Hiding in plain sight

Netflix’s new documentary series, “Conversations with a serial killer – The Ted Bundy Tapes” has sure caused a stir since first airing about a week ago (in Australia, not sure how long it’s been on US Netflix). Timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Bundy’s execution on February 24, 1989, the documentary focuses on audio tapes journalist Stephen Michaud made while interviewing perhaps the most infamous and prolific serial killer in America’s history. It also features an interview with survivor Carol DaRonch, who was lured to Bundy’s car under false pretenses, managed to escape and was the first real eye-witness to give police an idea of who they were after. She also later testified against him.

Of course, in this time of the #MeToo campaign and the totally necessary (and in fact, overdue) heightened awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault and violence against women in society, the documentary couldn’t have come at a better – or worse – time, depending on how you look at it. There are those who believe both the doco and the movie about Bundy starring Zac Efron, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile do nothing but glorify and sexualize Bundy and his exploits, and that airing them now must be like a kick in the guts to the families of victims, even after all this time. Valid points, certainly.  As a person who has lost a member of my own family to murder in 1993, I know I would not want my uncle’s killer (now deceased also, but by his own making) being almost celebrated in this way.

However, and that’s a really big however, I can definitely understand why the documentary and movie were made.  The reasoning behind it is astonishingly simple. Bundy was able to stalk, lure and kill so many victims (some say as many as 36, some hint at more) because he was not what you would expect a serial killer to look like. For some reason, (perhaps because of the proliferation of slasher movies over the past thirty years) people still assume that a serial killer doesn’t look like you or me. He (or she, although female serial killers are rare) is painted in popular culture as being creepy, ugly, perhaps even deformed in some way. A loner who can’t speak above a whisper, or converse with the opposite sex, even to ask the time of day.  Wow, that rhymed. Anyway, when they hear the term ‘serial killer’ most people think of someone who would be easy to spot as an outsider. An obvious misfit. Ted Bundy’s ‘career’ – if you can call it that – proves otherwise. Now, I personally can’t see what the fuss is about. I don’t think Bundy was particularly attractive, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can however believe that he could be superficially charming, glib and eloquent, as he was a sociopath and that’s what they’re good at – fooling people that they’re just like everyone else, when they’re not. Of course, not all sociopaths are serial killers or mass murderers (there is a difference), but all serial killers are sociopaths. They’re self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, self-involved, deeply flawed human beings who lack the ability to empathize with others.  Most sociopaths don’t wind up becoming serial killers, but for those who do, who knows why they turn out that way? That’s a longer story than I have space for here but if you’re interested there are a few good books on the subject, written by FBI profilers like John Douglas and Robert Ressler.  Mindhunter, which was turned into a Netflix series as well, coincidentally, is a good one. Whoever Fights Monsters, by Ressler, is another.

But I digress. The point I’m trying to make here is that while the movie’s trailer may seem to glorify Bundy, it’s showing how normal he was; how easy it was for him to hide in plain sight. To attend university, have a serious relationship, work as a political campaigner, volunteer as a Crisis Hotline counselor, even!  No one in Ted’s social circle mentioned his name to police, even when he had the same car as the “Ted” they were looking for, because they just didn’t believe such a normal, nice, friendly guy like the Ted they knew could kidnap, rape, murder, decapitate and defile his victim’s bodies. They just couldn’t conceive of such a thing. That’s how good he was at pretending to be normal. And that’s the point the movie most likely is trying to make (it doesn’t yet have a release date), and the point the documentary was trying to make. And I think it did a pretty decent job, overall.

In 1978, Kathy Kleiner-Rubin was a young woman living in Chi Omega Sorority house and attending the University of Florida when her life was changed forever.  Bundy was on the run after an audacious escape from his jail cell in Colorado.  He hopped a few buses and crossed the country, finding himself in sunny Florida. Now, most reasonable people would lay low for a while, and not do anything to call attention to themselves or risk getting caught, but Bundy couldn’t control his impulses. He broke into the sorority late at night, bludgeoned Kathy and her room-mate, murdered Margaret Bowman in her bed and raped and murdered their sorority sister, Lisa Levy.  He was seen, albeit briefly, by a co-ed arriving home around midnight.  This is partially what lead to his being caught, as she remembered his prominent nose and thin lips.  Kathy didn’t see her attacker, just a dark shape, but over the years since she has watched a lot of media concerning Bundy and believes that the persona Bundy showed people is the one he wanted everyone to see. The charming, friendly, sociable law student. People trusted him. People liked him.  Women liked him, and not just after his arrest and well-publicized trial.  He had a long-term girlfriend, a single mother named Liz Koepfler, who eventually began to see through his lies and put the pieces together. She found items of clothing belonging to women in a bag in his room. She found a knife under the front passenger seat of his car. She reported other things – private things – that made her think something was definitely off about Ted, when she called the police and added his name to the long list of suspects police had at the time. But even then, Liz wasn’t entirely sure of her instincts. Kleiner-Rubin hopes that the movie will make women “more aware of their surroundings and cautious”, and to trust their instincts: “He had different tactics that he used to get people to help him get in cars or do things and in your gut if you feel like something doesn’t feel right, just say no.”   This Is the very instinct that saved Carol DaRonch’s life.  Bundy posed as a police officer and succeeded in getting her to agree to accompany him to the station to make a statement about someone breaking into her car at the mall. He even had fake ID, which looked real. Carol realized something was up when he drove past the route to the station and pulled up near an abandoned elementary school. She panicked and fought for her life, managing to get away despite his trying to hit her on the head with a crowbar and slapping a handcuff around her wrist.  She flagged down a passing car and reported the attempted abduction to the police.

She appears in the documentary to tell her story for the same reason as Kleiner – to make women aware that guys like Bundy exist, they’re out there and we need to use our instincts to avoid becoming a victim. It’s not about victim-blaming: “oh, she was out late at night, what was she doing?” and other bullshit statements like that, because many of Ted’s victims were lured away in broad daylight, in public places. And it was just the fact that he was normal-looking, unthreatening, and even seemingly incapacitated (he used fake casts and crutches to get women to help him load stuff in his car, for instance) that they didn’t think anything of helping this poor guy. Personally, I would have been like “why don’t you ask some dude to help you load your sailboat on the car?” but hindsight is 20-20.  We can always say what we would do in that situation, but we never know, do we?

Netflix has since expressed its collective revulsion at the fact that women are commenting on the documentary, saying that Ted – the real Ted, not Zac Efron’s interpretation – is ‘hot’ and they wouldn’t mind him sneaking into their room at night. And I can certainly agree with Netflix on this.  If you are one of those women who think Ted Bundy was hot, and made such ridiculous statements, consider that he raped and killed roughly 36 young women by strangulation or bludgeoning, cut their heads off and had sex with their dead bodies. Is that really your idea of a hot date?!   Apparently it is to some, as Bundy married one of his most staunch supporters while he was on death row, and somehow managed to get her pregnant despite the ban on conjugal visits. He had female supporters show up at his trial, their hair dyed brunette and parted in the middle, just like the majority of his victims.  It’s the wild, inconceivable extreme of star-fucking to want to date or marry a serial killer, but it happens. Richard Ramirez, the Nightstalker, had his female fans, and like Bundy, married one in prison. Even one of his surviving rape victims said he was good-looking, but that he had really bad breath. These women seem to think their love alone will be enough to change the monster inside of him. They’re kidding themselves.

