marvels. It's really changed the vibe in both rooms in well received ways.  And the DJ lineup in the trance room was one DJ short of my ideal lineup. During my breaks through the night, I kept finding myself back in the trance room, dancing instead of resting and conserving my energy to carry on working through the night. But last Friday my inner shaman was close to the surface, and kept pushing down into my feet, and I'd find myself standing on the stairs watching the dancefloor and then starting to move a little, and then, 5 or 10 minutes later, remembering that I had work to do and moving on with a grin on my face and rhythym in my step.

It helped that I'd dressed up - my red velvet frock coat, a tricorn hat and big goth boots - a cyber pirate in honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Infest reminded me that I like dressing up to go out; another downside of working at a club is that it's easy to dress practically and comfortably. Friday proved that I can dress up and still do my job well. And the frock coat makes me swagger,  as it's designed to, really.

Good friends, good music, good clothes. How could I not have a great time?

For those of you that were there; thank you for being part of what is being generally agreed is one of the best parties we've put on in a long while. For those I got to meet and talk to later in the weekend, I hope you had a great time; I certainly did.

The next PA I'm working, but I'm hoping to be partying at the November one. I hope I'll see some of you there.

Incidentally; photos are now up on the PA website - some familiar faces there ....
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I've been asked this several times, and thought it would be a good idea to post a step by step guide to how to record something your speakers are playing (like, say, a radio programme or the soundtrack to TV that's being streamed) and saving it as an MP3.

These instructions are for Windows XP - I may well create instructions for the Mac when I've got time (cos I have one). If you've got instructions for Linux or Vista, I'd be pleased to add them and credit you.

So, here we go; not the only way of doing this, but the cheapest I know of:

1. Download and install the most up to date stable release of Audacity.

2. Download the LAME MP3 Encoder, extract it and put the lame_enc.dll file in your Audacity program folder: (C:\Program Files\Audacity)

3. Open Audacity, go to Edit: Preferences.

3a. Under Audio I/O change the recording device to your sound card. I don't know what your soundcard is, so you might just have to try all the options there. It won't be the one that says 'Microphone' :-) Also change the channels to 2 for stereo sound. Click Okay.

3b. At the top-right of the Audacity window, there's a dropdown which probably says 'Rear Input'. Change that to 'Stereo Mix'.
4. Click on the big red record button then start your iPlayer / Listen Again / Whatever you're trying to record.

5. When it's done, click on the stop menu and go to File: Export as MP3. The very first time you do this Audacity will ask you where the lame_enc.dll file is. See 2, above.

Hope this helps. If it doesn't work on your set-up, post a comment. I don't promise to do desktop support for you, but I might know the answer.

Edit: [livejournal.com profile] maleghast suggests AudioHijackPro for the Mac. It wins on the ease factor but loses on the 'cheap' - it's currently $32.

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One of the things about having an mp3 player with multiple gigs of storage is that sometimes, you don't choose what to listen to. Put the 'pod on shuffle and accept what fate brings. It can be both a good thing and a bad thing; sometimes the music you listen to is so dissonant to how you feel that you mood changes immediately; other times it's so in tune with the place your head is in that you have to laugh or cry or dance. And you can't predict it.

When I used to carry a CD player to and from work, and before that a tape Walkman, there was a structure to my music. I packed a wallet with the CDs I was going to listen to, and each one had to be loaded into the player on its own. I could put the player on shuffle, but that was just choosing between 12 tracks, and more often than not I listened to an album in the order that the artist intended. And if there was an album or a track that I wanted to listen to but hadn't had the foresight to carry with me, I didn't get to hear it.

No longer.

Now, I've got 85% of our joint music collection hanging at my belt. I carry little classical music, and there are certain artists that [livejournal.com profile] feistyredhead likes that I don't, so they get excluded  in favour of others. 5000+ tracks, so when I put my 'pod on shuffle, there's a lot to choose from.

I was walking out of the tube station this morning, putting away the book on Anglo Saxon England that I bought yesterday and shifting from 'commuter' to 'trainer' when the following lyrics came in through my earphones and laid eggs in my brain.

"She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns.
He used to do surgery
For girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins.
And it wears him out, it wears him out
It wears him out, it wears him out."

A cover version. Marillion covering Radiohead, singing live. Steve Hogarth Marillion at that.

