Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ally Pally in Spring

It's spring in London, much to my dismay. I hate the sun. I really do. I think it has something to do with an intense built-in sensitivity (and aversion) to light, heat, and happy people. The other day I emerged from my lair only to be greeted by the sun, raging at me with its burning visage, wishing misery upon me. I had to run back inside and get my sunglasses and it's only March. This is unacceptable for so many reasons. Not only was I told that London weather would be nice, but I demand a more gradual decline from winter into summer. Springing the nice weather on me in this way is just rude (pun intended, ha ha).

That said, when it's sunny and "pleasant" outside, I always have this horrible need to go out and Do Things. I feel like a shameful excuse for humanity if I spend these sunny days hunched over in my dark room, eating biscuits in bed and muttering to myself. So, even though I hate being outside in this weather, I was compelled to text Shaun and ask if she wanted to get a burger somewhere and eat it outside. It seemed like the thing to do. We agreed on Alexandra Palace, which has a bar and restaurant with outdoor seating and a beautiful view of the city. We saw Florence + the Machine there a few weeks ago, and I felt relieved to be up above the constant and claustrophobic presence of buildings on all sides. Foreseeing photographic opportunities, I brought my nice camera with me.

Alexandra Palace is up on a hill above Wood Green, the area where Shaun lives in North London. There seems to be a park, and some nice paths for walking. There were a lot of families and couples sitting around in the grass, or drinking out in the sun. It's a really pleasant place to be, especially after the never-ending city noises and rushing-about of people in London.

Pints outside! Outside pints. I'm often the one buying drinks for Shaun and myself, since she's always the one booking tickets for cool events and therefore I constantly owe her money. Just the other week she discovered that Andrew Scott and Billy Boyd were doing a Stories Before Bedtime reading at the Criterion (we go to a lot of these, it turns out), and booked two tickets before I had a chance to reply to her email. She does this a lot. Another time she decided I should see Rich Fulcher's stand-up in Soho, and before I was able to reply to her email about it, seemingly in a mad flurry of excitement, she went ahead and bought two tickets. This is great for me, since I don't have to make decisions for myself, but it does mean I'm usually the one buying the pints. I don't mind. The only problem is that I can't carry two pints back to our table without spilling on myself and the floor on the way. I just can't. I always spill. Pint-carrying is a skill, and sadly, I'm not cool enough to possess it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Scribbles


It's art time! I hadn't drawn anything for ages, mostly due to the fact that I'm a full-time grad student and I don't really have a life to speak of, and when I do have free time I spend it inhaling Skittles and watching Grimm and Once Upon A Time and crying, but finally I decided I needed to get these silly dudes' visages down on paper (as it were). It helps me to write when I have a nice visual to refer to, and of course it's easy to draw characters when you've already started to write about them. Plus I just love drawing my OCs, much to the dismay of my DeviantArt account, which never gets views or comments unless I'm posting Harry Potter fanart. Sadface.

Anyway, the characters! Cecily is a harpist, and the Duke is her patron (i.e. classy pimp). I could go into more detail but you know how weirdly secretive I am about this novel. They live in a world of snow and ice where it's always winter. Think The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe but with even more Turkish Delight. There's a bunch of clockwork stuff involved, and Cecily is a haughty snob and a half, and the Duke is an embittered wine snob with a bone to pick with the world. Together they are a formidable team of brooding, bitching, and looking down their noses at everyone. I love them!

Now just wait 'til I draw Nyle, the psychopathic cellist with delusions of grandeur.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mobile Photos

I haven't busted out the ol' Canon in a long while, even though I keep meaning to. One of these days I just need to go to Camden or Brick Lane or Portobello Road and take cliche artsy pictures of all the neat market stalls. Every time I go anywhere in London I lament not bringing my camera, but it's such a heavy gadget and it's a hassle to deal with. I know, boohoo, but going anywhere in London is a trek and I hate lugging stuff around.

I still take pictures with my phone, though! So I figured I'd share some of the decent ones here. There was one particular night before Christmas, I believe it was 7 December, the night of the Sherlock screening at the BFI. There was a German Christmas market on the South Bank, and a beautiful sunset behind the Houses of Parliament. Took a billion photos on my phone but forgot to share them! So, enjoy.