 

 

Above L to R: The real Bundy during his trial, Zac Efron as Bundy, Kathy Kleiner-Rubin (2017)

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An update on life and what-not

Hi guys, hope everyone is well and that life is treating you kindly as it is me.  I’ve just found out that I’ve been admitted into the Grad Diploma in Library and Information Services for next year, so go me!!! One step closer to my ultimate dream: to work in the Death Star. Yes, you read that right. The Geelong Regional Library had a recent facelift (well actually it was completely rebuilt) and now it looks like this:

GLHC

Pretty cool, huh? To be honest though, when most of my townsfolk saw the first plans for the new building, it was fair to say that they were a tad sceptical, especially since it was going to be built where the old library once stood, right beside the heritage-listed town hall. I think a lot of people were worried it was going to look jarring and strange. I just liked the Lucas-inspired design. I still call it the Death Star, and it’s been my personal ambition to work there, or at the very least gain a work placement spot there while I do my Diploma, so that I can continually make feeble jokes about working in the Death Star. I know … I’m a Star Wars nerd. Whatchagonnado?!

Speaking of which, I officially love Eddie Izzard. You may wonder how that ties in. Well, I’ve got three words for you: Death. Star. Canteen. Yes, I’m going to. Don’t complain, you know you love it …

 

Anyhow, lots of stuff going on with me at the moment. My son just had top surgery two weeks ago and finally looks how he’s supposed to look.  Now we can start getting fit by going swimming and cycling and he’s not going to be hampered by wearing a binder, which is terribly restrictive with regards to movement and even just breathing. He seems much happier now that it’s finally done, too. Much more confident in himself and less anxious about how people are going to perceive him. If I have anything negative to say about the whole experience it’s that his father has had very little contact with him in the past few weeks.  You’d think that a person would be concerned that everything went well and that his son is feeling better etc but there has barely been a murmur from him and although I’m not surprised, I am annoyed.  I realise that he’s still having difficultly accepting his son’s transition but for fuck’s sake, it’s just gender. It’s not like somebody’s died, here, or been replaced by a pod-person (if anyone’s been replaced by a pod-person it would be my ex, the one person I thought would be cool and open-minded about stuff like this, but no). Alister’s the same person he’s always been. The way I look at it is, I haven’t lost a daughter. I’ve gained a son. The son I always felt I had anyway, but he was just hidden beneath a social construct called gender.

And that brings me to my next subject. I recently read an article about a female rabbi whose child had recently come out to her and her husband as gender fluid. She accepted him wholeheartedly, which is what any decent mother concerned about her kid would do. And what did she get for this? A fuck-tonne of vicious, senseless, ignorant bile from uneducated hicks, is what. Some of the comments were so bad, I felt like I was having a stroke. What is it with Americans and the transgender community?  Do they really not comprehend the difference between gender and sexuality? I had to block and report a couple of guys who were being particularly nasty toward not only the subject of the article but also myself and another person who chose to comment in a positive vein. Apparently we’re bleeding heart lefties/helicopter parents/politically correct social justice warriors for accepting our children as they are; supporting and loving them. Apparently we’re supposed to disown them, or put them in conversion therapy, or something. I don’t know … perhaps its the rampant religiosity over there that causes them to lack a few thousand fucking brain cells, but I’m over it.  Over trying to explain myself or my child to people. I’m just happy that he’s alive and safe and feeling much more confident in himself. And if people can’t deal with that, then they can go fuck themselves gently with a chainsaw. Over and out.

 

 

The Dirt

Watched the new biopic based on the Motley Crue autobiography on Netflix yesterday. Being a teenager of the ’80’s, I was a big glam rock fan, into the Crue as well as Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, Aerosmith and Poison.  So I kind of knew what to expect …  ie, booze, groupies, drug use and lots of casual sex, but wow.   It’s kind of a fucking miracle those guys are still alive.  Especially Nikki Sixx.  But then, that’s something they’ve said, themselves.

It was an entertaining movie in the sense that there was plenty of scope for the straight female gaze (that is, if you’re like me and Heather Locklear, and get into the long-haired, leather-clad rocker look).  Douglas Booth, in particular, is prettier than the real Nikki Sixx, as is Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Misfits) as Mick Mars (which wouldn’t be terribly hard, admittedly, if you’ve seen the real Mick Mars).  Those two were the stars of the show, acting-wise, too.   I’ve read the book written by all four members of the band and the actors who played them really brought them to life, making them seem less like caricatures and more human than their on-stage personas projected.  I was almost in tears when Vince Neil lost his little girl, Skylar, to an abdominal tumour.  And watching Nikki’s mother and her many boyfriends abuse her teenage son made me angry and feel sorry for him – and also helped me understand, at least a little bit, why some people go off the deep end with drugs. He used them to cope with the fact that his childhood was terrible, and that he felt unloved by both his parents.  He in fact didn’t feel like he had a family at all until he put the band together.

That’s enough spoilers from me, for now.  As far as the content is involved, there’s a lot of nudity, foul language and drug-use, but that’s par for the course with a biopic about the music industry in the 80’s, so if you watched it and were offended by any of that, suck it up, it’s the way things were.  At least they didn’t try to sanitise it. The misogyny was there, the bad behaviour, the drinking – the lot.  As executive producers of the movie, the members of Motley Crue were brutally honest about what they got up to and where it led them.   If there was any manipulation by the screenwriters or director to try and water down some of the less-tasteful elements (eg the group’s introduction to Ozzy Osborne), I didn’t spot it, unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, which while it’s also a great, entertaining film, had plenty of inaccuracies due to time constraints and creative licence.  I would have to say my favourite performance in The Dirt would be that of Iwan Rheon, though – he nailed Mick Mars. I’ve seen and read interviews with MC in the past and Mars was always the grumpy old man in the background, rolling his eyes at the outrageous and sometimes downright revolting antics of the other, younger members of the band, and was usually the moral compass who would have the guts to say, ‘You guys are being fucking idiots, tone it down before you kill yourselves.’  I like that they showed a little of Mick’s story in there as well, about his struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a kind of inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints, and the fact that he was the one member of Motley Crue who remained single for a long stretch.  He didn’t go in for all the hi-jinks with groupies because he had more respect for women than that, even though the groupies  didn’t appear to have respect for themselves.

The one thing I did notice is that all four actors, as with Bo-Rhap, were largely unknowns, apart from Rheon.  The actor playing Nikki Sixx so reminded me of another actor that I was shocked it wasn’t Nicholas D’Agosto (Heroes, Gotham) when it came to the credits.

 

As for the whole band, here’s a reality and cast check:

Motley-Crue-and-The-Dirt-Movie-Cast

What the hell is happening to the world?

What is wrong with people?!  I recently read about a 12 year old girl in India who was raped by her brothers and an uncle, and then strangled and beheaded by her aunt!  Just when I thought humankind couldn’t get any worse after the mosque massacre in New Zealand, this happens. My first thought? I can understand why my cousin killed herself. She didn’t want to be here. I definitely get why.

