Posted in Creative, Harry Potter, Life, Movies, Social Media, TV

Fandom taking over…

A while ago I wrote about my own personal earlier experiences with fandom, before and after the invention of the internet.

Years ago, geeks and nerds and cosplayers (which wasn’t even a word then…adults who play dressing up); were derided. Even conventions, VERY big business today, were covert trips.  They were the uncool kids.  The spotty bespectacled kid in the corner who was at best, ignored, and worst, had mashed potato slingshotted towards them from the back of a spoon (well, according to American TV shows and movies I saw…I don’t think I ever noticed any of these individuals in the UK…or wherever in the world I happened to be at the time).

It’s funny how the internet has changed this one particular walk of life.  Like I said above, Conventions are now huge (and there are so many more of them…everywhere…no longer do you have to save up a lifetime to go to San Diego for Comic-Con…) as is cosplay.  It’s now uber-cool to post pictures of yourself in your costume when heading off to {insert your city here}-Con; it’s perfectly acceptable to spend your social time discussing in-depth the comparisons of the latest Doctor Who series compared with the Peter Davidson or Patrick Troughton years over your Caramel-Macchiato (coz…y’know, no-one goes for a pint at the pub anymore….it’s always a coffee at that cool coffee-house on the corner…).

Because we’re no longer simply at the mercy of what we read in a handful of papers or what our neighbours and friends tell us in some kind of chinese-whispers type of way; or based solely on what we see on 3-4 TV channels that some TV boss somewhere has decided we should see or think is cool.  Now, we can search for anything, compare our thoughts and feelings and find the people, all over the world, who think like us about subjects we feel passionate about.  Now, the nerds and the geeks from every high-school in the world can unite, and show that they are many, and then the closet geeks and nerds who wished they were them feel brave enough to come out, dressed as a Klingon.

When I was in University I house-shared with a girl who was in the Medieval Society, she met her boyfriend/fiance in said society; we lost touch but I always wonder when I see reports of ‘themed’ weddings whether they did that, all those years ago before it was fashionable?

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It’s no longer ‘a bit odd’ to come out and announce your affiliation to whichever-genre-you-choose or the fact that you have Hogwarts robes in your wardrobe.

Mind you, the quality is so good these days, because *they* {Manufacturers, marketers, licensing people I suppose…} know that big fans will spend the money on them, I might even have purchased a ‘proper’ robe myself while I was at Universal, even as a not-so-huge HP fan {Loved the books…because I love books anyway…kind of went off the whole franchise with the movies etc…} but was put off by the price.  Which is kind of a sticking point I’ve noticed.  Across the internet, there are online-quizzes and games asking “Are you ***** biggest fan?”; articles and blogs about ‘Blah-Blah-Blah’s biggest fan”.  I found this video on Youtube (there are many, for all different ‘fandoms’) of a girl in America who “believes she’s the wizard’s biggest fan thanks to her vast collection of memorabilia worth a staggering £40,000.” and the comments range from basic “wow” to “I’m a big fan too” to “Does the fact she’s rich and can afford to buy the expensive memorabilia make her the biggest fan?”.  To be fair, not everyone has the money to spend, but she does address that in the video saying she’s worked hard for it all.

As with Victoria Maclean, who I had the pleasure of meeting last year and working on set with; co-incidentally after I’d read her autobiography online…completely by chance after coming across it from a different source (Mutual friends on Facebook I think).  Now Victoria’s similar…she has a vast collection of merchandise.  But again, she bought it all with her own money; she was gifted some and sent some (…and similarly is careful that it doesn’t completely take over the house in a hoarder fashion!).  But reading her book brought to mind my point.  Years ago, someone might have thought twice about building their life-story around their fandom.  In an autobiography, it might have been one chapter, or a sideline, if it was mentioned at all…incase it made the story ‘uncool’ or put people off reading it.

Nowadays, the fandom is a selling-point, a marketing tool.  Harry Potter fans, of which there are millions of all levels (myself included to a small extent) would flock to read the story purely because it references Harry Potter and the effect it had on Victoria’s life.  One event that occurs in one of J.K.Rowling’s  Harry Potter stories is the Yule Ball.  Thanks to her using that term in the book for the annual festive celebration at Hogwarts, to anyone familiar with Potter-dom, it no longer conjours up visions of some Victorian Christmas Party; it’s now intrinsically linked forever to the world of Harry Potter.  And that’s why Victoria is throwing her own.  Far from just collecting memorabilia and hanging her robes in her closet until the next Comic-Con, she’s made it her life.  She’s organised book nights and quizzes and runs online groups and Twitter accounts for other Harry Potter fans.  And, like two of my best friends are throwbacks to my Due South days…beause we will always have that in common; Victoria’s closest circle are also dedicated Potter fans.  And that circle is probably going to grow at Christmas time as other fans flock from all over to her *almost-sold-out event.

