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06 May 2010 @ 03:51 pm
Aziraphale and Crowley would like you to vote today.  
Forgot to post this here as well. :| Derp.


The two men-shaped things stood watching the crowd outside the small town hall. "Crowd" was perhaps too strong a word: there were sixty people at most, and forty-nine of them weren't doing what it was they came to do. In the great British tradition of queueing, they had formed some semblance of a line and were now standing around happily chatting to people they hadn't seen since the last time they saw them, and eating freshly-baked biscuits that had mysteriously appeared on a plate on the edge of the information table.

The first man-shaped thing gave his companion a shrewd sidelong glance. "Why do you think they do it?" He asked. He had his hands stuffed in the pockets of his immaculate black jeans, and was watching the scene before him with bemusement over the top of his sunglasses.

Aziraphale squirmed uncomfortably and mentally topped up the variety available to include Hobnobs and Bourbons. "Because, my dear, it can help to change the world."

Crowley snorted derisively. "A few bits of paper in a box? All of them to vote in men who scare the living daylights out of demons like Hastur¹?"

Aziraphale concentrated. The recycling bin he now kept in the back-room of his bookshop was full to the brink with wine bottles, which had quickly appeared there after he had failed to placate Crowley using only soothing noises during the previous evening's "Question Time". And the idea of being stone-cold sober on such an important day seemed somehow inhuman. "Well, it doesn't really change the world. Not really. But it changes their world. When they fill in that little bit of paper and slip it into that box, they know they've done their bit, that they've acknowledged their country. I imagine it will be a nice feeling." He added wistfully.

Crowley nodded, then stopped. "Nice feeling?" He echoed. "What do you mean, 'it will be nice feeling'?"

Aziraphale attempted to look nonchalant and failed. "Well, there was a reason I wanted to be here today," he admitted guiltily. He pulled two polling cards from his sleeve and held one out. "As we've decided to 'Go Native', we may as well give it a try. It's not like we've ever had the chance to do it. You know, before. Can you imagine Heaven holding elections every five years?"

Crowley looked at the bit of card being proffered to him. He then opened his mouth to tell his angel exactly where to stick it, but his tongue got confused and instead came out with: "Fine. Alright. But just this once. And just because I don't want that posh twunt telling us we can't stay in a bed and breakfast."

He stormed off towards the voting booth, leaving an amused (and secretly proud) Aziraphale to gaze after him, and to wonder if there was any more room in the recycling bin for a few more bottles. Miraculously, there was.

¹ Most demons are frightened by politicians for the simple reason that because they are so easily corrupted, there is always a chance that Hell could come out of a deal worse off. Claiming a politician's soul isn't really considered a victory, in the grand scheme of things, and most demons who have done so keep quiet about it or blame it on their enemies.
Mood: accomplished
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17 April 2010 @ 02:34 pm
But what do YOU believe in?  
Well, the Leader's Debate has done wonders for me. Remember two days ago where I whined and bitched about not understanding politics? That night, I watched the LD. And although I'm still a little "what is stamp duty just explain it to me srsly", the Debate (or rather, Clegg) was instrumental in getting me passionate about what I believe in all over again. Britain's reaction to the Lib Dems is really heart-warming.

So. I've decided to sit down and write what matters to me, or what I would do if I could overhaul the system. I believe I did this 1-2 years ago, but I like to think I've matured and developed since then. This is a bit of a long list, but...anyway.

Do these policies make me look fat? )
Mood: listless
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16 April 2010 @ 11:34 am
Eddie Izzard's Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Labour Party.  

Eddie Izzard supports 'Brilliant Britain' (a slam against Cameron's repeated insistence that Britain is 'Broken') and reminds us that the modern Tory party are essentially Margaret Thatcher's children, and will take us back to the times of mass unemployment and tax breaks for anybody who has a billion zeroes on the end of their pay cheques.

Once again, I urge you, because this is important: find a party you like, and vote for them. If you're unsure of who to vote for, visit the party's websites or take the quiz on http://www.whoshouldyouvotefor.com/. Remember, this is your country, and it's up to you to help take care of it by taking part in the democratic process. Researching party policy has never been easier than it is now, with party websites themselves, Google, Twitter and FaceBook all involved with gaining your vote.

Once again, if you do not vote and the wrong people get in and you find yourself unemployed because you're one of the expendable millions, you have nobody to blame except yourself.