Such a beautiful evening. Carousels, the London Eye, Big Ben, and an incredible sunset reflected in the Thames.
Portobello Road on a Saturday afternoon.
Showing off my new earrings from New Look.
Street performer just off Portobello Road. Look at the crazy guy dancing by him! I love it.
Watching the rain on my way to Uxbridge a couple Wednesdays ago.
Watching New Girl after class, with bread and potatoes for dinner: filling and cheap as hell! And the Sherlock Holmes cameo Shaun got me for Christmas; I love it so much!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

6 Months

This was me six months ago today, sitting in my first London cab, heading off to Brunel University in Uxbridge. Look at the raw terror hidden behind those twinkling eyes. I was scared. I was so scared. But I was so excited, because there I was, inside a cab that had "London Calling" scrawled along its sides, a Union Jack on wheels. And there we were, my mom and I, squealing at "quaint cottages" and grinning manically when the driver called us "luv." A mixture of terror and excitement. The only way you really can feel, setting off on an adventure.

Of course everything got much worse before it got better. I was homesick, oh so homesick, and being away from Greg made me cry every single night as I tried to fall asleep alone in that tiny, rock-hard institutional bed in Isambard Complex. I cried so much those first few weeks, and well into the first couple of months as well. They don't really tell you this, but moving overseas all alone is hard. I may speak the language, and I had a friend in Shaun, but they just do not tell you how difficult it's going to be. Which is probably good, because if I knew exactly how harrowing most things in my life would turn out to be before I set out to do them, I don't think I'd ever leave my bed. So well done, world, for not telling me how scary and insanely hard it is to move to England!

Things did get better, though. I made a friend in Lucy, who turned out to be like a Welsh, better-dressed, funnier version of me (who happens to write better as well, that harpy). She's my writing muse and my Mine-Husband and I couldn't be happier that I met her. I also grew closer to Shaun, who I would never in a billion years have guessed I'd be hanging out with on a weekend in London, drinking cider and discussing our futures. I can now call her one of my best friends. What amazing and unexpected turns life can take, really.

And so here I am now, just having finished an incredible work placement at a prominent publishing house, working diligently on my novel, and about to finish the second term of my MA program. I'm in London and I'm loving it. My living situation may offer up a fresh new hell every day, but I'm content. I like my room, and I like this city (despite how much it sucks sometimes, let's be honest), and I like the way my life is going. I really, really like it.

So here's to six months in London, and to six months more. May they be even more amazing, hilarious, ridiculous, and life-changing than the first.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Here's a little bit of Mozart to brighten your day.

You're welcome.

I've discovered that I love anything in B flat major, and that Mozart is the epitome of absolute and utter musical perfection. Oh wait I already knew that. Mozart, you beautiful genius.

(Clearly I'm too busy writing and traipsing about along Brick Lane to be of any use to you just now.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clockwork Birds

Let's be serious for a moment here. I've been writing lately. A lot. A lot as in, last week I wrote about 10,000 words in my novel. The first 10,000 words, in fact. It's possible that I'll end up scrapping or editing the living hell out of these words in the future, rendering them essentially useless, but right now I feel pretty good about myself. Chuffed, even. Writing a lot is exhausting, but no matter what, 100% of the time, I find it extremely satisfying.

I'm also about done with a 2-week work placement at a publishing house here in London. While the work hasn't always been the most stimulating, I've enjoyed every single second of it. Being in such a book-centric environment is amazing, and the people I've worked with are ridiculously friendly, welcoming, and full of information about the world of publishing. I keep telling people, "I don't want to leave!" I really don't. I'd be happy just going there every day forever, doing menial jobs for free. I'd bring everyone coffee and hang up their coats. Okay maybe I wouldn't do that forever, or for free, but what I'm trying to say is that I'm loving my work placement. It's done more to inspire me and get me motivated to write and finish my novel than even the Creative Writing MA program at Brunel. Don't get me wrong; the MA is amazing, and absolutely worth every penny I've spent on it, but it just hasn't kicked me into gear as much as working with this publishing house has over the past two weeks. Let's hope this motivation continues!

A few people have asked me what my novel is about, and I feel like a dick because I'm a bit reluctant to give out any specifics in terms of plot. But my novel is my baby, and as it's not published or anything, I want it to remain as under-wraps as possible while I work on it. I will say it's a fantasy of manners, absolutely my favorite sub-genre of fantasy bar none, and it's about a harpist. (I like writing about harpists, apparently.) There's also a tad bit of pseudo-steampunk happening in it, but not enough to make it a legitimately steampunk novel I'm afraid. And there are clockwork birds. Just keep your eye out for my name in lights, guys! Ha ha.

