Category Archives: Entertainment

TV, Film, Music & Books – Opinion & Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (in Haiku verse)

Dancing Baby Groot.
Kill betentacled monster.
Drax claims victory.

My Dads a planet,
and somewhat nefarious.
Where is the big brain?

Sisterly Love/Hate
My spaceship trumps your huge gun.
Blame Thanos, not me.

No, sexual love…
Ahhh… HA ha ha ha!

Lets break out of here.
NO! Don’t push the death button.
Who cares? I AM GROOT.

I need my new fin.
I’m Mary Poppins Y’All!
You were my real Dad.


(Header image via James Gunn on Facebook)

How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

How the Marquis Got His Coat Back
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short novella. Story wise, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Minor spoilers in the review below. You do need to have read Neverwhere before reading this follow on, as it happens concurrent to the events in that book.

The Marquis, during the plot of Neverwhere, is relieved of his precious coat. Croup and Vandemar essentially kill our Marquis, and dispose of his body. Luckily, the Marquis had a back up plan, and he can therefore continue in his quest and get his coat back! And also, eventually return to his responsibilities in the main story of Neverwhere.

A very enjoyable reminder of the world of London Below, the sewer people, the rat people, and all of the other varied inhabitants of that other world.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well those two were both thoroughly unlikeable characters! When Amy Dunne goes missing, her husband Nick is at first regarded as a confused, traumatised spouse who is stunned by her disappearance. Later he is accused of first her disappearance, and then her murder. From Amy’s diaries, she appears to have been fearful of her husband in the prior 12 months leading up to her going missing. Both Nick and Amy are journalists/authors themselves, and as it turns out, parts of their life and recollections are complete fiction. You don’t know who’s telling the truth, or who’s making it up to make it sound good (or indeed bad).

This book is written in diary form, from the alternating perspectives of Amy and Nick. It’s not my most favourite form of novel, I prefer those written in prose… Gillian Flynn is excellent at creating characters which evoke a connection and emotional response from the reader, even if that emotion is disgust and dislike! Not all fictional characters should be loveable, of course. With enough twists and turns to keep you interested (unless you’ve already seen the movie!) the story warps from chapter to chapter. As more information is revealed and you begin to understand the motives and personalities of the two main characters, you begin to think.. “what a bunch of arseholes”!

Thank goodness I don’t know anyone in real life like these two. As far as I know…!

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As relevant now as it was when it was first published, perhaps more so, given the current state of the media. Some slight SPOILERS are contained in my review, below.

When reading is outlawed and the only form of entertainment appears to be some sort of augmented-reality/reality-TV show (which seems like the most dire thing ever conceived!); Guy Montag is a firemen, whose job description is no longer to put out fires, but start them to get rid of the contraband books.

Guy is married to a woman he barely talks to (who spends her life in/watching her “show”), he works with a group of men he barely knows, because both written and verbal communication has become universally stifled; at least about anything worthwhile. Inane banter still occurs. When Guy bumps into Clarisse McClellan on his way home from work, who was out for a walk (also something not done any more), she begins to open his mind to new ideas and to actually pay attention to the world around him. Later, after losing Clarisse, he begins to question what is really so bad about the books he’s burning. Once he starts to turn the page of the books, he turns a page in his life. But then becomes a wanted man. Finally, he seeks refuge with a group of people he stumbles across who are themselves attempting to preserve the literature in the only way left to them… their memories.

The points of view of many of the characters within this novel seem quite harsh and right-wing (of course, that’s the point), but it’s scary to think how close we are to large groups of people being told how “bad” something is, seeing an article of “fake news” online, believing it all to be true at face-value and being completely unable to grasp any other side of the argument. This is how propaganda, government-backed-lies, and fascism starts; by telling you something that you “sort of thought might be true, but wasn’t sure” and then becoming convinced that you’ve been right all along, that “those people you were afraid of” for no reason are really very scary..

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Red Dragon 3: The Shattered Teacup Comes Together

Fannibals.  We are literally the fragments of a shattered teacup.  Once a year, that teacup comes together and reality as we know it stops as we form into a whole being once again.

The first year was “Red Dragon“, the second was “Behold the Red Dragon“, and this third convention was “Red Dragon 3” – on all  social media it’s #HannibalCon.  For other random pics from the con, see my Instagram feed (and search all sites using the #tag).

