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Paul Watson
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”

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So yeah, Secret Cinema: Moulin Rouge was basically a LARP, which was kind of cool but also meant that I suspect we assessed it in very different ways to the 'average punter'. Listing to people on the night and a few posts I've seen around there's a lot of "I've never seen anything like it" ... which is, I fear, symptomatic of a sheltered upbringing rather than anything revolutionary on the part of SC.

I enjoyed it, and the demographic (couple, groups of women, VERY few if any groups of 'lads') made things interesting at times but also meant that despite the massive (and occasionally apocalyptic) levels alcohol consumption the vibe remained friendly and chilled out - albeit that some people clearly did need help to deal with the states they'd gotten themselves in, and I had to deal with a few over-exuberant women in varying states of distress and/or un-wisdom. The woman who put her dinner in the chair next to me during the film, then sat on it and put an ice-bucket on her head, is probably the easiest and politest of these random encounter to summaries here.

All-in-all, it was definitely a fun experience, and it was great to see so many people have such a good time so safely and peacefully. I can't quite understand how SC 'works' when the film isn't a singalong party fest like Moulin Rouge (previously they're done such things as Shawshank Redemption and 28 Days Later) but I'd certainly consider it again.

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So this is a thing that is apparently a good thing and might be a thing I do but most likely only if people I know also do it which some of them already do so that's a start but I have ideas and stuff so maybe it will happen and maybe you will come too:

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Some of these look like they'd be fun!

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The words "angle grinder" and "penis" do not combine to make comfortable reading.

The Royal Yatch Britannia was a long schlep for something that was ultimately unimpressive and disappointingly presented.
As such, it was the perfect conclusion and summation of my experiences of Edinburgh.

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Great, except that (a) it's almost certainly going to be unenforceable like most high-profile 'stop doing things on the internet' legislation and (b) ticketing sites are absolutely complicit in this because they OWN the secondary insetting sites and so earn vastly more profit by selling once to a tout and then taking a cut of the tout's sales through the secondary site as well.

{In which I have feelings about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at some length, and maybe make a vaguely original observation}

In the 90s, ‘my’ shows were Babylon 5, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files. Sure, I watched Buff and I really enjoyed it but it didn’t speak to me and teach me things about storytelling and characterisation the way those other shows did. Buffy was fun, funny, and full of all different sorts of attractive women – but I absolutely would not have said it was a show I’d look back on as showing the future not just of cool TV shows but of so much more.

How wrong could I have been?

Whereas most shows diminish with the passage of time, peaking perhaps on a second or third viewing but ultimately losing some of their sheen, Buffy has, for me, achieved a renaissance. For it seems to me now that – by a combination of accident and design – it was so far ahead of its time on ‘feminism’ that even if I’d realised what it was doing I wouldn’t have had the language to describe it. It might be that the show has been ‘lucky’ that society has caught up with it, but it was always there. Waiting for us.

A lot of journalists today have been doing 20th anniversary articles about how ‘feminist’ Buffy is. It has a female star who fights and leads and is an all-round hero – it’s ground breaking in both TV and broader cultural terms. Well, yeah, great. So far, so kind of obvious.

Other, more insightful, articles point out that the supporting cast is also full of powerful, rounded females. Willow and Faith are the only characters who occasionally get to upstage Buffy in her own show; Cordelia, Tara, Anya, Joyce, and a host of minor characters fill out an ensemble that is punctuated only by a relatively small cadre of male presences. And of course season 7 becomes all about the girl power. Great! What a show! You go, girls!

But … no one seems to be writing about the men!

Why not?

They should be…

… because the presentation of male characters is where Buffy goes from being a ‘female-led show’ or even a ‘ground-breaking female empowering show’ to being ‘the ultimate feminist show that there ever was and maybe ever will be’

Xander, Giles, Spike, Angel: one thing they all have in common? They all cry on screen, and it absolutely is not presented as weakness or in any way diminishing them as ‘men’. At the end of The Gift (5.22), when the heroes all gather around Buffy’s corpse, the ONLY character who breaks down in tears is Spike. Xander spends a lot of time wrestling with his emotions – not just those early season feelings for Buffy but later when his relationship with Anya breaks down and towards the end of seeason 7 when things get really bad for him. Angle is Mr Angst throughout his first stint on the show. And while Giles is obliged to be all English about thing, part of the mature guidance he provides to the group comes from ensuring everyone ‘processes’ when bad things happen - and while he doesn't ever really 'break down' it is never made out that he is a 'better man' because of that.

Sure, the show mis-steps a few times, but one thing remains true: it NEVER presents traditional ‘masculine values’ as a source of power or strength. Plot lines where people bottle up their emotions always end in tears (usually literally) and characters who use their strength to dominate others get their comeuppance. It is a show which shows men who are heroes too - but whose strength absolutely is not of the traditional kind: and it makes that seem totally OK and normal and desirable. Traditional masculinity is the Big Bad of the entire show – literally decades before it has become a bete noir of the progressive.

So yeah, Buffy: the only show I’ve ever seen that has gotten better with age and which I love way more now than I did when I first saw it for reasons that I wouldn't have ever imagined (or imagining caring about) 20 years ago. 

Top 5 things of a thing meme thing! Go!

(In the unlikely event you haven't seen this already: you name a 'category' and I list my top 5 things of it at some point depending how distracted I get with other stuff or whatever)

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Food science!

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I hope they're going to spend some of that £5m building a bonfire on which to burn Philip Davies.
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