If you're interested in reading any books that fall into the "fantasy of manners" or mannerpunk sub-genre, I highly recommend Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner as a starting point. It's how I originally discovered the genre, and it's still regarded as basically the definitive mannerpunk novel. Definitely read it, if you have the time! It's technically a fantasy, but it reads like historical fiction -- there is no magic, no dragons, or anything you'd typically think of when talking about fantasy. So don't be afraid, Mom; you might actually like it.

And now I'm going to dive head-first into writing, and likely spend the rest of my evening bashing away at the keyboard. Farewell, real world.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


A couple weeks ago, feeling the claustrophobia that only a stinky winter London can bring, Shaun and I went on a spontaneous(ish) day trip to Lewes, a village in Sussex. We'd been considering a blustery coastal trip to Dorset for a few days, but it's way stressful planning a last-minute weekend trip when you don't have many monies, so we decided to take a day trip instead. We picked Lewes because 1) it has a 15th century bookstore, and 2) it has a castle. Those were pretty much the only reasons. Also it had a garden, which was an appealing possibility until the rain started.

I'd say the highlight of the trip was the castle. By far. There were creepy wax figures hiding in tower rooms, hunched over by windows, backlit and eerie. I was unsure whether or not the first one was real. In fact now that I think about it, I believe there was only one wax figure. I must have imagined there were more in my horror-filled retrospective. One wax figure, though. In the entire castle. Why did they make ONE GUY, and then just sit him on a windowsill like Gollum? It makes no sense. Also, is it the Thing now for castles to have wax figures straight from Uncanny Valley, dressed up in historical garb? All the castles I've been to in the UK so far (all two of them) have had unsettling wax figures scattered around. I don't get it. In fact I don't want to get it, I just want it to end.

Also I'm a dick and not posting a photo of the wax figure out of laziness. HA.

Lewes is a weird village. It has about five billion antique shops, a crap restaurant called The Real Eating Company (bad service, ridiculous prices, not enough ketchup, too many children, mandatory gratuity, but delicious food), lots of nice cars going about, and an astounding amount of really awful Victorian taxidermy. Lewes! Where dreams come true.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Be A Writer: Part 2

I'm glad you're still with us, intrepid writer/adventurer. And by writer/adventurer I mean writer only, because writers do not possess the courage or life skills to attempt any sort of journey beyond their front door unless it involves the acquisition of sustenance, caffeine, or alcohol. So, dear writer or writer-to-be, I hope you learned a little something about how to be a writer from yesterday's installment. That said, being a writer is only part of it, despite what you may think. I know it feels like just sitting around in your room staring at a blank word document makes you a writer, and I know it feels like crying on twitter about how hard writing is makes you so cool like me, but that's not all there is to writing. Prepare yourself-- you must also write. I know, I know. It's horrifying. Take a moment to digest this if you must. Realize that this is the reason why writers are such empty shells of humanity: because they are doing nothing but writing, putting off bodily functions in order to write, and thinking about writing when they're doing something else other than writing (like crying because they can't think of what to write next).

In this installment I shall introduce you to the world of writing, and impart upon you much practical wisdom. Wisdom of the ages. Only after reading and implementing these tips can you be as badass as I am, pictured above, posing majestically in front of Stonehenge with a Medieval font hovering nearby. So come close, children, and prepare yourselves for: HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman. Part 2.

5. The word.
Let's begin today with your vocabulary. Yes, writing is about more than simple diction, syntax, and super sneaky and unexpected yet fun use of alliteration. It's also about character, and plot. But most importantly, it's about words. Simple words, strung together to create sentences and stories and emotions and worlds. So I advise you to use as many descriptive words as possible when you're writing. You can never, ever, use too many adjectives or adverbs. Take this sentence, for example: "The dandy straightened his cravat and winked at the other man." Jeez, could it be any more boring, aside from the fact that a dandy is mentioned? No. Let's spice it up! Remember to use those adjectives and adverbs we talked about. Remember, as many as possible. Here's mine: "The foppish, slightly effeminate dandy elegantly straightened his crisp, curling, cranberry-colored cravat and winked seductively at the other toothsomely delicious man." Wow! Pretty crazy how much that sentence improved, huh? Let's look at it closely. I added two descriptive words for the dandy, but I could have added way more. It's all about your personal taste. Also notice that the cravat gets its own slew of adjectives; what a great cravat. It's crisp, curling, and cranberry-colored. You may wonder how a cravat can be curling, but it's okay if an adjective doesn't always make sense in context. Do you know why? Because of a little thing called alliteration. That's right. If you were looking closely, you'll see that I alliterated a few words to make that part of the sentence just that much more special. It's okay to take little liberties like that in your writing, because nobody wants to read conventional descriptions anyway.

