Black Books brilliance needs spreading! Check out this British comedy, created by Shaun of the Dead's stand-up comedian Dylan Moran & The IT Crowd writer Graham Linehan.
Meet Bernard Black (Moran), misanthropic, smoke-puffing wine-drinker and London bookshop owner who prefers his beloved books to his customers; Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey), his good-hearted assistant and favourite human plaything, along with Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig), their only friend and drinking companion in between her miserable attempts at finding a job and a boyfriend, in 18 episodes full of classic gags, rants, surreal humour and satire on the ridiculousness of the modern world.
WATCH IT HERE
- YouTube: x, x, x (with English subtitles), x (plus all outtakes & deleted scenes)
Extras: Bernard’s Letter, Black Dolls
Sit back and enjoy!
Loki in fetal position
The five Bennet girls risk a life of poverty if they do not marry in a timely fashion. Even scenes that appear steeped in romance make this reality evident.
"In the scene when Bingley asks Jane to marry him, for instance, Jane appears bubbly with anticipation. But there is a sense of waiting, of Jane not being able to move, to speak, in that scene. She is so powerless, waiting for her future. It’s heartbreaking.”
(Joe Wright, Director)
“There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” - JK Rowling
Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.
I want to read about Susan finishing out boarding school as a grown queen reigning from a teenaged girl’s body. School bullies and peer pressure from children and teachers who treat you like you’re less than sentient wouldn’t have the same impact. C’mon, Susan of the Horn, Susan who bested the DLF at archery, and rode a lion, and won wars, sitting in a school uniform with her eyebrows rising higher and higher as some old goon at the front of the room slams his fist on the lectern.
Susan living through WW2, huddling with her siblings, a young adult (again), a fighting queen and champion marksman kept from the action, until she finally storms out against screaming parents’ wishes and volunteers as a nurse on the front. She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for.
She’ll apply to a women’s college on the East Coast, because she fell in love with America when her parents took her there before the war. She goes in majoring in Literature (her ability to decipher High Diction in historical texts is uncanny), but checks out every book she can on history, philosophy, political science. She sneaks into the boys’ school across town and borrows their books too. She was once responsible for a kingdom, roads and taxes and widows and crops and war. She grew from child to woman with that mantle of duty wrapped around her shoulders. Now, tossed here on this mundane land, forever forbidden from her true kingdom, Susan finds that she can give up Narnia but she cannot give up that responsibility. She looks around and thinks I could do this better.
I want Susan sneaking out to drink at pubs with the girls, her friends giggling at the boys checking them out from across the way, until Susan walks over (with her nylons, with her lipstick, with her sovereignty written out in whatever language she damn well pleases) and beats them all at pool. Susan studying for tests and bemoaning Aristotle and trading a boy with freckles all over his nose shooting lessons so that he will teach her calculus. Susan kissing boys and writing home to Lucy and kissing girls and helping smuggle birth control to the ladies in her dorm because Susan Pevensie is a queen and she understands the right of a woman to rule over her own body.
Susan losing them all to a train crash, Edmund and Peter and Lucy, Jill and Eustace, and Lucy and Lucy and Lucy, who Susan’s always felt the most responsible for. Because this is a girl who breathes responsibility, the little mother to her three siblings until a wardrobe whisked them away and she became High Queen to a whole land, ruled it for more than a decade, then came back centuries later as a legend. What it must do to you, to be a legend in the body of a young girl, to have that weight on your shoulders and have a lion tell you that you have to let it go. What is must do to you, to be left alone to decide whether to bury your family in separate ceremonies, or all at once, the same way they died, all at once and without you. What it must do to you, to stand there in black, with your nylons, and your lipstick, and feel responsible for these people who you will never be able to explain yourself to and who you can never save.
Maybe she dreams sometimes they made it back to Narnia after all. Peter is a king again. Lucy walks with Aslan and all the dryads dance. Maybe Susan dreams that she went with them— the train jerks, a bright light, a roar calling you home.
Maybe she doesn’t.
Susan grows older and grows up. Sometimes she hears Lucy’s horrified voice in her head, “Nylons? Lipstick, Susan? Who wants to grow up?” and Susan thinks, “Well you never did, Luce.” Susan finishes her degree, stays in America (England looks too much like Narnia, too much like her siblings, and too little, all at once). She starts writing for the local paper under the pseudonym Frank Tumnus, because she wants to write about politics and social policy and be listened to, because the name would have made Edmund laugh.
