I paid quite a bit for these hand-cut beads but they were worth every penny, especially once cleaned and restrung. They were pearl-knotted on a nasty decaying old thread that really killed their refraction and once I'd partitioned them with tiny silver seed beads they went full disco.
Susan sighed into her helmet and grasped the throttle one more time, shoving back her visor when the scooter refused all encouragement, remaining cold and idle beneath her. Dismounting, she whispered an obscenity at its decrepit mechanics and turned to look over the aging convertible standing alongside Edward’s sedan. Its driver door was a different shade of candy red to that worn by the remainder of the vehicle; movement in the other car led her to the sight of William doubled over on the passenger side. He waved to her and she came toward him, cupping her hands against the window.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
He blinked as if he could not hear her and pushed the glove compartment closed. She waited for him with eyes that followed the objects in his hands into his pockets as he rose, revealing hair partitioned into ornately-figured cornrows, a closely-tailored shirt of jungle green, silky black tie and matching drainpipes. He towered over the Jaguar as he walked around to the driver’s side, taking her critical gaze with him.
“You look... very pretty.” she smiled, nodding down at the car. “This yours?”
“Erm, yeah. Why not?” He grinned at her hesitancy. “Yes it's mine. Stop falling for my bullshit, Christabel, it only encourages me. Going somewhere?”
“Into town... well, I was going into town..."
Susan looked back at the scooter.
"It died a natural death." she sighed. He reached across to push the passenger door toward her, nodding his sunglasses onto his nose. She sat down slowly, the soft oatmeal leather cool against the back of her bare legs. He smelt like the singing green of his shirt. “Doesn’t Barbie drive one of these?”
“Yeah, but she had to chug a lot of cock to get behind the wheel... only cost me an eight ball and a hand job so who’s the fucking fairy princess now?” he asserted proudly over an ignition he initiated with wires hanging from the steering column.
They flew backward, screeching out onto the drive and swinging perilously along its length; when she saw that he was steering largely from memory she ducked and covered her head with her hands, berating him while he ripped back the hand brake. Their velocity suffered a violent check that dragged the long nose of the Jaguar past the gate post and the car shuddered to a halt on the road, Susan letting go of the dashboard to stuff her seat belt into its housing. With his foot still planted, he fished his phone from his pocket and frowned down at the screen while changing gear, setting them off along the tarmac as though flung from the arm of a trebuchet. Their impetus in both directions had dislodged a jumbled little world of debris from beneath the seat that banked around her mary janes, zip lock bags of pills stamped with stars and skulls, clinking nip bottles, dead electronic ephemera like wave-cast shells, a telescopic truncheon and one half of a silver bikini. She kicked it aside to make room for her feet and settled back in her seat with her hand on the belt across her chest.
The road took them down from the hills into a more currently affluent suburb, the houses becoming taller, pastel-hued and more violently palatial behind their stucco facades, dynastic driveways and gaping vehicular porticos. Susan allowed herself the view from the windscreen only as it became apparent he was a better driver than her worst fears.
“I didn’t think these things were very fast.” she observed.
“What Luc will do in the way of illegal mods for a lick of hash has to be seen to be believed.” he replied.
“It's a really big fine here if they catch you speeding."
“There's a teeny bit of heat on the plates, but I don't have a license and they don’t light you up here for minor shit, so ça roule..." She glanced at him again as they sailed over a dip in the road; the glove compartment fell open, disgorging a box of flavoured condoms and a CD of Cantonese opera onto her lap. “I don’t know how those got in there.” he laughed as he reached across and tossed the prophylactics onto the back seat. William exploited the opacity of his shades to look at her while she busied herself inserting the disc into the console, the dramatic opening strains of the first act bursting forth on either side of them. She wore a string of silvery glass beads and a blue sun dress that brushed her knees, sunlight glowing through its fibres and printing the pattern on her skin with shadow. The Jaguar lurched to a halt at an intersection and he apologized on behalf of its brakes, turning down the aria and glancing back at her frank expression of inquiry, which he obliged, lowering his head toward her. She smiled and pressed a fingertip to one of the scarlet braids over his ear then succumbed to the temptation to stroke the curiously satisfying texture, allowed to sate her curiosity in silence. His collar proved a luminous companion to his skin, distracting her briefly until something else inspired a single note of inarticulate astonishment.
William's right hand lay on the wheel, clearly delineated against the darkness of the dashboard paneling. She caught it as though it were some wary animal and held it in earnest, wordless wonder, forced to count his fingers twice to confirm that there were five instead of four beside his thumb. The replication of conventional polydactyly had found resolution in harmonious gradation, its difference to her own hand seeming entirely of scale. She spoke of it softly to herself, her enthrallment relieving his suspicion that he had appalled her; Susan's gaze fell slowly to his boots.
“Does it... do you... toes as well?”
“Six fingers and five toes would be weird.”
“Does no one notice?”
He shook his head.
“Not for a long time. Are you sure you don't want to hurdle the door? I'd understand..."