If you ever get stuck for a word, be sure to use your trusty thesaurus. The more you use it the better. Try not to ever use the same word twice in your writing. I know it's hard, but if you utilize the thesaurus, you'll have a whole bunch of new options you never thought were possible before. The more words in your manuscript that nobody recognizes, the better.

6. The character.
Now that you know how to make your prose as exciting and descriptive as possible, it's time to construct a character. You may be tempted initially to create a totally unique and original character to star as the protagonist of your story. Be careful! This is a critical noobie mistake. Don't be tricked into thinking people want to read about an original character with agency and meaningful dramatic need. That's the last thing anyone wants to read about. What you need to remember is this: Write your protagonist as if he or she were exactly like you, but better. It sounds silly but it's the one trick every bestseller lives by. Just write about yourself, but make sure you're way cooler in your novel than in real life. For instance, give yourself a better eye color, well-styled hair, a great sense of humor, and an inexplicable magnetism that attracts every single hot person you encounter. Then just change the name, give yourself a dark past and a magical power, and boom. Instant winner. Just remember to constantly remind audiences that your protagonist isn't perfect. If readers think a character in a book is cooler than them in any way, they will instantly hate it and stop reading. To avoid this, slip in constant references to your protagonist's shortcomings. Examples: awkwardness in social situations, accident-prone, too pretty, too smart, can't scramble eggs properly, can't pronounce "ornery", too many monies.

Now that your protagonist is sorted, let's talk about secondary characters. These are less important and should always be two- if not one-dimensional, depending on how many adjectives you want to use up on them. To make it easier for everyone, including your readers, you will most likely want to adhere to a few simple character templates when it comes to creating your secondary and tertiary characters. You can use these templates over and over, it doesn't matter how many times or in how many of your novels. They never get old. Suggested character templates: The Soulful Brooder (perfect for vampire characters!). The Snarky Best Friend (only appropriate for male characters). The Slutty Best Friend (only appropriate for female characters). Tall, Dark, and Handsome (perfect for a romantic interest, or anyone who hits on your female protagonist). Green-Eyed and Mysterious (anyone who hits on your male protagonist). The Flamboyantly Gay Guy. The Guy/Girl Who Hates Everything. The Hippie Who Makes You Take Ecstacy. Pie-Baking Mom. Overbearing Dad. Evil Sibling. This is just a small sampling of the many useful templates you can use for writing supporting characters. Feel free to email me or comment if you want more suggestions!

7. The plot.
Let's be honest. There are only two plots in this world. Harry Potter, and Twilight. Pick one, change the names of the characters and a few of the more memorable plot points, and go at it. Just make sure you remember not to use any trademarked terms like "Muggle," and remember: vampires and wizards are still cool. So don't be afraid to stick to those themes! Even better, write about vampire wizards who fall in love and defeat the dark lord at the end. Instant bestseller. Recommended secondary characters: The Soulful Brooder; The Snarky Best Friend; Tall, Dark, and Handsome; The Slutty Best Friend. For more plot ideas, see: Nothing. I told you there are only two plots.

8. Character death.
There are two rules to go by when it comes to character deaths. 1) The more popular you are as a writer, the more characters you need to kill off so as to be recognized as a "legit" and "serious" author. 2) The more random and meaningless a character's death in terms of plot advancement, the better. Especially if it will make your female readers cry for no reason. Girls love that shit.

And thus ends HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman. Part 2. I hope you've found something of use to take away with you as you begin your new life as a writer. Stay tuned for more installments!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How To Be A Writer: Part 1

I bet you've been asking yourself, whenever you read my blog, "How is Meg so cool? What makes her so cool? Is it that she's... a writer?" Yes. The answer is yes. That is why I'm so cool, and also how you can be so cool too. It's not easy being a writer, though. It takes hard work and dedication. But fear not, world! For I am here to set things right. I am here to tell you how to be a writer. Are you ready for the ride of your life? Then buckle up and all aboard, kiddos, 'cause the Awesome Train is leaving the station. The Awesome Train. Let's begin in this, the first installment of: HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman.

1. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Remember when I said being a writer was cool? It is. It is. And the reason it's cool is because miserable, self-hating, bitter, wan, depressed, and constantly-weeping people are cool. You may object to this claim, but pause for a moment and think. It's so true. Who do we worship as "so cool" that doesn't meet all of these requirements? Edgar Allen Poe. Dude was the most miserable, wan bastard in the world, and look how cool he is with his huge forehead! "Nevermore," guys! Who doesn't love that? No one. And what about Patrick Wolf when he made Wind in the Wires and especially The Bachelor? Guys, listen to any of the songs from these albums and feel the misery flow through you. It hurts so good. Who doesn't want to be that melancholy dude at the edge of the room with a cigarette in his mouth, his hair awry, eyes rimmed red and watering slightly due to weeping and lack of sleep? I know I do. And guess what. That guy is a writer. He inevitably is. Do you know how I know? Because writing is a soul-crushing, acutely painful and exhausting body of work that causes all who practice it to devolve into blubbering shadows of humanity that exist solely to tap their nicotine-stained fingers on keyboards and cry into their lattes. If you think you can be that man or woman, if you can be the writer, then welcome, my friend. Welcome to the fold. To the vortex. Now read on.

2. Shuffle off this mortal coil.
Because you'll be dead. Not really, unless you want to write as a ghost, which might be nice since you wouldn't have to take potty breaks. But I don't mean literally dead, I mean in spirit (as mentioned above), and more importantly, to the rest of the world. You must now come to terms with the fact that you will never get laid, have friends, or laugh again. You will never "go down the pub" with your mates and consume dozens of pints of Strongbow ever again. You will never again know the sweet, intimate touch of another. For the word is your lover now, the pen your quivering manhood (or very phallic womanhood). For once you begin writing your masterpiece, you will go mad if anything distracts you. You'll lock yourself in your dark room for hours, the glowing laptop your only source of light, of life-force, as you write trapped in a time-space paradox that you have created, a paradox in which you hold in your pee for twelve hours straight and forget to do things like eat, blink, and sometimes even take sips of your Coke Zero. The word is your slaver now, and its every whim must be obeyed. The thought of going outside, of interacting with humans on any level, will soon become as abhorrent to you as the thought of watching Tip Toes, making out with Paul Walker, or going tanning. (If you like to go tanning then you clearly cannot become a writer. Writers are pallid like subterranean vampires.) When not writing, you will desire nothing but to babble on for hours about your characters and the antics they get up to in your novel. (If you just want to write poetry or short stories, get out. We don't serve your kind here. Only the true novelist can be miserable enough to reach So Coolness.) If you do somehow manage to drag yourself out of your room and stumble, squinting, through the streets with a laptop clutched under your arm, make sure you lurch your way into a coffee shop with it. Once inside, you can order a never-ending stream of lattes while you hunch over your laptop and mutter to yourself, glasses askew, typing frantically. In fact it's best if you do this at least once a week, preferably in the wee hours of the morning when no normal human should be out, just so people know that you're working on a novel, never sleep, and are totally cool.

3. Don't write like Stephanie Meyer.
Or this guy. I've only read one of his books, and I couldn't even finish it, but just... no. Come on guys, let's have a little self-respect. I will have you assassinated.

4. Tweets or it didn't happen.
How will anyone know that you're slaving away writing a masterpiece if you don't tweet about it constantly? I know I mentioned late-night coffee shop write-ins, but as a writer you will inevitably be destitute, and will only be able to afford to buy lattes when your parents send you money out of pity or a sense of obligation to keep you alive. You will naturally have been terminated from any job you might have had due to your sudden decline into depression, misanthropy, and shame, so prepare yourself. When you're between the transfer of monthly parental funds, then, you will have to turn to twitter. Make sure your twitter name has nothing to do with your real name, but is instead a depressing or obscure phrase, or perhaps even lyrics from a favorite sad song. Then proceed to tweet in all lowercase letters about the progress of your novel. You can say things like, for example (and these are just made up; I didn't take them from my own personal twitter), "i don't think i'm actually capable of writing a novel that is in any way taking itself seriously." Do you feel the pain there? Really let it out here, guys; twitter was made for people to express every last feeling, thought, or action that takes place in their lives, so take advantage. Feel free to elongate vowels or consonants in order to create a sense of drama and inner turmoil. For example: "gross sobbiiiinnnngggg," or "waaaahhhhhh [writing] is haaaarrrrrd". You can put anything writing-related into those brackets, such as "words," "being a literary genius," "creating a masterpiece," etc, as long as you keep it grammatically sound. Some things can be in all caps, if they're full of enough angst and world-weariness, for example, "HARROW'D". These are all perfect examples of ways in which to show the world that you're working super hard on your novel, and you're in an ecstatic state of pain as a result. They'll be super jealous of how cool you are and wish they could be as cool as you.

