The one where everything dies and we are all fucked.

For some reason, I’ve always had a perverse interest in post-apocalyptic/disaster fiction.

I guess it originated from happily lapping up big bombastic blockbuster movies, where humanity is shaken by some cataclysmic event and everything goes to shit. Whether it be our own disrespect for nature, a stinking meteor, a dying sun or just our pesky planet kicking up a fuss, there are plenty of ways for writers and directors to fuck shit up. I love disaster films because for most part they provide pure entertainment, even if the science behind them is, at best, questionable and the story is riddled with stupendously unbelievable subplots. Humans lose their shit when bad stuff kicks off and it’s just brilliant to watch.

The joy I find in disaster movies evolved into scouting out more serious depictions of disaster scenarios. Books or films which are probably a little more credible – preferring to focus on the human stories rather than blasting you with barely plausible rescue scenarios. Essentially I have a fascination with the human condition and how huge events, plausible or otherwise, test our resolve, bonds and will to survive.

After this was doing the rounds on Twitter a few weeks ago, I started reading up more on the Protect and Survive booklets published during the late 70s, in the event of a nuclear attack on Britain. I pestered my mum for her feelings on them – what with her being my age in the mid-80s. Being the kind, caring and nurturing mother she is, she very “kindly” recommended I watch Threads if I “fancied a really bloody good scare.”

So I borrowed it off my mum and scared myself into a stupor.

I’d read about Threads before and was aware of its critical acclaim, and the countless reviews from adults who’d been made to watch this as teenagers in school, who subsequently lost sleep with worry in the early 90s. My mum, a History teacher, still shows it in school today.

I figured my constitution was a little hardier than most teenagers, so I shouldn’t have a problem watching it, even with my pre-disposition for apocalyptic dreams. I was so very wrong.

It’s FUCKING TERRIFYING.

Yes, it’s dated. Yes, some of the effects are a bit amateur to my generation’s CGI-spoilt eyes. But none of that detracts from the utter horror, misery and hopelessness that the films drags out over it’s running time. If anything, it adds to it. You can feel the effort that went into the production, the suffering of the people, with no interference from computer trickery. From the eerie preparations of Local Governments as shit kicks off in Iran; the stoic British assertions everything would blow over; to the bombing itself; the aftermath and the state of humanity in the future, the film never stops shaking you with the reality of what nuclear weapons have done, and can do.

Told in a documentary style, it’s about as far removed from a disaster flick as possible and is all the better for it. There are no reprieves for any of the characters, no happy endings. The events leading up to the bomb are all very plausible and realistic, even 27 years on. In fact, the only laughable thing is the advice the public were given by the government in the event of an attack – the majority of which were purely exercises in keeping people calm and proactive about a situation in which they would surely perish. “That’s right guys! Whitewashing your windows will TOTES reflect the radiation from 210 megatonnes of nuclear bombage. LULZ.” Real-life recordings of the broadcasts are heard in the film, which only add to the shivers.

The beauty of the film is that it is based on the notion that for a couple of decades, this fear of nuclear war was real, it was palpable. As world governments lurched from one political crisis to another, so did the possibility of war breaking out. I grew up in the 90s, post-Berlin wall and the break-up of the USSR, without Cold War paranoia, but Threads had me imagining just how I would have dealt with this information while growing up, which was probably the scariest part of the whole experience. Particularly with my overactive imagination.

So Threads sent my housemate and I into an evening of BEING FREAKED OUT and sent us to bed with apocalyptic nightmares of deformed babies and cities burning.

Infinitely preferable to The One Show show right!? Hello? Is this thing on?

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A POLITE NOTICE

To anyone in the history of ever who has emailed me at work:

My first name is Elizabeth. It says so in my email address, it says so in my email signature. I’d have preferred if my company could have set all these things up under my preferred derivative, but not to worry. Elizabeth is my name, officially, so that ought to be it.

But NO. Every day, someone on this bloody planet will refer to me as Liz apropos of nothing. It drives me FUCKING MENTAL. Even if I reply two or three times, signing off each with my actual name, I will without fail receive a reply addressed to Liz. Sometimes, they will just call me something else entirely different, just to mess with my brain.