“It’s amazing!" Susan laughed. "It's... it's beautiful." The word surprised, then moved them both, and she refused to qualify its immoderation, dividing his fingers gently into varying cohorts. "How do you buy gloves?”
“I don’t.” he admitted. Still astonished, she replaced his hand on the wheel at the behest of probity, but he could not refuse her wistful stare and returned it to her, watching her appraise its elegant architecture while the lights changed and the cars around them began to pull away. Susan enjoyed it to the exclusion of all else, and with his hand still clasped in hers she stared out through the glass, both baffled and enlightened.
“Do you really play polo? I can not imagine it.”
“Yeah... the Kurdistani dead goat version. Do you ride?”
“I could teach you.”
“You've got horses?”
“No... but I could get some.” Her laugh began to exceed the bounds of polite convention, the bright, hiccuping sound accompanying the glitter of the stud in her nose as she released his hand. “Blah blah blah me me me. What about you? Any fam? Brothers, sisters?”
“Only child. My parents died, car accident... so it's just me.”
“You’re alright.” Susan told him. “I didn’t think you would be, for some reason. You're nicer than I expected.”
The sun was a flaming disc on the smooth black surface of his glasses as he rolled the wheel and took the corner.
“Are we shopping?”
“I need some sort of evening dress thing. Your brother’s taking me out to dinner for some reason, but god, I don’t want to go and I’ve nothing to wear. He said something about reviewing my situation... that’s not good, is it?”
“He must be thinking about signing you on or you’d just wake up face down in the middle of the road one morning.”
“I don’t know what to say to him... he’s... such a...”
“Prick? Like the black rays of an alien sun? A brass-necked, bone dry, joy-crushing bastard? As much fun as a dead dolphin?” he suggested. “You'll be fine... just don't mention anything political, religious... cultural... or scientific... except the laws of furry dynamics or whatever the fuck it is... he's happy to pound on about that shit all day.” He smiled reassuringly as she frowned. “Ed is a fascist shaitan, there's no tap dancing around it, but it’s like... you know... not getting between a crocodile and the water. Watch his left hand under the table, though, I’ve been told about that. Anyhoo, what’s the frock budget?"
"There isn't one.” she chuckled.
“How about an advance?” William held up one of the credit cards he had liberated from his brother's vehicle, flipping it deftly between his fingers. “Ooh, and it’s the black one.” he laughed archly, sucking his breath between his teeth at the thought of its potential. "Let's make the fascist shaitan bust a fucking blood vessel." Susan eyed the plastic and chewed on the edge of her thumb as she considered the gesture’s malformed chivalry.
“William, I can’t. It’s very nice of you but... I don't...”
“It’s very passive aggressive of you to tell me I’m nice without letting me be nice to you. Why not just slap me and call me a six fingered freak?”
She looked back at him for some time in a laconic manner that began to discomfort him slightly.
"You get away with quite a bit, don't you?" Keeping his eye on the road he reached back over the seat and retrieved the box of condoms, placing them in her lap and patting her thigh with a crooked grin that developed into laughter. In retaliation, she took the bikini top from the floor and used it to tie the box of prophylactics so that they dangled from the mirror, swinging and striking the side of his head as they cornered.
Leaving the car in an alley, they walked together through downtown blocks to the edge of the prestige retail district, their destination a pair of looming glass doors studded with silver bosses. They guarded a boutique walled with a black finish like that of new French jet, its slick polish supporting a strange array of structures and merchandise united by a sinister visual affinity, their shapes and textures interlocking like questions and answers. Perspex specimen shelves, traction frames and complex, knotted traceries of surgical wire and large-gauge fishing hooks held small collections of ready to wear garments interspersed with handcrafted fetish wear, displayed like trophies cut from the gleaming bodies of mythical beasts. Susan walked past William into the midst of the room where an arrangement of sombre training corsetry graded into those fashioned from doe and ostrich leather worked with traceries of precious metals. Turning slowly, she found a row of featureless black mannequins entwined in luminous shibari ropes, their curious, extrapolating intricacies like the webs of drugged arachnids.
Behind a monolithic granite counter Lilian stood flipping through a magazine until she spied William through the displays and beckoned impatiently. She wore a charcoal-grey kimono dress, an electroplated bird foot pinned to its left breast, and pulled him with her into the darkly-curtained alcove behind the counter.
“Your hair boy said you were in hiding. Turn your fucking phone back on or do something about that crazy Rachelle bitch.” she told him while he watched her prepare an intravenous narcotic on the black shelving. “I don't know the guy who gave me this so you’re going first.” she added over her shoulder. He dumped boxes full of shoes from one of the plastic chairs behind them and slumped down in an attitude of languorous consent, folding his hands behind his head while Lilian stood between his knees. “Got a preference?”
“You know me." he sighed. "I’ll let you put it anywhere.”
She rolled back his sleeve, tying off a length of braid around his bicep before attempting to raise a vein.
“Who’s the beard?”
“Susan.” he sighed again. “We’re getting married.”
