The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

A DVD Review, Actually

Posted by BigWords on January 10, 2011

This is out of the ordinary for this blog (though not entirely unexpected from me), but as I am constantly being urged to give Love, Actually a chance – by someone who should know better – I went and bought the damn film on DVD. This, as you can well imagine, drew a considerable amount of raised eyebrows. I probably buy too many films there, because at the checkout no less than three people asked me if I knew it was neither a horror film nor a weird French film. Yes. I know exactly what it is. It’s a comedy. And yes, in case you were thinking that I was merely going to state the fact that I had watched it, I AM going to review it.

Here’s a little bit of free advice: You have only yourselves to blame if you tell me watch a film I have no intention of watching. Posts such as these are likely to be the outcome…

There’s probably cause for concern when a comedy opens at an airport. Films which have early scenes set in airports tend to have Very Bad Things happen to the characters – Airport, Die Hard 2, The Terminal (an aptly named film if ever there was one), Snakes On A Plane – but I know, even as the credits flash across the bottom of the screen, that I am in for the kind of torture even Prometheus would balk at suffering. The first line of the film (via narration) sets my mood for the next half hour:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.

Already I’m wondering what kind of sick bastard would invoke airports in an attempt to induce heartwarming feelings in the audience – and it’s raising my spirits to think that, at some point in the film, Hugh Grant might deliver something as legendary as “It rubs the lotion on its’ skin” to cement the initial impression of his character. If that wasn’t enough, we get “treated” to a reminder of 9/11. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be so preoccupied with the opening narration of a film – truth be told, if I come across such things I tend to fast forward until there is less telling and more showing – but this fascinates me. I immediately Google film reviews of Love Actually to see what the popular opinion seems to be, and everyone else has apparently managed to block this out.

As a counterpoint to Hugh’s divine opening narration, I have to point out that airports make me feel nauseous. I have the nagging suspicion that this feeling will remain for the duration of the film…

The film begins properly, with Rab C. Nesbit taking the piss out of Rufus Scrimgeour’s singing abilities, and the outlook for an interesting viewing experience raises somewhat. My fidgeting ceases when the deathly line “This is shit, isn’t it?” is uttered, and I can’t help but think that Richard Curtis included it for the sole purpose of acknowledging the quality of the script. I agree wholeheartedly with the rather meta joke. Then… Well, things get very, very strange. Emma Thompson reveals to the audience that Liam Neeson’s wife has just died, in what must go down in history as the single worst telephone conversation ever. The only way she could have made it worse would have been to suggest he go on a skiing vacation to Quebec to take his mind off things.

And we get treated to clips, all of them having zero sense of context for the viewer, though the sight of a teenage boy wearing a wedding dress does manage to make me smile. British films… So quick to resort to cross-dressing as comedy. Matters don’t improve with Hugh Grant’s first appearance on-screen, in which his perverse lust for airports is explained – he’s the Prime Minister. Which explains so very much. Better yet, we have a glimpse into the reason Martine McCutcheon’s Hollywood career crashed, burned, and got swallowed by a black hole. She is neither funny nor interesting as a “new girl” in No. 10’s household staff, and it takes me all my strength to resist skipping to the next chapter. As it happens, the scene immediately following this train wreck moment is rather good.

The sight of The Operative marrying the teenage boy in drag is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. A musical number breaks out, and I hope desperately against hope that someone will liven things up… It’s maybe not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as the moment where a we get to see Arthur Dent dry-humping a topless blond, but it’s bloody close. Martin Freeman (not related to Gordon, sadly) must rank in the top ten most unlikely sex symbols on the planet, and having Ali G Indahouse on his résumé doesn’t help matters any. It’s a wonder the actress he is performing with can keep a straight face.

A scene which looks as if it was cut from Four Weddings And A Funeral manages to be even more draining than expected – and I nearly lapse into a coma before it cuts to the aftermath of the wedding. Unfortunately Richard Curtis’ directorial style is that of an eight year old boy with ADD, and we cut to yet another scene before the expected hi-jinks can occur – we never get to see relatives of the happy couple dancing on tables, any drunken fighting, or the slutty bridesmaid (there’s always one) disappearing with the priest. I almost throw the DVD remote control across the room. The sight of Alan Rickman eases my annoyance immediately, and – in the space of a few lines of dialogue – raises the bar for the quality of acting so high that I am amazed by what comes next.