That’s not to say that I’m going to do anything to myself. I just understand the utter hopelessness people feel when they hear about such barbaric acts perpetrated by human beings, to each other. India, along with the Congo, is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be female. While a look at statistics tells one story – India’s rate of reported sexual violence is currently fairly low at 6.3% – it has been estimated that around 99% of rapes go unreported – so that would put India at the top of the list of the worst places in the world to be if you’re a female.  Any wonder, with people committing the most heinous of crimes to girls and women in their own families.

I just don’t get it. What is happening to the world? I don’t remember things ever being quite this bad, as far as violence, terrorism (of all kinds, not just Islamic), racism, sexism and pretty much all the isms go.  It’s as if once America, the UK, Brazil and Australia voted their version of far-right leaning conservatives into the top jobs, the collective world lost valuable IQ points – if we had them there to begin with.  I sympathise with poor New Zealand. They, along with Canada, have one of the better political systems and definitely better leaders in charge yet still suffered a double massacre because of their gun laws. Yes, I know, I said it.  Of course I blame the gunman (whose name I refuse to print – he’s not getting any notoriety from me) but I also think that if NZ had the kind of gun laws Australia has (which they’re in the process of putting into practice now) this may not have happened. There are other ways of carrying out terrorist attacks. The recent Bourke St massacre illustrates that quite effectively.  But apart from a large explosive device, only a semi or fully automatic military grade weapon is going to get it done, get it done fast, and do the most damage.  I applaud Jacinda Ardern for quickly acting to tighten NZ’s gun laws.  And I’m sickened at the fact that the man who perpetrated this disgusting crime is Australian-born.  Just so everyone knows, we’re not all racist white arseholes.  I regularly go to school at a very multicultural university where everyone treats everyone else with respect regardless of race, religion, gender and so on. We have gender neutral bathrooms.  We’re quite left-leaning, really.  To the point where some call us snowflakes for getting offended by ‘jokes’ people used to laugh at.  It seems to be only a minority, thankfully, who think they’re justified in attacking another group of people because of the colour of their skin or because of what God they worship.  Because that’s what it comes down to, really. Intolerance, fear and ignorance go hand-in-hand.  That’s why in Geelong we had a local mosque open its doors to the public the other day so they could ask any questions they might have about Islam.  It’s a small gesture, sure, but if more religions and churches did that sort of thing, and made an effort to live side by side with those of different faiths without arguing about whose God is best or right or without telling everyone else how to live by their rules, we’d have a much more peaceful world.   There would still be murder, rape, child abuse and other crimes, but how much pain and suffering would be avoided if wars and hate crime didn’t exist?!

Don’t believe the hype

As life drags us kicking and screaming into our forties and fifties, Generation X’ers like myself are faced with some pretty cruel life lessons.  Heading into the technology age, with information about popular culture at our fingertips, we’re bombarded almost daily with news about people we grew up with. Not the guy down the street who used to visit and throw tantrums when he had to go home; or the neighbourhood kids who would jump the fence to use our swimming pool – no, I’m talking about celebrities we grew up watching or listening to; identifying with, loving or hating with equal, passionate measure as teenagers.

Being of the Generation X persuasion, I was born in the early 70’s and was raised on a steady diet of the Beatles, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and John Lennon. When I got old enough to choose my own favourites, I continued to love the harder stuff but tended to lean toward the more dramatic, theatrical ‘glam rock’ and pop artists like Queen, KISS, Adam and the Ants – and of course, Michael Jackson.

But this post isn’t about Michael Jackson and the recent allegations being lobbed – this time against his estate as he’s no longer here to defend himself – by alleged victims.   Well, it is, and it isn’t.  I recently published a post which was basically a rant about why I didn’t believe the current allegations, a post peppered with several choice adjectives which tended to veer on the edge of profanity, so incensed was I that this subject had been brought up, yet again, by former friends of Michael’s, now adults, who’d defended him and vociferously denied claims of abuse for decades, and have now decided that since he’s dead and can’t mount a defence, it’s the opportune time to drag his name through the mud, change their original statements – statements they swore to under oath in a court of law or made legally binding in affidavits – and claim that they were systematically abused by Michael for years while visiting him at Neverland Ranch as children. Phew. That was a long sentence.  I think we need a paragraph break.

And a coffee.

As I was saying, I recently posted about the current round of allegations in “Innocent until proven guilty”. After some contemplation, I subsequently re-read my original stand on the matter and decided that it was a little too angry; a little too invested for someone who hadn’t called herself an MJ fan since, say, around 1990. So I ditched the former and decided to write something a bit more whimsical; something that bemoans the state of the union without going off on a tangent about something I can’t actually change. Because I can’t change people’s opinions. I don’t possess the Jedi Mind Trick. I can’t say “I heard a rumour that the allegations against my former hero aren’t true” and have thy will be done.  And really, nor would I want to. This world is made up of all sorts of people from all walks of life and if everyone had the same opinion about everything it would be a pretty fucking boring place. Peaceful, certainly, but boring.

Since pretty much everyone has viewed the two part, four hour HBO documentary (and I use the term loosely, as it’s extremely one-sided) I won’t bore you with the sordid details of the fresh allegations. Like I said, this post isn’t about that. Or it isn’t just about that.  At around 10 years of age, in 1983, I, like everyone else. was amazed by the release of Thriller and its extended music video, a pioneering mini-horror movie directed by American Werewolf in London director John Landis.  I practised the dance moves. I had the MJ doll with the leather Thriller jacket and single, sparkly glove. I even received the picture disc, which is now a collector’s item, from one of my aunties, on my birthday that year.

So yeah, I was a fan, and I was not ashamed. After all, life was good (well, relatively) and all was as it should be.  There was no hint of the scandal that was to come. We MJ fans could bask in the immense talent and weirdness of our hero with no guilt attached. Speaking of weird, he hadn’t really done anything super odd to that point, if you don’t count his love of wild animals as pets and his tendency to bring them into the studio (Freddie Mercury once famously called his manager, Jim Beach, and asked him to get him the hell out of the recording arrangement he had with Michael because he was sharing the studio with a fucking llama).  Occasionally, he’d burst into tears (Michael, not Freddie) while recording sad songs.  Knowing a little bit, as we did, of his childhood growing up as a member of the Jackson 5, with the constant rehearsals and touring and their physically abusive, egotistical, prick of a father (who wouldn’t even allow his kids to call him Dad), I got it. After all I am one of those people who tends to wear their heart on their sleeve a little bit and will tear up during a sad song or movie (although I do take measures to hide the fact).  Jackson’s love of children, suspicious or not (and it wasn’t, at that point in time, anyway) involved him donating to children’s charities and paying for disadvantaged kids to visit Disneyland. He was a one-stop Make-A-Wish shop. And that was cool, nobody minded that. It’s this sleepover business that’s got everyone in a lather lately, despite the fact that he’s been dead ten years and has already said everything he’s going to say on the issue.