“You dirty slore.” She worked in vain to find his vessels. “For fuck's sake... were your parents even human? You got a total fucking fish arm.”
William plucked the syringe from her fingers, stabbed it into the crook of his elbow and sat back as the drug rode through him to modest effect.
“It’s like a pixie farted in my ear." She frowned and packed away her gear. "What do you think?” he added quietly, rolling down his sleeve as he followed her out into the boutique and nodded toward Susan. “Do I have a chance?”
Lilian examined the object of his interest in some detail.
“It’s hard to know. She can’t think straight in here... the shit’s talking to her.” She glanced at Susan again, leant against the counter and went back to her magazine while the latter perused the dresses at some distance from them. Slowly, almost stealthily, William slid along beside the granite and lowered his chin to Lilian's shoulder, his hand finding her rump and following it downward. She allowed the discreet imposition for a short while, caught between objection and her taste for novelty.
“Frost...” he whispered, parting the fair hair over her ear with his finger; a strange warmth slid down her neck like syrup. “Did I ever tell you about the girl who took me home and closed her eyes and got everything she wanted?” It was the very opiated sweetness of his voice that engaged her suspicion.
“You are fucking kidding me.” she hissed. “Now you want to go? We shower together... you've been sleeping in my fucking bed for five years and you only prod me in your sleep...”
“I'm a territorial mofo.” he promised. She laughed at the assertion. “Frost...” He privately formulated and abandoned several approaches. “Please don’t hook up with my brother.”
“I hook up with everyone’s brother.” she quipped, going back to her magazine. “I’m your worst fucking nightmare.” William leant over on his elbows and stared out through the glass facade while she continued to feign disregard, though the intensity of his misgivings distracted her from the pages.
“What can I say to stop you?”
“Something about his account being overdrawn.”
“You would comp him in a heartbeat and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s already a thing... you’re thinking about it right now...”
“Because you’re fucking my ears with it.” she exclaimed. “It’s not a thing, okay?” They glared at each other warily, Lilian still flipping pages. “Yet. And go frot something else.” She looked at Susan pointedly. “Something that won’t mace your ass and call the cops.” Her phone flashed on the granite beside her, the blue glow prompting him to reach toward it and examine the messages idly.
“At twelve fourteen today, Orb the capslock bandit said... pick it up bitch... then something about... I don’t know what that word is... BTW, he’s going to put you in the river when he find you, bitch. What the hell were you thinking? Albinos are the devil’s work."
"Brian's a wigger, not a fucking albino."
"Oh, and what do we have here?" William inquired. "At eleven ten, eleven twelve, eleven sixteen, eleven twenty and eleven twenty two, Edward Lamb said...” The text of their exchanges fashioned his features into a vindicated grimace that he turned toward her once more, pushing the phone along the counter and wiping his hand on his sleeve. "I’d say he kissed his mother with that mouth but I don't think he ever did.” he shuddered. “But I don’t have to worry about this, because you’re not into him.” She pressed her mouth into a straight line. “Ever looked at someone and gotten a really bad feeling?”
“Every goddamn day.”
“Stand there and tell me you don’t get that from him.”
Her milk-blue eyes held a curious blend of surprise and involuntary concession. He watched her tip her shoulders back self-consciously, pressing the pages to the counter with both hands in a determined redirection.
“What do you want me to do?" Lilian demanded. "He’s rich, he's a perverted freak... he’s totally built under all those clothes, fucks like an animal, goes all night... I can't sit down right now and that's the way I like it, so yeah... unless you can tell me he microwaves crack babies in his spare time, you’re shit out of luck.” William clapped his hands over his ears. "You knocked on that door, so step off my dick or it gets worse.”
“Are you coming to our party? I’ll send you an invitation.”
“The group show at the house? Someone already invited me.”
Lilian glanced sideways at his sudden decampment to the alcove behind her, the sound of some intense physical effort prompting her to peer around the partition, but the pale blue light indicating customer ingress flashed on the wall over her head and she returned to her station in time to see Rachelle Whateley striding through the doors as though she were late to some event in her own honour. Clutching the strap of her handworked bag she quartered the displays with an unfailing eye; it returned several times to Susan as the latter pulled a garment from the stand before her. The fruit-coloured fabric of Rachelle’s short summer dress stressed the faultless nature of her tan. She pushed her glasses back over her blow-out.
“Hey, mudflap girl... we’re closed.” Lilian told her.
Rachelle stalked around the display that lay between them and stood looking at Susan, who glanced back at her after a while out of curiosity.
“Oh please... if Wil-liam’s not here then what is she doing? She can hardly make the bus fare down here.” she snorted back.
“Get the fuck out, Rachelle. Store policy.” the latter advised. Far from obeying the directive, the statuesque intruder wandered toward the counter and set her bag on it, cocking her head at Lilian in wide-eyed, synthetic sympathy.
“Don't you have some dick to suck? I don't know how you find the time." she smiled.
"I was gonna take two hours at lunch to suck your boyfriend's."