Bill. Fucking. Nighy. Even in films like this, where his talents aren’t exactly stretched, he still manages to steal every single scene he is in. On the scale of cool he lurks just below Samuel L. Jackson, such is his awesomeness. He’s so brilliant that he doesn’t even need lines – with a glance, he can say more than other actors manage with a ream of dialogue.

I’ve said before how much I like watching him, but he really shows why he’s bulletproof in the radio interview scene. He may be gesticulating wildly and hamming it up, yet he’s more restrained than the twitching, rabid possibly-serial-killer-biscuit-fetishist PM as played by Hugh Grant. In the midst of a meeting of the cabinet, he can’t help imagining the things he would do to Martine McCutcheon – and as long as she is prevented from releasing another album, I’m with him all the way. I almost feel sorry for her, then I remember Perfect Moment…

“It rubs the lotion on its’ skin.”

It feels like the DVD is stuck on random chapter select, as it skips back to Martin Freeman and a topless Joanna Page. Not that I’m complaining. The scenes featuring the disrobed miss Page seem to be aiming at a slightly different crowd than the rest of the movie, and it occurs to me that someone more familiar with the sight of naked flesh – Barry Sonnenfeld, perhaps – might have made more of possible plot developments which hanging around half-naked could give the film. At least it’s a nice long scene of her tople- Hey, what the hell? I don’t want to see Liam Neeson moping around… How much longer does this film have to go anyway? It feels as if it has been running forever, and there is no end in sight to the film. I would willingly swap places with Prometheus if it meant I didn’t have to sit through any more of the film.

When I check the OSD, I see that it has only been running for half an hour.

The despair is about to be magnified with yet more scenes between the psychopath PM and his next victim. I think there’s something really familiar about his performance, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

As if everything that preceded this point wasn’t enough to induce mild brain damage, I am faced with the sight of Ant and Dec. Suicide becomes more appealing with every passing moment of their charmless, inane presence. If it wasn’t for Bill Nighy’s excellent line at the end of the scene, I would have opened up my veins by now. I hit half-watching the screen, hoping that there will be something even mildly amusing to see me through til the next Nighy scene, then the film shifts gears unexpectedly on me. Hank Grotowski turns up as the US president (though it seems he has dumped Leticia in the interim), and Hugh gives him a string of blatant lies – claiming that he’s never been able to tie a girl down, we get a glimpse into the way he has been able to carry out his murderous fantasies in the face of public scrutiny. This is a PM with balls bigger than most kaiju.

The press conference which escalates the mad PM’s weirdness nearly succeeds in revealing just how far around the bend he has gone, but he stops short of drooling and masturbating in front of the cameras, thus giving him a little more time to lure his assistant away to her demise unchecked. I nearly vomit when he has some sort of a fit, shaking and shuddering with wild-eyed mayhem in his eyes.

It’s only when the manuscript flies into the lake that I realize I am watching a strange alternate-history fantasy rather than a film set in the real world. Who types out a manuscript on a typewriter anyway? Have you ever tried to write more than a few dozen pages on a typewriter? I have, and I can guarantee you that it is it is the most agonizing thing ever. Really. It’s right up there with listening to Martine McCutcheon sing. Worryingly, the message the film seems to be making – with at least three of the stories thus far – is that it is not only acceptable to sleep with the people you employ, it is expected. This is emphasized repeatedly, so it seems that it is more than a coincidental theme running across the stories.

The film gets even stranger (unbelievably, given how fucked up it is so far) when the groom from the earlier wedding scene admits his love for the boy, who has come in search of the wedding video. The theme tune to Roswell gives the game away – they’re aliens. They’re all aliens. It explains so, so much.

I especially like the way the PM gets to deliver his serial killer line – “Redistribute her.” Yeah, and why don’t you do it yourself, you lazy bastard? Having gone this far into the realms of madness, is he getting squeamish about having more blood on his hands? It’s doubtful. There are so many disturbing aspects to his character that it’s most likely an attempt to groom a partner for his murderous rampages. Having sat through the better part of an hour, I turn the audio off and start making up my own dialogue for the characters, which mostly consists of them bitching about being stuck in this godawful film.