She writes as Susan Pevensie, too, about nylons and lipstick, how to give a winning smiles and throw parties, because she knows there is a kind of power there and she respects it. She won wars with war sometimes, in Narnia, but sometimes she stopped them before they began.
Peter had always looked disapprovingly on the care with which Susan applied her makeup back home in England, called it vanity. And even then, Susan would smile at him, say “I use what weapons I have at hand,” and not explain any more than that. The boy ruled at her side for more than a decade. He should know better.
Vain is not the proper word. This is about power. But maybe Peter wouldn’t have liked the word “ambition” any more than “vanity.”
Susan is a young woman in the 50s and 60s. Frank Tumnus has quite the following now. He’s written a few books, controversial, incendiary. Susan gets wrapped up in the civil rights movement, because of course she would. It’s not her first war. All the same, she almost misses the White Witch. Greed is a cleaner villain than senseless hate. She gets on the Freedom Rider bus, mails Mr. Tumnus articles back home whenever there’s a chance, those rare occasions they’re not locked up or immediately threatened. She is older now than she ever was in Narnia. Susan dreams about Telemarines killing fauns.
Time rolls on. Maybe she falls in love with a young activist or an old cynic. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe Frank Tumnus, controversial in the moment, brilliant in retrospect, gets offered an honorary title from a prestigious university. She declines and publishes an editorial revealing her identity. Her paper fires her. Three others mail her job offers.
When Vietnam rolls around, she protests in the streets. Susan understands the costs of war. She has lived through not just through the brutal wars of one life, but two.
Maybe she has children now. Maybe she tells them stories about a magical place and a magical lion, the stories Lucy and Edmund brought home about how if you sail long enough you reach the place where the seas fall off the edge of the world. But maybe she tells them about Cinderella instead, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, except Rapunzel cuts off her own hair and uses it to climb down the tower and escape. The damsel uses what tools she has at hand.
A lion told her to walk away, and she did. He forbade her magic, he forbade her her own kingdom, so she made her own.
Susan Pevensie did not lose faith. She found it.
Just a reminder:the natural diet of these birds is BONES. Not just bone marrow; actual bone shards. They pick up huge freaking bones from carcasses and drop them onto rocks until they get spiky pieces and then they swallow them. Their stomach acid dissolves bone.
look me in the eye and tell me that’s not a fucking dragon
And they aren’t naturally red like that. That’s self-applied makeup. They find the reddest earth they can to work into their feathers as a status symbol.
And they don’t scavenge other parts of carcases, just the bones. 85-90% of their diet is exclusively bone. Hence why it’s only a myth that these birds would just pick up whole lambs and carry them off. It’s not true, but in German they’re still called Lämmergeier as a result.
They are so metal they’re practically wearing armor.
I am Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel.
I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty. They used lots of sports metaphors (doing an end run, Monday morning quarterbacking, and so on), with legal jargon thrown in for good measure. I suggested that this was not a particularly welcoming trait in their school, that in fact it was sexist, but they paid little attention. I made my point by speaking for about five minutes in dressmaking terms: putting a dart in here, a gusset there, cutting the budget on the bias so it would be more flexible, using a peplum to hide a course that might be controversial. The women in the room laughed; the men did not find it humorous….Language is power, make no mistake about it. It is used to include and exclude and to keep people and systems in their places.
Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another man more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest.
The Sociological Cinema
There was actually research that was done that found that women who used an “I have a boyfriend/husband” excuse to reject unwanted sexual attention and harassment by their bosses were more likely to be left alone than those who used any other excuse (including “I’m not interested”)
just a little additional note too:
this is why I hate those videos, vines, whatever of some random-ass dude approaching a girl on the street, asking her to go to his birthday party or be his friend, etc., and she immediately responds with “I have a boyfriend,” or “I’m married,” and the video is like, WOAH THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY GEEZ
and I’m thinking, no fucking shit. you walked up to a girl on the street out of nowhere, and started asking her to go with you to some place she doesn’t know, or start a relationship with her.automatically, her reaction in the kind of culture we live in (the kind where rape and harassment is commonplace) is to get away, you are a stranger. you have entered her personal space, and however “innocent” your request is, it’s still at least a minor threat to her.
so yeah, she’s going to say she has a boyfriend, or that she’s married, or that she’s seeing someone. she has learned, through numerous interactions with men who can’t take a hint, that this is the quickest way to get some douche off her back. it’s not about her being stuck-up for assuming that you want to bone her by asking her to your birthday party. it’s about you putting her in an extremely uncomfortable social situation, and her wanting to leave it.
and guess what? she has the right to do that.