Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FlashForward

I caught the first episode. S'all right. But:

* If the flashforward happened at the same time all over the globe, surely half the world would have been asleep when it happened?

* Why did all the aircraft drop out the sky? Don't they have autopilot for these things?

* Why, in the background of Alex Kingston's bit, was Big Ben aflame? I mean seriously, what the hell they storing up there? All the newspapers with Princess Diana on the cover? Is there a bell tower? And the rope to the bell tower is actually made of candle wick?

* Why are so many buildings aflame? I mean come on. It was two minutes! Are all the buildings just sitting around going 'No-one's looking, no-one's looking... NOW NOW NOW!!!'

Buuuut I didn't tune in for some realism. I tuned in to see fit men have their tops off. Taps watch. I'm still waiting, and I didn't see any in the flash forward either. Something's remiss...

The Lost Symbol VI

This thing just won't quit.

So Langdon (what a boring name) and Katherine have now escaped and are looking for sanctuary in Washington DC thanks to another stock Dan Brown character: the kindly old man who knows more than he should. He'll probably turn out to be evil just like Teabing (what a ridiculous name) in the last one so I'm not holding my breath. They've solved more puzzles, hurrah, and... are they meant to have any sexual chemistry together? I can't tell. All she's there to do is ask questions at the right time, rather like a Speak & Spell with lipstick. Actually does she wear lipstick? I can't remember a single thing about her physically as all I seem to recall was Brown telling us how high she is and be done with it.

On the opposite side of this is Mal'akh, who is having a flashback to how he got all his tattoos which is nice as there's reams of description of his physique in wondrous graphic detail including his chiseled abs and 'massive sex organ... this heavy shaft of flesh' to which I gasped and didn't really care what his evil plan is as long as he did a shoot for Attitude magazine. I mean really, if this tome wasn't the size of a tombstone, I'd be convinced it was a Mills & Boone.

In other news, I am so indoctrinated by this book that I've started to think in italics.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lost Symbol V

The great read continues.

Well, we've finally moved from one room in the Capitol Building and all the way over the road to another room in the Library where Langdon and Bellamy have got a coded pyramid and... I think that they're trying to decipher it, although Bellamy keeps saying that if he does it'll be the end of everything, which is a touch dramatic as the 'end of everything' sounds very much like a description of a spiral staircase to me. Perhaps Bellamy has a fear of late 70's architectural flourishes. I wish people would turn around and go "Would you mind explaining what you mean by 'the end of everything'?" rather than take it on the chin because if it was just a staircase, then we could all tut and go home. Despite Bellamy's warnings, it doesn't stop him hanging out over Langdon's shoulder as he works it all out with a pencil.

Meanwhile over at the Lab of Cold Hatred, Katherine is attacked by Mal'akh in the dark - and it's actually a well-written chapter which confused the hell out of me as it was like you were watching 'Midsommer Murders' and inbetween one of the ad breaks the regular director nips off for a coffee and Ridley Scott helps out. Katherine flees and Mal'akh has an idle flashback to his Ideal Holiday where he gets tanned and buff and has a lot of sex. If doesn't seem to have much bearing on anything, but it was nice to have a bit of joy for one of the characters instead of having them frowning over some ancient relic. Oh and Mal'akh's 'plan' is an unfortunate victim of Dan Brown seemingly handing in his first draft as it seems that he hears about the mysterious pyramid that Langdon is currently frowning over from someone who died in the previous part of the scene. Oops.

So Langdon carries on puzzling, and Bellamy lets him puzzle as long as the plot needs him to. I'd like to help out and be a bit more interactive, but as most of the information is hidden from us until the characters need it the whole effect is kind of watch two strangers across the room playing 'Professor Layton and the Curious Village' on the Nintendo DS.

I shall carry on.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lost Symbol IV

Still ploughing through this tome.

So right now, we're still in the Capitol Building, and we're wandering through the basements to Sub-Sub-Basement 13 ('SSBXIII' - geddit?) and along the way Robert Mary-Sue Langdon is telling us all his pet theories about everything from The Masons to the American '13' conspiracy theorists, who would apparently 'have a field day' if they discovered that underneath the Capitol Building there are 13 tiny rooms. Well I'm so pleased that they are clearly so excitable that they'll probably burst into song at hearing about George Washington's storage space. If only we were all that easy to please. I can't imagine them going around IKEA without riot police being called.

