Friday, March 03, 2006

We Are All Vlad, Now

I saw the prettiest girl in the world today and I wanted to hit her. She's not anyone I know or have ever seen before, just a person I saw on the bus, dark hair, red lips, good style. As the driver lurched away from the curb, another girl, stumbling down the bus, fell gratefully into the empty seat beside the girl I now loathe. If you could have seen the look which the first girl gave to the second! I understand not wanting to sit beside a stranger, no one wants to do that. The bus, sometimes, is like a public version of picking teams—you hope, at the very least, you don't have to sit with the losing side, the unattractive people, the people who smell bad, the people who sing softly along to Michael Bolton—actually, that last might be kind of interesting. You want to sit with the people you know, at the very least, right? But, come on, there's a lot of rides left in the bus. Anyways, the grateful girl opened up her free daily, VUE Weekly, I think it was, and spread it across her lap. There was a lot of rustling, flipping of pages, puzzled expressions and so forth. The girl was really into her newspaper. And then the first girl turned to the second and said, "If you can't be quieter, could you put that away? I'm trying to concentrate." Understand, N and I are yakking loudly two or three seats down, the noise of the bus itself is killer, and I can hear some tinny Jay-Z coming out of someone's iPod. The second girl put her paper away. She opens her bookbag. She brings out a granola-bar, one of those yogourt-covered candy-style things. She begins to unwrap it. "Excuse me," the first girl says. You know, I thought it had been our collective breathing which had fogged-up the windows of the bus, but I now realize that the windows were covered with the cold white frost of her near-sociopathic and very bitter personality—"I'm fasting for Lent right now and I've given up all processed food. Would you mind putting that away while you're beside me?" EXCUSE ME! At that point, the bus drew to a stop and the pretty girl gathered up her bags and left. Okay, you know what? You know what I'm fasting from this Lent? I'm fasting from ever trying to like people like that, and I mean, ever. And I'm not even Catholic!

I'm happy to say that as the pretty girl walked away from the bus, the second girl recovered from the shock with which she had been frozen to her chair, ran to the door of the bus, tossed her granola bar at the girl and yelled, "Process this, bitch!"

"Who Dares, Wins" + Kim Newman This is the kind of guy who writes Doctor Who books and Warhammer novels. This is not the kind of writer I like. But I like this writer. Yes, that's innacurate, I don't know the man personally, leave it be, let it go, okay? The only stuff of his I've read is the online stuff. Some of it is not so good. Some of it is pretty stellar. He's a concept man, is Kim. His stories are not about character—though, in the better stories, strong characters are not lacking—his stories are about What If, the grand question of all good science fiction slash fantasy. I so want to read Newman's Anno Dracula—and Bloody Red Baron sounds even better. A squadron of vampire pilots led by the literally immortal Manfred von Richthofen? Let me tell you a few details I've discovered about that last book. At one point, the flying Baron shoots and kills a small white dog. LOVE IT! At another point, the main protagonist of the novel (there are several) comes across Doctor Moreau and his assistant, Doctor Herbert West, operating on wounded vampires in an underground chamber behind enemy lines. Alan Moore, eat your heart out!

"He wants Transylvania, Home Secretary."
"Not in our gift, more's the pity. Would he take, say, Wales?"

Oh, lines like that, it's hard to get better! "Who Dares, Wins" is set in on Embassy Row in 1980's Kensington. A certain vampire is leading the "Back To Transylvania" movement and has taken an embassy hostage in order to draw attention to his and other vampires' desires. The parallels with the real-life Middle East and Ireland are explicitly drawn with mentions of Teheran and Belfast. The interesting point of this story, however, is that everybody is a vampire. Not only the individuals taking over the embassy or the individuals trying to defuse the siege (hello, Lord Ruthven!), but even the media reporting the story (the journalist-protagonist of the story is an adapted creation of Bram Stoker, one vampiric Kate Reed) are vampires—even the humans:

Kate saw Anne Diamond, collar turned up and microphone thrust out, sorting through anxious faces at the barrier, thirsty for someone with a husband or girlfriend trapped inside the Embassy or, better yet, among the terrorists.

Lovely, Mr. Newman, just lovely.

Tomorrow, I'll write about Wednesday night and controller.controller. LATERZ!


Doodle doodle doo. Laterz has arrived! Wednesday night, then, and the lead singer for Something For Rockets looks like Stephen Wright making fun of himself. Smooth music, all the notes were there, only the heart was missing. Kudos to the man playing the plastic keys, though, for dancing like he was every member of Nickelback at once. I've never seen such macho keyboard. Next band at the plate was You Say Party! We Say Die! and they need to be better. Cacophonous Metric, with singing duties split between the two female singers, they weren't helped by a some not-so-keen mixing on the sound, I think. But they were good. Because they had fun. Because then the audience was having fun. The lead singer of locals Frosted Tipz and the lead vocoder of SO4 got on the stage with YSP!WSD! to shout what I'm going to call the vodka-version of "The Gap", and that was good, too. End of performance. It took next to no-time for controller.controller to get their business set up on stage, and then the real show was on. You know, I thought the first two bands were decent, until the difference between them and the headliners made SFR and YSP!WSD! look amateur, let's face it, amateur. I first saw the lowercase c's about a year ago in the same venue and I want to make two observations, here: 1) the sound is a lot tighter (last time Nirmala actually dropped her mike), a lot sexier live than it is on that disc—don't ever listen to this band on cd or mp3, unless you're talking their first EP, buy a ticket, instead, you'll not regret the price BUT you will get sweaty; 2) the appearance of the band is much better, by which I mean, they've solved the whole "Don't focus on the singer just cause she's a girl" problem by putting the bass right at the front of the stage and Nirmala behind him and, Nirmala herself, who was unexpectedly chunky last year, and has obviously toured off just about every excess ounce, and she's svelte, godsake, and makes you look. Anyways, the band did a killer rip of "Silent Seven"—I love it when N sings, "I always feel like somebody's watching me". The sheer energy put forth by the guitar players in this band is approaching self-destruction and as for the drummer, I LOVE HIM. Long hair under that Guy Fawkes balaclava, rearing his head around like he's a blind lion, beasting away at the drums like your demented calculus prof, genuis showmanship, I'm sold. This band is sex. A good night, Wednesday, good loud sound, lots of crashing disco, a warm night of dark music. Wednesdays should always be so fine.

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