"My god... when I think about it, this must be so hard for you... him leaving you behind like you were a sack of trash... that's got to feel like a lot of rejection.” Rachelle smirked. “You must have hated us being together. There you were, praying he’d make it past the nasty baggage one day. But it’s like bitterness is all people see now when they look at you...”
“It looks like bitterness, but it’s rage.” Lilian replied. Susan smiled; a small, half-choked sound issued from the stock alcove. Rachelle marched around the black gloss wall, standing with her hands on her hips and scanning every inch of shelving before ripping back the rubber curtain to expose the empty dressing room. “Wow, it’s like he never stops calling or trying to get with you.” Lilian laughed over her shoulder. “Guess we’ll never know what it’s like to be his special lady.” She picked up the phone, shaking her head as it rang. “Patrick? There’s this crazy fucking day-release bitch here trying to shove half the store in her bag... blonde, fake LV... you’ll love her.” Replacing the receiver, she regarded Rachelle with some satisfaction. “That’s Patrick, our mall cop and he’s a taser freak, so you better dust the fuck off before he gets down here and melts your Tijuana funbags.” Still clutching the dress, Susan let go of the laughter she had held tight to that point while Rachelle hissed furiously at both of them.
“You’re both mentally ill!"
When she had gone, the two remaining women walked together around the partition in their curiosity, amazed to discover that William had ascended the tall stack of box shelving and wedged himself between it and the silver ceiling tiles; he let himself down and hung from the ventilation grille.
“Did you hear that bitch?” Lilian chuckled, returning to the counter. “In Rachelle’s world, I'm dry humping you, you’re monogamous and she’s an internationally-respected icon. I’m almost getting why you fucked her.”
Susan stood before the register with a dress draped carefully over an arm.
“I can’t find a price on it anywhere... could you..?” The scan altered her expression from apprehension to dismay. William turned the screen toward himself and looked to Lilian incredulously, sliding the card from his pocket. “William, please, don't... I won’t be able to pay you back for a year.” Susan murmured as she attempted to stall the transaction. He pulled the dress from the counter, standing back to hold it up against himself.
“It’s got stretch. We can go halves.”
“You don’t think it’s... too much? I think I might be too short for it.”
Lilian laughed ironically.
“Ask the freak in the frog shirt.” She turned back to William. “And your name doesn't start with E, so take your fucking crimewave downtown.”
“But it’s a virgin... does thou leave it thus, a maid, still so blushing and unsatisfied?” he purred. She tapped the card on the countertop impatiently before reaching down to run the transaction.
“If he asks, I’m gonna tell him.” He leant over the marble partition and licked her cheek as she packed the dress. “Get the fuck away from me.” Lilian sighed. She swung a printed bag full of hand-picked clothing at him. “And put this shit on when you get there.”
Susan and William took their respective seats in the Jaguar, turning to glance at one another when she rustled the bag to attract his attention.
“She is. Bondage queen... plays both ends.”
“Are you... into that?”
He laughed as he grappled with the ignition.
“Christabel, you just asked me, your employer, to my face, if I'm a sexual deviant out of total idle curiosity."
"You're not my boss."
"Now you're completely undermining my authority." He shook his head. "There's something about you... I don't know what it is, but it does concern me, even more than your obsession with my sexuality.”
Susan took a hair clip from her handbag and pinned her fringe out of her eyes while he spoke, then leant forward, turning the stereo up until he stopped talking. They took a different route out of the city, William driving them in a scenic loop enlivened by his mendacious commentary though it lapsed as they headed back toward the house, leading her to suspect that something was still exercising him privately. She slid off her shoes and tucked a foot under her leg.
“Now you’re being too quiet.”
“I’m plugging a vent.” he admitted.
“Vent away, honestly...”
“I really love Lilian... she’s my best friend around here, but christ... I realised the other day that I’d known her for years without ever letting her meet my fucking brother. And now I know why. It’s happening already, in slow motion and it’s going to be so bad, and I’m sitting here looking at it like a fucking idiot, doing nothing...”
She seemed to consider the problem without prejudice.
“How do you know? That it’s going to be bad. It might be alright... I would probably just do nothing too.”
He shook his head, both hands on the wheel.
“I tried that the first time.”
She did not understand the reference and shrugged, applying lip salve in the bright yellow heat of the afternoon.
“They don't really look like the sort of people who need protecting.” she insisted, to which he shook his head again, more slowly and emphatically as he accepted the gloss from her. She lay her head against the padded rest and smiled at his obscure misgivings. “What would life be like if no one ever did anything stupid? Nothing would ever happen.”
C O N T I N U E D N E X T W E E K
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce.
B U Y T H E B O O K. $3.99 2 4 0 0 0 0 + WORDS.
Superman. My attitude toward the phenomenon is encapsulated in its entirety by the immortal words of Vivian- cornflakes. Cornflakes, cornflakes cornflakes cornflakes, cornflakes. From this, the perceptive reader might surmise that I don't much care for the Man of Steel, and they would be right.
