Unordered List

Wednesday 29 August 2012

One Direction, teenage Tumblr fandom, and how to be safe and private online.

Thanks to this Daily Dot article about Larry Stylinson "believers" (fans of One Direction who, rather than taking the more conventional fannish route of merely writing fanfic about their favourite boyband, truly believe that two of the bandmembers are secretly in a real-life relationship), I've been seeing way more of 1D fandom than I ever thought I would. But while I found the subject of the article to be very interesting (as was the near-immediate fandom backlash against the article), the points in this post aren't specifically targeted at Directioners -- just a particular subset of Tumblr fandom that seems to include a lot of 1D fans. I've been in a few fandoms myself and have no problem with anyone shipping whoever the hell they want, provided they're courteous to other fans. What I am worried about is the attitudes a lot of younger fans seem to have about fandom, Tumblr, and online privacy.
Larry Stylinson being super adorable. (source)
Aside from the large quantity of messages/comments/tweets the Daily Dot received regarding the actual content of the article, there were a lot of complaints that the article had "broken the Fourth Wall" of fandom. This phrase was bandied about quite a lot and seemed to mean something a little different from its more typical meaning. Another way I've seen this sentiment phrased is "what happens on Tumblr stays on Tumblr". I totally understand these fans' discomfort at the discovery that non-fandom people are suddenly aware of their secret online hobby, but I also find it very troubling that so many of them seem to think that Tumblr is a private place.
    Fandom isn't a secret
    I found out about fandom around 2002, when I was still a kid. Tumblr didn't exist yet, most of Harry Potter fandom lived on Livejournal and fanfic sites such as FictionAlley, and the way I found out about all this was via a newspaper article about fanfiction. So in my personal experience, without even having to do any research on the subject, I know for a fact that the mainstream press has been reporting about fandom for at least ten years. In recent years, fan culture has come into the mainstream in a big way, with entertainment news and gossip magazines regularly reporting at Comic-Con, and 50 Shades Of Grey topping all the bestseller lists for months. A lot of reporting on fanfiction/fandom is still pretty ignorant and disrespectful because most of the journalists aren't involved in fandom themselves, but fanfic isn't the secret society it was twenty years ago. And I'd find it vanishingly unlikely for anyone currently starring in a fandom-popular TV show or in a band like 1D to not be aware of fandom. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if winners of reality shows like American Idol and X-Factor were actually briefed about RPF as part of their press training, just so they wouldn't alienate fans by seeming shocked or appalled by the concept.

    Tuesday 28 August 2012

    The Edinburgh Fringe: Surrealist Dutch mime set in a wooden box, stilt-walking Polish astronauts, and a man in a gorilla suit.

    Previously: The Edinburgh Fringe.

    When I first arrived in Edinburgh at the beginning of the month, my friend Hector told me about the Gorilla Show, a one-off event that he'd heard happens at the tail end of Festival season every year. It's unlisted and unadvertised, and the audience is mostly made up of comedians. And the entire show consists of a man sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a gorilla suit and doing nothing while the audience claps and cheers for an hour. To me, this sounded like the ultimate hipster bait. An untitled show about nothing that people only hear about via backstage word-of-mouth? Excellent! And entirely unprovable. The ultimate in Fringe cliche, really -- ridiculous, fascinating, and based entirely on rumour.
    With one exception, I did manage to fulfill my goal of seeing at least one Fringe show per day after work, and amazingly enough only two of the thirty to forty I saw turned out to be truly dreadful. Most of my experiences were either unphotographable or indescribable, but managing to get pictures of the Polish astronaut stilt-walking play was enough for me. Oh, and regarding the photo above? It's not the asinine inspirational slogan it looks like -- in fact, it's a prop from a brilliant show I saw a few weeks ago, a surrealist Dutch mime comedy that took place inside a large plywood packing crate and began with the performers sawing off bits of plywood and handing them out to audience members. NOTHING IS REALLY DIFFICULT, said the side of the box -- written upside down.

    Wednesday 22 August 2012

    Costume design and movie/TV review masterpost.

    Time to make Hello, Tailor more navigable! This blog has been going for almost a year now, and it's getting to the point where old posts are sinking down into the murk. I won't link to everything here, firstly because I'm lazy and secondly because I doubt anybody would be interested, but if you feel a real yearning for reviews of catwalk shows from six months ago then feel free to faff around with the tags until you find what you're looking for. Try stuff like fashion week for more general posts, or Spring 2012 for more specific timeframes. More recent fashion posts are also organised by designer, ie Chanel.

