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 I've been meaning to update about Luther since it was on, so here's a quick run through of some other stuff first:

a. 100% obsessed with KIlljoys at the moment, update coming soon, I LOVE IT. 
b. Silent Witness came back last week and was SUPER DUMB.
c. Gave up on Jericho 20 minutes in, was boring. 
d. Endeavour is ok but just background noise. 
e. Have yet to try out War and Peace. 
f. Watching The Last Panthers (Sky Atlantic); enjoyably international but generally a bit daft, taking itself very seriously. 
g. Did I mention Cordon? SO DUMB, but I enjoyed it. Sooooo dumb. 
h. Deutschland 83 is excellent, and it's nice to be able to watch something in German. 
i. And finally, Musketeers will not be on until some time after March W T A F. 

With that out of the way, East London Misery Hour Season 4!

Luther )
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Happy New Year! I have forgotten to update about Luther two weeks in a row and that is coming, but first: podcast recs!

I listen to a lot of podcasts, not necessarily on things I am actually even interested in. I've recently started listening to fiction podcasts after ages of only listening to non fiction.

The Bugle - the best. the beeeeeeeest. THE BEST. Has been on a hiatus for a few months but should be back soon, fingers crossed! The Bugle is a satirical nonsense podcast (it's really difficult to describe it any better) hosted by Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver. It's over 5 years old and there are an awful lot of back episodes, hurrah!

Episodes 1 - 178 gamesplusone.com/thebugle/

Episodes 179 - present soundcloud.com/the-bugle

Answer Me This! - podcast hosted by Helen Zaltzman (sister of Andy) and Olly Mann, where listeners send in questions and Helen and Olly try to answer them. The show's been going for a long time and given that the questions come from whoever's written or called in, each episode is different (usually funny though).

answermethispodcast.com/

The Allusionist - another one hosted by Helen Zaltazman, this podcast is all about words and etymologies. The episodes are pretty short so it won't take long to listen. I particularly liked the one on Toki Pona, a language invented by Sonja Lang in 2001.

www.theallusionist.org/

The Media Podcast - Presented by Olly Mann (yes I do tend to follow people from podcast to podcast), this is a podcast about the TV and radio industry, which I am not in, but which is pretty interesting anyway (for example, there was an interview with someone from Mind about mental illness portrayals in River, which is what got me to give the show a look).

themediapodcast.com/

Watch What Crappens - this is a podcast about Bravo shows - Real Housewives of wherever and that ilk. I do not actually watch these shows or care about them, but the hosts (Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam) are hilarious and I don't know exactly why I like it so much given that half the time I don't have a clue what they're on about. Maybe it's the accents (particularly funny recently with Real Housewives of Cheshire starting up on Bravo).

www.watchwhatcrappens.com/

Deep Thots - This is a pop culture podcast hosted by someone who I really liked as a guest on Watch What Crappens (NB they also do a podcast on Empire which is on the Soundcloud page). The episodes are usually themed discussions (scary movies, musicals, Christmas music) and I enjoy this one enough that I can get past the sound effects (I find sound effects really distracting on non-fiction podcasts for some reason).

soundcloud.com/lyons-den-loonies

This Dummy - hosted by one of the guests (or hosts, I'm not too good at distinguishing one American accent from another) from Deep Thots, this is another pop culture conversation show. I haven't been listening to this one for too long so at the moment it's still mostly background noise for me, but it's engaging enough to keep me downloading episodes.

soundcloud.com/thisdummy

How Did This Get Made? - this podcast is a classic by now, I think. It's an incredibly funny podcast about bad movies, and that's it really. What puts it above all the other bad movie podcasts is June Diane Raphael who is super funny. Oh, also they had Tatiana Maslany on a recent episode!

www.earwolf.com/show/how-did-this-get-made/

Bitch Sesh - This is another Housewives podcast, and it has only been on for a few episodes. It was introduced via How Did This Get Made? and it is pretty funny so far, although if you were going to choose one I'd go for WWC.

www.earwolf.com/show/bitch-sesh/

Criminal - Criminal is a factual podcast presented by Phoebe Judge, each episode dealing with some aspect of crime or the criminal justice system in great detail. Because there isn't an arc, each episode can really dig deep into its subject, for example police dogs or rare books or a catfishing case.