Having no Supercredentials to speak of, I subjected myself to this spectacle in company with my 16 year old nephew Purple, a hawkish Superfan who had keenly anticipated the reboot despite the fact that "Superman's a bitch who doesn't really kill people" and Snyder's gorey proclivities had him shaking his head from the start. So we'll submit our comments side by side. Purple's remarks are in well, purple. Yes that is really his name. No, I'm not going to pretend for the sake of pearl-clutchers everywhere that teenage boys don't curse in the absence of their parents. Whatever. I'm a terrible influence, I know.
S T O R Y:
It's too plot holey. It's just not like, right. I dunno (indeterminate noise) yep. Jumped all over the place like ding ding ding ding. So, fanboy- was it a recognizably Superman story? Yeah. But no not really. The suit was wrong. It stole heaps of old movie stuff and was just like a montage. No kryptonite, no Lex Luthor. Man! Green Lantern all over again. Not enough backstory. At all.
I concur. The Supernarrative is bollocks, even and probably especially while conforming to a bare-bones version of the original intergalactic framework. Purp seemed annoyed by the non-linear development of the Superyouth and I did wonder at this choice myself, before deciding that this is probably what I would do too, given both a monodimensional jaw-clencher and an extremely boring rural setting to work with. I had a problem with Zod's flimsy cut and pasted motivation but Purple was willing to let it slide. The lovely R and I could have lived without the smoke-and-a-pancake fillosofickal oneliners; I mean, if you're going with the original conservative jerkfest dichotomy, just do it- don't slap half-understood social Darwinist hashtags on that shit. Interestingly, Purple seemed particularly offended by the product placement (Nikon et al) that we chuckled over amongst ourselves, since the DC universe is "only loosely based on reality", apparently.
C A S T I N G:
Nup. Henry's too babyfaced, not blockheaded enough. His hair and voice were wrong. Not Supermanny enough. General Zod- wrong. (something grunted about General Zod being too big). Lois Lane... yeah, sorta. Not bad. Thought his (SM's) parents were... his (earth) dad was ok, but the mum was too fake... she didn't look like someone from there, like a country lady. Russel Crowe... okay, did a good job, but he (the Krypton dad) doesn't have a beard, man. Everyone else seemed okay.
Does Henry Cavill fly as Superman? This was always a hard sell for me and I can see why a certain segment of the faniverse didn't appreciate him because Cavill is the charmless, dead-eyed shell of the dork that is Clark Kent; to call him wooden is to defame ligneous matter everywhere. Even his much-vaunted physicality, that overbuilt, six-month-programme gorilla frame rubbed me the wrong way from the start, smacking of vanity rather than the traditional noblesse. Amy Adams as Lois Lane was typically competent but Snyder's women always piss me off. Tits seem to consign them to the side of a Greek vase, where they stand suspended out of shot, popping up to administer comfort to the hero when required by his bitch-slapped ego. That Superman is given up by his birth mother, sagely advised by another (though how she knew anything about marshalling superpowers when the most complex thing she seems to have done is a load of fucking washing is beyond moi) and given indentity by his lover is an ancient triumverate of formative interactions in the life cycle of the mythic masculine hero. (The Female has always stood on the sidelines of that shit, and while it may be 'traditional', Snyder didn't hesitate to boot other aspects of the prevailing mythos off the field. Take from that what you will. Okay, rant over). Michael Shannon as Zod just throws his big googly face around like a fist and chews his lines like cheap steak. Oh well. I wasn't entirely convinced by his performance in Take Shelter, though R and I felt like the only ones on the planet who didn't love it. Kevin Costner looked like he was sniffing someone else's fart the whole time; Diane Lane I agree was miscast. Russell phoned it in as a stagey and hidebound Jur-El.
E F F E C T S:
Thought they were good. But Krypton was wrong. Why was it wrong, Purple? It just was. The sea was wrong. Not fancy enough. I liked the blowing up shit, but the spaceships were too animated. What about the superflying? Flying effects... alright. I had a problem with the cape myself. At mach 5 they should have been digging it out of his arsecrack with some sort of pneumatic instrument and I didn't appreciate the gentle ruffling that we were treated to instead. What about the suit in general? (Groans, clearly in anguish.) Wrong colour, crap texture (something murmured about it being too hexagony.) Just wrong. The suit didn't really bother me but yeah, I thought it was needlessly moderne. What about the Fortress of Solitude? (Bristles visibly) There wasn't a Fortress of Solitude! If that ship was supposed to be his FoS it was bullshit. It just wasn't a FoS. Pourquoi? Because it was wrong! Wrong wrong wrong. It was supposed to be Kryptonian crystal that grew out of the ground. Pretty much... you know, it's just wrong.
Ah, the wrongness of it all. Personally I'll admit to mid-level admiration for Snyder's command of a challenging and complex aesthetic. At his best he can nimbly wrangle a shitload of visual details (300, and Watchmen- come on, the images were fine, admit it.) But Superman has always seemed so monolithic and inflexibly retro to me and I didn't think it was particularly promising material for such a notoriously flashy dude, who after the dogged frame-by-frame transcription of 300 seems increasingly bent on uncoupling his delivery from the original (beloved) vision. Ooooh, perilous. Snyder was always going to have a large and probably insoluble problem revamping such a dated, vanilla protagonist.
