Football is back! I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon because I’ve spent most of the “summer” with my fingers in my ears going lalalalala. But it’s true, it’s back, it’s another season and baby, it is ON for the Arsenal.
The story so far!
Last summer, our beloved boy captain, Cesc Fabregas, broke our hearts by abandoning us for Barcelona, his home team, for a big wad of cash and the chance to win tropies. As the hurt began to fade, we consoled ourselves that he was always going to go, that the family and peer pressure had been too much for him, that maybe they loved him as much as we did.
Malinda Lo riffs off a Kate Elliott post, talking about being a woman writer and still having to actively check your manuscripts to make sure the female characters are not being screwed over. I do this too! Did I accidentally kill off all the women in my book? Oh, crap. Rewrite!
A lovely article about cosplaying the TARDIS, bringing steampunk into her design, and just how female the TARDIS is anyway. The cosplay/crossplay phenomenon as a feminist statement is something I never fail to find interesting, and the fannish craft evident in this post is awesome. I say this as someone who is planning to make two birthday cakes next week – a TARDIS and a Time Vortex.
Speaking of which, 3D TARDIS cookies are the best use I can think of for 3D printers…
I am now going to be desperately disappointed if the 50th anniversary doesn’t feature a similar round-table with all living Doctors talking about the role while eating jelly babies. We have eight, that could be quite a bun fight!
Also, Verity Lambert has always been a feminist hero of mine – a 28 year old woman who was the youngest producer, and only female drama producer, at the BBC, and was given this bizarre white elephant of a TV show to run back in 1063, she not only made a success of Doctor Who (she approved the first Dalek script against advice from others, sealing the show’s early triumph of ratings and pop culture madness), but went on to have a long and substantial career elsewhere. She was Head of Drama at ITV when they were producing The Sweeney, Minder, Rumpole of the Bailey and the Naked Civil Servant, she produced John Cleese’s feature Clockwise during a brief film production interlude, and finally set up her own independent production company, Cinema Verity, which was responsible for one of my favourite obscure TV shows, Class Act (starring Joanna Lumley, John Bowe and Nadine Garner). She also moonlighted freelance producing work with the BBC, such as Jonathan Creek, another old favourite of mine.
I was extra delighted to learn recently that she was also a devoted Gooner, when Alan Davies reminisced about being at a particular game with her, on his Arsenal podcast The Tuesday Club. Female Arsenal fans are far more of a minority than female Doctor Who fans have ever been, so I grabbed this piece of information with great joy.
Ahem, got a bit sidetracked there. I’d never seen her interviewed before, at least while so young, and this one is very cool, with the added bonus of several Doctor actors bickering amiably together.
It’s been a dizzyingly good day so far, and it’s not even lunch time!
First I woke up to a mad flurry of Twitter action that proved Arsenal had actually (for once) put its money where its mouth was and BOUGHT REAL PLAYERS in the eleventh hour of the transfer period. So yes, being slaughtered by Man U was good for something. We have a defensive line again, and a real grown up midfielder with experience rather than potential!
Dizzy, I tell you.
Then I hit the 70,000 word mark on my Nancy Napoleon novel. It’s not finished yet, but lurching into the final act, and oh boy. Giant monsters, bitchy goddesses and pretty boys covered in blood. I must get this novel finished while I’m still in love with it!
But the big feature of the day has been my first real chance to play with the new household toy. My honey decided what he wanted for Father’s Day was a Kindle, and he’s been happily buying & reading books on it for the last two days (father’s day came early, obviously).
Now, I was what you would call a Kindlecynic. When it comes to the Mighty Empire of Amazon, I’ve been backing away slowly, and doing my best to support the less enormous booksellers in our industry. For the most part, I succeeded in this, except for my recent Audible addiction. But I have to admit, the Kindle is pretty awesome. It’s so much lighter than the iPad, and so comfortable to read! I was finally able to get hold of Lucy March/Lani Diane Rich’s The Fortune Quilt, a book I’ve been wanting since I first started listening to back episodes of the podcast Will Write for Wine. I’ve picked up the e-book of Nick Mamatas’ Starve Better, which I have been eyeing off for weeks. I’ve also stocked up on Octavia Butler, the complete works of Mary Shelley and a bunch of other SF and urban fantasy titles – plus my wish list is growing substantially!
Smart Bitches made me aware of this film about the Victorian medical treatments for hysteria, which looks like the best kind of British historical comedy gold, and features my beloved Sheridan Smith, among many others:
The thing I wasn’t prepared for when I fell into this world of football fandom was how emotional it all is. From the outside, it just looks like little men running around a field, and the distinctions between teams appear entirely arbitrary. But when you choose your own team, when you get attached, you learn the stories that come with each player, and the threads of narrative weave together in deeply emotional ways. So as fans we follow the team, we learn their stories, and we retell them to each other.
When Zeft first started teaching Kaia and I about Premier League football, and the new team we had pledged to support, the first story she told us was the story of Cesc, her favourite player. How he had come from Barcelona to play for Arsenal as a young teenager, and was now one of the best creative midfielders in the world. Even before I knew what a midfielder was, I knew that Cesc was an exceptional one. He had been our youngest ever player on the first team, and youngest goalscorer. He was ours.