Meanwhile upstairs, Warren Bellamy is hammering to be let into the building. Mr Bellamy is the heavily-foreshadowed 'Architect' of the Capitol Building meaning that he's in charge of the running of the whole structure. I for one find it odd that he's in charge of the whole building and doesn't have a key to get in but that's just me. I assume that Dan Brown is going to reveal all in a few chapters and not just drop this loose thought like a hot potato. That's been carved with ancient runes.

Finally they reach the door, and the vile Character Traits on Legs shoots open the door to reveal a secret sanctuary containing an old desk, a couple of candles, a skull, an antique hourglass, a crystal flask, a scythe, and some paper. This apparently means he's a Mason though I'm not sure why as I used to see all this sort of paraphernalia on the top of the clothes racks in River Island back in the early Nineties. I loved it looking like that in the day. I was forever popping in there for some new stay-pressed action-slacks and an antique typewriter.

Back in the room, the vile Character Traits on Legs finds that there is a secret panel at the back of the room and reveals an uncapped pyramid covered in symbols. Rather fortuitously she then gets a text message with an X-Ray of Langdon's bag, and in the package he'd got was the top of the pyramid. The vile Character Traits on Legs then shouts at him a lot for hiding what are apparently state secrets. Yeesh, I'd hate to be at her family during present unwrapping for Christmas.

I shall continue over the weekend. However I am missing Pam the air stewardess. At least she was fun.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol III

Sorry there was no update yesterday but seriously nothing is happening in this book. Here's what I can gather:

Robert Langdon is still in the Capitol building, and is joined by what I can only describe as a series of grotesque character traits on legs called Ms Sato, who comprises of a skin condition that makes her look like a mottled statue, a cancer scar across her throat, and the personal skills of K-Fed at an All You Can Eat buffet. Oh and as Dan Brown loves telling us the height of his characters, I now know that she is four feet ten. And that Langdon is over six foot. So when she first comes in and taps him on the shoulder she must have brought her own box to stand on.

Meanwhile Katherine Solomon has been sitting in her Lab of Cold Hatred and reminiscing about how she got her research project going. As far as I can tell, someone gave her a copy of 'The Secret' and told her to prove it with Science!, bless.

Oh and I forgot to mention Mal'akh, who appears to be the villain of the piece and thinks things like 'destiny's gravity brings you to me' which is sweet and proof that you can get work outside a Magic 8 Ball factory. He too has something going on with his skin - and is tattooed all over his 'powerful, six-foot-three frame' which makes me think that Dan Brown has something against people with skin conditions and affectations (cf The Albino from the previous book) as they're always vile. Hm. Well, destiny's gravity is driving him around Washington DC in a limo wearing a series of wigs and more make-up than Christina Aguilera on awards night. A well-muscled man, who's not on carbs for two days and not afraid of a little concealer, driving around town waiting for a man to call..? You can bet he set the TiVo for 'Glee' before he went out.

Meanwhile Langdon has found something tattooed on the palm of the severed hand that, if he turns upside down, I bet will say 'SSB XIII'. Oh and he's also got a hitherto unmentioned box in his bag that has come out of nowhere because the plot demands it. Bad Dan Brown! Bad! To your basket! If you need something that is integral to the plot you have to at least mention it a few pages before otherwise you look like some half-arsed hack making it up on the spot. Oh wait. Never mind.

More soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Lost Symbol II

So. I'm slowly reading Dan Brown's magnum opus, and am about 40 pages in. Here is the story so far as I see it:

Robert Mary-Sue Langdon has taken a private jet to Washington DC (during which he happened to be 'halfway through reviewing Masonic Symbology' which made me wonder "what, all of it? How very industrious!") when he has a flashback to his old mentor, Peter Soloman. This then triggers a flashback to another lecture he gave, while he runs in the rain to the latest lecture he's about to give. As far as I can tell, that lecture is about the perils of running in the rain in loafers, as that is what is mostly filling Langdon's brain at the time.

Meanwhile, Peter's sister is reminiscing a lot in flashback about her top secret lab that her brother built her in a dark, freezing aircraft hanger. I assume that he really must have hated her.

Just as Langdon is about to start a lecture, a screaming child calls his attention from another flashback. He seems remarkably astute as I do anything to ignore a screaming child in a public place. But this child has spotted a severed hand pointing at the ceiling, and Langdon notes that this hand is that of his missing friend Peter. How thrilling!

I shall keep you posted.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Lost Symbol I

I'm worrying about my literary ability: I started reading Gore Vidal's 'Julian' at the beginning of last week and by Wednesday I'd given up and was reading Lawrence Miles. By Saturday, I'd slipped further down the scale and started Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'. I don't think there's any hope, frankly. By mid this week I'll be doing colouring books on the Tube to work.