It was like Whizzer and Chips or the Beano vs. the Dandy. Wolves vs. Liverpool. You could either be a Whizz-kid or a Chip-ite, not both. And you either liked Fish, or Steve Hogarth, but really if you tried to admit to liking both, you weren't really trying hard enough.

And for me, it was Fish all the way. I remember hearing Market Square Heroes at Bridget's house, and using my job at the local library to order in all of their previous albums on vinyl so that I could tape them to listen to; losing myself in the prog-rock stylings and fantastical stories, half growled, half sung in a Scottish falsetto. Grendel, for Gods sake! 17 minutes of guitar noodling and lyrics inspired by Anglo Saxon poetry released as a single! You either loved Fish, or you hated him, but you had to take a side.

Did I mention that I was 19 when Fish left Marillion? Just going to university with my walls covered with Mark Wilkinson's beautifully complex artwork - I still have photos from my room in Halls where 8 out of 10 of the posters you can see are Marillion album covers or tour posters.

So when Season's End came out, I didn't like it. No. Lets be honest. Before Season's End came out, I didn't like it. I didn't like Steve Hogarth's voice, and I didn't like the lyrics he wrote for the tunes that Fish had already written lyrics for. I'd planted my flag, and that wasn't going to change. And then antipathy turned to apathy, and the real reason I haven't bought any Marillion albums in the last 18 years is because there's always been other new music to listen to rather than any great principled stand.

But somehow, I have a Steve Hogarth track on my iPod. Admittedly, it's him covering Radiohead, but it's definitely him rather than Thom Yorke. And this morning, as I stepped into the sunlight after a weekend that was far more complex and stressful that I really needed it to be, Steve Hogarth started singing.

Her green plastic watering can
For her fake Chinese rubber plant
In fake plastic earth.
That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plants
Just to get rid of itself.
And it wears her out, it wears her out
It wears her out, it wears her out.

I'm not a great fan of Radiohead - nothing against them particularly, but they've never really rang my bell before now. And I'm sure that I must have heard this cover version before, even though I have no idea at all how it got into my music collection. But this morning, it was like I'd heard this song for the first time ever. And not "heard this song for the first time when I'm in my late 30's and quite liked it", but "heard this song for the first time when I was a teenager and wanting to define the world, and hearing something that just makes it all make sense, whether for good or ill."

Partly, it's the lyrics. Those are beautifully painful words, describing, detailing and dismissing pain all at once. And, whatever I may have thought of him 18 years ago, Steve Hogarth can sing, and can inject vulnerability and humanity into his delivery.

Today the lyrics and the voice wrapped around me and reminded me in a vaguely schaudenfradic way that I'm alive, and so are the people I love. My friends are happy, and the things which were stressful about the weekend have a silver lining. The sun shines, and it's as easy to look up to the sky as it is to look down into the gutter.

This too shall pass; I know this.

But today, thanks to Thom Yorke and Steve Hogarth; today is a good day.
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For those of you on my Friendslist who don't read [livejournal.com profile] evil_chalkie's LJ, and who like standing stones.

The warden's hut at the Rollright Stones was damaged by vandalism recently. The cost to rebuild the hut is estimated at £6500, which the Rollright Trust don't have. [livejournal.com profile] evil_chalkie and some of his friends have therefore set up the Rollright Project to help raise the money necessary. They've recorded a benefit CD, and will be playing gigs to that end.

Pop over and have a look :-)
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13 drabbles, even though I promised 10. I've split them out as a separate post, as well as replying to them in comments because ... well, because I have a rampaging ego and want you all to see them. Enjoy ....

[livejournal.com profile] delvy: Benedict

On a rooftop in the city of a thousand masks, a patchwork figure capered in the light of a full moon, lantern light glinting from the jewels that bedecked him. Two silver goblets stood on a balcony,amoretto’s amaretto in the dregs. Across the floor heather from a far off land was strewn, its foreign fragrance rising from each crushed petal, from each broken branch to mingle with the citrus and herbs that were the scent of this most sensual serenissima .

The sound of laughter, voices entwined. And the cool night air carrying the salt smell of the sea.

[livejournal.com profile] hepster: Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon.

A tense atmosphere as two be-suited figures faced each other in the claustrophobic capsule. Staring intently, their hands extended in front of them, they waited like racehorses in the gate, ready for the off.