In my first year as Arsenal fans, I saw the developing legend of Cesc for myself. I learned to watch the games and to understand them, and it was pretty damn evident that Cesc stepping on to the pitch made a difference, to everyone’s game. Also, he was adorable. Then Arsene Wenger took the captain’s armband off the badly-behaving William Gallas, and Kaia and I shared Zeft’s utter glee that it was presented to Cesc – at only 21 years old, though he was a five year veteran of the team. He was our captain now!
The way football works, and I don’t just mean the media and reportage, but in fandom itself, it’s all about the narrative beats. The story practically told itself: with our new young captain and a new lease of life, we’d regroup our strength and win something, right? Only we didn’t. Cesc was struck down with a knee injury for four months, and the season ended with us barely hanging on to our place in the top four. It was the same story every year – periods of hope that this would be the year that our young, hungry team would fulfil their potential, then injuries and disappointment and a lack of silverware.
For those looking for a World Cup update from me, all I can say is it is no shame at all for the Matildas to have lost to Brazil, because come on, it’s freaking Brazil, they were up against Cristiane and Marta, so I’m really not being an Australian apologist to say that it’s impressive the gap between scores wasn’t much wider. (here’s a summary of the match from the Boston Globe)
Meanwhile, thanks to a combination of the ‘women’s football’ RSS feed from the Guardian and the presence of at least 4 Arsenal players, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the England team, which is amusing to me because when the England men’s team plays anything I normally spend most of my time muttering at them with very narrowed eyes. I kind of love the video diaries the team have been releasing, if only to listen to their cute accents, though sadly they didn’t win their match either. (1-1)
Moving aside from sport now, here’s an extra plug for Marianne de Pierres’ new project, cowpunk webcomic Peacemaker. Check out the first issue now for a measly 99¢ – much though I disapprove of people pricing whole novels at 99¢, I think it’s exciting for shorter pieces, and as an Australian it’s rather nice to actually get the 99¢ price for once (yes, iTunes with your $1.19, I’m looking at you, you know what the Australian dollar is actually worth, right?). I believe later issues will be priced higher, so now’s your chance to find out if you like Peacemaker!
I have been so impressed with Torv’s performance throughout the third season of Fringe, playing two versions of the same character, and managing to make both utterly compelling rather than falling into the Spock’s beard style of parallel world characterisation. Speaking of Spock’s beard, the episode which required Torv to channel Leonard Nimoy for a whole episode was amazing. Kudos to the show for the subtle and powerful writing, too. Having loved Fringe in spite of itself in season one, and gone through such excitement when season two was so very good from beginning to end, I’m somewhat beside myself that Fringe is now some of the most exciting and interesting SF TV in years, and mark it as a coup that my honey now watches it with me. It’s gone from a show I considered a guilty pleasure to one that so many of my friends respect, like and get excited by. So hooray for the excellent cast, whoa for the spectacular final episode, and woohoo for season 4 on the horizon. I’m glad to hear that Torv’s performance is being heralded (finally!) but I really really hope John Noble gets the Emmy or the GG – his Walter Bishop has always been exceptional to watch, and it feels like every time the rest of the cast rise to his challenge, he just gets better.
I’d got the days mixed up, as often happens when you’re in a country half a day ahead of your football team, and didn’t realise until I got up this morning that the game was on right now. I could only really keep half an eye on it as I got the girls ready for their day.
It didn’t really matter. It’s Barca, after all – the best we could hope for was not humiliating ourselves, and getting out of the Champions League nice and early so we could concentrate on that other trophy, the one that maybe, MAYBE this year, we might have a chance at.
I found a feed briefly and saw a rather dull ten minutes of the game before it crapped out on me, so I didn’t bother. Twitter kept me informed. Like when they got their first goal…
It’s the AFL Grand Final tonight sometime imminently. Under normal circumstances I would be blissfully unaware of this fact, but my daughter’s school considers this an annual event worthy of note – and they gave all the kids a free dress day, so they could wear their team colours.
A mixed weekend, many highs and lows. I ran away from my family on Saturday to do some work on my book at the State Library in Hobart (it stays open an hour and a half longer than my local on Saturdays) and worked up a storm. I haven’t been in there for years, and was pleased to see how gorgeous it is now! It was my childhood library and it was exciting to see what a nice space it is.
Then I swung by to vote before going home. No sausage sizzle! Either I was ripped off or it was over well before 2pm which seems a bit lacking in forethought. Sadly this proved to be an omen for how the rest of the election was going to go.
The family had breakfast for dinner and settled down to watch the election results unfold. Towards the end, the only thing that would have made me happier was if they had cut back to Kerry O’Brien and Stephen Smith and they were in their pyjamas, having a pillow fight.
I was glad to see how well the Greens did in the Senate, but otherwise the whole thing was extremely demoralising. Oh, the stress and lack of closure!
At least Arsenal came to the party by giving us a 6-0 win over Blackpool. Happymaking
Today there was more work. See how you haven’t been missing much by me not blogging about my daily activities? WORK IS DULL TO HEAR ABOUT. Five more days and my structural edit is done, done, dusted, leaving me a few days to plan, shop and prepare for Worldcon. I think maybe I need a new coat. We’re going to be tramming all over the place and mine has bits falling off it constantly.
I will post my Worldcon schedule separately. I’m excited about lots of the items (though unfortunately wasn’t able to make the ones I was programmed for on Thursday) and especially that we are doing a “live” Galactic Suburbia episode on Friday morning.
I'm a fantasy author who lives with my partner and our two daughters in Tasmania, and I am one of the three voices of the Hugo-nominated Galactic Suburbia podcast. I also write crime fiction as Livia Day.