There you have it folks, part one of HOW TO BE A WRITER. By Meg Smitherman. I hope you've learned a little something about how to be way cool and also how to structure and create a cogent, beautiful story full of realistic characterizations and a believable plot arc! Cheers!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Recruiting Officer

I still blog. I swear.

It's just one of those things, every year, when January and February roll around... and it's nearly impossible to get out of bed and do anything, let alone take pictures and think of stuff to write, and you're just weighed down by the heavy grey skies and the London stench and all you want to do is eat biscuits and watch Take Me Out and Thor because your brain can't handle anything with more substance than that. Luckily, however, it's not February anymore! It's March. So there's no excuse for me not to get off my ass and start blogging again.

But let's get to the point. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing The Recruiting Officer with Shaun, and it was such a great experience! We did not initially book tickets because Mark Gatiss was in the play. Yes we did. However, once I looked into it a bit (and by "looked into it" I mean Shaun said things about it to me in passing and I saw stuff on tumblr), I got really excited! You see, the 18th century is one of my very favorite centuries, and honestly I wouldn't have cared who was in the play just for the opportunity to see people frolicking around a stage wearing British soldier spats and feathered tricorns. I would pay many monies just to see random people off the street dressed in 18th century garb, doing a country dance, or anything cool and historical really. I'm a simple fellow.

So when we entered the intimate theater to the sound of folksy, Baroque-style music being played by young men wearing period costumes, I felt I'd already got my full twenty-five pounds' worth. One of them was even playing a stand-up bass like a guitar, slung over his shoulder. It was the best thing of my life. I don't even know how to describe it without just throwing up with happiness. The stage itself was incredible; there were three big wooden chandeliers decked with real candles, as well as a wall of candles at the back of the stage and little colored lanterns all along the edges of the balcony seats. I mean really, a completely immersive and intimate theater experience. I was in love before the show even started!

I'm not a theater buff by any means, so I can't give a very informed review, but as a person who likes good stories and good acting and who likes laughing and feeling emotions, The Recruiting Officer didn't disappoint. Tobias Menzies was hilarious and genuine as Captain Plume, as well as a total babe. It was really cool to see him on stage, because I remember having a major crush on him as Brutus in Rome. Yes I am super shallow; I don't care. Mackenzie Crook, who you'll all know from The Office UK and Pirates of the Caribbean, was despicable yet sympathetic as Sergeant Kite. He and Menzies both played recruiting officers (surprise!) who used sketchy-ass tactics to get young men to join the British Army. Watching their antics was comedic at first, but at the end of the play you see the musicians leaving the stage one by one, marching off as soldiers, and soon there are none left at all. It was melancholy to say the least, leaving me all sad and emo, yet still amused by how funny the play was. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel at the end, which was frustrating, but either way it was a nice mix of emotions. (This is the worst review of anything ever.)

The highlight of the show for me was Mark Gatiss's character (whaaaat?), Captain Brazen. He was hilarious! A complete fop, but as much a villain of the story as there could be, so of course that just made him more compelling. What a ridiculous character; I loved his quirk of naming off everyone he knew who had the same name as every person he met, and sharing odd details about them. So funny! One day, I can only hope to write a character as funny and compelling as Captain Brazen. Gatiss portrayed him so well it was like the character was written for him.

There are a million other things I could say about the show, but I'll leave the real reviewing to actual people who know what they're talking about. All I can say is, if you're in London or nearby, you should seriously make an effort to see this play -- it's a good'un! One of the most fun nights I've had in a very long time! (I mean, other than the Lights concert where we met Allen Leech. Other than that.)

Oh yeah and Shaun and I creepily waited in the foyer for Mark Gatiss so we could get him to sign Shaun's program, and for photos! We were the only ones waiting because we're total creepers. I was way too terrified of Tobias Menzies' total hotness to ask him for a photo, so I just let him run past with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. A motorcycle helmet. I mean, seriously, could he be more cool?! No. OKAY I'll shut up about him already! Okay! Here's the pic of me with Mark. It's blurry but whatever, I will post it all over the internet regardless of image quality.

Photos from here, copyright Johan Persson.