Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

 

So what was the best album of 2012?

I’m sure we all have our own favourites and mine include albums by the Roller Trio, John Surman and the Gaslamp Killer.

But the consensus seems to be that the best album of the year was Channel Orange by Frank Ocean.

It’s an interesting choice and I think a deserved winner. In a time when American R&B and Hip-Hop have tended towards cliche and derivativeness, this was an album that stood out with imaginative arrangements, thoughtful lyrics and great singing.

And it’s also interesting, of course, that Frank Ocean has come out in a milieu that rivals the Church of England for its primitive attitude towards homosexuality. Although I’m by no means gay, it was intriguing to hear lyrics by a man that praised other men’s sexuality and buffness.

And why not?

 

2012

So, if the Mayan prophecy comes true and this has been the last year of human civilisation, what’s there been to remember it by?

Well, in America it’ll probably be the re-election of President Obama and the long-overdue humiliation of the unhinged right. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the continued failure of NATO intervention and the disgraceful use of long-distance assassination by high-flying drones. In France, the ditching of President Sarkozy. And in Spain, their well-deserved victory in the Euro 2012.

But for Britain, the two most memorable things have been the 2012 Olympics and the most awful weather in God Knows how many years of history.

So, as we British celebrate both the rain and our superb results in the Olympics (spoilt only by the better performance by the Americans, Chinese and Russians), let’s mark the end of the year with a picture of some naked women by Kimberly Dow:

 

No Evil

No Evil

Anomaly Volume Two: Update No. 1

Dutkiewicz - SPACE COMICS FANS

Dutkiewicz – SPACE COMICS FANS

 

As you may have noticed, I’ve been lucky enough to get a comment to one of my posts from Georg H who asks when I will follow the Volume One of the Anomaly Trio with the promised Volume Two.

The answer, I’m afraid, is not yet. And probably not until well into 2013.

However, while waiting you can either read the currently serialised No Future which is currently dealing with the relationship between Tamara and Eden’s daughter Zoe (now in disgraceful old age) or, if it’s science fiction you like, any of the following:

  1. Cyberwhore
  2. Party Slave
  3. The Coming of Age
  4. Virtual Seduction

The Age of Hobbits

Despite the obvious implication of the title, this blog isn’t about the latest film by Peter Jackson, but rather the subject of this interesting story in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/dec/11/the-hobbit-delay-release-age-of

Essentially, the film is a weird kind of rip-off of the hobbit title, but featuring not Middle Earth and Bilbo Baggins, but a load of small people who are supposed to represent the famous Homo Floresiensis otherwise known as “the hobbit” (and very much in quotation marks):

What fascinates me most is the film studio that made the film (The Asylum)  sort of makes a habit of producing films with deliberately misleading titles. These include The Terminators, The Amityville Haunting and Titanic II. These all belong to a genre of tribute exploitation movies known as mockbusters.

In a sense, it is dreadfully unethical.Think of all those poor souls who’ll walk out of Blockbusters with what they think will be yet another nonsensical episode of  giant children’s toys with a conscience and have bought instead Transmorphers And all those disappointed fans of Samuel L. Jackson who settle down to watch Snakes on a Train.

Of course, there is a venerable tradition of porn movies that also cash in on viewers’ expectations, but I wonder whether those people who rent, buy or pirate Whore of the Rings, Batman XXX or the Flintbones are really especially surprised when instead of good clean family fun, they are presented with a load of porn stars having sex with one another.

But for those who are fans of hobbit-related stuff, here’s an elf-related Middle-Earth oriented illustration from Patrick Lambert (aka Dendory):

Legion

Legion

Clung Together

I don’t often respond to specific posts from readers, but I guess that now I have my own blog I ought to get more into the habit of doing so.

Anyway, here’s a comment  by Lexie regarding my short story Clung Together sent to Literotica:

http://www.literotica.com/stories/storyfeedbackboard.php?id=314099&pagehint=6

It’s polite and well-meaning, but not exactly flattering.

Lexie has two main gripes. One is historical accuracy and the other is how erotic the story is.