At the end of the day, no matter what you’re a fan of or how you celebrate it, it’s probably more about community.  30 years ago, if you were the loner in school, who never had the hot boy/girlfriend, because you wanted to read comic books about Thor and that’s just not what the other kids did, you just kept it to yourself and went to find a quiet place to enjoy it.  Nowadays, you don’t have to be sidelined…you go On-line; and find your best friends.

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The internet can be, and is, blamed for a heck of a lot of bad things these days.  But this is one to be celebrated.

That, and 24-hour shopping for just about anything you want, of course 😉 **

*at the time of writing, there were 3 tickets left
** that’s a joke.  The Internet is actually Good for you

x

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Posted in Family, History, Life, Social Media

Understanding

I’ve been averse to posting anything remotely political for a while.  Who wouldn’t? Unless they want an e-argument.  Which is invariably what they get.

On both sides of the Atlantic, landmark, unprecendented decisions have been made by the voting public (and in all cases one ponders on how much of a difference the non-voting public might have made to the very close outcomes…).

I’m pretty sure of my choice in both votes – one I could vote in and one I couldn’t.  My stance has never waivered, and even when trying to educate myself more to try and understand, what I’ve seen, learned, read, understood, has only strengthened my original instinct.

However, to even think of bringing up the subject, to give my opinion or to ask for others, is an idea that borders on insanity…I face getting derided, called names (many of which I had to look up the meaning of and I’d definitely disagree with their application to me) or have ‘facts’ and ‘links’ thrown in my face and when the same is used to respond they are ignored.

What never seems to happen is a conversation where someone on, say, Side ‘Apple’, asks simple questions in an effort to understand, and someone on Side ‘Orange’ responds, politely, clearly, consisely, and explains in simple terms *their* understanding of their side and their beliefs and why they voted for Oranges; followed by a simple question as to why the other person voted for Apples, before being given the same response.

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What invariably happens, is BIG numbers and BIG claims are practically thrown in the faces of the oponents; along with derisive comments and petty, childish name-calling.  Links to websites supporting their view (because, of course, it’s written by someone who holds the same view, and pretty much anyone can write anything they want on a website that they can make look as official as they like these days…) .

Invariably (I know, because I do this too…), people of opposing views automatically raise their defenses when a post/comment is clear to be a political statement supporting ‘the other side’ and so people attack. What I’m trying to learn to do is a) ignore, walk away completely. Sometimes I fail at that and what I’m doing more often, instead of diving in straight away with a rude, obnoxious, defensive response, is b)not responding straight away, but rereading the ‘offending’ post in an effort to understand before politely formulating a reasoned reply.  Although, it rarely, if ever, has the effect I hope it will. But then, the original post I’m responding to was posted probably in the hope of persuading the opposition, but doesn’t end up having that effect either.

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So it’s almost impossible to ask simple question like “Please help me understand” and get straight, kind, helpful answers. Even when you do indicate some article or site or research to support your view, there is an argument ‘they’ can thrown back at you.

And so…here is where I jump from the neutral fence above…

Case in point… I’ve lived all over the world.  Going into a general store or supermarket is a very different experience in different countries. It’s very very obvious, to anyone, even if you’ve only ever been abroad to go on holiday to the Med and tried to buy a bag of crisps and a drink in Spain, that different brands take pride of place on shelves, different emphasis is put on the freshness of fruit, veg, bread (equally, how much ‘fresh’ produce is available compared to packaged, processed stuff on shelves; differs globally).

