#MirthMusicMon – Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

I’m not exactly a soaps fan myself, but if you’re Australian, you’d have to have been living under a rock the last 30 years to not at least have a vague knowledge of Neighbours. The show is celebrating its 30th Anniversary on Wednesday, and lots of old stars have returned for the occasion. They also had a special on TV tonight, where even more of the former cast members talked about their time on the show. I sort of nearly forgot about MMM tonight in amongst watching that, so when I finally realised it was time, Edy suggested a Neighbours themed post. Seemed fitting.

For music, Angry Anderson’s Suddenly, which was played over Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene’s (Kylie Minogue) wedding. This scene was voted the number one Neighbours moment, and basically every Australian ever (and probably a fair number of Brits as well, given the show’s popularity there) has seen this scene at one point or another, regardless of whether they’ve ever seen any more of the show.

This second one is not one I was familiar with until it came up in the special tonight. Bouncer was the loveable dog on Ramsay St, who basically belonged to everyone on the street. Apparently this was his dream wedding. (Apologies for barely understandable Aussie accents)

Our Mirth and Music Monday linky is over here. Feel free to join in! I’ll see you Wednesday!

Book Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

Title: Redshirts
Author:
John Scalzi
Genre: humour/sci-fi
Date Read: 25/02/2015 – 28/02/2015
Rating: ★★

Review:

redshirtscoverI really expected to like this book. Even love it. A book that makes fun of some more of the tropes we love about bad sci-fi? Count me in! Unfortunately, I was left feeling like the book had tried to be clever and missed the mark, and after three years of meaning to get around to reading it, I was disappointed.

Ensign Andy Dahl has just been assigned to the xenobiology lab on the Universal Union’s flagship, The Intrepid. It’s a prestigious posting, but soon Andy and his friends notice that strange things happen to the crew-members on away missions: namely one of them ends up dead, while the Captain and other senior officers never seem to suffer so much as a scratch. As they dig deeper, they learn that the explanation for all this is far more ridiculous than they could ever imagined.

The title of this book is a reference to Star Trek – the unnamed crew member in the red shirt would always die on an away mission, so often that the term “redshirt” is a trope in its own right (warning: TV Tropes link – click at your own risk!). The novel embraces this and plenty of other b-grade sci-fi tropes, and for a while it is quite entertaining. Less than halfway through, however, I started feeling like I was just reading one big in-joke, and while I perhaps expected that a little going in, actually reading it got irritating after a while.

The setting in essentially a thinly-veiled Starship Enterprise. There’s nothing wrong with that and given the subject matter, it’s hardly surprising. The characters, though… I honestly could not tell them apart. There was very little to separate one of the main characters from the other three, and on several occasions, I had no idea which side character was which. There was also a lot of bad science… while that’s kind of the point, I like sci-fi science that doesn’t just leave me confused.

The story itself ends about 100 pages before the end of the book, and what follows are three codas, exploring characters and experiences we had only met or touched on briefly in the main part of the book. It is here that some real depth is added to the prose, but this felt quite jarring after the main story.

As you can see, I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone, but I will say this: it is possible that many of these things I didn’t enjoy in the book (the bad science, the bland characters…) were deliberate choices on the part of Scalzi. Given that [Important Plot Things redacted], it would actually make sense for these things to be that way. But nonetheless, it didn’t click with me, and I was left feeling a little bit like I had wasted my time.

This is my first John Scalzi read, and while I was disappointed, I don’t intend to write him off just yet. I have a couple of his other books on hold at the library, and they sound quite different to this one. Maybe they will be more my cup of tea.

MMM – This Side of the Sky

Aghh, technology is against me today, so I’m going to have to ask you to indulge me and make a little more effort than you normally would on one of these posts. For some reason, my laptop and my Internet connection have decided not to speak to one another, so I’m typing this on on my tablet.  Problem is, I can’t figure out where to find the embed code on either the mobile version of YouTube or the app,  so I’m just going to link to the video I wanted to share today and you’ll have to do the rest.

For the musical part of the post, I am sharing This Side of the Sky from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Stephen Ward. I saw this show while I was in London and while it’s probably not Lloyd Webber’s best, the music is still enjoyable and this was one of the songs that stood out for me. Anyone squicked by the age gap can be assured that despite the song, the relationship between these two characters is more father-daughter than romantic/sexual.  A messed up father-daughter relationship,  but one nonetheless.

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Alex Hanson as Stephen Ward and Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler.

And in the interests of not having to deal with any more YouTube on the tablet, I thought this might work for the mirth part of the post. I think many readers of this blog can probably relate.

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Mirth and Music Monday was started up by Regi McClain and if you would like to join in, you can find the blog hop linky on her blog. I’m going to leave it there for now because I have to go do things like cook dinner and call my landlords regarding signing a new lease. Ergh. Catch you all later!