thisiscriminal.com/

I Was There Too - I've only listened to a couple of episodes of this (and it's currently on hiatus) but it's about people who had minor parts in big movies, and it gives a really interesting and usually unheard point of view on filmmaking.

soundcloud.com/i-was-there-too

Liar City - this is a podcast about lies and liars, which is actually allows for a huge range of subjects. Some of the episodes can be a bit tough to listen to (spoiler: people are horrible) but overall it's worth it.

liarcity.com/

Limetown - Limetown is a fictional podcast which recently ended its first season (I think a second season is coming). The podcast is done in a documentary style, with the main character investigating what happened to a place called Limetown that was conducting research before all 300 of its residents were apparently killed. What happened to the residents and what was being researched in Limetown is revealed over the course of the season, and the script is very well done, with some properly creepy moments.

www.limetownstories.com/

Mom On Pop - This is a podcast where the senior editor of the AV Club talks about pop culture with his mum, which does give a really nice twist on the 'people chatting about tv' theme present in so many of my podcasts.

www.avclub.com/features/mom-on-pop

No Challenges Remaining - This one is about tennis, a sport in which I have verrrry little interest. However the two hosts are so enthusiastic about their subject that I find it really enjoyable to listen to anyway.

nochallengesremaining.podbean.com/

Thinking Sideways - this is a podcast about unsolved mysteries, and my opinion on this changes almost from episode to episode as the mysteries can be silly, creepy or really fucking depressing. I know now not to listen to any that involve missing children or women because the most likely answer is that someone murdered them. Cheerful! Having said that, the creepy ones are great fun. I particularly recommend the Lake City Quiet Pills episode.

thinkingsidewayspodcast.com

You Must Remember This

This a podcast about classic Hollywood, and every episode I've listened to has been really detailed and really interesting. Also usually really sad, because classic Hollywood was a very very strangely run place.

www.vidiocy.com/you-must-remember-this

We Hate Movies - Another bad movie podcast. This one's been going for ages and is really funny, and some of the movies they watch are terrible.

whmpodcast.com/

The Message - The Message is a fictional sci-fi podcast which has finished its first season (not sure if it will be back), dealing with the research into an extra-terrestrial audio message that causes a horrible illness in those who hear it.

themessagepodcast.com/

One True Podcast - This is a relatively new podcast about fandom, and I've only listened to a couple of episodes so far but I've really liked what I've heard. Enthusiasmgirl (enthusiasmgirl.tumblr.com/) is the moderator, and there are different guests each time (I think), discussing a different fannish topic, including Yuletide, OTPs, new fandoms etc etc).

otpodcast.tumblr.com/

We're Alive - We're Alive is a fiction podcast about a zombie uprising. It exists, therefore I must consume it. It has been going for about five years, I think, and so far it is pretty standard zombie story but I literally on part 2 so it has a lot of development to come.

werealive.com/

Ru Paul's What's The Tee? with Michelle Visage - This is a podcast by Ru Paul (clue's in the name) where he and Michelle Visage talk about anything and everything and then have guests on and chat to them about whatever they're doing.

www.rupaulpodcast.com/


THIS HAS TAKEN ME ALL EVENING. I didn't even realise I listened to this many podcasts! However I am always looking for more and as mentioned above it doesn't necessarily have to be related to something I'm interested in for its own sake, so if you have any recs please let me know!

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So recently London Spy has been on BBC 2, featuring Ben Whishaw being his usual excellent and slightly melancholy self. I watched all of it (I know a lot of people gave up partway through, which totally makes sense, frankly), and I have spoilery thoughts:

Spoilers ) and between the two of us we worked out that the show either needed to be shorter (so no timewasting) or longer (so the plot points had time to breathe). Overall it was an unsatisfying viewing experience that - with a bit more thought - could have been much much better. 
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This week's entry is an update to last week's, as I remembered some extra stuff.