I emigrated from the UK to New Zealand – plentiful fresh produce, fruit, veg, seafood, outdoorsy life, abounded. After a few years, regretably, we moved from there to The Bahamas (via an extended USA roadtrip).  The Bahamas main source of income is offshore financial services (ironically, dealing with banks there as a regular customer who’s not investing billions in them is a nightmare…but that’s another post), and Tourism.  They don’t produce much.  Not like the old days of cotton and sugar plantations. There’s fresh seafood, available from the quayside daily if you know where to go. Apart from that, everything’s imported from the USA. Very little is fresh; and what is fresh, seems too large and shiny and unblemished to be ‘real’ (i.e. grown using every genetic modification and chemical pesticide and ‘plant food’ available, in order to make them bigger, more attractive, last longer?).  We almost moved to the USA after the Bahamas.  My main worry was, being a parent by this time, to children born in New Zealand and therefore began with clean, helthy lifestyle and organic, natural diets; what choices would I have, if buying from regular USA outlets…conglomorate supermarkets force-feeding all that pre-packaged marketing to the children?  They’d be starting school…they’d be fed goodness-knows what ingredients in school lunches or be asking for peer-pressure frankenfoods in bright, character-endorsed individual wrappers for their lunchboxes? I began to research organic farmers markets available in the region we could possibly live in; and mass-produced “foods” in general consumed in the USA.  I came across research regarding ‘foods’ that were approved by the FDA but that were banned elsewhere.  (FDA, Food & Drug Administration, is US equivalent to Food Standards Agency) I was suddenly scared of the US food chain and feared that no matter what I did to avoid introducing certin things to our family diet, we’d end up being exposed to it anyway. (I say ‘suddenly’, although I’d already suspected from years and years of watching America and having traveled there and elsewhere extensively, that their idea of ‘food’ was a little less stringent than the rest of us.  In 1999 I was a Summer Camp Counselor and discovered…squirty cheese in can!!!!).  If it was just me, I would be more adventurous, but since having my own children, I worry more.  I worry on all sides. I worry I am inadvertantly causing them harm, risking losing them to some form of cancer from carcinogens; or in and even longer term, risking causing infertility, low sperm counts, killing off my family line in generations to come from tiny, undetecable changes we have inadvertantly ingested generations before. I could go on but then we’d be delving into the realm of crazy conspiracy-theorists predicting population control by genetics…but such is the crazy and worrysome nature of a caring parent…

OK so we already risked that given that most of what we were eating in the Bahamas was brought in from the USA anyway, but it certainly made moving to the USA the least enticing option – quite scary in fact.  I was very glad to end up coming back to the UK, given that all I’d read against the FDA’s choices had shown me that EU regulators and scientists seemed to be on the right track.  However, to put that link to articles about the FDA approved banned foods into an argument with anyone about how I wouldn’t really want to be trading foodstuffs with the USA because I wouldn’t want anything they’re selling; the opposing side could now argue that one of the most recognisable articles on that list is from ABC news … now deemed by the US President to be a pruveyor of Fake News‘.

And now look where we are…There’s still things I don’t understand, but to bring them up with someone who voted opposite me simply results in derision and dissmissiveness.

I still don’t understand how trade deals with ‘other countries’ outside the EU are any better than trading in the EU…the USA, for example – there’s nothing they could sell us that I can see myself wanting to buy/be available over here…lower food-standards in food production so less desirable, less healthy produce?  More McDonalds & Starbucks?  More branding and marketing?  (I already know people who aren’t aware that many many fairytales and myths and ledgends were actually written centuries ago and existed in a far purer form before Disney got his hands on them…); I don’t understand how a trade-deal with the US can be anything like as beneficial for us as it would be for them.

I don’t understand how trading with countries further away than the European nations right next to us can be beneficial, if we want to purchase foods & goods that can’t be produced here (and lets face it, most of what we actally need, can be…otherwise how did we survive before imports?), why would we choose ones with a higher carbon footprint…import them from further away and increase the need for shipping, cargo flights.  But, in answering my own question, that argument can’t be used in a trade-deal with Trump, right?  Because a carbon-footprint would be a non-entity in that particular deal

I don’t understand how ‘sovereignty’ is an argument – The British Empire wasn’t built by the Britain we are now, in the world in which we now live in.  The British Empire, like Empires before it thoughout history, was built by being a stronger nation with a bigger army and more money and resources and being better educated, taking over by persuasion or else by force, empty lands or smaller, less advanced nations who put up little fight. As soon as those nations (now known as the Commonwealth) could fend for themselves and stand on their own feet, they more often than not chose self-rule and/or fought back against being ruled by Britain.

And I don’t understand the arguments I’ve heard about immigrants – not being part of the EU won’t stop Illegal Immigrants…they are, by their definitiaion, ILLEGAL.  Most of the arguments I’ve heard against immigrants come from regions where the only immigrants encountered are running the corner shop, or the takeaway, or the cleaning company (running useful services that are kept in business by a greatful community?)   I briefly compared a map of diversity in the UK and a map of how areas voted in the EU referendum and it seemed to me to indicate that regions who *don’t* feel threatened by immigrants are the most multi-cultural (case in point…London with all her diversity, supports immigration…countrified regions where there is little diversity in ethnicity, would prefer more restrictions on immigration?).