The guests this year were phenomenal (they are always great, of course!), we were graced with the presence of Will Graham himself, Hugh Dancy; Writer, Creator, (and Our Lord and Master!) Bryan Fuller; Demore Barnes (Tobias Budge); the amazing comedy duo that is Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller) and Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price); and the very sweet Ellen Muth (Georgia Madchen).

Our new home for these events is the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Heathrow, their conference rooms become the guest halls for Q&A sessions, parties, and the autograph and photograph sessions with the guests.  It’s a weekend of standing in lines and swapping homemade gifts with other fans (something no other fandom does.. we Fannibals are a unique and creative bunch!).  I took a batch of my Visitor Badges from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and I loved giving them away to random people.. gives me an excuse to start a conversation anyway!

Although it says not to give the guests gifts during the signings, they still end up with a pile of stuff next to them!  So I couldn’t resist offering Bryan one of my IDs.. and he grabbed it with such glee, and put it on his collar… and it was still on his person when he came on stage (finally… he’s a slow signer!).  It made me so happy to be appreciated for my silly bits of art.

My loot, photo ops and Flower Crown selfies from the con:

I took my useful big Canon camera with me, plus a decent zoom lens, so that I  could get some good photos of the stars during the Q&As.  I also have to use a monopod, as I have a bad hand tremor.. so I hope it didn’t get in anybody’s view too much.  But the zoom and the steadying is required to get any half-decent photos from a viewpoint behind the Gold ticket holders and the Stewards!  My photos can be found on Flickr here:

Red Dragon 3 Album on Flickr

Some of the best photos:

Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Bryan Fuller at the Opening Ceremony
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Demore Barnes
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
A recreation of the human cello!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Hugh Dancy by himself, before Bryan finished signing
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Smiley Hugh Dancy
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Hugh & Bryan mid-conversation, but LOOK, Bryan is wearing the BSHCI Visitor badge made by ME! *squee*!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Demore and Ellen
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Demore asking the Fannibals what this show and the Fandom means to them. So many feels!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
I love this pose! Scott & Aaron pay attention when you say something dirty…
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
…and then they have to investigate!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Aaron is all of us, when these guys are talking!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Hugh Dancy & Bryan Fuller. Look at those cuties!
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
I don’t remember what Hugh said, but Bryan is clearly amused..
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
Hugh taking the Q&A very seriously, for a moment…
Red Dragon 2017. Q&A Sessions.
…and then it all goes to pot!

Towards the end of Demore’s second Q&A session, he asked the Fannibals why we are all so fervent in our devotion to this particular show.  He went around the room and a few people spoke up about what Hannibal means to them.  The general consensus was (with my own opinion added here) that Hannibal is basically a show about two loner characters, they’re the odd ones out, they don’t fit into “regular” society, one is a criminal (but that’s incidental) he’s on his own and although has particular “tastes”(!) he is basically looking for a human connection.  The other character has social anxiety and is slightly on the autism/aspergers’ spectrum.  Both are incredibly smart, and yet have difficulty integrating.  But they find each other, and they understand each other, and they accept each other (for all their many faults!).  Ultimately, it’s a story about survival and friendship, against all the odds.  THAT is something that resonates with a lot of us.  I can definitely say for myself, that I have trouble sometimes making those connections with people.  Yet this show has given me hope that there are others out there who can understand where I’m coming from.  And now, that’s what I live for.  Our Fannibal Family!  Fannibals are totally inclusive.  I have found us to be a safe and supportive group comprising every type of person.  Together, we make sense.  And as an additional bonus, I’ve re-connected with an old school friend, who I hadn’t seen for years, and now we’re really close again.  How lovely is that?!

Some of the beautiful artwork from the Hannibal Musical Programme.

One of the absolute highlights of the weekend, was the performance by a group of Fannibals of “Hannibal a Fannibal Musical”.  A parody/homage of all three seasons of Hannibal.  It was an absolute triumph of a show, brilliantly funny, and very cleverly put together.  AND performed by a group of people who had only fully met that day!  Well done indeed.  AND all of the celebrity guests came in to watch it too, and they showed their appreciation with huge laughs, applause, and running up to them after the show to congratulate them all.  Bravo!  Find out more about the musical by following them on twitter @FannibalMusical.

Until fate and circumstance bring us back to this moment, and the teacup shatters once more…

Red Dragon 4 will take place on 23rd to 25th February 2018 at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow.  Grab a ticket while you can from Starfury Conventions.