Firstly, a pic from the Will Young concert, taken by [livejournal.com profile] kikishuatwitter.com/Kikishua/status/671828666863734784

And some links from the various people who took my money at Hyper Japan (or who will probably take it in the future):

www.insidejapantours.com - offer a huge range of group tours and self-guided holidays to Japan 

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheNakedLaceCompany - The Naked Lace Co., who do lolita style accessories but also excellent Sailor Moon collars

sstutter.co.uk/ - AMAZING massive chunky acrylic jewellery for really good prices, considering how much of a statement each piece is. 

www.momomaguro.jp/ - beautiful elaborate jewellery. I bought two sets of earrings from this place and plan to buy more in future. 

www.facebook.com/KactusKawaii - cute stuff! This might have been where I got my tiny alpaca.

www.dokiltd.co.uk/ - Japanese tableware. I got some lovely bowls from here.

www.littlemoose.co.uk/ - I love lasercut acryclic jewellery, so here's some more. 

lovejojo.com/ - more plush toys! Looking at all these cards I can see I went a bit mad, hahahaha (NB I did not buy from anywhere NEAR all of these places)

dreamybows.com/ - this place has all sorts - clothes, jewellery, hair accessories, make up.

Next week is definitely going to be podcast recs, because I've picked up a bunch of new ones recently :D :D
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On Sunday evening (not yesterday, the one before that) I ventured out in TERRIBLE weather and battled with transport nonsense to get to Hammersmith to see Will Young with kikishua.

IT WAS SO GOOD!

Support was Lemar, who I do like a lot, and even more after seeing him live – he just had one guy playing acoustic guitar as his musical background, and he was a very engaging artist, chatting a lot and he has a great voice. Also he’s from London so points for that :D /shameless favouritism.

His current album, The Letter, is out now – www.lemar-online.com/
 
Haven’t bought it yet but based on the songs we heard, would recommend.

Now, the main event. Will Young has been one of my favourite pop stars since he won Pop Idol. This is the first time I’ve seen him live as him, but I have seen him in Cabaret (excellent). I love his voice and although my tastes tend more towards electronic music, there are so many songs of his that I love. I also love his visual sensibilities – you can tell he is an artist that loves making music videos (a lot of them basically seem to be AU fic, really). Music videos are sort of my first fandom (a fandom of one, in a way, because it’s difficult to find people into the same music videos as you are, haha) so finding artists that actually like making them is great for me. Anyway, I’ll link at the end.

It’s always difficult to guess how a solo artist will stage a live show, because although they have a band, the band are usually pretty anonymous. I really liked the staging of this show, which involved a lot of plastic sheeting, and Will being dressed as some weird monk. Oh and the stage crew being dressed in white boiler suits (band and backing singers were just in normal clothes).

The first song was Brave Man, and was sung with Will facing to the right of the stage, singing into a wind machine blowing things at him. It was a really interesting visual choice to start off with (I did think the whole show was about five minutes of planning off being a total concept show with singer Will trapped in a dystopia, and I would have been there for that).

After that the staging became more traditional, and there was a fair amount of audience interaction which was great (although audiences everywhere could learn that just because you can shout at the artists doesn’t mean you should), and the songs were fantastic. He’s just got an amazing voice.

The set list was great, although I was disappointed there was no Hopes and Fears because I love that song. However that was the only song I missed, and hearing the other songs (Who am I! Jealousy! LOVE REVOLUTION!) live was just brilliant.

The only thing I thought was a bit odd was ending on Leave Right Now, which I absolutely LOVE but which is a sad song to have at the end of your show. However it was the last night of the tour and the second (!) encore and it was fantastic.

Anyway, videos! In no particular order:

cut because embeds )
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Bit late with this week's entries due to being out and about, so I've got two things to talk about.

First up – Hyper Japan Christmas Market. My best friend organised this trip and I went along having not looked it up much beforehand, but expecting something like the Language Show (trade show for linguists/language teachers etc) but with a bunch of anime. I possibly should have done a bit more research.

So we headed off to Shadwell, which is a really odd nothing place to be honest. I mostly use it as a place to change from the DLR to the Overground when I’m on my wanders. However they do have Tobacco Dock, which is a pretty interesting building in its own right.

Tobacco Dock is a Grade 1 listed warehouse that was converted into a shopping centre in 1990 at a cost of £47 million (OK THEN). It was supposed to be the Covent Garden of East London (which you can see in the design of the place) but it failed and went into administration (I’m not sure if it ever actually opened). It’s now used as a corporate events space, and apparently has been used in quite a few films and TV shows. I suppose with Earl’s Court being redeveloped (is that still on?) it will become even more popular. It’s an interesting building, although some of it is open to the air so it’s flipping freezing on a chilly morning.

So when we got there it turned out that it was basically just a big pile of shops and stalls selling a) anime and anime-related stuff, b) traditional Japanese clothes, c) modern Japanese design, d) all the Gothic Lolita stuff you could want, e) a truckload of jewellery, f) another truckload of soft toys and g) any random shit that didn’t fit in to the above.

