A Brief Disclaimer

This is just a short note to say that the items I’ll be writing about books, comics, TV shows or films shouldn’t be considered reviews. They will invariably be things that I enjoy and I will more or less be gushing enthusiastically about them. I don’t intend to be particularly critical or insightful about them in general, but rather, to highlight the aspects I enjoy. I may point out some flaws, I may not. Certainly, I won’t be going looking for them. I don’t intend, for the most part, to tell you why you should like something, or why you should shouldn’t. I’ll just be saying why I liked, or failed to like, some particular piece of content.

The critical value of my gushing will be dubious at best. I like things a lot of people hate, find weird or simply have never heard of. Even when I like things that other people like, it is often for radically different reasons. Sounds familiar, doesn’t? That is actually sort of the reason I find criticism in general to be of fairly dubious merit. We can all like different things for the same reason, we can all like the same thing for different reasons. Taste is too irrational for criticism. We can all find reasons why something might be good, why something is awful. Some of these reasons might even be objective; it doesn’t mean that perfectly rational people do not actively like the worst, most awful crap you’ve ever heard of. Their reasons might be perfectly valid, it will still seem like madness if you don’t also like the same thing, and no amount of me pointing out why they are wrong will change their mind.

My disregard for criticism doesn’t extend as far as proper academic critical analysis, I should point out. That has a very necessary place in cultural discourse. It’s just not something I am particularly good at when it comes to source material I love, so I tend to steer clear of. Instead, I will be unabashedly be writing about why I love things, teasing out some of the reasons, and possibly giving some insight into either myself, or why you might like something, if you share some of my passions.

Some things to bear in mind, though, if you are going to stick with my rambling “why I liked” pieces. I loved the end of Lost. To me, it made perfect sense. The threads of it all come together in a way that I understand, appreciate and enjoy. A lot of people would disagree with that. I am deeply enthusiastic about seeing Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor and also bitterly disappointed that the next Doctor isn’t a woman or a person of colour. I unashamed love A Song Of Ice And Fire and am unlikely to ever stop comparing A Game Of Thrones to it. And as the TV show rumbles onwards I become more and more convinced, firstly that the things I love about the books are not the things that the show’s creators love, and secondly, that they are only a few episodes away from making a mess of the entire thing.

So if anything I’ve said, makes you cringe or flare with rage I suggest this is a fairly decent place for us to part ways. It’ll be better for everyone involved. Mostly you. I don’t even know why you’re here in the first place, but I’m only going to disappoint you or enrage you (or bore you), if you stay. That is literally the only guarantee I can make you.

(P.S. This short note is now over 600 words, so I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of brevity either)

Why Are We Here?

Frankly, I have no idea why you are here.

I’m here because I thought it might be a good idea for me to have a space to write and publish rants about things that upset me, rather than clogging up my Facebook feed. I’m here because I have opinions about books and games and things that you should definitely get and love and are foolish for not already loving as much as I do. Or because I disliked something everyone else found great and I wish you to know you are judged harshly.

So really, I have no idea why you are here, but thank you for indulging me. Obviously, on the one hand, I am quite convinced the minute I launch this blog, thousands of readers will spontaneously appear, validating not only my decision to write, but also my opinions, if not the visceral necessity of my existence. Within a week I will be writing major opinion columns worldwide. A month will see me installed as one of the great philosophical minds of our times. I am certainly not completely joking; there is definitely a part of me that feels that is the most likely result of this venture. I feel I should be upfront about what you are letting yourself into if you ever return here. On the other hand, the more rational elements of my psyche expect very little at all, and are just pleased to think a few of you may, from time to time, find a thing or two of merit in my ramblings.

And this will be rambling. To open, I’ve a couple of things ready. These are sort of meant to give some hint of the kind of things which grab my fancy in the first place. They vary. One is a response to a book I read. It’s not a review. Find out why, right here. One is an attempt to put into words who I am, which is basically just a tangent. A two and a half thousand word tangent. Another is my thoughts on the Isla Vista shooting, the #YesAllWomen response. It’s just been announced that Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum will be in the spring of 2015. I imagine some thoughts on that will feature, but in a brief spoiler on my position – clearly I think LGBTI people should have all the same rights as me, and while we’re at it, they should have any other rights that their specific situations and orientations require for their safety and well-being, mental and physical. Also, I’ve been meaning to watch the 1986 Transformers film again; I fully expect some thoughts on that to emerge, a shambling horde of unasked for nonsense, sooner rather than later. So don’t come to me in six months, claiming; “You never warned us it would be like this, you never explained what nonsense this would be.” Well, I certainly tried. I can’t be held responsible for the fact that you clearly wouldn’t listen to me warning you not to try and listen to me.

I’ve named this not-a-blog thing “Screaming Into The Void”, which is a name inspired by Twitter and Dante’s Inferno in equal measure.

resounding through the starless firmament,
such a commotion of groans and wails of woe,
I wept myself from sheer bewilderment;

Outlandish tongues, and accents doloroso,
howls, shrieks, grunts, gasps, bawls,
a never-ending, terrible crescendo,

Rising to vast compulsory applause,
revolving like sand or locusts in a storm,
turning the air black as funereal gauze.

Lines 22-30, Canto III
Dante’s Inferno,
Ciaran Carson translation.

Not that I have a bad opinion of the internet, but the quivering mass of all those voices, it can become impossible to distinguish anything. This is just me adding my raw-throated roar to the din.

I hope to update this with one serious piece of writing about a subject which has pissed me off once a month, and also to include a not-a-review of a comic, book or film once a month, so if you stick around, you can expect something every two weeks or so. We’ll see how that goes for the moment. Anyway, long story short, I obviously think my opinions are valid and wish for you to either agree, or at the least, to be aware of them. Realistically, you might either agree or disagree, and either way you might not actually need to read a thousand-plus words of me trying to express how angry/smart/insightful I am for thinking my thinkings.

Still, thanks for coming. If you’re coming back let’s just establish a couple of sincere and important facts first;

  • Optimus Prime was my hero in my childhood. In my teens it was Cloud Strife and Buffy.
  • Now, worryingly, it might be Loki . . .
  • I love a chicken fillet roll.
  • John Noble once made the “Evil Walter Bishop face” for me and it was the greatest thing ever. (You’ll notice I mention this again in my discussion of who I am. It really is something which delights me)
  • Sometimes, I just sit around contemplating the metaphysical implications of hypothetical scenarios configured through a lens of Platonic philosophy, and I’m not even stoned.
  • I like this song right now.
  • I have no idea what my favourite book is, and you will break me if you ask.
  • I read a lot of comic books. I would read more if I had more time/money.
  • You shouldn’t come back. But if you do, please bring cake. It staves off the madness.