“Is it over yet?”
“Hell no. I haven’t injected heroin into my eyeball yet.”
“Better hurry up. Martine might start singing any moment now.”

I play a hand of solitaire, and when I glance at the screen I see Alan Rickman is shopping. This isn’t a British street he is on, because there are no homeless people on the street, nor drunken people staggering from pubs. Hell, there aren’t even any hoodies stalking the streets. It looks like a street, but knowing the film is set in a parallel universe where psychotics don’t steal people’s mobile ‘phones when they’re talking on them explains some of the incongruities in the shot. Alan Rickman’s luck doesn’t hold out, because he soon finds himself being served in a shop by Mr. Bean, who only narrowly avoids tying his finger to a present he is wrapping.

The eighty minute mark manages to up the ante for the fantasy argument, with a dorky loser striking the jackpot with three women, though we have no run-on scene to indicate if this is actually the case or if it is the set-up for something else. I like to imagine that it is Americans getting their revenge for the events of the Hostel movies, and the poor bastard is soon going to find himself being dismembered in a dank warehouse somewhere. Really, he only has himself to blame for not checking if they had bulldog tattoos or not.

I suddenly realize I’ve been watching this for an hour and a half, and panic. Films shouldn’t feel this long. The repeated use of the word “actually” in the script is, actually, really fucking annoying. Actually. On the basis of this one film, I’m ready to actually skip any future films actually written or actually directed by Richard Curtis. When the groom-guy steals the sign-as-speech schtick from Bob Dylan, I decide that the boy is actually kinda good-looking, and the fact so many men fancy him begins to make sense somewhat. It’s still a far-fetched idea he could have so many admirers, but as this is a fantasy film I’ll let the matter slip.

There’s a special kind of pain when Hugh channels Dwight from Sin City, and the ending… Gathering all the characters in one room and hoping that it qualifies as a resolution to the storylines is ridiculous. There is a few strands left – neverending, awful stories which keep dragging on. The film, I am certain, is merely torturing me at this point. When the kid breaks into a run past airport security I hope that the film will finally come full circle, and we’ll get a twist on the ending of Twelve Monkeys, but the precocious little bastard gets away with it. In this world, where serial killers don’t get made prime minister, he would have been shot in the head long before meeting up with his squeeze…

Past the two hour mark and I am exhausted. Trying to keep interested in these idiots for the sake of this post is the most exhausting thing I’ve done so far this year, and even the joyful sight of the end credits is not enough to make me crack a smile. Despite all that, Love Actually managed to be more entertaining than the American Pie series of films. True, a colonic with a rusty pipe cleaner is more entertaining than those films, but any comparison with reasonably good films is a waste of energy. It’s better than Bean, though not as funny as Hotel Paradiso, and even in a straight fight with Dumb And Dumber it wouldn’t come off well. I still can’t believe I shelled out eight quid for it, but at least this puts an end to people urging me to watch it.

I can’t write off the shopping trip to pick up the DVD as a complete waste of time, as I did pick up an Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver as well. It’s the small mercies which make the time spent watching the DVD worthwhile…


Posted in Misc., Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The Aristocrats

Posted by BigWords on May 7, 2010

Here’s a warning – don’t read this on a full stomach. It’s vile, and horrible, and utterly irredeemable. But it’s not meant to be all that funny. If you aware of the joke, which has had enough press in recent years to make it somewhat less of an underground joke, then you will be aware that the sting – the last line – is all that need be humorous. It’s appeal lies in how far good taste can be pushed. For what its’ worth, I reckon I’m pushing enough boundaries with it as it stands.

As always, there are obscure references and some strange wordplay. Yes, I know. Bad habits… It’s an edited version of the routine I normally give when performing the joke – the three sequences clipped from the middle-section are truly horrific, so the word count has been sliced to a tad under 2k thanks to the omitted material.

I’ll make no further commentary, save for pointing out this: You have been warned.

