New year, new stuff to do, discover and get confused about.
So far, it turns out the T-Rex is a myth. Electricity is almost a character in the long-awaited Twin Peaks: The Return. I kinda joined the #DavidBowieBookClub. And, I found out a bit about Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who reckoned:
The Real T-Rex - time to put the monster to bed, or is it?
From 50s B-movies to Jurassic Park T-Rex has stood tall. Stamping his beady-eyed, razor-toothed, killing machine monstrousness on our collective cultural consciousness with one giant step.
But, it is just this vision of the T-Rex which naturalist Chris Packham set out to dispel in his programme.
Turns out there’s been a bit of myth-making around this monster. The science of today means everything from the skin, to the brain, to the way T-Rex moved are being reassessed.
It seems to be that the erect, Godzilla-esque killing machine was more horizontal, possibly colourful, maybe even feathered. And, far from being a Lone Ranger kinda guy could actually have been rather social...
Hawksmoor - satanic architects & the #DavidBowieBookclub
Speaking of those fertile myth-making spaces between fact and supposition, let’s talk about Hawksmoor.
Says one Guardian piece.
The Peter Ackroyd book, however, distances itself from historical fact. Hawksmoor is a modern day senior detective. Nicholas Dyer the eighteenth century architect. And, Dyer’s churches the sites of a series of murders.
Place has a tendency to become entwined like entrails with people past and present in Hawksmoor. The fancy name is Psychogeography. But if you live above a Brick Lane chicken shop (like I once did) it’s much more matter of fact.
The Ten Bells - where some of Jack the Ripper’s victims hung out - was a stone’s throw, and Hawksmoor’s Christ Church Spitalfields a hair’s breadth away from that. It meant the streets behind our flat were frequented by be-backpacked tourists congregating en masse, enraptured by gory storytellers.
As Ackroyd said of writing Hawksmoor:
Back in the Brick Lane flat we used to joke that if you drew lines matching up all the local murder hotspots perhaps our flat would turn out to be the evil epicentre of it all.
I’d like to blame it on Iain Sinclair’s poem Lud Heat - which suggests that Hawksmoor's London churches form an invisible geometry of power lines. Or even Alan Moore’s From Hell. But I expect it was probably more Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Sunnydale Hellmouth.
Marshall McLuhan - the first seer of cyberspace?
Back in the 60s when his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man was being discussed all over the shop, media theorist, McLuhan was often dismissed too. I mean, sometimes even McLuhan didn’t seem to understand what he meant.
Maybe part of the problem was he was trying to bridge a cultural chasm he’d felt between him and people just 5-8 years younger than himself. And his observations and predictions were tad ahead of his time, as this newspaper article suggests:
Confused? Intrigued? Watch this BBC Radio 4 / Open University mini-film and let to Gillian Anderson explain it all.
Story Grid Podcast - what makes a great story?
So I started the New Year as I meant to go on and joined a writing class. Well I say 'class', but it was more 'writing in the same room as other people' under the relaxed guidance of the Meetup organiser.
And, well, it inspired me to find a podcast on novel writing, cos I was feeling a little too freewheeling where my efforts were concerned, and there is only so much stream of consciousness one woman can excrete (is that what I mean!?).
Enter: Story Grid. Wherein wannabe novelist Tim Grahl and experienced editor Shawn Coyne “...discuss the ins and outs of what makes a story great.”
What I really like about the series is how Tim really puts himself on the line. Shawn trashes his early story ideas - backed up by sound reasoning. And at times he’s just plain confused by Shawn’s Story Grid rules.
So what is Story Grid? Shawn explains it like this:
Which is helpful, no? Yep, especially in an age when if you wanna get published you’ve probably gotta be your own editor too ...
Twin Peaks: The Return - is the real star electricity?
Speaking of grids electricity took on a life of its own in Twin Peaks: The Return. So much so, that I did a bit of research.
As the Welcome to Twin Peaks site says:
Apparently electricity is a recurring motif in David Lynch’s work:
I guess Marshall McLuhan would agree.