With regards to his second point, I guess I’m guilty as charged. However, it’s a moot point what makes a story erotic. Some people seem to think that any story with a sex element is therefore erotic. I’m personally not sure that’s at all true. Many stories with no sex element are quite erotic and most stories with sex in it I don’t find erotic at all. However, this story does contain reference to a rape, which I don’t consider especially erotic in any circumstances, and consensual sex between two women which is only as erotic as a reader perceives it to be.

And in Lexie’s case, quite clearly, not at all.

Lexie’s other objections might well, as he says, sound pedantic. This again is a matter of opinion. Pedantry in the context of literary criticism is, I think, the laboured focus on detail at the expense of other aspects. Maybe some readers might agree with Lexie’s view. However, I don’t share Lexie’s surprise that “no one has commented in five years” on the matters he raises.

I’m not a second world war historian, but I have read widely on the holocaust and the final few weeks of the Nazi regime. Essentially, many Soviet soldiers raped the women and children they encountered fairly indiscriminately (and slaughtered many of them immediately afterwards). And the Nazis forced the last few remaining Jews in their custody on what might be called Death Marches at about the same time as the Soviet soldiers arrived. That the two events might happen at some close temporal and physical proximity does not seem very unlikely to me.

The documentation on the Soviet soldiers rape of German Women at the end of the war is very widely available and I’m sure the interested reader will easily find some graphic accounts of what happened. However, the subject of Death Marches is discussed in Wikipedia and in the harrowing account of them in the book Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.

The story, in any case, is less a historical account than a story of redemption and forgiveness, using as a kind of metaphor the dismemberment of Germany at the end of the war and its reunification when the Berlin Wall was torn down.

Clung Together was originally submitted to the now defunct website Ruthie’s Club where it was edited by Ruthie and was later published on Literotica and Stories OnLine. Here is the illustration that was used on Ruthie’s Club:

Clung Together (illustrated by Besito)

Clung Together (illustrated by Besito)

BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Normally, an event like the BBC Sports Personality of the Year passes me by. And, to be honest, usually for good reason.

But this year, 2012, I’ve got a lot of real interest. Perhaps never in the history of the United Kingdom has there ever been such a stellar cast of sports personalities. And of the twelve nominated there are at least another twelve which could very well have joined the list of nominees. Where, for instance, is Laura Trott?

The truth is that there are three people more likely to win than any one else, and they are, of course, Bradley Wiggins (Odds-on favourite), Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah. All three more worthy of the award than almost any winner in the last God Knows how many years.

However, my own personal favourite, NIcola Adams, who has been nominated for the award is less likely to walk away with the most votes, although I think as the first ever female boxer to win a Gold Medal she deserves it as much as anyone else.

So, why am I rooting for Nicola Adams? Partly, it’s a simple thing. I just warmed to her personality more than the others. She’s fought hard to get as far as she has, overcame personal injury and, of course, the prejudice that a woman boxer is bound to suffer from in this, the least “feminine” of all sports. It’s obvious that she’s worked hard, fought hard and maintained that iron discipline, frank self-awareness and single-minded dedication to reach the very top of her profession. A black working-class girl from Leeds made good. It’s a fairy tale story.

The truth is that I’m not a fan of boxing or any other contact sports. When a person gets hit, I tend to feel the pain of being hit rather than the glory of doing the hitting. I also have reservations about a sport where the professionals routinely decide their fights by inflicting temporary concussion and possible brain injury on their opponents. It’s a bit like if fencing was decided by killing the opponent. And it definitely feeds the blood-lust of a certain kind of boxing fan.

But on the other hand, many of my favourite films are about boxing (or wrestling) and there is a romance about the sport which few other sports can match. It’s a sport with a very long legacy:probably from well before the advent of agriculture let alone recorded history. There is a very real beauty in watching Mohammed Ali and, I guess, Nicola Adams dance around the boxing ring.

So, my vote will go to Nicola Adams, but if she doesn’t win I believe that Jessica Ennis, Mo Farrah and Bradley Wiggins would all be worthy champions.

And here is a picture of Nicola Adams to celebrate:

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams