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Not Alan Rickman, too.

alan-rickmanThe universe is testing me. Or that’s what it feels like today. I’m a bit tired, stayed out too late at the Bowie tribute, woke up this morning with a slight edge, only to find out that Alan Rickman has died, too.

Of fucking cancer, too.

God damn it. Another one.

We can figure out how to grow meat in a petri dish, but we still can’t slay the monster that kills more than 1,500 people a day in the US. Cancer is the ultimate equalizer and while it may not be the Grim Reaper of the medical world, heart disease gets that slot, it comes a close second. If heart disease had a right hand man it would be cancer.

Fuck you, cancer. You’re a right ol’ bastard.

I’m tempted to continue to rant about cancer, but let’s talk about Alan Rickman instead.

There was a quality about Alan Rickman that is hard for me to describe – a certain gravitas about him that every time I heard his name, I couldn’t help but repeat, in a rather horrible English accent in my head, that he was an “actoooor.” He had that weighty, intellectual demeanor that spoke of his seriousness about his profession, that he could’ve just as easily fit in on the stage in Shakespeare’s time as he did in ours. If someone had told me that he was a time traveler from the 16th century, I would’ve been like, “Well, that explains it then.”

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Alan Rickman was that whole Renaissance package: an actor, a graphic artist, a worldly-conscious patron. His brooding looks, deeply-seated voice, and elegant poise captured his audience, making him the perfect thespian, whether as the deliciously evil character of Hans Gruber, the complicated, tortured soul that was Professor Snape, or as Harry, a cheater who you wanted to shake, yet you couldn’t help but be sympathetic towards anyway. He could wear many hats and bring his gravitas to all of them equally.

I’m sorry to see him go. He was 69 years old, just like Bowie, which seems so young in this day and age, when we boast of cutting-edge science and top-notch medicine, when we can do things like grow protein in a bowl, or put a spacecraft on Mars. Life can be full of horrible juxapositions and vicious oxymorons. Whatever way you look at it, Alan Rickman died way too soon.

Farewell to you, sir.

 

 

 

Saying Good-Bye to the Starman

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It took his death to pull me out of my writing frenzy and back here. I know. I’m terrible at keeping up this blog. My guilt has a lot to answer for. But it’s one of those things that had to be done. I wasn’t willing to let one of my heroes go without saying some things about the genius of a man who helped shaped me into who I am today.

I didn’t come to Bowie in the usual fashion. Even though I was a child in the ’70s, I wasn’t a child *of* the ’70s. Nope. Ziggy Stardust was released the year I was born and was Bowie’s 5th studio album. Fifth! Can you believe it? I wasn’t even a twinkle in my dad’s eye when Bowie started recording! It would be three years later after his self-titled debut before my parents even got married. That sort of stuff blows my mind. “Life on Mars” was released on Hunky Dory in 1973, a year after I was born. Finally, at least I existed by the time my favorite Bowie single came into being. Thank god.

But embarrassingly enough, while Hunky Dory and early Bowie is where my heart is, my gateway drug was probably Let’s Dance. I know. Don’t hate me. To be fair, I got Bowie on both ends during my teenagehood. “Little China Girl” was on MTV and I was starting to listen to the Smiths as a twelve year-old loner and then as I got to that awkward social outcast phase around fourteen or fifteen and starting to listen to the Cure then Bauhaus that’s when early Bowie came back on my radar. It was like, “Where did this odd, peculiar, yet-so-cool-I-can’t-stand-it man come from? Yeah, I went from Robert Smith to Pete Murphy to the original. It really happened that way. And of course, moving into the Goth scene from there, what Goth on the planet wasn’t a Bowie fan? It was a pre-requisite back in the day. No self-respecting goth band denied Bowie. It just wasn’t done. The man touched everything.

But that’s the thing about Bowie’s genius. It’s timeless, almost eternal. He speaks to you and by you, I mean all of us. Everyone I know has a Bowie story. And I mean everyone. Whether they liked him or thought he was just “okay”, my FB feed has been filled for days now with people sharing their truths about a man who undoubtedly is one of the biggest cultural influencers of our life time. Listened to Bowie while skinning up in the school parking lot? Check. Lost virginity to Bowie in the back of an old Impala? Check. Dated a girl in high school who wanted me to dress like Bowie? Check. Had a crush on him even when he was old enough to be my dad? Check.