I found the flying scenes and the rest of the kinetic action in general to be sluggish and uninspired, an unforgivable lapse in something so utterly dependent on this imagery. For all their sonic booming and splintered glass, they bored me. And the Art Nouveau Starwars/Riddick/Avatar pastiche (why appropriate such shitty material?) that were the Krypton scenes reminded me once again how much big dollar sci-fi circles the drain these days. Sigh.
O V E R A L L:
P U R P L E ' S V E R D I C T: If you like Superman, don't watch it. If you're educated in any comic universe this will piss you off. I like the Christopher Reeve Superman. And would rather have Adam West than Ben Affleck as Batman, god.
M Y V E R D I C T: I thought it shallow, overly-frenetic, joyless and ectothermic. Silly. And passionless. God.
* More Film Review Here *
Delicious Icelandic geology. I highly recommend perusing these stunning images.
I do know that not everyone's life revolves around lipstick but I'm a shallow bitch so let's just embrace yet another MAC review, because it's happened, you're reading it and that's something we're both going to have to deal with. Retro Matte Collection. I've been breathing heavily at the screen for some time now waiting for these shades to wing their way from the USA courtesy of Shezza, my ever-resourceful lippy pimp and forsooth, they have arrived.
I really wanted All Fired Up due to my fuchsia problem (I can even spell it nowdays) but flip-flopped about Fixed On Drama because I didn't know if I absolutely required another vintage-y dirty red. But let's cut to the chase and take a look at them, shall we?
All Fired Up is a very matte (think Ruby Woo) rich, intense fuchsia with decent if not perfect colour payoff and not a chance in hell of migration or bleeding. It is warmer than Full Fuchsia or GAT as you can see below, much warmer than Show Orchid or Magenta lip pencil, and thusly more universally flattering. Colour-wise, anyway- a word of warning here about the total on-face effect; not everyone's going to be able to pull off this sort of super flat, almost cartoon/graphic look. It looks cute swatched, but keep that look at meeee effect in mind when dumping the whole range in your cart. Like I said, very, very matte.
Do I like the formula? Yes and no. Pigmentation is typically off the scale but I feel MAC should have addressed the extreme dryness issue by now. Sticks like Party Parrot aren't this texturally murderous, after all. I'm glad to own it because it's almost everything I wanted Party Parrot to be, and under something like Full Fuchsia, All Fired Up will be a truly all-day pink-bomb. It gets my overall seal of approval.
Fixed On Drama I wasn't sure about initially. Chromatically, it's less ashy and dead on my very pigmented lips than on the back of my hand, but it's not exactly what I was expecting. Beside it, Sin and Diva look positively lurid but there is something about this shade that's slowly growing on me as I check the mirror for the 156th time. It has a muted, almost coffee-bean aspect that makes it more reserved than its vampier cousins; Fixed On Drama is cooler, more platonic than a lot of them. I think the term I'm looking for is 'grown up'. It's great with red hair and pumps up the green in my eyes. It's even quite possibly safe for work unless you're labouring under some blanket anti-glamour fatwa. On the downside, I'm not crazy about its pigmentation, which is an odd thing to say about a matte; it's a little thinner than All Fired Up- this means you can push the colour around and bunch it up, and it's a dry mofo, that's for sure. I don't regret its acquisition since I really didn't have anything like it after all.
*EDIT- after a few months of struggling with this shade I can affirm that it is indeed a difficult bitch- drying and patchy. The colour's pretty unique though, and that's the only reason I'm persisting with it.
So there's no unqualified love for these Retro Mattes; they're going to be too much for some who've been sucked in by the purdy colours. And MAC seems to be yanking our dicks over which ones will stay in the permanent range, so if you see something you like, grab it before it's $60 on bloody Ebay.
* More Independent Makeup Reviews Here *
You need to see the rest of his work.
Why sometimes we feel that we are falling in the sleep?
It depends if we feel this sensation during the transition from wakefulness to sleep or during REM sleep.
In the first case, the mechanism is physiological. When our body ceases to exercise ”active” control (handled by the cortical areas of the brain) on movement our body is crossed by a series of muscular jerks —sleep starts or hypnic jerks. If the transition occurs too early (i.e. when our conscious part has still not gone to sleep) these jerks may be perceived as a feeling of emptiness, and our “baffled” mind associates it with our perception of emptiness: falling.
Why this happens is not clear (according to some, it’s an evolutionary heritage from when we were sleeping on trees and muscles relaxation could mean a fall). Anyway, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, if the feeling happens too often and disturbs our rest, we must reduce: caffeine, stress, anxiety or hard physical activity in the evening.
The sensation of falling that we feel during REM sleep is not caused by a physiological mechanism and, in this case, for an explanation we should disturb dreams and psychology.