As you may have guessed, my preferred derivative is NOT Liz.

This daily constant struggle to get people to usual my proper name drives me apoplectic with rage. Not just because I’m pernickety and pedantic, but because of the simple fact it is JUST RUDE.

It shows that either:

a) you are arrogant enough to ASSUME my name. (RUDE)
b) you are arrogant enough to not read my email properly. (RUDE. I write good emails)
c) you are an idiot.
Please PLEASE for the love of God, could you just sort yourselves out, because you really will drive me to an early grave. Otherwise I will simply refuse to answer any emails address to Liz. She simply doesn’t exist in this here Library.

Regards,

ME.

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I did a good thing!

That’s right. You heard it. I got off my arse and did something.

When I say I got off my arse, I mean I actually put my usual daily sitting about to good use. In that I finally got round to writing up and sending off an application for my Masters course.

Despite my previous assertions that doing a Masters wasn’t as good as getting experience, I’ve spent 3 years working in Libraries, where experience is great, but having a professional qualification will earn you the money. So I devoured a huge slice of humble pie and promptly spent the last 2 years procrastinating about applying.

I needn’t have worried, as last Friday, Aberystwyth University have very kindly offered me a place on their distance-learning MScEc course 🙂

*fistpump*

I’m going to be a student again. *drinks 10 gallons of snakebite and dies*

My silhouette would be considerably fatter and MUCH closer to the ground.

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Baldwinning

I’ve got a confession to make.

I’m nursing an unrelenting crush on a man older than my father.

That man is Alec Baldwin.

Whilst there is no denying he was pretty smoking hot when he was younger…

… it’s the older, greying and a little more rough round the edges Baldwin that’s been creeping into my dreams with his tiny eyes and silver fox glare.

I’m fully aware that this recent development is purely down the fact I’ve been overdosing on boxsets of 30 Rock. I’m sure I’ll find myself rapidly rationing episodes so that I can prolong my slightly mental love affair. But perhaps having a sex dream about him on a very early commuter train, and the subsequent worry of whether I made sex noises MIGHT be a reason to back of the Baldwin, however reluctantly.

 

 

 

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January 31, 2012 · 3:40 pm

Film 2011

I try not to make resolutions every new year, because I’m a fickle so and so who can never see a plan through to its conclusion. Making a resolution is setting myself up for failure. However, this year I seem to have informally fallen into a new habit which I very much approve of.

Cinema.

After discovering our mutual love of film, my friend Donna and I decided we should try to abuse our Orange Wednesday privileges to the max and attempt to see a film every week, if we could manage it. And we haven’t done too badly. By my calculations I’ve seen 32 films at the cinema this year, although not all of them with Donna, and with my Lovefilm subscription and bargain deals on FilmFlex I’m probably averaging a film a day, both new and old favourites.

It turns out, rather awesomely, that Donna and I have pretty much the exact same taste in film, so it’s all worked out rather nicely. No pressure on dragging someone to the cinema with you knowing full well they probably won’t enjoy your choice. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Seeing as 2011 is drawing to a close, and it’s the time for end-of year lists, Donna and I are in the middle of writing up our top ten favourites from this year. Strictly speaking, our choices should have a UK release date of 1st January 2011 onwards and we don’t HAVE to have seen them at the cinema. As long as they came out this year, they count.

The only problem is, I’m SHIT at making decisions.

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Buses are bastards.

Anyone who knows me in real life (or follows me on Twitter) is fully aware of my day-to-day battle with getting to work. Not only do I have to contend with the horror of actually getting out of bed and finding clothes, I then have to board the bucket ‘o’ bollocks buses provided by First Buses.

I won’t go into too much detail about my loathing for First otherwise I will come off like a rage-filled, foamy-mouthed, Daily Mail reader. I will however provide a short summary of my rage points:

  • First’s inability to run buses that don’t stink/fall apart/breakdown. Everyday for three weeks last year, I managed to board a bus that would go on to break down .
  • First’s bizarre recruitment policy which seems to exclude hiring drivers (with the exception of about 5) who have a concept of customer service.
  • The inability to keep to a timetable. This has bugger all to do with traffic/accidents etc. I mean drivers loitering, smoking, eating and drinking rather than getting in their bloody vehicles.