It's a pity as I was looking forward to 'Julian' - so many people had recommended it to me as slotting in with my oft-ranted ideals of Organized Religion and Where Bumming Fits Into This, but 30 pages of lists of people and places I didn't care for made me give it up. And a much more learned friend of mine said '30 pages is more than enough to know if you're going to enjoy a book'. So out came Dan Brown, handed over to me from Gertie on the express proviso that I carry it title facing out and as proud as a Latino mother of her drag queen son. I got several nods from nice ladies and one or two eye-rolls from people going to Primrose Hill.

Here's what has happened so far: there's a spelling mistake on the third line - 'bloodred' - and the word 'secret' has been mentioned more times than a teenage girl's diary. Our hero, Robert Langdon, has been on a flight on a private jet that has had the make and model number of the plane and the engines listed. Then an intercom goes off to tell him that the plane is about to land, but the make and volume of said intercom was not listed, and so I clearly felt completely removed from the action as a result. Langdon was met from the plane by a British stewardess called Pam, who was a groupie for Langdon's previous books. She commented on his wardrobe which, if you skip to the author photo at the back, is almost exactly what Dan Brown is wearing. I think Langdon's middle names are 'Mary-Sue'. You may have to look that up. Then a limo picks him up and takes him away into the night.

Apparently a 'lone figure' is waiting for him. I hope its Pam again. She seems lonely.

More as it happens.

Pest Control

In the mood for a bit of silly Who action, I made Nelson sit through 'Army of Ghosts' and 'Doomsday' last night. Rather delightfully, he gasped when the Void Ship cracked open and some Daleks dropped out.

"What did you think was in there?" I asked afterwards.

"Oh, not really sure. I was kinda betting on John Barrowman."

I does love him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

That Saga

I just realised I haven't really spoken about Twilight, have I? Well, in short:

I. Don't. Get. Twilight.

Or more correctly, I don't get abstinence. I think that's what my main objection is. That and the mimsy doomed romance between two vapid people that go to every extreme length to show Sex! Is! Bad! That if you do, the man will turn rabid and destroy you (Stephanie Mayer changing her name to Mary-Sue there) and if you do do it with the correct 'protection', you may still end up with a cancerous growth inside you that'll probably break your spine as it grows.

Well, fancy. I doubt that I'll ever write anything as heart-warming or as popular, but I'd just like to put across that Sex! Is! Good! and the whole concept of absence is probably doomed from the start. I am a huge fan of 'try before you buy', so much so that I'm a valued shopper with many gentlemen callers. And it has taken me many years to find a partner I'm happy with. Lord, when I think of some of the past ones - one comes to mind that I didn't know was ginger until he dropped his trollies, his pencil-thin member topped with an almost-blue tip. There was a whole 'is that it?' after the event. I couldn't imagine waiting til I was married to get that as a present. Its a given fact that people sometimes aren't compatible in bed, no matter what their personalities are like. And this is for me what Twilight promoted.

I have three favourite moments in the whole film:

1) Edward reveals that he doesn't have a bed. Thus proving that allowing a girl into his room, she is completely safe from any teenage pawings at her abstinence ring. "I don't sleep," he mutters. Sure you don't, I'm fine with that. But not even a chair to lie back on and peruse some men@play? Sure, you're 300 years old so when you shot your load it'd be like a little puff of Malvern Sea Salt detonating, but it'd stop you wandering about looking like you've trapped your vamp nads in a car door, darling.

2) Edward appearing in Bella's room while she sleeps. Because last time I awoke with some pallid youth leaning over me in the morning, I then had to fork out £50 for the night and later found out he'd nicked my DVD player.

3) The moment in Bella's bedroom where Edward and Bella are close and she leans in for a kiss. For a moment, he looks like he's going to - hethen twirls her away in a dance.

See, now. This is the whole crux of the matter for me, as this is what your Twi-hard fan is going to expect whenever she invites a boy up to her room for the first time. She's going to lean in, and so is he. She's going to expect him to twirl her away, he's going to stick his tongue down her throat. "No no! Do it like Edward!" she'll exclaim, and he'll laugh in her face and try getting to second base through her Bella jacket.

A note for any Twi-hard girl reading this: if a man twirls you away instead of kissing you, chances are he's going to be Very Good With Colours and will be platting your hair as you watch the first season of 'Glee'. But he's still going to break your heart eventually, so that will probably please you in some dark internal place. You have my permission to cut yourself just a little.