The trouble with popular culture these days is that it’s all tied up in the instant availability of social media. I remember when, as a teenager, I used to buy Smash Hits magazine for the latest music and movie news, song lyrics, etc. When movies would take almost a year to come out on VHS (waiting for Back to the Future was pure torture, man). When you had to sit by the radio to wait for your favourite song to come on the Top 40 countdown with Kasey Kasem (another one who’s kicked the bucket in recent times) to record it on a cassette tape and hope that Kasey doesn’t talk all over the intro. Or cut the end of the song short. Of course I could have just gone out and bought the single or the whole goddamned album but hey, I’m cheap, and I don’t mind admitting it. Plus, I loved the idea of a mixed tape. Still do. Nowadays (now I’m really sounding my age) with the advent of Spotify, iTunes and other music streaming programs, we don’t have to wait for anything, and somehow, no matter how convenient things are in today’s fast moving world, us Generation Xers can’t help but feel a little cheated. Why do kids and teenagers of the 21st century get it so goddamned easy, and practically free, when we had to scrimp and save our pocket money for weeks for the soundtrack to The Lost Boys or the latest Atari game? Oh … what’s an Atari, you ask? Fuck it, I can’t be arsed explaining myself. Google it.

Anyway, I digress.  Times move fast and shit moves faster in this crazy information age of ours.  Days gone by we’d have watched Entertainment Tonight or Hard Copy to hear about who Shannon Doherty had pissed off on the set of Beverley Hills 90210, or who Britney Spears was shagging this week.  As recently as last Tuesday, Luke Perry, a favourite from the aforementioned 90210, died of a massive stroke at the grand old age of 52. Fucking 52.  I was never a real big fan of Luke’s personally but I did think he was great in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie) and more recently, Riverdale, as Archie’s dad.  I could not and still cannot fathom how someone only seven years older than myself, and relatively fit and healthy, can die of something like a stroke. Or anything, really. I’d get it if he raced drag cars or jumped out of airplanes for an adrenaline buzz, but by all accounts, he seemed like a pretty ordinary, decent guy. Apart from the huge paycheck and huge legacy as the star of a ’90’s hit TV show, that is. So rest in peace, Luke, and I hope nobody comes out of the woodwork with nasty things to say about you when you’re ten years dead and buried (because that’s when they tend to do it, the cowards).

Moving on …

Johnny Depp isn’t even dead and people on social media are busy trashing his legacy over claims of domestic violence in his marriage to Amber Heard, sometime actress and model who was nobody before she met him.  Several of Johnny’s exes, including Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children, have come to his defence in the recent past, insisting that he’d never laid a hand on them. Them I believe. Why? Because they’ve got no earthly reason to lie, that’s why. If they really bore a grudge they could burn him bad and they haven’t. What does that tell you? It tells me that either they’re really decent people who’ve put the past behind them, or they’re telling the truth.  Johnny’s representative told E News at the time:  “Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life. Hopefully, the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly.”  To date, Johnny has still not commented on this divorce to the media but has lodged a defamation lawsuit against Heard blaming her claims of a violent marriage cost him his most iconic role as Jack Sparrow in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And of course, everyone has an opinion on this. In today’s politically correct world, most left-leaning celebs and bloggers seem to be siding with Amber simply because women are traditionally the victims of family violence, not the instigators. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as left-leaning as the next person. But as I have shown with the situation against MJ, I don’t like to simply jump on a bandwagon and believe allegations about someone without hearing both sides.  And from what I’ve heard about Johnny since he starred in 21 Jump Street in the mid-to-late ’80’s is, he’s a quiet, unassuming kind of guy who gives a lot of thought to his choice of roles (or did, since he’s become a father, that trait seems to have gone by the wayside in favour of screen adaptations of children’s books). He was guarded about his relationship with long-time partner Vanessa when they lived in France apart from what he’d say about her in interviews (which was generally glowing praise but nothing soppy or Tom-Cruise-on Oprah’s-couch bizarre) and as I said before, she has spoken out about the allegations in a letter to TMZ last year, stating:

“Johnny Depp is the father of my two children, he is a sensitive, loving and loved person, and I believe with all my heart that these recent allegations being made are outrageous.

“In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years. Sincerely, Vanessa Paradis”

Further, five concierges from their apartment building, who all saw Amber between May 21 – the night the alleged attack happened – and May 27, have all stated in depositions they saw no injuries to the actress’ face. (Mirror, June 2018)

That’s really all I need. Having been in a marriage-like relationship with my ex, to whom I had two children, I know that if someone had levelled such accusations at him, I’d be the first person to stand up and say it’s bullshit, because I lived with him for nine of the fifteen years we were together and although we had our issues, he never laid a hand on me. I can believe that about Johnny, as well. He and Vanessa seemed like soulmates, from what I’d gleaned from interviews with him in the past and I was surprised to hear they’d broken up.  But nothing good lasts forever.

As far as his relationship with Amber Heard is concerned, she was a nobody when she met him on the set of The Rum Diaries and any publicity or career moves since will have largely been because of her association with him. I’ve seen her act, and I have to say, Pinocchio could have done it better.  Also, if you look at most pictures of the couple, either one or both are not smiling. Usually it’s Johnny with the frown or pained expression. Rumours (and I don’t tend to listen to them but it turns out that Johnny’s known about this for some time) suggest that Heard started an affair with Tesla boss Elon Musk not long after her marriage to Johnny.  I mean, what the actual fuck? You’re married to one of the most desired men in Hollywood (like Keanu Reeves, even at fifty-something he’s still got it going on) and you’re off with an ugly, spoiled brat because he’s a billionaire?! I have only one thing to say to Heard: grow up, or crawl back under that rock from whence you came.

a rare photo with johnny smiling

A rare photo of the two with Johnny smiling (and believe me, they are rare)

heard and depp

 

amber-heard-johnny-depp

Now I’m no expert on body language here, but to me she looks positively bored. Perhaps it has something to do with marrying a guy old enough to be your dad …

ambermusk- getty

There are things I could say about these two but I won’t – actually, wait … no, I will.

Number one: What the fuck is she wearing?! An ostrich? Did she kill it first?

Number two: You went from Johnny Depp to this (above).  The guy looks like Tom Hardy and Leonardo Di Caprio had a lovechild. And that’s not a compliment.

 

 

 

 

Answer 100 questions ….

Got these from a fellow blogger (thanks, SindrElf) and thought they’d be fun to answer.


1) What was the last picture you took with your phone?

Maxwell Elliot

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2) Do you know any big gossips?

No

3) Have you been pulled over by a cop?

Yes

4) Do you know your Heritage?

Scottish and German

5) What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it?

A brand new car. No, they’ve always been used. And over ten years old.

6) What kind of sickness have you lied about so you wouldn’t go to work?

The flu

7) What was the last lie you told?

Can’t remember

8) Have you ever danced in the rain?

Not that I’m aware of.

9) What is your blood type? 

O Positive

10) Have you ever been in a car accident?

Twice, nothing serious. First time Mum was driving and I was about fifteen. Second time I was driving, it was night and raining, and I was going too fast for the conditions.

11) What was the weirdest prank call that you have made?

I don’t make a habit of prank calling people.

12) Best compliment you have received?

That people really like my writing.

13) Do you trust anyone with your life?

My family

 

14) What is your greatest strength or weakness?

Strength:  My resilience.

Weakness:  My tendency to get depressed.

15) What is your perfect pizza?

Domino’s Vegerama is pretty close.

16) What was your first thought when you woke up this morning

Coffee!!!!

17) Do you get along with your family? Why or why not?

Yes, for the most part.

18) Ugly and live forever, or look attractive and die in a year?

Don’t want to live forever, but I’d like more than a year left before I shuffle off this mortal coil. So A, I guess.

