Thursday, January 28, 2016

By Grabthar's Hammer, by the Suns of Worvan, You Shall be Mourned

There is truly only one way to describe the emotional reaction I felt upon hearing about Alan Rickman's death when I awoke on January 14: it felt like someone had cut my heart out with a spoon. With the world still reeling from the loss of iconic singer and codpiece aficionado David Bowie just days earlier, it seemed almost too much to bear to lose the iconic actor as well. It seemed all the more surreal when it was revealed that both Bowie and Rickman had both died of cancer at the age of sixty-nine. It seemed that sixty-nine was quickly becoming the new twenty-three (and the fact that sixty-nine is a multiple of twenty three didn't help to make conspiracy theorists any less insufferable).

Alan Rickman was instantly recognizable with his trademark deep voice that itself was worth the price of admission to any movie he was in as well as, you know, his general ability to kick ass in any role he tackled. He was a stand out in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the cartoonishly evil Sheriff of Nottingham, and this coming from a man who actually loves Prince of Thieves completely unironically. Whether threatening to cut Kevin Costner's heart out with a spoon, calling off Christmas, or doing the slow turnaround to one of his fellow lords and telling him to "Shut up, you twit!" Rickman was eminently watchable and is still quoted prominently amongst my family to this day in nearly every social interaction.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ground Control to Major Tom... Stepping Through One Last Door

I can't lay any legally defensible claim to being a huge fan of David Bowie's music. Though several of his songs as well as the man himself have come to thoroughly permeate pop culture to the point where it's virtually impossible for anyone in the civilized world not to recognize either the man or some part of his vast repertoire of work, I can't claim that I felt the same touch of transcendence that I have with other artists in various media. And yet when I heard of his death earlier this month on January 10, I couldn't help but feel that the world had suffered some immeasurable loss.

My recollections of David Bowie are centred more around his film roles, most notably as Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth and as Nicola Tesla in The Prestige. I defy you to find a better song from a children's movie than "Magic Dance," or at least a more catchy or quotable one. It's been scientifically proven to rest at the very pinnacle of artistic achievement of the '80s, which puts it in the running for greatest of all time. His turn in The Prestige really blew me away, not only by how great his performance was, but also that I had no goddamn idea it was him the first time I watched it. People often talk about actors "being chameleons" and disappearing into their roles, and for anybody looking for a perfect example to advocate or to emulate, they need look no further.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2015, A Year in Review. Everything it Shouldn't Not Have Been

As time continues its unending march into the black depths of the unknown, carrying us all
inexorably closer to our eventual destinies, it's important to take the time to reflect on the primordial mists from whence we emerged. Also getting high from time to time doesn't hurt either. As most years seem to, 2015 feels like it went by much faster than every single one that preceded it. More and more, I feel like I'm caught in a loop of simultaneously wanting to slow everything down to savour the good times and fend off the inevitable coldness of the grave and desperately wishing to speed everything up to see how the story unfolds.

I didn't climb Mount Everest or bake a record-breaking confection or anything, but I also didn't get cancer or inadvertently start a Twitter controversy, the very worst kind of social atrocity. I don't want to sell 2015 short, but it didn't leave the strongest of impressions. 2015 was the random blue sky puzzle piece of years. 2015 was like the Mark from accounting of years: everybody knows he exists and he's always kind of there in the background, but he's not getting invited to any office Christmas parties or included in any of those mass emails with the latest meme involving cats or some bullshit.

Without further ado, here's a rundown of a few of my own personal highlights from that lumbering behemoth known as 2015.