05 October 2010

Introducing: Miss Mermaid

Miss Mermaid is a first time blogger, who decided to join this group because a) she feels that there is always more room for discussion and b) she always claims she’ll try anything once with the exception of heroin, incest or the British National Party. She’s English (to the bone, no matter how hard she tries) and tends to wander around in a default setting of ‘not quite with it’. Let’s see how it goes!

Her answers to the questions posed by the other Fishnet Bluestockings are as follows:

You’re stuck in a room for a year and you can only have access to three movies. What movies do you pick?

Easy: Gone With the Wind – not only is it a beautiful, ridiculous tear-jerker, it’s also four hours long and you feel like you can’t bring yourself to watch anything for at least two weeks afterwards. The Muppet’s Treasure Island – I’m yet to watch it and not find something new. It never fails to make me hoot, yes, HOOT with laughter. Finally I think it has to be Wall-E, one of the most beautiful, moving, thought provoking and funny films I’ve ever seen. It also has a fabulous soundtrack.

If there were a mass book burning, and you had the choice to save three books for your own public consumption, and three books to destroy so that no one could read them ever again, which would they be?

SAVE: I’ve surprised myself by having to say first The Bible. I hasten to add that it would NOT be the King James version, being a source of far more bigotry than good (however poetic), but probably the New International Version were I forced to choose one single version for posterity. I think the choice comes mostly from my faith, but also from a sheer love of literature. It forms the foundation for so much western literature, either as stimulation, a reference point or something to react against – and whatever our views on faith we can’t escape that. Also, working my way through it (resurrecting a teenage project to actually read it from cover to cover) I have to say it’s a cracking read! Secondly, as I think I’d be breaking the rules saving the complete Sandman series, I think it would have to be Neil Gaiman’s complete short stories. Although, I don’t think that exists yet, so I’d have to opt for Smoke and Mirrors. His imagination both in content and in use of language never fails to amaze me. Finally (realising I’ve gotten a little heavy/pretentious in my choices) it would have to be The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s my ‘emotional crisis’ book. Pure romance and escapism, it makes me laugh and cry and I just love it.

BURN: I’m going to be predictable here and opt for The Twilight Saga. I know that it might be cheating counting them as one, but I can’t stand them. I think they’re abhorrent – and I say that both as a fan of supernatural fiction and as a Christian. If I can’t lump all four together in one volume, I would probably opt for the first one, seeing as it’s the only book I’ve ever actually got so annoyed at whilst reading that I’ve thrown it across a room. If forced to choose two others to eradicate I would have to first say ‘Crystal’ by Katie Price. With so many great books out there I find it incredibly depressing that a novel that actually markets itself as ‘trash’, and subsequent attempts repeatedly topped the bestseller lists in this country – especially when Price not only didn’t write them, apparently she’s never even read the books sold under her name. Rage. Don’t get me wrong, I love trash – I’m currently addicted to the Sookie Stackhouse series – but in this case, ignorance is not bliss. Finally I would choose Taming The Beast by Emily Maguire. It’s just bad. Not ‘so bad it’s actually good bad’ but just terrible. It claims to portray ‘emotionally challenging’ characters, but they just come across as irritating and self-obsessed whilst the author tries to be existential about their dysfunctional sex lives. I have extra special loathing for this book because I made the mistake of spending money on it (buying it on a whim because of the interesting cover) then forced myself to read the whole thing because damnit, I’d spent £15 on the thing. I deeply regret those lost hours when I could have read something decent. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

You can have lunch with three fictional characters - one from a book, one from a film or play, and one from a TV series. You can eat with them separately or together. Which will they be? Would you introduce them to one another, or to anyone you know? Why?

This is the hardest question! How on earth do I choose? So many of my favourite characters either have multiple incarnations across different media, plus many of them e.g. Jane Eyre, Adorabelle Dearheart (Terry Pratchett’s Discworld) I feel would be probably fairly infuriating in person. Either that or I’m ashamed to say in the case of say, Eric Northman (from the Sookie Stackhouse series/True Blood) or Henry de Tamble (The Time Traveller’s Wife) I would just melt into an embarrassing heap of goo. Hmm… Right the three characters I would have lunch with I think I would have to meet separately –the two women might get on, but they'd certainly object to the slightly smarmy charms of the man I’ve chosen!

First up, it’s quite embarrassing but for the book character I might have to say Captain Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. It’s a children’s series about a teenage criminal genius – the eponymous Artemis Fowl – and his involvement in the fairy world. Brilliantly conceived, I started reading them when I was about 13 and though the series has had its hiccoughs along the way (books 4 and 6 I’m looking at you) still adore them. I would of course have chosen Artemis Fowl as a lunch companion, but realised that as a high-functioning sociopath (not dissimilar to the BBC’s recent incarnation of Sherlock Holmes), and a teenaged one at that, he might not actually be a good lunch companion. Whereas Holly Short – the first female Captain of the fairy equivalent to the police force – would be a lot of fun. She’s smart, witty, tough and has a very interesting relationship with our anti-hero that I would of course ask her all about.

From a film or play I would choose the title character from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata - the woman who leads the women of Athens in a sex strike to stop their husbands continuing to fight in a war against Sparta. I directed an adaptation of the ancient Greek text, and have been interested in the original play, and the character, ever since. I think she would fascinating to talk to – a feminist icon dating from Ancient Greece – and I would love to introduce her to the writer of the adaptation I directed, and most likely Arcadian too, as she’d never forgive me if I didn’t!
Finally, from a TV series I think I have to opt for Richard Castle (as played by Nathan Fillon in Castle). He’s charming, intelligent, and I think would be fantastically entertaining. I would introduce him to my boyfriend, who is not only a huge Castle fan, but also sharp enough to puncture any huge ego moments Castle might have. In my imagination, the three of us would have a leisurely lunch together, filled with witty arguments. It would be joyous.

If you were given the option, what would you most enjoy never having to do again?

If given the choice I would most enjoy never having to go outside in the cold and dark and wet again. Individually, I can manage. Cold, I can do – there are coats and gloves and warm things to combat it. If it’s dark, if I know it’s brief, or if I’m with someone I trust I’m fine. Wet – well, there are umbrellas. The combination of two of them, I can manage. However, if it’s all three together I simply cannot cope. Take me outside on a wet night in December and I freeze up (pun intended) and want to curl up into a little ball and cry. I’m fully aware, by the way, that I do live in England, that land of perpetual darkness and damp for six months of the year, and perpetual greyness and damp for the rest of it. The irony never fails to amuse me. I probably should have grown up and gotten used to it, but instead my dislike of the cold wet and dark has actually grown as I’ve gotten older. Forget dislike, I loathe it. I can remember being almost reduced to tears on many occasions whilst waiting in the rain and cold for the early morning school bus. Now it’s like it almost causes me physical pain if I have to go outside on a rainy day in winter before the sun comes up. I bet you anything I’ll have moved to California by the time I’m thirty.

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