“One, Two, Three, Go!”


“Rock. My game, Aldrin – I get to go down first.”

“Are you certain that playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with these gloves on works?”

The door’s seal cracked, and the world’s eyes focused on the man climbing down the ladder.

Because of a quick NASA sergeant, the first words broadcast from the moon were not

“That’s one small step for a cheating bastard ….”

[livejournal.com profile] wolflady26: Breaking the Rules, and the Consequences Thereof

“One hundred words”, she said. “That’s the rules. You can’t go over by one, or under by one. Someone sits there and counts them, and if you’re even a little bit out, you’ll face the consequences.”

I laughed, I think. “Face the consequences? What’s that supposed to mean?”

Her face was grave. “What’d happen if you couldn’t finish what you’d started? Would you be the same person that you are today if you’d always done a little bit more than you actually did? Would you be standing here today if at some point, you’d never managed to say “I love

[livejournal.com profile] maleghast: The Clockwork Man

7am: Alarm clock rings annoyingly. Fumble for the snooze button.
7.10am: An incessant buzz. Get out of bed.
7.20am: Wash, shave, dress.
8am: Breakfast and read paper.
8.30am: Drive to work.
9am: Clock in.
11am: Tea, biscuit, cigarette.
12.30pm: Lunch down the pub with work mates.
5pm: Clock out. Back to pub.
8pm: Across the road to the kebab shop. Donner, chilli sauce, salad.
11pm: Pub closes. Home to an empty house. Home to an empty bed.
11.15pm: Stare at her chair, at the knitting in the bag next to the fire.
Midnight: Set alarm clock. Sleep a disturbed sleep.

[livejournal.com profile] quintus: Talented wee bugger

*tap* *tap* *tap*

*knock* *knock* *knock*

“Are you done yet? Only, it’s nearly dawn, and you know she doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Why, the last time she was kept waiting …”

“The last time she was kept waiting she took it away. And what happened then? She was very, very, sorry. She tried leaving it out again and again, but we didn’t return. Forty years she’s waited, and if she hasn’t learnt patience in that time, she’ll never, and we’ll leave again.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

“I’m done. Take her the shoes and bring me the bowl of milk.”
[livejournal.com profile] mrssshhh: Padraig and the Lads

“You think you’re good enough? You think that you’ll pick up that spear, and have your hair braided in nine braids? You think you’ll survive being hunted by the Fianna through the woods like a wolf, the bark and thorns scratching at you, no time to drink from a stream, no time to kill a rabbit and eat its flesh? You think you won’t be sent back to your mother, weeping because you have seen the glory of the Fianna and knowing that it’s always out of your reach?”

“I think you should fucking shut it. Lets fucking do this.”

[livejournal.com profile] scary_lady: Aslan

I held his paw.

I didn’t think I’d be able to, because he is not a tame lion. I’d heard the stories of him since I was born – how large he was, how he smelt of summer and spring rain, how he had sung the world into being. I knew those stories deep inside my heart. We all do. Aslan, son of the Emperor over the Sea. Aslan, the protector of the weak.

I held his paw.

I held his paw as they tied him to the stone, shaved his mane and then killed him.

I wish I had not.

[livejournal.com profile] itsjustaname: [livejournal.com profile] jimfer

“Release the flying monkey robots!”


“You fools! Did you think you could stop Herr Doktor Jimfer once he had put his mind to ruling the world! Your petty plans mean nothing to me!”

“Herr Doktor! Herr Doktor!”

“Silence, minion! I am mid-soliloquy. Ahem …. Your petty plans mean nothing to me! Do you not think I do not see your attempts at distraction while your accomplice disarms the control beacon for my monkeys!”

“You’re mad, you fiend!”

“Mad!? You call me mad!? I who have discovered the secret of ….”

*BzzzBzzzBzzz* "And here’s Shona, with the weather!”

“Damn …..”

[livejournal.com profile] kingandy: Hammad and Jarane

“It’s all here, Hammad. 500 report scrolls. Twenty seven mystic artefacts which delve into mysteries man really shouldn’t delve in to.Fourteen magic items proving conclusive breach of the Treaty of Rome by Verditius magi. One queen and eight pawns of assorted confiscated Vis with receipts issued, blue copy to Quaesitor Maximus of the Tribunal,yellow copy in that folder over there. A copy of Plato’s lost work on the importance of humour. I think that’s everything.”