I don’t understand how EVERYONE who disagrees with either Brexit or Trump are ‘Left’ ‘Liberal’ ‘Snowflakes’ … I can’t see how I’d be ‘on the left’ of anything, when I’ve always been quite open-minded and not really political anyway, but might be branded as such for voting leave or disliking Trump. However, as a ‘lefty’, would I not be then opposed to all things monarchy?  Including however many k per day they cost or how much ‘we’ are giving them to fix ‘their house’… it seems fairly obvious to me that yes, they bring in a lot of tourism and are a unique symbol of Britishness; and while on the subject of the monarchy…and I’d much prefer to people-watch the members of the Royal family who actually have some claim to it, than the likes of the Kardashians and others…

I don’t understand how people moan about how much money is ‘given’ to the monarchy for maintenance of Buckingham Palace, for example…that money doesn’t suddenly ‘disappear’…  It will be PAID to workers and tradesmen and suppliers, who will then in turn go home and use it to feed and clothe and house and maybe even treat their families and therefore pump the wages they’ve earned back in to the same economy, paying the wages of Supermarket checkout people, farmers, clothing suppliers, house builders, paying their council taxes and for trips to seaside resorts like Margate and Blackpool, or to holiday firms paying pilots and cabin crew and airport workers to take them to a holiday destination.

There are quite a few other things I don’t understand, even after experiencing so much of life and traveling so far; but I think I’ve gone on long enough!

kind1

I didn’t write this to get responses.  I didn’t write this to get into arguments over points.  The votes have been cast and acted upon so there’s little point really; I just don’t understand why Discussion doesn’t exist anymore, nor does helping someone to understand, and that everything has to end up in forceful debate and downright arguments, and rude name calling.

Now, it’s pouring with rain today.  I love the rain. I can hear a bird singing in the garden. I might just end up outside raking my garden ready for my new veggie patch…

Enjoy the world, everyone; and be kind to each other xxx

kind2

 

Posted in Art, Creative, Social Media, writing

Breaking Blogging rules

I don’t know where I got these from but for some reason I recall blogging rules like:

  • Always include graphics/pictures
  • Insert hyperlinks, at least 3 of them
  • people love lists and bullet points (see what I did here?!)
  • Blog about a specific subject or theme…

I tried to look up a definitive guide just now.  Guess what?  There isn’t one.  There are, however, plenty of other bloggers blogging about how to blog. I searched ‘Simple rules of bogging’ and the first search page came up with various random blog posts entitled things like:

…I could go on… but there’s nothing stopping you searching for yourself.  And there’s obviously nothing stopping anyone from trying to offer advice to others how to write their online diary.  Which is pretty much what I use this one for.  In a slightly more anonymous way than I’d be writing in a single copy handwritten paper journal hidden in a locked-box under my bed (which I don’t, by the way, if you’re ever in my bedroom.  I move house too often to merit carrying dusty old notebooks around. Actually, I do carry dusty old notebooks around…the world…but I’m trying to limit them.  Which is why this is my version of an online diary.  Anonymously. Sort of.)

Anyhow, despite trying to stick to using pictures and hyperlinks and (trying but failing to) writing almost regularly, I’ve completely and totally failed at the one that comes up more often than not…”Pick a theme.  Don’t fire in all directions. Follow a niche…”.  Huh. Yeh.  So far I’ve done family stuff, musing, acting, history, poetry, personal history, movies, TV shows, nail art… So I’m totally failing on picking a direction and sticking with it.

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Welsh Cakes & ANZAC cookies I made

But I’m ok with that.  I don’t expect anyone to follow me.  I’m not looking to sell advertising or become a household name from writing a blog about how fab my chocolate brownies, Welsh cakes and ANZAC biscuits are; nor am I expert enough to carry on telling people how to go camping.   I have won an award for my acting (have I mentioned that before?) but even so I wouldn’t purport to tell people how to act (If they ask for help I will, that’s different…) because I’m not the presumptuous to try to pass myself off as more of an expert than anyone else who might end up reading this blog…which, let’s face it, could be just about anyone – some Hollywood star or director even? Maybe? (in which case, cast me in your next movie, eh? thanks…) no?  Okay…

So I dug a little further and found this post on breaking blogging rules.  And I think I’ll stick with this viewpoint for now.  To be honest, I prefer blogs that keep me guessing and wondering what the blogger will say next…kind of keeps life interesting, don’t you think?

Posted in Art, Creative, Life, Social Media, writing

Ctrl-ALT-Delete…NOT!

When I began this blog I promised myself it was going to be my gateway. My gateway into writing every day. After the whole discovery of the ‘Morning pages‘ idea, I figured that if I could use this blog to shake off the shackles of everything else, then some days, maybe even most days, I might carry on writing and get something done.  Maybe (probably) not every day, but writing a blog entry every day would at least keep the juices flowing.