More info here - Asked by jugulator117
H e l l y e s t o b o t h.
How many calories in a jelly snake? Who gives a shit?
We used to walk halfway across Christchurch at three in the morning baked out of our little minds to secure both the disgusting greasy 'chicken' rolls from an infamous petrol station + huge multicoloured foot-long jelly snakes from that same depraved after-hours vendor. Giant squishy rainbow serpents. God I miss them, but then I miss a lot of things. I'm getting old.
I've started collecting vintage coral necklaces and restringing them, hoping to form some sort of aesthetic critical mass but I'll probably just end up looking like the coast of fucking Queensland at low tide on a bad day. I'm not sure what prompted this but you know... I bought some green beads which led to turquoise, which inevitably leads to orange, and I've got some nice carnelian kicking round that needed a friend so yeah. Anyone else collect/remodel old jewellery? It's great, isn't it? I might blog some of my pieces. If you're very unlucky.
A length of garden hose, faded to a chalky red and lying like a sectioned vein, described a long arc from the corner of the house into the shade of the elms, where a sheet of black industrial vinyl hung at head-height from a branch, strung on hemp rope passed through the eyes in the edge of the plastic. Nathaniel Shaw turned his face from it toward the sky, his eyes catching its brilliance on the full through a gap between his face and darkest glasses. He would have liked to blot the sweat beading his forehead with the cloth in his pocket but judged it might dilute the picture of assurance he wished to project. In the distance, the rope creaked with a breeze that did not reach him, water dripping slowly from the corners of the vinyl. Edward Lamb's refulgent features formed an intolerable contrast before its glossy and absolute reserve. Seeming immersed in weighty matters, he was in actuality content with the details confided by the breeze, to watch insects on the lawn and to ignore the distant security guard, who weltered in his own feigned preoccupation. An injured locust blundered through the turf, wiping at its head while a trail of black ants surged en mass over its body, sawing through its mint-green armour and carrying the clipped pieces away.
He waited, impervious to the afternoon that drummed down on the stranger's head, attention divided between the insects and the latter's choreography as the man began a measured approach. Tall, closely-shaven and well-dressed, he stood in a pale grey suit that rode the uneasy line between daywear and formality with some success. The deletion of his gaze behind his aviator shades scarcely challenged his almost arrogant, Apollonian beauty; in sympathy with classical precepts his hair was cropped in a conservative fashion over maple-brown skin bestowed by a diverse heritage. Fastidious presentation gave him the squared and heavily-contained air of a presidential aide.
“Mr Lamb.” he began, offering his hand. “Nathaniel Shaw, Trident Security. Do you have time for me now, or should I..."
"Please." Edward replied.
"From my first go-round the building seems reasonably secure. The windows are my main concern... I'd suggest talking to your architect before replacing them.” Shaw explained, gesturing toward the house. "Do you have a construction schedule? Crews and scaffolding can challenge any secure routine that we establish..."
"There are no alterations planned." Edward told him. Shaw did not relish his proximity. The obvious possession of a tail or polished hooves could not have repelled him more than the blatant otherness of the creature's skin, or the impersonal and pyrophoric yellow of his eyes. The subject had made no attempt to disguise their character, and used them to enforce the aversive distance he preferred. “We may have had an incident with an intruder. I need you to establish whether it’s ongoing.”
“A secure perimeter is the best place to start. I’ll set up some some seismics... photoelectric units, remote video... see if I can get images.” the guard suggested.
“I don’t want cameras on the property.”
The man’s gaze shifted away behind his glasses.
“Okay... we can work around that. If you're concerned with ongoing attention, to be completely honest with you Mr Lamb, we most often find that stalking and intruder crime can be linked back to people already associated with the premises... we start by establishing a list of everyone who's resident.” He spoke in a broadly reassuring manner, taking a slim black tablet from his pocket. "Then we move on to associates, co-workers, relatives... ex-partners... and come up with a shortlist. I’ll need whoever lives here permanently, all regular guests and maintenance people. And I’d like to set up a curfew, so I can get a feel for any patterns.” He looked to Edward expectantly and was greeted with unqualified refusal. “Sir, it may seem intrusive to you now, but it’s just standard, effective procedure." He perceived the depth of Edward’s disinclination and shook his head, dropping the electronic device from its position between them. “I can assure you right here and now that none of this information will be seen by anyone other than myself.”
"I'll consider a curfew. There is a housekeeper and a personal friend of mine who will be with us intermittently. I'll advise you of all guests in advance.”
“Can I ask if there any weapons stored on the premises?”
"No." In lifting his hands in a brief, reactive gesture of appeasement Shaw acknowledged the warning contained within the ambiguous refusal, though he had not intended to do so. Edward seemed satisfied, if impatient with the pace of the discussion.
"And you want sweeps, every..."
"I want you on the ground from nightfall until dawn. If you can't attend for whatever reason, my brother and I will make our own arrangements. I don't want alternates. I expect you to control entry, and I want a regular sweep of both vehicles for devices.” Shaw reviewed his notes. "Look closely at the hill across the road. If you find anything, let me know.” He watched the guard look to the rise beyond the wall.
