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David Brider [userpic]

General purpose rules of engagement and intro post

December 31st, 2020 (10:00 pm)

  • If you've found my journal, hello! Pull up a virtual chair, put your feet up, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice). You are very very welcome!

  • I was Friends-only for a while. I'm not any more, but quite a lot of my posts before about mid-2007 are still Friends-only. Generally speaking, unless I'm making posts that are really only for me (lists of things to do) or for specific friends ('phone number or "this is what I look like for when we meet up" posts), my posts tend to be public.

  • That said, I compensate for being rather shy and introverted IRL by being very eager to make new friends on line. If I've Friended you, it's unlikely to be entirely random - either we share a few interests, or some mutual LJ friends, or we know each other IRL, or I've noticed you commenting in a community or on an LJ friends' post and I think you seem interesting or worth knowing. Obviously, you don't have to Friend me back, but I'd certainly appreciate it. Who wouldn't?

  • If you decide to Friend me, please say "hi" by adding a comment to this post.

  • I can be a bit tactless myself, but I tend to start out from a position of trying to be nice and polite to everyone. If I inadvertantly manage to offend or upset you, please bear that in mind. Likewise, if you accidentally offend or upset me, I'll be more than ready to forgive and forget ('cos life's too short, frankly). But if you're deliberately unpleasant or rude or jerk me around...well, I might take exception to that.

  • There are a few things about me that you may consider it worth knowing before you decide to Friend me:

  • I'm married to a wonderful lady by the name of Sarah. We've been together since October 2004 and married in September 2009. Sarah can also be found here on LJ (her user name is huntingospray. Pop over and say "hi" to her - she doesn't bite.

  • We've recently (well, September 2010) moved into Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. Still kind of finding our feet there, but we're happy there. We have some lovely neighbours.

  • I'm bisexual. That doesn't mean that I'm sexually promiscuous or anything like that - there are a few men that I think are rather attractive, and indeed a few women that I find rather attractive, but I'm entirely monogamous and utterly faithful to Sarah. If you have a problem with me being bisexual, Friending me may not be a terribly good idea.

  • I write and read slash fiction, both fanfic and original - again, if you have a problem with that, you may want to think twice about Friending me. Generally speaking, any fic I write (which is pretty infrequent, I've got to admit) is hidden underneath an LJ cut, so you don't have to read it if you don't want to. I try to tag my entries, but more of them are untagged than are tagged. That said, if you actually want to read my fiction, there is a tag for it, and also I tend to add it to my Memories. Also, I have a goal of wanting to write a novel.

  • Generally, I'm pretty pro-gay rights and pro-gay marriage, and all told a bit of a liberal. Indeed, I'm fairly left-leaning politically.

  • I'm also a Christian. Sarah and I have yet to properly settle at a church in Hemel, but we'll probably settle at the local Methodist church.

  • Anything else you need to know about me, you can probably get from my LJ User Info.

  • I'm not sure where my default Userpic came from. When I find out, I'll post a link.

David Brider [userpic]


May 24th, 2016 (06:28 pm)

Some linkspam, mainly fliers/cards I picked up at Nottingham Film & Comic Con.

Square Orange Art - some lovely artwork/prints, although sadly the Black Widow print the guy had just finished when we were at the con either a.) isn't there yet or b.) has sold out. I hope the former...

Down the Rabbit Hole - "Geek Unique Jewellery and Accessories"

Miss Kitty's Monsters - "Miss Kitty welcomes you to her Monsters site! Large holed charm beads with attitude, inspired by the horror genre but pretty too! Miss Kitty's Monsters puts the beauty back in horror and that is why you'll find lots of affordable horror style jewellery right here."

Save Chevron - "Chevron 8.3 was Massive Event's final 3-day event celebrating the hit television series Stargate. It was an unofficial convention aiming to bring together fans of the various Stargate series including SG1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe from across the country to meet some of the show's stars and enjoy various events over the weekend. Activities each day varied from guest talks and photograph sessions to quizzes and late night parties. It was an awesome convention and like SG-1 when Urgo was in their heads and cake was on offer...we want more!!! Save Chevron! If you missed out on Chevron 8.3 because you didn't know it was happening...now's your chance! Help us to save Chevron. Join us to convince Massive Events to run Chevron 8.4"

David Brider [userpic]

My tweets

May 10th, 2016 (12:00 pm)

  • Tue, 09:58: @Pearlie_mack belated welcome to the world of Doctor Who. On the basis of that clip of you and Peter Capaldi, I reckon you'll be great! :-)

David Brider [userpic]

I notice...

January 3rd, 2016 (09:14 pm)

...that today would have been Tolkien's 124th birthday. Apart from enjoying the films and the books, I've never been particularly part of Tolkien fandom (to the extent that I regularly spell his name wrong...), so...I'd love to think that 13 years ago, the fans made a particularly big deal of what would have been his eleventy-first birthday. And, for that matter, that we can expect a big celebration in 20 years time when he would have been one gross...

David Brider [userpic]


January 2nd, 2016 (06:22 pm)

...last night's University Challenge Christmas series final. Normally I'd be steadfastly supporting Sheffield, since many of my best friends either live there, are from there, or both, but I must admit I'm inclined to go with Magdalen - despite the fact that my inclination is to pronounce it phonetically (i.e., as per Mary), one of Robin Lane Fox's books was a set text for us at university, and I quite like Louis Theroux's work...

(And right now, they're winning 35 to -5. What can I say, I'm just shallow...)

David Brider [userpic]

I now have...

January 2nd, 2016 (03:21 pm)

...a nice shiny new iPhone, because the previous one was haemorrhaging power like there was no tomorrow. I think it was probably about, ooh, four years old (I had a sticker on it from Doctor Who - The Impossible Astronaut, so it would make sense for me to have got it c. summer 2011). Went for an iPhone 6S 64GB (it'll be so nice to not be told that I don't have enough room to take a photo, and also I can use it as an iPod). Just restored it with all the software that was on my old one. This feels good. New year, new me, new 'phone.

Also, have decided I'm going to post on here at least a bit more often...

David Brider [userpic]

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace (a review)

January 1st, 2016 (05:55 pm)

I've got a confession to make.

A few years back, I was leafing through some old diaries, and in the 1999 one I came across the entry where I'd stumbled into a cinema on Leicester Square and watched The Phantom Menace. (My recollection is that it was actually the day it came out in the UK, but that despite this the cinema was virtually empty. I digress.) My little reviewlet of the time noted that I actually rather enjoyed the film.

Now, within a few years I'd adopted a more traditional view, to whit that the prequel was rubbish, and The Phantom Menace the most rubbish of the lot. That's the widely accepted view, as exemplified by Simon Pegg's character Tim in Spaced. But whilst I think I'd have to agree that The Phantom Menace is the weakest of the Star Wars films, my honest feeling, after having a marathon of all seven films (albeit a marathon that's lasted nearly three weeks and, in places has involved watching 15 minutes of a film whilst eating a meal) is that, y'know what, it's not really that bad.

Certainly, The Phantom Menace has two major weaknesses. The first is what I can only describe as casual racism. Most of the non-human characters in the film speak in accents that are clearly derived from various real-world ethnic minorities, and sound horribly like a gathering of '70s comedians trying out their least PC accents (think Jim Davidson and his "Chalky White" character. If you can bear to think of Jim Davidson at all). This contrasts horribly with the original trilogy, where sound design supremo Ben Burtt took the time and trouble to create credible-sounding alien languages from an amalgam of created dialogue and sounds and actual languages, which the non-human characters proceeded to speak, sometimes but not always with subtitles. Lupita Nyong'o tells of watching The Return of the Jedi with a friend and both being rather exultant at hearing one of the characters delivering a line in Kenyan, because it meant that they felt included in the Star Wars universe. It's sadly difficult to think that anyone would feel included in the ethnic stereotyping on display here.

The second big problem with this feeling is some very misguided attempts at humour. Don't get me wrong - humour has always, and continues to be, a part of the Star Wars universe, but in the original films it was mostly (not exclusively) an organic thing, emerging from the characters and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in. Be it Han's "one thing's for sure, we're all gonna be a lot thinner," Han's "and I thought they smelled bad on the outside," C3P0's "it's against my programming to impersonate deity," or Han's "you're cold?!" there've always been funny lines in the films (and often from Han...). But here, rather than arising from and being complementary to the sometimes life-threatening situations our heroes find themselves in (and let's at this point mention another of Han's lines - "boring conversation anyway..."), the humour is farcical slapstick that detracts from the drama.

These two problems come to a head in - and we're going to have to mention him eventually, so here goes - the character of Jar Jar Binks, arguably the most pointless and misguided character in the Star Wars films. Between his offensively racist accent and his silly antics, it's very difficult to find anything favourable to say about him, and it's a relief that his scenes were fewer in the subsequent instalments.

I will, however, recommend familiarising yourself with the "Jar Jar Binks is a Sith Lord" theory, which is a fascinating redemptive reading of the character, fits with what we see on screen, and provides some interesting "what ifs" for where the trilogy might have gone if a.) this really was part of George's plan and b.) he'd stuck to his guns. Someone really needs to ask him about it...

Sticking, briefly, with the negatives: Midichlorians. Admittedly, the notion that the Force, an energy field that binds the universe together, may be a result of special cells within certain individuals isn't so much inconsistent with the information presented in the original trilogy as simply presenting a different aspect of it (and it's an idea that Lucas obviously didn't entirely abandon, since they get a mention in Revenge of the Sith too), but it jars rather, in that it strips the mysticism from the Force and presents it in a rather more mundane, prosaic and technobabble way.

And this is a theme in my relationship with certain iconic Star Wars characters, but Darth Maul...really isn't all that, is he? I mean, okay, the twin bladed lightsaber is pretty cool, but we hardly get to know the character - he has all of half a dozen lines in the film.

So, that's the negative out of the way - how about the positive?

Well, for me, at least a couple of the positives are my more redemptive readings of things other people have criticised, but...firstly, whilst the opening crawl, with its talk of trade disputes, sets a somewhat different tone to that of the original trilogy, it's entirely consistent with the prequel trilogy which, although it doesn't shy away from the Star and Wars aspexts of the Star Wars films, is as much concerned with the behind-the-scenes machinations that lead to the wars being fought as it is with the wars themselves.

And young Anakin...I like him. I find it rather pleasing that we're shown a side of the man who would become Darth Vader which probably wouldn't even have occurred to us from seeing the original trilogy. The young, wide-eyed, enthusiastic innocent is entirely plausible, and considering his youth, Jake Lloyd plays the part well.

There is, additionally, much about The Phantom Menace that can be enjoyed in its own right. Ewan McGregor and Samuel L Jackson are great additions to the regular cast; Liam Neeson lends gravitas to his part as Qui-Gonn; and it's great to have Ian McDiarmid back as Palpatine to show his journey to becoming the Emperor.

And the action scenes fit solidly in the Star Wars tradition - they're exciting and energetic. The duel-for-three between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn is thrilling and beautifully choreographed (although however many times I watch it I still don't understand what's going on in that bit with the force shields). I think the Pod Race may well exceed any of the action setpieces from the original trilogy - it's certainly got a sense of scale unlike anything we've seen before.

In summary, whilst I agree that The Phantom Menace is not the best Star Wars film, may even be the worst, and I can understand how fans who grew up with the original films would feel disappointed by it, it does, nevertheless, have a lot to recommend it.

David Brider [userpic]


December 1st, 2015 (08:00 pm)

  • Sarah at GP's; meeting with the family in Watford; Sheila's birthday party, Saturday 2nd May
  • HHMC, Sarah projecting, Sunday 3rd May

  • HHMC open day, David on piano 14:30 - 16:00 + helping out with washing up, Saturday 9th May

  • Magna Carta exhibition at British Library, Sarah, David, Rita and Pamela, Saturday 16th May

  • Manchester Film and Comic Con, Saturday 30th May
  • HHMC, David on piano, Sunday 31st May

  • Space Spectacular, Friday 19th/Saturday 20th June

  • London Pride, Saturday 27th June

  • Raintown in Doncaster, Saturday 4th July

  • London Film and Comic Con, Sunday 19th July.

Not to mention having a friend I'd like to visit in Driffield at some point having missed her birthday last year due to only just having come out of hospital with a dodgy foot, and wanting to get together for a meal with my sisters and our respective other halves. And then there's Nine Worlds in August, and I can't really not go to that. No rest for the wicked, basically...

David Brider [userpic]

My tweets

November 25th, 2015 (12:04 pm)

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