And, of course, ‘real life’ got in the way…as it has done with everything else, all the time. But thanks to a new follower on this blog, and the fact that someone else I recently worked with read and watched a monolgoue I wrote & recorded as part of a class I was doing and told me she’d love to see that extended and turned in to a play, I have started doing just that; editing the monologue and converting it into a play; and promising myself to blog -and generally write- more.

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Now, in the past, I might have…well, no, I WOULD have…deleted this blog and started all over again; maybe saving and reposting some of the entries under edited titles and updated.  I was contemplating how some people can blog on one single subject their whole blogging career – there’s those who blog on technology, business, fashion, makeup, movies, gaming…But having begun this blog mainly for my own posterity, I love the freedom of writing about…writing.

While showering this evening (why not…it’s Mothers’ Day, after all 😉 ) I realised that maybe that’s a problem with us “Millennials” (And before you ask, I can *only just* count myself in that particular age-group under *some* of the many definitions).  Basically, the last generation who will remember a life pre-internet and smartphones and the first generation to become truly integrated with said technology, learning it in school, applying it to everyday life and teaching it to our elders, whilst at the same time bemoaning our children don’t appreciate ‘the old days’.

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Not only are we are SO glad that those misdemeanours and mistakes and foolishness of our youth are not recorded for all eternity on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (unless ones’ mother learns to scan and upload photos of you as a child…but that’s another post…;) ), we can control what others see about us ; we can delete anything we want to, that we’ve written, created, no longer agree with, no longer see as relevant, at the touch of a button.  And really, for me to do that with this blog, goes against the very sentiment I wrote about in my first post. It would be like someone keeping a real, pen-and-paper journal for 60-odd years and then tossing them on the fire with no-one ever having read them.

Posted in Life, Social Media, writing

Happy Anniversary!

Maybe it’s fate.

I killed my laptop yesterday.

I did the old ‘upgrade to Windows 10’ thing ages ago; and had the ‘headphones not working’ problem.  Not had it?  You’re lucky… Every time I Google it, countless others have the same problem.

I couldn’t remember how I fixed it last time; but was pretty sure it was some driver or something from the Dell website (it’s an Alienware laptop, so manufactured by Dell).

So I went there.  And somehow ended up on a page that had a link to download something on it which I must have presumed was a driver; something flashed up saying something was out of date so I clicked it; it came up with the ‘downloading, do not turn off your computer’ average message you always get.

Anyway, there’s me thinking I had the thing plugged in but turns out it wasn’t…the cable wasn’t in the back of the machine; and the battery died.  Presumably in the middle of whatever it was doing.

And it wouldn’t turn back on.

Well, it would try, but it just sounded like an industrial vacuum cleaner, as though it was trying to read something from the CD-rom disk drive.  And guess who can’t even remember if it even CAME with a boot disk; let alone if I still have it and where it would be if I did…

I’m in the middle of doing online courses on FutureLearn (they’re good, so far, by the way); so made me even more mortified than losing everything that was on there (only last week I’d transferred all the photos of my DSLR card because it reached full capacity while watching the Red Arrows at Wales National Air Show).

I’d almost learned my lesson from dead laptops before and at very least have all my writing work saved on a separate SD card and rarely if ever save that directly to the computer.

But because of being half way through the course (which as it happens is quite easy to follow on a smartphone of Kindle Fire HD too, but that’s not the point) I’ve returned to the old home PC.  Now, by old, I don’t mean it’s been around since the 50’s obviously.  I think maybe 6-7 years, possibly more.  But in computer terms, obviously, old.

I’ve used it intermittently but for anything other than general word-processing it’s a little (!) slow.

And I’d lost track of blogging, for a while.

Until I logged back on to this computer and my WordPress page was one of my home tabs on the browser.

So I was reminded about blogging online.

And today, I got this reminder…

Capture

…which was rather nice, to have attained an achievement without even trying!

So, I will plod on writing to the abyss, I think. Ooh….tomorrow, I might tell you about yesterday….more fun acting type thingys!

 

TTFN xxxx

Posted in Life, Movies, Social Media, TV, writing

Online Fandom

I can remember being a fan of various shows as I was growing up.  There were special shows for which I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime (“Fame” and “Dempsey & Makepeace” I seem to recall).  There were shows that during my teens allowed me to escape teen angst and the growing pains of, like “Quantum Leap“. (Weird teenage hormones … couldn’t decide if I was watching it because I fancied Sam or Al the most … eh?!!), but those were my pre-internet days.  In fact, it got cancelled before I got so hooked on it that I realised I was such a fan.  Then they started re-runs. And I started writing spin-offs in my head.  I guess that would be what is now known as Fan-Fiction.  I did a LOT more of that, before I came to learn of the term ‘fan-fiction’.