I could go on.

Essentially I resent paying First £1200 a year for a service in which I’m only on time to work 2/5 days each working week. On a journey that takes upwards of 90 minutes each day, which would take a car 45 mins.

My commute drives me so completely round the bend that when I saw this poster last week, I nearly had a fucking aneurysm:

I’ve got to hand it to them. Whoever is in charge of First’s marketing department must be a really funny bastard.

 

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Gintastic.

It’s been a long old week. This time last week I was sitting in the Mountain Café in Aviemore, eating a breakfast the size of a family pet and resolutely refusing to leave.

This week, I’m stuck at work, mindlessly ploughing through tasks until hometime, when I’ll have to dash home and get the house respectable for my exciting visitors this weekend.

So in an attempt to cheer up my lunch break, I’ve been looking at my holiday pictures and pretending I’m back up north, propping up the Scottish tourist industry with yet another trip.

My last visit was jam-packed with awesomeness, but last time I definitely didn’t get to squeeze in some animal-viewing action. We more than made up for it this time round, with two visits to the Highland Wildlife Park and a trip here to visit these gorgeous creatures:

Scabby antlers.

We liked the baby one the best. He was stupidly cute. The highlight though was making our own antlers, even if the music playing was sinister. Scott looked on in bewilderment as two grown women did some PRIME cutting and sticking in the kid’s area. Joyful.

It wasn’t ALL animal hijinks though. Oh no. We did have a productive reason to be in Scotland – finding a wedding venue for Hayley and Scott. What could have been an eyewateringly difficult task, was actually pretty pain free.

Somehow, I can see at least 5 of the wedding party ending up in the loch.

Look at the beautiful bridge! And the trees! The colours! It’s going to be magical.

Wedding planning can knock the energy out of you, so we basically sustained ourselves with cake the whole holiday. Cake. Every. Day. Amazing cake too.

Genuinely have been dreaming about these cakes. Uhmmphh

We nommed some bloody beautiful baked goods in amongst the trees at The Potting Shed and watched the squirrels and birds devour all the treats left out for them (you can see the feeders in the left of the picture). We also saw some horses, but luckily for the birds they weren’t ACTUALLY in the tree. Phew.

When we weren’t eating cake, we were drinking gin. Glorious gin. We drank it with dinner. We drank it with cake.

A brief serene moment. Before the mischief continued.

What’s that? A bracing walking on Nairn beach? Why not warm yourself up with a bucketful of gin and pretend to be vegetables? (Don’t ask).

I wouldn’t say there is such a thing as toomuchgin but we certainly tested the limits of gin consumption after a rowdy game of dominos one evening.

Nestling behind that can of tonic was the empty shot of sloe gin that Hayley had to do for cheating. *hic*

Bearing in mind I’ve never met any of Scott’s family before, we ended up sleeping in all corners of his Aunt’s after having got through several bottles of gin – bought and homemade – and essentially passing out. It was bloody excellent.

The morning after wasn’t too excellent though. I had one of those bastard hangovers where you wake up feeling dandy and then by noon you want to curl up and sleep for the rest of time.

We walked off a bit of the hangover with a quiet walk around the beautiful clava cairns:

The trees, the trees!!

There was talk of sourcing blankets and having a kip in them.

A steam train? In Scotland? It was TOTALLY the Hogwart’s Express.

I waited for the lady with the trolley full of Honeyduke’s sweets. She didn’t turn up.

Now THIS is an arty pretentious shot:

But hey, they really ARE lovely tickets.

The rest of my birthday was filled with more animals adventures (in which I mounted a wooden wolf), more cake (which was actually the size of my face), and an amazing meal here – where we of course snaffled some more gin.

Alas, before we knew it, it was time to go home. And back to work. Back to the shitty commute on the shitty buses, and dealing with other shitty humans. No more holidays for me this year, but should I want to remember the good times, I’ll ram my amazing cardboard antlers on and eat some cake. Even though we all know that HOLIDAY cake is the best. And the tastiest.

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