    The basis for most of my TV/movie writing can be found in A fan's introduction to costume design, wherein I explain how and why costume design is more important than you think, and the ways in which costume design is often misjudged or misunderstood.

    TV shows

    The Revenge tag should lead to all Revenge posts, beginning with New style crush: Nolan Ross in REVEEEENNNGGE.

    The Teen Wolf tag should lead to all Teen Wolf posts, beginning with Teen Wolf 101: A guide to the eighth wonder of our world. 

    The Good Wife: Parenting Made Easy.

    The Killing, and the iconic status of Sarah Lund's jumpers.

    The most important thing about BBC Sherlock's "A Scandal In Belgravia".

    Game Of Thrones: Unwashed Northerners, royal conspiracies, and decapitations all round.

    Sunday 19 August 2012

    Haute Couture 2012: Armani Privé and Valentino.

    Still no time to write a Teen Wolf finale post. Instead: FASHION.

    Armani Privé
    At first I thought this collection was terribly '80s, but then I realised that the clothes weren't particularly retro in themselves -- it was the styling. The colour scheme was all chilly blues and watercolour lilacs, and the long, loose silhouette looked like the fashion drawings of the '80s rather than the fashions themselves.
    Overall I'd rate the accessories in this show far higher than the actual clothes. The plethora of simple, floor-length blue suits and dresses seemed rather boring, whereas the feathered headdresses and sparkling veils were among the few details that seemed worthy of a big-name couture show.

    Wednesday 15 August 2012

    The Edinburgh Fringe.

    This is going to be the kind of What I Did On My Summer Holidays post that seldom appears on this blog, mostly because I've been living in what amounts to a gigantic artists' commune for the past two weeks and am consuming about 1% of the geeky pop-culture stuff I usually do.

    Some background, first: The Edinburgh Fringe is an alternative theatre/comedy/music/art festival that runs throughout August, in conjunction with various other arts-type festivals around the city. This year's Fringe programme includes 2842 "official" shows, most of which are stand-up comedy and experimental/indie theatre, plus tons of street performers and unofficial stuff on the side. Basically, for the duration of August every single building in Edinburgh that could conceivably be turned into a theatre venue, is. Up to and including lifts, taxis, and peoples' bedrooms. I'm currently living in the lap of luxury because I have an actual bed to sleep in (thanks to my lovely friends Grace & Hector!), which is more than many of the performers get.
    (As an experienced Fringe-goer, I sensibly reinforced my programme with duct tape as soon as I got my hands on it. People may smirk, but WHATEVER. By the end of the month I'll be the only one whose programme hasn't had to be replaced at least once.)

    I'm going to as many shows as it's humanly possible to fit around my work schedule, covering as wide a variety of genres as I can. I assume that it's rather obvious at this point, but I LOVE THE FRINGE. There's something for everyone here, from cheesy mainstream stand-up comedy to weird experimental theatre to circus acrobats to jug bands to Tibetan Book Of The Dead: The Musical. Picking what to go to is very difficult, particularly in the first week when reviews haven't come out yet, but the way I see it is that if you're there for the entire month it's almost a good thing to see some terrible theatre in the first few days -- it's an interesting experience, and it provides a kind of palate-cleanser for the rest of the month. (I'm especially sticking to that philosophy this year because the first show I saw was without a doubt the worst piece of theatre I have seen in my entire life.)

    Saturday 11 August 2012

    Links post: Test footage from Alien, jewellery by Salvador Dali, behind-the-scenes photos from The Hollow Crown, and more.

    Alien: Test footage of the original xenomorph actor in Alien, Bolaj Badejo, has surfaced on youtube. A while ago one of my friends said that one of the good things about Prometheus was the fact that Ridley Scott could now afford to do something "better" than just have a really tall skinny guy wearing an alien costume, and I was like WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT. "Necessity is the mother of invention" is like the first commandment of movie costuming and special effects, and most of cinema's most impressive and sneaky tricks have been invented by people working on comparatively low-budget movies like Alien. In my opinion that tall skinny guy in an alien costume is still as creepy as all get-out, and certainly better than most CGI monsters up until very recent times.  

    Dali jewellery, 1950. From How To Be A Retronaut.

    Kehinde Wiley. This artist paints strikingly intense, colourful portraits -- his homepage can be found here. I love the mixture of very modern contemporary models and this almost glowing, Renaissance-era background in some of the portraits.

    Wednesday 8 August 2012

    Teen Wolf 2x11: "Battlefield".

    (Previous Teen Wolf episode reviews can be found on the Teen Wolf tag, along with Teen Wolf 101.)

    This week's Teen Wolf is messing up my life in a very real, logistics/scheduling type way. I'm at the Edinburgh Festival at the moment and have a very tight timetable of work and Fringe shows, but how can I keep up with all that if I'm too busy hand-carving an Oscar statuette for Dylan O'Brien?? Seriously, let's all open up a WikiHow tab right now, look up "How to make an Oscar", and then build that shit out of tinfoil and glitter glue or whatever the hell fake Oscars are made of. THEN MAIL THEM ALL TO DYLAN O'BRIEN.
    Battlefield: a disjointed episode, deserving of the disjointed review it's going to receive thanks to my overly busy schedule. We all tend to complain when one of our favourite characters (LYDIA) doesn't get enough screentime in any particular episode, but this ep proved that it's no longer possible to include everyone and set out a coherent plot at the same time. While there was just as much melodrama as any other episode of Teen Wolf, Battlefield fell into all the predictable pre-finale traps: it focused on a rather silly premise -- the portentious lacrosse game of doom -- and was mostly just setup for whatever happens in the finale. It would've been a lot better to split the multiple Lacrosse Night arcs into a two-parter because in this episode there was just way too much going on, and not in the usual "too much awesome happening at once" kind of way. So many of the main characters have gone through major life changes in the past few eps that their reactions are mostly taking place offscreen, resulting in Allison and isaac both seeming like they've had complete personality transplants during the unscreened moments between episodes.

    Saturday 4 August 2012

    Links post: James Bond, Starfleet uniform bras, real-life Zoolander, and more.

    There will be more image-heavy posts than usual this month because I'm at the Edinburgh Festival, working full time and going to shows most evenings. I don't have as much time as usual to write reviews but we should be back to regularly scheduled programming come September! A quick question for readers, though: It's been a few weeks since both The Dark Knight Rises and the final installment of The Hollow Crown were released -- is it worth it for me to post reviews for these in the next couple of weeks, or is it too late and/or already talked to death by other people?

    The 10 best Bond outfits. Kind of baffled by this list, to be honest. Pierce Brosnan's rollneck jumper is an iconic 007 outfit? Really?

    Handpainted Starfleet uniform bra. And by "Starfleet uniform" I don't mean regulation underwear. They come in Redshirt red, Command gold and Science blue, all with the Starfleet insignia, and you can even send your own bra off to get Starfleeted. I love Etsy. Or I would if I had any money.

    Wednesday 1 August 2012

    Teen Wolf 2x10: "Fury".

    Previously: Teen Wolf 101: An introduction to the eighth wonder of our world. (Now available in audio!) and Teen Wolf 2x09: Party Guessed.

    So much happened in this episode that I'm still reeling, but the main thing I got from it is that Scott really isn't the hero character any more. Not only is the show more of an ensemble cast story these days, but Scott's betrayal of Derek's pack and reluctant allegiance with Gerard Hale wouldn't have happened offscreen if he was still the true protagonist. Instead we saw a couple of hints of it in previous episodes, with very little follow-through until this week's reveal. Were he a main character in the mould of Harry Potter or Buffy there would have been far more screentime devoted to him agonising about his inner conflict over assisting the Argents, I think.
    Teen Wolf is incredibly good at juggling its villains. Season 2 doesn't seem to be following the formulaic "face the Big Bad in the finale episode" plot structure of Season 1, and instead the characters are up against a far more varied and complex collection of enemies. Matt Cameraguy (WHICH IS FOREVER HIS REAL NAME, BY THE WAY. Matt's name will never be Daehler and will always be Cameraguy.) may be gone now, but the Kanima is in even more dangerous hands and Allison's allegiance has shifted away from Scott, not to mention the fact that we haven't really seen the newly-resurrected Peter Hale actually do much as of yet. Yes, Teen Wolf is a show featuring so many larger-than-life maniacal supervillains that there isn't enough time to fit them all into one episode.

    I'm morbidly curious to see how Gerard Argent deals with becoming the Kanima's master, because if Matt is anything to go by then cosying up to the Kanima makes you go completely off the rails. We never saw Matt before he was in partnership with the Kanima, but in this week's pre-credits flashback we at least learned that he was always a creeper, secretly spying on Jackson's transformation from inside his car. But while Matt was far from a nice guy, I doubt he was quite in mass-murderer territory until he participated in Magic Friendship Handholding Time with Jackson and his Evil Manicure. God only knows what effect it'll have on Gerard. Can we hope for Gerard to slowly start turning into a lizard in season 2? Can we???