“Very good, Jarane. But my initial request was simply that you pick me up some parchment if you were passing near the market.”

[livejournal.com profile] castorlion: Regrets best forgotten
Three wine glasses on the table, all with dregs, but only two with lipstick stains. A smouldering cigarette dies a lonely death in the ashtray. From upstairs can be heard the sound of activity – scurrying and tidying, teeth being hurriedly brushed in preparation of what is now definitely going to happen. The evening is tinged with anticipation, a gentle rose coloured hue.

Outside, a car door closes as quietly as a sigh, and he listens to the gentle hum of regret driving away into the night.

He turns his head to the footsteps coming down the stairs. Be here, now.

[livejournal.com profile] ed_fortune: Ferrarius, the Early Years
It’s all about the colour, you know. What colour do things go when they’re put under pressure, when the heat is on. That’s when things change. That’s when the truth comes out. When the heat is applied, you see the true metal.

You can go through your life staying grey. You can live, never finding out your breaking point. You can face rock walls here for the rest of your life, or you can step through the doors, out into the open sky, and see the multitude of colours that exist in this world.

What colour are you, little gargoyle?

[livejournal.com profile] binidj: Friends walking

In a spring garden, they walk. Not hand in hand, not even quite side by side, but with an intimacy that tells the story of a thousand nights and days spent together. She stands upright, like a sword poised to cut through inconsequential conversation. He, a step behind or in front seems as light as air, as if only her presence holds him bound to the earth. Her face, though stern, is intent on showing him all of the marvels within the garden. She teaches, and he listens. She gestures,and he looks.

She rarely blinks. He never stops smiling.

[livejournal.com profile] rebby: Looking back at a childhood fear

I never understood why I was scared of cats. It was sensible to be scared of dogs ever since I saw an over-excited pack of the local neighbourhood pooches surround my sister, barking and yelping as she stood in the centre of a canine circle and screamed. So dogs? That makes sense. Heights? Look over the edge of a building. Perfect sense.

But I never understood why I was so scared of cats until I saw our cat sitting on our baby’s chest, her face watching his, her inhalation his exhalation.

And I felt a forgotten weight upon my heart.
jfs: (Default)
As most of you know, friends of mine got married in Venice during Carnevale ... since then, given that everyone made such an effort about dressing up, one of the games has been to spot members of the party in other people's photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/97586583@N00/104776777/in/set-72057594068240877/ is the first one I've found - congrats [livejournal.com profile] velvet_the_cat!
jfs: (Default)
which will follow, I promise ....

(to the tune of "Men of Harlech")

by Colin Douthwaite

What's the use of wearing braces?
Vests and pants and boots with laces?
Spats and hats you buy in places
Down the Brompton Road?
What's the use of shirts of cotton?
Studs that always get forgotten?
These affairs are simply rotten,
Better far is woad.
Woad's the stuff to show men.
Woad to scare your foemen.
Boil it to a brilliant hue
And rub it on your back and your abdomen.
Ancient Briton ne'er did hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Neck or knees or where you sit on.
Tailors, you be blowed!!

Romans came across the channel
All dressed up in tin and flannel
Half a pint of woad per man'll
Dress us more than these.
Saxons you can waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in britches
We have woad to clothe us which is
Not a nest for fleas
Romans keep your armours.
Saxons your pyjamas.
Hairy coats were made for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas
Tramp up Snowdon with your woad on,
Never mind if you get rained or blowed on
Never want a button sewed on.
Go it, Ancient B's!!


jfs: (Default)
Still alive - impossible to get through to anyone on the mobile phone though.
jfs: (Default)
Three evenings, three outings. Planet Angel on Friday, introducing good friends to one of my favourite places. Mutual bigging up (which yes, I started :-)) a little bit of dancing, a lot of conversation and warmth. Having my lovely girl realise that PA is based next to the yard featured as one of the encounters in The Getaway (after the 20th time we'd both walked past it).