Due South was my first passionate following, and it happened to be not only right when the internet was making it big, but when I had my first full-time job, which happened to give me constant computer access (I worked in the 151 faults call-center for BT at the time).  Remember, this was the days before Facebook (What?  You mean there was a time Facebook didn’t exist?  O.M.G.!); the days before seemingly everyone had a computer at home, a laptop in their bag and a computer-phone in their pocket.

gaspYes, I know, these days it seems like so long ago.  And recently when someone reminded me it was TWENTY YEARS … yes, 2-0 years, since Due South first aired, I realised that, yes, it actually WAS so long ago.  When I was little, it seemed like an age before I would be 20.  Now I’m so far past it, it seems like equally an age ago.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, the early days of what we now think of as ‘The Internet’.  Not the REAL early days, when simple binary message were being sent from black screen to black screen in robotic green typefaces; but when there were forums and chat-groups, and long before any type of instant messenger (remember Yahoo Messenger when it was WOW and NEW and FAB?), when a whole conversation consisted of one-line emails … and I had nothing else to do on the internet; in between calls, on quiet days (for example, it was my first full-time job, I was a moody young person, not yet 20, who couldn’t WAIT for an excuse to escape the good old ‘family Christmas’.  So I volunteered for the Christmas Day shift.  I sat there for 10 hours and took 2 calls.  And one of those was trying to order a takeaway but got the wrong number…).

Do you remember the first ever thing you ‘looked up’ when you got the internet? (Come on, I don’t think there was even Google back then, so you couldn’t have ‘Googled’ anything.  I’m pretty sure Yahoo! was EVERYTHING.  Unless you were in the U.S.A and had AOL. )

Well, I’m pretty convinced mine was Due South.  Seriously, I can’t think of ANYTHING else I was doing on the internet in those days.

A couple of years before, I’d actually expanded my fandom into getting in to contact with other fans, via that old fashioned medium of ‘snail-mail’.  There was a short lived, international magazine called E-TV, which specialised in niche-TV shows, like emergency shows and cop shows (E.R., NYPD Blue,).  My parents ran a newsagent at the time and I found this on the shelf one day and this particular edition had an article on Due South in it.  On the ‘letters’ page (remember those?) there was some guy in Canada who was looking for international pen-friends.  I don’t think he was specifically talking Due South but I just cottoned on to the ‘CANADA’ underneath his letter and decided to write. I can’t believe that was so long ago. We sent articles back and forth in the post, about UK shows he’d heard of and seen, and he would write back about Canadian stuff, and Due South.

So, back to the internet.  So, I looked up ‘due South, and found a mailing list (I suppose the modern equivalent would be a Facebook group!), which basically consisted of group emails flying about.  Discussing Due South, the storylines, the characters, the actors and their other work.  And anything remotely related. There could be hundreds of emails a day, I’d have a separate window open behind my work screen and be carrying on a conversation.  Don’t forget – of course it would be against everyone’s ‘Internet usage at work‘ policies by now (probably thanks to me!!) but back then, there was no precedent for this.  And, even back then I was quite good at multi-tasking, I was still getting pretty good call-handling and file-updating targets and whatever else, despite carrying on an email conversation about a Mountie and a deaf wolf at the same time.  Pretty sure they knew … they’re not stupid, but since it wasn’t interfering with my productivity; and to be honest, it was probably enhancing my PC literacy skills beyond anything they could teach me!

I didn’t do it all on company time, however.  There was an Internet Cafe nearby.  It’s where I would go after work, spend an hour or so.  I had an electric word processor at home, which I used to write on.  I figured out how to convert what I wrote on there to ASCII text, on a floppy disk.  So, I could save a load of emails, mainly the longer ones; at the internet cafe, onto a floppy, take them home, read through them, write some equally long and insightful responses, then on my next trip to the internet cafe, (After the man at the desk had dutifully scanned the floppy for viruses) I could upload the ASCII text files, copy and paste them into an email and that was my contribution to the mailing list…without spending paid for hours at the internet cafe typing it all out!

Goodness, until I started this post I’d not even thought of that little place in years.  It wasn’t one of these glossy chain places you might see these days.  It was upstairs above an old betting shop or something, a rickety staircase into what was probably a converted living room, with some old tables and creaky floorboards and cheap industrial carpet. There was a castle across the road so the view from the small pokey windows was quite cool.