The Aristocrats: A Modern Interpretation

by Gary James

The Agent

This guy, fat guy – really fat, as in rolls-of-flesh-hanging-from-every-part-of-his-body – walks into a talent agent’s office. He’s sweating like he’s just ran a marathon, and his face is purple from the three flights of stairs. The suit he’s wearing is the size of a tent, but even such a large suit is stretched to breaking point.

“Whaddya want?” The talent agent asks, not even looking up from his newspaper.
“You… huff… You innerested in a show?”
The agent, still not looking up, grunts. He does this. It’s a trick. It’s the equivalent of eating an apple while taking a novice driver out for a spin. It unnerves the hell out of most people, but the fat man just sits there. Sweat dripping off his face like a waterfall.
“This… This show… best fuckin’ thing ever.”
The talent agent has heard this all before. That’s why he’s in a shitty office on the outskirts of town, with walls plastered in the glories of others. No celebrities in his roster, that’s for sure.
“You gotta… You gotta believe me. This is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
So the agent looks up, and a flicker of recognition crosses his face. The morbidly obese man sitting across the table from him is – correction, was – old money. His family was the founder of one of the big hotels: Preston… Perkins… Porter… Potzrebie… Something beginning with P. The agent knew it began with P.
“You’re in this act?”
“Yes. I am… I am the grand finale.” The fat man shifts uncomfortably in the chair.
“I seen acts from all over, and without seeing your act I can tell you this – if you’re the grand finale, the act is a dud.”
“I’ll tell ya… Tell ya about the show. huff It all begins with a grand ol’ dame walking out ontah th’ stage. She sings the American national anthem as a flag is unfurled behind her…”

Laydeez A-hund Gentlemen…

The lights began dimming. The light were always dimmed when a star, however minor, took to the stage -part of tradition, but in this case crucial for the show. All the way down to three small wafer-thin beams circling around the spotlight. At ninety-seven years of age, the lady before the crowd had seen the glory days of the theater, and performed in award-winning plays of the ages. Here, in front of the American flag, as the final notes of the national anthem were replaced by Yez Mir Habn Keyn Bananez, she gives a bow and turns from the audience. The lights are steady on her as she bends over, and with a flick of her wrists flicks her dress up over her ass. Her joints pop and crackle as her ancient frame accommodates the movement required of her for this performance. One last tour-de-force. One last grand exit. Pulled from her retirement home, she is glad to be on the stage, though understandably nervous about the performance – Absurdist comedy? Fuck that. This is beyond anything the likes of Potter could have envisioned. Different thing entirely. A stifled burst of machine-gun laughter fires from the audience and ricochets around the auditorium. “Hearts and minds,” She tells herself. “Hearts and minds.”

Turns out the song wasn’t entirely correct, because there is a banana – the blackened stump of it is peeping out from her between her ass-cheeks. From seemingly nowhere, out of the darkness and the wings, bounds a chimpanzee. I’m willing to bet good money that Gus Golstein never intended this to be played out under his ditty. The chimpanzee, bouncing around like a kindergartner on crack, sees the banana in a heartbeat. Eyes blown like saucers, it rushes the old lady without thinking of anything but it’s stomach. The music builds, the chimp chanting something as it’s jaws snap at her naked, wrinkled, liver-spotted flesh. It sounds like “Hub-hoo, hub-hoo, hub-hoo,” but through its’ excitement there is difficulty making out what – if anything – it may really be saying. In a moment, the banana is gone. Devoured with relish, the skin is flung over one shoulder.

There’s a moment of confusion as the chimp searches for more food hidden in the hiding place, it’s fingers knuckle-deep in her repository – the spotlight scans the stage, the audience treated to mere flashes of the scene. Now the audience is getting nervous and excited, the unexpected acts of the animal confounding their determined belief in the stability of the performance. The trainer rushes onto the stage, agog… But too fast, and his foot finds the discarded banana skin. Toppling head over heels, he falls. The chimp, uncontrollable now, releases a stream of urine in a high arc over its’ head, covering the woman, the trainer, and a fair portion of the stage. The orchestra is trying desperately to keep in tune as splashes of the liquid falls perilously close. A shoe flung by the trainer narrowly misses the chimp, but before he can get to his feet, the man is pulled from the stage by a large wooden stick wielded from the side of the stage. It began with the pee.