Naturally, my message is to vote Liberal Democrat, because Labservative have had the entire twentieth century to get things right and they haven't. (Although I do think that Gordon did a good job with the economy after the crash, and nobody is going to sway me on that.) At the end of the day, though, voting is up to you. But take heed - David Tennant will be mad at you if you vote Tory. Be warned. He has a TARDIS and he knows where your parents live.
Mood: energetic
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14 March 2010 @ 03:40 pm
Wootton Bassett Biker's Ride  
Today, 15,000 bikers rode through Wootton Bassett to comemorate the people who have lost sons, fathers and brothers to the Iraq war. I just went up there with Dad and the atmosphere was amazing. Just friendly and grateful. A lot of the bikes had "Thank you, Wootton Bassett" on them. It was more meaningful than a bunch of faux-melancholy news reporters bleating about us on BBC News, I can tell you.

One biker even gave a little boy her flag. It was heartwarming.
Mood: grateful
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06 March 2010 @ 02:59 pm
DSi XL: The Official Picspam  


Big is beautiful, dudes.
Mood: cheerful
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11 January 2010 @ 11:31 am
Fan Fiction: The Age of the Machine [Pokémon / R:15.]  
Title: The Age of the Machine.
Fandom: Pokémon (Video Games).
Rating 15 for disturbing imagery.
Characters: Detective Looker, Nurse Joy, Bill, Lanette, a few O.C.'s.
Summary: All over Hoenn, from Littleroot Town to the Battle Frontier, Lanette’s PC Storage System has begun to fail. Looker suspects that the elusive Team Chamoise have finally managed to unleash a virus so powerful that it is corrupting physical Pokémon into raw data - but he is trapped inside Lilycove Pokémon Centre and unable to contact the outside world. Meanwhile, Lanette and Bill are forced to look into the past, at Incident #0000, and decide whether or not to close the Storage System for good.
Chapter: 1 of ????.

When he’d first become night watchman for the Battle Factory’s Storage System, Elk Mason had found it rather fun. )
Mood: busy
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26 August 2009 @ 01:28 pm
In Which I Am Serious For A Moment.  
Most of you by now will be familiar with Wootton Bassett. My proud little town has been featured on news services around the world recently because every time a soldier's body is brought through from RAF Lyneham, my townspeople and war veterans turn out to pay their respects to the procession. It's a very sad event - the high street where this happens is a stone's throw from my bedroom window, so I can always hear the church bells and know when another soldier is passing through to his final resting place.

My Grandpa died of pneumonia which we are sure he caught whilst paying his respects to the fallen soldiers. As of such, at his funeral we decided to support Help For Heroes and asked people to donate whatever small amount of cash they could as respect to both Grandpa and our brave boys fighting out there in the Middle East. The final figure is in. We managed to raise the exact amount of £1000. I hope that wherever Grandpa is, he's pleased with this.

It doesn't matter if you consider the Iraq War to be right or wrong. It doesn't matter whether or not you're a pacifist, like I am. The fact is that there are people out there getting injured fighting for what they believe in, on both sides of the conflict, and they need our help. The government sure isn't helping them, and if Gordon Brown has his way we'll be helping them even less than we are now. So I am proud that we managed to raise that £1k. It's not that big in the grand scheme of things, but if it even helps only one person, I'll be as happy as I would if it had helped one hundred people.
Mood: choked up
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29 July 2009 @ 08:35 pm
Old Telly Isn't Necessarily Bad Telly.  
...Or, Why Special Effects Don't Matter If The Acting Is A Bit Daft.

Old telly suffers a lot under modern scrutiny - sexism, racism and homophobia are chucked around as casually as a can of beer in a group of excited teenagers, the Red Fear died out before many modern viewers were even born (taking these mythic examples from my own generation, that is), and the out-dated views of the future have not come to fruition (computers are now the size of our palms, not our houses, and the VHS tape went out of fashion quicker than paisley). CGI was practically unheard of, the bad guys were made of either tinfoil, plasticine, or both, and a lot of the acting is now seen as too melodramatic or cheesy to be taken seriously, except in those rare cases when it is too bad to be laughed at. It is these last two points combined that I would like to take a look at today.

In the Doctor Who four-part arc Full Circle, Tom Baker's bad guys are rubber-suited flaily-armed monstrosities from the boiling lakes of the first of the E-space worlds, Alzarius. Upon first sight of them a modern audience would fall over themselves laughing, as indeed I did - until one came up against Tom himself. The Fourth Doctor is almost always stereotyped as a goofy, intergalactic bohemian with a love of scarves and ranks quite low on the list of my personal favourites, but his performance in this episode really made me change my mind about his position on my list - and inspired me to construct my argument whilst it is still vaguely coherent in my brain. Upon coming up against one of the Marshmen, a child he readily identifies, the Doctor attempts to soothe the frightened creature before being knocked over the head by one of the misunderstanding Starliner crewmen. This is the exact point that I stopped thinking of the Marshmen as men in rubber suits, and started thinking of them as people. People who posed a tangible threat (until their existence was explained, that is) to my hero, the Doctor, who was just doing his thing and trying to help the universe. And suddenly, the crap effects ceased to be important.