There were also stalls selling food, so obviously we got a sushi snack before making our first go round. And then we spent some money. And then we spent some more money. And then we talked to a nice lady from Inside Japan Tours about the trips they offer. And then we spent some more money.

We also went to the food stalls and I had takoyaki, which I just absolutely love (deep fried octopus balls).

And then we spent some more money. BUT! I got some amazing stuff. I was going to try to post pics here but instagram is an arse to embed, so please see my actual instagram: www.instagram.com/hanlondon

It goes from the blurry gold and green earrings (my phone refused to play ball) to the cute purple alpaca <3. Also, follow my instagram if you like pictures of London, jewellery and crafts. 
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Second timed post! Be impressed, lol.

Tonight I met up with [livejournal.com profile] delgaserasca for Greek food; it was great. I loooooove The Real Greek, and can only recommend that you check the menu out and go. Here, I'll make it easy for you: www.therealgreek.com/

Recently I have been watching a lot of TV to catch up, and I have made it through Cordon, Daredevil and the episodes of Gotham series 2 that are out. I've also been listening to a lot of podcasts, and there will be an entry entirely on those at some point, because I'm always looking for new shows. However, for now I'm just going to talk about TV.

 

Spoilers )
And finally: NEW LUTHER SOON AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!! 

 
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Oh GOD I am useless. I'm so useless I've actually set myself an alarm to come and post here every week (or comment on fic if I really have nothing to say). I hope you are all ok! 

ANYWAY! First post of the new regime, lol. The weather has turned, going from surprisingly mild to OMG LAYERS, so that's a pain. More of a pain was the storm the other night which blew over one of the pots I have outside of my front door, which is worrying as they've got rocks in the bottom. Oh well, tree seems to have survived, though a lot of stuff went over that night and a bunch of things ended up hitting my windows (mostly paper/plastic).

Recently I have been crocheting a lot to get Christmas presents done (and will be doing that again once I post this), I did Open House (pictures here: metropolithan.blogspot.co.uk/), I've been to Brussels with Lesley (there will eventually be photos of this but I am slow) and I have been doing a lot of tech support for my parents. I have recently accepted that this is basically my purpose in life now ;)

I'm typing this while listening to Watch What Crappens, which is a podcast about the Real Housewives shows (which I don't watch) and they're attempting to do Cheshire accents and it is completely ridiculous. All their accents are completely ridiculous tbh but hilarious.

I have also been slowly working my way through the stuff saved on my Freesat box and other TV shows, mainly because I want to watch Justified but can't start that until I have less than 50 billion other things to watch. Last weekend I watched Under the Skin, which was very odd (Scarlett Johansson was amazing though) and made my way through a few episodes of River. The last episode was this week, and scattered thoughts are under the cut, mostly taken from an email conversation with [livejournal.com profile] delgaserasca earlier:

RIver )
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Helloooooooooooooo

I've been meaning to post for AGES but have been generally useless lately, for reasons which I will now explain. But first! A couple of quick happy updates:

1) I've been in my flat for just over a year and it is wonderful. I love it so much and sometimes still can't believe it is mine. Garden is coming on amazingly too. 

2) As of lunchtme today I have THREE nieces, woo hoo! Which also means I need to get on with the crochet things I'm doing for the baby. 

Anyway, update: I have been rubbish at everything for a while because work just got worse and worse, and there was some fuckery I still don't entirely understand, added to the fact that the department I worked in was being run very oddly and with no real thought for how the people there were supposed to cope BUT upshot is I found another job and do not have to care about this anymore, hurrah!

I left my job (with three months' notice, mind you) at the end of July, and jumped straight into my new job, which thus far is fab. It is properly in the City of London, which is AMAZING, and I have been doing a lot of walking and wandering. The hours are set at 9-5 which is pretty great as in my last few months at Pearson there was a) way too much to do and b) extended hours, which meant I was pretty regularly working 10+ hour days, so it felt like all I did for months was work, eat and sleep. Suddenly a) I can do things in the evening and b) I'm not completely fucking exhausted all the time. 