Behind the chimp and the ancient woman, lurking in the shadows, a man sneaks on stage. His striped black and white top, topped with a mask, hunchback with a bag emblazoned SWAG… Clearly up to no good. The flag behind him falls, covering his escape for a moment, but struggling he frees himself. The bag flops to one side from under the flag, now reading TREASURY, closely followed by – emerging triumphant – Uncle Sam. He grins to the audience, unzips his fly and salutes – in both senses of the word. Cymbals clash, and a drum-roll indicates that the main event is merely warming up. The old lady gets to her knees and crawls to the side of the stage, trailing blood behind her. The chimp, busying himself with a bottle procured from some dark, hidden corner, bounds across the stage. Shaking the bottle violently, he raises his prize aloft, grinning a grin which would challenge the Cheshire fleabag for horrors.

And Uncle Sam is fully erect. One hand sliding up and down his shaft, the other remaining in mock salute. The chimp pulls the top from the bottle by force. “Do you want to sing a song for America?” Cries Uncle Sam, jaws clenching. Blood, cum and the vile fluid are spurting over the stage – a Guignol bukkake spread red, white and blue. There is a cry, and a whoop, and a cigarette flies through the air. An errant flick, maybe, or of deliberate aim – it hits the ground, bounces – once, twice, and it is at the blue liquid. The flames immediately rise, and clowns rush in with buckets held aloft. Over to the source of the flames, they’re circling each other, slipping and sliding in the mixture of liquids, falling and rising. One manages to stand long enough to throw the contents of his bucket over the flames – a ticker-tape display unrivaled in the memory of any stage hand.
That’s when the curtains begin to slowly close.

With a flash of light, the orchestra unleashes a thunderous racket, obscuring events behind the curtain. And, oh, what events… For this is a drama, and the players are positioning. The flag, so carefully unfurl’d at the top of the performance has been replaced with a giant smiley face. The lights fill in the center of the stage, revealing that Uncle Sam is busy giving head to the chimp – upon whose head has been placed a Nixon mask. It is slightly less disturbing than the retarded grin it had previously been displaying, but nonetheless too much for some of the audience. The orchestra is in full swing with a tribute to Gershwin, interrupted only by the grunts from the stage. The old lady is gone, her blood-trail leading off into the depths of darkness. And the chimp laughs… And he’s jerking around, and waving his arms… And Uncle Sam’s head is bobbing up and down as if he’s hunting for apples in a barrel.

With a snap of his jaws, Uncle Sam stands. Blood pouring down the front of his costume, the remains of the chimp’s cock dangling from his mouth. A scream. Deafening and bewildering emanations erupting forth from its’ throat, the chimp stands screaming, topples in mid-movement, then pulls at the place where its’ missing appendage ought to be. With a skip and a dance, Uncle Sam exits – stage left. An over-sized barbecue is rolled onto the stage by two assistants, the old woman’s body skewered into position above the open flame. The fat man is wheeled on by eight preteen girls dressed in what could only be described as Victoria’s Secret’s junior range – though secret is hardly a word to describe their bodies under the whispy fabrics. They’re straining to move the fat man’s bulk, the wheels of his carriage screeching underneath. The fat man is drooling at the sight of the corpse – his feast. Pieces of paper released by the clowns float aimlessly above her, the odd one catching too close to the heat and burning up.

The fat man, center-stage, begins licking his lips, and the girls move aside. Uncle Sam returns, twirling a carving knife as he tap-dances to the roast. The chimp is off, running God-knows-where, by the time the fat man has a knife and fork in his greasy, chubby hands. The little girls line up at the front of the stage, as the cutting and carving begins behind them. As if on cue, and in unison, they lean forward and vomit into the pit. Onto the orchestra, who screech and grind to a halt mid-tune. A rumbling fart releases from the fat man’s gut, as a finger slides into his mouth, then an ear, sliced and diced and cooked to perfection. As if by silent order, the girls release another wave of their pea-soup-like vomit, splashing over the musicians and into the first three rows of the audience. Chunks of God-knows-what bouncing off the instruments…

Uncle Sam is dancing around the bloated, flesh-eating monster now, naked from the waist down. In graceful movements, and to the sound of a kazoo being played offstage, he twirls and floats across the boards, coming to a full stop every few minutes to release a stream of diarrhea in an abstract expressionist splatter which could – if not for the smell – rival Jackson Pollock for ingenuity. And softly, between mouthfuls of human flesh, the fat man speaks – the pledge of allegiance uttered through a mouth full of bloodstained teeth. As the light flickers out, there is one final movement, Uncle Sam rushing front and center.
“God bless America,” he intones.