Everyone has got a story. By the way, none of those are my story, ahem, just so we’re clear on that . . .

I’ve blathered on for a couple of paragraphs now and haven’t even touched on his acting career, or his videogame stint (really?), his partnerships with other greats like Eno and Lou. There is so much to this man that it would take more space than I’ve got here. And let’s be honest, Bowie isn’t definable. He defined.

In a couple of hours from now, I’ll be joining a rather eclectic horde of misfits in celebrating the life of David Bowie. It’s a last minute thing that includes musicians, actors, fans, artists, hippies, goths, clowns, old people on unicycles, jugglers, fire breathers, actually I might’ve made some of those up, but basically a hundred plus and a local camera crew. It’s going to prove to be an interesting night, I suspect, but I’m glad I’m going. I’m glad to go out into the darkness tonight and revel and make merry mischief in the name of a man who left this world much too soon, but left us a legacy to remember him by.

Good-bye Starman. It’s time for you to go home.

 

Gothic Revival

I just finished the big re-write on Protector. Thank god. It’ll be winging its way over to Bev for a final read through before tumbling its way over to Amanda for the start of copy editing. So close now. I can almost taste it.

Meanwhile, my brain is incapable of stringing together sentences having just finished going through 280 some odd pages of angst, mayhem, and horror. So today’s blog is going to be rather chaotic and probably slightly all over the place. Bear with me.

First things first.

I’m obsessed with gothic horror right now. Not necessarily unusual. I did my degree in 18th century English literature with a focus on the gothic novel. Add being a former goth on top of that, and it all slots nicely into place. So no surprise there.

I’d sort of lost touch with my previous fascination with that genre, focusing more on fantasy and urban paranormal stuff in the last couple of years. That was my mindset when I’d started writing The Shining Ones series way back in 2010. I wasn’t so much caught up in the sublime or my novel’s setting being a character in itself or mad monks and falling down castles. I was more interested in mythos. More interested in building my own angel mythology from scratch based on two points of interest: Neil’s take on Lucifer Morningstar in the Sandman series and one of my favorite songs of all time, “For Her Light” by a band that still has a very special place in my heart, The Fields of the Nephilim.

But more recently, there has been a resurgence in gothic horror that is taking me back to that genre. Have a look at Del Toro’s trailer for Crimson Peak.

Yeah exactly. I got shivers watching it the first time. Tom Hiddleston and creepy haunted houses. I’m in. PJ Harvey doing Nick Cave? Could it get any better? I was already heading in that direction, but Del Toro’s ability to make beautiful, ethereal things just pushed my mind into creative overdrive.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also just got done reading this, Jack Thorn by Katherine Harbour.

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I don’t normally get book envy – it takes a lot for me  to go there – but I was absolutely impressed with her book to the point where I was like, “No seventeen year old should know that much about celtic mythology and be able to weave it into an enticing story that doesn’t read like a history lesson.” It even caused me to stalk her on Twitter. If you haven’t read it, do so. I could probably write a whole blog post on her setting descriptions alone. Very nice stuff. You can also be like me and follow her on Twitter if you’re so inclined. Just go here.

So here’s my second bit to this blog post that I want to bring to the party:

I predict that 2015-16 will see a huge uptick in gothic/steampunk literature, movies, etc.

It’ll be a bit like what Twilight was to vampires and paranormal romance or The Hunger Games and the slew of dystopian novels that followed. It’s coming our way. (ed note – Gothic is different from Steampunk for those who want to be pedantic about it; there is a nuance between the two, but for argument’s sake, I’m going to lump them together.)

If you don’t believe me, take a look at Madonna’s new video that came out two days ago and try not to dry heave. I couldn’t. In fact, I got really really mad to the point that my husband laughed at me. If I could’ve reached through my monitor and bitch-slapped Madonna for yet again more shitty music AND ripping off yet another subculture’s much-loved and respected identity for her own piece of tripe I would’ve. Does she have no shame?

Seriously. Enough already, Madge. Go retire into that good night and leave the rest of us alone. If the Steampunkers wanted to light you on fire, I’d gladly hand them the matches.

Sorry. Did I just say that out loud?

I could list several more examples of why I think this trend is going to continue, but I just realized that I’ve just done a smack down on Madonna so I’ll stop while I’m ahead. I’m pretty tired.

If you can think of any other examples to share, let me know, and I’ll put them up here.