19) You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is not yours because of a mix up at the hospital, would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?

I would never, ever want to be put in that situation. Once you’ve bonded with a child it would be incredibly hard to give them up.

 

20) Would you be willing to lie to a court for a close friend if it meant saving your friend from going to jail for life?

Depends what they did. If it was self defence or justifiable homicide, sure. If it was a senseless thrill kill, no way. They can rot. But then I don’t tend to befriend serial killers. That I know of!

 

21) Would you be willing to eat a bowl of crickets for $40,000?

Yep. That’s a new car for me. It’d be worth vomiting my guts up later.

 

22) If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, who would you choose and how would you torment them?

Paedophiles and child murderers.   How would I do it? Hmm…  How much time and space do we have here? And am I going to get censored?!  Let’s just say it involved garden shears and a flame thrower, and leave it at that.

 

23) Do you feel that children should be sheltered from unhappiness?

No, kids these days are protected from far too many of the harsh truths of life. They don’t know how to lose gracefully, they grow up entitled, and not able to fend for themselves.  Besides, if you don’t know what heartbreak is, how can you ever recognise when you’re happy?

 

24) If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen?

Queen when Freddie was still alive, front row centre!

25) If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would you pick and what would you do?

Morena Baccarin … I’d love to look like her.

26) If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be?

  1. Best age of my life.

27) What question do you hate to answer?

Trick questions that have been rearranged to sound different but are actually the exact same question as two questions ago.

28) If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza. So many toppings to choose from.

29) Where do you go to get on a computer?

My room.

30) How do you start a conversation?

Hi?

31) What keys on a keyboard do you not use?

Function keys. I don’t know many short cuts.

32) If you had a brainwashing machine, who would you use it on?

Religious zealots who try to introduce laws to control how others live, like banning abortion or euthanasia, or allowing laws that discriminate against the LGBT community. It would be like deprogramming a cult member.

 

33) You are walking home in the dark and you see something move, What/Who is it (guess)? What do you do?

I keep walking, but stay alert.

34) What is the strangest name someone has introduced themselves as to you? What is their real name?

No lie, when I was a pathology collector, this one guy had changed his name by deed poll to Jimi Hendrix. So I actually met Jimi Hendrix. LOL. That was his real name.

35) Where were you 3 hours ago? Do you think someone was stalking you?

At home, and what the hell?

I’m stealing this one, SindrElf!

36) Have you ever eaten a crayon or glue? What strange thing have you eaten?

No, I don’t tend to eat things if they’re not considered fit for human consumption.

37) What type of music do you listen to? (Genre, artists, songs)

Queen, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Faith No More, Linkin Park, George Michael, classic rock.

38) What cheers you up?

Listening to Sheer Heart Attack by Queen, watching comedies, or my favourite TV shows.

39) What do you constantly think about that, either makes you sad or just anything?

Why would I want to constantly think about things that are sad? I do enough of that when i’m depressed!

40) Is there something you constantly lose at your house or anywhere?

My phone.

41) Do you have a favourite book or read much? Why or why not?

I read constantly. I don’t have a favourite book but I do have favourite authors, like Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Gillian Flynn.

42) What is the longest you have gone without sleep?

Not sure, probably all night and part of the next day.

43) Do you have anyone you go to for advice? In person or online?

Friends, usually.

44) What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break?

My only vice is coffee and I’m not breaking that.

 

45) Is there anything I should know?

No, Stalker Boy!

 

46) What do you order or not order at a restaurant you have been to or never been to?

How can I order something at a restaurant I’ve never been to (ah, shit… Uber Eats)

Chicken and Cashew Burrito if I’m going Mexican. Steak otherwise.

47) What is your favourite word? Least favourite?

Like:  Ethereal, innuendo, anti-disestablishmentarianism.  Dislike: Fresh, refresh, enjoy, meal, relax.

48) Describe something that’s happened to you for which you had no explanation.

Sometimes I’ll think about a person and next thing I know they’ll contact me. Occasionally I’ll be listening to the radio and wish a certain song will come on and it does.

49) What did you do for your latest birthday?

Went out to dinner with family.

50) What holidays do you celebrate? Are you a religious person or not?

Christmas, New Year, Easter. I’m an atheist but I have young relatives so my holidays are all secular.

51) If you had to be named after a city, state, or country (etc), which would you want it to be?

I’ve always liked Nevada for some reason. Not the fact that it’s the desert, or where Las Vegas is. Just the sound of the word.

52) Who is your hero?

Freddie Mercury. I also really like Diablo Cody as a writer. She created United States of Tara and Juno.

 

53) Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?

Urban dictionary because it’s hilarious.

54) Have you ever been stung by a bee?

Yeah when I was a kid. Hurt like a bitch.

  55) Have you ever tipped a cow?

No. Sounds like a hilarious thing to do but I bet it’s not so funny for the cow.

56) What’s the sickest you have ever been?

I had to go to hospital once with gallstones. Thought I was having a heart attack. Also, when I was born my thyroid didn’t work and I almost died. But I don’t remember that, obviously.

57) Are you still learning who you are?

I don’t really think we ever stop learning, do we?

58) Are you afraid of heights? Or what are you afraid of?

No but I do get vertigo when standing on a ladder. I’m most afraid of sharks and rats.

59) Have you ever taken dance lessons? Who would you want to dance With?

Yeah when I was 10. I was terribly uncoordinated.

With someone who loves me?!

60) What is the most memorable class you have ever taken?

My second-year uni scriptwriting class. Best bunch of people. Had each other in stitches.

61) Why?

I think I already answered this in the previous question.

62) What’s your favourite knock-knock joke?

Don’t have one. They’re usually pretty lame.

63) What is your favourite Commercial?

 

 

 

64) If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be?

Richard Armitage just so I could stare at him all day! Ha … kidding. Mostly.

65) What is your favourite breakfast Food?

Don’t eat breakfast.

66) Do you like guacamole? Have you ever been in a food fight?

Yes and No.

67) What is your favourite thing to spend money on?

Books, DVDs, my kids.

68) What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it?

I can bend my fingers right back. Haven’t really thought about it. It’s more of a party trick than anything.

69) Ever been in love with 2 people at the same time? Do you think that’s wrong?

No, and no. As long as you’re not in a relationship with one of them, and aren’t lying to them, what’s the harm?

70) Ever had any relatives in jail?

My uncle.

71) Glass half full or half empty? Or is the glass just malformed?

Half empty. I’m a pessimist at heart.

 

72) Mountains or the beach? View, or the TV?

Mountains. TV.

73) Airplane, train, or car? Boat, subway, or teleportation device?

Airplane for long distances, otherwise I like driving so I’d have to say car.  As far as teleportation devices go, I’ve seen Spaceballs, and no, I don’t trust Snotty to beam me up!

 

74) If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do?

What do you mean, retire? Retire from what?!

 

 75) Ever sold/donated your blood? If you haven’t do you want to?

Yes, but can’t these days, on too much medication.

76) Crowds, small groups, or “Go away, I’m a loner”?

Depends on my mood but not a fan of crowds.

77) Describe the most terrifying moment of your life so far. Have you recovered from it?