“Anything at all.” he agreed.
“There are a few special conditions." Nodding, Shaw put the device away, accepting each point as it was related to him. "We don’t enjoy constructive relations with the metropolitan police. Do not contact or consult them under any circumstances. The grounds are your sole area of concern, so I do not expect to see you in the house. And I take personal exception to any hazard or impropriety directed toward the women under my roof.” Edward could scarcely have been more explicit, either with his words or gaze. "These terms are nonnegotiable, so now is the time to articulate any concerns.”
“Mr Lamb, discretion is the cornerstone of what we do. If there’s anything I can show you to put your mind at ease, or maybe demonstrate my commitment...”
“You can have a hard copy of your employment record sent to me.”
“I thought that had been taken care of.” Shaw offered a brief smile. "I apologize on behalf of Trident. Now I always ask this question because a client's instincts are key to whatever's going on at their location... do you feel yourself that there's surveillance or any regular negative attention happening here?"
The question prompted another of his employer's visual exams.
"Prescience and paranoia are evil twins." Edward replied. "You never know which one you're talking to." He withdrew a photograph from his pocket. "Rachelle Addison Whateley, twenty six, five nine, highly motivated, no longer welcome."
Accepting the image, the guard slid it down into his jacket alongside the tablet.
“Would you mind if I get back to walking it out right now? I’d like to finish up before we lose the light.”
Edward walked away toward the front garden, past the greatly diminished remains of the unlucky locust. When he was out of sight Shaw took the handkerchief from his pocket and patted at his brow.
C O N T I N U E D N E X T W E E K
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
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When I'm looking for a new fume, either I research the thing with pathetic, almost pitiful caution, consulting the experts, prodding the hivemind, stalking it for months before even comparing prices and actually breaking out the plastic, or just shrug nihilistically and dump it in my online cart, hands in the air like I just don't care. The idea of Byredo Pulp as some sort of semi-literal fruit-based facehug really appealed to my grabby inner impulse monkey, gorged as I was on the Lutensian stewed and dried compotes and hankering for something a little more jeune, something weird, fresh and immediate. But I'd never (well, hardly) heard of Byredo as a house except to have osmotically noted the exorbitant price point- down here, $250 NZ for (admittedly) 100mls; I don't know about you, but that bites my arse like some sort of perverted hornet, ladies and gemmen.
What to do? Sounds great... costs far too much... might be absolutely horrible... remember the last time you fell for the fructose fairy? Fate intervened in the shape of a small decant, so I took the plunge anyway.
If I had imagined I would enjoy a squished mess of fresh fruit notes, I was dead right, though for reasons oblique to my vague expectations. Pulp opens for me in a suckerpunch of sliced red capsicum and wooden chopping board, a bristling vegetal ambush. I presume that is the slightly pissy combination of the bergamot and blackcurrant dicing with the lurking cedar; this little contretemps goes on for around ten minutes on my hand before taking it outside and settling in behind what is for me a buxom conjugation of juicy tropical notes, both compressed and broken open. Instead of the nominated figs and pommes I get mangosteens, sunwarmed pineapple and even funky jackfruit (distant jackfruit, luckily). Lychee ducks in and out according to ambient temperature. The space between your wrist and nose quivers with this louche, pale-fleshed orchestration though there is an abstract quality that almost fends off a gourmand designation. Some have accused Pulp of plastic fruitbowl syndrome and while it flirts with this idea in an almost ironic fashion, I find nothing truly unlickable. (In an interesting coincidence that might explain this division of opinion, I was in a local museum today rubbing and sniffing a piece of kauri gum (sub-fossil podocarp tree resin); as it released its volatiles, I smelled incense and balsam while a friend found only the sharp stink of early plastics. And we were probably both right.)
There is some morphing over the next few hours with the various characters hoving and bulging in a slow and pretty lateral progression but generally speaking, Pulp delivers on its promise of mingled drupe, syncarpet, pepo and hesperidium, shot through with shards of greenish savoury goodness and favoured with a bottom rounded outward by backstage caramel. The tail is lighter, settling into a respectable stony, monotonal peachiness.
As a whole, it is a fat, persistent (5 hours intact) scent that offers moderate projection/silage, though this is very dependent on the number of sprays applied. Pulp is a notional, modernist fruit arrangement, more at home in the collective unconscious than the breakfast bowl and make no mistake, there is ugliness buried in the squishy depths of its screwed-up, almost visceral expression. I enjoyed both this explicit counterpoint and its diagonal revision of a played-out genre and will most likely invest in a larger decant or 50ml some time soon, $$$ notwithstanding. But if you prefer your fumes pretty, traditional and right-thinking, it's probably best if you allow the price point to deter you.
* More Independent Perfume Review Here *
It's been a dull, rainy spring so far here in Port Chalmers but our magnolias have tried their best in the crappy conditions. Despite their reputation for difficulty, they've been superstars in our garden. Invest in some today. You won't regret it.