Here is where I put forward my argument: you can take the best CGI effects in the entire world and paste them all over a film or television show, but if the actors aren't up to it, then the effects will look as fake as they indeed are.

As human beings, we take our cues on how to respond to a situation from the other humans - or sometimes other mammals in general, if horror movies that feature friendly dogs in them are anything to do by - present at the scene. And if you have a fantastically CGI'd dinosaur swooping toward your hero, but the actor is gaping in slightly the wrong direction or looks wooden when he ought to look terrified, suddenly the reality of the situation all falls apart. It doesn't matter how much money was spent on said dinosaur: if the actor it is interacting with doesn't take it seriously, neither will the audience. A perfect example of CGI/human interaction done correctly is the 2007 movie Transformers, whose effects, whilst totally mind-blowing, only really gel once you realise the actors genuinely believe they are talking to giant robots, or running away from them, or mourning them. A perfect example of bad effects/good human interaction I told you of above: because Tom believed the Marshman was real, and in pain, and needed comforting, so did I. Because he later displayed fear of them when they took over Romana, so did I. And when he finally revealed who and what they really were, and displayed pride for their species, I felt proud as well. It wasn't the special effects department that made them real, it was Tom.

Old science-fiction can convince you of anything so long as the hero can carry the conviction necessary to do so. My first ever classic Doctor Who arc was Patrick Troughton's outing The Tomb of the Cybermen, and those tinfoil-plastic robots who were so obviously just men thrown into badly-made suits were more terrifying than the modern examples (who showed up in Tennant's Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel arc) could ever be because the Second Doctor and Jamie and the archeological expedition's reactions made them all the more terrifying. Modern actors don't seem to bother in the same way. (I am not, of course, talking about the entirety, just the examples I've seen). They know that all of the stops will be pulled out to make whatever monster of the week look as realistic as possible, and so their response to said monster is either lacklustre or stereotyped. Mark Gatiss's creature of the New Who ep The Lazarus Experiment is a case in point. I wasn't scared of him. In the slightest. Something in my brain told me to think he was scary, but when I saw the dinner guests running around screaming and wringing their hands like so many bad actors/actresses, my response was to laugh. The only emotion he actually generated was vague pity, and that was when David Tennant's Doctor stepped in and began to lecture - unfortunately too late in the episode for me to actually care about what happened, as too much time had been spent building up to a creature who wasn't scary because not enough effort was placed on making the actors react to it as such.

This is possibly why something is all the more scary in a visual medium (IE., a television episode or movie as compared with a book or audio production) if it is unseen, because then the only thing we have to go by are the actors' reactions: we don't have to worry about their reactions to something that ought to be laughable being completely wrong and thus turning that monster or ghost or zombie into something not only not frightening but also comically bad. All we have is their frightened faces and our imagination. The television adaptation of Stephen King's The Langoliers was frightening and atmospheric even after the badly-animated balls of teeth showed up at the end because they were initially unseen and thus treated seriously, but also because the actors managed to continue being frightened even after they had become visible. (Special props to Bronson Pinchot as the overworked neurotic mess that was Mister Toomey, the character who gave the name 'Langolier' to the time-eating monsters).

No doubt future generations will look back at modern telly and film and point and laugh at Optimus Prime battling it out with Megatron, or the Doctor saving a red London bus from killer wasp-things, or the Enterprise escaping a burning planet as examples of extremely bad CGIness. Whatever we consider state-of-the-art now will be redundant in fifteen, ten, even five years' time with the never-ending march of technology. (Remember when DVDs were state-of-the-art? Nah, me either.) But I don't want them to look back and ask, "Why aren't they taking this seriously?" One thing you can never accuse the majority of old television of is not taking their effects seriously, from the space corridor of Doctor Who to the neon-suited aliens of UFO to the lizard people of V to whatever goes in The Outer Limits. They were real to them. They were real to their audience. And, to me, they're still a lot more real than some of the crap we're faced with today.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred foil the evil pepperpots' attempts to commandeer the black shiny box of bad CGI in order to invade the universe of the BBC studios - otherwise known as the Seventh Doctor and Remembrance of the Daleks.
Mood: thoughtful
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14 July 2009 @ 07:27 pm
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
Oscar Wilde

I'm Becca, I'm 20, and I'm a 3rd year Literature student from Wiltshire in the UK. My main journal is →skybard @ LJ. I love books, creative writing and a little bit of drawing when I'm in the mood.

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Mood: cheerful