There are two, actually. Losing my son in a department store when he was two. He just got out of the pram and wandered away, looking for the giant Shrek cardboard cut-out. Because that’s where he was found. Worshipping at the ogre’s feet.

The other time was when my daughter took off with a friend and I didn’t know where she was for several hours.  She was fifteen or sixteen.

78) What famous person do people tell you that you most resemble?

I don’t really look like anyone famous. I look like my maternal grandmother.

79) What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I don’t eat things I can’t identify.

80) If you could bring any person back to life, who would it be?

Freddie Mercury. Or my uncle, who was murdered. I’d say my cousin who committed suicide as well but since she didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t do it to her.

81) Do you believe honesty is the best policy?

Not always. Not if it involves hurting someone’s feelings.

 

 82) What dead person would you least want to be haunted by?

Elisabeth Stride, Jack the Ripper’s third victim. Her morgue photo gave me nightmares for years.

Elizabeth_stride_100

83) Who would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Klaus from The Umbrella Academy. He’s gorgeous and funny. He’d be great company.

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84) Who is the last person you would like to be?

The last person? Or the person I’d least like to be? In that case, Kanye West. He’s a talentless, egocentric douche. And he’s married to a Kardashian.

85) What do you think Victoria’s Secret is?

She wears Spanx.

86) Which cartoon character do you resemble the most?

Probably Sadness from Inside Out when I’m wearing my glasses. Or Marcy from Peanuts.

marcie        Sadness from Inside Out
87) Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes? Or a week without changing your clothes but be able to bathe.

The first option. I’ve actually done it. During a school camp. I washed my face though – does that count?  I didn’t want to use the communal showers.

88) Which of the four seasons do you most love? Or hate?

I love autumn because of the colour the leaves turn, and the mild weather. I hate summer with a passion. Hot weather makes me bad tempered.

89) If you could choose your method of dying and where, what would they be?

Something fast and preferably not too painful. I don’t want to linger on forever. So probably dying on an operating table or in a high-speed car accident.

90) If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which would you choose?  The Umbrella Academy or Gotham.

 

91) List someone you know, and describe them in 5 words.

Can’t choose out of my kids, so our dog, Booker. He’s a big, hairy, friendly, loving spud.

FB_IMG_1533298512583

 

92) You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question, who would you select and what is the question?

Hitler’s father. And the question would be: why, oh why didn’t you pull out?

93) If you join the circus, what would you perform?

Not very athletic but got a decent sense of humour and very clumsy so probably a clown.

 

94) Is there anything purple within 10 feet of you? What is it?

My purple bedspread. My purple dragonfly tattoo.
95) When was the last time you bought something? What was it?

I bought Bohemian Rhapsody on DVD.

96) Are you wearing socks right now?

No.

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97) Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?

No.

98) When was the last time you ran/went for a jog?

Shut up.

Stealing this answer, too.

99) Your dream vacation? Worst vacation? Best vacation?

Dream vacation:  London with trips to Liverpool, do the Jack the Ripper tour and Venice for the gondolas.

Worst vacation: Queensland in 1990 with family. My old man was being a right prick. Ruined the holiday for everyone.

Best vacation: A weekend up north with the ex (when we were still together, obviously). Visited family and went shopping at a market. Doesn’t sound like much I know, but I was with people I loved.

 100) Worst injury you have had?

I broke my nose a few times when I was in primary school, through being clumsy and having bad eyesight, and not picking up my feet when I walk. One time I thought I’d have to go to hospital because it wouldn’t stop bleeding.

Damn, out of questions!

 

The Umbrella Academy

Just finished watching the final episode of the first season of The Umbrella Academy and I have to say – I’m hooked!  Okay, so I might be biased, considering it was created by Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, one of my favourite bands for years, but I actually think the TV show has far surpassed the comic (Sorry, G-man). Or, what I’ve read of it, anyway. I’ve just started re-reading it after years of it sitting on the shelf. I didn’t get all the way through the first time, because I was busy raising kids and having a life and all that.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like the comic – I did.  I’m ashamed to say, I rarely finished a book at that time in my life (and that’s saying something because I’m a voracious reader) and if I did, it took weeks, not mere days, which was my usual feat.  Also, I’m not a huge comic fan. My ex, the father of my kids, is, and he got me into reading stuff like Sandman and Doom Patrol. Speaking of which, the Umbrella Academy reminds me quite a bit of Doom Patrol.   But UA definitely has Gerard Way’s stamp all over it.   And now the TV show bears his mark as well.  You see it in the inventive ways they come up with showing the title in the opening credits. You hear it in the music.  This is his baby, and he’s been growing it for quite some time. Since the early 2000’s, in fact.  Back when MCR recorded their second album (Three cheers for Sweet Revenge) and went on tour, Gerard was playing around with ideas for characters for a superhero comic. He’d never done one before – his bread and butter was horror, mainly.  A talented graphic artist in his own right, he nevertheless handed over the artistic reins to Gabriel Ba, preferring to write the story behind the pictures instead.

Gerard and his baby

Ah, the story.  On the face of it, it’s not so different from all the other superhero stories – there’s an apocalypse, and they’ve got to stop it. If they can stop fighting each other long enough to save the world. It’s a familiar theme. It’s reminiscent of the first Avengers movie, and also X-men. The thing that sets the Umbrella Academy apart is that these superheros are family. Well, adopted, but they were raised together by a distant, cruel, egotistical scientist and billionaire entrepreneur who didn’t actually like children and probably shouldn’t have been allowed within a hundred meters of any minor, full stop. But because these kids were all born on the same day to mothers who weren’t even pregnant at the beginning of the day, he found it relatively (and disturbingly) easy to wave some money in their faces to entice them to give their surprise offspring to him.  Still, he only managed to get his hands on seven out of 43 of the children born by immaculate conception.

Fast forward some 30 years and the six surviving members (Number Six, Ben, died under mysterious circumstances none of his siblings will talk about) are reunited for the funeral of their father, a man for which all carry mixed feelings of anger, resentment and fear.  It’s hard to find a tear in the eye for old Dad, because he was, for the most part, an irredeemable arsehole.  Know the feeling.

The Umbrella Academy consists of a cast of mostly new faces, but fans of UK series Misfits will recognise Robert Sheehan as Klaus, or Number Four, and anyone who’s seen X-Men, Juno or played The Last of Us on PC or Playstation 3/4 will know of Ellen Page, who plays Vanya (Number Seven). Mary J. Blige, the R&B singer, plays assassin Cha Cha, and Kate Walsh of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice is The Handler.  Of the newbies, Aidan Gallagher is Number Five (he doesn’t seem to have an actual name), Tom Hopper is Spaceboy, or Number One, David Casteneda, the Latin answer to Tom Hardy is Diego (Number Two), Emmy Raver-Lampman is Allison (Number Three) and Justin H. Min plays the ghost of the deceased Ben (who is only visible to Klaus, as his power exists in conjuring up and communicating with dead people).  A power he has tried to stifle for years under a cloud of booze and drugs – something many people with mental illness do to drown out auditory hallucinations.  Whether you have a particular favourite or not, you can’t help feeling sorry for each of the characters when you see what their supposed benefactor and guardian, Reginald Hargreeves, put them through as kids.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give too much away.  But I do want to talk about one thing that’s been bothering me.  And if anyone knows the answer to this could they please leave it in the comments because it’s bugging the shit out of me. Why do they call Diego The Kraken when it’s obviously Ben who had the tentacle thing going for him?!  It’s more evident in the comics than the show, when Luther calls Diego The Kraken. I don’t get it. Maybe the show-runners switched their powers?!