Saturday started with a cafe breakfast (although I'm informed by our resident Ilfordian that it's pronounced caff) and then disappeared into a haze of DVDs and chatting as the afternoon wended its way slowly past outside. Bad Wolf was broached (though I'm not sure what was on screen counts as an explanation, and that's all I'm saying given that a lot of my friends still haven't seen the latest Dr. Who) and then All The Chinese Food In The World was eaten in honour of 4 birthdays; [livejournal.com profile] westernind, [livejournal.com profile] forbinproject, [livejournal.com profile] delvy and Roo WINOLJ. The table was split into near equal halves as the vegetarians congregated at one end and the omnivores at the other, for ease of sharing. It was quite suprising to me that so many of my friends are now vegetarian - I suppose I knew, but seeing the table split so equally really brought it home.

From Chinese meal to world music - 5 brave adventurers departed late into the evening to Hackney, and the 291 Gallery for Whirl-y-gig. Whirly and Planet Angel share many things in common, but one thing that struck me particularly over the weekend was the amount of people who refer to them as 'my club' - both seem to engender a sense of ownership in the people who attend; something that's deliberate on their parts. Planet Angel refers to itself as a party, and the visitors as party guests rather than clubbers. Whirly has much the same attitude. It makes them, to my mind, two of the friendliest clubs I've been to, and I guess that's why I keep going.

And then Sunday. Sunday was Mozart's Requiem. There were two orchestral Mozart pieces before the main event (though apparantly the woman playing the piano for the Piano Concherto was very famous - certainly she was very good, but she wasn't who I was there to see and listen to.)

I have a particular love for the human voice - I read somewhere many years ago that every musical instrument is doing its best to mimic the voice and frankly, in my opinion, none come close. The fact that this was the Levin rescoring of the Requiem, rather than the Sussmeyer version, which is the more familiar score, was exciting enough. My problem with Sussmeyer is the orchestra, and (weirdly) specifically the french horns; lumpy soft instruments that let the voices sink into them rather than bouncing them up to the sky.

And I was blown away.

The choir were magnificent; there wasn't one note that was less than exceptional. I tried to pick out a single thread of voice in the Great Amen and couldn't follow it because I kept getting distracted by the other threads wizzing past, weaving into a massive rope of sound that you could tether the Queen Mary with. During the Dies Irae the Altos spat one word out and then sucked the next one back in creating an echo and a hollow sound for the word to disappear into; angry, fearful - and the sort of effect that someone would find it hard to reproduce with a sequencer and a load of electronic equipment.

The Kyrie raised the hairs on the back of my neck. The Lacrimosa made me cry.

Lacrimosa dies illa
Sorrowful that day
qua resurget ex favilla,
when from the dust will arise
judicandus homo reus
guilty man to be judged
Huic ergo, parce, Deus
Spare him therefore, O God
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem, Amen.
Good Lord Jesus, grant them rest. Amen

Thank you to all that made it there; too many to list.

My weekend was spent in the company of my friends and those I love.

How does it get better than that?
jfs: (Default)

As some of you know, the upcoming weekend is ... full. Yes - full. That's a good word for it. Anyway, we are celebrating many, many things, and if you're reading this, you're welcome to get involved.

Here comes the madness.

Friday, 10th June

Saturday, 11th June
  • Ilford, 8pm. Chinese meal to celebrate the birthdays of [livejournal.com profile] forbinproject, [livejournal.com profile] westernind and Roo WINOLJ, If you'd like to come to this and you haven't already, please let [livejournal.com profile] westernind know so she can make sure to book enough spaces in the restaurant.

  • Whirl-y-gig  8pm - 2am, near Liverpool St. station. Bounchy happy people listening to world music and the funkyier side of dance in a beautiful converted church. There will be a posse going from the Chinese meal to Whirly if you'd like company.

  • The Ilford Pimms society - for those not wishing to dance the night away, there will be Pimms or mulled wine (weather depending) on Green Lane in Ilford. Good company and conversation guaranteed.

Sunday 12th June
  • Mozart's Requiem at the Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm. For those of you I'm holding tickets for, if I haven't seen you by then, I will be at Royal Festival Hall from 6.45pm to 7.15pm outside Books Etc. (Main Foyer, Level 2). I'll be posting contact details in a locked post in a little bit.
  • Chilling and chat will happen somewhere on Sunday afternoon before we head in to the Requiem. Don't know where, aren't planning on planning. But you're welcome there. :-)

Please be aware that unless you've already sorted crashspace for the weekend, it's very unlikely that there's any going spare in Ilford - there's officially no room at the inn at ours, for example.

This is going to be a good one, people - I'm really looking forward to it.

January 2017

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