Sign On The Dotted Line

“What th’ fuck. This act… This… fucking-whatever-it-is… A carnival of horrors. What is it called? I mean… Do you even have a stage name?”
“Oh yes. We have a stage name.”
“So what do you yourselves?”

“We’re The United States Congress.”

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Irreverence Is An Art Form

Posted by BigWords on October 24, 2009


Is anything off-limits these days? I have a hard time accepting anything as absolutely beyond the limits of piss-taking, but I’ve been thinking about this again and come to the conclusion that there are still things I won’t joke about. Making light of the holocaust is one thing I don’t feel free to do, and any jokes about the twin towers is distasteful at best… But religion is hilarious as it is – there is nothing funnier than what you’re likely to find in a religious text.

Comics are fair game (see image above), as are films. I can’t take most blockbusters seriously, never mind crap like Independence Day or the Transformers films. Humor is subjective, and what I find funny probably comes off as offensive to others. The best example of a completely inoffensive film being lambasted by ignorant and small minds as ‘terrible’ has to be The Life Of Brian. Which brings us back to religion again. Oh joy…

Most of the truly offensive things in this world aren’t irreverent, however, yet they ought to be treated with due irreverence. The tapes which routinely emerge from the Middle East proclaiming such-and-such terrorist act is a blessing or whatthefuckever, as a nice example, should be treated with irreverence. We should laugh and mock. Same with absurdities from closer to home: L. Ron Hubbard? His books are fucking hilarious.

Dammit, I wasn’t gonna pick on religion… Lets look at other areas.

Should sports be made a mockery of? Well, when I use sports I mean should sports be made a mockery of – more than they already are a mockery? Have you seen a soccer match? Hilarity. And when I’m on the subject of sports I should bring up the ridiculous alleged sport of table tennis. Who thought that this was a sport? Was there a discussion on this before it was submitted as a sport? Excuse me while I mock.

And books shouldn’t be excluded either, especially revered texts. I like MAD, Cracked and other magazines which do their best to prick the ego’s of self-important individuals. There can be no higher praise than having the piss taken of yourself in a satire, and people who find themselves lampooned in South Park should feel that they have contributed to society is some small way. And, FYI, Tom Cruise ain’t gay… He has a beard wife now and everything.

Irreverence is vital to a clear view of ourselves, and we should never forget that we are all the butt of someone else’s jokes. I just happen to be the cause of more unintentional hilarity than most…

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My NaNoWriMo Novel Is A SF… And A Horror… And A Thriller… And…

Posted by BigWords on October 21, 2009

It isn’t surprising that I couldn’t work out what I wanted to write for NaNo, given that the blank canvas laid out before me could take any number of turns. The work, as has been pointed out, doesn’t have to be a novel of outstanding brilliance and originality, it is merely required to hit the fifty thousand word mark before the end of November. Most of the ideas I generated in the last week have been short stories, maybe novellas at best. Not a problem.

The thought that I might be able to tie these disparate elements together in a patchwork of overlapping events was one which only came to me this morning as I sat down with a cup of coffee and a smoke. Maybe it was a moment of divine inspiration, it might have been desperation… Hell, it could possibly have been an injection of caffeine to the system which finally nailed the concept in my brain. I’m gonna be writing a novel made up of novels…

Which is a dumb way to think of the idea, but I can’t think of a better way to put it. There seems to be quite a lot of history building in my subconscious already, and I have the feeling that I may be writing closer to 400k rather than 50k when I’m done with this. I’ll try to get the main story out of the way during the month, and – if I have time – begin filling in all of the strands which aren’t essential to the overall universe.