It does feel like my head is so much clearer these days, and multiple people have told me I seem more relaxed (I aaaaam), but it is also the culture of the new place that makes a difference. Even the idea of starting a job and not immediately getting thrown in is a novelty to me - I was speaking to another new starter (who had worked at Pearson in the past) who said the same thing. It's just really, really good so far. 

What this has meant is that I've made bugger all progress on anything, although I have made a couple of updates on metropolithan.blogspot.com, and recently got back to posting on emptylondon.tumblr.com/ (possibly my favourite thing I've ever done, if I'm honest) so I am trying to get back to normal and not progressing on stuff because I have too many hobbies, and not because I'm too knackered for any of those hobbies. I also get to take a WHOLE HOUR for lunch at work, which means I have been able to do some crochet, so I am currently trying to finish a shawl and then can take in another project to work on. Amazing. 

What I haven't been doing lately is writing, which is disappointing to me but every time I think about it I just have other things that come first (even when it comes to non fiction like reviews or Metropolithan). I didn't have the spare brain power for months and months so I just stopped, apart from a couple of hundred words on an original thing which is purely for my own amusement. I think I'm just going to have to be disciplined and sit down with no distractions to see what is still salvageable and what isn't. 

I have recently been watching Hannibal (amazing), one episode of Daredevil (liked very much), Witnesses (stupid, chucked it in), Odyssey (daft conspiracy nonsense but enjoyable), Brooklyn 99 (hilarious), Long Lost Family (makes me cry every episode), Undercover Boss (surprisingly good workout tv, also semi-regularly makes me cry), Cordon (daft but really enjoyable OH NOES A VIRUS QUARANTINE ANTWERP drama) and probably a pile of other things I have forgotten. Oh, Orphan Black, I'm about three episodes into the latest series. 

I think that's it for now, but I will attempt to come back more regularly, if nothing else I need to do some fic recs!
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AND I HAVEN'T STOPPED CAPSLOCKING SINCE.

Oh. My. God, everyone, it was basically exactly what you'd want from a Spooks movie. It was RIDICULOUS. It was AMAZING. There were fights. A whooooole bunch of people got shot. People get questioned A LOT. Things went boom. London (love of my life) looked fantastic.

SO MANY SPOILERS AFTER THIS. DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM. 

Also now I've linked to this on [livejournal.com profile] spooky_doings I feel obliged to say: 1) this is overexcited word vomit, not a sensible review and 2) I have a terrible memory and have probably got stuff in the wrong order/forgotten things. 
SPOOKS SPOILERS ACTUALLY REALLY HAPPY I GET TO TYPE THOSE WORDS )


In conclusion: go see it, but go see it expecting a very long episode.



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I have a couple of weeks off work for craft stuff (yes, this is what I choose to do with my holidays, NO REGRETS) and decided I would take at least one day to comment on fics. That day is today because my hands hurt after spending all yesterday on hairpin lace (I am blogging about my craft stuff at my new FB page here: www.facebook.com/HanlondonCrafts)

And because I like reccing stuff, here are some recs from the fics I have commented on today:

Musketeers

Liminality by shecrows
archiveofourown.org/works/3525722
Aramis/Porthos/Aramis, pre-series

Really lovely OT3 fic

The sunlight tells him Porthos has already risen, shutters long since opened out of a habit Aramis has never quite decided whether he loves or finds regrettable.

In quella parte del libro della mia memoria by cherryfeather
archiveofourown.org/works/3636597

Aramis tries to keep his vow after the end of series 2. This is AMAZING and did a really good job making me feel for Aramis.

Pas de Quatre by zelda_zee
archiveofourown.org/works/3491519
Eventual Aramis/Porthos/Athos/D'artagnan

Lovely fic that develops slowly towards OT4

Aramis looks at him sideways, arching a brow. “There is nothing Porthos and I can do for him. We do not have that power.” He studies Athos a moment, stroking his beard, then sighs in apparent frustration.

“You and Porthos do not?” d’Artagnan asks. “What do you mean by that?”


But Three's a Crowd by stardropdream
archiveofourown.org/works/3514376
Aramis/Porthos progressing to Aramis/Athos/Porthos, modern au

“Not dancing?” Porthos teases and his smile lights up his face.

“No, thank you,” Athos says, quiet but quick, just in case Porthos gets the idea to ask him himself. Porthos shrugs and downs his little flute of champagne in a way that probably shouldn’t be charming – but then Porthos manages to be charming in most things.


They come crashing down by stardropdream
archiveofourown.org/works/3766282
Aramis/Porthos, post s2

This fic just about killed me but then made it better, thank goodness

(He can remember the morning after Aramis leaves – the day warm but dulled, early autumn, the leaves turning and the cracks in the walls around his window letting in cooler morning air before the sun warms it; he remembers dressing for the day and realizing just how much of Aramis’ things had managed to migrate into his room without him fully realizing it, over the years. He touches at the blue sash he’ll wear to d’Artagnan’s wedding and he clamps down on the urge to long for something – for someone.)


You're Not Alone by misanthropiclycanthrope
archiveofourown.org/works/3681450
Athos & Porthos gen

This fic is tagged emotional hurt/comfort which is really the best description of it - it is lovely.

It made Porthos’s heart ache.

If the most he could do was ensure Athos made it home safely, he would do it gladly and without complaint. The resistance he encountered at first was not unexpected, but Porthos was nothing if not stubborn. Athos had no choice but to surrender and accept the resolute support.


Musketeers Series 2 - Athos/Porthos-centric Episode Related Fics by Suzie_Shooter
archiveofourown.org/works/3159077

I have loved Suzie_Shooter's fics since s1 and this whole series was great. The episode 10 fic was a fitting ending, considering the events of the episode.

His hand drifted to the pommel of his sword. He remembered Athos' only half-joking suggestion of arranging 'an accident on the road' for Rochefort. Something similar would surely be appropriate here. He could claim she'd drawn her pistol, that he'd acted in defence of the King.

The thought lingered throughout the wearying hours of the journey back, a half-formed intent that never quite became action. Porthos was not a man to strike down a woman in cold blood, but as far as he was concerned, this was no woman but rather a snake in the bosom.

Rivers of London

That What Brought Him Back by linpatootie
archiveofourown.org/works/1944330
Peter/OMC, tentacles

Peter finds out what's behind the door in the Folly - love this, funny and actually pretty plausible (presuming the door thing has not been answered, I'm only 5 chapters into Foxglove Summer).

Nightingale had expressly forbidden him to, but what was a young constable to do when faced with a mysterious door and a mentor who had, so far, refused to tell him what was behind it?

Fast and Furious series

Generally Psychotic Behaviour by khaleesian
archiveofourown.org/works/177898
Dom/Brian, breathplay

This is an old fic and I had a vague memory of reading it after seeing the first film, so I went looking after seeing Fast and Furious 7. It is a pretty short fic that still manages to show just how much Dom takes over Brian's life.

“That was weird, huh?” Brian cursed himself for that weak opening. “That whole scene back there.”

Penny Dreadful

L'enfer, ce n'est pas les autres by cjmarlowe
archiveofourown.org/works/2845172
Dorian/Ethan

This is a short fic but both of their voices are great (also yay new series soon!!)

For it's because the knives glance off him that Dorian is able to cut everyone else so deeply, and that's not something Ethan could live with forever.

Music video/RPF but not really

Mean Low Water by pyrimidine
archiveofourown.org/works/249832
Brandon/Charlize (Crossfire video)

The Crossfire video is here www.youtube.com/watch, and I recommend you watch it because a) the song is great and b) the fic won't make any sense without the video. The fic is great.

"You?" she yells over the sound of the generator exploding. There's a bright flash of orange and a confetti of sparks raining down everywhere.

"I know, right?" he yells back. "I'm really sorry."




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Over the weekend I dragged my sister to see Fast and Furious 7 with me (to answer the questions everyone has asked: no, I don’t care about cars, but I love action movies, all the films from this series I have seen are super fun, and I haven’t seen Jason Statham on the big screen for a while).


IT WAS EXCELLENT. And ridiculous. But excellent. Highly recommended.


VERY SPOILERY Thoughts, in no particular order:

So many spoilers within )
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After leaving Parc de la Villette I carried on following the walk in my book, heading towards Parc des Buttes Chaumont. This turned out to be a very nice park with a weird island in the middle of a lake thing, and on seeing it my thought process was basically ‘is this a thing I can climb for no other reason than it is there??’

The answer, sadly, turned out to be not all the way, for construction work is being done to it. However I intend to go back because it looks a bit spooky and mysterious, this thing plonked down in the middle of an urban park:

loads of photos )

 

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Last week I went to Paris on the Eurostar, having booked myself a short trip just for the heck of it and because it is just so easy.

I stayed at the Hotel Paris Louis Blanc, right on top of the Louis Blanc metro station, and about ten minutes' walk from Gare du Nord.

www.hotel-paris-louis-blanc.com/uk/index.php

I chose it because it was central and vv cheap and I have to say, it was lovely (also has free wifi). Would definitely recommend. The room was small but as it was just me I didn't really care. I was on the fifth floor (woo!) and this was the view from my window:







I got the 7.01 train from St Pancras, because I am an idiot who didn't take into account that I would have to get to St Pancras for 6.15. However this did mean I was in Paris by 10.30, and after stopping at a supermarket to get chocolate I walked straight off to the Parc de la Villette to see La Géode and have a wander.

Many many pictures )

More pictures in the next post (coming later as I have to add more stuff to my shop now)!
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 Sporadic TV update time!

1) Weekly Wipe is currently on, cynicism yay! (presume everyone's seen this now, but in case not - www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/feb/10/nathan-barley-charlie-brooker-east-london-comedy)

2) Musketeers has been great so far this series, Marc Warren (ugh) notwithstanding. I only got round to watching last week's (2x05) last night, and I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than I expected to (based on comments people had made and spoilers I hadn't managed to avoid). Everyone is still incredibly attractive, damn them all. 

3) Call the Midwife has been amazing this series, but also pretty fucking upsetting, frankly. However Patsy is AMAZING and I love her. 

4) I am really enjoying Catastrophe - Sharon Horgan is brilliant in sitcoms and I really love her writing on this one. I adore the relationship between Sharon and Rob in this show (for anyone who's not heard of it, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney play a couple who meet in London, have a lot of sex, and then decide to make a go of it when Sharon gets pregnant) and it s hilarious. It's all on 4oD if you want to give it a go.

5) The Last Leg is currently on Channel 4 and is as funny as always, although it is still suuuuuper dude heavy which is disappointing (so far this series the only female guest has been Kathy Burke, which was great, and apparently Sarah Millican is going to be on next week). 

6) I have finally got Sky Go sorted out (thank you parents!) and have watched the first 3 episodes of Fortitude which I have really enjoyed so far. I loooooove the atmosphere and the setting and the occasional hints that it might turn into The Thing (it won't, I know this). Everyone is a little bit dodgy so far. 

7) Also on the Sky Go theme, I can now watch Psychobitches properly instead of just the clips on Youtube \o/ oh, the Brontes are the best.

8) Up the Women has also been great this series (second Rebecca Front thing on this list), and I have just remembered that I need to dl some more episodes!

9) Spiral series 5 was fantastic. Gilou and Laure's relationship is the best thing on television - I could watch them forever. Everyone was super attractive and super screwed up this series, but the actual plot was really exciting too. 

I think that's it, though there's a 90% chance I'll come back to edit this entry later when I think of something else I've watched recently. 
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 I decided a while ago that I would start putting up short reviews of all the books I read, partly so I could actually remember them. I decided to start from the beginning of 2015 and have been piling books up on the sofa for the last six weeks, well done me. 

So, in no particular order:

Gentlemen of the Road - Michael Chabon I really liked this book about two Jewish adventurers who get involved in a rebellion - it was written in a very engaging style, it was funny and I like the adventuring of the main characters. It was pretty short, which was a shame - I could happily have spent more time with the characters. Very Musketeers-y (shut up, that is totally a word). 

Dream London - Tony Ballantyne I made it a grand total of one chapter into this book. It was London-based urban fantasy, which is basically my very favourite genre, but it was so bad. The main character referred to himself in the third person, loads of women want to shag him and men want to be like him, everyone spoke in a weird pseudo-Victorian style for no reason I could see, apart from the main character's ex women were mentioned as whores. Somehow I carried on after that (shouldn't have done) and then a really weird gay character turned up who was an incredibly camp cliche who for some reason kept speaking in alliteration.  Oh and he wanted to shag the main character, of course. 

I have no idea what the London part of the plot was, save that London is changing in some mysterious way. It wasn't well set up and I couldn't dredge up any interest in ploughing on through the stereotypes and the Gary Stu. 

Alex + Ada Volume 1 - Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn This was a graphic novel I really liked. Alex is lonely in the future and his grandmother buys him an android, and the story develops from there. I read the Luna Brothers' Girls years ago and really liked the art style, and this is the same kind of thing. I loved the atmosphere and world building of this and definitely want to keep going with the series.

