Thursday 12 December 2013

The things I watched

I think there's a correlation between what an author reads and what s/he writes or thinks about. I also think that correlation can have a negative impact. Rather than be original, we regurgitate what we've read. Rather than take people and emotions from real life, we create a copy of a copy of  a copy until no truth or life remains. It's maybe not fair, but it's one of the reasons why I try to read as widely as I can. Recently, I've been reading almost no m/m - but a lot of gay nonfiction, "mainstream literary" books, generic non-fiction, how-to books, creative writing books, lots of stuff on the internet - research for books I will never have the time to write/. Just filling my head up with ideas and words outside my own ecosystem. No idea where it'll take me - it's all strange chemical elements that, crammed together like this, might spark something. There might be a chain reaction I cannot stop, and gods know what it'll create. It's fine. I call this my "recharging" process.

Unable to write, I've watched a LOT of British TV - usually in the shape of boxed sets of BBC series. One of the first ones was Luther, which was effing amazing, because of all the moral quandaries. Edge-of-the-seat stuff. Intelligent, well-written, amazingly acted (Idris Elba!), and even the minor characters were excellent. Loved it. Deeply disturbing at times. Loved, loved it.

Then was Sapphire & Steel, which is a late-1970s/early-1980s series and spectacularly good, considering it had basically zero budget. It has that kinda cheap-but-joyful Dr Who vibe, where people act in really ramshackle, low-budget conditions, but OMG did I love the world-building and the really intelligent plot twists. It's involved, you can't miss five minutes, and despite the infuriating format of, IDK, 25-minute episodes, of which 5 or so form a "case", I loved it. Because of the "cheap and cheerful" conditions, the writing is carried by excellent dialogue - it's very "stagey" most of the time. Above all - nothing gets explained. Zip. Zilch. The author just trusts the audience to comer along. Nobody stops to explain the bigger picture, which keeps the audience guessing. We wolfed this stuff down in a couple days.

And we've just started Lexx: The Dark Zone, which a friend of mine tried to get me to watch, but it was way, way too weird for me at the time and it didn't appear to make any sense. Now, on the second attempt, it's still really weird, but I'm appreciating all the black comedy much more. Also, I've run so many games with the score that hearing the music ten years later or so is weird, but has a lot of good memories tied into it. It's wildly irreverent and weird and "punk" in some ways, and there's nudge-nudge, wink-wink. And a lot of very visceral body-horror "ick" moments, so we won't be having our dinner again while watching the next episode.

Anyway, we'll see what those things stir up, but mostly, it's good fun and keeps the grey cells engaged while I'm hoping that the words return in force at some point. 


  1. Lexx was utterly bizarre, wasn't it? It was aired on BBC America and I watched it then, after my initial WTF is THIS reaction.

  2. I only saw some of Lexx but I do have fond memories of it :)