Anyway, other than that little quirk, the show is fantastic. I really recommend it. It’s already got quite the fan base, although grown women lusting after Number Five is a bit weird, since his character is only supposed to be thirteen, and the actor who plays him fifteen.  My personal favourite is Klaus. Love the hair (glad he’s tamed it since Misfits, it was a bit of a ‘fro back then), the fashion, the sense of humour, and of course, the guy-liner. But then Robert Sheehan always did have the biggest, prettiest eyes since, well, Gerard Way!

Klaus with umbrella

BTW, thanks for the pic, Bridget Sanders!

Some more pics …

The Umbrella Academy

village idiot

Me too!!

Okay, I’ll admit to something here. When the “Me too” movement began in Hollywood in recent years, culminating in the deserved vilification, conviction and downfall of one of the greats in Bill Cosby, I was not convinced that it was a great day for society as a whole.   Sure, I was glad that a serial pervert and predator was unmasked and finally got what was coming to him, but like many I was well aware of how easy it would be to accuse a celebrity of wrongdoing in order to achieve fifteen minutes of fame for oneself. Especially if there are a few years – or even decades – between the alleged incident and the accusation.  Witnesses – if there are any – move away, die, or their memories become fuzzy.  People inevitably ask, why didn’t this person come forward sooner?

Well, as it has become evident in a more recent case against world renown scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, there’s a simple explanation for that. The woman involved, who claimed DeGrasse Tyson drugged and raped her, said that she’d told people what happened but that they insinuated she wouldn’t be believed if she went to the police with it because he was ‘such a nice guy’.  Also, why would he do something like that? He was married. Well, so was Bill Cosby. And Dustin Hoffman.  Their celebrity status, reputation as gentlemen and all-round nice guys precedes them. That’s not to say that I don’t believe there are genuine fame-hunters out there looking to increase their bank balance and visibility by accusing someone famous of something vile. Of course there are. It’s human nature, after all.  It’s just that, when you think about it, what do these women (and, occasionally, in the case of Kevin Spacey vs Anthony Rapp, men) – really have to gain from this?  Unless they’re paid by a magazine or TV show for their story, not much. Their own reputation, private life and motives are fodder for the court of public opinion. They’re torn apart, basically; called whores and liars on social media, and whenever their name is typed into Google in the future, this is what will crop up. Forever. So there’s not really much benefit to going to public with this kind of accusation.  Unless it’s true, and you genuinely fear for the safety of women (or men) in contact with the celebrity in question. Sometimes it’s not a matter of wanting to drag the famous person through the courts or destroy their career. It’s simply a way of warning people to be wary of certain celebrities, and to ensure that they’re never in a position to be victimised.  The trouble is, with the public warning comes the inevitable questions: Who is she? Why is she saying this about such a great, revered man? What does she get out of it? Well, I’ll answer that. Peace of mind. Vindication, I guess, if others come forward to validate their story. Harvey Weinstein is a case in point. One of the most powerful men in Hollywood has been castrated – figuratively at least – by the sheer number of women he groped, propositioned or outright raped over the years.  The women who came forward have to be feeling some kind of relief that their experiences have not been ignored, pushed aside or worse, not believed, and that he has been made to suffer for his actions.

On the flip side, there are celebrities who openly deny such allegations – which is their right – and even take the matter to trial, as Geoffrey Rush has done in the face of accusations that he inappropriately touched and sexually harassed a colleague during a theatre production.  Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick was accused of assaulting a woman at his house, a accusation which was echoed by three other women as per the #Me Too movement, but their stories have been found to have absolutely no merit and charges have been dropped.  Guilty or innocent, a man’s career and reputation are at stake and you can’t blame them for defending themselves.  Guilty or innocent, their name is forever linked in people’s minds to these stories and rightly or wrongly, it colours perceptions about these famous men for a long time after the fuss has died down.  I hope readers realise that I don’t condone what any of these men have done (if it fact they are guilty). I’m just trying to present a balanced view of the issue and explain why my personal opinion of the #Me Too movement has changed.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those women who heard about Dustin Hoffman being accused of wrongdoing and thought his accusers are just trying to get their names in the papers.  After all, doesn’t the very name of the movement say it all? I could just hear the cries of indignant women, like seagulls, cawing, “Me too! Oh, me too! He brushed my breast in ’88 while taking our bows on stage! With his armpit!  I’m forever traumatised!” While some accusations are obviously OTT and you’d think, wow, why hasn’t that person gotten over that after forty-plus years, some are legitimate attempts to inform the public, and especially those in constant contact with the accused, about what these famous men are really like, behind closed doors.  Whatever I may think of the way they’ve chosen to represent themselves (I think the movement could be helped by a name change, for example), I applaud their courage and tenacity in the face of such public criticism and at times, outright opposition.  Because I was once one of those people who thought, around the time of the Kevin Spacey allegations: “Oh, for fuck’s sake, what’s next? Or rather, who’s next?  Keanu Reeves? Johnny Depp? (although his reputation hasn’t been helped by his acrimonious split from Amber Heard).  “Or worst of all … my childhood hero, Michael J. Fox?!”  Thankfully, this has not happened to any one of them – yet – and for that I’m eternally grateful. My judgement is intact.

It is – or rather, would be – truly mind-blowing and earth-shattering to hear that someone you idolised for years is nothing but a filthy pervert unable to keep his hands (or other parts) to himself.  Oh yeah, I know, there are those of you thinking, “Hell, if (insert name here) propositioned me I’d have a hard time beating him off” (pardon the pun).  Yeah, we get it.  But speaking personally, I’m of an age now where such talk is boring and infantile, and frankly, dismissive of the victims’ pain.  Because like it or not there are victims in this. And it would be a mistake to forget that.

Just an addendum to my previous post…

Hi guys, just updating my review on Bohemian Rhapsody. Someone on Facebook asked me why I only gave the film four stars when I clearly raved about it. Well, yes it was a great movie and I tend to judge that by how many times I look at my watch – the answer for this one was none – but there was one factor I would have changed if I could. I’ve been reading “Freddie Mercury – an intimate memoir by the man who knew him best” by his faithful PA, Peter “Phoebe” Freestone, and it occurred to me that even though Freestone had worked for Queen as a wardrobe supervisor on tour in America from 1979 and then as Freddie’s assistant – even his nurse – up until he died, he wasn’t even included in the movie. For someone who played such a large and important part of Freddie’s life, how he wasn’t even featured is a mystery to me, especially when Paul Prenter was; and he betrayed and was sacked by the singer for leading him down the garden path.  “Phoebe” as Freddie knew him, was a close friend and employee so I just wonder why May and Taylor, as executive producers of the movie, felt the need to leave him out. Just a thought.

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

As a long-time Queen and Freddie fan who took a day off high school in 1991 when I heard Freddie had died, I was excited to hear that there was a biopic in the works some five or six  years ago, with Sacha Baron Cohen attached to play the band’s legendary front man.  Fast forward to 2018 and the movie is finally here – and it’s everything I expected and more.  Sure there have been a few changes in the intervening years – Cohen was dropped (or left, not entirely sure what the situation was there apart from some disagreement about content) and Mr Robot’s Rami Malek was brought in.