Room - Emma Donoughue This is our latest book club choice, and it was the one book on the list I didn't want to read, but the popular vote decided it, so I got it out of the library and DAMN it is readable. I mean, DAMN. The main character lives with her son in one room, where they're being kept by the man who kidnapped her seven years ago. It's pretty upsetting - not least because there are multiple cases of this situation in the real world - but the mother character is really strong. I think I got through the book in about two hours. And I could tell I was being emotionally manipulated but I almost didn't care (almost). I don't know, I really liked this book, heartwrenching as it is. Looking forward to the book club!

A Child's Book Of True Crime - Chloe Hooper I have forgotten how this book - about a teacher having an affair with one of her pupils' fathers - ends. I seem to remember losing sympathy for pretty much everyone involved over the course of the book, including minor characters. There was a device of a book within a book, a reimagining of a local murder told for children that didn't quite work (even within book world it wasn't a real book, and this is getting confusing), and I just don't think anyone was as interesting as the author thought they were. 

The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood This book is a brick and I do most of my reading in the bath these days so this took me an absolute age to get through. I enjoyed the story of the Chase sisters but I'm not sure my interest stayed consistent all the way through. It was very well done, and I loved the newspaper articles and the way that the perception of the girls' lives were shown versus the reality. 




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So for AGES I have been wanting to make myself something to hold all the brooches I don't have on my coats. Currently I only have a small collection of brooches (compared to everything else, ahem) and I had the vague idea of making some sort of frame.

Recently I found this project to make an earring holder and thought I could repurpose it for brooches:

www.laylock.org/blog/2011/05/sunday-morning-knitting-project/

However when I started the knitting I got frustrated very quickly, and went looking for a different pattern. I found this crochet blanket pattern on Ravelry:

www.virkaholic.com/2010/02/att-virka-gallerfilt.html

It's a very simple pattern that ends up looking like a grid, so won't be flashier than the brooches. 

I crocheted it with some scrap yarn and got a photo frame from Poundland, and this evening I pinned the crochet work to the frame and stuck some patterned paper to the back of it before putting it all together.

And this is what it looks like. I am really pleased with how it turned out!


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I thought it might be a good idea to post links to some crochet patterns I've used since learning to crochet, as I started as a total beginner and have since managed to teach two other people (more to come hopefully) so I have a good idea of what to rec.

A few times I've failed to take a photo of something and only realised once I've given it away, so some of these are just links.

toys )

I have also made three blankets on a granny square theme, but as one of them was a granny rectangle here is a link to the pattern anyway:

blankets )

I actually did not realise I had made this many things. Go me, frankly :D.

ETA: am idiot, forgot to mention the excellent www.planetjune.com/shop/ where you can buy many animal crochet patterns including DINOSAURS. So I bought some patterns and have so far made these: 

    





Worth spending the money :)




(I also have some little bunny patterns from this site I want to make at some point soon)

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 [livejournal.com profile] delgaserasca got me some looooovely alpaca yarn for my birthday (alpaca yarn is my second favourite after cotton yarn, although I use them for different things) so I decided to make myself a scarf. I did look around for patterns but eventually decided to make up my own. 

It is very simple but the finished effect was pretty so here is a drop stitch pattern by me:



Drop stitch scarf

Most patterns of this type recommend using needles bigger than usually recommended but in this case I used 10mm needles with 10mm yarn. However you can really do what you want with this kind of pattern. 

Use a chunky yarn of whatever type you like (this is Blue Sky Alpacas in Atlantis and it is NOT this colour but neither of my cameras seem able to pick up the green so this was the best I could do - anyway it is lovely).




Gauge is unimportant for this pattern.

Cast on 12 stitches 

Row 1: k
Row 2: k1 (yo, k1), repeat to end
Row 3: k (drop the yo, k1), repeat to end 
Row 4: k
Row 5: k1 (yo, k1), repeat to end
Row 6: k (drop the yo, k1), repeat to end 
Row 7: k
Row 8: k1 (yo twice, k1), repeat to end
Row 9: k (drop the yo twice, k1), repeat to end

Repeat rows 1 - 9 until the scarf is as long as you want.







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I am wiped out from work this week but managing to get through the episodes, hurrah! 

Still cannot get over how young MM looks. 

103 and 104 )