As a result of that first venture into internet fandom, internet groups and the like, two of my oldest friendships were formed.  Well, three, if you include the guy from Canada.  Who is still there.  I’m still in touch with him; he joined the same internet DS group, and since Facebook (well, hasn’t everyone?).  I’ve still never met him in person; but even if I never do, I’d consider him a ‘friend’ rather than an ‘acquaintance’.  Incidentally, he occasionally dips is toe in the blogging waters too.

But on the other two counts, we have met.  Three of us, girls (ladies) of similar age; similar tastes in TV and literature.  We have sporadic but almost regular ‘meet-ups’ (when I’m not living in far flung corners of the world).  All because we started chatting randomly on this email list some 15-16 years ago…

Sometimes, well, not so much any more, but I used look at events like ‘Comic Con’ and other fan-centric conventions as being solely the domain of ‘geeks’ and ‘nerds’ … well, they are, I suppose but being one of those is becoming more popular and less … erm… geeky (Don’t ask). And a few years ago, probably wouldn’t have admitted to having any part in ‘internet fandom’ – surely geeking over something online is just as bad as doing it in ‘real-life’.  Except, they’re both ingrained now. whatever happens on the internet can so easily be ‘real-life’.  And usually is.  And, in western society, rarely does anything happen that is not somehow related to the internet, the use of the internet, or else be photographed or written about on the internet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m grateful to have been there from the early days.  Maybe not the very start, but close enough.  Before the madness REALLY took hold.  What brought this home to me, really, was an older relative, after I showed him how to use his newest smart-phone, asking how I’d learned computer and internet stuff. Because he’d done ‘a computer course’ (and we all know, computer courses aimed at the older generation consist of how to turn the computer on, set up a Hotmail address, send a basic email, use Word and maybe another MS Office program… but even then, I had to show him once how to add a photo as an attachment to an email…).  And really, there was ‘an IT room’ in school but we didn’t really delve into I.T. that much…it hadn’t really caught on that much before I left school (am I showing my age now?).  I mean, I did a secretarial course, which included word-processing on a ‘computer’ (yup…black screen, green robotic writing…); but the only time we spent in the ‘I.T.’ room was some of the lads drawing rude phallic pictures on ‘Paint’, and using the time to type up essays and print them out.

So, basically, I have DueSouth to thank for my modern take on computer and internet literacy.
Oh, and if you were wondering if I ever worked out who I fancied most out of Sam or Al … Nope.  Jury’s still out on that one.

Look, if you’re gonna say “SAM of course” …. maybe it’s just the uniform…
Capture

But, maybe, not quite as good as this one:

Leslie Nielsen guest starring as Sgt. Duncan 'Buck' Frobisher, with Paul Gross as Constable Benton Fraser, in 'dueSOUTH'
Leslie Nielsen guest starring as Sgt. Duncan ‘Buck’ Frobisher, with Paul Gross as Constable Benton Fraser, in ‘dueSOUTH’
Posted in Acting, Filmmaking, Life, Movies, Social Media, TV

Random connections…

So, Twitter has been my fad of the moment.

I mean, I signed up for it ages ago, and tweeted a little;  but up until now, it’s been one of those things I could have taken or left.  I use Facebook a lot … living in other countries and having children meant FB was good for keeping in touch with family and friends and sharing the children growing up. Twitter, I never really got.  People said “It’s what you make of it”, “It depends who you follow, and what you’re interested in”.

I have the odd convo with people I’m also friends with on FB and in real life. someone told me once they use Twitter for saying things they wouldn’t say on FB.  Fewer connections, a little more anonymous, I guess.

Sometimes I’ll check it in time to learn some big piece of breaking news.  Other times, I’ll search a hashtag to see what other people are saying about stuff (like #Casualty when they did those double eps at the end of August!). Generally, no. Generally, Facebook is my go-to society.

Except something strange happened.  A couple of weeks ago now.  I got an availability check from an SA agency.  (This is when they put out feelers to people who might suit  a particular role they’ve been asked to cast.  They choose the people who fit the bill from their database, then contact those chosen to see if they’re available for the dates required, before putting them forward to the production).  Anyway, over hurdle #1 before I even knew about it – I sort of must have fit the bill ‘they’ were looking for.  #2, I was available for the filming dates, and could possibly make the suggested costume fitting schedule.  Next thing I know #3 – I’ve been shortlisted for “the part” -( i.e. a named part, meaning this was no ‘random passer by’, this was a particular role.  Not necessarily speaking, but what is known as ‘featured’. ) but ‘they’ wanted to see a video clip of those of us on the shortlist; to see how we are on camera.