Exact information would be hard to give without me beginning anything, but I’m sure the SF elements will be heavy to the front, with horror and comedy bubbling beneath the surface. The thriller aspect should be handled with the nature of the plot, but I’m not sure how many other genres I can draw from. This might work after all…


The first person to say “cyberpunk” gets poked with a sharp stick.

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Pick A Genre, Any Genre…

Posted by BigWords on October 16, 2009

NaNo is approaching fast, and I still haven’t even decided which genre I’ll be using for my entry. That’s right, I’m completely and totally out in the wind on this. I should decide soon, but there are so many crazy things that seem like they would be fun to try. If November rolls around and I still haven’t decided on a specific genre I’ll be forced to sit down and type the first thing that comes in to my head, which won’t be pretty…

The options are endless, though somehow intimidatingly small. A western? Nope. Still tinkering with the mess I’ve got the last one into. A thriller? Too plot-heavy to wing it, and there wouldn’t be enough time to come up with an amazing twist or three. A detective story? Maybe. I like the work-backwards’s way (mangling the English language here, bear with me) in which they work, but the one month rule is a bit tight to do one justice.

Fantasy? Very possibly the genre which will save my ass. I like the strangeness I’ll be able to play with. SF? Tied with fantasy, though perhaps too much to deal with in one month. Horror, then? Oooh, yeah, a very real possibility, but it won’t be zombies. The zombie novel I dusted off and checked through looks too good to waste energy on aping, and I will be coming back to it after November.

So I’m left with… Erotica? Sheesh, trying one for the first time with the whole pressure of NaNo would be insanity, and I’m not sure what new insight I would be able to offer that genre. Comedy, possibly? Aaah, yes, my old friend comedy. Though my taste in humor is very, very dark, the prospect of trying to remain in a funny mood for a whole month will probably result in one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever written. Parody might be do-able.

Maybe autobiography would be too self-indulgent, unless I decided to drag up a lot of old shit that is unresolved. I’ve been witness to some incredible, and some very illegal, things over the years, so settling old scores by telling the world where the bodies are buried (metaphorically) would also be therapeutic. It might get me greenlit by an unhappy reader, but at least it would be interesting and a unique angle.

And I have yet to work out if it will even be a novel. I’ve always wanted to write a musical along the lines of the Morrison-era Doom Patrol comic. A giant ball of light in the middle of a stage singing how having sex with one’s self is so grand… Heh heh, that’ll probably be my Christmas pantomime idea, so I better leave it till later. A comic-book script will be tough to hit 50k with, unless I come over all Alan Moore with the descriptions.

A computer game? Which brings up an interesting question I hadn’t thought of until now… Does computer code count towards the final word count? Hell, I could hit 500k (maybe more) if I was allowed to go wild with code, and I could turn in an actual finished (if kinda small) game if I was left alone for a month. Maybe I’ll bolt myself away and unplug the ‘phone so I have no distractions…

Wow. So much choice, and so little time left to make up my mind.

I want to keep clear of anything anyone else is doing as well, just to add to my problems. That’s one of the reasons I’m so picky about my work – I can see so many similarities to the works of others. I’ll check the SYW area of Absolute Write every now and again, and nearly every time I do so – or closer to every time – I end up scrapping a handful of ideas because they have been covered so well by others.

Nathan Bransford said that originality was impossible over in his blog, but I still want to strive for something that feels unique. Something that rings with a sensibility that could not have come from the mind of any other writer. I want, to put it bluntly, to be so fucking original that it hurts. Yeah, that’s the ranting of a spoiled child, but I’m not gonna apologize. I’m in crisis mode here.

Two weeks and counting. This is probably gonna be a very long two weeks, filled with possible storylines emerging, bad ideas being mocked and an unhealthy amount of liquor being drank. Two weeks of worrying – because worry is good – and frantic scribbles to see if I’m able to come up with a unique idea, told in a unique way, with unique characters. Hell, I might as well give up right now…

Maybe nobody will notice if I just re-write my favorite myths as extended superheroes-by-way-of-horror film mash. A drunken, mean Heracles bitch-slapping people for no real reason. I could even write it so it reads exactly like early Image comics. Hmmm… There’s an idea.

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