Of course, with any Queen-related project the critics were going to be out in force. They’ve always had a hate on for the band, since the very beginning, and there have been a few less-than-complimentary reviews of the film so far, from complaints about time line issues to the fact that Rami isn’t a dead ringer for Freddie. Well, who is, I ask? How many Zanzibar natives do you know, personally, with his pronounced buck teeth, not to mention those cheekbones and hypnotic brown eyes?!  Rami nailed the accent and mannerisms, to the point where Brian May and Roger Taylor admitted to feeling a bit emotional watching his performance.  He also recreated Freddie’s onstage flamboyance perfectly.

As far as the timeline inaccuracies are concerned, it was a minor blight on an otherwise brilliant, enjoyable movie.  Most, if not all Queen fans know that We Will Rock You was written in 1977 not 1980 and that he wasn’t officially diagnosed with HIV until 1987, not shortly before Live Aid in 1985. Sure, he may have had symptoms before then and probably did, but it’s been well-documented that he informed the band of his diagnoses sometime after 1987.  I can however see why the changes were made.  If the film had run chronologically, with all timeline issues corrected, it would have been five hours long. Even for the most passionate and devoted Queen fan, that’s a big ask.

Another complaint is that only the most popular and well-known songs were used for the soundtrack. Well, that’s because they’re the most recognised songs by Queen and will appeal to even the most casual fan.  It’s not entirely true, either, by the way. Love of My Life was featured despite not being an instantly recognised song with constant radio-play.  Now I’m Here, Keep Yourself Alive and Seven Seas of Rhye are among other songs featured that aren’t considered Queen “classics” to the casual observer (although to devoted fans, just my saying that may well be akin to blasphemy).

Complaints aside, the film was well put together and told the story from a perspective that, while being about Freddie, was not Freddie-centric.  It was about the band as much as its enigmatic lead singer.  Gwilym Lee is a dead ringer for lead guitarist Brian May, and Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Taylor was a perfect foil for the more serious Lee. They bounced off each other with perfect comic timing. Quiet achiever John Deacon, on bass, was played by Joe Mazzello, who at times looked so much like “Deaky” that I’d do a double-take.  Simply put, the casting in this film was exceptional. And I just have to give a shout-out to Mike Myers as EMI boss Ray Foster, for that little quip “No teenager’s going to put this (Bohemian Rhapsody) on in their car and head-bang”. I seriously don’t know how he delivered that line with a straight face, considering his Saturday Night Live character Wayne Campbell did just that in the first five – sorry, six – minutes of Wayne’s World!  And the look on his face toward the end, while watching Queen’s legendary performance on Live Aid, was priceless.  Although the character was a fictional mock-up of various record executives and never actually existed, he was based partially on EMI boss Roy Featherstone, who DID like Queen’s music but, as was shown in the film, had his reservations about the length of the song.

Other villains of the piece were journalist Shelly Stern and Allen Leech as notorious sycophant Paul Prenter, the man who aided and abetted the mid-career downfall of Freddie Mercury (and was at least partially to blame for the partying and debauchery that led to Freddie contracting AIDS).  Michelle Duncan portrayed Stern, a journo who badgered Freddie during a press conference promoting the much maligned Queen album Hot Space, zeroing in on his ill appearance and insisting on asking about his sexuality, while May and Mercury tried to put the focus back on the band.  Stern, whether she was a real person or an amalgam of journalists inflicted on the band, was the embodiment of all the things society at large hates about the press, particularly the press in the UK.  Loud, abrasive, insistent, invasive and imbued with the unshakeable belief that the private life of a celebrity is public property.   In fact, her very insistence that he answer her questions about his sexuality reminds me of the insistence of some Queen fans that the film didn’t go far enough in displaying Freddie’s excesses or their ultimate consequence.   To that I say, who needs to see it? We know it happened. The very fact that he is no longer with us is proof that it happened.  We don’t need a play-by-play, because that would be both perverse and morbid. Also, it’s none of our business. I give the film four stars and recommend it to anyone who likes their rock anthemic … and loud.

Bo Rhap Cast

 

 

All By Myself… and happy about it.

Recently, I friended a guy on Facebook whom almost immediately PM’d me and requested that we meet face-to-face. This is not an isolated incident. I’ve been in this situation multiple times. it’s as though you mention on your profile that you’re single or separated, and people think you’re fair game. What’s up with that, I ask?!  I’ve considered changing my relationship status – in other words, lying – but then I thought, why should I?  I’m forty-five, with two adult children, and I’m single. There, I said it. I’ve been on my own since 2011. I have a civil relationship with the father of my children (we talk, but I wouldn’t call us close friends anymore, which is sad but not something I can do much about), a few close friends, and I consider my kids my best friends in the entire world.  They come first, always.  Anyone I ever consider a potential partner in future is going to have to accept that, among other things.

But – and let me get this out of the way – I’m not looking. Sure, if it happens it happens, but even if it doesn’t, I don’t care.  People assume that because you’ve been alone for a while you must be lonely.  I’m not.  I don’t even really think about sex anymore. That could be just a symptom of being in my mid-forties and therefore approaching The Change, or it could be that I haven’t had it in a while (seven years and counting) and it’s just not a big deal anymore. That’s odd for me to say because if you have known me for as long as my close friends have known me, I’ve always been a bit man-crazy. For as long as I can remember I’ve had crushes. Hell, I was playing Kiss Chasey in primary school with a little English boy I had a thing for because I liked his accent. I’m still an Anglophile: Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit) is one of my long-standing celebrity crushes because he’s everything a man should be, as far as I’m concerned. Tall, well-built but not too buff, with blue eyes and a voice that could melt an ice statue.  I love the British sense of humour,  and Queen are my favourite band of all time.  But these days, I find I’m thinking less about the physical attributes of say, Andrew Lincoln or Tom Hiddleston, and more about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, however long that turns out to be. This is an unusual state of being for me, this lack of interest in all things romantic. But I have to say, I’m relishing it. It’s liberating.  Hell, if this is menopause, bring it on.  But I’m going to call it Men-a-pause because I plan to put men on pause.  I’m thinking ahead in terms of my life and career, and getting educated. I’m already more accomplished than I’ve ever been in any stage of my life, with a degree in writing and literature under my belt as well as being a published author.  I’m going to further my education with a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Services – something I should have done long ago, instead of wasting my time with nursing and pathology – next year, and hopefully get a job as a library technician so I can spend the rest of my days surrounded by books while attempting to write them in my spare time.

So in conclusion, all I have to say is, if you’re a man and you’ve spotted me on Facebook through a friend of a friend and you’re considering PMing me and asking to meet, here’s a tip. Don’t. I will most likely block you and/or unfriend you. If that seems arbitrary and unfair of me, too bad.  If, on the other hand, you believe you and I might have something in common and could be friends, engage me in conversation via a public forum and we’ll see where it goes from there. Don’t assume that because I’m single I’m gagging for it, because I’m most certainly not, and I don’t appreciate the assumption.

Oh, by the way, don’t bother PMing me unless you look like this:

perfection

Kidding.  Just don’t PM me.

 

Rant over.