By tomorrow morning.

And I was on set, dressed for the 1980’s.  Green eye shadow and hairspray and everything.

ETA at home, possibly after 10pm.

So, I get home, dig out the tripod and the remote for the DSLR, and realise from what other SA’s had been talking about who’d done some of it, this is a period thing they’re casting for – no eye shadow or hairspray type of period.  Wipe off as much make up as I could; disguise the fact my hair has been backcombed to within an inch of its life; try and get the lighting as right as I can, in the dining room, alone, at night; and film myself talking random gibberish to camera for a minute or so (trying to not wake everyone in the house); edit it slightly to add my name and a little title screen, so it looks relatively presentable; and email it back to the agency.  Phew.

After all that excitement, my mind starts wandering to what it would be like to get this part.  That I hadn’t considered even  existed before today, let alone wanting, or chasing, or applying for.

I hadn’t considered being on this particular production.  I’d heard other SAs talking about it – about how days they’d done on it had been enjoyable.  For a lot of period work, well, anything earlier than the 1970s I suppose, they rarely put anyone with a fringe forward. (Along with no dyed hair or obvious piercings, etc etc)

My fringe was still growing out.  I was in such a mindset that I had a fringe, I hadn’t realised that by now, it’s really long enough that it can be pretty much styled to not be seen. Up until now, I had not even considered being put forward for anything other than contemporary stuff.  So, this sudden turn of events had peaked my interest in this production they’d all been talking about.  So I googled it, and IMDB‘d it, and scrolled down the cast list for the character to whom I would have been related.  Interesting … portrayed by an interesting looking actor, who happens to be originally from the same locale as me!  So, I look up said performer on twitter and, purely out of interest, you understand, click ‘follow’.

Next day, more excitement … I am down to THE LAST TWO!

It’s me or someone else.

O.M.G!  Two days ago I didn’t know anything about this production nor did I have any inclination or need to go anywhere near it.  By now I was pretty overly invested … damn you internet searches!

Hurdle #4 – can I get down to (secret location) to see the costume and makeup departments ASAP.  Hell yeah I can! Hot foot it, leaving half a cup of tea.  Nice chat the the hair lady who loved my hair but worried it was too short, and mentioned she was under the impression I was the only one left in the running, and advised what to do with my hair before shooting day; and the costume team, who measured pretty much everything…

So, you can guess how this is going to go….

Step #5, the next day, they have to wait to see the other girl …

And… she got it.  Apparently, they ‘Luuurrved me, dahling’ … and there were arguments over me.  But in the end, I wasn’t chosen. Ah well, two days work, at a higher rate than your regular random background blur.  So near and yet so far. On a brighter note, from what I could gather from write-ups, there are regular gruesome endings for certain charcaters of this show.  Chances are I might have only had one scene – the one in which I died. Plus, another SA who was in 1980 with me (see above) said she’d had a similar near-miss experience of being offered a featured part – she saw it as a bonus – one day featured, or a couple of weeks as a regular background later on … good point, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the point of this post is not the excitement of this particular casting process, but it leading me to Twitter.

Ah yes, Twitter.  So, the feeling of rejection, insofar as I hadn’t courted the role at all up until a couple of days ago, really got to me, for a couple of days at least.  (At least it took my mind off other things going on in my life, for a couple of days).  I consoled myself by following the cast and crew of my new found ‘must see’ production on Twitter.  Particularly that original cast member. Who was having various Twitter ‘conversations’ with other followers, mostly in the U.S.A. I randomly started participating in one of these conversations; and eventually, fell in to conversation with one of those other followers, completely separate from cast and crew.  And blimey, this complete stranger from the other side of the world turned out to be amazingly interesting – living such a different life from anything I’d been used to (Which, I’ve mentioned in other posts, is quite a lot, really).  I mean, for one thing, she goes prospecting for a few months of every year – I never knew people even did that anymore!

Prospector_dance

Now I’m having notions about going on a writers research trip and following her on a prospecting trip, and writing about it – maybe an article, or a book, even a movie.  Now there’s something I’ve not done before.  A bit fanciful.  No, EXTREMELY fanciful; but still …

Apart from this new pen-friend, a few other random conversations seem to have happened from simply participating a lot more there.

In amongst the drivel and the drudge, I’ve come to realise just how wonderful is this interabyss that it allows us to just connect, and share, and find those we need to talk with or just share with, to help us feel right again; just when we need them, to take our mind off things, to connect over something.